Instructions for Life

September 11, 2015

Proverbs 4:13
Take fast hold of instruction; let [her] not go: keep her; for she [is] thy life.

Instructions for Life

Every day is a classroom of instruction, learning and experience. Much like school when we were children, many of us still don’t pay very close attention. God has something to teach us every day if we are tuned into the Spirit and we have spiritual ears tuned to hear what He is speaking. As we grow to know God’s Word we are learning instruction in spiritual, as well as practical life. God gives us the principles to live full, productive and satisfying lives, but are we listening, are we paying attention and are we applying these life principles to our lives? Often we nod, say an amen and acknowledge them with our minds, but have they gotten down into our hearts?
Just like in school there is a time of listening, studying and learning; then there is a time of testing to find out what we really know and remember. It is our testing that really tells us where we are. God already knows where we are, but most of the time we really don’t. It isn’t till we are put to the test of faith in certain areas that we see if we really have learned to trust God and apply the principles that He has taught us or if we resort back to acting out of the natural man and that way of thinking.
Often we can be going through life filled with joy and being blessed and then suddenly wham!!!!!!!!! We are hit with a punch that knocks our breath out. Tragedy may strike, we are treated unfairly, we are fired, our spouse wants to divorce us, we are faced with a life threatening disease in ourselves or one that we love and life no longer makes sense. Any number of things may assault us at any given time. How will we cope with these calamities? This is where the rubber meets the road and theory meets reality. Can we now make application in our lives of the things that we have learned and have knowledge of or are we sitting there stunned, shaking our heads and asking, “why me, God?” God says that it rains on the just and the unjust. Whether we are in Christ or in the world, tragedy and calamities are a very real part of life in this body. The life, the power and the grace that takes us through these times are found in the instruction that God has given us. Fortunately, it is an open book test and if we are struggling to make sense of all that is going on with us we can go back to the instruction of God’s Word. There we can find the answers that will help us to gain the perspective and even the faith that we need to prevail in difficult times
Jesus assures us that we will have tribulation in this world, but to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). What does that mean to us? If our life is hid with Christ, in God as Colossians 3:3 says, then you also have overcome the world. The Overcomer dwells within you to help you walk where He has walked and prevail in victory where He has prevailed. Yes, we will have tribulation, but we are promised that we don’t have to face it alone. Christ is always there with us and the last part of Romans 8 assures us that there is no calamity or being or even death itself that can separate us from the love of God.
How do we pass the test? It is first in listening and learning the instruction of the Lord. Proverbs 6:3 says, “For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life.” God in His love shows us, teaches and corrects us. If we are wise we will receive His correction and we will grow wiser still. Proverbs 9:7-12 teaches us, “”Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. 8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you. 9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. 10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. 12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”
Learning and putting into practice our instruction is what is maturing us into the image of Him that is our teacher. It is God’s purpose and plan that we are like our Teacher and Master. If we will humble ourselves before Him, He will give us the instructions to a godly life and He will help us in the tests to practice the principles that He has taught us. Pay attention to His instruction and humbly receive His correction, ‘for whom the Lord loves He chastens’. Hebrews 12:7-13 leaves us with this exhortation, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Blessings,
#kent

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Keep to the Path

September 4, 2015

Proverbs 4:18
But the path of the just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Keep to the Path

There are many and diverse paths that we can take in life, but there is only one that we should be focused and sure to stay on. It is the path of the justified in Christ, the path of righteousness, the path that is leading each day into light that is shining more and more unto the perfect day. It is when we stray from this path that we begin to err from life. There are many exhortations from the Lord and many prayers from the saints to stay true to this path. Psalms 27:11 says, “Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. “ Psalms 119: 35 speaks, “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.” Psalms 119:105 continues saying, “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” These scriptures acknowledge the importance of learning and keeping to the path of the Lord. We see that it is the Word of God that is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path. It shows us the way and so we continually rehearse it and put it before us so that we might keep to the path.
The book of Proverbs, in teaching us its wisdom, instructs us in like manner. Proverbs 1:10-18 warns against following the pathway of sinners. “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. 11 If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for someone’s blood, let’s waylay some harmless soul; 12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13 we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; 14 throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse”- 15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16 for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood. 17 How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves!” It exhorts us to avoid the temptation of hanging around bad company where we can get caught up in the snares of the enemy and stray from the path of life. Proverbs 2:6-8 tells again how to find and maintain our walk in the path of righteousness, “For the LORD gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.” Proverbs 4:10-15 give us this advice, “Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. 14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” Finally we are left with this godly counsel in Proverbs 4:20-27, “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. 27 Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
It is imperative for us as the children of God to maintain diligence in holding to the path of the just. That requires that we maintain a vital relationship with the Lord in fellowship, prayer and in His Word. It means that we are always examining our ways to make sure we are not deviating from the path that Jesus walked before us.
There may be times when we find ourselves off of that path and out of the way then what do we do? In Isaiah 30:15-18 the Lord says this, “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” 18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” The Lord is waiting for you, repent and keep to the path.

