The Sabbath Day?

April 3, 2014

The Sabbath Day?

Luke 14:3
And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?

The Sabbath is the Lord’s Day, a day or rest from daily routines and the tasks of laboring for our natural needs. While the Jewish leaders of the day took this day quite literally, even to the point of making it more work to keep the Sabbath than to rest in it. Jesus has some higher principles He is communicating to the people that have spiritual ears to hear. Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath and the Jewish leadership of that day didn’t like the fact that He didn’t fit in their religious box. What kind of religious boxes have we built to confine what God can do and when He can do it?
Hebrews 4:9-11 says this, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” This REST references the true Sabbath that God wants to bring His people into. It is the REST that we want to labor or give diligence to enter into where it is no longer our Works, but we are resting in Him and the works that we do are His works, no longer our own. How do we enter this REST? The Word says it is only by faith, faith not in ourselves, but in the One who called us out of unbelief and into His REST. Hebrews 4:1 says, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” The true Sabbath and REST of God is a promise and like all promises it comes by faith. Prior to this we have the account of how the Lord swore to Israel when Moses led them out into the wilderness that they would not enter into God’s REST because of their unbelief. It is pretty obvious that the religious leadership of Jesus’ day had the same mindset. God is warning us, “don’t be like them and miss what Sabbath is all about.” Sabbath is about a continual abiding in Christ. It is not just a day of the week, but a time when we find our place in God where we quit struggling with life through our human efforts and begin to deal with life in the REST of God. Jesus is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, He is the Sabbath. He is God’s REST for us, not in the context of religion or knowing about Him, but in experiencing Him daily, in every activity, every conversation, in our thoughts, in every station of life.
You may say, “Don’t’ you think that is little idealistic and impractical?” I think the Lord would say, ‘there is a promise to you who lay hold of it by faith.’ It is a progressive work and that is why He says, “let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.” It is a daily walk of denying ourselves; picking up the cross and saying yes Holy Spirit, and yes to the Word of God. In the path of obedience and faith is our REST. As we enter into that Sabbath Rest of God we will do the Lord’s work even on the Sabbath.
Think of it not as just a day to keep ordinances and rules, but a place of REST where God is our continual delight and dwelling place. We are living in the Sabbath Day and it is time for us to enter into His REST.

Isaiah 58:13-14
“If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words, delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it]. “

Blessings,
#kent

How Profound is His Love?

February 17, 2014

Romans 5:6-8

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


How Profound is His Love?



Meditate on this simple truth that we often so quickly read past.  Nothing you, I or anyone did or could do could provide for us what only God the Father could provide for us through the love of His Son Jesus Christ.  It speaks to a principle of God, that out of utter weakness, helplessness and depravity the power of God is revealed toward us.  Most of us know that we could never get good enough on our own to deserve God’s love and salvation.  He is not wanting us to come to Him only after we have cleaned up our lives, that is like trying to take a bath without water or soap. He is the only way that we can get clean. Faith in His blood and in the washing of the water and the Word is our cleansing.  It is by nothing we can do or earn, but by simple faith that embraces God’s Son who took our sins upon Himself, suffered the incomprehensible pain and shame that  should have been ours and then died the death of sin that we deserve.  

Who is this Jesus that He should die for me?  He was the divine expression of God’s insurmountable love for all of humanity.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”  This is a very simple elementary truth of the Christian faith, but one we never want to loose sight of. It is the simple faith we placed in Jesus that has brought us into one body and one hope of our calling.  Nothing else exists without this foundational truth and reality.  Even the faith that we have to embrace Christ was the gift of His grace, lest any of us should boast (Ephesians 2:8).  

Do we fully understand that it is not our power that is at work here in our Christian walk and faith?  It is religion and a religious mindset that doesn’t comprehend this mystery of God and tries to establish a godliness out its own works, strength, knowledge and goodness, but God operates best out of weakness and total dependence upon Him.  Just as we couldn’t save ourselves, we can’t produce our own righteousness.  He alone is our righteousness.  It is in that daily exchange by faith of “who we were for who He is”, that we embrace that divine nature.  There is no amount of knowledge or gifting that can bring you into the likeness of the Son, only He can do that by the power of His Spirit working in you.  It doesn’t matter your status, your fame, your perception in the eyes of this world, Father knows and wants us to know that it is only His power working out of our weakness that makes us strong.  

