Weapons of Our Warfare

January 3, 2014

 

Weapons of Our Warfare


1 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.



How many of us are still trying to combat and fight flesh with flesh.  Is just a positive mental attitude, or using a right formula or trying to be good enough or religious enough going to win our battles over our flesh?  What we are experiencing in our lives is frustration, defeat and condemnation.  We want to do right, but we are still experiencing that law of sin working on our flesh. Our flesh and even soul are not very good at overcoming the weaknesses in themselves.  The Word says that the weapons that God has provided for us are mighty to the tearing down of strongholds.  There are many of us that haven’t experienced a lot of victory in tearing down these strongholds.  We continue to allow these stronghold to be a part of our thinking, behavior and being.  We are still identifying with them and in so doing we continue to give them life and power over us.  Our greatest weapons are not our earthly thinking.  That is the source of our greatest defeat.  We think as the world thinks and not as the Spirit of God thinks.  When the Word exhorts us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, it is telling us to put on the mind of Christ and renew our thinking according to the Word and not according to our natural reasoning.   It is telling us to put our identification on who we are in Christ and not on whom we have been in the flesh.

The first place we must come too is a place of total surrender to the Lord and the Holy Spirit that indwells us.  We are like a country taken over by the Lord, but the flesh still maintains its pockets of resistance, it’s guerilla fighters that provide avenues for the flesh to have access and regain position and power.  Most of us don’t want to admit to these, but they’re there.  We know they are there because we are struggling with these fleshly strongholds in areas of our lives.  Romans 12 starts out by telling us the first position we need to take, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. “ The first thing we need to do is offer our lives a living sacrifice which means that we are willing to lay the flesh upon the altar and allow it to be consumed.  It means that we are turning our mind and thinking from a worldview to a kingdom view.  Our thinking, goals and attitudes are no longer geared towards this earth; they are geared towards heaven and the spiritual calling we have in Christ Jesus.  Here, in this earth, we have no abiding place, but our eyes must be set upon the city whose builder and maker is God.  It is in this mindset that we begin to fashion our lives and our thinking after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh.  As we begin to walk in the Spirit then all that flows through our senses begins to flow through Him.  He is the Discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  If we are sensitizing ourselves to Him then He begins to put His finger on the wrong motives, thoughts and attitudes that are working in our lives.  If we indeed want the weapons of the Spirit to operate in our lives, we must first be in agreement and submission to the Holy Spirit.  While the Holy Spirit indwells us to help us in living a godly life, He by no means usurps our will to decide and choose to whom we obey and to whom we give our mind and our flesh over too.  If we want to choose the fleshly things, then the Holy Spirit will back off.  We may still have a conviction that what we are doing isn’t right, but if we desensitize ourselves to the Holy Spirit through following after our self-will then we will be less and less sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  When God says draw near to Me and I will draw near to you, He is saying as you become more sensitive and obedient to Me then you will begin to sense more of My presence and dealings in your life.  The thing we learn about walking in the Spirit is that it is a continual conscious act to live in that place.  When we walk after the Spirit long enough it may become more natural to us, but our spirit man must always be a guarded city.  As soon as our defenses go down the enemy is ready to come in.  

Indeed the weapons of our warfare are mighty, but they do demand diligence and full surrender of our hearts and minds to Christ.  Our over coming is by allowing the Holy Spirit to over come every thought and temptation that is contrary to the will of God.  We will no doubt loose some battles along the way, but that must not discourage or detour us from our mission of being conformed to the image and likeness of Christ.  In this life, the warfare is continual and ongoing, but we do have the weapons to defeat our foe.  We must indeed to do as Ephesians 6 exhorts us too and put on the whole armor of God that we might stand against the whiles and schemes of the devil.  It is up to us to appropriate our spiritual weapons and armor through fully and unceasingly yielding ourselves as living sacrifices in obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit.