Blessings,
#kent

The Rains are Coming!

August 26, 2015

Joel 2:21-24 (The Message translation)
Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things. Fear not, wild animals! The fields and meadows are greening up. The trees are bearing fruit again: a bumper crop of fig trees and vines! Children of Zion, celebrate! Be glad in your God. He’s giving you a teacher to train you how to live right—Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do. And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain, casks of wine and barrels of olive oil.

The Rains are Coming!

As I was asking the Lord about what to write this morning, I heard in my Spirit, “Tell my people the rains are coming.” He then reminded me of the rains spoken of in Joel 2:23. King James reads, “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” Just as the rains of heaven rejuvenate and give the life giving fluids to grow the crops, so the Spirit anointed teaching of God’s Word will come like rain to cause His people to come forth in spiritual fruitfulness. We have all set under much teaching and even good instruction, but this teaching and Word of God will be life changing and spirit transforming. It will come with the demonstration of such power and life that it will be a well of restoration, breakthrough and freedom. This rain comes after a time of great darkness upon the earth. It comes after a time where the people of God have entered into fasting and praying, of rending their hearts and not just their garments. It comes as we fully return to the Lord and bring the acceptable sacrifices of a broken and contrite heart.
When this rain breaks forth it will be like none you have seen before. It will be the former and the latter rain together, a double portion blessing upon the people of God. The rains are necessary both for preparing the soil to plant and also for bringing the harvest to fruition. These rains are for the bringing forth of a great harvest in the earth and also for the fruition of that which has already been planted. The rest of the passage of Joel 2 goes on to read, “24And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come. 32And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”
There is a season for every purpose under heaven. There is a season for tearing down and destruction, but that preceeds the season of restoration, blessing and life. Let us prepare our hearts in the manner that God has prescribed, seeking Him in fasting, repentance and prayer. For surely He will answer us and bring the showers of His blessing and life.