Notice that there was an appointed time, just the right time, when we were still powerless , that Christ died for the ungodly.  There is another time, just the right time, when as 1 Thessalonians 1:10 says, “on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”  You and I are the incubator and womb of this manchild that is growing inside the true Church.  There is a right time, the fullness of time when Christ shall be revealed in glory, within and without of His body, which we are.  

It is this simple truth that we first embraced that now grows within our womb.  This seed of life, deliverance, salvation and glory.  In your weakness He is working His strength.  Let your dependence and your hope be in none other, but Him.  He is the author and the finisher of your faith.  “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).”

 
Blessings,
kent

The Fast of the Lord

January 20, 2014

 

The Fast of the Lord


Isaiah 58:3-11

Wherefore have we fasted, [say they], and thou seest not? [wherefore] have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as [ye do this] day, to make your voice to be heard on high Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? [is it] to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes [under him]? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 

 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 


Isaiah 58 is a good chapter to take and read in its entirety.  We have quoted enough here to give us some of the meat of what it is saying.  Many of us consider ourselves religious or spiritual. We profess to love God, we may have our set times to pray, read the bible, fast, go to church or other such spiritual activities we do in the name of the Lord for Him.  If we are doing all of these things to seek God and please Him, then we may ask, like the people of God in that day, “Lord, why don’t you hear our prayers and answer them?  We serve you, but we aren’t blessed.  How come you don’t acknowledge all of our efforts Lord?”  

He may in turn ask us, ” If you do all of these activities and things to seek and please me then why are your lives no different than those of the world around you?  Why is it you yell and argue with your family all the way to church and then come in to praise Me?  Why is it you fast and pray and then get up off of your knees to go and do your own pleasure?  Why is it you go to church, but are angry with the minister if he doesn’t get you out in time to beat the rush to the restaurant or see the sports game on TV?”   Could it be that a lot of our spirituality is phoniness and hypocrisy done more to make us feel like we have done our duty to God than doing what really pleases God.  If we want God to meet us in a greater way than He has before then it isn’t God that has to change, it is us, and more religious activity isn’t the answer.  

God takes the time in this passage to tell us where His heart is and what is meaningful to Him.  He tells us to do such things as “loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free, and that ye break the yoke?”  What does all of that mean?  Could it mean that we are outwardly spiritual, but inwardly wicked?  We talk down to people, we talk about people in a demeaning way, and we’re critical, hateful, judgmental, gossips, backbiters and controllers.  We may want to put all of our baggage, laws, rules and standards upon others when we can’t even live up to them ourselves.  How often do we do things for others in the guise of being so nice and generous to help them out and then turn around and hold those things we gave or did for them as a yoke to control and manipulate them?  There are times we give or loan things to people and they can’t pay them back.  Sometimes we need to just release those debts and forgive them even as God forgave ours.  We can be cruel taskmasters to one another and to others.  When the world looks at that, are they seeing Christ?  Could it be that God wants us to quit being above others and treating others, that don’t have what we have in areas, as inferior and as servants?  Maybe it is time we become like Christ, to use what we have, to get under them to lift and build them up, to be their servants rather than them being ours.  

God goes on to tell us if you really want my blessing then you need to care about the things I care about.  Are you clothing the naked and feeding the hungry?  Are you visiting those in prisons, nursing homes, jails and shut-ins?  Are you even really taking care of your own family and making sure they have not only their physical needs met, but their emotional and spiritual needs met?  Are you spending the time you need to with them and nurturing them?  Are we pointing our finger in judgement and condemnation of others while we ignore the other three that are pointing back at us?  

When we start getting the heart of God then will we begin to hear from God and see His blessing.  This is the true fast of the Lord.  It is not about going to church, it is about being “the Church.”  We have to become in lifestyle and practice what many of us now only pretend to be.  We have a form of godliness, but we deny the power of it.   God despises pompous, pretentious spiritual pretenders.  I have been there more than I like to admit, how about you?  If we are going to have the real thing then everything we do has be about the Lord and what honors and pleases Him.  Ouch!  That’s pretty tough on my flesh, but then I said I reckoned it dead with Christ, so what’s my problem?  My problem is always “I.”  The more it is there the less effective I can be for God, because the less of Him that is in me.  It is only the death of self that can give place to the life of God.  This is the true Fast.  

