Our Hiding Place

September 17, 2020

John 3:19-21

19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Our Hiding Place

              You know what is strange is that most all of us say we want more of God.  We want His presence, we want to see His power and we want to see the Holy Spirit moving among us.  The truth is that many of us really don’t want God to move much in our lives. Why is that?  Because we have found our comfort zones.  Our lives may be a mess, but we are comfortable.  It is what we know and are content with and even though we know that we need so much more, our flesh withdraws from it.  Why is that?  It is for the very reason stated here in John 3; we fear the light lest our deeds be exposed.  We are much more content to hide in our comfort zones, play church and feign religion than to let go and come out of our comfort zones and into His presence.  So even if God is willing to meet with us, we are so often unwilling to meet with Him.  Even as Christians we often love our darkness and the comfort of where we are.  There we can live, as we want too, do as we want too and still be religious if we want too, but God don’t shine your light on me.  We have become complacent and apathetic, blinded to our own darkness and state of impotence.

              Sometimes it is guilt and condemnation that keeps us away from God.  We believe the lie of the enemy that God would never love us or accept us for who we are.  If God doesn’t love you and won’t accept you for who you are then why did God so love the world that He gave His only Son?   While we were yet sinners and enemies of God He loved and gave Himself for us.  How could He love you and accept you any more than that?  God loves the sinner, but He hates that sin that is the cancer destroying our lives.  His desire is not to beat us with a big stick of condemnation, the devil does that.  What we are blind too is that we already stand condemned outside of Him.  God in His infinite love is simply trying to save us from our own destruction.   God doesn’t send us to hell.  We send ourselves to hell by refusing His mercy and truth that can save us and bring us back into right fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ. 

              How long are we going to keep running away from the love of God?  While we are looking back and worrying about avoiding God we are running headlong into the oblivion of destruction.  God is not your enemy; He is your advocate, your deliver and your friend.  It is His mercy and love that He wants to pour out into your life.  It is the liberty and deliverance of His Spirit that He wants to bring you into.  True abandonment to God is extreme life.  It is living life on the edge with full confidence and trust in Him and not in ourselves.  If we remain content to live in the darkness of our sin then we will end up dying in our sin and the consequences will be reaped from what we have sown. 

              God has a better way for us.  Remember the little boy that gave up his five loaves and two fishes that Jesus used to feed a multitude of people?  What if the little boy hadn’t been willing to give up his lunch?  What if he said, “Sorry, they should have packed their own lunch?  They will just have to go hungry.”  God is not asking us to be anything that He hasn’t made us to be.  He is simply asking that we be available to allow Him to manifest His strength and purpose through us.  In our weakness He is made strong.  We will never be good enough to deserve God, because it is God’s goodness that we need in us and that is only a gift that He can give as we come into His light and allow Him to have our lives just as they are. 

              If we don’t come into the fullness of God’s light soon the darkness of this hour will overtake us.  God is calling for us with outstretched arms. 

“Come out of your comfort zones and become available to Me.  I will be a light unto your path and a lamp unto your feet.” 

Submit yourselves to the love of God and to the light of His truth.  There you will find true life and liberty.  There you will find His life and purpose for you that is so much greater than you ever imagined or have ever lived in.  In the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy.  Come out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.

Blessings,

#kent

Light and Dark

August 12, 2020

Light and Dark

Luke 11:34-36

The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when [thine eye] is evil, thy body also [is] full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness If thy whole body therefore [be] full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

              Throughout the Word darkness is often symbolic of ignorance, or a place where God’s truth and light is not active and working.  This is the state we were all in before we came to the knowledge of Christ and He illuminated our spirits with His Truth.  2 Corinthians 4:6 says, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  It is in this place of darkness that sin and unrighteousness can work.  The devil is like a cockroach; he loves the darkness because there he can work his deception and wickedness.  The light is a difficult area for the devil to work in because it exposes lies, deceptions and wickedness.  It takes issues out of the place of ignorance and deception and exposes them to the light of God’s Word.  Light and darkness are issues that don’t just concern the world and the unsaved.  They are issues that concern us as Christians on an ongoing basis.  This is why we keep dealing with these issues of light and darkness.  This area of darkness is one we still struggle with in our own lives everyday.  The purpose God sent His Son was to deliver us out of darkness and spiritual ignorance.  The nature of the flesh is that it likes the darkness, because there it doesn’t have to be accountable to God.  John 3:19, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” 

