Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Closing the Door on God’s Forgiveness

One of our most blessed benefits in knowing Christ is our ability to call upon the blood of Jesus to forgive us of our sins when so often we stumble and fail. 1 John 1:8-9 teaches us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” With that promise of forgiveness in 1 John also comes the condition that Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:15. God requires that we give forgiveness to receive forgiveness. We can no doubt all think of times when others may have done things to us that are, in our minds and hearts, unforgivable. God would ask us a question. What if He considered the things we have done in our lives unforgivable? None of us can attest to deserving or earning God’s forgiveness. We have all come, or at least should have come to the realization that we have fallen short of the glory of God. We are all sinners standing condemned under the law of God, estranged from God except for the grace of the blood of our Lord Jesus that has atoned for us. For all of those who have acted in faith in asking Christ into their hearts to be the Lord of their lives he has washed our sins away, casting them as far as the east is from the west.
What if God continued to hold a grudge, an offense or unforgiveness in His heart towards us? How would that affect our relationship with Him? It would obviously bring a separation and estrangement again from His fellowship and love. That is exactly what we do when we hold on to an offense, resentment and unforgiveness for others. Our offense toward others becomes God’s offense toward us. Some of us would say, ‘but that isn’t fair, you don’t know what that person has done to me or to someone I love’. Is there anything that God has refused to forgive you for?
Yes, there are some horrible, detestable and seemingly unforgivable acts that one person can perpetrate upon another. They are not right and they will be judged, but we are not the lawgiver and judge. That is God’s department. We can’t control the behavior of others, but we are responsible for our own. We can’t always control how we feel, but we don’t have to choose to live and act according to our feelings. It is Christ that now sits upon the throne of our hearts. He is to be the ruler over our mind, will and emotions. We have been called to walk after the Spirit and not after the soul. Often that is a very hard position to align ourselves with when we are carrying deep seated emotions of anger, hate, resentment and unforgiveness. It is not a switch that we can just turn off and on, but it is something that the Lord can help us to come to terms with if we will allow Him too by opening our hearts and being honest about where we are at.
We must understand the principle that resentment, resistance and retaliation, repels love.
What is God’s nature? Love. When we hold these things in our hearts we are switching off His love, which is the light to bring us to healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. We may never be reconciled where we have the same relationship with a person that we once had, but the important thing is that we have reconciled the offense caused by someone else’s behavior or bad decisions with the love of Christ that abides in us. This often stands contrary to how the world acts and behaves, but we are not of this world, we are a kingdom people with the kingdom of God residing within our spirits and lives. That means we live and operate our lives out of the context of kingdom principles.
At some point and often at many points in our lives we struggle with these issues. What we must realize and remember is that resentments and unforgiveness will always do more to hurt us than the people that we are offended with. It is not our love, but the love of Christ in us that is the ointment and balm of our healing. It is His love in us that is that power to release the unconditional love and forgiveness that He has released toward us. If this is an area in your life that you are struggling with then, for your sake, open that door of forgiveness that God’s love and forgiveness might flow back into your life. He wants to set you free. How else can we give forth the love of God if it has never been tested in our lives?

