The Spirit of Fear

May 7, 2014

The Spirit of Fear

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind

There is a fear that is a phobia and a dread; beyond that, it can produce heart-pounding terror. Fear can be so strong that it can totally incapacitate us. It can grip us so strong that it will cause us to tremble and shake. Sometimes we can’t even move or think or we flee in terror. There is a spirit of fear that can grip our hearts in a way that makes us terribly afraid. There are varying degrees that this spirit can come upon us, but when it does, it robs us of faith and confidence in God if we only focus on the fear. Often fear plays upon the imaginations and perceptions of our mind. When we have experienced nightmares, they weren’t real, but they created such fear and panic in us because they seemed so real. We can experience waking nightmares, as well, that seem just as real. Fear, itself can’t harm you, but it can create such feeling within your mind and emotion that you often fear for your life and safety. We can sometimes enter into a tremendous battle with this spirit of fear and just speaking words doesn’t always bring the results of victory we would like.
Sharon, my wife will share with you a story of fear that affected her for about year. We hope in sharing this it may help some of you that have had experiences with attacks of fear, panic and terror. For my wife it was a process of the Lord teaching her how to obtain the victory and sometimes there are areas that we open up in our lives for these attacks to come in that we need to shut.
For Sharon, it came after a time when we had attempted to trust the Lord for a home birth. Our son was just too large for my wife and after a long period of transitional labor we had to go to the hospital. There we felt contempt and reproach from the doctor and medical staff for not having checked in earlier and done things the traditional way. It was a difficult time, but the good news is that we had a healthy baby.
It was shortly after this that my wife began to have a visitation of a spirit that would bring great fear upon her. This spirit came usually when she was alone and was resting. It was generally in this state of semi-consciousness, between waking and sleeping that this spirit of fear came.

“At this point, Kent has asked me to step in and tell my own story. It was a time in my life I thought I was strong in the Lord. The Lord had just healed me of breast cancer seven months or so before our son was born. For whatever reason, the Lord allowed me to go through this experience to teach me many things about my life, where I was with Him spiritually and how I had to change from the bondage my childhood held over me.
I remember the first encounter; it was in the early morning after Kent had gone to work. To this day, I don’t know if I was awake or in that semi –conscious state. It was so real; it felt like I was awake. I heard a noise downstairs and I remember thinking Kent had gone to work already. I heard what sounded like someone coming up the stairs, but it was more familiar than that. Whoever it was, came up skipping a stair, just like my Father used to do when one of us kids were in trouble. When this presence entered my bedroom, I could feel it, but I couldn’t see it. A fear entered with it that paralyzed me. This spirit sat on the edge of my bed and I felt strong hands grab me by my throat and it began choking me. I laid there in unbelief. I felt like I was going to die. When it couldn’t kill me, it left and went back downstairs. I laid there trembling, trying to understand what just happened to me. I could hear my heart pounding; it was beating so loud. Fear gripped me again, as I heard it coming back up the stairs for the second time. At this point, I was searching my thoughts wondering what was happening to me? Its presence entered my bedroom again and this time, it sat down and began beating me about my face. I felt the blows…and they hurt! When it couldn’t kill me by its blows, it left again. I heard the familiar sound coming back up the stairs for the third time and I wondered if I would survive this time. This time, it sat down and began touching me in a sexual way. It was then that I sat straight up in bed and rebuked it in the Name of Jesus! It left immediately.
This presence came and left over the next year. It came in other forms, taking on the form of my husband once. It seemed so real. This wasn’t an experience I wanted to share with people. Can you imagine going through this sort of thing as a Christian? There were many times, I would rebuke it in the Name of Jesus and it would laugh at me. How could I share this with others?
I will tell you briefly what I learned. The Lord taught me that it was only a spirit of fear and that it really couldn’t do anything to me, or it would have already done it. When I understood that, it helped me to enter into the Lord whenever it would make an appearance. Through this experience, it taught me how to climb up on the lap of my Heavenly Father and allow Him to put His big arms around me to protect me from this wicked thing. I learned to enter into the presence of the Lord.
There were areas of my life the Lord was dealing with at that time. I was repeating what I had been taught as a child from a stepfather who didn’t know the love of God himself. God was trying to free me from my earthly father’s example in order to follow my heavenly Father’s example instead. I was caught up in soap operas at that time and the Lord taught me what we put into our minds and take in through our eyes does affect how we live and think. I was also taught that we could control even our dreams when we allow the Lord to be the Lord of our lives. You see, I used to think we could do in our dreams what we couldn’t do in real life if it was sin, but if it were done in our dreams, it was okay. The Lord taught me, ”as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
The last significant time it came, I was lying on a couch in our family room. I heard what seemed to be a herd of these spirits. By this time in my life, I was so angry at this thing called fear, I grabbed for them and they went screaming. I remember getting a hold of one of their arms and it took hold of this spirit with both of my hands to break its bone. I heard it snap! I also heard great pain coming from the one I grabbed, while it was trying to get away from me. That evening, a young man came to our house for a Bible study and he prophesied, “Today, has the enemies arm been broken.” He had no idea what had gone on, but I knew exactly what it meant…and from that time on, this spirit of fear has never had the same grip it had, the first time it manifested itself in my bedroom.
While this was a hard trial to go through, I wouldn’t by pass going through it, when I stop and consider how much I learned from this experience.
When I got complete victory over it, it was because I learned to turn that fear into trusting my heavenly Father by climbing up on His lap whenever this thing would manifest itself. Through the years, it has come and left a few times. I have made comments like, “You again?” When it realized fear had no grip on me anymore, it came around less and less until I can’t remember when it manifested itself last.

