When Jesus is LiftedUp

January 22, 2015

John 8:3-11
3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

When Jesus is Lifted Up

A characteristic the Holy Spirit brought to my attention about Jesus is that every time that Jesus is lifted up the Father is manifested and glorified. In our passage today we see Jesus taking a lower position than the self-righteous accusers of the woman caught in adultery. When He does lift Himself up it is not to exalt Him, but to exalt the truth. When Jesus is lifted up things can change in the hearts of men. When His truth is exalted and the Father is glorified it brings light and conviction upon the ungodly and the sinner. When He is lifted up His light shines within our hearts to show their true motives.
Further in the chapter in John 8:28 Jesus tells the religious leaders, “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” When Jesus is lifted up the Father is glorified and the truth prevails.
In John 12:22 Jesus declares, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.” Taken out of context this sounds like a prideful statement, but taken in the context of the life and ministry of Jesus we know that His being lifted up on the cross was the greatest act of humility God ever performed towards man. He gave His only Son to die so that His being lifted up in death might result in mankind being lifted up in life. Again, His being lifted up on the cross glorified the Father and exalted the Truth.
Whenever Jesus lifted His eyes, His hands, others or Himself, the result was always blessing and life. His boast was never in Himself, even though He knew who He was. It was always in the Father that He boasted and gave glory. What an example this is for us who know who we are in Christ. It is never about us, but it is always about Him. In Him we live and move and have our being. In Him we are able to do all things through Christ that strengthens us. It should never be about lifting up who we are. That is a sign of one who is a novice and still indulged in self. We know that if Jesus is lifted up He will draw all men to Himself. We know that if Jesus be lifted up the Father will be glorified and the truth will be exalted, bodies will be healed and lives will be changed. When Jesus is lifted up the King is exalted and His kingdom becomes manifest. It is to the Lord Jesus that we give all the honor, the praise and the glory. It is His name that we lift up, because it is higher than any other and through the lifting up of His name the works of God are brought forth in the earth and He is exalted through our lives.

Blessings,
#kent

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Born to Serve

December 12, 2014

Exodus 23:25
And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

Born to Serve

From the time that we come into this earth we were born to serve. We will serve something or someone all of our days. The question is what and whom do we serve?
The children of Israel during their stay in Egypt served the Egyptians some four hundred years. Just think, that is longer than our United States is old. Being servants to Egyptians had become a mindset and just a way of life. It was who you were and what you did. It took a Moses, operating under the Spirit of God, to begin to overturn that mindset and slavery thinking. It is no different with us. We grow up serving the world and thinking like the world. That is what everybody does, so that is what we do. Then along comes Jesus and upsets our way of thinking and serving.
Some are naïve enough to say, “I don’t serve anybody. I’m my own person.” When a person says something like that they are saying, that indeed, they are a servant to their flesh. It is there old nature that rules over them, but if they have never known anything different they don’t recognize it as slavery.
God allowed Israel to become the servants and slaves of Egypt. God told Abram in Genesis 15:13, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.” Now why did God do that? Why did He allow Adam to fall into the slavery of sin and darkness and in the process take all of humanity with Him? We can’t know freedom and really appreciate it until we have experienced slavery and bondage. We can never really appreciate the light of day until we have walked through the darkness of night. We can’t really appreciate the warmth and beauty of spring until we have walked through the coldness and the deadness of winter. God allows us to experience certain things so that we can have an appreciation and a revelation of something so much better and so much higher.
God has delivered us out of the realm of bondage into the liberty of the Sons of God, but some of us still have our old mindsets and earthly way of thinking. Many of us still see our promise land as a place possessed by giants and impossibilities rather than seeing it as a land flowing with milk and honey which is our inheritance. As a result we slip back into the bondage of our unredeemed thinking and belief system. We don’t believe we can therefore we can not.
God wants to blow the lid off of this kind stinking thinking. It is an offense to Him and denial of who He is. We are not going to possess this land in and of our selves because we are no longer of ourselves. We are of Christ. It is the Christ who is the might and the power and the authority in us to prevail and possess our land, as we dispossess the giants and its former inhabitants. How long are we going to allow satan to rob us of that which is rightfully ours? It is only the intimidation of his fear and doubt that prevents us. Where is our spirit of Joshua and Caleb that sees how great their God is rather than how weak we are in our flesh? If you can see it by the Spirit you can possess it by faith. If you are walking in the will and authority of God then there is none that can stand before you.
God has raised us up to be the conquering servants of the MOST HIGH GOD! He has brought us out of the bondage of sin and darkness. He has brought us out and is training us up to be the servants that bring humanity unto Him. You are His priesthood, His army and His sons to bring liberty to the afflicted and set the captive free. Romans 8: 18-25 declares, “I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. 19In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. 20Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope 21that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. 22We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth. 23The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. This means that our bodies will also be set free. 24And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. 25However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.” We are God’s Moses to His creation. He has commissioned us in His Son to be the liberators of His creation that have been subjected to the bondage of sin and death. We have been blessed that God has given us the privilege of knowing Him and being prepared for this calling. Unfortunately many of us don’t yet see it by faith. Some of us see it, but we are still too entangled in the affairs of this life. Until our thinking is liberated we can never be the servants that we were born to be. We are called to be servant kings that rule and reign to bless and liberate. That is our purpose and that is our calling. With the most reverent respect to God, I say, “ the devil be damned, let’s possess the land!”