Blessings,
#kent

Colossians 2:1-3
I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge

Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” Proverbs 4:5 tells us, “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget [it] not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Psalms 119:104 teaches us, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.”
The true treasures that God has for us are not riches of gold, silver and precious stones; they are the riches of wisdom, understanding and the knowledge of the Lord. That is why the Bible is the most precious and priceless book in the world for it contains these riches and the Holy Spirit is the guide that leads us into the depths of His treasure house. Unlike the riches of the world that promote greed, selfishness and lust, these treasures bring us into the character and knowledge of godliness, love and the fruit of the Spirit. What is even more amazing is that the fruit of following and finding these precepts of wisdom with understanding is what often produces the fruit of earthly prosperity and blessing as well. More importantly they teach us not to be looking at those things which are perishing, but rather those things which are eternal. Paul, in this passage from Colossians says the full riches are in the complete understanding, because understanding unlocks to us the full mystery of God, which is in Christ.
Who are you? “You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). It is when we comprehend and fully process this truth of who we are in God that we begin to truly be hid in Him. It is our spiritual ignorance that continues to hold on to an identity that is outside of Christ.
Paul reveals this truth in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Most of us in the mind of our natural thinking have not really gone down into the grave of our earthly reasoning, mentality and natural awareness and so we have never risen in the resurrection of the riches of Christ in spiritual wisdom and the knowledge of who we are in Christ. We acknowledged it by faith spiritually, but have we truly embraced it in reality? When a woman marries a man, in most circumstances she gives up her name and she takes on his, but aren’t most of us like the woman who wants to take on all the benefits of his name, but she wants to keep her own name as well? We still want to be Mrs. Adam-Christ. Isn’t this why we see the carnality in our lives and the mixture of flesh and spirit within the church. God wants to educate us in who we are. He has given us the riches of all that He is in Christ Jesus and we are content with the husks that are fed to the hogs. As we will press into Christ and into depth of His Word we will find the riches that will bring us into the liberty of the Spirit. It has been said that, “knowledge is power.” When you begin to come into the full realization of who you are in Christ and what God has created you for, will that not bring you also into the power of God? God operates through vessels that are in union and in sync with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us into all of the riches of God through His Word and then He begins to operate those riches through us in wisdom, knowledge and understanding. This is where we buy the gold of God, tried in the fire, because the truth of God’s word must become a reality in us and that can only be worked out through experience and the proving of God’s word in our daily lives. This is the oil that the foolish virgins asked of the wise in Matthew 25. It is not something that can just be given to you, it something that you must press into and lay hold of. It is a substance that is brought forth in your life through the trials and tribulations, because this is the place you must lose yourself and find who you are in Christ.
“Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” All of it is found in the riches of Christ Jesus in whom are all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Blessings,
#kent

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

November 17, 2014

1 King 8:61
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

If a heart is perfect it is at unity and oneness with the Father. Its ways, desires and ambitions are in alignment with the Father’s will, purpose and plan. It is at the center of where He wants us to be in Him today. All that the Father is working in you is to bring you to this place where it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me.
I had a young lady tell me the other day that she was finally at a place in her life where she was finding herself. As I thought about that, I thought I am in a place in my life where I am losing myself, for it is no longer self that I want, but Christ. Who I want to be is no longer me, but Him.
It isn’t even about me keeping the written laws and ordinances, not that these aren’t valid and right, but there is the law that He has written in our hearts on tables of flesh. The Holy Spirit indelibly writes them so that as I observe them I can walk after the spirit and no longer after the flesh. Even the efforts of righteousness and right doing are not my doing but the Spirit of Him that is living through me. Maybe that just sounds like semantics, but I believe it is more than that. The former righteousness spoke of my self efforts to please and walk before God, but in Christ it is the rest in His divine life and presence that we enter into by faith, ceasing from our efforts as we simply yield to His life living through us. This is a progressive work. Certainly not one done in a day, but it is accomplished in a lifestyle of living through Christ. It starts with the first order of the day being to submit our life unto Him afresh. We ask Him to order our steps in His purpose, to establish our ways and lives in His will and purpose and to be the power that energizes our mind, will and emotions in conformity with His righteous directives.
Have we arrived there yet in practice and in deed? No, but we are daily conforming our heart to an attitude that is perfect toward the Lord. John 7:18 says, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” Let us be of this latter one who works for the honor of the One who sent us. For we are a people of truth. May there be no false way about us because our hearts are perfect toward Him who has called us into His marvelous light and truth.

Blessings,
#kent

Realities

April 22, 2014

Realities

Psalms 19:7-11
The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD [is] clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are] true [and] righteous altogether. More to be desired [are they] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.

