Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

God’s Love Letter to You

My child, I love you more than can be ever written or expressed. I loved you so much that I was willing to give My only begotten Son to die for you, so that I could redeem you back to My heart.
With My own blood I purchased you again from your sin. I blotted out your transgression and imparted to you the right and privilege to partake of My righteousness. I have called you out as a people to carry My very own name in all of its majesty and glory. As My children, all that I have is yours, because you are in My Son and He is in you.
You see and know so little and you aren’t even able to comprehend with your finite minds the length, the breadth and depth of My love for you. My love isn’t the revelation of material things that soon perish with the using. My love is you being transformed into My likeness and glory. It is bringing you into the full expression of who I AM.
Rejoice, even in your trials, for all things are working together for the good of those who love Me and who I have called according to My purpose.

Romans 8:28-39, ” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Blessings,
#kent

The Blood of the Lamb

April 18, 2014

The Blood of the Lamb

Revelations 12:11
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

The Word of God makes the analogy that the life of flesh is in the blood. The Word makes very clear and specific statements concerning the blood of beast in Leviticus 17:13-14, “Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; 14 for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.’ “ We see that much symbolism is given to the blood with regards to the law and the sacrifices. The blood is used to cover, to seal, to protect, to sanctify, to dedicate and redeem. What is more, Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” The blood became the vehicle and the bridge by which we were redeemed and reconnected to Father God, because our sins were washed and blotted out by His blood. The blood remains the fountain of life and cleansing whereby we are partakers of the righteousness of Christ through faith.
Sin carries with it a great price and certain fearful expectation of punishment. It requires a perfect sacrifice, without spot or blemish and it requires the blood or the life of the sacrifice be offered for the remission and the forgiveness of those sins. That is why every day each one of us as the children of God should be giving thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because He was our lamb and perfect sacrifice. He paid the price with His perfect blood was shed and poured out for us for the remission of our sins.
Just as blood had to be shed to establish the first covenant under the law, Jesus became the high priest and mediator of a new and better covenant sealed with His own blood. Hebrew 9:16-28 tells us, “16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. 23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation”. Thus we see the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, as our lifeline to God. Jesus states this, much to the dismay of many of Jewish listeners in John 6:53-58, “Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” “
While we have a commandment in Leviticus 17 not to partake of the blood of any beast, here we have Jesus telling us that unless you eat of my flesh and drink of my life you have no life in you. Obviously Jesus is speaking on a higher dimension than just the natural application. He is the “bread of life” and His blood is the means for us to partake of that life. That is why there is so much power in the blood of Jesus. It is the power of God’s life in us. We know that the way that we drink and partake is through faith in Him and the finished work of Calvary. As we partake of God’s Word, instilling and implementing it into our daily lives through faith and obedience, we are literally partaking of spiritual manna and the bread of eternal God life. As we become identified with both His death, which is represented in our death to self and His life is our partaking of His resurrection life, we are overcoming by the blood of the lamb. What is taking place is that we are speaking into being, LIFE, by the word of our testimony and the confession of our faith. It is in the essence of this Life that satan is defeated. This is what makes you an overcomer today. It is the word of your testimony and the blood of the Lamb. Drink deeply of the fullness of the life and blood that Christ has imparted to us.

Blessings,
#kent

Conformed to His Image

March 17, 2014

Romans 8:28-30

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.


Conformed to His Image


Early in the morning the alarm sounds to wake him from his sleep.  After a few groggy minutes he stirs and arises from his bed. The first thoughts are, “Praise you Father, thank you for a new day.”  As he staggers towards the bathroom his minds begins to clear.  “Who am I?”, are among the first thoughts that he thinks and hears.    