              Many of us are struggling with issues of sin in our lives because there are areas of our lives we still want to keep in darkness.  These are the dark closets of our soul where we have kept the hidden desires and passions of our hearts.  If we never did anything that we would be ashamed for others to see and know about then there is no darkness.  Darkness is the breeding ground for sin to work in our lives and it is why it is so important for us to have accountability to one another, because it helps us to keep ourselves in the light.  The light is our protection and defense against the sin and destruction that wants to perpetrate our lives.  The deception of darkness is that what we do in secret may start rather small and insignificant, but it continues to grow little by little.  We become dull and desensitized because as it grows it is warping and blinding our judgement and discernment.  We become more tolerant and justifying of our actions, thoughts and attitudes.  Then, one day, the light exposes the darkness in our lives and we find that what was once insignificant has become a monster.   It is now threatening to destroy us, our loved ones and all that we hold dear; not to mention what it has done to our testimony and witness for Christ.   Romans 12:13 says, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”   The light of God’s Word is our protection and fortress against the works and destructive nature of darkness.   As we put on Christ we are putting on the armor of light and truth that sets us apart and causes us to stand out as light-bearers and not darkness dwellers.

              Are there areas of darkness at work in your life today?  Are there hidden things in our lives, areas where we are not allowing the Holy Spirit into and we may think no one sees?  What is done in secret will be shouted on the rooftops.  God will bring our darkness to light, and even if it weren’t, we still must give account before Him one day for nothing is hidden from Him. 

              God is giving many of us a warning and exhortation today to get all of our lives out into the light, to forsake the hidden works of darkness and to repent and be accountable to one another.  Sure we all deal with areas of weakness in our lives, but let us find others whom we can confide in and who can pray with us and help us in our struggles.  We need each other to strengthen and fortify one another against the ravaging effects that unchecked sin can have in our lives.  Don’t isolate yourself, because then you become like the sheep separated from the flock which is easy prey for the wolves.  Find unity, strength and wholeness in the body of Christ.  We are a body that should not function to condemn or pass judgement on one another, but build up, encourage and help one another.  We are all the products of God’s grace and not our own goodness so let His grace work through us to help and minister to one another.  1 Corinthians 10:12-13 exhorts us, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].”  Let us give diligence that the light of God and His Truth fills our lives so that darkness has no place in us.  “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness (John 12:46).”

Blessings,

#kent

Psalm 119:11

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

 The Word Hidden in Your Heart

              That which we store up and which we meditate upon continually, becomes the foundation of our thoughts, our values and our way of living.  Even in those times when we stray, lose our way, are assaulted with trials, tribulations and temptations, it is the foundation of our heart that draws us back to our roots.  Why do we need to hide God’s Word within our hearts, because it ties us and binds us to Him.  It intertwines His values with our thoughts.  It gives us compass and direction when we are not sure where to go or what to do.  That Word in us, we want to be like a well-sharpened sword sheathed in the recesses and the presence of our minds.  It is what we pull out when temptation and the enemy come against us.  It is what checks us when the passions of our flesh are drawing us into their web of seductiveness.   It is what gives us a greater wisdom and insight than does the conventional wisdom of this world.  The Word of God is the most powerful weapon that God has given us.  Because it His will and His mind and His authority.  It is what we stand upon when all odds and natural reasoning stands against us.  It is what we hope in, rely upon and what reveals to us our purpose and importance in God’s plan for our lives.   When we clothe and armor ourselves in the knowledge and revelation of God’s Word then we can have the inner strength to walk and to abide in the Spirit of God.  Our focus and eye is set upon our destiny in Christ and everything else becomes secondary to that purpose. 

              When Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He fasted for forty days and nights, it was the Word that sustained Him, because the Word is life.  It was the Word that He gave back to satan when He was tempted.  It was the Word that kept satan from finding anything in Jesus that he could use against Him.  Christ is the Word and Christ abides within us, so His Word must abide within us.  Out of the Word we flow in the Spirit of God in obedience and humility.  Eat and drink a steady diet of God’s Word, for in it He will establish and keep you.  When the written word is taken from you then all that you have is what you have stored in your heart.  It is the oil that will light your lamp in the day of His coming.  Hide the richness of that Word within your heart.