The natural man builds his life on the realities of his understanding of this natural world and how it works. Those things that are real to his sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell are the reality of his world. They are truth to him. When he looks out and sees the mountains, when he touches the soft skin of his wife, when he hears his children playing and smells the lilacs in spring, these are reality to him. When talking or relating to that which is beyond the natural realm, what is reality? What are the things that are as sure and reliable to the spiritual man, who is relating to those realities which are outside of the sense realm? For the Christian, who embraces the Word of God as His reality, the Word of God stands as the cornerstone and foundation of spiritual truth and reality.
This scripture in Psalms 19 gives us some very fundamental and foundational truths to build our house of faith and trust upon. Because spiritual realities are not always evidenced in the natural world, except in type and shadow; we must have a resource that puts all believers in God on the same page. That resource is the Word and the law of God. It is the source of input that feeds spiritual truths and realities into our natural mind. When we read and try to understand the Word of God with only a natural mind and understanding, many things don’t make sense to us and are conflicting.
I once heard it put in such a way that it made a lot of sense. If God is Spirit as it says in John 4:24, then it only stands to reason that He would write a spiritual book. As we know, the content of our Bibles is the compilation of numerous authors down through the ages that have written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God’s spiritual book. It only stands to reason that if we are reading a spiritual book, we need a spiritual mind to receive and understand it. This is why it is essential when reading God’s Word that we ask the Holy Spirit, the author of the book, for understanding and revelation to comprehend, assimilate and put into practice the truths of His divine counsel. In John 16:13 Jesus tells His disciples, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” The one sure promise that each believer has is that he or she can possess the Holy Spirit that is able to lead and guide you into truth. Peter speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit speaks this truth to us in Acts 2:38-39: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
While it is encouraging, edifying and instructional that we can glean much spiritual understanding from words and books of men, this should never become a substitute for our seeking God through His Word and the instruction we can receive from the Holy Spirit personally. The Lord doesn’t want second hand children; He wants each one of us to be in relationship with Him so that we are hearing and receiving personal truth and revelation from Him. What He reveals and shows us will not contradict the rest of His Word but will only further verify and confirm it. The Lord desires to further teach each of us the spiritual realities of His truth that will make us rich partakers of His divine life and blessing. His precepts and instruction are what leads us and helps us to grow in the path that leads to life and godliness. There is nothing sweeter or more precious than His Word quickened by the Holy Spirit that leads us into the reality, presence and revelation of who He is.

Blessings,
#kent

Life in Liberty

May 23, 2013

Life in Liberty

Psalms 119:42-45
Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. 44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. 45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

Our life in the Spirit and in obedience to Christ is one of liberty and freedom and not restrictions. Freedom is not in the exercising of our will to sin because sin is bongage and a very terrible taskmaster. It gives the allurement of freedom, but it is only the bait of ensnarement that brings us into its trap. Once it has fed off of our life and worked its destruction it cruelly abandons us to our hurt, pain and destruction. This is why the Word and the precepts of the Almighty are life to the spirit and health to our bones. They cause us to walk in true freedom and liberty. The purpose of the Lord Jesus coming to earth was to bring liberty and freedom to man. In Isaiah 61 it speaks of the liberty that He brings and even Jesus declared that He was the fulfillment of this passage. “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Jesus is our liberator from the tyranny of sin that has so ruled and ruined our lives. The very sacrifice of His life was for our freedom. He has not only set us free from sin, but from the curse and the condemnation of the law. He has caused us to pass from death to life and from bondage to freedom. In light of this we can see how foolish we are when we allow ourselves to come again under the bondage of sin. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and the respect and obedience to His Word.
Galatians 5:1 exhorts us, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Again we are exhorted in Galatians 5:13, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Liberty is an exercise of faith and whatsoever is not of faith is sin. When we walk in liberty we must be walking in faith and good conscience toward God and man. Thereby we have our peace and confidence toward God. There are some weaker who may not have our faith in areas and would stumble in the areas where we feel freedom. It is the love of Christ in us that constrains us, not the law or the ordinances of men. For the sake of others we will restrain ourselves in the areas where we have freedom if it is a stumbling block to another. If they attempt to follow our freedom, but do not have the faith in that area it will be sin unto them. James 2:12 says, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” The law of liberty is freedom, but it is freedom that seeks not its own, but the good and well being of others. Its foundational principles are love.
1 Peter 2:15-17 describes our liberty this way, “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using [your] liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” Liberty is in not letting anything possess you or rule over you, but the love of Christ. He has set us free to be the servants of righteousness and bring the liberty of heaven to the earth. Be faithful in the liberty that He has afforded you and let not anything bring you again under the bondage of sin.

Blessings,
kent

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