Temptation

October 30, 2014

Mark 26:21
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.

Temptation

Temptation seems to always want to come and visit us in our weakest moments, entice us with its sweetest fruit and numb us to the consequences of its poison. Lust and desire are strong aphrodisiacs no matter what level or place in life they come to us. They always seek to turn our heads from who we are in Christ to who we were. In Genesis 3 we see the beguiler as he comes to rationalize with Eve that what God said wasn’t so and God just didn’t want her to partake of what would make her like Him. God warned Cain in Genesis 6, “… sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” We all, like Cain and those that have gone before us, are often caught up in our mind, will and emotions where we rationalize and court sin. It so often starts so subtly with the innocent and seemingly harmless things, just like a fish playing with the bait on a hook until before we know it the hook is set and we are being reeled into the depths of our sin that can lead us to strongholds and addictions.
In our passage from Mark 26, Jesus sees this happening even to His own disciples as He cautions them, “watch and pray”. Like them. many of us go through a time of spiritual victory and strength where we tend to let down our guard and think we are no longer vulnerable to the temptations of sin. What Jesus speaks to His disciples, He speaks to us. “Be vigilant, watchful and mindful of the cunning strategies of the enemy. Your spirit may be strong and willing, but your flesh may not have the resolve that you think that you have in your spirit. Given opportunity, it will want to indulge itself in those areas where it is weak and vulnerable.
Our spirit, in unity with God’s spirit is the strength we have to reign in the flesh with its desires. While we no longer have that appetite for sin, we all fall prey to it at various time and in various ways. What we all now have confidence in, is that even if we make a mistake, we no longer live in the realm of the law of sin and death, but in the realm of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We know that in Christ we have an advocate with the Father who ever lives to make intercession for us and if we fail 1 John 1:5-8 reminds us of the message we have from Christ. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”
God warns us even about the company we keep. Where our hearts are our actions will follow. 2 Corinthians 6:14 -18 exhorts us, ” Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.
17″Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
18″I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
While we minister the love and righteousness of God to the world, it is no longer the place of our fellowship or abiding. We are a people separated out of the world and unto Him, so our affections are set on things above and no longer of things beneath. It is as we maintain the identity of not who we were, but who we have now come into that we live in Christ through the power of His Word and Life. We are no longer conformed to this world as Romans 12 tells us, but we are transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus.
Remember that the war that you are in, is not one of flesh and blood. The enemy is as 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, ” Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He is looking for our places of weakness and vulnerability. And Jesus says, the mission statement of the devil is “to kill, steal and destroy.” He will always entice you through logic and lust into sin and then condemn you for it. Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us that we are in a war and not a casual relationship with this world and the spirits that seek to rule it. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
We must not only be mindful of ourselves, but pray and watch out for one another. The enemy is always trying to catch us on our blindside and your brother may be able to see what you have been blinded too. Let us watch one another’s back in love, not in judgement or condemnation. Together we stand as one man to defeat our foe and overcome temptation. We need to watch and pray, not only for ourselves, but for one another. Together we must stand helping, ministering and exhorting one another to be strong, resisting the devil so that he will flee from us. The serpent only feeds on dust. Your dust has been redeemed through the cross so that you walk no longer in the former dust and lust of your flesh, but live out of the life of the Spirit of Christ in you. In that place he has nothing to feed upon.