Fear is not a physical enemy even though it may use physical means or even people to manifest its self. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “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.” This includes that spirit of fear that can grip our hearts. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” The place where we find that perfect love is in the heart of the Father. If fear is your tormentor, then the heart of the Father is your deliverance. That is the place spoken of in Psalms 91:1-7, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, [and] from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth [shall be thy] shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; [nor] for the arrow [that] flieth by day; [Nor] for the pestilence [that] walketh in darkness; [nor] for the destruction [that] wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee.” Your faith, your abiding and your authority in Christ are your victory over the spirit of fear.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Hidden Things

March 24, 2014

 

The Hidden Things


1 Corinthians 4:5

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.


How many of us know that things are not always as they appear outwardly?  Many of us may be very surprised at the ones that are ruling and reigning with Christ, because we judge by the outward vision and natural understanding, but God judges after the heart.  Big names and ministries, credentials and degrees, accomplishments and awards so often impress us.

When you see someone who stands out and is accomplished in an area our tendency is to admire that individual.  Is every individual that distinguishes themselves, self-made?  If you look beneath the surface you will probably see parents who sacrificed their wants and dreams for their children.  You will see teachers, instructors, coaches and mentors who poured into these promising individuals to help them rise to their potential.  The point is no one is great in and of themselves.  There is much invested in bringing people to greatness that most of the world never sees.  They are the hidden ones.  They live and work in the background and are never in the limelight.  They aren’t the ones that receive the recognition, awards and accolades, but they just may be the truly great ones because they know how to invest in making others great.  

Paul, the apostle was experiencing some of this same frustration in his ministry.  Paul saw time and again where he would pour out his life for the church, which so quickly would turn to some other ministry or doctrine.  The Jews or some other element would come in after he had left to pollute and lead the people off track from the gospel foundation that Paul had laid for them. We have the hindsight to look back at the legacy and tremendous impact Paul had on the early church, the New Testament and on the church throughout history.  We can easily see from our perspective what a great and awesome man of God that Paul was.  Do you think that a lot of the people of his day saw him in this light?  What they saw outwardly in Paul probably wasn’t that impressive.  He was this tentmaker and itinerate preacher obsessed this Christ.  He probably wasn’t that striking in his natural presence.  He was pretty much a hand to mouth type of guy who didn’t have a nickel to his name, but what he had he used it to advance his agenda about this Christ.  He was a passionate kind of guy and he preached a good word, but perhaps a little offensive at times.  He would go to any lengths to try and communicate this Christ and who He was and what He stood for, but probably not the kind of guy that would impress you by outward appearance or status.  In 1 Corinthians 4:9-16 Paul tells us a little bit about his glorious life as a great apostle, “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We [are] fools for Christ’s sake, but ye [are] wise in Christ; we [are] weak, but ye [are] strong; ye [are] honourable, but we [are] despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, [and are] the offscouring of all things unto this day I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn [you]. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet [have ye] not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” Everything that Paul should have been in the natural was imparted to others.  The great ones aren’t the ones that have everything imparted unto them and the world marvels at, the great ones are those seeming nobodies that are the vessels and channels of imparting.  Their lives are spent and poured out to make others great.  They are fathers whose glory is in their children and what they become is because of what they were given.  Have you have found yourself discouraged because you have given and given, only to be taken for granted, despised and unappreciated?  Remember there is a day when the hidden things will be revealed.  It doesn’t matter what men think of us, the Lord is our judge.  In due season we will reap our reward if we faint not.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:4, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Just be faithful to do what God has put in your hand to do.  Judge nothing before its time, for God will bring the hidden things to light.   

