Matthew 4:16
“the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”

The Light of His Presence

Jesus is the light of the world and He came to illuminate the world with the light of His physical presence. Today we long and await the manifestation of Christ in us in order to light up our world and make known the riches of His life. We cry out from the position of our weakness to lay hold of His strength. When His light comes it won’t be our flesh fabricating another religious move; it will be the reality of His substance and life. As a woman in travail we yearn within our spirits to bring forth that which we are pregnant with. It is with this vision and purpose that we live and press into Him. When He appears we will be like Him. 1John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” A Monarch butterfly is still a Monarch butterfly even when it is in the larva stage. It just hasn’t yet appeared what it fully is. A transformation or metamorphosis must take place for it to come into its fullness. 2 Corinthians 3:18 speaks of this transformation within us, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Romans 12:1-2 again speaks to us of that transformation, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Our eyes are now becoming fixed on who we are and shall be, not on what we were. Old things are passing away and behold all things are becoming new. We have seen that great light that is in Christ and as He is filling us and working in us, the shadows of sin and death are fleeing away. We have a hope in Christ that drives our faith to believe Him for what is humanly and naturally impossible. He has a great work of purpose to be worked through His people, but it can not operate out of a people who live in doubt, fear and unbelief. When we have finally come to that place where we have truly abandoned all and there is no longer the fear of earthly loss of possessions, position, family or even life itself, then we can be truly free to be filled with the purpose of God. When our love for Christ exceeds any other earthly passions, then His kingdom has place to come. Jesus has called His disciples to forsake all other affections in the light of Him. It is the cost of discipleship. It is not that we can’t love our family and others, but when it comes to Christ there is no question to where the fullness of our love and loyalty lie. The world will always encumber us with its cares, worries and agendas. It is not easy for us to break free of the economy of this world that we may enter into the economy of the kingdom of God. In His economy we find a freedom and a peace that we won’t find in this earthly realm. There He is king over all and everything in His kingdom finds its supply, provision and rest in Him. Are we willing to grasp Him with both hands so that He is able to lift us out of our weakness and defeat? Most of us only want to extend one hand to God while we hold on to our earthly affections and treasures with the other. God it wanting to pull us on up into Him, but we have to be willing to let go of what is in the other hand. It is in that place that we become the bright lights shinning in a dark place and all shadows will flee before us.

Blessings,
#kent

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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

The Art of Storytelling

January 14, 2015

Psalms 34:11
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

The Art of Storytelling

Many of us experience the difficulty of relating with our children and grandchildren. They live in a high tech world of video games and fast paced television. To them we may seem pretty boring and out of touch. Even so, I think children still have the same need to be able to be taught and nurtured by us. Often we are perceived as just the yellers and disciplinarians. Yet part of the role of an adult parent or grandparent is the role of a teacher. God has given us a good number more years to experience life first hand through both success and failures. We tend to forget the wealth of experience that we possess. Used in the right way, this can be one of the greatest avenues for us to relate and teach our children the positive lessons of life. It is our way to make real to them the reality of God and how He personally works in our lives.
God exhorted the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” It is a parent’s responsibility to pass on the laws, principles and precepts of God’s Word to their children. Many of us have been very guilty of ignoring this responsibility or feel like we have met our obligation by giving our kids religious videos and taking them to Sunday school. That is all well and good, but God has given us the responsibility to instruct our children. Maybe we don’t feel qualified or we think that just entails us sitting them down while we read scripture to them. No, the Word of God has to become alive to them through us. We have to convey to them spiritual reality.
Our grandchildren love all the things that other kids love, but I find that they are fascinated to sit and listen as we tell them the stories of how God has worked in our lives. We can share with them our victories and our failures. When they understand how God has worked for us and in us then they can mentally handle God in the flesh. It becomes reality to them and it makes the stories of God’s Word more of a reality to them as well. It is amazing to see the hunger in our grandchildren as they ask to hear story after story. The neat thing is that as you are telling them the stories you can teach God’s Word to them in a meaningful and interesting way.
We may not think we have much to share, but maybe we need to take some time to really meditate back through our lives and think about all of the times God has been there for us. As we think about it, most all of us have experiences where we have seen God’s hand in our lives, His blessing, His protection and His provision. We may find that encourages and stirs up our faith as we remember and reflect on all of God’s goodness in our lives. Be faithful to teach your children and instruct them in the ways of the Lord. They need it because it is what gives them a sense of identity and purpose for their own lives. There is perhaps no more effective way than through the art of storytelling. It is the way that cultures have passed their values and their heritage on to the younger generations throughout history. We don’t want to lose this art in our high tech world. Take the time to share your stories and do it often. It is the way that we instill godly character, values and knowledge about who God is, what He is and what He wants to be to them.

Blessings,
#kent

Looking in the Mirror

December 17, 2013

 

Looking in the Mirror


James 1:21-25

But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. 

23For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; 

24For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. 

25But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).

