Fallen is Babylon

November 4, 2015

Revelations 14:8
A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.”
Fallen is Babylon

Through the ages we have seen both a real church of God and pseudo church who worshiped God outwardly in form and in name, but the true Spirit and nature of God was not found in them. In the world they represented the church and truth of God and yet through inquisitions and martyrdom they persecuted and killed those who possessed the reality of Christ and refused to be conformed to her ways and doctrines. The great Babylon has been the source of tremendous influence in the world and yet she has been in bed with the world in so many of her ways and dealings. Ironically enough it has often been the real that has been hidden in the midst of this great harlot Babylon. Babylon is the epitome of man’s religion and devices. Her leaders have taken the holy vessel of God’s true temple and defiled them in their drunkenness and debauchery. The world sees her hypocrisy, but even they don’t see the depth of her sin and defilement of Spirit. Even so, in her midst, true saints of God and the Bride has been hidden, but their effectiveness and light has often been hidden and obscured by the corruption and watered down religion of that which surrounds them. This results from a system of men that use God for their own gain and power. They have built great edifices and monuments more to their own glory than to Father God. As they come into the fullness of their corruption they will try to bring their masses into the mindset of this world system. They will use condemnation and coercion to do what would not bear witness with the true Spirit of Christ. What she does not yet know is that her time is short and her days are numbered. Her spirit is that same one as the religious leaders that crucified our Lord.
We hear this word coming out of God’s word repeatedly as expressed in Revelations 18:4 to the saints of God to come out of her, because here in Revelations 18 it tells us of her demise and ultimate destruction. “After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. 3For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” 4Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
“Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; 5for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. 6Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup. 7Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.’ 8Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:
death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”
God is calling us saints of God to true religion and undefiled. He is calling us out of man’s version of religion and into the truth of Spirit and His life. In that place we find no longer just outward expressions, words and acts of religion, God is bringing us into that place of intimacy and relationship where we can intimately know Him, not just in head knowledge, but in Spirit and in Truth. It is a place where we can finally experience the reality of His presence and fellowship in our personal lives. Our relationship is no longer dependent upon what we do for God or how good we can be. We come into the place of knowing Christ who is the finished work of our salvation and who is able to complete the good work He has began in you and I.
This is the hour to leave the old wineskin of dead religion and move into the reality of His true Church, which is alive and pregnant with the Spirit of God. God loves His own and so He is calling His own unto Himself. He is calling us out of dead religion, old paradigms and ways of thinking and out of our traditions. Jesus told the religious leaders in Mark 7:13, “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
Press in for yourself and find the reality of Christ for your life. He is bringing you into a place of freedom. Your religion may condemn you, but then little does it know it stands condemned and under the judgement of God. He is calling you to be part of the true Church that He is raising up to the glory and praise of His name. A church that will be mighty and will go forth doing exploits, signs and wonders. He is setting you free and He is calling you out!

Blessings,
#kent

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The House of God

June 2, 2015

The House of God

Ephesians 2:19-22
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

The house of God, as most of us know, is not a structure of wood and stone. It is not a religion or an organization, but it is a living organism structured, designed, and formed by the Spirit of God for His Holy Habitation. It is like a house within a house. You and I are individually the temples and dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, but at the same time we are being formed corporately into the temple and dwelling of the Most High.
What comes to mind is a honeycomb of fitted individual cells all joined together into a hive. It is there that you find the honey, the anointing, the sweet out-flowing of the Holy One. All of its members work in one accord and unto one end, to perpetuate the life of that hive. Each member has their own functions and abilities and as each one is faithful to function in their gifting and calling, the hive will prosper.
Before we knew Christ we had no real home, no real purpose and we were strangers to God. It was His grace that led us unto repentance and salvation that He might join us unto His own where we now have purpose and true meaning in our lives.
It says we have been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. These were the stones through which God’s Word came forth and established what we now read as our Bible. They gave the tenants and blueprints of God’s design so that we could continue to be built with continuity from generation to generation, not wavering from the original design and purpose of our Master Architect and Builder, who is Himself the chief cornerstone, the primary support and anchor of God’s temple as well as the capstone and crown of glory that completes and finishes it.
Ephesians 4:11-16 says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” From this scripture has come the terminology of what we call the five fold ministry. A brother shared with us a good analogy the other day as we were having fellowship. He said he saw the five fold ministry much like the forms in construction that are assembled with reinforcements placed within them and then filled with concrete. The forms are not the actual structure or building, but are there to give shape, dimension, and form to the structure, but once the concrete has set up and taken the shape it was designed for the forms are stripped away. The fivefold ministry is not an end in itself, but they are the materials and tools to build the house into God’s design. The end purpose is to have a unified structure that is an organism that functions in the fullness of Christ, whose head is Christ. Each member works together with the other and no one member works for their own good, but for the good of the whole. Much of our mindset today is “what’s in it for me.” In the true body of Christ, me doesn’t exist, it is all about Him. That is the house of God.