“I am a son, a called and set apart one for my Father.  I am what Jesus prayed I would be in John 17:20-23.  “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. ”  I am the product of sonship, Father God’s adoption and acceptance of me in Christ.  I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  I am the product of God’s unconditional love, calling, purpose and design.  He has created me for His glory and I have been brought into unity with the Godhead, through Christ to let the world know that Jesus still lives, that God sent Him and that they may believe that He sent Him for them.  Even as Jesus told Thomas in John 14 that He was the expression of the Father, He has called me out of darkness to be the expression of Christ in me.  

I am no longer the man I used to be.  Old Adam has been crucified with Christ and no longer lives.  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)”  Old things have passed away and behold all things are new, for I am new creation in Christ Jesus, no longer conformed to the world, but transformed, metamorphosed into His image through the renewing of my mind (Romans 12).  I am being changed from glory to glory.  With unveiled face I am being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).  “As He is, so are we in this world (John 4:17).”  

“There is now no condemnation for me for I am in Christ Jesus and the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death ( Roman 8:1).” I will longer embrace, identify and think upon the former life of sin, death and judgement.  As a son, I live under a new law, a higher law and a more glorious dispensation.  By faith I receive it and embrace it.  I no longer walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, because I am a product of the Spirit and His life now abides in me.  I am for His glory and no longer for my own, therefore by the Spirit I will put to death the deeds of the flesh, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. (1 John 5:4)””

Then he thinks what is my position as God sees me and he remembers the scripture from Ephesians 2:22, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”  So I am God’s habitation and abiding place, but positionally Ephesians 2:4-6 says, ” But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”  So I am in Christ in heavenly realms and places.  With that heavenly position and perspective my giants will become as grasshoppers.  I will do as Colossians 3:1 says, ‘Since, then, I have been raised with Christ, I will set my heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set my mind on things above, not on earthly things. 3For I died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is my life, appears, then I also will appear with him in glory.’  If my life is hid in Christ then I sit with Him at the right hand of the Father.  For anything to touch me, it first must go through the Father, through the Son and back to me.  What touches me ‘I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’

What is my purpose?  Ephesians 2:10 says, ‘For I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do.’  If the purpose of Jesus is to draw all men to Himself and destroy the works of the devil then that must be my purpose as well since I manifest Him.  I am to be the expression of His love, because He first loved me (1 John4).  1 Peter 2 says, “But I am a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that I may declare the praises of him who called me out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once I was not His people, but now I am one of the people of God; once I had not received mercy, but now I have received mercy.”

Now that he has refreshed his heart, mind and spirit in who God says he is, he is ready to arise, spend time with Papa and conquer his day.

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

Not Our Way, but His

November 26, 2013

Not Our Way, but His

John 11:1-5
Now a certain [man] was sick, [named] Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was [that] Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard [that], he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

