In the Beginning

October 19, 2015

In the Beginning
Genesis 1:1-4
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

“In the beginning, God…” Think back to that day when God started a new beginning in you. Do you remember the day when God said “let their be light in the midst of your soul” and you agreed and said yes. Do you remember how He took you when you were formless, void and dwelling in darkness and He caused the light of Jesus Christ to dawn upon your soul? The Lord began a new day in you that separated light and darkness.
John picks up on this theme in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. Christ is the express Word of God, the expression of all of creation, the breath of God’s own life, the light of His glory and countenance. Christ is that light of the world and the author of life to all of its inhabitance. The light is never a part of the darkness, but rather it always dispels darkness relative to the intensity with which it is present. Darkness cannot comprehend light because it is contrary and opposite in nature to light. Isn’t it only God’s grace and the opening of our understanding by His Spirit that we begin to comprehend the Light of the World? Every candle has a wick, but until it is lit, it remains an object of darkness. Hearing the Word of God, coupled with a quickening of understanding by the Holy Spirit gave us the empowerment to light the candle of faith that burns within our hearts. This light of faith, that flickers and burns within us is of the same nature and characteristic as that which burns in the Light of the World. He has placed His light in us. He has called us to a new day and to walk in the light of the knowledge and revelation of God that He has imparted to us in the Word and through His manifest presence. When lights gather together they grow in intensity, greater dispelling the darkness and lighting the place with His glory. What’s more, is that now, as we walk and dwell in this light, we have fellowship with the author of light and life.
1 John 1:1, John carries on this theme of the beginning, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” Because we have embraced this life, John 1:12 – 13 tells us that now we have a right to become the sons of God, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” When you are born of God you are given the right to fellowship and commune with God. You are given the privilege and the mandate to live to the praise and glory of Him who now indwells you. You are given entrance and fellowship into His presence with others of like faith. From this beginning we become children of the day who walk in the light, as He is in the light. We become the living signposts, the neon lights that show and direct others to the author of light and life, so that they also might experience a new beginning. We have the fellowship and relationship with the Lord that it speaks of in 1John 1:5-10, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” When we embrace the day and choose to walk in the light, as He is in the light, then we live and dwell in the power and love of God’s forgiveness and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our darkness and sin. We know that we have all had darkness and sin in our lives and in fact we are still struggling with its temptations, but as we continually turn our faces into the light and away from darkness, the power of the blood dispels the darkness with its light and life.
Christ is the beginning and the end, the first and the last and He wants to be that to us throughout all of our existence, both in this life and that which is to come. Continue on in the light of the good work that God began in you from your beginning. Bathe yourself continually in the light of His countenance and glory and that light wherewith He has lit our souls, let is so shine to be a light and a beginning for others.

Blessings,
#kent

God of Light

July 9, 2015

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

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

Blessings,
#kent

Spirits of Influence

June 28, 2014


Romans 13:12-14

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

 

Spirits of Influence

 

There are three primary wills that are operating in our lives today: the will of God, the will of man and the will of satan.  We have the right and the good on one side, the evil and the darkness on the other and we are in between.   We know that we are a spirit being, with a soul made up of mind, will and emotion.  Then we have a body that is able to physically and outwardly express that which is resident in our spirit and our soul.   We find that our souls are the battleground for that which possesses our spirit and that which manifests itself through our outward man.  

As a Christian we have asked Christ to come in and indwell our spirits.  This is the beginning of our salvation experience.  While we have given our hearts and spirits to Christ, what we find is that there still remains spirits of influence in our outward man that continue to seek to find a place of residence and expression through our mortal man.  

Why is it that as Christians we still display so many attributes of the flesh?  It is because there is still a mixture in our soul of flesh and Spirit.  When the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the promised Canaan land, it was filled with inhabitants already.  The inhabitants were an idolatrous and wicked people.  The absence of the presence and working of the Spirit of God in that place had left it like a fertile field overgrown with weeds, thistle and thorns.  The possession of the land was through a physical and spiritual dispossessing of the former inhabitants and the spirits that possessed them.  

