Spiritual Fitness

March 27, 2014

Spiritual Fitness

1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.

We live in a time and a society that is very health and fitness conscious. It almost seems ironic, considering over half our population would fall in the obese or overweight category. Yet we are hearing about it all of the time. The truth is we want to eat and enjoy all that we want, but we still want to have buff and gorgeous bodies and looks. Somehow God didn’t seem to create them to go together very well. If we want physical fitness, then we know that it requires discipline and effort on our part. People and companies have made billions of dollars by selling pills and products that told us we could have the one without the other. If I set in front of my TV and watch a workout program that should somehow help me to get fit. If I eat a snickers candy bar and a diet coke, then I think I’m on a diet and am going to lose weight. If I watch a lot of sports, then somehow that makes me an athlete.
This scripture makes an analogy. There is nothing wrong with physical training and staying in shape. Like anything it can get out of balance. While physical training in a natural sense can be good, in the light of what is really meaningful in life it isn’t that high on the list. We are in the process of maturing and training up our spiritual man. As in the physical, to be spiritually fit requires an investment of time, of dedication, discipline and exercise. What kind of spiritual shape is our life in today? Are we armchair and couch-potato Christians? Do we warm a pew, say a few weak amens, listen to a sermon or a word and then continue on through life without it affecting any change in our behavior, or actions, or involvement? Are we lethargic, complacent, dull, and self-willed? What is the state of our spiritual fitness today? How would you honestly rate yourself on a scale of 1 to10? When I look at my physical man and see how indulgent I have become in so many areas of my life, I realize that the same mentality can very well carry over into my spiritual life. Are we a nation of out of shape and overindulgent Christians? Outwardly we are very blessed, but inwardly do we fit the profile of Revelations 3:17? “17For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” This is not written to condemn us, but it is a call to action for all of us. Many of you who are reading this are spiritually strong and fit, but others of us may be strong with our words, but weak in our actions.
The apostle Paul gives us another analogy in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither.
26Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary.
27But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].”
We all need to come to grips with the fact that God has a calling and a purpose in our lives. I am being convicted today that there needs to be both a physical and spiritual discipline in my life. I am not talking about legalism, but like Paul, I need to conduct my life with temperance, self-control and have myself in check, spirit, soul and body. God is calling us in this hour to prepare ourselves for a time of great spiritual battle and a time of His revealing. Most of us aren’t prepared for that with the mentality and habits that we harbor. God is calling us to spiritual fitness through such things as prayer, fasting, personal time with the Lord and walking out our faith in love and actions that reveal the character of who we are in Christ. We are a called out people, a separated people and a holy people. We are a people called after God’s own name and for His glory. We are being called to the gyms of spiritual fitness to be exercised in godliness and righteousness. We have an adversary who has been lulling us to sleep and into spiritual laziness. This is the day to discern our spiritual state and develop a mentality and lifestyle that is in harmony with God’s desire for our spiritual fitness. The overcomer is a person of spiritual strength and fortitude. Spiritual strength is developed in discipline, consistency, a right state of mind and a vision of what we are being strong for. We don’t want to find ourselves, after believing, coming up short and missing the mark of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus. Let us press on with all of our being into Him and be strong in the power of His might.

Blessings,
#Kent

Conformed to His Image

March 17, 2014

Romans 8:28-30

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


Conformed to His Image


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

The River of God

March 11, 2014

 

The River of God


Psalms 65:9

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.

 

Water is an essential element to life as we know it.  Without it this planet would be another dry desolate planet like most others that we are currently aware of.  In God’s kingdom that water is like Spirit Life.  As necessary as water is to us in our human state to live and produce life not just in us, but in plants, animals and other organisms, so the Spirit is the essential to the production of Spirit Life.  We find a description of this river of Life in Revelations 22:1-4, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.”  

