Abundant Life

June 22, 2015

John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

Abundant Life

When we talk about abundant life, where do your thoughts go? Do they go to your natural man, your financial success, your health and the resources of this world? Indeed God’s abundant life touches us on a natural plane, but if that is where our focus is then we’ve missed the bigger picture.
If the thief, which we know as satan, only comes to steal, to kill and destroy, then why are so many non-Christians blessed and prospering in this life. The quality of life we are talking about here is the Greek word Zoë, God life. One definition states, “life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.” While satan is out to steal, kill and destroy, his focus is upon the “God life,” not the just the breath of life. When the Zoë of a person is robbed, killed or destroyed then what hope is left for a man? Separation from God is the ultimate darkness. While some may scorn God in this life, they have no concept of the life they have forsaken and given up.
The Apostle Paul brings this concept of abundant life into more focus in 1 Corinthians 15:9. He says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Paul wasn’t experiencing the abundant life as a big bank account and vacation home in Athens. In this life he experienced great tribulation and hardships. The revelation that he had was that this natural life was his investment into the abundant life he knew in Christ. It is not the seed itself that is the abundance, it is as it dies and gives place to the life within that abundance is released. It is not in the corruptible that we find the fullness of abundant life, but in the incorruptible, the resurrection life.
It is not in the abundance of this natural life that we rejoice or find the proof of abundant life. If we are blessed in our natural lives that is all well and good, but that is not the measure of God’s abundant life. Your abundant life is found in Christ. It is in your relationship with Him and the hope you have in Him. This natural life is but a corruptible seed planted in the ground. The question of abundant life is in what it brings forth through its death, not what it possesses in this life.
We want our life seed to possess the DNA of Christ in it. He is the essence of our abundant life, in this life and that, which is to come. Don’t allow satan or any one to steal that from you. The faith we have in Christ lives out of the abundance of who we are in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

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Power of our Words (Part 2)

Hebrews 1:3
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

The previous study brought out that our words are the personal reflection and mirror of our heart. It is by our words that we express, both faith and acceptance of God and His Word, or we deny and turn away from it. Our obedience to God’s Word then is our seal that we love God and want Him living and abiding in our hearts. His seal to us is the Holy Spirit, who will help us in our walk of obedience and faithfulness. We discussed also that all that has been created is established and sustained by the Power of the Word, which is Christ. What is more, the powerful, creative Word, which is Christ, now resides in His believers and desires that we are now the expression of that Word, even as Jesus was in the earth. In order for this to happen, certain things must take place. We must first believe the Word of God, we must begin to align ourselves with it in thoughts, words and actions and walk in the Spirit so that God’s Word can have right expression through us.
Where our words are first birthed are in our thoughts and imaginations. Obviously these are areas that must be guarded. 2 Corinthians10: 2-6 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” While our imagination can be the creative expression of who we are, it can be fertile ground to conceive ideas and thinking that are opposed to Christ, vain and not in alignment with the Word of God. We are exhorted to examine all of our thoughts and imaginations through the filter of God’s Word and cast down all that is opposed to Him. God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are the filtration systems God has given us to discern the world we live in and decide what is acceptable and what isn’t. This is the root where we need to deal with wrong thoughts, wrong motives, destructive words and ungodly behavior. If they get past this checkpoint then they are on their way to fruition. Psalms 1:1-3 is a good example and exhortation of this fundamental truth, “1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
Proverbs 18:21 lets us know that our words are not to be taken lightly, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” As there is a creative power in God’s Mouth and His Word, He tells us we have a creative power in our mouth by the Words that we speak. They can be words, which bear the fruit of life, or words that bear the fruit of death. James 3:8 says, “but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Our tongue again will reveal what is in the heart and what condition the heart is in that it is coming out of. It will even reveal when we are double minded in our thinking and deeds. James 3:9-12 goes on to say, “9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt[a] water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. ” The purity of heart can be seen by the consistent flow of life giving words coming out of it.
What are our words speaking to us today about the condition of our hearts? Are we abiding in that place where the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are presiding over our words, our thoughts, imaginations and subsequent deeds? There is a powerful life-giving Word resident within you. Does it have a purified fountain to flow out of? In words are the power of salvation and the power of damnation, what are your words producing in your life and those around you? What are our words telling us about the condition of our heart?