 

Blessings,

kent

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Enter In, the Third Dimension, Part 2


Hebrews 9:16-22

This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

This scripture is pregnant with promise and while we as Christians enjoy a greater degree of intimacy and closeness in our relationship with our God, yet there is still an itch in our spirit that cries out to be scratched.  We experience our God’s glory and presence in a measure, but we know that there is so much more we have yet to experience.  In those moments in our walk with our God, when we taste of a deeper revelation and experience of His holy presence, when His Spirit comes over us and we are undone in ourselves and yet sense the fullness of joy and completeness that only His presence can bring, our spirits cry out, “Abba, Father, we want more of you”.  Inwardly we groan and travail because we know that still we haven’t experienced and aren’t walking in the fullness of what He has created us for.  

It is a principle of God that many times God gives us a promise that we lay hold of and enter into by faith, but we don’t always experience the full manifestation until its fullness of time. Abraham had the promises of God, but saw only a small portion of them fulfilled in his lifetime.  God has given us principles here and in the Old Testament examples for entering into the Holy of Holies.  

First, we know that there is no entrance without the blood of Christ applied to our hearts by faith.  Secondly we see that Christ Jesus was not only the sacrifice, but also the high priest and it was only the high priest that could enter into the presence of Almighty God.  In the Old Testament the high priest wore what was called an ephod or breastplate set with two onyx stones. These stones represented the twelve tribes of Israel (Exodus 28:12).  When the high priest entered into the Holiest of All, all of the tribes and all of the peoples were represented there in that ephod.  We could have no entrance before the presence of God in ourselves, but as believers, by faith, we are in Christ.  The identification of who we are is no longer seen in that former sinful man we were, but in the Christ man that we are, one in Him.  When we come before the Father in faith He no longer sees sinful, corrupt flesh, He sees the righteousness of His Son because we are in Him and covered by His blood.  This is what gives us that boldness to approach His throne.  We don’t come before the Lord with defilement.  The Word says here, “ Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”   We have touched on our ‘approaching in full assurance of faith’, meaning without doubt or wavering.  It says that our hearts should be sprinkled from an evil conscience.  We need to deal with heart issues that aren’t right with the Lord whether that be unforgiveness or sin we are still harboring in our hearts.  These issues need to be dealt with and put under the blood of Jesus.  Otherwise there is a defilement that brings separation.  Our bodies are to be washed with pure water.  It is Spirit and Truth, the washing of the water of the Word, quickened and revealed by the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:24, “ God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.”  It is not about where we worship that matters, it is about how we worship that matters to God.  

Lastly let us discuss this area of worship because it is the atmosphere that God lives in continually.  In heaven around His throne we see the picture that there are multitudes of heavenly hosts of angles and the redeemed of the Lord singing and worshipping their God continually without ceasing.  This is the atmosphere that we need to cultivate within our spirit.  There was a piece of furniture that stood at the entrance of the Holy of Holies.  It was the altar of incense.  The priest would burn sweet smelling incense and wave the smoke of it before the Lord.  This is our praise. Our worship and praise is foundational to our entering into the Lord’s presence.  Praise is used in some 216 verses, so the Holy Spirit is telling us this is a key not to be overlooked in approaching the throne of God.  Psalms 22:3 says, “But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”  If we want to enter in and experience the presence of the Holy One we need to worship in Spirit and in Truth.  We need to create the atmosphere of praise and worship that invites His presence into our midst.  We will experience more of the presence of God in this atmosphere than anything else we can do.  

The body the Lord has given us is His tabernacle.  We have a body, outer court, a soul, holy place, and a spirit, which is our Holy of Holies.  What part of your being are you living out of?

Ours is a progressive walk in the Spirit as we seek to grow up into Christ in all things.  By faith and the blood of Jesus we go through each entrance into a deeper level and experience with God.  We have only touched on a vast subject as we briefly looked at each entrance into the greater depth and dimensions of God.  In conclusion, let us share the vision that Paul had as He pursued the fullness of God for his life in Philippians 3:8-16, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” 

 
Blessings,
kent

Life is for the Living

December 12, 2013

 

Life is for the Living


Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.



The question is which life are we living?  Few of us have truly entered into the dimension and fullness of a crucified life.  At best, most of us are living in a place where there is a mixture of flesh and spirit.  Most of us believe in Christ, but we are still trying to meld it with the natural man.  Most of us spend a lifetime in the battle between flesh and spirit within our own selves.  