Blessings,
#kent

Higher Level Living

March 5, 2014

Matthew 5:11-12

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


Higher Level Living


What is our natural response to insults, verbal and physical attacks, slander, gossip and false accusations?  Isn’t it to fight back, justify, retaliate and begin attacking our attackers.  Suddenly we find ourselves drawn in and participating in the same fleshly ugliness of those who attacked us. We have come down to their level and are fighting with the same carnal weapons they are.  We are opening our hearts to be influenced by the same spirits that are influencing them.  

“An eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth,” some will say.  Funny you should say that because a little further down in Matthew 5:32-42 Jesus says,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”  

Wow, that is pretty unconventional wisdom by this world’s standards and wisdom only a few are willing to walk in.  

Why?

Because it denies all of “my” rights.  It is asking me to give up and renounce what is “mine”.  It is asking me to return good for evil and it imposes seemingly unfair demands upon “me” as a person.  It  seems to be letting injustice prevail and our rights to be taken unfair advantage of.  

When we can all walk in the principles that Jesus gives us in Matthew 5-7 it is probably a pretty good indicator that we are getting very close to being dead unto self and alive only unto Christ.  For us to willingly walk in the principles that Jesus is describing means it can no longer be about me, but only about exemplifying and living out of  Christ.  These are the principles that He walked and lived by.  The reason He could is because His heart and affection weren’t upon His natural man or the things of this world.  

We all have our possessions and things we have worked hard for.  We all have our reputation and our dignity to uphold.  It so goes against our grain to be taken advantage of or exploited or to be spoken falsely about.  

What Jesus is telling us is, there is a higher level of kingdom living that most of us never touch or  really know because we are still so connected and attached to this earthly kingdom and realm.  Many of us still think that the political candidate or president is going to determine the fate of the world, the nation and my well being.   We may believe if others aren’t of our particular denomination or persuasion of belief they are going to hell or will miss it and yet how many of us are really living these principles of Jesus?  

What we all need as believers, who say we love Christ, is a deliverance from a lot of our materialistic and capitalist ways.  They are not His ways, but what the world has taught us is true and valuable.  If we are not of this world then why are these things still so important to us?  The truth is most of us are really living out of a lower level of life and values than what Christ has called us too.  