In our souls today we may well be struggling with spirits of influence that may be quite contrary to the Holy Spirit.  Each one of us has strongholds and weaknesses that the enemy seeks to infiltrate and exploit to his sinister end and purpose.  There may be areas that we are able to overcome relatively easy and have no real power or influence over us, but there are other areas that we struggle with and may feel constantly defeated in.  

Satan feeds on flesh.  In Genesis 3:14 the Lord curses the serpent, satan and says, “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.”  If we ask the question, “what dust does he eat?” we find the answer in Genesis 3:19.  “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”  Our bodies and our flesh are the dust that the serpent and his demonic host feed upon.  When we are in Christ, satan’s only right to us is through our flesh.  Satan had nothing in Jesus, because Jesus didn’t operate out of the flesh, but out of the Spirit.  This is why Romans 13:14 exhorts us to, “put on you the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lust thereof.”  What we feed, grows.  When we give place to those areas in our lives that are our weaknesses and areas of temptation then they grow stronger and stronger the more we give them life and place.  The stronger they become the more they bind and imprison us.  This is how the enemy gains a foothold in our lives and through time is able to destroy our testimony and faith.  This is the purpose and the goal of the enemy, to rule us with condemnation, guilt and shame.  The more these strongholds gain place the more isolated and unworthy we feel of God, thus the more we are separated through lack of faith, fear, doubt and condemnation.  

The reality is God has never stopped loving us and caring for us.  The blood of Jesus has never lost its power of forgiveness, but satan has found occasion through our sin to cause a separation between our God and us.  

Freedom is in laying hold of the key of faith that will unlock the door to our prison.  God has already set us free in Christ. It is our minds and the deception of the enemy that holds us captive.  The Word exhorts us to denounce the works of darkness.   Romans 13:12 exhorts us, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”  Our liberty is in putting on the armor of God’s Word and truth by faith.  ‘There is no more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  We will no longer walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit in Christ Jesus.”  By the Spirit we will put to death the deeds of the flesh and we will take back the land of our soul and mortal bodies through the authority and the power of Christ in us.  We have reckoned ourselves dead unto sin and alive unto Christ.  We will press on, overcoming in that truth.   “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)”  

Don’t allow the spirits of influence to rob you of your destiny and your purpose in Christ, 

“ But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].”]

Blessings,

#kent

Self Struggle

April 7, 2014

Romans 7:24-25
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Self Struggle

From my night I look out into the light.
I am drawn by its warmth and love.
There is a love that draws me out of my night.
But then the voices rush in that changes my gears.
They remind me of past hurts, disappointments and fears.
They remind me of all that I enjoy and would need to give up.
So I am drawn back from the light and from drinking His cup.
Back into the security of my unchanging heart.
Back into my dysfunctional darkness of which I’ve so been a part.

I hear the voice speaking into my spirit,
“Would you be made whole?”
“Would you be healed?”
“Would you be delivered and set free?”
Suddenly there is such a strong sense of duality.
Two men warring within me for dominion and victory.
One struggles to keep me in the darkness and need;
Bringing before me fears of change, and shame of my past,
Condemnation of sin and a half empty glass.
And what it will cost me to make the change?
The other man stands in His peace and light of His gain,
Arms extended and the truth of His love inviting me in.
I love the warmth and the peace of His presence,
But then the darkness crowds in, causing me to withdrawal again.

Inwardly I am grieved at my fallen state.
Only fleeting joy, broken promises and empty estate.
I look back over the wastelands of my life.
All I see is heartache, brokenness and strife.
What is my purpose if this life is all there is;
If I continue to choose this self-life instead of His?
His love is faithfully pursuing my wretched soul.
What can He possibly see in this lump of coal?
This time when He invites me, I run with a new reply.
I cast my wretched self upon His grace and cry,
“Change me and fill me with yourself and your love.”
“I would be made whole.”
“I would be healed.”
“I would be delivered and set free.”
Please Lord, take and fill all of me.