Blessings,

#kent

Light of the World

April 19, 2016

 

Jhn 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Light of the World

John 1:4 says, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”  

      Have you ever felt your way in the darkness?  You’re feeling around holding your arms out while you move them back and forth feeling for objects in your path, gingerly putting one foot in front of the other while you seek to find your way.  Especially in unfamiliar surrounding we develop a distorted view of what our surrounding are really like in the darkness.  If we lived in this condition continually then our reality would come to be based on the distorted perceptions that we would develop.  Then one day someone pulls back the curtains lets the light shine brightly into that environment we had been dwelling in so long without light.  Perhaps our initial reaction is one of confusion and bewilderment as we struggle to adjust to this illumination of the area we thought we had all figured out while it was in darkness.  We begin to realize that if we saw anything at all it was just the highlights of our surroundings, but so many details we had missed.  Suddenly the light has brought a whole new meaning and dimension to life that we had never been aware of before.  In that light so much is revealed and lot of it isn’t good.  We see all the messes, the dirt and the filth we had been able to overlook in the darkness.  The light introduced a whole new dimension in our lives that wasn’t there before.  Now we are faced with a decision, do we walk and live in the light and begin to operate our lives based on this new insight or do we see all of the things we are much happier to leave hidden in the shadows and darkness of our lives and choose to pull the curtains back shut, continuing to live in the darkness?  

      God was the one who pulled back the curtain of spiritual ignorance and allowed the light and knowledge of Christ to shine fully upon the spiritual darkness of this earth.  Jesus brought the spiritual light to men and shone into our darkened hearts with the truth of His Word.  

What will we do with the light of His truth?  Will we receive the light of Christ and in union with the Holy Spirit begin to clean out the garbage that has polluted our lives or will we do as John 3: 19-20 says, “ And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”

      Will we allow the light to fill our lives and bring us into the light and life of God or will we pull the curtains and reject the light, choosing darkness and spiritual death?  God has left the choice to you.

Blessings,

#kent

 

You are the Light of the World

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

John 8:12 declares to us, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  When Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world then it is pretty obvious where the origin of that light is.   It is first in Christ and now abides in us by virtue of the fact that Christ is in us.  We are the lamps of God to show others the way of salvation and to bring His light to illuminate the souls of others so that they in turn may be lightbearers.  It is interesting that the Word doesn’t say that we necessarily share our light by preaching at people.  Jesus says, “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  People often hear people saying a lot of things about Jesus and God, but what do you think that they look at to confirm the authenticity of what you may be speaking with your words?  They are going to observe your life.  If you are really this godly person that you speak of then the proof should be in the pudding.  They want to observe the reality of Christ in our lives in our daily living, actions and deeds.  There are many voices saying many things about the way to God.  Why would someone believe that maybe ours is the right way?  Could it be because they see in us someone who is not like the rest of the world?  Could it be because they are seeing someone living out of kingdom principles of love, giving, putting others first, compassion, kindness and self-control?  They probably aren’t going to see perfection, but they must be able to observe the difference through our good deeds.  That is what will draw men to the Lord and make the words you have to share about Christ and salvation more effectual.  

Where the light is, there is a conviction of sin.  If the life of Christ is truly evident in our lives there will be those who don’t want to be around you because of the conviction just your presence brings.  You may not say or do anything that is condemning them and yet they will feel the conviction of their sin.  On the other hand others will be drawn to the light because they see that you possess something that can deliver them out of the power and destruction of sin.  Jesus says in John 3: 19-22

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”  Sin, by nature, abides in darkness.  Men that love their sin will not enjoy your company if you are bringing with it the light of God.  

When we make the decision to live in truth, it doesn’t mean that there is not darkness left around us.  We experience through acceptance of Christ a cleansing, but there are still attitudes, behaviors and strongholds in our soul that are still in darkness.  The difference is that we have given the Holy Spirit permission to deal and convict us of those areas of sin so that we may gain freedom from their stronghold and influence.  This is an ongoing experience of salvation and work of the Holy Spirit in us.  