 
Blessings,
#Kent

Power through the Word

December 6, 2013

 

Power through the Word


1 Corinthians 4:20

For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power. 


We live in a world full of philosophies and religions.   Some would say God is too big for any one religion.  It is man that has deviated from God’s way to invent his own.  God has always had a plan and “the Way” that brings us to Him.   I’ve heard it said that, “religion is merely man’s search for God.”  Many religions and cults, Islam being one of them, take the Word of God for their premise, but then twist and pervert it to be their own.  True Christianity isn’t just a religion made up of a lot men’s thought, ideas and dreams.  It is an inspired book, written by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and direction.  It is not just a book about men of God who could do no wrong.  It is about ordinary, sinful men who often stepped out and believed the Word of God to them.  Because they dared to put their faith in this God of the Bible they often saw great and mighty things accomplished.  

If God was going to write a book about His people why would he put in this book their failures, their shortcomings and their sins?  You don’t read any of those things about Mohammed. The Bible isn’t a book about great men.  It is a book about a great God working through weak and ordinary men.  The Bible is not a great book because it is good reading or just has inspiring stories.  It is great book because its words are backed by the power of God.  You could burn all the Bibles you wanted, but you could never destroy the Word of God, because it is not just words on a page.  It is a living Word and Testament of a living and powerful God.  That is what sets it apart from any other book or religion in the world.  There may be a lot of truisms in other religions, but it is satan’s little bottle of poison in a lake of truth that brings death, that makes it null and void.  If it doesn’t line up a hundred percent with the Bible, it ain’t the real thing.  

Why does God tell us to study and meditate on the Word of God?  Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”   Psalms 1:1-2 tells us, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs us “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 3:16 also says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

These are but a few scriptures that encourage us not just to read the Word of God, but to get it down in our hearts and spirits.  Why, because it is life and power.  When we have a “revealed Word of God” plus “faith” to believe that word, it equals “Power” and the move of God.  This is why weak, ordinary men and women like you and me have the potential to do supernatural things.  It is a power, like dynamite, which resides in you, because, by faith, you asked Christ and His Holy Spirit to come into you.  When He did He brought the power of God into you.  You are a keg of dynamite and a potential explosion of the move and power of God.  There was an old saying back in the days of powdered fire rifles and guns.  It was “keep your powder dry.”  Wet powder was ineffective and lost its power.  It is the same with us when we let the world, compromise and unbelief come into our lives.  We become like wet powder, ineffective.  

Luke 17:21 tells us, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  As a believer in Christ, you are a loaded gun.  When you are primed with the Word of God within you and the Spirit of God moves upon you there are no limitation to what He can do through you.  That is because the kingdom of God is not in word, it is in power.  It is the living Word of God ignited by His Spirit.  It will move mountains; it will bring the high place low and the low places high.  It will bring down the kingdoms of this world and it will establish the kingdom of our God.  You are a part of that.  You are the rifle through which He fires that bullet.  We are corruptible old earthen vessels until the power of God gets inside of us that, as 2 Corinthians 4:7 says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”  It doesn’t matter about the circumstances of life that work around us; it is the power of God that is at work in us.  It is the very resurrection life that raised Christ from the dead that now dwells in you and gives life to your mortal bodies also (Romans 8:11).   We do not believe and put our trust in a dead and ineffective word, but in the ever living and ever powerful Word of God, that through faith becomes substance and power to us.  

 

