Perfect

August 19, 2015

Matthew 5:48
Ye therfore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Perfect

Most of us would look at ourselves and readily agree that we are anything but perfect. Even if we didn’t acknowledge that we weren’t perfect, there is no doubt a spouse or near relative that would set us straight. Why would Jesus make a statement like He did here in Matthew 5:48?
Throughout this chapter and through the next couple Jesus is addressing a higher order of living than what would be considered normal to the world. He is talking about kingdom living and values. How can God change the lives of others through us if we are not first changed ourselves? If we want to see a greater move of God and we want to be a part of that move, then we must realize that the move of God begins within our own heart and being.
Jesus is making a bold statement here. He doesn’t ask if we want to be perfect, or if we think we can, He is speaking a command to us. He is speaking a living word to us. The natural mind is like Sarah in the tent when the angel tells Abraham they will have a child in their old age, it laughs in unbelief. “How is this possible?” With God all things are possible. If we want to begin seeing the possibilities of God then we have to have faith enough to take and believe Him at His Word rather than looking to see if the natural bears it out or not.
When we enter into Christ we are entering a new realm of being and living. With us still being in our natural bodies and operating in a natural world, with natural minds, we are like little birds floundering to find our wings. Baby birds aren’t born flying; it is something that they mature into because that is what they do by nature. In Christ we are of a different order and different nature of being than what we formerly were. Jesus it painting us a spiritual picture of the difference between living in the flesh and living in the Spirit, through these passages that we read here in Matthew. There are two different mindsets. Jesus is calling us to mature into our Christ nature. This is where we must have our hearts set. Yes, we will flounder and miss that mark, but our eye is set upon our destiny and our destiny is in God and kingdom living. No, we will never perfect ourselves into God’s nature, nor can we, of ourselves, be like Him. It is a God work through faith. It is a transformation that can only take place as we are in union and oneness with God and His purpose. He doesn’t violate our freewill, therefore we must daily yield up our will for His. Not my will, but His be done.
While many generations have not seen the fullness of God manifested in His saints, the Word declares that there is a season when Christ is birthed through us. The ages are growing ripe for this promise child to come forth, even as Christ came in the fullness of time. 2 Thessalonians 1:7 says, “and to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might when He shall come to glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at in all them that believed (because our testimony unto you was believed in that day). To which end we pray always for you that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfil every work of faith with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
God is calling us in this hour to set aside our unbelief and worldly mentality. We are to put on the mind of Christ, living and viewing our world from a kingdom perspective. You don’t have to change yourself. As you embrace Christ in every aspect of your life and thinking, the branch will take upon it the nature of the vine and the two will share one life source and one nature. Your perfection is resting in Him and walking with Him daily in obedience and faithfulness. He is at work in you to perform His good will and pleasure as you are abiding in the vine. Our perfection is in Christ, it is not in this natural man. The perfection is manifested as we mature in the grace, the nature and the love of Christ, it is a process of His Spirit working in us and we are growing up into who we are in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

The Passion of Our Hearts

Psalms 86:12
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.

As Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, we come from many different backgrounds and influences in our lives. We’ve even congregated and gravitated to groups or denominations that most reinforce our particular view, opinion and understanding of God and scripture. The primary problem we find with this is that it tends to separate us into different camps and we get caught up in internal squabbling over our sacred dogma or opinion. It seems to me that in this hour the Spirit of God is working in His body to tear down these walls of division. He is still “one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:5-6).” While it is fine for us all to have our own opinions about scripture, there are certain foundational truths we should all embrace and be in agreement about. What the Spirit of God wants to speak to us about is that our faith is not just about what we think or just us, it is about Him and what He thinks. The Word and Christ teaches us that the most important commandment is that, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. “ This is the foundation upon which all of the law and the prophets hinge and rest upon. If we miss this we are building upon sand. We all know the adage, “Divided we fall, united we stand”. This is why it is so important that unity be restored back into the body of Christ. Psalm 133:1 reminds us, “Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!” When part of my body starts conflicting and fighting with other parts I get sick and I can no longer function to my potential. God desires for us to lay down our pet peeves and doctrines and start becoming one with the rest of the body of Christ concerning what God’s will and purpose is for us in this hour. We must learn to build each other up and not tear each other down.
Isn’t it funny how when we meet someone and discover that they are a Christian, the first thing we want to ask them is, “where do you go to church”? We are more concerned about seeing what brand or mark of religion they have on them than seeing if the mark of Jesus is in them. We are all at so many different stages in our walk with God and most of us would agree that have been Christians for some time, that our views and ways of seeing and understanding things has changed over time. We may not have even accepted ourselves for the way we are now if we were judging ourselves by what we use to think and believe.
The thing that should be driving our lives is not our religion or denomination, but our passion for Christ and our love for Him. God sees men after the heart, not their denomination or belief system. What do you love the most? What is your deepest passion and desire? That is where Christ must be at the forefront or we are missing it. Our love and compassion for others should be a close second. Let us focus on what is important to God’s heart and not just our intellectual satisfaction. When we love and are able to lay hold of the truth, the truth will set us free from our wrong opinions. Often we think it is our duty to set everyone straight on how to believe. We need to quit stepping on the Holy Spirit’s toes and let Him do His job. Our responsibility is to judge our own hearts and make sure that we are walking in faith and obedience to Him. If we are all impassioned with Christ that will be our bond of fellowship and communion with one another and with Christ. Allow God’s law to be written upon the tablet of your mind and heart. “The letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life ( 2 Corinthians 3:6).” God’s Word will guide us and His Spirit will give us peace. Be at peace with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Love them where they are at and if you have a greater revelation or insight then speak it through the way you live your life and in your actions. Above all things, be passionate in your love and pursuit of Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

Body Ministry

February 27, 2015

1 Corinthians 12:25 –26
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Body Ministry

Yesterday, I began to have some gout flare up in the ball of my foot, above my right toe. It causes swelling, inflammation and pain that can become quite severe. It is a little affliction, not any greater than many others endure, but I felt like through it the Lord was ministering to me this morning about the body. I noticed how my own body reacted to the pain in this member. My hands would gently message it and my other leg and foot would take upon itself more of the weight when I walked. My mind was thinking about what I needed to do to get rid of it. My body was cognizant and responsive to the pain in one of my members. Each one did what it could to lessen or relieve that pain or minister to it.
I began to think, are we in tune with the body of Christ like our own bodies are with their members. In this scripture and those that precede it, the apostle Paul goes through quite a discourse explaining how the body is many members and yet one spirit. These many are made one and function as one through the unity of the Holy Spirit.
As I was meditating this morning on this truth I was thinking about how many times we, for instance, attend the funeral of a friend and we offer our condolences and then we often remark with the platitude, “if there is any thing that I can do, call me.” I think that is more for our benefit than theirs. We feel like somehow we have reached out and made ourselves available for their need, when in reality we have excused ourselves from really meeting any needs. Wouldn’t it be far more effective if we looked around and saw a particular need that we could do that would really minister to them in this time and then with their permission do it? That would effectively be ministering to the need in the body and this particular member.
I know that with myself it is far too easy to get caught up in my life, my agenda and all that I need to do and really miss the ministry and responsibility I have in meeting the needs of the body; rather that would be in my family or in others. I can become desensitized and unaware of the hurt in others and what I could do to minister to that need at that time. This is where we all need to stay in tune and sensitive to the Holy Spirit, because we function and minister to one another through His power and anointing. It may not be miraculous, but is often practical and necessary. Often the miracle begins to take place after we have ministered and went our way. We are not there in those circumstances to get the glory, but to minister the love of Christ and bring Him the glory.
The second part of body ministry is that even as we fill up one another’s needs, strengthening, providing and empowering each other, we, in turn are the servants of the world. A healthy body of Christ is God’s ministry and gift to the world. We are there individually and corporately to minister to the needs of others. We are willing to give ourselves, even as Jesus did on a daily basis to minister in whatever circumstances the Father placed Him in. Let us be sensitive and responsive to the needs around us.
The key to body ministry is that we all function out of the Spirit and by the Spirit. That Spirit is love and love always is thinking and moving on the behalf of others. The Holy Spirit mobilizes us as one man, for one purpose, to fulfill the will and expression of the Father. The expression of the Father is love and love meets the needs in one another.