1 John 1:7 tells us, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sinOur safety and salvation is walking in the light so that sin has no place to hide in us.  Our greatest place of danger is when we harbor our sins, our secret lust and desires in the darkness.  It is in the darkness that they feed and grow.  James 1:5 reveals the progression, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  We must think of sin as like a cancer.  Early detection and treatment is the key.  The body of Christ is not to be a rumor mill of gossip and condemnation.  It should be a safe haven where we can confess our sins one to another.  It should be a place of healing and restoration.  James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Our accountability to one another as well as to the Lord is what can help us when we are struggling with areas of sin in our lives.  We tend to all want to act like everything is fine with us when we are in Christian circles, because we are all suppose to be so spiritual.  We need times to get intimately real with one another and really confess and pray for one another in the areas where we struggle and we all do.  Find that Christian friend in your life of the same sex that you can bear the secrets of your heart too and they can share with you.  Pray for one another, be accountable to one another and help each other to walk in the light, for you are the light of the world.

Blessings,

#kent

The Love of God

October 20, 2015

John 3:16-21
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

The Love of God
John 3:16 is one of those scriptures that many of us as young Christians memorize. Sometimes in its simplicity we forget or miss how profound it truly is. How many of us as fathers can really grasp what it would be like for us to give our only son as a sacrifice for someone else’s misdeeds? Romans 5:6-8 tells us, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So even if you could be willing to allow your only son to be sacrificed for someone would it be your enemy? Would it be for the one who deserved your wrath and judgement rather than you love and mercy? When we really stop to analyze and think about God’s love for this world it should just blow us away, because it makes absolutely no sense to the natural mind or reason. How can we take this manner of love so lightly? How can we even regard it as common or ordinary? Our God is such an extraordinary God that works through such a supernatural and incomprehensible love towards us and the world rejects it. So many times, even we, as the people of God, treat as common place and ordinary this holy love, displayed and sacrificed for mankind. If we do, it is because we don’t truly comprehend it or have it operating fully within us. Those who go willingly and offer their lives as willing sacrifice for the gospel of Jesus Christ have come into a revelation of that love. They comprehend that if this love is so great that even the holy Son of the living God and Creator would lay down His life for us then it is worth our laying down our lives as well. Most of won’t even sacrifice our comforts let alone our lives.
One of the things a true revelation of God’s love will bring us too is that there is something so much greater at stake than just us. It will give us the heartbeat of God for creation. It will empower us to love the unlovely, the rejected and the destitute. It will cause our hearts to hurt for the lost and dying, just as Father’s heart hurts and longs for them to come to Him.
As human beings perhaps one of the things we like least is having our darkness exposed. We are often comfortable in our sin and deception even though it only brings us misery and pain. We don’t want to see ourselves for what we are and as God sees us. The capacity of the love of God is to see past our faults and see our need and it is to that need that He addresses Himself. He created mankind to rule and reign with Him, but we exchanged the truth for a lie and righteousness for pleasure. Romans 1:21-25 says, ” For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”
“For God so loved the world.” What a blessing and a privilege that we have come to an acknowledgement and acceptance of this love by our faith in Jesus Christ. Is our love now so shallow that His love towards us stops with us? No, an immature child is one that is only concerned for their own needs, but when one comes into maturity they learn to become the givers and not the takers.
What is our revelation of God’s love in us today? Are we still just content to take it and not give it? God didn’t build us to be reservoirs to horde and store up for only ourselves, us four and no more. He is wanting to impart His heart of love into us that we may become the conduits and pipelines of His love and blessing. We are the salt of the earth and a city set upon a hill. We are the outshining of his glory and the expression of His love. If not us, then who?

Blessings,
#kent

Coming into the Light

September 16, 2015

Coming into the Light
John 12:44-50
44Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. 46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
47″As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. 49For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