Our life is for living but lived for selfish gain and motive is robbing us of true life.  There is a dimension of life in God that we catch glimpses of through the fog of our understanding and revelation, but it eludes us.  Most of us are willing to settle in the outer court of salvation, but there are some in which a hunger and fire burns to live, to press into the Life that presides in the MOST HOLY PLACE.  No longer do they desire to live after the flesh, but the old identity they had in Adam is regarded as dead as they set their eyes and heart to obtain and lay hold of that which they have been called out for.  Many of us catch glimpses of this truth, but then the cares of life quickly obscure it from our spiritual vision.  

The truth and life that is contained in the scripture can totally transform and change your life.  For us to truly lay hold of it and live it out daily by faith and the power of the Christ within us, is to truly enter into and come up to a different place, where we are living under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.  It is the living in this law that will set us free from the law of sin and death.  We have the promise and the calling, but not very many of us are walking and living in this dimension of life.  Yet this scripture is our calling and it is our destiny.  We all want to cling so much to the material world.  It is our natural sense of security, control and for most of us our reality.  

Galatians 3:12 tells us,  “The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.””  Many of us, like those of Galatia, are still trying to accomplish by natural means that which Christ alone can provide for us.  We are still living under the principles of the law and works to please God and appease our conscience.  Galatians 3:10 has just told us,” All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Christ has died to bring us out of the curse and into a higher law and dimension of life.  It is a life not lived out of rules, regulations, traditions and religious dictates of righteousness.  It is life of the Spirit, lived moment by moment in the Spirit and by the power of the Spirit.  It is life in which the law is no longer written on tables of stone, but upon the tables of our hearts.  Our heart is not just about doing, but it is  in being and our doing comes out of our being rather than the other way around.  We do the works of God, because we are God’s and His Spirit rules in our hearts.  

In this place where our Adam no longer lives, we come into the presence of Faith, Hope and Love.  They will no longer be elusive ideas, but our dear and near companions.  In this place we truly live and move and have our being in Him.   Here we enter into a place of intimacy and communion with God that we cannot know in the natural man.  Here is where we learn and know what it is be one with Christ and have our identification one with His, where we no longer perceive ourselves as separate from Christ, but now we are an intimate part of Him and He is becoming all in us.  

Those who grasp the truth of Galatians 2:20 know that true life and living is found through a death and dying.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “ …I die daily”.  Paul readily admits that if Christ is not true and if there is no resurrection then he has suffered a lot of misery in vain, because he is not living for the benefit of his natural man and he has literally paid the price.  He has a revelation and vision that is greater than anything this world can hold for Him.  He is pressing into that divine life and nature and he wants to take as many as will come, with him.  

What is your vision for life today?  What dimension of life are we living in?  Life is for the living, but how will you live it and under which law will choose to live; the law of sin and death or the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus?

 