 
Blessings,
kent

Created for Good Works

December 4, 2013

 

Created for Good Works

 

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

               Everything that is created and fashioned has a purpose and function.  Some things are fashioned for honorable purposes and some for less than honorable purposes.  God’s word to us today is that He has taken special time, effort and direct thought to create and fashion you for a specific and wonderful purpose.  In Christ Jesus, the Father has chosen you out and is forming His nature and character in you for good works, His works.  The awesome thing about it is that it didn’t depend on any ability or natural attribute you had.  You and I strictly are a product of His grace at work within us.  That grace took us out of the place of the dishonorable and placed us in the position of the select and the elect of God.  He chose us out and is fashioning us in the likeness of Christ Jesus for a reason, “good works.”  This is how we can know what the Father is working in us, by what comes out of us.  It won’t be religious works or self-righteous works or even our works.  It will be us walking and producing good works because of the One that has separated us out and made us His workmanship.  What is He working in you today?  Are you yielding yourself to the master craftsman’s hand so that He can fashion you to be all that He desires and purposes you to be? 

               Let us remember our purpose and on purpose yield our will and our lives to Him so that He can work His precious work of grace in us. We will recognize it by what our lives are producing.  We will produce the fruit that will bear witness to the tree from which we came from.  James 2:14-18 says it quite well: “What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  True faith will manifest the works of God in a practical way.  Our good works should not just be the product of self-efforts at doing well.  Those efforts will fail when they are tested with scorn, criticism or lack of appreciation.  The good works Christ is working in us comes out of the Father and it is unto Him we live our lives and work the works that are produced out of His unconditional love.  They will not cease because of circumstances and response of others.  They are being fashioned into our being as a product and witness of our faith.  Through these works people will see that we do not have just a superficial religion, but a true and unshakable faith, that truly we are the workmanship of God unto good works in Christ Jesus.

 

Blessings,

kent

Ascending up into the Golden Mount of Life

Life is a gift given by God, an opportunity to discover His purpose and will and a journey to develop, mature and grow in His likeness. Many in this world will never truly understand the meaning of their existence beyond the natural realm of just living life, breathing, surviving; seeking security and happiness that meets or exceeds the needs of their natural person. There are those, who in the course of life, have an encounter with the living God, through Jesus Christ. If they venture on to really know Him, beyond just a religious tradition and into a true personal relationship, then here is where the ascension of a spiritual journey truly begins.

All of humanity travel down the road and the seasons of life. The broad way, the way most traveled, is tread by those content with this world or ignorant of anything higher. Some actually have the knowledge of a higher, but it proves to be too steep and challenging so they exit off back to the more comfortable and less challenging way of life. Here they will be content to live and do things their way or in just religious way. They still may aspire to knowing and professing a relationship with God, but are regulated by a mixture of flesh and spirit. A path one might term, “lukewarm”, but not a temperature highly favored of God. Yet, there remains the high road, the road less traveled. It is not taken because of its ease or because the fruit of its path is readily seen with the natural eye. It is a path of faith, of commitment, obedience and promise. It is a path that is adventurous, but full of challenges and difficulties, trials and tribulations. It is a path whose way is not always readily discernable and understood. In order to travel this way the affections for self and the more immediately gratifying ways of life must be left behind at the “Cross Road”, where the two paths separate. This high road is a road of promise that must be traveled by faith in the God that called us to it. It is an ascending path to glory, but whose glory is often not much seen until its completion. The ascending path to the Golden Mount is one that will test us, try us and bring us to our end, but for the glory that lies before us we fix our eyes upon the prize of the high calling and hold fast to the Christ in us that has promised to be with us to the end. Upon this ascending path we walk each day through life, finding our way and our strength with the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. As we ascend this path, each day we become less and He becomes more. We find that it is not in our effort and struggle that we ascend, but in our rest in the finished work of the cross. In that place, through trust and obedience, we have confidence as we learn to fellowship and worship in His presence. His Word provides the road map for our journey. As we study and meditate upon it, it provides us with our identity, position and purpose in life that supersedes the life that we live in this body. We find our bodies are the instruments, the vehicles and the temple through which the kingdom of God is planted and dispensed in this earth as we travel this road.