When we see and comprehend Jesus as the Son of God, that understanding brings spiritual light and illumination. We have before us a pathway of light that we might walk into and take on the nature of that light. Many who have seen Jesus have seen a great light. They even acknowledge that He is that light of God that is come into the world. Many of them sit in church every Sunday and while they acknowledge the light they still abide in darkness.
We can see the lights of a great city from a great distance. We can acknowledge that it is a city and we may even admire it, but until we move there and abide there we are not citizens of that city. Many who acknowledge Christ miss this point. We are not children of God by mere association and agreement with Truth. We must come into Truth and have our residence and being in that place.
If we simply hear the words of Jesus and the gospel, but they never really become a part of who we are and part of our nature then it will be the very Word that we said that we agreed with that shall judge us. When we are truly born again of Spirit, we are no longer trying to be holy or spiritual by association, we are holy and spiritual because we have embraced the Light by faith and asked Him to come into our hearts. Now we are to be the expression of the Light that burns within us. We abide in the truth and in the Word of God because that is now who we are. As the children of Light we must continually exercise the Light of God’s Truth so that we are conformed to the same nature as the Light that we possess. God has called us to be the Light of our world and to be the expression of His truth before men. Our obedience to the Word of God is our abiding in the truth and the light. Faith embraces it and obedience brings it into substance.
Are we abiding in the Light? We can be all around the Light, but until we become the vessel of the Light we abide in darkness. The Light glorifies the Father and acknowledges Him in all of its ways. For He is the source, the generator, the dynamo of all that is Light and Truth. All that embrace God’s light and power will put away the works of darkness and come into conformity with the Light.

Blessings,
#kent

God of Light

July 9, 2015

God of Light
1 John 1:5
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Without the light and Spirit of God we would still be in state of the earth and the heavens when they were first formed and created. Genesis 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.“ In John 1:1-5 gives us the spiritual interpretation of the natural creation. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
This morning as the Lord had impressed upon my heart this scripture from 1John, I was studying through some of the scriptures on light. I began to get a little drowsy so I got up to stretch my legs. I walked over to the back door and looked out, it was dawn and the light was beautifully illuminating the clouds at the end of the mountain range. There wre a couple of small cloud beneath the others that were like little floating flames of fire as they caught and reflected the light of the rising sun. Quickly, I walked back to my office and grabbed my camera to take a picture. As I hurriedly tried to set the exposure and I took a couple of pictures, I looked down at the display and it was informing me that I didn’t have a flash card in my digital camera. I had to make a dash back to the office to get a flash card. While the scene was still pretty I had missed the climax of its beauty.
I began to think about the analogy of how God created man to capture and reflect His beauty and nature, but like John 1:5 the light shined in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not. You might say we are all like a bunch of cameras, but without film or a flash card we can’t fulfill our destiny and the reason for which we were created. We can go through the motions, but we can’t comprehend or capture the light of God unless we have received Christ into our hearts and been quickened in our spirits. He is the film in our cameras. He is the one that gives meaning and purpose to our being. Cameras without film or a means of capturing the light are of no use to us. God needs a people who are able to capture and comprehend by His Spirit their reason and purpose for being and then start becoming the image of the light that they see and capture in their spirits. 2 Samuel 22:29 says, “For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.” It is only the light of God that gives us understanding and comprehension of who and what we are in Him. Psalms 36:9 says, “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” God has given us His torchbearer to manifest and demonstrate His life in the world through Christ. The Church is like the candlestick that maintains and bears that light.
Exodus 25 tells us how God commanded Moses to make the golden candlestick, which is a type of Christ and the Church. “”Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it. Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other… “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it.”” Here we get a picture of a golden candlestick beaten out of one piece of pure gold. It is telling us that the Church is of one substance in Christ, that pure holy nature being like the gold. It is formed by being hammered out; “…we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). “ The lamp stand has six branches, three on each side, six being the number of man, but it has seven lamps. The base and the center stem make up the seventh, like Christ who is the chief cornerstone of our foundation of faith, the six branches come out of the center-supporting candlestick. The purpose of the candlestick was to illuminate what was in front of it. Likewise the Church in Christ is to illuminate each generation with the light of the gospel and the Spirit of Christ. Exodus 27:20 goes on to inform us, “And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.” The pure beaten olive oil is like the Holy Spirit that keeps us burning continually. Again we see the beating and the processing involved in getting each thing to a usable state. The candlestick illuminates a glorious realm of the Holy Place in the tabernacle, but in this place there are still shadows and areas of darkness.
The Holy of Holies is where God Almighty resides and in that place the illumination is His Light. While mortal sinful man can not approach this light, the perfect high priest, Jesus Christ can and we are told that we are in Him. 1 John 5:20 tells us, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” Are we comprehending and capturing where our position is? It is in Christ. And where does the Christ dwell. Colossians 3:3 puts it all in perspective, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” We have been brought into the Most Holy Place, in Christ. It is in Christ that we have been told that we can approach His throne boldly. Hebrew 4:14 –16, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” In Christ we are being brought into the Light that will dispel every shadow and darkness in us. We have been called to be light bearers, capturing the light of God in our Spirits and presenting that image before men. For we serve the God who is Light and in whom there is no darkness or shadow of turning.