Blessings,
#kent

A Series of Right Decisions

Proverbs 3:1-12
1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

The essence and sum of our lives can be measured and is made up of a series of decisions. There will be things in our lives that we have no control over other than how we respond to them and what we do with them. When we look back over our lives and to the point that we presently live, we can see that our lives are the result of a good number of smaller decisions and choices. Some of those have had more impact on our lives than others but even the little decisions have contributed to the larger whole. When we understand that each day is made up of a series of decision that can impact and guide the direction of our lives, we then understand the importance of making right decisions.
Proverbs 3 speaks to us out of the wisdom of a Father to his son. As we read this we insert ourselves into the object of this conversation. The Father is reminding the son that to live a prosperous and healthy life there are certain things you need to maintain, remember and exercise in your decision making. The foremost is that you keep the teachings and the commands of God’s Word in your heart. The continual meditation upon the Word of God will serve to keep your life focused and continually aware of what your life is about.
The way that we exercise the Word that we store up in our hearts is through love and faithfulness. These are the keys that allow us to partake of the treasures of God’s wisdom and grace and to put them into the vocabulary of our daily lives and actions. Love, trust and obedience, these are the essentials that need to be with us in every decision making process. When we have them and exercise them, and then they will assure a right motive to the decisions that we do make.
Even with these essentials we realize that we lack the insight, understanding and wisdom to really know what is best for our lives and if the decision we are making may be the best choice we could have made.
Again, the Lord reminds us to trust Him with all our whole heart and to lean not upon our own understanding. God knows so much more about our lives and the impact of our decisions than we do. It only makes sense to really trust Him to guide us and lead us. He says He will make our paths straight. Romans 8: 28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” These are those ones that are practicing Proverbs 3. If we acknowledge Him, trust Him and love Him with all of our heart, then He is able to take even the bad things in our life and work them for our good. There are going to be times in our life we won’t be able to grasp the whys and wherefores of how God operates and the reason He has allowed things to happen as they have. He never told us we had to understand Him, just acknowledge, love and trust Him.
We can never boast in ourselves, in our ability, our prosperity or our wisdom. We do acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from above. Sometimes we are tempted in our spiritual or natural successes to be lifted up to think we are something or somebody more than somebody else is. We have to always keep our feet on the ground while we keep our heart in heaven. Spiritual pride is a foolish man’s prize. We are all the products of God’s rich grace and mercy. None of us can boast in ourselves for it is God alone that gives us value and worth. If we fear God and turn away from evil then it will be health to our body and nourishment to our bones.
I heard a minister the other day who was sharing that the temple had five gates. There was a priest stationed over each one of those gates as a watchman to assure that no danger or that nothing unclean entered the gates. He went on to share that these five gate are like our five natural senses and God has set us as a priest to watch over them and insure that nothing harmful or unclean passes through them into the temple which we are. This is much like the principles of Proverbs 3. If we will do our part to love, acknowledge, trust and obey the Lord, He will do His part to direct and order our steps.
As He honors us, we must in turn honor Him with the firstfruits of our increase. We can’t bring the leftovers or the second best. We must honor Him with the firstfruits of our best. He assures us that we won’t lack because of it.
We are His children. He loves us and whom the Lord loves He chastens, disciplines and corrects. We can’t become discouraged when our lot in life is tough. It is not God’s anger and displeasure at work; it is His love. The trials and tribulations in our lives are what shape and mold our character and integrity. They are a part of the process of bringing us into conformity with Father’s nature and character. All that God is working in us is in preparation for a much more glorious life.
Just remember that it is the series of everyday decision that add up to the sum of your life. Allow God to be a part of every one of them.

Blessings,
#kent

The Seductress

April 24, 2015

The Seductress

Proverbs 7
1 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your kinsman; 5 they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words. 6 At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. 7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. 8 He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house 9 at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. 10 Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. 11 (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) 13 She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said: 14 “I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! 16 I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! 19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. 20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” 21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. 22 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose 23 till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life. 24 Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.

It is said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We, as human beings, are the sum of our strengths and our weaknesses. What truly makes our chain stronger is the power of the Spirit of Christ within us.
Proverbs 7 starts out by a father exhorting his son to keep the commandments, the Word of God within him. He emphasizes that by saying, don’t just listen to the Word, but make it part and substance of your being. Let that Word influence the works of your hands and write them on the tablets of your heart till they become who you are. Make God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding as your sister and near relative.
Why do I need to do that? “They will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words.”
This passage is not just about sexual seduction; it is more about spiritual seduction. Most all of us are familiar with the passage in 1 Peter 5:8 which says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” This is that same spirit that is at work to entice our souls away from Christ. It looks for our vulnerabilities, our weaknesses, and those areas of foolishness that we have yet to fully submit and bring into the obedience of Christ. They may have been subdued, lurking in the darkness of our soul. We haven’t wanted others to be aware of them and many times we ourselves are in denial that they exist, but they are there, looking and craving for the opportunity of expression and release. We often wrestle and struggle with these areas in our lives, but there will be a time and place of weakness in our lives that we will give place to them. We may not even see the immediate consequences of our actions, but this seductive spirit feeds upon the dust, the humanity and the lust of our souls. Once we begin to give place to this spirit it is like a spark and flame, it is never satisfied, but rather desires and hungers for more. It will drive us into the deeper clutches of sin and darkness. As we give more and more place to this seduction and the passion of our soul it is as the story of this young man and the harlot. We have become the fool and foolishness leads us down the road to ruin and destruction.
Many of us know or have known someone who was walking with Christ and then, as an animal caught in a trap, they became caught up in sin and their life departed more and more away from the path of righteousness. This harlot and seductress had laid hold upon them, seduced them with the lie and began leading them down the pathway to hell, while all the time exciting the passions of the flesh and promising temporal, empty riches of this world’s goods and pleasures.
It is possible as we read this, that this foolish young man could be us. Many of us know that, except for the grace of God, it would be us. This is why God’s Word must be the standard and the anchor upon which we found our life, our morality and our principles for living. When we depart from God’s precepts we exit onto a road that departs from the High Way of Holiness. That exit leads us away from the pathway to Life.
We have this illustration to let us know that the only thing that stands between this foolish young man and us, is following God’s Word through a maintained and intimate relationship with Him. Any of us could follow in his footsteps at any time, if we fail to continually guard our heart and keep it in the way of God’s Word and righteousness. Worldly enticements are always before us and they will touch the areas of weakness in our lives. This is where Christ and His Word shore up and fortify the breeches in the wall of our city. We must stand with the armor of God, ready to defend the citadel of our heart from the intrusion of the enemy. That enemy will always entice us with peace and safety while a dagger is concealed beneath their coat.
Be wise in the Word; discern the craftiness and the deceitfulness of your enemy. Know that it is the spirit of death that is wooing you into its arms. This spirit may have a beautiful face and enticing breasts, but within her grasp is the bosom of spiritual death and destruction.
A brother emailed me a scripture yesterday that fits very well here, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)”