The magnitude of His love and peace floods my heart.
I sense His blood cleansing every filthy part.
Hope and joy are now abounding through my soul.
I finally relinquished my will and gave Him full control.
A new day has dawned in this heart and soul of mine.
Transforming power and new direction do I find.
“What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Blessings,
#kent

 

When God is Silent and Understanding Fails

(Part 1) 


Job 23:8-17

8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. 13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. 16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. 17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.”

 

I ask God’s wisdom and counsel today in what we share.  There are times in our lives when we know and trust God with our heart, but we question Him with our mind, intellect and understanding.  We try and reason how God is, who God is and how He should act and work in our lives.  Life’s circumstances and trials can sometimes be very crushing and cruel.  They leave us in the wake of disasters that our natural reasoning struggles to understand and comprehend in the light of what we know about God.  The question is often asked and disputed, “If you are a loving and just God, how could you let this happen?”  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Many depart from their faith through the course of life, because God has disappointed them and failed to live up their expectations.  Sometimes when we are desperate for answers or a Word, God is silent.   

The book of Job has long been a source of comfort and strength to those of us who find ourselves in these places in life.  It is not uncommon for any of us at times in our lives to have these hard questions, because God does not always respond to us the way we think that He should.  About the time we think we have God all figured out and put in the box of our finite understanding, He blows the lid off of our box and defies our understanding.  God has defined Himself by certain characteristics and attributes, but His thoughts and ways are so beyond ours that they are unable to be corralled by human or conventional wisdom.  Some of you who are reading this now have struggled in your faith and perhaps have faltered because you couldn’t grasp why something happened as it did.  You prayed and you felt God didn’t answer.  You tried to walk in faith and you didn’t feel that God came through.  You may have trusted God and you felt He let you down or cried out to Him and it seemed He wasn’t there.  We may have said in our hearts, God, are you really real?  If You are who You say you are, then where are You, why have You abandoned me in my hour of need?  In times past we were so sure of His reality and we had experienced His presence, the joy of salvation and the precious power of the Holy Spirit.  Now our world has turned upside down and God seems nowhere to be found.  In the discourse of Job 29:1-6, “Job continued his discourse: 2 “How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, 3 when his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness! 4 Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, 5 when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, 6 when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.”  Has that ever been the cry of our heart from the hardship and trials we have experienced?  Many of us, like Job, have searched for the answers that could bring comfort, consolation and satisfy our dejected soul.  In these times and through these monumental trials, what is our heart attitude toward God?  Can we still maintain our trust in God’s integrity and righteousness, or will we forsake and curse our God and turn away from our faith?  When the fires of hell are brought to bear upon our faith, when we can no longer with the natural eye behold the evidence of God, but only see the devastation of the enemy in our midst through death, sickness, poverty or affliction can we maintain our integrity and faith toward God?  Sometimes the fire of God will try and test our hearts in the ways that blessings and answered prayers never will.  It is easy to love and serve God when all is well, when we are prospering, healthy, wealthy and wise.  It is easy when we worship and sense God’s presence, favor and blessing, but what about when all of that is withdrawn?  Can you still trust Him and hold fast to Him?

 