Blessings,
#kent

Where isYour Focus?

May 26, 2015

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

Where isYour Focus?

There is an old song that goes, “Set your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will go strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” I believe this is what this scripture is, in effect, telling us to do. The attitude of a Christ-minded person is going to be focused on the things above and not on the things of this earth.
Our heart is to be honest and forthright in our dealings with others, because the Holy Spirit is honest with us in love as He deals with us. Our heart is to see justice, to uphold a righteous standard and integrity, judging and discerning all things out of the mind of Christ and not our flesh or earthly perspective. Our focus is on purity, putting away all defilement of flesh and spirit. In every area of our life we want to line up with God’s standard of holiness. This isn’t self-righteousness or an attitude of being more spiritual than everyone else is it is simply a mindset that runs everything we do through the purifying filter of the Holy Spirit. “What would Jesus do?” What is the attitude and position of the Word in what and how I do things? Often times our purity can be helped by accountability that helps us to see ourselves through the eyes of others and find areas that we have become blind, deceived or indifferent too. We can help wash one another’s feet by voluntarily guarding one another’s souls. We deal with each other like we would want to be dealt with, not in judgement, but in love. The enemy does his best work in the darkness of our hearts and where things are hidden. Are we doing anything that we wouldn’t want to be shouted from the rooftops? If we are able to keep all things out in the light, the enemy has nothing to work with in temptation or condemnation.
It is often so easy to see and major on the faults that we see in others and in those things around us. Here we are exhorted to look for the best, the lovely things in people and in our circumstances. Focus on the good and how God can use it to make something lovely out of that which may not be so lovely. Look for the positive attributes in people and focus on those things, being patient, longsuffering, forgiving and self-controlled concerning the areas in others that present themselves as offensive, selfish and hurtful.
Seek out the good news that edifies others and glorifies God, not on gossip, slanderous speech and backbiting. Turn away from those that only want to create dissention and find fault. We are builders and creators, not destroyers and wasters. Look for the things that are of good report, those things that speak graciously and out of a kindly spirit. How often we gather to find common ground for our negative feelings and viewpoints rather than to extol the virtues of another. If we can find any virtue and good in a person or a situation then set your mind there. Isn’t it amazing how our minds always want to gravitate to what is wrong with a person or a situation rather than what is right about it? When we see the wrongs they should compel our prayers and not our criticism.
We are in the midst of changing our paradigm and mindset. This passage definitely goes against the grain of what we have grown up with and the direction our own speech and point of view has gone. We are worshippers with praise and rejoicers in the truth. How can we rejoice in iniquity and evil? The worshippers that are filled with praise and rejoicing are focused on the goodness of God, His sovereignty and ultimate justice and righteousness ruling. We are now a kingdom people living in the kingdom of God and ruled in our hearts by kingdom principles and ways. We are exhorted in Christ Jesus to put away our negative, our pessimism, our criticism, our judgements and our impure ways. We are exhorted to set our eyes upon Jesus; ‘to look full into His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace’.