Blessings,
#kent

Psalms 144:1-2
Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. 2 He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

Personal Trainer and Protector

In the Lord we have such a loving heavenly Father who is there for us in every way, even when we don’t see Him or perceive His presence. ‘ The Lord is my Rock.’ Daniel 2:35 says, “Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” This was not only prophetic of king Nebuchadnezzar, but it speaks to all of the kingdoms of this earth becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and King. In Revelations 11:15 the heavens declare, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Even in our weakness we are more than conquerors through Him that has loved us and gave Himself for us. Even in our weakness He trains our hands for war and our fingers for battle. It is in those times when we battle through the trials and tribulations of life that He is training our hands for war. In our weakness we find His strength and in our poverty we find His riches. It is as we stand faithful in the battle that we find, as David did, “He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” He is able to give us victory in circumstance in which we have no control. He is able to work all things after the council of His will. His will is that we are overcomers of this present evil world and that we prevail in faith until we see strongholds torn down. All it takes is humbly acknowledging Him as the Lord of all of your life. He is the One that goes before us into battle. He is our defender, our protector and He makes us to be a stronghold of righteousness for His namesake. Those who have ruled over you will be subdued beneath you.
Your triumph is in recognizing by faith what your Lord has already done and is still doing on your behalf. This is why the songs of David so magnify the Lord. By all rights David should have been dead, but at every death-harrowing turn He saw the Lord’s divine protection and the anointing that rested upon Him. You are no less His son or daughter. What He has done for David and others He will do for you. Stop striving in your own strength and efforts. Rest in the promises of His Word and what the Holy Spirit is training you to do. He is here today to train our hands for war and our fingers for battle. As we allow Him to train us up, then we will see Him going before us into battle and making our victory sure. God is preparing you for such a time as this. Faint not at that battle that rages before you. Be confident that the Lord, “He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” He is your victory today and you stand complete in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Hope, Joy and Crown

November 24, 2014

Hope, Joy and Crown

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

When we selflessly plant ourselves into other people’s lives what is our gain if they can’t reward us and we see no earthly or monetary benefit? What do we hope to see in our children through the years of raising them, nurturing, teaching and mentoring them? It is not for what they can pay us back in material gain that we do it. It is a labor of love and the harvest we long to see, that we continue to pray for, hope for and believe for are lives that are healthy, productive and that produce a legacy. A parent’s greatest reward is to have children that love and respect them, but also that hold to the values of faith that were instilled in them and that they in turn instill those same values in their children. We long to see a perpetual legacy of generations that follow on to know and obey the Lord.
The churches that the apostle Paul established were his children. He taught them, mentored them and raised them up in the faith and knowledge of Christ. It wasn’t a job for him; it was his life, his purpose and his joy. When he stood before the Lord there was no greater testimony to his faithfulness and his greatness as a servant of God than those that he had raised up in Christ. He was able to stand with the Lord and look through the generations at the harvest he had been instrumental in producing in the earth. This stood as Paul’s greatest, hope, joy and crown. This was his greatest reward.
Our greatest reward in heaven won’t be about our businesses, our finances or our status in the community; it will be about what we planted in others. It will be about what we sowed into their lives through our faithful commitment and walk with Christ. We want to see it in our children and our grandchildren. We want to see it in the ones that we helped disciple and bring to Christ. Nothing breaks our heart more than to see what we have treasured and nurtured stolen and destroyed by sin. It is for this reason that our Lord Jesus ever stands as our high priest making intercession on our behalf. He too, longs after us to be His hope, joy and crown.
Let us not grow weary or complacent concerning the awesome responsibility that we have toward those who under our spiritual authority or influence. We must remember that we are the priests of our home and have the responsibility to pray, intercede, teach and persuade our families in the ways of righteousness and salvation. Be faithful to the gift, the calling and instrument that God has created you to be. How we respond and use what He has created us to be and how that translates into the lives of others will be our hope, our joy and crown. Our legacy is our glory and our joy.

