Gifted to Give

October 13, 2015

Ephesians 4:7-10 (Amplified)
Yet grace (God’s unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift.
8Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.
9[But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth?
10He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).

Gifted to Give

Our God is such a giving God. What He has given us in the riches of His grace through Christ Jesus I don’t think any of us have fully assimilated and processed what we have in Him. It is implied here that as Christ ascended back into heaven all of the those gifts, attributes and the anointing that rested upon Him from the Father was distributed throughout His body. No one person was given the whole, but we were all given the parts that by coming together and operating as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, we the many, might become one in Him.
Jesus says in John 14:10-14, “10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Jesus Himself has commissioned through His body a greater works ministry operating out of the power of His name and led by the Holy Spirit. Even as the Father expressed Himself through His Son, He is in turn the expression of the Father through His body that truly believe and dare to step out into this place of faith, having confidence in His promise. We are like children who are learning to swim. At first we are fearful. We thrash at the water. We spit and sputter and often get into a panic. What we have to learn to do is to work with the water and not against it. Slowly we come to find that if we can truly rest then the water will actually support our bodies and we can float. We learn that with minimal effort we can maintain our buoyancy. Eventually we learn to move quickly through the water and the water becomes our friend instead of this body of fluid that we once might have been dreadfully fearful of. This is the way the Holy Spirit is in our lives. The more familiar we become with Him the more at home we feel in His presence and operating out of His directive.
Jesus not only imparted unto us gifts, but also He took those strong men, those oppressive spirits that once held us captive and He led them into captivity. The door of your prison is unlocked. All you have to do is have the faith to open it and walk out. There is nothing that can hold you or separate you from the love of God. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. Christ gave us the richest gift that any man could ask for. He gave us Himself. He literally imparted Himself to us. What we see in a foretaste and measure is to become the whole and likeness of Him. Right now it is all of us working in the unity of the faith and operating by faith in the giftings that He has imparted into each one of us. If you don’t know what your calling and giftings are, begin to operate within a body that has body ministry and you will most likely find your gifts coming to the surface. In so many assemblies the body has been dumbed down to think and believe that it is only the missionaries, teachers, ministers or pastors that are ordained to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. This is contrary to what this passage in Ephesians speaks about. Their responsibility is to bring the rest of the body into their purpose and calling in Christ Jesus and to allow the giftings of Christ to abound to the edification and the building up of the body. Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
This brings us to the “why” of what Christ has imparted the gifts and the riches of His grace toward us for. He gives to us so that we in turn might give to others. This is the law and economy of His kingdom. He doesn’t give to us to hold on to what He gives us, but to in turn impart it into others. His giftings are so that we might be givers, blessings and the increase of the Lord upon the lives of those around us, both Christian and non-Christian alike. We are the pipeline, the conduits and the sprinkler heads of God’s grace and goodness that we wants to dispense to mankind through so many avenues and in so many ways. We have been blessed to be the blessing of Abraham and through us all of the nations will be blessed in the knowledge and the goodness of God.
You have a gift and a talent. You may not see in yourself any good thing, but God sees it, because He put it there. Learn to work with the water of His Holy Spirit so that by the Spirit it may become manifest and minister the blessing He has imparted into you. You have been gifted to give.

Blessings,
#kent

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2 Timothy 3:12-17
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Continue in What You have Learned

If you want an easy road to travel then being a true disciple of Christ is not one you would probably choose. We like to focus on the blessings, but the reality is that this is also a road of sufferings and persecutions. Many like to wear the label of Christian when it benefits them, but if they really have to start enduring the cross, then they are out of here. In this day and age we are moving into that time when evil will become more forward and perverse, from bad to worse, just as the scripture says. We need to be aware and have come to the commitment, that though it cost us everything, we have decided to follow Jesus. When the Lord winnows and thrashes the wheat in His judgement. He is separating wheat from chaff and is judging who is really His and who is not. If our faith is just about God’s blessings then we might want to exit now. Romans 8 tells us “if we suffer with Him then will we be glorified with Him.” Jesus is the pattern Son; the prototype of what He is conforming us into. Certainly His life was not without suffering and persecution. He even told us that if we were of the world the world would love us, but because we are not of the world the world will hate you. This is why it is so incredibly important that you have a revelation of who you are in Christ. When the fire comes it will reveal what the house is made of. All that is wood, hay and stubble will be consumed and only that which of gold (God’s nature), silver (His redemption) and precious stones (His glorious truth) will remain. If our house is not built upon the rock it will perish. So it doesn’t matter how much we know or how often or long we have been going to church. If you don’t have the inward relationship of obedience and trust, you will not stand. Jesus didn’t tell us that if we love Him we would hear what He had to say, He said if we love Him we would keep His commandments. If Christianity is just churchianity and knowing the truth, but not living the truth, then that will not preserve you when persecution comes. The baptism of fire is purification; it brings to the surface the dross so that it can be purified. God is judging His own house today to allow us to see the dross in our own lives and deal with it, before we must truly be judged for it.
If you want to live “godly” in Christ Jesus then expect persecution and don’t be surprised when it comes upon you. Let us be as Paul exhorted Timothy, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The Lord has imparted Himself into us through His Word and through the Holy Spirit. We have all that we need to endure and make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. We know that Christ is synonymous and one with the Word of God, because, “ in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-2)” Paul testifies of this truth as he states, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We are the Lord’s army in training, preparing for the day of battle. Our battle is not with flesh and blood, although it will most likely be manifested through them, it is with principalities, powers, rulers and dominions of darkness. But Revelations 12:11 reminds us, “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.” One of the things that is very difficult for us, especially in this western culture, is our love and affection for self and the flesh. For us everything is about survival and preservation of the natural man. God has simply given you this natural body as a cocoon and preparation to carry you into your eternal being. When and if we are ever faced with the choice of our faith or preserving our natural man, what could be more glorious and a greater opportunity than to offer ourselves up as a sweet –smelling sacrifice to our Lord. Walk with Him, obey Him, honor Him and “KNOW HIM” without doubt or reservation in your inter-most being.