We all have preconceived notions about how we think things should work out in our lives especially in regards to our prayer requests and petitions before the Lord. In this story is a great example of how Jesus doesn’t operate the way rational and conventional thinking would dictate that He should have. It wasn’t even consistent with how He normally operated. Here we see three siblings who were the closer friends of Jesus and whom it says He, “loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” The sense and the meaning of the word “loved” here means that he had goodwill toward them, that they were preferred of Him and that He would wish well to them with regard to their welfare. Now if He felt that way about them why does it go on to say that when He heard about Lazarus’ sickness He continued on where He was at for two more days rather than immediately rushing back to take care of Lazarus. Now by human standards we may have judged these actions to be highly insensitive, uncaring and unloving. Certainly Mary and Martha may have struggled with such thoughts and feelings, especially after Lazarus ends up dying.
When you and I consider some of the things we have been praying for and the petitions we have made before the Lord; have we ever had the feeling that He was just ignoring us or that He didn’t really care? No matter how hard we prayed and petitioned the throne of God, no matter how much faith we tried to have to believe, it didn’t turn out the way we thought it should have. In fact sometimes we may feel that the more we pray or walk in the will of God the harder things get. Why? Doesn’t God love us? Doesn’t He care what we are going through?
Jesus loved Lazarus and His sisters, just like He loves you. He cared about them very much and perhaps it was as hard for Jesus to restrain Himself from immediately addressing their situation as it was for the sisters. The point that is being made here is that there are times when God is working a greater thing than what is evident to us on the surface. There are those times when we look back at a situation that we wanted God to immediately deal with and He didn’t and we begin to get a revelation why. Because God worked the way He did, so much more was worked through the situation than ever could have been, had it been immediately resolved. God is invested into us for the long haul. We see the immediate, the needs here and now, but He sees the answers and resolutions through the eyes of eternity and His higher purpose and good. Because our viewpoints are from two totally different realms and perspectives, is it any wonder that God doesn’t often operate the way we think He should? We can always rest in the promise we have in Romans 8:28,
“And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, even to them that are called according to His purpose.”
You see with Lazarus, his sickness was not about death, which to us seems to be the ultimate finality, it was about the “glory of God”. Christ needed to be revealed in an even greater aspect than a healer. It was time for certain ones, especially his more intimate friends, to get a revelation of Him as the “Resurrection and the Life”, not just in the last day at Christ’s coming, but here and now. By the time Jesus reached Lazarus he had been dead and in the tomb for four days. The natural mind tells us that is a pretty hopeless situation.
Some of us find ourselves in, or perhaps are going through some of those seemingly hopeless situations where by all natural appearances God didn’t come through. What we forget and find hard to grasp is that sometimes God allows us to come to the end of something in order to bring us into a new beginning. There may be those times when it is more than just a “God fix it”, it has to die to bring us into a greater dimension of life.
If you have a situation that looks hopeless then give it totally into the hands of the God of hope. When Martha came to Jesus, she said, “if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. And even now I know that whatsoever You ask of God, God will give You.” Maybe God hasn’t shown up because something or someone has to die. In the economy of God, it is death that often gives place to new and a greater dimension of life. Jesus then told Martha, “Your brother will rise again… I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whoever lives and believes on me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whoever lives and believes on me shall never die. Do you believe this?” We then know that Jesus did go to the tomb and called Lazarus forth and his life was raised up.
Some of you are sitting in the ashes of despair and despondency thinking God has given up on you. No, He loves you too much to allow you to continue as you are. There is the day of your breakthrough when He will speak the Word and call you forth in the newness of life in Him. There will be a resurrection day in your life if you hold steadfast and believe. This is a day to come forth in the newness and the power of His resurrection life.