Ephesians 1:11-14 tells us, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  Here is the thing that God wants us to know as His people.  There is a river from the throne of God that is waiting till the fullness of time to be channeled through the earth.  As the scripture says the seal, the earnest, the foretaste of this has been given to us as believers to speak to us of whose we are, of what we have and to give us insight into the abundant flow of God’s Spirit that He is waiting to release in the earth.  

Guess who He has chosen to be the channel of this river of His grace and Spirit life?  Yes, it is His saints He is waiting to channel His divine Life and blessing through.  Romans 8:18-25 tells us, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that[i] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 

    22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  Many of us have known this inward groaning within us.  We have cried out in the midst of our pain and sufferings, “how long oh God?”  The Spirit of the Lord is saying “soon”.  Soon the Spirit of the Lord will no longer be just trickles and streams, but will be poured out so that no one vessel can contain it.  It will be the vessels of His people that will be filled to overflowing and spill out upon the nations so that the Spirit life of God will fill the earth. We have an anointing and an anointed One that lives within us.  It is a time to prepare our hearts and our lives for the release of His glory.  He is coming to be glorified in the earth in an unprecedented way and He desires holy and sanctified vessels to have expression through.  As John came saying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”, this is the day when message is coming forth, “Prepare ye for the glory of the Lord.”  Many of who have suffered much affliction and discouragement will be fully refreshed and delivered.  They will be like the lame man who leaps like a deer.  Prepare your hearts, set your lives in order for the River of God is soon to flow through the earth and carry with it healing for the nations. You are called to be His conduit and channel. 

 

Blessings,

kent

The Filter of the Blood

January 21, 2014

2 Corinthian 5:21

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


The Filter of the Blood


 I am in awe and amazement at this declaration of scripture.  Can we truly comprehend that Christ made an exchange with us.  He became our sin so that We might become His righteousness which is the righteousness of God.  I definitely got the best end of that bargain.  All of this so that the Father might reconcile us back to Himself and bring us back into relationship and fellowship with Him.  Indeed that is amazing grace.  We have a high priest in Christ Jesus that has become identified with us in our weaknesses and infirmities, being tempted in like manor as we were tempted to fully represent us before the Father in our human state.  Hebrews 4:14 -16 says, “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.”  

Jesus has gone through the heavens as our great high priest.  He has gone through the natural heaven of our earthly man.  He has gone through the second heaven of spiritual warfare and demonic activity and He has come into the third heaven where He sets at the right hand of the Father, ever living to make intercession for us and bring us, in Himself, into the Father’s presence.   Colossians 3:1-3 tells us, “Since, 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.”  

You see Father God looks upon us and now instead of seeing our sin, weakness and failure, He sees us through the filter of the Blood of Jesus.  Through that blood He beholds in us the righteousness of His Son that has been imparted to us by our faith in Him.  When He sees you, He sees you complete in His Son and because you are in the Son you have access to throne and you can now approach the throne of His grace with confidence and boldness so that you may receive mercy and grace in your time of need.  

If the righteous Holy God of all can see us through the filter of the Blood of Jesus and behold the righteousness of Christ in us why is it we can’t look through that same filter to see ourselves and others in the body of Christ the same way?  Many of us struggle with self condemnation and always feel estranged from God because we don’t see ourselves through the filter of His blood. Many of us see the faults and shortcomings in one another.  We judge and condemn one another rather than forgiving one another.  When a brother or sister falls so many times instead of restoring them in love we cast them out and count them no longer worthy.  

When were any of us ever worthy?  Ephesians 4:29-31 gives us as Christians this exhortation, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Don’t you suppose it is the Father’s heart that we view each other through this same filter of the Blood of Jesus that He views us.  Since when did we become God and Judge, especially when the same things reside in us that we condemn in others?  If God can love me, then there are no limitations on who He can love and who He can forgive.  