Blessings,
#kent

Faithfulness

June 11, 2015

Faithfulness

1 Corinthians 4:1-5
1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

When we received Christ as our savior and embraced the cross, we embraced and committed ourselves to a trust. Through our faith in Christ we promised to be faithful. Even as couples, at the altar of marriage, enter into a covenant with one another, part of that covenant is the commitment to faithfulness and fidelity. Likewise we are in covenant with Christ and one of the primary attributes God desires in His people is faithfulness, unswerving, unconditional and continued commitment to their faith. God is looking for faithful servants that He can commit His kingdom, his power and authority unto. If they do not prove faithful they will abuse, misuse or fail to use what He would entrust to their care. Each one of us in Christ has been given the Holy Spirit. The Word teaches us that He gives us gifts and callings and talents. We may not see ourselves as being anything or having anything, but God has placed something unique and special within each one of us. He wants us to be faithful in whatever it is that He has given to us. Some of us are still learning and searching out what our unique talents and giftings are. They have a way of coming to the surface if you will look for them, because they are all resident in you, because Christ is in you. God is not asking all of us to be a great missionary, evangelist, preacher or teacher. It is not the prominence of what we do; it is the faithfulness that God is looking upon and that we will give account for. It is faithfulness that causes the body of Christ to function and operate in a healthy manner. What is unhealthy is when someone tries to make us be, or we try to be, something that God didn’t intend that we were. We can get out of God’s placement and we will most likely experience a great deal of frustration and failure if we are. We don’t always get man’s approval or even the approval of our brethren for what God has called us too, but it is important that we please God and not men. Often we can look at others and make judgements about them and their place with God that we have no business making. We can even misjudge ourselves. God is the final judge and before Him we stand justified or condemned. Far too often we try and judge a fruit before it is ripe. God is working in and processing each one of us to be what He has created us to be. Our job and responsibility is to remain faithful to Him through the process.
Faithfulness is often a submission to others who are in authority and even submission as an act of love. There will be times you may be far more qualified than one who is over you and you may find that to be a source of trial and irritation, but remember ‘humility is strength under control’. Faithfulness is lifting others up and not putting them down.
A faithful man is a reliable man. One story of faithfulness that impresses me in the Old Testament is the story about Uriah the Hittite. He was the husband of Bathsheba whom David became involved with and impregnated. David, in his effort to cover up his sin brings Uriah back from the battle so that he can get him to have relations again with his wife and then the child can be attributed to him. Uriah, the Hittite is actually named among David’s mighty men, which were like the elite force of David made up of thirty some men. Uriah wasn’t the most prominent of men, but there is an attribute we begin to see in Uriah that we could aspire to be like. He was faithful to David to a fault. Normally this would be a very desirable quality in a soldier, but unfortunately faithfulness was not quite the attribute David was hoping for when he brought Uriah home to his wife. Uriah was more committed to David than he was to his own wife and because of his faithfulness to David and his men he wouldn’t allow himself to even sleep with his wife. He viewed that as a betrayal of his trust while he was still committed to the battle and the other men had to abstain and be separated from their wives. Uriah was such a faithful man that David ended up ordering him into a suicide mission that would take him out of the picture. One cannot help but admire the dedication that Uriah had to David. That is the kind of faithfulness we want to have toward Christ.
So many of us are morally and spiritually loose in our faith. We are tossed to and fro. We are double-minded, trying to be spiritual and yet operating so much out of the flesh. That is not to condemn us; it is to draw attention and awareness to the state of our own faithfulness. How trustworthy and faithful are we to the Lord’s work and the mission we have to live for Him?
The one thing I think we all want to hear when we get to heaven is the Lord saying, “Well done thou good and faithful servant; enter ye into the joy of the Lord.” Are we His faithful servants? Are we responding, as we ought to the high calling of faithfulness that the Lord has placed upon each one of us? It is not for others to judge, but one day God will judge it and what will He find in us?