blessings,

kent

Investment

November 20, 2013

Investment

John 3:16

For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever would believe on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Our Mighty Heavenly Father invested in humanity the most precious gift He could give, His Son. Likewise, the Son willingly invested His life into humanity to the point of an excruciating and most painful death as He was beaten and bruised for our transgressions and His pure, spotless blood was shed even for the ugliest of our sins. God has quite an investment in this little planet called earth and the peoples that have inhabited it, past, present and future. Why has God invested in us so much? What has kept Him from becoming utterly exasperated with our sin and rebellion that He hasn’t obliterated the human race and started over? Could it be something we call love and relationship? Why do we get married, have children and invest our entire lifetime into raising a family? Isn’t it because of love and relationship? Our God, by nature is a “Father”. He has a Son that needed a bride, the church. That bride, by His seed, produces spiritual children. Those children comprise the family of God. Is there anything you wouldn’t invest in your family and children? Jesus laid down His life. As He hung there on the cross and his side was pierced, out flowed the issue of blood and water, the birthing fluids of the church. Our Lord and Father has invested Himself in us in awesome humility considering all that God is. Our God has given to us a privilege that is so wonderfully great we can barely comprehend and appreciate it. HE HAS INVESTED AND DEPOSITED HIS VERY LIFE INTO US! And it is all about love and relationship. He so loved us that He desired to bring us into relationship with Himself. Our God is a Spiritual Being who has created earthen vessels in which He has breathed into them His Spirit. The thing that sets us so far apart from every other creature is that we have eternal, God breathed life within us. This outward body may go back to the dust it came out of, but that inward spirit lives on. If God has sealed us to Himself by joining His Holy Spirit to ours, as we have responded in faith to Jesus and the promises of His Word, then what He is working in us is Spiritual Life that is fashioned in the image of who He is, His nature and character. Brethren, we are a natural people that have been birthed of the Spirit, brought into divine relationship with our Lord and Husband, Christ Jesus and made joint heirs with Christ. Romans 8:17 says, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.” Joint-heirs mean everything that belongs to Christ now belongs to you and I, but we can’t ignore the conditions of this inheritance. When we partake of the Passover Lamb, which is the type of Christ, the children of Israel had to eat all of it, the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet. Part of our inheritance in Christ is the identification with His suffering. Jesus paid a great price in His suffering for us. While we like to focus on all of the blessings of our inheritance, there is also the side of suffering. As His children, we also may pay a great price as He calls us to identify with Him in suffering. Many who answer the call of God come to know this reality when they commit their lives, their possessions, and their families to the Kingdom of God. We also, are called to make our investment back into God as He made His investment into us. We are called to relinquish our will, our lives and all that we possess to His service. Paul says of this investment in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” We also must invest into God all that we are. That may come at a great price, but it can’t begin to exceed the eternal weight of glory that we shall possess. We are invested for the same reason as our Heavenly Father invested into us, for love and relationship. As we have come to know that love and relationship with God, so we become the perpetuators of this good news. While it is embraced of some, it will be despised by many. Even Jesus tells us in John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.” Evil hates good and darkness despises the light. What then are the purpose and the end of this investment God has made in us and has called us to make in Him?

Paul continues in Romans 8:19-23, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.” What does that mean? It means that ultimately God has determined that it is through His sons, his divinely appointed children that He will liberate not only us from these corruptible bodies, but creation itself will be set free. The bondage of corruption, death, sin and sickness will be loosed and creation itself will be brought into the glorious liberty that we as the children of God have come into. Our Father will allow us to be the administrators of this great and fantastic restoration. So even if our investment into the Kingdom of God cost us everything in this life, it pales in comparison to the benefits and dividends of its return. We are God’s inheritance and He is ours.