Blessings,
kent

Investment

November 20, 2013

Investment

John 3:16

For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever would believe on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Our Mighty Heavenly Father invested in humanity the most precious gift He could give, His Son. Likewise, the Son willingly invested His life into humanity to the point of an excruciating and most painful death as He was beaten and bruised for our transgressions and His pure, spotless blood was shed even for the ugliest of our sins. God has quite an investment in this little planet called earth and the peoples that have inhabited it, past, present and future. Why has God invested in us so much? What has kept Him from becoming utterly exasperated with our sin and rebellion that He hasn’t obliterated the human race and started over? Could it be something we call love and relationship? Why do we get married, have children and invest our entire lifetime into raising a family? Isn’t it because of love and relationship? Our God, by nature is a “Father”. He has a Son that needed a bride, the church. That bride, by His seed, produces spiritual children. Those children comprise the family of God. Is there anything you wouldn’t invest in your family and children? Jesus laid down His life. As He hung there on the cross and his side was pierced, out flowed the issue of blood and water, the birthing fluids of the church. Our Lord and Father has invested Himself in us in awesome humility considering all that God is. Our God has given to us a privilege that is so wonderfully great we can barely comprehend and appreciate it. HE HAS INVESTED AND DEPOSITED HIS VERY LIFE INTO US! And it is all about love and relationship. He so loved us that He desired to bring us into relationship with Himself. Our God is a Spiritual Being who has created earthen vessels in which He has breathed into them His Spirit. The thing that sets us so far apart from every other creature is that we have eternal, God breathed life within us. This outward body may go back to the dust it came out of, but that inward spirit lives on. If God has sealed us to Himself by joining His Holy Spirit to ours, as we have responded in faith to Jesus and the promises of His Word, then what He is working in us is Spiritual Life that is fashioned in the image of who He is, His nature and character. Brethren, we are a natural people that have been birthed of the Spirit, brought into divine relationship with our Lord and Husband, Christ Jesus and made joint heirs with Christ. Romans 8:17 says, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.” Joint-heirs mean everything that belongs to Christ now belongs to you and I, but we can’t ignore the conditions of this inheritance. When we partake of the Passover Lamb, which is the type of Christ, the children of Israel had to eat all of it, the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet. Part of our inheritance in Christ is the identification with His suffering. Jesus paid a great price in His suffering for us. While we like to focus on all of the blessings of our inheritance, there is also the side of suffering. As His children, we also may pay a great price as He calls us to identify with Him in suffering. Many who answer the call of God come to know this reality when they commit their lives, their possessions, and their families to the Kingdom of God. We also, are called to make our investment back into God as He made His investment into us. We are called to relinquish our will, our lives and all that we possess to His service. Paul says of this investment in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” We also must invest into God all that we are. That may come at a great price, but it can’t begin to exceed the eternal weight of glory that we shall possess. We are invested for the same reason as our Heavenly Father invested into us, for love and relationship. As we have come to know that love and relationship with God, so we become the perpetuators of this good news. While it is embraced of some, it will be despised by many. Even Jesus tells us in John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.” Evil hates good and darkness despises the light. What then are the purpose and the end of this investment God has made in us and has called us to make in Him?

Paul continues in Romans 8:19-23, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.” What does that mean? It means that ultimately God has determined that it is through His sons, his divinely appointed children that He will liberate not only us from these corruptible bodies, but creation itself will be set free. The bondage of corruption, death, sin and sickness will be loosed and creation itself will be brought into the glorious liberty that we as the children of God have come into. Our Father will allow us to be the administrators of this great and fantastic restoration. So even if our investment into the Kingdom of God cost us everything in this life, it pales in comparison to the benefits and dividends of its return. We are God’s inheritance and He is ours.

Blessings,

kent

Return of a Wayward Heart

October 31, 2013

Return of a Wayward Heart

Hosea 2:7
And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find [them]: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then [was it] better with me than now.

The Lord has taken each one of us and has blessed, clothed, nurtured and provided our substance and our needs. He loved us when we were unlovely. He has taken us in when we were wandering without purpose and homeless. He clothed us when we were naked. He has healed us, bound up our wounds and broken hearts. He has given us favor where we would have had none. He gave us dignity, respect and purpose when we were full of sin, despised and forsaken.
How have we repaid Him for the richness of His love and blessing? Are we loving and serving Him with faith, obedience and love or have we been like Hosea’s wife in our hearts? Do we have that spirit of adultery and idolatry as she did to run after and pursue other lovers? Do we somehow think that they can in any way fulfill us more than our faithful husband, Jesus? Yet many of us forsake the Lord in our hearts and minds as we pursue and run after our affections and lusts. In the pursuit of them, are we fulfilled or satisfied? Are our hearts more content than when we were living and walking in faithfulness to Christ? Can those lovers ever fulfill the deeper needs and longings of our soul or will they take our life, our substance and our youth; casting us off, leaving us feeling used, dirty and rejected.
Where are we at in the fidelity and faithfulness of our heart and love toward our Lord today? Have we become as Israel of old who turned her back to the Lord to pursue her other lovers? Are we simply going through the motions of Christianity, but our hearts have become hardened and distracted by our sin?
Hosea 2:10 says, “So now I will expose her lewdness no one will take her out of my hands.” What we have done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops and our nakedness will be exposed and our sin revealed. God is calling His beloved back to His heart. He is wooing her to return and repent from her lovers and her vile behavior. The Lord will deal with us in ways necessary to deal with the harlotry of our hearts so that we may return again to Him and appreciate once more all that we have had and enjoyed at that goodness of His hand. Even though we deserve to be cast out and divorced, the Lord’s heart and love is still tender towards us. His love has been unconditional even in the midst of our unfaithfulness.
This is the place that He says that He is bringing us in Hosea 2:14-23, “”Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. 16 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ‘ 17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. 18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. 19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. 20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. 21 “In that day I will respond,” declares the LORD—
“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; 22 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. 23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ‘ I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ‘ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ”
The Lord’s heart is to reconcile and bring us back into right relationship with Him. Let us turn our heart from our foreign lovers and bring our whole heart back to the Lord. Let us repent of our unfaithfulness and turn from all of our lewdness. Let us honor, love and obey Him who is the faithful lover of our souls and true husband. Let us return to our first love.