Blessings,

kent

Let’s stretch Ourselves

October 24, 2013

Let’s stretch Ourselves

Luke 6:27-36
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Jesus tells us to do some things here that are pretty contrary to a lot of our human nature. I would venture to say, that in all of us, we probably aren’t fully walking in what Jesus is telling us to do in this passage. Let’s arm our selves with these instructions that the Lord has given us and as we go out each day let’s endeavor to stretch ourselves, step out of our comfort zone and the way that we have always done it. Let’s step out of our character and into His. Let’s do something radically kind and generous. Let’s endeavor to be a blessing to all that we meet, especially those that are irregular people in our lives that we struggle to even tolerate, let alone like them. Put on the mind of Christ today as you look out and see your world. See it through His eyes and His love. What would Jesus do? How can I get out of my thinking and into His? Bless someone in a spontaneous and unexpected way. Forgive that person who has offended and hurt you. Refuse to retaliate when others abuse you, treat you wrongly or speak unkindly to you. Return blessing for evil, love for hate and kindness for unkindness.
Let’s dare to be different today. Let’s dare to let the Lord stretch us and use us in new and uncommon ways. That means we have to step out of the character of who we have been and into the character of who Christ is and wants to be within us and through us. Go out and assault your world with random acts of kindness. Take the time to tell others how special they are and what a difference their life makes to you. Edify those around you. Be thankful that you get to go to work and that you have a job. Let everyday be another great day, because Christ is living in you and through you.
Dare to let go of the things that you hold onto so tightly. Rest in the Lord that he is your provision and your supply. As 2 Corinthians 8:15 says, “As it is written, He that [had gathered] much had nothing over; and he that [had gathered] little had no lack.” There are untapped resources within us waiting to be released, as we are willing to stretch into the Lord’s principles and commandments. How many times have we read this passage and others like it, but how much of it is actively working in our lives and everyday behavior. What Jesus speaks here is not often seen in natural behavior. Jesus wants to stretch us out of what we have been that is like everyone else and stretch into what He is. If He has commanded us to do these things then He has provided the resources for us to do it. Are you willing to stretch today?

Blessings,
kent

A Word of Wisdom

May 24, 2013

Psalms 36:9
For with thee [is] the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

A Word of Wisdom

It is in the light of God’s truth and wisdom that we find light . As we pursue and meditate upon His word He is our eternal fountain. All through Proverbs 8 wisdom speaks to us about whom She is and what She desires to impart unto those who will seek Her. In verses 7-8 it says, “Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom [is] better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” The most valuable things in life are not in the material world they are found in the wisdom of God who is our fountain of life. Wisdom says in verse 17, “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” In all of your getting, get widom for she will not fail you and She will deliver you in your day of trouble. She will prosper you and give you good success.

Blessings,
kent

Troubled Waters of the Soul

November 7, 2012

Troubled Waters of the Soul

Psalms 38
1 O LORD , do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. 2 For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me. 3 Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin. 4 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. 5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. 6 I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. 7 My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. 8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. 9 All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. 10 My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. 11 My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away. 12 Those who seek my life set their traps, those who would harm me talk of my ruin; all day long they plot deception. 13 I am like a deaf man, who cannot hear, like a mute, who cannot open his mouth; 14 I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply. 15 I wait for you, O LORD ; you will answer, O Lord my God. 16 For I said, “Do not let them gloat 17 For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me. 18 I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin. 19 Many are those who are my vigorous enemies; those who hate me without reason are numerous. 20 Those who repay my good with evil
slander me when I pursue what is good. 21 O LORD , do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. 22 Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior.

The dealings of the Lord are many with those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Those of us who have walked with the Lord for some time know that this walk is not just peaches and cream and everything in between. We can identify with King David, who was a man after God’s own heart and yet endured many trials and afflictions throughout his lifetime. He loved God and yet we see him in times of weakness, sin and defeat. How wonderful God is to allow us to see great biblical characters in their good times and their bad. In that truth and reality there is hope for us who also struggle with our weaknesses and shortcomings in our desire to be godly and upright.
Hebrews 12:4-13 is an exhortation and encouragement also of the Lord’s correction. “4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7Endure 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. 12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13“Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” As sons and daughters of the most High God, we experience the corrective, but loving hand of God as we endeavor to grow up spiritually. Sometimes it can seem harsh and extreme, it can rob our peace, it can upset our world, and it can afflict our bodies, but if it didn’t we would continue on and miss the mark or where God wants to take us. We are by former nature a stubborn and rebellious people. Many of us still have that former nature still wanting to work in our members. As submitted as we think we might be there are areas of our life where we tend not to want to let go of things that are keeping us back from God’s highest and His best. As painful as it is, we must be thankful that God loves us too much to leave us the way we have been.
Perhaps you are wrestling in your spirit today. Maybe there is unrest, trials or tribulations that are pressing hard upon you. While we don’t want to give place to the enemy to usurp the authority we have in Christ, we must, with all humility and contriteness of heart, be searching our hearts for those area and places where we might be missing the mark and displeasing our Father. 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 tells us, “31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” Let us search our hearts that we may judge and correct ourselves so that we may retain His peace and avoid undo correction.

Blessings,
kent

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