Hebrews12:1-3
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

I remember when I was a young boy I spent a great deal of time on my grandparent’s farm. When I was probably a young teen my grandpa had taught me how to drive. It had first started with learning to drive a tractor and then he taught me how to drive “Little Red”. It was an old, red, 1949 step side Chevy pickup. Being out in the country we could get away with driving before we had a driver’s license. I remember one day I happened to be by myself driving down the country road and my attention was diverted onto some pheasants that were feeding out in the field. As I was watching those pheasants my attention suddenly came back to my driving. I looked up and found myself driving in the ditch instead of the road. Fortunately was able to steer back up on the road and get back on course.
I was thinking how typical this is of our walk with the Lord. We can be going along pretty good, but then something else catches our attention and pulls us off of our walk and relationship with the Lord. It may not have even been anything bad or sinful, but it was a distraction. Suddenly one day we come to our senses, look up and find that we are driving in the ditch. While we were looking away we got off course and we got off the road that we were on.
We have all learned through our experience as drivers how important it is to keep our focus when we are driving. Even a few moments of distraction or inattention could result in an accident. Hebrews 12:1-3 is our exhortation to keep our eyes on the road, fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. The journey that we are on is not for just a day or even a week; it is a lifetime of commitment and walking with Jesus. There are plenty of things out there that want grab our attention and cause us to get off course from the road we are traveling. I am sure it has happened to most of us and you may find that you are driving in the ditch at this time in your life.
The Lord is graciously calling for us to get back on course with Him today. We can not expect to win the prize and finish the race if we quit or stay off course. There are many reasons that we get off course in our spiritual walk, but if we will fix our eyes on Jesus He will help to us to complete the race that we have begun. It is not about our ability or our goodness; it is about our commitment and obedience to His faithfulness. It says that He is the author and the finisher of our faith. He is writing the book on your life. I don’t know about you, but I would like every page of that book to be about Him.
Is it always easy to walk this walk and hold fast our faith? No, sometimes we get discouraged, tired or distracted and we want to give up or let it go. Then we have to ask ourselves what did Jesus have to give up so that I could run this race and be found complete in Him. He despised the shame and endured the cross. He endured the opposition of sinful men. If He was willing to do that for me then can I do less when I meet with adversity, hardship, weariness or the distractions of this life? We have to fix our eyes back on Jesus and stay in the race and yes, the Lord does need you. He didn’t give His life to lose you; He gave it to save you. He didn’t ask us to do it alone or even in our own strength. He has promised to be here with us, even when we feel the burn in our legs from the race. It is easier to win a race when you have something to focus on. Look down at the end of the course. There are all of those that have gone before us cheering us on and saying, “Come on, keep running, you can do it.” There we also see Jesus with His open arms of love and assurance waiting to embrace us.
Today let us get our focus back on the race. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author and the finisher of our faith. Keep your eyes on the road.

Blessings,
#kent

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Deceitfulness of Sin

April 29, 2014

Hebrews 3:12-14a
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

Deceitfulness of Sin

We are a people that are much moved and guided by our souls: our mind, will and emotions. Often we use these natural senses to define our truth and often they are the inroads that satan uses to turn us from faith to an unbelieving heart. Often the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes and the vainglory of this life dictate our values in life. Even when we have embraced a faith in Christ the ways of the world we live in are most often in direct conflict and opposition to it. Our faith in Christ takes us down a very rewarding road, but the rewards are not always evident or seen. Those rewards, like the very nature of our Christian walk, are often ones of faith. The apostle Paul makes a statement in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” It is not always in this life that we see the wonderful riches of Christ manifested. True Christians have to be a people of faith, love and vision. When we loose sight of those attributes, then our hearts can become unbelieving and we start looking at the world. We see the temporal rewards of this life that may be passing us by. In those times of weakness our eyes and heart begin to turn from the Word of Truth, the promises of God, which we possess by faith and the deceitfulness of sin can enter in. Justification and compromise become more and more a part of our lifestyle as we begin to believe the lie and embrace the sin.
Brethren, in Christ, we have not chosen the easy way. The way of the cross is never easy and it can often be demanding and painful. But we endure the cross, despising the shame, even as Jesus did, for the greater hope that is set before us. We have the assurance and vision of our faith that Paul gives us 2 Corinthians 4:13-18, “It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So 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.” Again, he says in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We live by faith, not by sight.” The deceitfulness of sin gets our eyes off of these spiritual realities and on the temporal rewards and gratification of this present world. What we often fail to see is what the fish fails to see when he takes the bait, which covers the hook. What looks good and even innocent to the outward man gets a hook in us that takes us where we don’t want to go, keeps us longer than we want to stay and cost us more than we want to pay. It doesn’t matter how rich we are, how famous or powerful we are or how much we have if we become the servants of sin and the enemy controls us. The man that possess nothing of this world, yet possess the freedom of his soul in Christ, is a far richer man than the one controlled and ruled by sin. How quickly we can lose sight of this truth.
We can’t allow our confidence to be shaken, by the disappointments of this life. Don’t look back as Lot’s wife did who was turned to a pillar of salt. “We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” Our inheritance is not of this world and we must maintain our vision to see beyond the things of this world. We must be of one mind and vision even as Paul has shared in Philippians 3:12-21, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Here he speaks to us of the results of the deceitfulness of sin, as well as to the glorious hope we have in Christ. Be encouraged in your faith and don’t waiver from it. This world has nothing for us.
We are a people that are entering into the rest of God where we know Him as our all in all. We are not moved by what we see, but by what the Word of God and the Spirit of God are telling us. We are a people with a faith, a love and a vision. We will not be moved. We will not harden our hearts in sin, but with a humble and contrite heart we will find our forgiveness in the blood of Jesus that we might continue to press on into the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