Blessings,

kent

The Groan Within

July 8, 2013

The Groan Within

Romans 8:18-24
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

As much as we can love the Lord and desire to be filled with the fullness and glory of His divine life we find that as long as we are still of this earth we are still tethered to our body of flesh. It is this body of flesh that poses our limitations; it is the dust to which we are bound and upon which the serpent feeds. This flesh is ever demanding our attention and our care as it provides the earthly housing for our spirit man. Yet it is the spirit man within us, redeemed and conformed to the image of Christ, that so groans to be set free from the limitations, the hindrances, the weakness, the sin and the failures that the flesh prompts and facilitates. Every day must be a recommitment to crucify this flesh, hold fast our faith in Christ and walk in a manner that glorifies Him. Yet every day it seems the enemy is at work in our lives to undermine, to seek some avenue of darkness that he might exploit in us. Everyday it is necessary to set ourselves in array with our spiritual armor to combat our spiritual foe. The battle is waged not so much without as it is waged within. We battle our thoughts that are impure or out of alignment with the Word of God. We war with our passions and our impulses to act out of our flesh rather than our spirit. We war with the individual weaknesses that are characteristic and inherent within us. “Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of sin and death (Romans 7:24)?” Isn’t that our groan and cry to the Lord? We often hate what we are still manifesting in our flesh, but we seem so powerless to gain the victory and righteousness that we so desire to see. It is this reality that we continually face that causes us to know that we are the products of God’s grace and mercy alone and through no righteousness of our own. It is His righteousness and life with which we now relate and identify. The answer to our cry and groan for the deliverance from this body of death is still “Jesus Christ”.
We groan to see that full deliverance from the influence and power of our body of sin, but God in His infinite wisdom has chosen that even in salvation that we must walk in faith and trust for the in-working of righteousness and deliverance in us. God has structured it in such a way that it is only in a holy and sustained union with Him and identification with who we now are in Christ that we walk each day in faith, working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Our day to day victories are only accomplished as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that has set me free from the law of sin and death. There are two laws operational in your life today. Whichever law you make the choice to serve that is whose servant you are. We know that, in ourselves, in this flesh, dwells no good thing. We know that the heart is deceitfully wicked and who can know it? This is why we need an ally to prevail over this body of sin.
Romans 8:12-13 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” The key to a victorious life in Christ is living and walking in the Spirit and by the power of the Spirit putting to death the passion and misdeeds of the flesh.
It is not often an easy walk. Sometimes we grow weary or complacent. Sometime we allow the moldy corruption of our sinful desires to have place under a cloak of righteousness, but eventually the stink of our misdeeds will be revealed. Yes, we are often weak and we can all stumble. We need to pray for one another. We need the ability to be transparent with one another without judgement so that we can minister grace and encouragement to each other. We are the body and with the life of Christ within each of us we must minister and function to the good and health of the whole. As we hold fast our faith and hope, one-day that groan will be turned to the shout of victory, as we will triumph fully in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

Hebrews 4:14-16
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Jesus Understands Your Humanity

The wonderful thing about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is that He doesn’t ask of us what He hasn’t been willing to walk out Himself as a man. He emptied Himself of glory so that might experience and walk in the weaknesses and the infirmities of our flesh. He knows what pain feels like. He knows what it is to have passions and longings for another person. He knows what it is to be rejected, ridiculed and be mocked. He knows what it feels like to be tempted and feel the urgings of the natural man. In every area Jesus was tried and tested so that He might thoroughly understand and identify with our infirmities and weaknesses.
Now that He has come back into His glory, who could be a better high priest to represent us before the Father. He who was tempted in every way and yet without sin. He knows perfectly both the God side and the human side of every thing that we face. Jesus doesn’t justify or condone our sin because we have been weak or have failed, but He does understand and sympathize with the struggles that we deal with. He stands as our high priest, not to condemn, but to reconcile us to the Father and His righteousness. His own righteous blood is what prevails as our righteousness when we confess our sin and turn our hearts toward Him. We have confidence before God because we are in Christ and His blood is reckoned unto as righteousness. Just as He once came to identify with us in our weakness, now He is bringing us to identify with Him in His strength, so that by that strength we might overcome and prevail.
Are you struggling in areas of your life today? Are you struggling with your trials, your temptations, your relationships or your own worth? Perhaps you’re dealing with strong feelings of condemnation and unworthiness because of the failures in your life. Jesus isn’t seeing you as a failure. His heart is tender toward you and His arms are open for you. The enemy uses our sin and shortcomings to convince us that God could never love us or accept us the way that we are, but that is the lie of the enemy. Jesus says, “ Come to me all of your who weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Jesus is the merciful and compassionate One. He will give you grace and help you in your time of need, but you have to invite Him in. You have to open the door of your heart and come to Him just as you are. He is that master physician who is able to heal the wounded and broken hearted. He is the great psychiatrist who is able to minister to the mental torments and anguish you experience. It is by faith in who this Jesus is that you invite Him in and relinquish to Him your every struggle, failure, heartache, torment and sin. He is able to bring you rest and peace like none other and He is able to restore unto you the boldness to approach the throne of His grace with confidence and assurance. He is our great high priest and He loves us even where we are. His desire is to restore us to wholeness and righteousness in Him, so that we may know this ministry of His priesthood whereby we can have compassion and mercy on others as we lead them to Christ so that they may find mercy and grace in their time of need.

