Mark 7:24-30
Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.g He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
28“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
29Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”
30She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Advance the Kingdom in Violence

At first reading this language may sound a little harsh and yet we have to understand that Israel was God’s people, so in the context of God’s spiritual order the Messiah was first promised to them, because they were the children of the promise, even of Abraham, Genesis 18:18 says, ” Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.” There was an order to the blessing, first the Jew and then the Gentile.
Jesus, in His earthly ministry, had come to proclaim the kingdom to the house of Israel. When this Syro-Phoenician woman came to Him begging on behalf of her possessed daughter she was really coming in a time that was out of God’s time and order for her to receive of kingdom impartation, thus Jesus spoke what He did about it not being right to take their bread and give it to the Gentiles.
This woman answers with such wisdom and faith that it moves the heart of Jesus to step out of divine order and impart to her the request that she desired. She has insight into the mercy and grace that is in God’s heart. While He does move in divine order and on behalf of His chosen people, He still responds to the faith of the Gentiles. The Roman officer in Matthew 8:5 was another example of God moving out of divine order and time to release to them what wasn’t yet to be released.
What does that speak to us?
It tells us that there is realm of faith that moves God’s heart to release kingdom into the earth that is not yet in season to be released. It is not an ordinary faith, but an extraordinary faith that moves God’s heart. It is interesting to note that both of these examples didn’t come to Jesus asking for themselves, it was their intercession on the behalf of another. What can happen when we begin to take bold and extreme faith and ask God to move through us in a supernatural way on behalf of others? Matthew 11:12 says, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” The forcefulness of the kingdom is the faith that seizes and lays hold of it. It advances in faith and it is faithful forceful men and women that lay hold of the those things that are out of spiritual season to bring them into spiritual season. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, ” So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Let us be those violent men and women of faith that bring forth God’s kingdom and manifest it in the earth by our extreme and violent faith.

Blessings,
#kent

The Children’s Bread

November 4, 2014

Matthew 15:21-28 (Amplified)
And going away from there, Jesus withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
22And behold, a woman who was a Canaanite from that district came out and, with a [loud, troublesomely urgent] cry, begged, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is miserably and distressingly and cruelly possessed by a demon!
23But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us.
24He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25But she came and, kneeling, worshiped Him and kept praying, Lord, help me!
26And He answered, It is not right (proper, becoming, or fair) to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.
27She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little pups (little whelps) eat the crumbs that fall from their [young] masters’ table.
28Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you wish. And her daughter was cured from that moment.

The Children’s Bread

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray in Matthew 6 part of that prayer was, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I see the Lord’s Prayer as an outline for us to structure our prayer and worship time before Him. One of the first things that I think about when I think about daily bread is that first and foremost we must do as John 6 says. We must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood. He is the bread of life. If we miss our daily nourishment of Him, we’ve missed the most important meal of the day. So many of us put our spiritual man as our last priority when it comes to feeding ourselves. We must realize the importance of daily feeding our spiritual man from His substance and His life, for out of Him are the issues of life both for the spiritual and the physical man.
Secondly, I remember this scripture in Matthew 15 as I prayed for my daily bread and the Lord brought it to mind that as believers in Christ Jesus that we are the true Jews and heirs according to the promise. Romans 2:29 tells us, “But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.” If I am in Christ and if we are true Jews then healing and deliverance is our bread for we are His children. As surely as I can ask and trust Him to give me physical bread, I can ask and trust Him for the bread of healing and deliverance. If Jesus was willing to give this to the woman who was outside the faith of Israel, because of her worship, persistence and faith, how much more should He be willing to give it to His children who approach Him in like faith?
Thirdly, our daily bread is tied to our natural provision. In Psalms 37:5 David says, “I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” God is the provision for His children. In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus teaches this kingdom principle, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Here is a kingdom principle that God gave me, “In the center of God’s will is the center of your purpose.” This is where He wants us to be focused. If we are too concerned and worried about the earthly things we will miss the higher purpose of God for our lives. I believe that God has great blessing in store for the people of God who will come together to labor on building God’s house and not their own. If the Father has called us as joint heirs in Christ to come along side of Him to establish His temple and His house then we can trust that He will provide the means to do it. All of the gold, the silver and the resources of both heaven and earth are at His disposal.
“Lord help me not to fight and struggle to keep what “I” have, but simply embrace Your provision for me. That may not look what I have known or what my natural thinking tells me, but we are now a spiritually minded people who are being transformed into your thinking and the mind of Christ. Thank you that You are my every provision for my spirit, mind, soul and body. You are my Bread of Life, You are my healing and deliverance and You are my physical provision as well.
Lord I pray for your body and the people of God that you will break every yoke of spiritual strongholds, debt, poverty, sickness and spiritual oppression. We come in Your Name declaring your Word and Your lordship, power and dominion over every need in your body.
Lord give us this day, our daily bread. In Jesus name, amen.”