Blessings,
#kent

Our Father, Guardian and Instructor

Proverbs 13:1
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

Why is it that God’s people should read and study the Word of God? Why is it that they should listen and read from Spirit Anointed men and women? Why are prayer and meditation so important?
As God has given us earthly parents that for a short time to teach and correct us, Our heavenly Father is continually our guardian, instructor and corrector. Hebrews 12:10 tells us, “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” Isn’t that our goal and destiny as people of God, to share in God’s holiness and nature? Isn’t this our new nature as we have been born again by the Spirit? As the wife and I read through the book of Proverbs we can’t help but be impressed with this message, ‘God will give us wisdom and life defining principles that will give us good success, long life and immortality. The condition is that we must take heed to listen and follow in these principles and ways of life. We all know that we have areas of weakness, failure and folly in our lives. We need correction, for without it we will perish. This is what distinguishes the wise from the foolish and the righteous from the wicked, the righteous and wise son will heed, receive and embrace correction and rebuke. He will not be offended by it because he knows that it is working life and godliness in him. Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Now none of us are overly fond of correction, because it generally hurts our ego or our flesh. Many of the trials that we endure are a form of correction, not because we are bad, but because God is exercising us in faith and in application of the principles and tenants of His Word. How do we get good at anything? Isn’t it by much repetition and practice? We are in God’s boot camp and His training ground for developing and exercising righteousness and right living. How are we going to know the right responses and ways to handle our trials and the circumstances that life throws at us if we don’t study the manual and listen to instruction? This is why we want a close walk and relationship with the Lord so that we can hear and discern the Holy Spirit’s voice. He is our personal teacher and life coach. He will teach us through our everyday life experiences if we are tuned in and listening to Him. Most of us are so busy blasting through life our own way we rarely give time or attention to even inquire or listen for the Holy Spirit. I wonder why we struggle so?
The wisest and richest man in the earth wrote Proverbs. Much of what is shared in Proverbs is a contrast between wise and foolish, simple and knowledgeable, righteous and wicked and life and death. We are continually instructed on right response and behavior and wrong response and behavior. It makes plain to us the consequences of our response and choices.
If any of us have had rebellious or disobedient children then we can relate with what the Lord puts up with in us. Somehow they can’t receive the fact that you are telling them things and limiting them from things that will result in their hurt. They perceive it as you being overbearing, unfair and just out of touch. As a result they choose to go down the hurtful path that results in pain and suffering for all. Many of us are certainly no different when it comes to obeying God’s Word.
We want to challenge you to read a chapter of Proverbs every day for a least two years and see if it doesn’t change your life, your finances and your situation as you begin to put these principles and proverbs into practice. There are thirty chapters, one for each day of the month. What Sharon and I are doing is reading a new chapter and then we reread the chapter we read the day before to reinforce it. God’s Word will change us if we will not only read it and hear it, but seek to give it application in our daily lives and circumstances. This is what develops holiness in the fear of God. This is what gives us faith and life and hope in every situation. Take the challenge and prove God’s Word. His promises and His Word will not come back void, they will work positive changes in your life. God is a good God, a wonderful and loving Parent and One that is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Feet?

November 13, 2014

Feet?