Blessings,
#kentGod, go

Strife

November 22, 2013

Strife

1 Corinthians 3:3
for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

Isn’t it unfortunate that this statement so often defines us as we try to walk and live spiritual lives? Strife comes into to pollute so many of our relationships, both spiritual and natural. Really it is the outward manifestation of an inward condition. James 3: 14 and 16 in the King James version speaks of strife with this: “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth… “For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.“ The Amplified version identifies more of the root causes of this strife, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth… For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” Verses 17-18 of the Amplified version goes on to say, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” We all know what it is like to be around a contentious person that is trying to provoke strife. It is often difficult to ignore and continually walk away from because it is continually antagonizing and provoking you. Strife is described in Galatians 5:20 as an attribute of the flesh, but it is one that has a hard time existing by itself. It needs someone to partner with. It needs an adversary and someone to contend with. It loves company and to get others caught up in the fray.
What are strife’s root causes? James has already identified bitterness, envy, selfishness and self-seeking. Proverbs 15:8 says, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Proverbs 16:28 says, “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:14 tells us, “The beginning of trouble is like letting out water. So stop arguing before fighting breaks out.” Have you ever noticed how strife can result in a diarrhea of the mouth? We get started and before we know it, all kinds of putrid things are spewing out, which usually only serves to bring the same vile venom out of the other’s mouth.
We know that the perpetrator of this strife is demonic in nature and spirit, and yet we so easily fall into the snare that serves to only hurt, divide separate us. Disunity and strife strikes at the heart of family, fellowship and community. It has destroyed families, marriages, churches, and nations. It is at the root of our wars. In spite of its immensely destructive power we continually allow ourselves to be manipulated by it. Perhaps it is destroying the relationship you have with the person or persons you started out loving. It can only be stopped as we realize and acknowledge within ourselves the weakness and the flesh that is giving place to this deceptive destroyer. It needs our flesh to feed off of to even exist. The more we can enter into Christ and walk by the Spirit, the less power and influence it can have. It needs our ego, our pride, our selfishness, our jealousy and envy. It needs our anger, meddling, gossiping, and tattling to fan its flames.
Philippians 2:2-4 says this, “2Then give me true joy by thinking the same thoughts. Keep having the same love. Be as one in thoughts and actions. 3Nothing should be done because of pride or thinking about yourself. Think of other people as more important than yourself. 4Do not always be thinking about your own plans only. Be happy to know what other people are doing.” Strife has very little to build on when our motives are based in unselfish love toward one another. If we all have this mind to live for and bless one another, then the flesh has little place because our selfishness and pride aren’t in the way. Love the person that is so intent on striving against you. Return good for evil, compliment for insult and be of a gentle and quiet spirit. It is a spiritual battle waged through human agents. See it for what it is and let the weapons of your warfare not be natural, but mighty through the Spirit to the tearing down of strongholds.
Moses lost his entrance into the promise land because he responded out of the flesh to the strife of the people at the waters of Meribah in the wilderness. Responding to strife in the flesh will always cause us to lose by robbing us of the higher way. Let love rule in your hearts, mercy and peace in your actions and willingness to count others above yourself in your thinking.
“Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).