Blessings,
kent

Investment

April 16, 2013

Investment

John 3:16
For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever would believe on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Our Mighty Heavenly Father invested in humanity the most precious gift He could give, His Son. Likewise, the Son willingly invested His life into humanity to the point of an excruciating and most painful death as He was beaten and bruised for our transgressions and His pure, spotless blood was shed even for the ugliest of our sins. God has quite an investment in this little planet called earth and the peoples that have inhabited it, past, present and future. Why has God invested in us so much? What has kept Him from becoming utterly exasperated with our sin and rebellion that He hasn’t obliterated the human race and started over? Could it be something we call love and relationship? Why do we get married, have children and invest our entire lifetime into raising a family? Isn’t it because of love and relationship? Our God, by nature is a “Father”. He has a Son that needed a bride, the church. That bride, by His seed, produces spiritual children. Those children comprise the family of God. Is there anything you wouldn’t invest in your family and children? Jesus laid down His life. As He hung there on the cross and his side was pierced, out flowed the issue of blood and water, the birthing fluids of the church. Our Lord and Father has invested Himself in us in awesome humility considering all that God is. Our God has given to us a privilege that is so wonderfully great we can barely comprehend and appreciate it. HE HAS INVESTED AND DEPOSITED HIS VERY LIFE INTO US! And it is all about love and relationship. He so loved us that He desired to bring us into relationship with Himself. Our God is a Spiritual Being who has created earthen vessels in which He has breathed into them His Spirit. The thing that sets us so far apart from every other creature is that we have eternal, God breathed life within us. This outward body may go back to the dust it came out of, but that inward spirit lives on. If God has sealed us to Himself by joining His Holy Spirit to ours, as we have responded in faith to Jesus and the promises of His Word, then what He is working in us is Spiritual Life that is fashioned in the image of who He is, His nature and character. Brethren, we are a natural people that have been birthed of the Spirit, brought into divine relationship with our Lord and Husband, Christ Jesus and made joint heirs with Christ. Romans 8:17 says, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.” Joint-heirs mean everything that belongs to Christ now belongs to you and I, but we can’t ignore the conditions of this inheritance. When we partake of the Passover Lamb, which is the type of Christ, the children of Israel had to eat all of it, the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet. Part of our inheritance in Christ is the identification with His suffering. Jesus paid a great price in His suffering for us. While we like to focus on all of the blessings of our inheritance, there is also the side of suffering. As His children, we also may pay a great price as He calls us to identify with Him in suffering. Many who answer the call of God come to know this reality when they commit their lives, their possessions, and their families to the Kingdom of God. We also, are called to make our investment back into God as He made His investment into us. We are called to relinquish our will, our lives and all that we possess to His service. Paul says of this investment in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” We also must invest into God all that we are. That may come at a great price, but it can’t begin to exceed the eternal weight of glory that we shall possess. We are invested for the same reason as our Heavenly Father invested into us, for love and relationship. As we have come to know that love and relationship with God, so we become the perpetuators of this good news. While it is embraced of some, it will be despised by many. Even Jesus tells us in John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.” Evil hates good and darkness despises the light. What then are the purpose and the end of this investment God has made in us and has called us to make in Him?
Paul continues in Romans 8:19-23, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.” What does that mean? It means that ultimately God has determined that it is through His sons, his divinely appointed children that He will liberate not only us from these corruptible bodies, but creation itself will be set free. The bondage of corruption, death, sin and sickness will be loosed and creation itself will be brought into the glorious liberty that we as the children of God have come into. Our Father will allow us to be the administrators of this great and fantastic restoration. So even if our investment into the Kingdom of God cost us everything in this life, it pales in comparison to the benefits and dividends of its return. We are God’s inheritance and He is ours.

Blessings,
kent

A Stand Alone Nation

October 26, 2012

A Stand Alone Nation

Numbers 23:9
For from the top of the rocks I see Israel, and from the hills I behold him. Behold, the people [of Israel] shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned and esteemed among the nations.