Sometimes we don’t think much about it until we are put in those positions where we must choose between the conventional wisdom of this world and the wisdom that is from above.  If you want to really stand out as odd, even among most of the Christian community, try truly walking in the principles that Christ lays out here.  

Finally Jesus really stretches us even more in verses 38-43 by saying,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Jesus is calling us to a higher place.  It is not a realm where we can operate in conventional wisdom or even love with conventional love.  It  is place that we can only operate out of, by His Spirit and His Agape’ love.   It is a place where our self identity can not live; only our identity in Christ.  It is a place where we need to thank God for our enemies, because they are the only ones who can help elevate us to this realm of living and being.  Are we ready for a higher level of living?

 

Blessings,

kent

God at Arm’s Distance

July 18, 2013

God at Arm’s Distance

Revelations 3:15-20
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Did you ever have a relationship with a person where you really liked them, but you wanted to keep a little space with them, you really wanted the relationship on the terms of your comfort level? Many of us have those kinds of relationships in our marriage where we love our husband or wife, but we want our own space to live our own life and do our own thing. We want a relationship, but we want it at arm’s length, a place we can either pull away or be close, but not feel too confined. Isn’t that very much like the relationship many of us have or have had with the Lord? We believe in Christ, we love God, but we are afraid to get to close to Him. We’re afraid He might let us down, or we’re afraid He might require too much of us, or we’re afraid we’ll have to give up the things we love and want to do. Fear is the counterpart of faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Herein is contained a promise of God that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. For a lot of us there is truth we would rather stay ignorant of or things we would rather not hear, because it requires of us accountability and we rather like things the way they are. I know these things because I see so many of them in me. I don’t always like it when somebody speaks the truth to me in areas where I am comfortable and don’t really want to change, yet I know that if I refuse to hear the truth and harden my heart, I am shutting out the Holy Spirit. I am holding out my arm and saying to God, “don’t come any closer Lord, you are infringing upon my territory, my self will.” Then I am reminded that I am not my own, He bought me with a price and my life belongs to Him completely and without reservation.
So many of us, especially here in America, have been so blessed and we have enjoyed so many things and privileges that we have become fat and satisfied. We are the Laodicean Church it speaks about hear in Revelation 3. “We are rich, increased with goods and have need of nothing.” In the natural that is true, but in the spirit it has left us “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” We can’t serve two masters and when we choose to be rich in the things of the world we suffer spiritually.
Most of you who read this faithfully are those who are willing to hear the truth even when it is convicting and most who don’t may not want to read it because the Lord does deal with us in hard areas that we maybe rather not have to deal with. The truth is we will have to deal with these issues either now while there is still time for us to align ourselves with the will of God or when it is too late and we experience the displeasure of the Lord. If there is one theme the Lord seems to be reiterating again and again through these writings it is that He is calling out a people for His Name, a people He wants to have relationship with and bring out of the common into the Most Holy Place. He is calling us higher into Him. The Lord is a consuming fire and as He draws us into His bosom and into His heart that fire is going to become hotter and hotter to our flesh till it consumes it more and more. Will we welcome his embrace which means we will buy the gold of His nature tried in the fire and we will put on the white raiment and clothing of His righteousness? Will we anoint our eyes with the salve of His Truth so that we might see by the Spirit and no longer by the flesh? Will we receive the rebuke, the correction and chastening of the Lord that brings us to repentance because we have quit holding God at a distance, surrendered our whole heart and said, “Yes Lord, I want all of you no matter what the cost.” Some of us need to make that commitment today in our lives. Perhaps we had in the past, but have found ourselves again compromised with the world. It was to the Church that Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Jesus is calling out for us to come back into right relationship with Him, to sup with Him, to “eat of His flesh and drink of His blood” so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. We can never give up anything in this life that the Lord requires of us but what it will result in so much more in Christ. Instead of holding God at a distance open your arms and embrace Him with a full commitment of your love and devotion. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelations 3:21-22).”

Blessings,
kent

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