Blessings,
#kent

Ephesians 3:10-13
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

The Confidence of the Believer

“Faith builds confidence and where confidence falters failure ensues.” These are the words that came up in my spirit this morning. Hebrews 10:35 says, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” Your confidence is synonymous with your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 3:14 tells us, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” Our faith in Christ builds our confidence to believe Him and His Word in all of the areas of our life. 1 John 5:14 informs us, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” Our confidence is in Creator Father God and His Son, Jesus Christ. He is a covenant God and a promise keeper. ‘God is not a man that He should lie.’
The one thing I have observed as I have grown in years is that we live in the age of microwave mentality. We expect everything instantly, with no fuss and no muss. I see a lot of young people getting married and their expectations are that they should have everything their parents have worked years for, right now. This mindset is often reflected in the realm of our faith. When we pray, we expect that within three minutes the timer will ding and our prayers will be answered. When we find that God isn’t instant oatmeal we start to wane in our faith and our confidence begins to fall. What I have experienced personally is that God may act immediately, but more times than not, it is the prayer of faith and the confident hope in that prayer that sets events in motion to accomplish that for which we have prayed and believed God for. There are prayers that I have prayed that I didn’t see answers to, till years down the road. God works all things after the council of His will, not mine. Many prayers fall short of their answer because of the very principle that the Lord gave me this morning. We hold fast the faith for so long and after awhile we get discouraged and give up instead of rejoicing and continuing to praise Him. Remember Hebrew 3:14, ““For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” The promises of God are not obtained by the weak and the fainthearted, they are obtained by the violent and passionate people of faith who refuse to be denied, that take the kingdom by force. They get a revelation of the promise of God in their heart and they no longer look at the things which are seen, but they behold that which is unseen and yet more real than fact. They have laid hold of truth and they refuse to let it go, no matter what the facts may dictate.
2 Corinthians 1:18-22 says, “But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. God’s promises are yes, but we are the ones that give the amen. Our amen is the agreement and the confidence in the yes of God.
If you count yourself in Christ today then be confident in what He has spoken to you through His Word. Quit listening to the enemy. Quit looking at your circumstances. You are a child of God. You are a joint-heir with the King of Kings. Take hold of who you are and what you have in Christ Jesus and with tenacity and perseverance let nothing take it from you. Let nothing in this world shake the confidence of who you are in Christ. You are always more than a conqueror. Again I bring to your remembrance 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.”
1 John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

Blessings,
#kent

Revelations 4:1
After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

Where We See the Vision of God

Most of us expect that God is supposed to meet with us on our terms, in our earthly mentality and thinking. We are always wanting more of God, so we invite him into our box, into our preconceived and formed religious thinking and mindset. Remember when, in Acts 10, Peter was on the roof top praying and God showed Him a vision of a great sheet knit on four corners, let down from heaven. It was full of unclean animals, wild beast, creeping things and fowls of the air. A voice came to him and said, “Rise Peter, kill and eat.” Remember Peter three times refused and objected because these were unclean. Peter said, “Not so Lord, for I have never eaten anything uncommon or unclean.” God was challenging Peter’s religious thinking and his doctrinal box. This didn’t fit in Peter’s theology at all. There comes a time when God takes the type and shadow and makes it a reality. There was a whole lot of this going on when Christ came as the fulfillment of so many types and shadows of the Old Testament. This is the reason that Judaism doesn’t fit comfortably in the mold of Christianity. The former was based upon types and shadows and the latter is based upon the fulfillment of those types and shadows in Christ. God’s Word does not change, but the times and the seasons of it do. We don’t reap our harvest in the winter, it isn’t the season. In God there are seasons and Jesus taught us to recognize the seasons spiritually. If our eyes are only fixed on this former season and our minds are narrowed to only walk in what have known, we may miss the season for which we were created and purposed.
In our passage in Revelations, God didn’t come down to John’s level of thinking and reasoning, He showed him an open door in heaven and said, “Come up here and I will show you the things which must come hereafter.” If we, in our generation, have come to this time of hereafter, then it is important that our spiritual eyes, ears and mind are open to the things that God is doing and speaking in this hour. They may well go against the grain of our former way of thinking as they did for Peter. We are quickly approaching the fulfillment of many of the things that the Word has spoken to us, but we have not comprehended them because the hour was not yet. I believe we are already standing in a new season of God and it is imperative for all of us to really be open for God to show us and bring us into a new dimension in our faith and in our lives. We are standing in a new day when the things spoken of as hereafter are now becoming present tense. Be ready for change, not in fearful way, but in a faith-filled way. Keep your eyes and your faith upon Him that when He moves, you move with Him, even if it is not the way it has always been. God is calling us up through that open door in heaven to come up and see the things He is about to do upon the earth. Even as God was showing Peter that He was about to bring the Gentiles into the kingdom of God, He is bringing us into a new season in Him. You will hear the word from God’s anointed and it will sound strange to you, but listen with your spiritual man, then move in obedience to what the Lord will be prompting you to do. This will not make sense now, but it will as the Spirit of God unfolds it.