Blessings,
#kent

Establish the Earth

October 23, 2014

Isaiah 49:8-9
8Thus says the Lord, In an acceptable and favorable time I have heard and answered you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you; and I will preserve you and give you for a covenant to the people, to raise up and establish the land [from its present state of ruin] and to apportion and cause them to inherit the desolate [moral wastes of heathenism, their] heritages,
9Saying to those who are bound, Come forth, and to those who are in [spiritual] darkness, Show yourselves [come into the light of the Sun of righteousness]. They shall feed in all the ways [in which they go], and their pastures shall be [not in deserts, but] on all the bare [grass-covered] hills.

Establish the Earth

Christ came to establish the kingdom of God in the earth. He came as a prototype and first fruits of that company of people that He would use to propagate and infuse this kingdom into the hearts of men throughout the earth. The Lord Jesus gave us a commission to go out into all of the earth and bring the gospel and the good news to them. What the Lord began with the Jews He has accomplished through the Gentiles, because as a whole, His own received Him not.
Romans 11:25 says, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” The rejection of Christ by the Jews has become the Gentile’s salvation. We have reaped the benefit and blessing of their rejection. God will not cast off His people for all time, but will again establish and restore their habitation and ruins. God has given us as a new covenant in Christ. He has also given us the commission and the honor to establish this covenant in the earth. What God has given us as a commission to do, He has not left us in our own strength and devices to carry it out. Religions of men are built on such devices and the strength and wisdom of men will always fall short. The Lord has given us His signet ring, His authority and power for us to go to those who are bound in spiritual darkness and bring them into the light of the Son of righteousness.
We are more than we think we are. There is more potential power and authority in you than you can even imagine. There is about to be a spiritual explosion in the earth. The spirits of darkness and of light will manifest themselves as never before. God has prepared us for this hour to magnify, declare and, with all spiritual authority, establish His Name in the earth.
Most of us look at ourselves and say who am I? What do I have? What can I do? You can be the instrument of God’s righteousness and deliverance. Through our obedience and faith we can and will walk in places of spiritual authority and power that we have never known. Take your eyes off of your flesh and get them upon Christ, for His headship and His life is being expressed through His body to carry out His will and covenant. Our weakness is insignificant next to His strength.
In 1 Chronicles 28:7-8 the Lord speaks concerning Solomon, “Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day. Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave [it] for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.” The Lord has given us His covenant to establish His kingdom. What is working in us, will work through us, as we are constant to keep the Lord’s ways and set our hearts steadfastly upon Him. The Lord is stirring in the hearts of His people to prepare our hearts. that we may walk in the faith and footsteps of the Son of God.

Blessings,
#kent

Kindness and Severity of God

September 10, 2014

Jeremiah 4:8
So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us.
Isaiah 60:5
Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.
Kindness and Severity of God

Today’s passages come from two totally different aspects that represent both the kindness and the severity of God. Even in the severity of God, He is working to bring all things to His purposed end. He is able to deal with His people in whatever means are necessary to accomplish that purpose. Our faith and obedience to Him or the lack of it often determine our choice in this process.
In Romans 11:13-24 the apostle Paul teaches this, “13I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
We see then that the severity of God has worked to our salvation and our being grafted into the tree of God’s family and people, but it will also work to the ultimate reconciliation and restoration of natural Israel. Then we two branches will become one spiritual Israel unto His glory. Even within our lives now we see both the kindness and the severity of God. We love His blessing, but He also gives of His correction because Hebrews 12:4-12 reminds us, “In 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.
Within the severity is contained the same love as in His kindness. We often reap what we sow and bring upon ourselves the need for His severity, but even in that severity it is to lead us to repentance and turn us back to Him. God’s severity is not His first course of action and with great longsuffering He often forbears our sin and rebellions. Romans 2:4 speaks of how God desires to deal with us, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? We are most often the ones that forsake our own mercy and provoke the severity of God.
This doesn’t mean that our sin or failure brings on all of the trials that we go through. Often it is these trials and tribulations that are most likely to cause us to keep our eyes and attention fixed upon Him. God’s sternness is to those who fall away, but His kindness is to you provided that you continue in His kindness.

Blessings,
#kent

May 22, 2014

Who’s Your Daddy?