Blessings,
kent

1 John 4:7-12
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

The Most Powerful Force in the World

The most powerful force that we can possess and know is the power of God’s love. We, as Christians, certainly know and believe that God is the most powerful source because He is the creator and originator of all things. Here in 1 John 4 we have a definition of who God is. “God is love.” It only follows, as the scriptures tell us, that the true sense and definition of love is only born out of God; therefore everyone that truly loves is born of God and knows God.
We often hear the argument of non-believers that if God is love how can He allow all of the suffering and violence that goes on in the world. That suffering and violence isn’t the act of God’s will, it is the act of man’s will that has rejected the love of God. The darkness that pervades our world is really that absence of God’s light and love in their souls. God’s love isn’t selfish and controlling. God in His love gave us free will and choice to accept or reject His love. Even though mankind had chosen to reject the love of God, it doesn’t mean that it lessened the love of God for us. God still demonstrated His exceedingly great love for us in that while we were yet sinners, He ‘sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins’. This demonstration of love is what should resonate in us as we have seen, acknowledged and accepted this love of God in our hearts. When we became new creatures in Christ Jesus, His DNA was infused into us. The make-up of who He is, is Love. The power and presence of Christ in a person is not in how well they can orate the gospel, or the works they can accomplish or even the miracles they can do. The true evidence of God in your life is the power and the demonstration of His love in you and through you. It is the love of God that energizes us and empowers us to live a life that is outside the selfish love of self. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love ourselves, because even God loves us. It means that all that energy we used to put into pleasing ourselves we now put into serving others. What is it to love others as you love yourself if it is not gaining for others what you would have gained for yourself. It should be evident that the love of God then shifts the focus of our love from self to first loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and then serving others with the same love we would serve ourselves.
As we face each new day what is the motivation and the goal of our life and heart? Is it simply to further our own agenda or is it in the challenge of changing the world around us through the power of God’s love that resides in us? You don’t really have the power to change anyone’s life but your own, but when your life comes into alignment with God’s love and purpose you can be sure the world will change around you. It is God’s ultimate purpose that His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. It is His will and purpose to ultimately restore all of creation through His power and love, but right now that begins with you and me. It begins with God’s kingdom coming within us and His will being done in us, in this earthen body and as it is in heaven. The revelation of that Kingdom is God’s love revealed in you.