Hinderances

April 11, 2014

Galatians 5:7
Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

Hinderances

This word hinder in the Greek is “egkoptō” which literally means ” to cut into, to impede one’s course by cutting off his way.” The question the Lord is asking us today is what is hindering us? What is interrupting our road to walking in His will and purpose?
There are many things that can come into interrupt and cut us off from walking and fulfilling the purpose and destiny that we are called too. Let’s just touch on a few and this by no means exhaustive so there are many others that could be added to the list. Scripturally we will address a few of them.
In Luke 11:52 Jesus addresses a major hindrance, ” Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.” One of the greatest hindrances we have in the Church today is religious knowledge and true spiritual ignorance. Our way of thinking is so often skewed, even among grace believing churches, to still hinder our identity of who we are in Christ. We are still looking and seeking to change the man of sin which we were, rather than walking in the identity of the new creation man which we are and are maturing into. It is our paradigm and way of thinking that is one of the major obstacles. Even John the Baptist wanted to hinder Jesus from being baptized because he didn’t consider himself worthy. Wrong thinking. If Jesus hadn’t considered him worthy He wouldn’t come to him to baptized. Peter wanted to hinder Jesus from the cross. Jesus rebuked satan working through him, because it was a hindrance to His mission and purpose. Satan will always try and cut you off from your purpose and destiny, because his purpose to “kill, steal and destroy.”
What hindrances are you encountering today in your spiritual walk? One area might be in your marriage. Peter addresses this one in 1 Peter 3:7, ” Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” “Them” here being your spouse and ladies take this to heart as well. How is satan best able to get to us more than through the ones we live with. If he can cause contention, frustration, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness and irritation we fall into his trap of contending with the very one that God has placed into our lives that we are intended to be the heirs of salvation with. This is our partner not our enemy. The enemy is the one you are allowing to work through you as you give place to your flesh and emotion rather than to the spirit and the love of God. Yes, we are going to have our differences, we all do. The art of a magician is to distract you so that he may deceive you into thinking something that isn’t true. That is the craftiness and whiles of the devil. Discern your true enemy and unite your heart in love to defeat your common foe who is out to destroy you, your marriage and interrupt you communion and relationship with Christ. Unite yourselves in the spirit of Christ and reconcile yourselves through His love that your prayer and communion with the Father is not hindered. This speaks to men primarily because we must realize that women, as general rule, are more emotional and a man should be aware of what the influences in the home environment are and deal with them by the Spirit.
The final one we will address today are the hindrance that satan places before us. 1 Thessalonians 2:18, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” Satan will always try to cause interruptions in you fulfilling your obedience to your destiny and calling. Here is where we must come into knowing our authority as a believer standing in the full armor of God, praying and making intercession, but also specifically declaring and taking authority through Word and the authority of the name of Jesus. There will be spiritual conflicts. When those hindrances come and in whatever form they may come, know who you are in Christ. Walk in the power and authority of the Spirit. Know that even though you may not immediately see things happening in the natural realm that doesn’t mean things aren’t taking place first in the dynamics of the spiritual realm. Hold fast your faith and confidence and do as Hebrews 12:1-3 commands us, ” Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Blessings,
#kent

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