John 8:42-47
42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

The question we ask today is “who is your real Father?” In this passage from the discourse that Jesus was having with the Jews they were quite convinced that they were of the seed of Abraham and that therefore God was their Father. Jesus was telling them it is not a matter of natural descent. Many people in this country and even in others think they are Christians by virtue of fact they grew up in a Christian heritage and that is their general belief even though it may have no effectual working in their lives. Many even call themselves Christians and claim God as their Father because they go to church, or they are involved in church activities or they have a religion. Muslims believe that God, or Allah, is their Father, so much so that many are willing to sacrifice their lives and yours too for what they believe is His cause. What Jesus was telling many of these same types of people are that God isn’t your Father, you only think that He is. If God were your Father, then it would stand to reason you would know His Son. The reason you would know His Son is because the Son is just like the Father in nature, in character and in purpose. The true children of God are able to hear the Father. They are able to receive spiritual instruction, exhortation and even rebuke. The true children of God embrace the Son of God, for they recognize and acknowledge that it is only by His life we have access to the Father and are adopted into sonship. The difference is seen in the fact that we have a new nature and what is more, we have put off the former nature with the sins and lusts that it carried. God’s children no longer pursue the flesh, but walk after the Spirit. We are as Romans 8:12-17 puts it, “12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship And by him we cry, “Abba Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” We live and operate our lives under the influence of who our Father is. We have to ask ourselves what is the fruit of my life, what am I producing and is it in likeness of God’s character and nature?
The Bible and Jesus himself warns us that in the judgement day, “21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23).” This tells us that it is not even the outward miracles and demonstration of the Spirit that are true evidence of who one’s Father is, it is the faith and the fruit produced by one’s life. It is seen in whom we listen too, whom we obey and whom we follow. We, like the Jews, can profess that God is our Father, but how much do we look like the Son; are we like it says in 2 Timothy 3:5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” It is not our outward appearance and demeanor that always reveals our true nature and descent. It is our heart for God, our love and faith in His Son and our obedience to His Word as the Spirit that speaks to His Fatherhood in us, leads and directs our lives. Who’s your daddy?

Blessings,
#kent

Yoked Oxen and Wild Asses

Ephesians 2:13-18
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

As the New Covenant Church began after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ there were many struggles for men and women to come into the truth of the grace and freedom that is in Christ Jesus. There are still many parallels of that in the Church today. On one side you have what we will call the “yoked oxen”. These are the religious ones who have grown up in the religious atmosphere of denomination and religious structure. Most have grounding in the basic truths of God’s Word, but they have been so long under the yoke of the routine of religion it is hard for them to have the vision of how God is expanding beyond the perimeters of their individual camps of truth and revelation. In many ways they have become similar to the Jews of Israel. “Bless God, we are God’s chosen and our way is the right way. It was good enough for my ancestors and it is good enough for me.” It is the mentality that wants to put God in the box of our religious way of thinking and they struggle to see beyond that.
On the other hand we have what we will call “the wild asses”. These are those much like the Gentiles outside of Judaism that have little or no roots in religious background or the Christian religion. They have lived life free and wild before the Holy Spirit drew them to Himself and they came into knowledge of Him. They may not have the reverence and respect for the time honored traditional values that the “yoked oxen” have. They often have no clue of the proper etiquette and decorum of worship and reverencing God. But the “Wild Asses,” on the other hand, come with a certain freedom from the tradition and teachings of men. Their souls are like virgin soil for the gospel to be planted into. There is this wall of religion and rebellion that exist between the two camps as they often have conflict in dealing with one another. This was that middle wall of partition that separated the Jew and Gentile of old and a prejudice that still exist today. The scripture says Christ is our peace that has made us both one. As these two cultures come together in the atmosphere of true Christian fellowship, worship and relationship it is often hard for them to relate with one another. What we sometimes forget is that each brings to the table something that the other needs to balance them both. The wild ones need the structure and discipline, the reverence and respect that accompany the fear of God. The yoked ones need the freedom from inhibitions, liturgical thinking and expression that the wild ones bring. It is coming out of a box and culture for both sides that, together, the two may become one new man in Christ.
If missionaries from America go to foreign countries trying to impose their cultural thinking and ways as they preach the gospel they are often very much rejected and resisted. If they go and are willing to lay down their preconceived cultural ideas and reach out to the people from their cultural understanding and perspective they are often better understood and received because the people from that culture can relate with them.
What are we saying? God is bringing people into body from every nation, tribe and tongue, from every background and culture. We all have to come out of our cultural boxes and shells if we are to relate with one another in Christ. The cross of Jesus and the love of God are the common ground upon which we meet. Our focus must be much less on that of judging others and conforming them to our particular ideology of Christianity and more focused on how do we build each other up in love. If I can be more focused on meeting your need than I am on fixing your problem, the problem may well get resolved as I meet the need.
I once worked with a young man who was very open to hear about the Lord, but was from a different religious background than myself. I had my book and I was going to set him straight on why his religious background was wrong. Before I talked with him, I felt I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Just speak the truth in love and the truth will set him free.” It is each one of us opening up our hearts and minds to what the Spirit wants to teach us that will set us free. He will lead us into all truth if we will abide in relationship with Him and remain obedient to His leading. He will break down the middle wall of partition and make the “yoked oxen” and the “wild asses” one man in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

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