blessings,
kent

Ephesian 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

The Prominent Woman of the New Testament

I was thinking this morning, “If I were to identify the most prominent woman in the New Testament, who would it be? Would it be Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Elizabeth or one of the other godly women? Then it struck me that the most prominent woman and the one to whom the whole New Testament is dedicated too, is the bride of Christ, us, His Church.
He loves us so much that He laid down His life to redeem us for His bride. His love for His bride becomes the model of every husband’s love for his natural wife. For Jesus, the life that he lived, the love that He proved in action, the Word that He gave and His Spirit that now indwells, all speak to the passionate love that He has for us. He did nothing for Himself, but all was for us.
The Word teaches here that even with the same love and care you extend to your personal self, you should extend to your wife; loving your wife as your own body. Our wife is an extension of our own flesh and blood. Spiritually she is united and one with us. This scripture teaches us that all that Jesus did and is still doing, even His very life was dedicated to this woman, His bride. All that He has done and is still doing is to make us all that we were called to be in union with Him. We were called and betrothed to holiness, so He cleanses us with His blood for the forgiveness of our sins and He washes us with the water of His Word that renews us in our identity with Him; His mind, His heart, His love. By the sacrifice of His own self He imparts into us His own righteousness and virtue to remove every stain, wrinkle and blemish. As husbands who follow this example, we are compelled to provide an atmosphere and environment where our bride is treated in the same manner. When she submits herself to us there is no fear or trepidation in her, because she is so secure in our love and best interests for her. In that love she finds such a place of security and peace. She knows that she is at the forefront of all that we do and provide. She delights to submit, because her joy is to reciprocate the love that is so freely and unselfishly lavished upon her. Her husband has cut all ties to his former obligations and earthly commitments that He might put her first. She is His treasure and He will protect and cherish that treasure with His very life.
This may all sound very idealistic, but it shouldn’t. It should be the way, we, as Christian men and husbands should think and believe, because it is the Word of God. It is the way that Christ loves us. Since we have inherited this same love, it is incumbent upon us to love our wives in this same manner. God gave us all of His Word, but in particular the New Testament as His love letter to His bride. His one desire is to bring us into all that He is and all that He possesses. Jesus loves us with undying, unfailing and unending love. Just as He is so in love with us; He wants us to be so in love with Him. He gave us marriage to practice that love affair. In the same way that we love one another in that marriage relationship, it is the same way we love Jesus. You may think your spouse is so stubborn or has such issues that you can’t get along and love them in that way. Do we think that it has been any easier for Christ to love us through all of our issues and sins? Yet He does. His love never fails, it never gives up and never runs out on us. He looks past our faults and sees our needs. While He would have every justification to divorce us, He doesn’t. He patiently loves us, forgives us, ministers life and blessing to us, even when we live in defiance and rebellion to Him. Love never fails when it comes to this prominent woman in the New Testament. He has committed to stay with Her until He brings Her into His highest and into the fullness of Himself.