Blessings,
#kent

Unity in the Body

April 8, 2015

Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Unity in the Body

I was just thinking about if my right thumb got offended with my index finger and decided to leave my right hand go over to my left. Now I’ve got two left thumbs. Then my left big toe has falling out with my left foot and decides to go join up with my nose. Now I’ve got my former big left toe trying to function as a nose. Do we get the picture of how dissension and disunity in the body can quickly bring dysfunction and misalignment? It doesn’t take long before we no longer have a functioning body, but a freakish mess. Does that resemble how we see a lot of the body of Christ trying to operate in today?
Why, because we are all so easily offended and willing to move out of the place where God has set us. It is important that you truly seek God to place you in a body and that when He does you are not moved except by Him. Most of us know that when you start rubbing a lot of different personalities together you may well create a blister or a sore spot. Our first tendency is get up and just move to a different seat or a different church. Just because our brothers and sisters are Christians doesn’t mean everything in our relationship with them is going to be rosy. What we may overlook is there is always an enemy at work to kill, steal and destroy and while he may well be at work to cause disunity and division, there is also God that is at work to mature us in our love and tolerance of one another.
I see people come and go out of our particular body of Christ all of the time. Most of them are precious men and women of God. I observe that so many times it is personal dislike, disagreements or offenses with others that make them move on. Maybe it was in God’s time to move them on, but a lot of times I think it is because we won’t allow ourselves to be perfected in love. Our love is still mostly about our personal preferences, opinions and how we think things should be. Because we took up a grievance and moved out of position of where God placed us, how do you think that ends up impacting your ministry for yourself and for others. Now you move someplace else until you are offended or in disagreement again and so the cycle goes. Thus so many play the game of musical churches.
What we are missing is some of the spiritual clothing that we are suppose to have put on. Instead of our suit and tie or our going to Sunday dress let’s put the clothing that the Word exhorts us to be clothed with. Compassion, having more of a heart for others than we do for ourselves. Kindness, which extends itself to looking after the interest of others and not just self. Humility, which is strength under control, so that despite who and what you may be in the Spirit, you are always coming under and lifting others up. Gentleness, it is not harsh, or brash, but handles others with the love of Jesus. Patience, last but not least, it is the patience of God that helps us to endure the offenses, misdeeds and issues of others. Remember that, unless you’ve started walking on water, you have some issues of your own that others have to tolerate in you. The bottom line is we have to grasp and lay hold of what true agape’ love is, if we are going to start seeing unity at work in the body. As long the body is always upset and fighting among itself it can never come into the focus of its purpose. The first revelation we all have to get is that body ministry and functionality is not first about us; it is about Him! We come together to first worship and serve Him, not just to get our ego stroked and our preferences met.
We have entered into an hour and season where love and unity in the body is paramount to what God is doing at this time. He is calling us to be a healthy, living breathing organism ruled and compelled by love, not a misfit organization trying to play church. We’ve come to treat our relationship with the body of Christ like we do many of our marriages, when it gets to messy we bail out of it. As long we keep running away and moving on, we can’t come into the fullness of unity, love and purpose God has for us.
I am not going to tell you that everything leadership or somebody else in the body did to you was right or justified. It probably wasn’t, but what does the Word say? “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Have we all truly done that? It would be great if we were all perfect in our love and didn’t have to deal with these issues, but the truth is that it takes dealing with these issues if we are going to mature in the love of Christ. You don’t think there were days Jesus might have felt like kicking his disciples to the curb and saying, “I don’t have to put up with this.” It was because He clothed himself with these very attributes that He not only put with them, but endured the cross for them, as well as us. If it is our desire to be identified with His nature and character, then we are going to have to endure some of the work of the cross in us. Be where God places you and stay there until He moves you. If you are going through some things it is because you need to grow through some of these things. Remember it is the lowest valleys that prepare you for the highest mountains.
The body must truly put on the love and humility of Christ if we are to walk in unity to accomplish the purpose of the Father. He said we would be a bride without spot or wrinkle. Well, obviously there is a whole lot of cleaning and ironing that needs to go on to get us there. Allow His love to have its perfect work in you.

Blessings,
#kent

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