Blessings,
#kent

Leader of the Pack

May 5, 2014

Leader of the Pack

1 Samuel 22:1-2
David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard [it], they went down thither to him. And every one [that was] in distress, and every one that [was] in debt, and every one [that was] discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

It is interesting that when David became an outcast, rejected and hunted by the King, he became identified with a different group of people. David was the anointed of the Lord and even though he was anointed to become king of Israel, David never presumptuously pursued to gain that by his own means and with his own hands. He was submitted to the Lord’s work in his life and the Lord’s timing. He had his chance to do it his way. He was tested, he was given opportunity and encouragement, he could have justified it, but David never raised his hand against Saul, whom he also regarded as the Lord’s anointed.
David became the outcast of the traditional and proper Israel. It was through no rebellion or disobedience of his that now he is running and hiding for his life. When the anointing is operating in our life it can create some interesting dynamics. Those you think would accept you and embrace you, may well become your greatest persecutors. They may be the leadership of the church, the ones regarded of men to be spiritual pillars of the community. So why would they reject you if you carry the anointing of God? The same reason they persecuted Jesus and the prophets. This is one way to discern between those operating under a religious spirit and those who are operating out of the truth and spirit of God. A religious spirit will have the pretense and the appearance of the real, but its interest is in control and domination, not in developing the anointing and calling of God in other people’s lives. Especially when their spiritual stature and abilities exceed those of the present administration.
One thing that is interesting about this anointing is that while it causes rejection and persecution from the religious spirits, it will attract the sinner, the distressed, the debtor, the discontented and the needy. There is something in their spirits that is drawn by this anointing. They have already experienced the disappointments of the world, they are hoping and looking for something and someone not of this world, someone who has touched God and carries in themselves the reality of His presence and life. We can readily see these qualities in both David and Jesus. Look at the people that both David and Jesus were surrounded with. They were not exactly the socialites or the happening crowd by the world’s standards. They were often the outcasts, the hurting, the needy and the discontents. They are often people that would take you out of your comfort zone and not necessarily those you would choose in the natural for friends. That anointing in you is like the smell of water to a thirsty animal. They will be drawn to it, because it offers life, hope and salvation in their time of need. Their spirits are the poor, broken, humble and meek. Their heart is in a condition to receive the life of the Spirit.
Those that are drawing near to Christ in relationship, prayer, praise and worship are becoming like the David’s of their generation. In that place of fellowship with the Father and the Son they are being anointed of the Holy Spirit. There will be a day when the Holy Spirit will lead you into the wilderness and there you will begin to live out of this Anointing and Spirit life. It is not for you alone, it is for those whom the Lord will attract to you and place you with.
Father is not looking for the rich, the famous and the social up and coming. 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 says, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where [is] the wise? Where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Many of us know that we are nothing by the world’s standards. We may not be exceptional, outstanding or distinguishable as someone of any significance in the world’s eyes. But God is not the world and He sees something valuable and significant in you and I, because we see that He needs to be everything in us for us to be anything. Paul goes on in this passage to say, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are That no flesh should glory in his presence But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:27-31).” If Christ is bringing forth His anointing in you and I today, then we mustn’t despise those of low estate, just as Christ did not despise us. All that He places in us and however He uses us is for none other than for His glory alone. God is in the business of making somebodies out of nobodies. Aren’t we His examples? Take those Christ brings to you and nurture them as He has nurtured you.

Blessings,
#kent

 

The Righteous are not Forsaken


Psalms 37:5

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

 

Psalms 37:4 says, “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.”  As a people in general and as Christians I doubt that there are very many of us who don’t face times of real trial and struggle in our lives and many of us more than we would care to talk about.  For many of us, life is often a continual struggle, especially as we attempt to walk out our faith with faithfulness and obedience.  When we do really try and walk closely with the Lord we may find all of hell seems to be unleashed against us or we make some mistakes and then we are overwhelmed with guilt and condemnation because we blew it.  There may be those times we fall, stumble and falter in our walk with the Lord, but remember there is someone stronger than you walking with you.  Praise God we don’t have to rely upon our own strength and righteousness to get us to heaven.  Jesus is our High Priest and Intercessor who is always standing in the gap for us and pleading our cause.  

2 Timothy 2:11-13 tells us, “The saying is sure and worthy of confidence: If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him. 12If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny and disown and reject Him, He will also deny and disown and reject us. 13If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.”   The desire of the Father’s heart is that we grow up in the fullness and likeness of Christ.  He has given us the Holy Sprit to help us in that process.  It has been said that the Holy Spirit is a perfect gentleman and doesn’t violate or force our will if we make choices other than Him.  In fact, we often don’t realize how we can offend and hurt the Holy Spirit by our attitudes and actions.  Many of us need to reconcile that relationship with Him.  The thing about God is that if most of us received what we deserved we would have been cast off a long time ago, but God’s heart is always to draw you back to His righteousness and to Christ.  The enemy would like you to think that you have burned your bridges and there is no way back, but the grace and love of God is so high and so wide and so deep that it can span the greatest chasms of sin.  He just wants us to repent and give our lives, without reservation, back to Him.  Even when we fall and fail, the Lord is there for us to pick us up again if we will let Him.  