It is not to say that we won’t and don’t have our stumbles and setback along the way. This ascension along this elevated path is not an easy one, but it is a progressive one. It is pathway into the maturity and perfection of Christ and as we know from our childhood, we made our share of mistakes, wrong turns and poor decisions, but that was a part of our maturing process. No one walks this path perfectly, for we don’t walk in our own righteous, but by faith in the righteousness of Him who went before us to show us the way. The further we travel the more we realize that this is not a path of religion, tradition or of works. It is a path of losing ourselves in the identity with Christ. As we travel this path, many may stumble for a time and lose their way. They may lose their vision and their stamina of faith, but if we are truly called of Him then His Spirit, through our spirit keeps wooing us and calling us back to this upward path we first began. As the saying goes, the prize is not to him who starts the race, but to him that finishes.

As the years of life go by and we have run our course, let us have no regrets that we didn’t follow our destiny and calling as we ascended into the Golden Mount of Life. May we not settle for less, even if we haven’t lived our best, we can give God the rest. As long as there is breath, there is hope and if we have been idle or distracted or misdirected, it is never too late to pursue this path that leads home.

Yes, as the years of life go by and we see the end of this life before us, let us lift our eyes with ever more fervent desire and commitment of faith to ascend beyond and above the gates of death and to ascend upward on this path that leads us into the Golden Mount of life.

Blessings,

kent

John 5:37-40
And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Always Learning, Never Knowing

There are those among us that may know the Word of God better than you and I do, but does that mean they are of God and know Him who is truth? 2 Timothy 3:7 says, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” It is interesting that both Jesus and the apostle Paul address these who often come in a spirit of religion and piety. They have great knowledge, but they have no revelation of the truth of what they know. In fact these are often the greatest enemies of the cross. Because of what they know they seek to undermine the faith of believers and discredit the finished work of Christ.
We see in today’s passage that Jesus is addressing the religious leaders, who supposedly know God and teach His ways. They hated this Jesus. He was unconventional. He didn’t adhere to the laws and traditions of the fathers the way they thought he should. He even did miracles on the Sabbath and proclaims God to be His Father. How blasphemous! Who does this guy think He is, “The Messiah”? These religious leaders and zealous Jews grew up learning the Tora and the letter of the law, but they had no revelation of the Spirit of the Word. Here was the Word Himself speaking to them and they discerned it not. Does our spiritual credibility come from our theological background or our degrees? Spiritual men can have great education, but great education doesn’t make spiritual men. It is not what you know, but whom you know. It is not what you can intellectually relate, but who you are in relationship with that gives you credibility and spiritual endorsement.
Paul was a man of tremendous religious education. He was a pupil of Gameleal, a foremost teacher of the law in His time. He speaks of himself in Acts 22:3, “Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.” That was His credentials as a religious man. Later, Paul speaks in contrast to this in 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 when he says, “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” It is not just what you know, but who you know.
In this day and age, we also need to be aware of the religious spirit that has a form of godliness, but denies the power thereof. Let’s go back to 2 Timothy 3:3-9 and listen again to the warning that Paul brings. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.”
It is a day in which we must be discerning and not just blindly trusting of other men and women, just because they have a knowledge of the Word. The fruit of their lives will tell you more about their character than what they know and can recite. Never get your eyes on any person, even if he or she is spiritual, because in man you will always be disappointed and hurt. Always set your eyes only on Jesus, for He alone is the author and finisher of your faith. The church is full of people who are wounded and hurt from what so-called spiritual people have done to them. When you have your eyes and trust wholly upon Jesus, then your faith is not shaken when others fail you.

Blessings,
kent

God gives more Grace

June 7, 2013

God gives more Grace

James 4:4-10
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

There is no reason in the man without a season,
There must be a time and purpose for all reasons.
Things spent upon our own desires and pleasures,
Seldom yield a spiritual fruit of any good measure.

Darkness often looms beneath our spiritual light,
Hypocrisy often turns our day to night.
Our envy, lust and striving are seldom for the higher good,
Often we find ourselves not living in the spirit we thought we would.