Blessings,

kent

You are the Luminary of God’s Life

Genesis 1:14-15
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

Did you know that God’s redeemed and called out ones are the lights of heaven that divide the day and night of earth? We are God’s sign for the days and seasons of His plan and we are the lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. God has forever had a presence in this world since it turned to sin and darkness. His presence has been revealed unto and through the people that He has shown and made Himself known too. They in turn became the light of revelation and the truth of God to the world of the darkness around them. If any of you ever wanted to be a star, then know that you are one of the stars of God’s heavens. He has set you as a luminary, a diadem of light, in the midst of a dark world.
Luke 12:34-36 says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and [your] lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.” Lights burn with varying intensity. The intensity of our spiritual lights are directly proportional to our relationship with the Son of God who is the great light of the world and to His spirit living through us. John 1:4-5 tells us of Jesus, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” We comprehend it because the Spirit of God has quickened our hearts to receive the truth. Truth known is not truth revealed. For truth to be revealed is has to have expression through action. It has to have an embodiment to express itself through. As Jesus was the daystar that was the light of the world and expressed through His life the life and love of God, we, as believers are the embodiment of His truth and life. We have received light and truth that we in turn might become the transmitters of that light and truth to a world still lost in darkness and ignorance of who God really is. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Again in John 12:46 He says, ” I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” We can now not only walk in the light, but we can be light, because of the Spirit of Truth that abides within us is the oil and the Word of Truth is the lampstand upon which we rest. Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:14-16, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The light that this world has is revealed through you, His people, as you are faithful to let that light shine before men. It is revealed not only by what we say but also by what we live. It says, “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The world has too long heard Christians saying one thing and living another. We have all been guilty of that, but that it is not what brings God glory. Hypocrisy is like polluted water, it holds the promise of quenching our thirst, but then sickens us when we go to drink. We all have a sphere and circle of influence through which the people in darkness walk through. What effect will the light of your life have upon them?
We often murmur and complain about the difficulties and trials in our lives. We must realize that these are but opportunities for the application of God’s truth and the opportunity to see our faith in that truth produce substance in our lives and consequentially in the lives of others as well. Jesus gives a parable in Matthew 25 of ten virgins representing His church, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five [were] foolish They that [were] foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” A lamp without the oil is useless for producing light, so are our lives if we do not allow the Spirit of God to live through us as we exercise ourselves by reason of the Word of God and faith in that Word. You and I must be workable, functioning lamps that can and are producing the light of God’s truth through our lives. The wise virgin, accepted by the Lord, is seen in her diligence and preparation. Our lives, daily lived out in faith and relationship with Christ, by the power of the Spirit is producing in us the oil that will make our lamps acceptable to Him. In the mean time they will provide a light by which others may find their way to Him. You are the light of God, set in heavenly places, be faithful to be the life giving light of your solar system and realm of influence.

Blessings,
kent

When God is Silent and Understanding Fails
(Part 1)

Job 23:8-17
8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. 13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. 16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. 17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.”

I ask God’s wisdom and counsel today in what we share. There are times in our lives when we know and trust God with our heart, but we question Him with our mind, intellect and understanding. We try and reason how God is, who God is and how He should act and work in our lives. Life’s circumstances and trials can sometimes be very crushing and cruel. They leave us in the wake of disasters that our natural reasoning struggles to understand and comprehend in the light of what we know about God. The question is often asked and disputed, “If you are a loving and just God, how could you let this happen?” Why do bad things happen to good people? Many depart from their faith through the course of life, because God has disappointed them and failed to live up their expectations. Sometimes when we are desperate for answers or a Word, God is silent.
The book of Job has long been a source of comfort and strength to those of us who find ourselves in these places in life. It is not uncommon for any of us at times in our lives to have these hard questions, because God does not always respond to us the way we think that He should. About the time we think we have God all figured out and put in the box of our finite understanding, He blows the lid off of our box and defies our understanding. God has defined Himself by certain characteristics and attributes, but His thoughts and ways are so beyond ours that they are unable to be corralled by human or conventional wisdom. Some of you who are reading this now have struggled in your faith and perhaps have faltered because you couldn’t grasp why something happened as it did. You prayed and you felt God didn’t answer. You tried to walk in faith and you didn’t feel that God came through. You may have trusted God and you felt He let you down or cried out to Him and it seemed He wasn’t there. We may have said in our hearts, God, are you really real? If You are who You say you are, then where are You, why have You abandoned me in my hour of need? In times past we were so sure of His reality and we had experienced His presence, the joy of salvation and the precious power of the Holy Spirit. Now our world has turned upside down and God seems nowhere to be found. In the discourse of Job 29:1-6, “1 Job continued his discourse: 2 “How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, 3 when his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness! 4 Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, 5 when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, 6 when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.” Has that ever been the cry of our heart from the hardship and trials we have experienced? Many of us, like Job, have searched for the answers that could bring comfort, consolation and satisfy our dejected soul. In these times and through these monumental trials, what is our heart attitude toward God? Can we still maintain our trust in God’s integrity and righteousness, or will we forsake and curse our God and turn away from our faith? When the fires of hell are brought to bear upon our faith, when we can no longer with the natural eye behold the evidence of God, but only see the devastation of the enemy in our midst through death, sickness, poverty or affliction can we maintain our integrity and faith toward God? Sometimes the fire of God will try and test our hearts in the ways that blessings and answered prayers never will. It is easy to love and serve God when all is well, when we are prospering, healthy, wealthy and wise. It is easy when we worship and sense God’s presence, favor and blessing, but what about when all of that is withdrawn? Can you still trust Him and hold fast to Him?