Life holds many tests and trials for us, some we pass and others we don’t.  We are all in the process of maturing and growing, all too often we poop in our pants and make messes along the way.  We must remember that our past failures can be our future stepping-stones to victory and overcoming.  God will let us fall down.  He will let us make our mistakes and we often have to suffer the consequences, whatever those may be, but He hasn’t turned His back on us.  If we will cry out to Him, if we will repent and begin seeking Him with our whole heart we can find that place of forgiveness, fellowship and communion with the Holy Spirit again. 

If some of us, or others that you know, are struggling today; God hasn’t abandoned you. He has finished the reconciliation upon the cross and now He lovingly waits for us to respond back to Him.  Many people perceive God in unfair and unrealistic ways because of how they have been treated or how they have been impressed and perceived God by the example of those claiming Christianity.  They are turned off to God because of us.  We, like Paul, must remember that our whole mission in life is to suffer whatever is necessary so that others may come into the kingdom. In 2 Timothy 2:10 Paul says, “Therefore I [am ready to] persevere and stand my ground with patience and endure everything for the sake of the elect [God’s chosen], so that they too may obtain [the] salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with [the reward of] eternal glory.”  May God’s love likewise be extended through us so that we are willing to love even the unlovely for whom Christ died.  Let us continue to encourage and exhort one another to faithfulness.  God loves us and will not forsake us, even in our weaknesses and times of greatest trials.  He may not miraculously save us out of our circumstances in the way we might like to see, but He is there with us, walking it out and giving us grace. 

Don’t give up, don’t give in, but always fix your eyes upon Him.  He will carry you through and He will provide the way and the means.

 
Blessings,
kent

Do You Love what God Loves?

December 3, 2013

Luke 15:1-7
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4″Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Do You Love what God Loves?

I have the joy of photographing many people. We jokingly tell our clients that we have one rule when they view their photographs. They can criticize anyone else but themselves. Why do we say that? Invariably, the ones we are the most critical and judgmental of is ourselves. We can see faults and weaknesses in us that no else would even notice or pay attention too. Self is sometimes the hardest person we have to live with and accept. Sometimes it is hard to love your neighbor as your self, because you don’t really love yourself.
God sent Jesus Christ to tell you that you have extreme value and worth in His eyes. We often judge ourselves according to worldly standards of acceptance. We may hate ourselves because we don’t fit into the right weight class, physical appearance, intellectual ability, race or social –economic status. There are numerous reasons we may feel condemned and rejected. We may be struggling with hidden sins or urges we know are perverse or unclean. We may have done things that we are ashamed of or feel dirty and condemned for. Do you know why these sinners and publicans liked to hang around Jesus? It wasn’t because He told them what scumbags and worthless people they were and that they were all going to hell. They were attracted by the Love. It was a love that they had never seen or known for themselves. It was a love that was unconditional and that could look past their sin and shame and see their heart. It was a love that spoke to them that they were not just refuse and rejects, but that they had value and were precious in the eyes of the Father. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God didn’t come after us with a big stick. He came after us with the greatest act of Love ever demonstrated to man. God isn’t trying to reject you; He is trying to accept you. We already stand rejected and condemned because of our sin, but God’s love says come to me, trust in My Son and His blood will cover your sin and shame. His blood, shed for your sin, can wash you as white as snow if you will embrace Him in faith. God’s heart is to save and redeem a lost and dying world. It is not His desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and eternal life. We have a will that He has given us and He will not violate our will. He doesn’t force us to receive salvation, He simply invites us to receive the provision He has provided for us to be delivered out of the judgement that is already in place for sin and come into His life, receiving His forgiveness.
Many that have walked in darkness for a time are really sick and tired of it. They realize the emptiness it leaves inside of them. It is fun for the moment, but then it leaves us feeling unclean, used and worthless. So we come back to that attitude so many of us have about ourselves, for various reasons. The truth is that God wants you to love and respect what He loves, and that is you. His heart beats for you, His arms are open to you and He wants to receive you and transform your life. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, the important thing for you to know is that He loves you and He can forgive you if you ask Him too. Simply give your heart to Him. Ask Him to forgive those past sins, come to live in your heart and to give you His life. He has a destiny and purpose for your life that you will never know or find in the places of darkness and self –loathing. It is in His love and His light that He will teach you the path of righteousness and show you the great value that you can have in His kingdom.
Do you love what God loves? Isn’t it time that you did? You are the object of His love.

blessings,
kent

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