Blessings,
kent

Boys to Men

October 25, 2013

Ephesians 4: 14-16
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Boys to Men

As I was meditating this morning an old John Wayne movie came into my thoughts called “The Cowboys”. Many of you may still remember it. It was about a rancher who had to drive his cattle to market, but he couldn’t get any men to help him so he had to take a group of boys to drive his cattle. Along the drive they are confronted with cattle rustlers who capture them. John Wayne never allows fear or intimidation to be seen on him. He stands up to these rustlers and demonstrates before these boys what a man of courage and integrity is all about. In the process the leader of the rustlers kills him and they go on to take the cattle. The only other adult is the old cook. After John Wayne’s death, these boys rise to the occasion and they no longer see themselves as boys, but as men. They plan their strategy and take the cattle back from the rustlers, defeating them in the process and killing their leader. They then take the cattle on to market and complete their mission.
What I felt the Lord was showing me through this is that we have a man who has walked before us and shown us the true nature and character of God. He has never shown fear or been intimidated by His enemies, but demonstrated before us the greatest degree of courage and self-sacrifice as He gave His life for us. We are like those boys, who have never seen ourselves really as men, but God is placing us in circumstances that we must gird up our loins as men and walk the walk of the Savior. There comes a time we put aside our childish ways and we come into manhood and I speak this figuratively for women as well as men. The Holy Spirit is there to give the wisdom and guidance to grow up into Him which is the head, even Christ. As we come into maturity, we put aside our petty bickering and differences and we function as one man, one team filled with the Holy Spirit, with power and authority. I believe that in this time the Lord is telling us to grow up and go from boys to men. We know the way; Jesus walked it before us, now it is time that we walk His walk, not going where we choose, but where He leads us. Many of us may be weak or of no special ability or strength, but God has chosen the foolish to confound the wise and the weak to prevail over the strong. It is not because of who we are that we are anything, but it is because of who He is in us that we are everything and capable of anything. It is time we take our eyes off of our immaturity and childishness. It is time we place our eyes upon Him that we have been called to be conformed too and begin to walk in His image and likeness. Faith sees what is not evident and without faith it is impossible to please Him. It is that faith of who He is in us that is taking us from boys to men.

Blessings,
kent

Walking in the Light

August 5, 2013

Walking in the Light

John I: 4-5

In him was life and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not.


The light is Christ who is the light that has come to dispel the darkness of ignorance and sin.  Does darkness want to lay hold of light?  No.  Where light is the darkness can no longer remain.  The secret to overcoming sin, ignorance and the darkness that filled our hearts as a result is to let Christ fill every part; every nook and cranny and closet of our hearts.  Where He is, darkness has no place.  

God’s Word and Holy Spirit are the guardians of our mind, heart, soul and spirit.  As we openly, minute by minute invite the Holy Spirit of God to abide in us and search us for any unclean or “dark” place He illuminates us with His grace and begins the process of unseating the strongholds of darkness that don’t want to be expelled.  It is my will submitted to His that is my strength.  I can not do it without Him.  Roman 8:13 “If you live after the flesh you must die: but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, we shall live.”  Life is Christ.  “In Him we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:28a

 
Blessings,
kent

Truth

April 23, 2013

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Truth

The viability of Christianity today is not in its words, but in its actions. If there is nothing that the world sees in us that is much different than them, except for perhaps a self-righteous attitude, then why should they want what you say you have? There is a religious view today, to love everybody, except everyone where they are at, follow your heart, just be who you are, love everyone, except everything as okay.
God loves us in spite of where we are, that doesn’t mean that He compromises His truth so we won’t be offended and He can be politically correct. Truth stands, not matter how much egg and mud are thrown against it. It doesn’t change, just because of what we believe. Truth was truth long before we ever came into this world and it will remain truth even after this world passes away. Truth does not bend itself to us, it calls to us to align ourselves with it. Either we embrace the truth and walk in it or reap the consequences of our rejection of it.
Really, it is amazing that we have this concept that God should always bend to our will, our wants, our request and all that we name and claim. First of all, God already gives even the unjust and sinners far more than they deserve. His mercy and grace rains down upon us all, but we sometimes forget our place. God is God, Creator, Sovereign Lord of All. His is the dominion and authority over all, but we have the idea that if things don’t always work out right in our lives, it is God’s fault. Yet. if we teach our children right from wrong and model right living before them, then they go out and violate the principles that we as parents taught them, are the parents to blame when consequences come? Often it is through the adversities, trials, and unfairness we find in life that God’s principles of truth become a reality in our lives.
We operate out of a very finite and limited understanding of life, the world and the things that happen in life. We see our world through a peep hole and yet we treat God like we could have done things so much better than Him. How arrogant and naive we are. God sees the end from the beginning. The Word says that even His foolishness exceeds the wisdom of men. We have to be aware that God’s ways are so much higher and we won’t always comprehend or understand His ways. Life may sometimes be terribly unfair and bad things do happen to good people, but that in no way negates or lessens the goodness and faithfulness of the Father. Even as children, we may have felt our parents were harsh or unfair, but we didn’t have the maturity and wisdom to see what they could, because of where they had been. If they were harsh, most often it was in an effort to correct you so that you wouldn’t have to experience a greater pain.
God’s truth is the standard by which we are to live by. That truth magnifies God’s love and forgiveness, but it does not justify and excuse sin. It does not compromise itself with darkness, but rather dispels the darkness, for it is the equivalent of light. Jesus tells us to walk in the light, even as He is in the light, not so we can condemn those in the world, but so that we can light their way to Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

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