Blessings,
kent

Investment

April 16, 2013

Investment

John 3:16
For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever would believe on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Our Mighty Heavenly Father invested in humanity the most precious gift He could give, His Son. Likewise, the Son willingly invested His life into humanity to the point of an excruciating and most painful death as He was beaten and bruised for our transgressions and His pure, spotless blood was shed even for the ugliest of our sins. God has quite an investment in this little planet called earth and the peoples that have inhabited it, past, present and future. Why has God invested in us so much? What has kept Him from becoming utterly exasperated with our sin and rebellion that He hasn’t obliterated the human race and started over? Could it be something we call love and relationship? Why do we get married, have children and invest our entire lifetime into raising a family? Isn’t it because of love and relationship? Our God, by nature is a “Father”. He has a Son that needed a bride, the church. That bride, by His seed, produces spiritual children. Those children comprise the family of God. Is there anything you wouldn’t invest in your family and children? Jesus laid down His life. As He hung there on the cross and his side was pierced, out flowed the issue of blood and water, the birthing fluids of the church. Our Lord and Father has invested Himself in us in awesome humility considering all that God is. Our God has given to us a privilege that is so wonderfully great we can barely comprehend and appreciate it. HE HAS INVESTED AND DEPOSITED HIS VERY LIFE INTO US! And it is all about love and relationship. He so loved us that He desired to bring us into relationship with Himself. Our God is a Spiritual Being who has created earthen vessels in which He has breathed into them His Spirit. The thing that sets us so far apart from every other creature is that we have eternal, God breathed life within us. This outward body may go back to the dust it came out of, but that inward spirit lives on. If God has sealed us to Himself by joining His Holy Spirit to ours, as we have responded in faith to Jesus and the promises of His Word, then what He is working in us is Spiritual Life that is fashioned in the image of who He is, His nature and character. Brethren, we are a natural people that have been birthed of the Spirit, brought into divine relationship with our Lord and Husband, Christ Jesus and made joint heirs with Christ. Romans 8:17 says, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.” Joint-heirs mean everything that belongs to Christ now belongs to you and I, but we can’t ignore the conditions of this inheritance. When we partake of the Passover Lamb, which is the type of Christ, the children of Israel had to eat all of it, the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet. Part of our inheritance in Christ is the identification with His suffering. Jesus paid a great price in His suffering for us. While we like to focus on all of the blessings of our inheritance, there is also the side of suffering. As His children, we also may pay a great price as He calls us to identify with Him in suffering. Many who answer the call of God come to know this reality when they commit their lives, their possessions, and their families to the Kingdom of God. We also, are called to make our investment back into God as He made His investment into us. We are called to relinquish our will, our lives and all that we possess to His service. Paul says of this investment in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” We also must invest into God all that we are. That may come at a great price, but it can’t begin to exceed the eternal weight of glory that we shall possess. We are invested for the same reason as our Heavenly Father invested into us, for love and relationship. As we have come to know that love and relationship with God, so we become the perpetuators of this good news. While it is embraced of some, it will be despised by many. Even Jesus tells us in John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.” Evil hates good and darkness despises the light. What then are the purpose and the end of this investment God has made in us and has called us to make in Him?
Paul continues in Romans 8:19-23, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.” What does that mean? It means that ultimately God has determined that it is through His sons, his divinely appointed children that He will liberate not only us from these corruptible bodies, but creation itself will be set free. The bondage of corruption, death, sin and sickness will be loosed and creation itself will be brought into the glorious liberty that we as the children of God have come into. Our Father will allow us to be the administrators of this great and fantastic restoration. So even if our investment into the Kingdom of God cost us everything in this life, it pales in comparison to the benefits and dividends of its return. We are God’s inheritance and He is ours.

Blessings,
kent

The Greatest Gift

December 24, 2012

John 3:16
“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.”

The Greatest Gift

If we do the research we find that Christmas isn’t really a biblical institution as much as it is a religious one. One could get as religious about dispelling it as one could get trying to defend it.
Hopefully for most it hasn’t become just an obligation of giving, of materialism, of fantasy, gluttony and wanton revelry. It’s one good and primary focus should be to help us prioritize those things that are most important to us in life, God and family. With all of the busyness of life this is one of those Holidays that should get our focus off of ourselves and on to others. It is a time to re-prioritize our family and loved ones. It is a time to exercise God’s grace and forgiveness toward our family and others. It should be a time of reconciliation, healing, and letting old things go. Life is too short, for us to continue to hold offenses, anger, hatred, bitterness and resentment. Our humanly love, will at best , put up pretenses and false gestures while maintaining our grudge or dislike. God’s love in us will enable us to resign our feelings to be able to love, forgive and accept even those who have wronged us or hurt us.
The Holidays can pull us into all that men have made it about, but for us, as believers, it should be a time to remember and proclaim to the world God’s greatest gift of all to mankind. “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.” John 3:16 Out of the abundance and fruit of that gift, which we now hold in our hearts, should come the greatest expression of His love through us. People need to see through our lives, not just at Christmas, but in all seasons, the unconditional love and gift of giving we have living in us.
Perhaps at this time of the year some non-believers are more open and tolerant to hearing and receiving about Christ than at any other time. Our strongest message may not be in what we say, but in the actions with which we say it. This is our exceptional opportunity to be a blessing and to show Christ though the way we touch the lives and needs of others.
More than a tradition, Christmas should just be an exclamation mark of who we are in Christ and who He is in us. Christ is truly the reason for all seasons.

Blessings,
kent

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