Outwardly we wear our religious and righteous attire,
Inwardly, struggles with sin burn in our belly like a fire.
There is hope if in humility we cry out to God in our need,
But many are the proud, blinded to the life that they lead.

Oh God, what wretched men we so often are,
Shunning the grace and Lord that is our redemptive star.
Yet you give more grace, so let us humble ourselves anew,
Help us resist the devil, submit our hearts and draw near again to You.

Help us draw nigh to you, oh God, that you might draw nigh to us,
Give us grace, strength and power to forsake our envy, pride and lust.
Let us weep and mourn when in our sin we’ve failed,
But help us overcome our failures and by your strength, prevail…
Kent Stuck

Blessings,
kent

Whose Fan is in His Hand

Matthew 3:11-12
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and [with] fire:
Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The Church, in its present state, is a mixture of flesh and spirit. It is composed of the true grain, which contains the life of God and the power within them to reproduce that life in multiplication of that same nature and substance. The chaff is seen in two dimensions. First, we see the chaff in regards to the impurity in the individual’s life as a believer. While the blood of the lamb has redeemed us we know that we who are walking in this life are constantly struggling and warring against impurity and the flesh. None of us are yet walking in the fullness and sinlessness of Christ, except by faith. We as believers groan within ourselves for the completeness of that redemption that sees the fullness of deliverance and overcoming of sin in our lives. So there is a mixture of that which is still being redeemed in soul and body and that which is already redeemed in our spirit that God is dealing with even now as salvation continues to work in us, spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
The second dimension of this chaff is seen in those who are identified with the church, but aren’t true believers. They may put on a good religious front, know how to say all the right theology, and have all the wrapping of a Christian; yet, they are in fact, none of His. They may not even truly recognize and discern their state. They think that because they wear the label and have the outward appearance of religious ones, they are saved and are going to heaven. Sadly the Lord makes plain through many parables that the present Church is not made up wholly of believers, but there are a lot of church goers and bench warmers that really don’t have a personal, saving relationship with Christ. The Lord says, “by their fruits you shall know them.” We have all had occasions in our lives to see those who spoke in the name of God, but in no way represented His character and nature in their lives. Do we? Are we of the true household of God, having come in by true repentance in our hearts, whereby it is our desire to forsake sin and unrighteousness because we have asked the Lord Jesus to be the Lord and master of our hearts and lives?
When the world looks at the church, they don’t even realize that they are looking at a mixed bag of sheep and goats. When those who present themselves as Christians, but live a life of hypocrisy, are seen by the world, then all of the Church and God are judged accordingly. Realistically it is not just the unbelievers that are guilty of this, even as true believers we can dishonor the name of the Lord through our behavior and lifestyle that is contrary to the will and purpose of God.
If the Church is the thrashing floor, then it is a place where the Lord Jesus comes in with a fan in His hand. What does a fan do? It creates a wind that blows. John baptized with water, but he said that Christ would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. In Matthew 3:10 he says, “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” The true test of everyone one that confesses to be a believer is the fruit that they bear. The way that fruit is tested is when the fan blows the wind of the Spirit and fire across our lives. When adversity and trials come upon us, what is coming out of our lives? Are we murmuring and complaining? Are we cursing and angry with God? Are we forsaking our confession of Christ to go back into the world? What happened to the children of Israel when they were tested in the wilderness? It brought out the true nature of who they were and many were judged accordingly. The Lord’s fan is even now blowing across many of our lives. What it brings up in us is not always a very pretty sight. Often we even see things in ourselves we didn’t know were there. How we deal with these revelations of ourselves is paramount to our relationship with Christ. When the Lord fans our lives it will do one of two things, it will drive us deeper and more committed into Him or it will drive us away from Him. It is separating the wheat and the chaff both in our individual lives and corporately in the Church as a whole. The last thing any of us would ever want to hear is the Lord say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”
Church, we must know Him, intimately and personally in this hour. We must pursue and press into Him as never before. Allow the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire to only blow you further and more completely into Him and fan away from you all that isn’t of His nature and Spirit. All the fire can do is consume the dross and impurities that still want to cling to all of us who are believers. All that we want to remain is a pure faith and a pure nature flowing out of a heart filled with the love of God. We want to be sure we are the real thing and not a cheap imitation, that we are indeed the wheat and not the chaff.