In Colossians 3:12-14 we receive this like exhortation, “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.”  Isn’t it time that we get our eyes off of people and on to Jesus?  People, no matter how great they are, will always disappoint you.  They will always fall short of your expectations.  So many of us are looking to people, rather they be spiritual leaders, civic or political leaders, marketplace leaders or even our husband or wife, mother or father.  None of these people can take the place of Jesus in your life.  Don’t put on others what only Jesus can do for you.  Understand they have the same weaknesses and frailties as you.  Forgive them and forbear with them.  See others through that same filter of the Blood of Jesus that the Father sees you.  

 
Blessings,
kent

Neglect

July 9, 2013

Neglect

Ephesians 5:21
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Does your mind every wander back over the years of your life and you wonder, in retrospect, what you might have done differently to make them even, better, more productive and more loving.
It occurs to me that I will never regret not yelling or being angry with my wife more, but I may well regret the time and attention I neglected to give her. I’ll never regret the times I spent playing with my kids or grandkids and the special memories they created, but I may well regret all of the times I was too busy or involved to take the time with them. Neglect is often something we are not even aware of when it is happening. Usually we have sufficient other priorities to justify it when it is taking place.
In life the most beautiful and productive gardens are those that are constantly tended with a loving hand. Hours are spent watering, fertilizing, planting, pruning, pulling weeds, spraying for insects and all the things that make for beautiful garden. Will you and I regret that we didn’t spend more time in our gardens nurturing the human relationships that God has allowed in our lives? Will we even remember what it was that was so important that we didn’t make the time for those most important in our lives?
Perhaps our gardens aren’t so pretty today, because they have been neglected. Our time and our love can do wonders to restore life and relationship if it comes from our heart. People are no doubt the most important thing on God’s heart. If I am becoming more like Him they should be more important to my heart as well. Especially the ones God has given me responsibility for or accountability too.
Maybe today is a good day to go out and work in the garden of relationships.

Blessings,
kent

Irregular Relationships

Romans 12:10, 16-21
[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Relationships with people can be one of the greatest trials we endure on earth. Some people we can get along great with, but then there are always those “other people.” The irregular people in our life, that are like burrs under our saddle, always pushing our buttons and causing us to feel the way we shouldn’t ought to feel. If it wasn’t for those certain people life would be so much easier and we would certainly be better Christians in our attitudes and behavior. Have you ever felt like that?
People can hurt us deeply. They can disappoint, betray, slander, ignore, lie, cheat us, steal, criticize, despise us, defraud, or just be someone we don’t want to be around for whatever reason. I think much of the time if I could just exist in my own little world and have brief surface relationships with people; I would probably do okay. I can endure. After all, wasn’t it relationships with certain people that put Jesus on a cross? And to be sure, there will be certain people in our lives that will be our cross to bear.
Why does God have people like that in our lives? Because no one can put their finger on the issues in your life that God wants to deal with like an enemy or irregular person. They can bring out in you thoughts and feelings you never thought you could have. Why is that good if they just serve to cause me to sin? They aren’t really causing you to sin, they simply are exposing attitudes of sin, selfishness, hate, unforgiveness, and a lack of God’s love in you. We are often not a very pretty sight when we really see how shallow we really are and how much we lack in the area of unselfish, agape’ type love. For you to really love your enemy doesn’t come naturally to you. There has to be a greater principle of love at work in you to do that.
I am reminded of a passage I read out of the book, “The Light and the Glory” which addresses the hand of God in bringing about the formation of our country. This particular passage was concerning the faith of George Washington. “A turncoat collaborator named Michael Wittman was captured, and at his trial, it was proven that he had given the British invaluable assistance on numerous occasions. He was found guilty and of spying and sentenced to death by hanging. On the evening before the execution, an old man with white hair asked to see Washington, giving his name as Peter Miller. He was ushered in without delay, for Miller had done a great many favors for the army. Now he had a favor to ask of Washington, who nodded agreeably. “I’ve come to ask you to pardon Michael Wittman.” Washington was taken aback. “Impossible! Whittman has done all in his power to betray us, even offering to join the British and help destroy us.” He shook his head. “In these times we cannot be lenient with traitors; and for that reason I cannot pardon your friend.”
“Friend! He’s no friend of mine. He is my bitterest enemy. He has persecuted me for years. He has beaten me and spit in my face, knowing full well that I would not strike back. Michael Wittman is no friend of mine!”
Washington was puzzled. “And you still wish me to pardon him?”
“I do. I ask it of you as a great personal favor.”
“Why?”
“I ask it because Jesus did as much for me.”
Washington turned away and walked into the next room. Soon he returned with a paper on which was written the pardon of Michael Wittman. “My dear friend,” he said, placing the paper in the old man’s hand, “I thank you for this.””
What story, but the story of Calvary could better illustrate the principle in action of loving your enemy? It is the principle of His love and life within us that causes us to endure with patience and forgiveness the offences of others in our lives. God wants to love even the irregular people through us. After all you might be the irregular person in someone else’s life.