Blessings,
#kent

Born to Serve

December 12, 2014

Exodus 23:25
And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

Born to Serve

From the time that we come into this earth we were born to serve. We will serve something or someone all of our days. The question is what and whom do we serve?
The children of Israel during their stay in Egypt served the Egyptians some four hundred years. Just think, that is longer than our United States is old. Being servants to Egyptians had become a mindset and just a way of life. It was who you were and what you did. It took a Moses, operating under the Spirit of God, to begin to overturn that mindset and slavery thinking. It is no different with us. We grow up serving the world and thinking like the world. That is what everybody does, so that is what we do. Then along comes Jesus and upsets our way of thinking and serving.
Some are naïve enough to say, “I don’t serve anybody. I’m my own person.” When a person says something like that they are saying, that indeed, they are a servant to their flesh. It is there old nature that rules over them, but if they have never known anything different they don’t recognize it as slavery.
God allowed Israel to become the servants and slaves of Egypt. God told Abram in Genesis 15:13, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.” Now why did God do that? Why did He allow Adam to fall into the slavery of sin and darkness and in the process take all of humanity with Him? We can’t know freedom and really appreciate it until we have experienced slavery and bondage. We can never really appreciate the light of day until we have walked through the darkness of night. We can’t really appreciate the warmth and beauty of spring until we have walked through the coldness and the deadness of winter. God allows us to experience certain things so that we can have an appreciation and a revelation of something so much better and so much higher.
God has delivered us out of the realm of bondage into the liberty of the Sons of God, but some of us still have our old mindsets and earthly way of thinking. Many of us still see our promise land as a place possessed by giants and impossibilities rather than seeing it as a land flowing with milk and honey which is our inheritance. As a result we slip back into the bondage of our unredeemed thinking and belief system. We don’t believe we can therefore we can not.
God wants to blow the lid off of this kind stinking thinking. It is an offense to Him and denial of who He is. We are not going to possess this land in and of our selves because we are no longer of ourselves. We are of Christ. It is the Christ who is the might and the power and the authority in us to prevail and possess our land, as we dispossess the giants and its former inhabitants. How long are we going to allow satan to rob us of that which is rightfully ours? It is only the intimidation of his fear and doubt that prevents us. Where is our spirit of Joshua and Caleb that sees how great their God is rather than how weak we are in our flesh? If you can see it by the Spirit you can possess it by faith. If you are walking in the will and authority of God then there is none that can stand before you.
God has raised us up to be the conquering servants of the MOST HIGH GOD! He has brought us out of the bondage of sin and darkness. He has brought us out and is training us up to be the servants that bring humanity unto Him. You are His priesthood, His army and His sons to bring liberty to the afflicted and set the captive free. Romans 8: 18-25 declares, “I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. 19In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. 20Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope 21that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. 22We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth. 23The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children. This means that our bodies will also be set free. 24And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. 25However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.” We are God’s Moses to His creation. He has commissioned us in His Son to be the liberators of His creation that have been subjected to the bondage of sin and death. We have been blessed that God has given us the privilege of knowing Him and being prepared for this calling. Unfortunately many of us don’t yet see it by faith. Some of us see it, but we are still too entangled in the affairs of this life. Until our thinking is liberated we can never be the servants that we were born to be. We are called to be servant kings that rule and reign to bless and liberate. That is our purpose and that is our calling. With the most reverent respect to God, I say, “ the devil be damned, let’s possess the land!”