 

When we got up and looked into the mirror this morning who did we see?  Did we just see the old earthen man with all his flaws, his wrinkles, his sins, his failures and shortcomings?  Or did we get up and reflect on the mirror of God’s Word and see what He says we are?  Look past that outward man that is perishing and passing away, because there is a new man coming forth and this is the man that we must see and dwell upon.  This man bears the image and likeness of Christ.  This man is renewing his or her mind in God’s Word.  This man looks into the mirror of God’s Word and comes into agreement with all that it speaks of them.  1Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”  Who we are, is not based on all the trials and tribulations we go through, but we are victorious in them all because of who He is in us.  Romans 8 says, “Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.”  

It is easy for us to behold who God says we are in the mirror of His Word and then turn and so quickly forget what manner of man He says we were.  Look again for a moment, this is who He says we are in Ephesians 1:4-11, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11In 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.”  It is absolutely awesome when we can see ourselves the way that God sees us in Christ. We can not really see ourselves in this light unless we look with the eyes of faith.  He sees in us so much more than we could ever see in ourselves.  The wonderful thing is that He is the One that is transforming us into that image as we walk in faith and obedience to Him.  It is not up to us to try and perform our way into His likeness, but rather identify ourselves with it.  We have to see that this is now how we are fashioned because we are in Him.  

Why are we so content to dwell on the outer man when there is something so much glorious residing in us?  We are always so quick to believe the natural of what we see, touch, taste, hear and feel, but these things are perishing.  They are temporal.  What God is working in us is eternal.  

Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 10:7, “Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he [is] Christ’s, even so [are] we Christ’s.”  1 John 4:17 makes this awesome statement, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he isso are we in this world.” Take another look into the mirror of God’s Word and continue to fix your gaze there, for it will reflect who you really are.  “When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:4).”

 

blessings,

kent

What does this New Man Look Like?

Colossians 3:9-11
9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

We have been talking about what this new man, who we are in Christ, is. What does this “new man” look like? Well, we know that this new man who is being renewed in the image of Christ is what we generally term a “Christian” or a “born again believer”. If you went out on the street or to different parts of the world and took a poll of random people, what do you think they would say a Christian should look like? No doubt we would get multiple answers and opinions. Some might say it can only be a certain race people, or only males can be Christians, or only certain religions or denominations can be Christians. What does the Word say a Christian is? It says it is a person that “is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” In other words it is one that looks in their behavior to be like Christ. It is one who doesn’t think like the world thinks, but is aligning their thoughts, goals and lifestyle with the Word and the will of God. It plainly says here that there is no outward distinction or discrimination of sex, color, race or creed that defines you as a “new man or person in Christ”. The transformation is within and is expressed without. The defining factor is that Christ is all and is in all. In the Christian’s mind and heart this should be at the forefront of all of our thinking, all of our plans, all of our goals and in all that we are. Is Christ everything? If He is everything in you and I, then what are we going to look like, what are we going to reflect, emulate, and express? What is going to be our nature and character? It is Christ for He is all and in all. He is what our life is all about. He should now define who we are.
Now being honest for just a moment, how many of us can say that is totally where we are at in our thinking, in our lifestyles and in our behavior? What we have to grasp and get a hold of is that Christ wants Christians who are wholly identified with Him. In other words He is to become our identity. What does Christian mean? It means “little Christs”. In the Old Testament to be one of God’s people you had to be one of the circumcision, that defined you as set apart for God. The New Testament tells us in Philippians 3:3, “3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— ” Natural circumcision could only apply to males, but spiritual circumcision, which is the removal of our fleshly heart and attitude, giving place to the headship of Christ in our lives, knows no gender, but is applicable to all. This new garment we are putting on is a spiritual garment that is in the likeness of Him who created us. That is our purpose and our reason for being. We are to be the expression of Christ in the earth. It is Him living through us. Is that what our world is seeing in the majority of Christianity today? Do they really see anything that looks much different than them except in name only? Are they able to see the difference in our behavior, our integrity, our divorce rate or family life? The truth we face is that most all of us are missing the mark. Christ really isn’t our all in all, He is only part of our all. We must all come to the place of prayerfully, honestly, and with a broken and contrite heart defining who we really are. Maybe we are somewhere between dirty underwear and blue jeans and a clean shirt, but we haven’t fully put off the old man with his former deeds. There is a tremendous work of transformation that needs to take place in most of us. God can only work in us, as we are willing to relinquish our will to His. James says, “a double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.” How many of us are abiding in that place of only being lukewarm for God? He is not our everything; He has become our occasional, our “when I feel like it”, if it is convenient, and when it is acceptable in my circle of friends. What is Christ to us? Is He the garment that we put on every morning and wear everyday or has He become something much less? God has called us and provided for us to be so much more than we have been. It is time for us to rise up and answer the trumpet that is sounding and calling us back to our faith, our full commitment and confidence in Christ. He must be our all and who is in all. Christ in us, is our hope of glory.

Blessings,
kent

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