Gifted to Give

October 13, 2015

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

Gifted to Give

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

Blessings,
#kent

Entering into His Rest

September 18, 2015

Hebrews 4: 1-11
1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
Entering into His Rest

The Word teaches us that when God lead the people of Israel out of Egypt they wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they tested, quarreled and doubted the Lord even after all that He had done and shown them. What’s more, Hebrews 4 tells us that even after Joshua led the people through the river Jordan and into the Promise Land they still never truly entered into the Sabbath rest even though they had instituted the Sabbath.
The Sabbath first came into being after God had brought forth creation in six days and it says in Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” It is God’s desire that we now enter into the rest of the Lord. We are told that those who went before us didn’t enter into this rest because of disobedience. That Sabbath rest is a holy place and it is not found in the realm of natural doing and thinking. It is entered into not by the will of the flesh or the will of a man but by the Spirit through faith. We must first believe that He is. We must receive that He is the completion of all things in our lives and in our spiritual transformation. Many of us are still striving within our means and abilities to please God and curry His favor. His favor is already ours in Christ. Christ is the Holy rest that we are to enter into. He has finished the work. He has imparted His righteousness and salvation to us, now it is ours to rest in it. If we are still working to earn His favor, if are still living under condemnation and sin, if we still think that somehow we must get good enough for Him to receive us then we have missed the rest of God. The rest of God, His holy Sabbath, is when we cease and He begins. The rest of God is the relinquishment of our self and our self-efforts. It is that place where God is our all in all. We walk by faith and not by sight. We see our world through the promises and the heart of the Father. Our obedience and submission is to walk in the light of that Truth.
We will be challenged and tested even as Israel of old was, but will we murmur and complain? Will we rebel and be dissuaded from Him by our natural circumstances? Will we forget our covenant with Him, stray from Him and enter back into that place He died to deliver us out of? If disobedience causes us to fall away from the rest then it only seems logical that trust and obedience are the attributes that lead us into that rest.
We are called not to make the same mistakes as our predecessors. God has again led us into the Promise Land of Christ Jesus so that we might enter into His rest, ceasing from our efforts as we embrace all that He is and all that He has already done. As we enter into that rest the Holy Spirit will be at work in us discerning and showing us our true hearts and motives. He doesn’t do this to condemn us, but to show us the obstacles that are standing in the way of our rest. As we are willing to relinquish these things to Him then His rest will continue to fill our lives. We have a High Priest in Christ who has walked before us and experienced our weaknesses and our temptation. He is interceding on our behalf. Because we are now in Christ through our faith and trust in Him we can come boldly before the throne of grace and experience that rest that is now ours in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

The Peace that Passes Understanding

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

There is a place in the secret garden of God’s presence in us where we find of a refuge of His peace. It’s a peace that we find only when we have found that place of full confidence and rest in the Father and all that He says He is and all that He has provided for us. Philippians 4:3 exhorts us to “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” The joy of the Lord is what brings us into peace. The joy of the Lord is what dispels the dark clouds of doubt, fear and unbelief. The joy of the Lord is what instills in us confidence, assurance and yes, “peace”. When the enemy, or circumstances, or other people can rob our peace, then they can defeat our faith. Faith stands strong in the midst of peace. Our peace is often quickly shattered because it is vulnerable to conditions and emotions that surround us. Our peace can quickly turn to insecurity, doubt and fear, but not God’s peace.
A great example of this personal peace and God’s peace is seen in Jesus as He wages that great spiritual battle within for God’s comfort and peace. We see the tremendous anguish of soul that beset Jesus as He is faced with the greatest, most terrible and horrifying task ever required of an individual. He is staring in the face of insurmountable suffering, pain and anguish physically. But beyond that suffering He is looking at the darkness of becoming sin and bearing the sin for every inhabitant of the human race, all of this from Him who knew no sin. Worst of all, He is looking at a period where the Father Himself must turn away and separate His presence. I doubt that few of us could even begin to imagine or grasp the tremendous weight and burden that was upon the Lord at that time. It is no wonder that He sweat great drops of blood as He struggled with what He was facing. Everything in His mortal man must have been crying out, “NO, Anything but this.” Yet He was not a man given to the outward man and the dictates of His own will, He was and ever would be completely and totally sold out to the will and purpose of the Father. Through that spiritual battle that took place there in the garden where Jesus went to pray, Jesus found that peace that passes all understanding. It was that peace, that complete rest in Father’s will and purpose that enabled Him to face and go the way of the cross when everything within His natural man wanted to turn away. That is the kind of Peace that I believe Jesus left us when He told His disciples in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” There is a peace that Christ has left us in this world. It is a legacy of His salvation and impartation of His great love. It is a peace unlike the world’s peace that is fleeting and temporal. It is a peace that cements us to the heart of God and the assurance that His presence abides with us always. It is the assurance and comfort that Romans 8:31-39 speaks to us, “31What can we say about all these things? Since God is for us, who can be against us?
32God did not keep His own Son for Himself but gave Him for us all. Then with His Son, will He not give us all things?
33Who can say anything against the people God has chosen? It is God Who says they are right with Himself.
34Who then can say we are guilty? It was Christ Jesus Who died. He was raised from the dead. He is on the right side of God praying to Him for us.
35Who can keep us away from the love of Christ? Can trouble or problems? Can suffering wrong from others or no food? Can it be because of no clothes or because of danger or war?
36The Holy Writings say, ‘Because of belonging to Jesus, we are in danger of being killed all day long. We are thought of as sheep that are ready to be killed.’ (Psalm 44:22)
37But we have power over all these things through Jesus Who loves us so much.
38For I know that nothing can keep us from the love of God. Death cannot! Life cannot! Angels cannot! Leaders cannot! Any other power cannot! Hard things now or in the future cannot!
39The world above or the world below cannot! Any other living thing cannot keep us away from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.
We have the peace that our lives are hid in Him and nothing in heaven or earth can rob that from us who believe in Him. Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Some of you are there in that garden today, like Jesus, struggling with tremendous tribulation and trials. The Father wants you to find this place of peace that passes all understanding where you will find your rest in Him. You can rejoice, even in the midst of the fire, because your heart has the assurance that Jesus Christ is the Lord of your situation. It doesn’t matter if you understand how; it only matters that “HE IS”. Your life is hid in Him and whether in life or death He is the peace that passes understanding.

Blessings,
#kent

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