Blessings,
#kent

Yoked Oxen and Wild Asses

Ephesians 2:13-18
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

As the New Covenant Church began after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ there were many struggles for men and women to come into the truth of the grace and freedom that is in Christ Jesus. There are still many parallels of that in the Church today. On one side you have what we will call the “yoked oxen”. These are the religious ones who have grown up in the religious atmosphere of denomination and religious structure. Most have grounding in the basic truths of God’s Word, but they have been so long under the yoke of the routine of religion it is hard for them to have the vision of how God is expanding beyond the perimeters of their individual camps of truth and revelation. In many ways they have become similar to the Jews of Israel. “Bless God, we are God’s chosen and our way is the right way. It was good enough for my ancestors and it is good enough for me.” It is the mentality that wants to put God in the box of our religious way of thinking and they struggle to see beyond that.
On the other hand we have what we will call “the wild asses”. These are those much like the Gentiles outside of Judaism that have little or no roots in religious background or the Christian religion. They have lived life free and wild before the Holy Spirit drew them to Himself and they came into knowledge of Him. They may not have the reverence and respect for the time honored traditional values that the “yoked oxen” have. They often have no clue of the proper etiquette and decorum of worship and reverencing God. But the “Wild Asses,” on the other hand, come with a certain freedom from the tradition and teachings of men. Their souls are like virgin soil for the gospel to be planted into. There is this wall of religion and rebellion that exist between the two camps as they often have conflict in dealing with one another. This was that middle wall of partition that separated the Jew and Gentile of old and a prejudice that still exist today. The scripture says Christ is our peace that has made us both one. As these two cultures come together in the atmosphere of true Christian fellowship, worship and relationship it is often hard for them to relate with one another. What we sometimes forget is that each brings to the table something that the other needs to balance them both. The wild ones need the structure and discipline, the reverence and respect that accompany the fear of God. The yoked ones need the freedom from inhibitions, liturgical thinking and expression that the wild ones bring. It is coming out of a box and culture for both sides that, together, the two may become one new man in Christ.
If missionaries from America go to foreign countries trying to impose their cultural thinking and ways as they preach the gospel they are often very much rejected and resisted. If they go and are willing to lay down their preconceived cultural ideas and reach out to the people from their cultural understanding and perspective they are often better understood and received because the people from that culture can relate with them.
What are we saying? God is bringing people into body from every nation, tribe and tongue, from every background and culture. We all have to come out of our cultural boxes and shells if we are to relate with one another in Christ. The cross of Jesus and the love of God are the common ground upon which we meet. Our focus must be much less on that of judging others and conforming them to our particular ideology of Christianity and more focused on how do we build each other up in love. If I can be more focused on meeting your need than I am on fixing your problem, the problem may well get resolved as I meet the need.
I once worked with a young man who was very open to hear about the Lord, but was from a different religious background than myself. I had my book and I was going to set him straight on why his religious background was wrong. Before I talked with him, I felt I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Just speak the truth in love and the truth will set him free.” It is each one of us opening up our hearts and minds to what the Spirit wants to teach us that will set us free. He will lead us into all truth if we will abide in relationship with Him and remain obedient to His leading. He will break down the middle wall of partition and make the “yoked oxen” and the “wild asses” one man in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

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