Blessings,
kent

Day and Night

August 19, 2013

Day and Night

Psalms 42:8
[Yet] the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song [shall be] with me, [and] my prayer unto the God of my life.

We have talked about the seasons of God in our lives and how there are time when we sense the presence of God so strongly in our lives and the times when the Lord seems so silent and distant.
Day and night are the same analogies, I believe, David is writing about here. In the daytime we experience the blessings of God’s presence, love, direction and provision. These are wonderful times that we partake of the richness of His fellowship and He is so near to our hearts. These are times of growing, enrichment in the truth of God and sitting at the feet of Jesus. It is easy in these times to become complacent and take for granted that things will always be this way. What we fail to realize is that the day is preparation for the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 says, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” While we are the children of the light and the day it doesn’t mean we won’t have to walk through the dark places and the nighttime of our soul. When we cease to experience the light of His presence and the sweet bounty of His fellowship that we had experienced in our daytime. As surely as there is day, there is night. There are times when evil surrounds and darkness overshadows us. In these times we are inclined to say where did you go God, why have you forsaken me? He hasn’t forsaken us, but it is a time to draw out of the storehouse of the spiritual blessing He has placed in our lives. It is a time for His truth to get from our head down into our heart and it is time to hold on to the song He has placed in our heart. He is still the ‘light unto our feet and the lamp unto our path.’ He will still ‘never leave or forsake us’, but there are those times when we must encourage our soul as David did. Remembering the goodness and the benefits of the Lord, His faithfulness and our hope that is ever anchored in Him. Maturity causes us to be stretched in uncomfortable ways, but it is the valleys that will bring us to the next mountain that will be higher than the one before. The night will eventually give place to day. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (2 Peter 1:19).”