God’s people are a set apart nation and people. It is His desire and commission that we be like no other nation in the earth. 1 Peter 2:9-17 explains our commission and calling this ways, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people [at all], but now you are God’s people; once you were unpitied, but now you are pitied and have received mercy. 11Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul. 12Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection [ when God shall look upon you wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock]. 13Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14Or to governors as sent by him to bring vengeance (punishment, justice) to those who do wrong and to encourage those who do good service. 15For it is God’s will and intention that by doing right [your good and honest lives] should silence (muzzle, gag) the ignorant charges and ill-informed criticisms of foolish persons.
16[Live] as free people, [yet] without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness; but [live at all times] as servants of God. 17Show respect for all men [treat them honorably]. Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head). Reverence God. Honor the emperor.”
This speaks strongly to us of God’s calling and His desired conduct for our lives. We are not like other people and we are not called to be like other people. We are a called out people, a separated people and a holy nation. Not only has God called us out of the world, but also He has called us out of the world that still exist in us. We exist for His glory, honor and praise. Our identification with sin weakens us and corrupts us. The Lord has called us that our lights might so shine before men that, though they would desire to curse us, they can’t help but bless us, because we are the blessed and the redeemed of the Lord. Our earthly lives are short and our purpose and calling are short-lived upon the earth. Let us hear the calling and the voice of the Lord, “Come out from among the rocks and stand in the mountain, in My holy place, Mount Zion. I have placed you as a mountain before the peoples of the earth that they should come unto this mountain to worship Me. They will come to the knowledge of the Lord as you stand as priests upon my holy hill. Come out and be separate for I have called you to come out from the rocks that you might stand as the mountain of the Lord.”

Blessings,
kent

Living in a Higher Law

October 15, 2012

Romans 7:21-25
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Living in a Higher Law

This passage in Romans 7 is sometimes confusing and controversial. It is one that we can relate with because we struggled with the law that operates out of the sin nature. Paul speaks of the law that in my mind or inner man delights in God, but then he speaks of another law that wages war with this higher law that is in Christ.
Quite honestly, we have all dealt with these inner conflicts and most of us still do. What we find, is that in ourselves, we may always seem to be losing the battle even though our inner man desires the higher way.
Paul expresses here the frustration that we feel in our being, “Wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
Then answers by saying, “Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
It is really essential that we read Romans 7 in conjunction with Romans 8 if we really want to see and understand the problem and the solution.
The problem is that, we, operating out of the law of sin and the law written against sin, will never overcome it. Our only solution to rising above self and our propensity to sin is coming into the higher law that Christ has established for us through the cross.
Paul is ending chapter 7 by making the proclamation that our only solution is Christ Jesus, our Lord. Lord means that self and sin no longer have the dominion. That lordship, dominion, headship, rulership has been given over to Christ.
Now Romans 8 begins by enlightening us to the higher law that we are now to be living out of that has set us free from the law of sin and death. It is a law where sin has no dominion, place or power to condemn. It is place of no shame, no blame and no embarrassment, because it is the law of Christ’s righteousness that now abides, lives and should hold lordship in our being.
Romans 8 starts out by declaring the two laws that work in us. ” Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”
Do we want to be free from sin and have the righteous requirements of the law met in us? Then we have to live in a different place than we did before; not geographically, but spiritually. We know that the same laws that govern us on earth are different once we enter into outer space. When we are still on earth and in its atmosphere, we are subject to the law of gravity. It is always pulling us back to the earth. It is like the power of sin that was always pulling us back from righteousness. Christ broke the bounds and bondage of earth and set us free from the gravity of sin. He brought us up into a higher law. The law of life in Christ Jesus. The law that is not subject to sin and death.
What is required for us to experience this higher law of living?
We have to live in a different place by faith. The natural man we reckoned dead with Jesus on the cross. It was crucified there with Him and in Him and buried in the earth. That former man we used to identify with ourselves, is no longer. He’s dead.
If we become identified with Christ in His death and burial we have also become identified with Him in His resurrection and ascension. We have been raised up a new creation, new creatures in Christ, no longer identified with the old self man that was subject to the law of sin and death and lived in the condemnation of it. Now we have been set free to live in the dimension of Spirit. Our location has changed. Ephesians 2:4-6 says, ” 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…” We are heavenly kids, living out of a heavenly realm because we walk by the Spirit of God and no longer after the dependency and reliance upon the flesh. Outwardly, nothing may look different, but inwardly we have just gone to whole other dimension and place. Romans 8 is teaching us that out of this place we have victory over sin and death, because “by the Spirit” we put to death the deeds and the motions of sin that still want to operate in the body. As we abide in that place of Spirit we operate out of that higher law of Christ.
The enemy is always trying to rob that reality and truth from us. He is always working to steal back the identity you have in Christ Jesus. This is why it is imperative that you live each day in the Spirit, with your eyes fixed upon Jesus. Always look into the likeness of what you are becoming, not what you came from. We can’t look back. We can only look forward, pressing into Him who is our life, our liberty and freedom from sin and death.