Isaiah 52: 7
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

What do we think of when we think of feet? Do you think of the often smelly, dirty, corned and callused little members at the bottom of your body that carries you through life? It has been very enlightening, as I’ve taken some time to go through all of the scriptures in the Word about feet. These little, often neglected, members of the body are spoken of quite frequently. They are definitely members of spiritual, as well as, natural significance. Our feet, so often neglected and taken for granted, carry us through our whole life. They have to support the weight and burden of the whole body. If they don’t work or they slip or stumble, they take the whole body down with them. Spiritually speaking this is significant as well, because the feet represent our spiritual walk. There are many aspects to the feet, but let’s look at this one first.
We have often heard the term, “ to sit at one’s feet”. Throughout the Word of God it is shown that at the one’s feet that you sit at, is often the one who determines the direction and the way you walk. The authority that we submit too, the ones we learn from and how that translates into our lives is our definition of “sitting at one’s feet”. There are many instances where people would fall at another’s feet. By that act they were showing submission, obedience, asking for mercy, humbling themselves beneath that one’s authority.
In Deuteronomy 33:3, Moses speaks of God, “Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction.” As a people of God we have at least mentally assented to the authority of God to order our ways. Deuteronomy 11:22- 25 tells us the significance of walking in His ways. “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him- 23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea. 25 No man will be able to stand against you. The LORD your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.” We begin to see a principle unfold that our authority and dominion is dependent upon the way we walk and who we follow. God is saying, ‘if you follow after me and sit at my feet these are the results you can expect to see.’ In Joshua 10 there is an account of a miraculous battle when five Amorite kings moved into position and attacked Israel. You may remember that this was the battle in which their was such great victory for the Israelites that Joshua prayed that the Sun might stay still in the sky so that he could finish the battle. In verse 24-26 the kings have been captured and it says,” When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. 25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening. “ This is a type of what the Word of God is instructing us to do with our spiritual enemies and the strongholds of our lives. We could even see it as being our five senses and living after our natural man. For it is our flesh that wars against our spirit, but our spirit man must prevail and put to death the flesh. Through the example of putting their feet upon the necks of these kings we are seeing that our enemies are put under our feet. The condition is that we have to exercise our authority and if we let the flesh live we will have to come back to fight it another day and it will always plague us and be a stumbling block to us as we see it was for Israel.
Joshua is such a strong type of our spiritual authority because he learned it at the feet of Moses and by seeing first hand the faithfulness of God. In Joshua 14: 7-9 he briefly shares a testimony of earlier days and its lesson. “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.” What is the lesson? Faith, that is steadfast, has the reward of an inheritance. That faith is demonstrated through a walk that follows after God wholeheartedly. Fear on the other hand is the contradiction and arch–nemesis of Faith. If we follow it, then it will be our undoing and our defeat.
Another case for this truth is seen in 1 Samuel 2:6-10, “”The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. 7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. 8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world. 9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
“It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.” If we will believe in the Lord and walk in His ways He will guard our steps and bring us to good success and it isn’t dependent upon our might or ability.
We see the spiritual reality of our enemies being put under our feet in Christ. While satan may have been deluded in that day to think that he had defeated Christ when he nailed him to the cross, he simply sealed the Lord’s victory and dominion. When the Lord was resurrected He ascended into heaven, He led captivity captive and gave gift unto men. He took the keys of dominion and authority back from satan and gave them to the church. He gave gifts unto men. He gave spiritual gifts and offices to His church for what reason? Ephesians 4:12-13 says, “to 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.” Christ gave us the power to crush the head of the serpent under our feet. He did the hard part, He gave His life to redeem us back to God and take those keys of authority. Now He has sat down as it says in Hebrew 10:12-14, “12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Christ, the head has done His part, now it is up to the body to complete and walk out what He started. We are His body and as such, we are also His feet. It is not finished until satan is our foot rest and he has been put under the least and lowest member of the body. 1 Corinthians 15:26-26 says, “25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” The body must experience and lay hold of the fullness that is in the head. For it is Christ through His body that must exercise full dominion and power to put all things under His feet. Ephesians 1: 22-23 tells us, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” It has to be completed in us. God, in Christ, shared our humanity with us, so that we might share His glory with Him. Hebrews 12:5-13 says it so well, “5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8and put everything under his feet? In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” 13And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” We are the feet of the Lord and dominion and authority is coming from the head through the body till the feet of Christ are rested fully upon the neck of satan as they were on those Amorite kings in the book of Joshua. He that makes us holy and we that are made holy by him are of one family and one body. It is the Lord and trust in Him that gives us strength to walk the path of faith and trust even in perilous and trying times. It is the Lord who strengthens us and gives us help in the battle to overcome the adversary. David expresses these very thoughts in Psalms 18:31-40, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God besides the LORD ? And who is the Rock except our God? 32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. 33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. 36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 39 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.”

Blessings,
#kent

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

 

Blessings,

#kent

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