Blessings,
kent

Key to the Treasure

December 28, 2012

Isaiah 33:5-6
The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.
6He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

Key to the Treasure

It is important for us in this time to know the difference between religion and relationship. Religion carries with it a knowledge of God, an exercise or expression of ceremonial worship, but it is evident that this not acceptable to God if our hearts are not right and our spirit in tune with His. Religion can know about God, His salvation, His power to save, but it doesn’t move God if the heart of the people doesn’t line up with the pursuit of God’s heart in their obedience and faithfulness.
Jeremiah 14:7-10 is a good example. Here Jeremiah cries out to God for His people, but hear God’s answer. “Although our sins testify against us, O Lord, do something for the sake of your name.
For our backsliding is great; we have sinned against you. 😯 Hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress, why are you like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who stays only a night?
9Why are you like a man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save?
You are among us, O Lord, and we bear your name; do not forsake us!
10This is what the Lord says about this people:
“They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the Lord does not accept them;
he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.”
When we are powerless and it doesn’t seem like God is showing up, the first thing we want to check is, are we lining up with God’s Word, walking in His principles and ways, living in obedience and pursuit of His highest for our lives. Much of our impotence and the absence of God’s power from our lives may have to do with an outward expression of religion, but our lives aren’t lining up with our confession and outward expression. Perhaps we have been seeking to please God with our outward works and religious expressions rather than communing with Him consistently within our hearts and honoring Him by our fear, reverence, obedience and faithfulness.
Look again at Isaiah 33:5-6. Look at the results when we align our hearts with His. When we exalt Him with a right heart and attitude in Spirit and in truth then, “The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” The key to the treasure of God’s heart is our relationship with Him. When we pursue Him in honesty and whole heartedness then we are fearing and reverencing Him. He is center of all that we are and all that we do. He is exalted in all that we are blessed with and to Him goes all of the glory. He will be all that He has promised to be when we are living what He has called us to be.
Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that mere religious acts can appease the Father. He doesn’t want our lip service, He wants our hearts. If we feign to live godly and yet do not restrain our feet to wander, do we have a right to expect God to honor us with His great salvation and deliverance in our time of need? If we love Him we will keep His commands and walk in them. Then we well experience the rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge, because the “FEAR” of the Lord is the “KEY” to this treasure

Blessings,
kent

The Greatest Gift

December 24, 2012

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The Greatest Gift

If we do the research we find that Christmas isn’t really a biblical institution as much as it is a religious one. One could get as religious about dispelling it as one could get trying to defend it.
Hopefully for most it hasn’t become just an obligation of giving, of materialism, of fantasy, gluttony and wanton revelry. It’s one good and primary focus should be to help us prioritize those things that are most important to us in life, God and family. With all of the busyness of life this is one of those Holidays that should get our focus off of ourselves and on to others. It is a time to re-prioritize our family and loved ones. It is a time to exercise God’s grace and forgiveness toward our family and others. It should be a time of reconciliation, healing, and letting old things go. Life is too short, for us to continue to hold offenses, anger, hatred, bitterness and resentment. Our humanly love, will at best , put up pretenses and false gestures while maintaining our grudge or dislike. God’s love in us will enable us to resign our feelings to be able to love, forgive and accept even those who have wronged us or hurt us.
The Holidays can pull us into all that men have made it about, but for us, as believers, it should be a time to remember and proclaim to the world God’s greatest gift of all to mankind. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 Out of the abundance and fruit of that gift, which we now hold in our hearts, should come the greatest expression of His love through us. People need to see through our lives, not just at Christmas, but in all seasons, the unconditional love and gift of giving we have living in us.
Perhaps at this time of the year some non-believers are more open and tolerant to hearing and receiving about Christ than at any other time. Our strongest message may not be in what we say, but in the actions with which we say it. This is our exceptional opportunity to be a blessing and to show Christ though the way we touch the lives and needs of others.
More than a tradition, Christmas should just be an exclamation mark of who we are in Christ and who He is in us. Christ is truly the reason for all seasons.

Blessings,
kent

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