Blessings,
#kent

Practical Application for a Holy Life

Colossians 3: 1-3
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

The first thing we need as Christians is a revelation of who we are in Christ. In Christ, the former man with it natural affections has passed away and we are putting on a new man renewed in thought, purpose and deed; reflecting and producing the image of Christ. Colossians 3 is a great application for who we are and what we are becoming, as well as what we need to be doing to get there.
We start out by realizing positionally where we are at, “raised with Christ” who is seated at the right hand of God. We are in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. We aren’t going to find many positions higher than that. We, who are in that position, have come to a new mindset different from the one we formerly carried. We must be a heavenly-minded people whose affections are on things above and not on things below, who walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Many of us are still holding on to that old unrenewed mind and earthly affections. It is bringing us down and robbing us of who we are and what we have “in Christ”. It is only as we behold Him that the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Colossians 3 is an instructional in the practical ways we are to become heavenly-minded and have a renewed mind. The first thing that it instructs us to do is often the hardest for us to put into practical application. Verses 5-11 instruct us, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming, 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Do you happen to recognize any of these attributes still lingering around your life? The hardest thing to put to death is our flesh. It has an instinct for survival and it will do anything, compromise anyway, promise to be good, it just doesn’t want to die; yet it must. We can see the value of keeping Christ and the Word of God constantly in front of us, so that we have a mirror of who we are in Christ and we don’t loose vision of where we are going and what our purpose now is. These little daily devotionals are just one more means I pray the Holy Spirit uses to continually prompt and exhort us in His ways and not our former nature. We tend to want to turn away and ignore the things that put a finger on our sin and our reluctance to yield certain areas of our lives to Christ. We all have our little weaknesses, our idols, and those things that our flesh covets and doesn’t want to give up. Yet, if we are unwilling, then we are living in rebellion and disobedience to Christ, we are not being true to who we are “in Christ”, thus we deny His best and His highest for us.
These scriptures tell us what we must take off, but what about what we must put on. God never takes anything away but what He doesn’t give us something better to replace it with. Verses 12-17 instruct us, “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. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God is in affect telling us to be clothed now with His nature, which is the holy apparel that is consistent with heavenly citizenship. The world around us must see something unique, different and special about the people who bear the name of Christ. If we are no different than the world, then we haven’t really changed identity or clothing. We are still living in the same old unredeemed man. Its not all about us going to church, or just talking about Jesus, or telling the world they are sinners bound for hell unless they repent; it is about a lifestyle and behavior that exemplifies who and what we are in Christ. That speaks so much more loudly than words. Give me a person that truly lives Christ before me and that will more quickly move me to change than all of the words and arguments they could give. When you put on Christ you don’t just put on different behavior, you put on a holy presence. It is a presence that exudes the love and power of the Spirit that you are of. God now has place and platform to glorify Himself through you.
Colossians 3 concludes by these instructions to the households of believers and the reminder that at the end of this natural life there is a reward and an inheritance. A reminder that it is Christ we serve and that if we choose to do wrong, that wrong bears its consequences without respect of persons. Verses 18-24 instruct us, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
Thus we have simply laid out for us the guide for living the practical Christ centered life that is consistent with whom we now are. Daily we present our bodies a living sacrifice and daily we renew our minds in Christ. We apply these practical instructions with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, that in all things we might be conformed to His life and live consistent with the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

Skating on Thin Ice

May 1, 2014

Skating on Thin Ice

Matthew 25:10-13
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
29-30
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
41-46
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Our texts from Matthew 25 present us with three parables given by Jesus that illustrate wise and faithful servants with subsequent rewards and foolish and slothful servants who reap the closed door to God’s presence and His judgement of displeasure. There are many that loosely wear the name of Christian. There are many who attend church and acknowledge the name of Christ, but if we all stood before Him in judgement today how many of us would truly be considered His? The passage in Matthew 7:13-23 instructs us, “13″Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ The scriptures speaks something very specific to us that many tend to ignore. Many of us have a philosophy that we can have religion, that we can have works and that we can generally believe upon the name of Jesus and that insures us of heaven. I fail to see that premise supported in these scriptures. There is a connection necessary for us to be “in Christ”. The connection we have in Christ is not just one made in a moment of repentance when we came to the altar; that should have been the beginning of a continuing, ongoing and deepening relationship that leads us into the heart of God and establishes us as part of the vine, yielding the fruit of the Spirit. Our salvation is not contingent upon how religious we are, what church we go too, what denomination we do or don’t belong too or how good our works are. Salvation is union with the One who hung upon that cross for you and I and gave His life so that we might have eternal life. For many, the definition of salvation has become very loose and general, but in these scriptures and many like them we find an exacting Lord, who expects faithfulness, obedience, commitment and fruitfulness. That fruit has no value or worth if it is produced outside of the vine; it is the fruit of the vine that produces life and lasting value.
Jesus says specifically in Matthew 7:13, “”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Religion is a wide road that may lead us in pursuit of God, but does not lead us into life and relationship with Him. That small gate and narrow road is not the one traveled by the masses or even the church in general; it is traveled by those in pursuit of Him. Where are we at on life’s road? Do we just possess religion, a belief system or even spiritual gifts? None of those in themselves make us His. He is looking for the ones who bear the fruit of His life within them, who are faithful with what He entrust them with, who are watching and preparing for Him and those who are ministering the life to others that they themselves possess. Do we really know Him and are we in relationship with Him or are we skating on the thin ice of a mindset that just says, “sure I believe in Christ” but aren’t really living what we think we believe. Our beliefs have to become your realities.

Blessings,
#kent

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