Blessings,
kent

Lonely?

March 12, 2013

Lonely?

Genesis 2:18
And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Some of us experience times of great loneliness in our lives that brings sadness that we lack companionship, friendship. Even God saw that it was not good for man to be alone, for man, like God is a relational being. He has been created to communicate, interact, and be in relationship with other beings. Sure, there are times when it is good to be alone. Some of us are so involved with people we scarcely have time for just ourselves and our thoughts. We deal with people continually on a surface level, but not on a deeper emotional level. There are times when we can have people all around us and yet live in loneliness.
I believe God wants to speak to those who are experiencing that spirit of loneliness, where they feel separated, and cut-off and out of relationship with others. You may even be married, but you feel that your spouse doesn’t really know you or care to relate to your inner needs. Loneliness is a door that can lead us to depression and despair. It is an area where we can also come into place of self-pity. That is not meant in a derogatory way, it is just, in that place, the enemy begins to feed our mind with thoughts of worthlessness, unloveliness and a sense of rejection and despair can come over us. In that place of being alone we can develop misconceptions and wrong thinking. We can envision ourselves as being the only ones going through this experience. Even Elijah, the prophet saw himself in this place in His effort to stand for God. He began to see himself as ostracized and the only one left standing, all alone in his efforts to serve God. Romans 11:2-4 gives us this example, “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to [the image of] Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”
The truth is many of us can have tremendous feelings of loneliness even in the midst of many people. Sometimes in that place, we blame others for our loneliness. We may blame our spouse or those close to us for not meeting those emotional needs in us. We may be lashing out in anger, because we feel it is their fault for not meeting our emotional needs of companionship and fulfillment. Unfortunately, through that bitter, critical and judgmental spirit you may be driving your companion, friends or relations further and further away rather than drawing them into a place where they can relate with you. You may be causing them to withdrawal more from you as they seek to protect their emotional well-being rather than you creating a safe-haven where they can feel safe to open their hearts to you without fear of reprisal, criticism, judgement and rejection. If you want to bring a turtle out of his shell then you put him in a place that he feels safe and not threatened. Our emotional person can be much the same way. It may be that we are expecting human relationships to meet needs in us that can only really be touched on a spiritual level. You know, we are never really alone. In the clouds of loneliness, the Son is still there. He desires to shine through and touch your need where you are. Jesus was constantly surrounded by people, pulling from Him and expecting of Him, but His real place of relationship, strength and renewal was in the alone time he had in relationship with the Father. If you are feeling that loneliness on the emotional level of natural relationships, then take that loneliness to the Father. Begin to come into the place of relationship with Him that can meet the needs that man will never meet. There is a place of need and relationship that only the Spirit of God can fill. You are forever precious and lovely in His sight. He will never leave you or reject you if you are seeking to relate with Him. He will love you unconditionally and like the woman at the well in John 4, you will find the water that satisfies and that makes you to never thirst again. Drink from the well of His salvation and grace. Enter into that fellowship and closeness to Him. You may find that as you are transformed through the time spent in His presence your natural relationships may improve as well. Allow Christ to satisfy the needs of your heart today as you abide in His presence and share with Him the longings of your soul.

Blessings,
kent

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