Blessings,
#kent

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Antichrist among Us

September 18, 2014

1 John 2:18-22
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

Antichrist among Us

An antichrist spirit is that which denies and abides not in the Truth. Those who are in Christ know the truth and embrace who they in Christ through obedience and faith. Many of us have been concerned about the Antichrist that is coming, but the scripture is warning us that his spirit is already here among us. The scripture says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” This suggests that the spirit of antichrist in our very midst and assembly. Now don’t construe that just because someone doesn’t embrace your particular doctrinal beliefs or stay with your group that they are antichrist. This goes beyond that. This touches those that may have an outward confession or appearance of a Christian, but in their hearts they deny that Jesus is the Christ. In their hearts they have not been joined and made one with Him. Those who are in Christ will find their identity in Christ for they are of the same Spirit as He. They no longer are seeing Christ as separate, up, out and away from them. They are coming into the identity of who they are in Christ and who He is in them. It is a mindset and revelation that we are in Christ now. While we may be absent from Him in body, we are present with Him in spirit.
One thing that trials and testing do is they prove the substance and spirit of a person. If we do not truly possess Christ and find our reliance and life in Him, we will not be able to stand the test. We may go to church, serve on the board and sing in the choir, but if Christ is not in us, then we are only living a religion and not a reality. The proof of a child of God is seen in the fire. It is when they hold fast their faith even when all of natural reality speaks and testifies against it. They are born of the Truth and the Truth abides in them. They live out of that reality. It is not based on their understanding, their goodness, or their knowledge; it based on the substance of Christ in them. In that faith they stand, even to the yielding up of their natural life. This is why the scripture says in 1 Peter 1: 6-9 “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”
It is he who denies that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and God’s only Son that is the antichrist. When we deny the Son, we deny the Father as well for by One we know the Other. If we fail to embrace that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life then we are of an antichrist spirit. We are conditional believers who will forsake the faith when we perceive that God has not met our conditions or expectations. Those in Christ are unconditional believers that are sold out. They will follow Christ to the end no matter what the cost. Our faith is not conditional upon our circumstances, our understanding or what we feel. It is based on an inward knowing of Him who abides within us. The knowing is so great that even death does not move us from it, because in Him we have the assurance of Life everlasting. Outside of Him what do we have but the assurance of death and judgement? You who are in Christ know this Truth because you have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things. You may not think that you do, but the One who knows all abides in you.
If this word moves you at all to question your faith then come to the Lord in true repentance and embrace Him in faith. Ask Him to come into your heart and remove every spirit in you that has opposed Him. Don’t carry with you the outward appearance of a Christian; possess the inward reality and assurance that can be yours through your commitment to Christ in faith. You can possess that inward peace and assurance that you are His.

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

The Snare of Pride

December 11, 2013

The Snare of Pride


Psalms 10:4

In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.


Pride is a stronghold that stands in opposition to God.  It is centered in self and self-reliance.  The prideful person is most often blind to their arrogance and is often blindsided by their own self-righteousness.  A good case and point are the Jews in John 8:31-46.  “31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

33They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 

34Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.” 

39“Abraham is our father,” they answered. 

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. 40As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41You are doing the things your own father does.” 

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” 

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.” 

Pride will blind us to sin and who we really are.  Just as these Jews protested that they had always been free and that their father was Abraham, Jesus spoke to them the sobering reality that they were sinners and slaves to sin.  If we are righteous, then we will first hear the words of Jesus, we will acknowledge our sin and repent of it and then we will walk and live in obedience to God’s Word.  Pride will cause our ears to be deaf to hear the spiritual truth that will bring conviction.  John 8:43 says, “…Because you are unable to hear what I say.”  It will often even protest its religious alliance to God, but its fruits of true righteousness and obedience are barren.  It is interesting in this passage that it says Jesus was talking to the Jews that believed and yet they were the ones ready to kill Him.  As believers we too can have pride in our hearts that we aren’t even aware of.  We can have spiritual pride as well as natural pride.  It can be the root and gateway to sin in our lives.  Pride will always justify itself and never want to acknowledge itself for what it is, rebellion against God.  When God says, “to this man will I look, even to him that is of a humble and contrite heart,” he is looking for the man that is emptied of pride, self-reliance and self-righteousness.  He is looking for the man who only has eyes for the Lord and is totally and completely reliant upon the Lord for all that He is. His willing obedience and submission to the Word of God and his love for the Lord verifies his true humility and trust.  He is not trying to live a life outside of God, but totally in God. 

What place is pride playing in our hearts?  Are we harboring sin, are we self-reliant and self-directed?  Have we truly yielded every area of our lives in obedience to His Lordship?  Have we gone to the other extreme where we perceive ourselves as being more righteous and spiritual than others are?   Have we unknowingly and unwittingly been caught up in the snare of pride?

 

Blessings,

kent

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