Blessings,
kent

Three Dimensions of Jacob

Genesis 32:22-32
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Many of us will remember this story of Jacob. We often say that Jacob wrestled with an angel. As I was meditating upon Jacob this morning I felt like the Lord gave a little insight into this man Jacob. Jacob’s life is like our spiritual journey. Consider with me some of the analogies I felt like the Lord was showing me and I know there is so much more to this than what we will share here today.
When Jacob came into this world, he came in with his first-born twin named Esau. Now Esau was hairy, red and ruddy. He was a man of the earth and field. You might say he was the Adamic nature. The scripture that gives us great insight into these three dimensions of Jacob, which is a type of us, is found in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” While Esau is a type of the body, which is pretty much self-centered and driven by its needs and wants, Jacob is a little more subtle. Jacob is a type of the soul. The soul is where our identity lies. It is our mind, will and emotion. It is expressive of who we are as a person. Like Jacob, most of us have our spiritual side and then we have our fleshly side, for our soul is a mixture of flesh and spirit. Even the name Jacob means “heel holder or supplanter”. The truth was he was an artful manipulator. Even so, Jacob had a spiritual side that hungered for the things of God and the desire for the inheritance or birthright that would normally go to the firstborn. The trouble with the firstborn is that he had little or no appreciation for the birthright. Yes, he wanted the blessing that came through the birthright, but he didn’t have a heart or desire for the legacy and the responsibility that it carried with it. Jacob, on the other hand, did, but he sought to gain it through unscrupulous means, even though, prophetically it had been spoken that the older would serve the younger. Jacob is like us in so many ways. He was always cunning and devising in the flesh how he might obtain the things of the spirit. Whether it was his life, livelihood, his wives or his children, Jacob set about with natural wisdom and understanding to obtain them. That is not to say that Jacob did not have his spiritual side. He encountered God at Bethel in the dream of the stairway or ladder with ascending and descending angels. He experienced God’s blessing, protection and wisdom in his life, but like us, we often seem to struggle and work so hard only to come up so short of our dreams and strongest desires. We have that Labon in our lives, Jacob’s father-in-law, that is always promising so much and delivering so little. No wonder, like Jacob, so many of us are frustrated physically and spiritually.
Even though Jacob knew God and had a relationship with Him, he had his shortcomings, his fears and demons to face. His biggest fear was his brother Esau, the one he had taken the birthright and the blessing from. It is like even though we possess the promises and blessings of God we face our own mortality. Faced with who we are in the natural we fear. In the natural we perceive our weaknesses, our failures, the ungodly part of our nature. That is what Jacob faced in Esau.
In Genesis 32 we see Jacob escaping Labon and his stronghold to return to the promise land, but there he must face his Esau. In this place of fear for himself and his family, he is crying out for answers and favor from God. Try and scheme as he will, he fears the strength of the flesh that is represented in Esau and his ability to take from him all that he has labored to build. While he possesses the promises and the birthright they are of little value to him in his own identity. He sends his family and the others on ahead and takes them over the ford of Jabbok, which means emptying. He sent away his family and all that he had and now, empty, he is left alone. There he encounters this third man. The scripture doesn’t say it is an angel, but it is definitely an agent of God. There, Jacob wrestles with this man till daybreak. Could this be the spirit of Christ in us? The spiritual man that we need to change our nature? The first thing that had to happen in Jacob was an emptying and laying down of all that he loved and possessed. Then there was a battle, the struggle and wrestling with that old soulish nature of Jacob, the heel-holder, supplanter and deceiver. These two men seemed pretty equally matched for strength for they wrestled through the night till daybreak. Is this our place of prayer and intercession where we are in a spiritual battle. Have we come to the place that we are going to lay hold of God and let go of everything else unto He blesses us? Are we the overcomers that will prevail with God and man?
What is our greatest blessing? Isn’t it to be delivered of our former nature with all of its weaknesses, lust and affections?
That morning, at daybreak, the man said, “let me go, it is daybreak.” Jacob said, “I won’t let you go till you bless me.” In Genesis 32:27-31 it goes on to tell us,” The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.” It is there that Jacob prevailed with God and received a new name and a new nature. The new name is Israel, “God Prevails”. The agent of God touched Jacob in the hollow of his hip, so that the sinew shrank and he crossed over Peniel, which means, “facing God”. Jacob would always walk with a limp, no longer dependent upon his own strength and ability.
We have a similar word to us in 2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” There is a day for our transformation and new nature to come forth in its fullness, but we wrestle on through the night till we, like Jacob, prevail with God and lay hold of the promises of our inheritance. Then, no more do we need fear our strongholds like Labon or our mortality and flesh, like Esau. No longer are we afraid to loose the things we possess and love. The losses and the wounds we suffer are a small price to pay for the glory we lay hold of. God’s nature and character will prevail in us if we faint not. We will see the face of God, our Lord, and live; no longer after the flesh, but after the spirit. These are the three dimensions of Jacob, body, soul and spirit.

Blessings,
kent

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