Blessings,
kent

Transformed

September 24, 2012

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Transformed

The caterpillar is an earthen creature that eats, devours and destroys that it might live. It is fully consumed with self. Then a transformation comes about, a metamorphosis where an old nature dies that a new might live. Through this transformation of nature a butterfly emerges a new creature with a transformed nature that lives in heavenly places and lands upon the earth carrying life from one flower to the next. Its new nature is a life giver and the heavenly implications it can have on earth can impact nations with its butterfly effect. Such is a life transformed through power of Christ. God is calling us up higher into what He created us to be, not what we’ve been.
In Christ we have come into an exchange of natures and beings. While we may not look so different on the outside, we are a new creation within. Our appetites should be different, our desires, our vision, our goals, our life has just turned a corner at the cross of Jesus and we aren’t headed the same direction any more.
Sure life goes on and natural demands remain relatively the same, but how we look at them and how we approach life doesn’t. When we have fallen upon the Rock of Christ, old desires, old ways. that old nature is crushed. We are emerging into heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Our position has changed, our outlook has changed and our appetites are no longer to devour and satisfy the old self. It died with Christ on the cross at Calvary as we reckon it dead unto Him. It was buried with Him in that tomb and there, a transformation took place, that when He rose, we rose in newness of life; a new creation in Christ Jesus. When Jesus became sin for us, our sin, our old unregenerate self, our degenerated nature was nailed there with Him. We have become and are still becoming so identified with Him that we become partakers with Him through His suffering, death, burial and resurrection and now Ephesians 2:1-10 says, ” As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But 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.” We were selfish caterpillars that have been transformed through Christ into life giving butterflies that are no longer earthbound in thought or deed, but are heavenward in nature and being.
Does the butterfly any longer want to go and chew the leaves of your tomato plant? No!!
His appetites have changed. Now he transfers pollen from one plant and flower to the next. He has become an instrument of life and not death. He lives to disperse and propagate life, no longer to devour it. It has been transformed, metamorphosed and everything about its nature is different than before. That is us in Christ.
Our lives are no longer unto ourselves, they are spiritual sacrifices lived and poured out unto Him who gave His holy unblemished life for us; that we may be well-pleasing unto Him. We live our lives as a worship unto Him. We don’t just worship Him with our mouths, but our heart, our heartbeat, our desires and our passion. What do we have to do with that former caterpillar state? That is no longer who we are or what we are about. We have been transformed into the sons and daughters of ALL MIGHTY GOD, OUR FATHER. Glory to God! We are now desiring to bring other caterpillars into this transforming experience so that they also may experience and participate in their heavenly estate.
It is a transformation that we can’t do or make happen in ourselves. ‘By grace are you saved through faith, it is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God lest anyone should boast. ‘ While we can’t make it happen, we know it happened because Father had a purpose in those He has separated out into Himself. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Those good works are not self works, they are the works that flow out of a life that is living in the Spirit of Christ. Those works are perpetuated and perfected as each day we come to Him anew, saying, “Father, here I am. Use me. I say yes to you. Use my life for Your glory and help me to live no longer unto who I am not, but live it into what I am in You. Let the world be different because I am in it and You are in me. Perfect me into your highest will, purpose and plan that I might the expression of Your grace into the lives of others. Thank you Father, be glorified through me even as You were through Your Son. Amen.”

Blessings,
kent

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