Take Hold of Life

January 8, 2015

Take Hold of Life
Poverbs 2:6-19
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart,and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse 13 who leave the straight paths to walk in dark was 14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. 16 It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, 17 who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. 18 For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.
The questions this morning is why do we embrace death when the Lord has proclaimed and laid before us the path and way of Life? Blindly and ignorantly we accept whatever the world tells us and follow its mandates like it has the answers to Life. There is one source and fountain of Life. It is contained between the covers of your Bible and the Spirit of Life that quickens it to our understanding. Wisdom is spiritual life and understanding. Wisdom is not in us embracing every device and ad campaign of man that promises so much and delivers so little.
Where are we at today concerning our health, our life, our future and our finances? Are we walking in faith searching out and embracing by faith the Word and promises of God or are we listening to a spirit of death that tells us how we are dying? The Word of God has a good report; who are we going to believe. Do we find ourselves dependent upon the ways of man? Are our lives now ruled and in bondage to medications, prescription drugs, loans and debt, materialism and the philosophies of the world’s success? Are we moving in the realm of liberty and freedom of the Spirit, embracing God’s Words of life or are we giving ourselves self-appointed doom and defeat, because we embrace and profess with our mouths words contrary to the Life God wants to give us. We are a Kingdom of God people that should live in a kingdom culture and way of thinking. You see we have been conditioned by the lies of the enemy and our temptation is to believe that we have to go the way of the world and death. What we fail to realize is that what we are saying is man is true and God is a liar. I don’t think many of us come out and say it verbally, but our lives, habits and behavior are saying it.
Listen to what the today’s passage is saying. Do we really believe and embrace that? My wife has a wonderful habit. Almost daily she is putting on CDs of the Bible and playing them. Constantly she is putting the Word in her mind and heart, awake or sleeping, rather consciously or subconsciously it is feeding her spirit. The exhortation for today is for us to examine our lives and let go of the death and wrong thinking that we are embracing that is ministering death to us and not life. Feed upon the Life, embrace the Word of God and let it be your standard for every aspect of your life. The adulteress of this world’s system will lead you into death, “None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.” God has purposed us for Life, lay hold of it with all that is within you and hold fast to it that it might deliver you out of this life’s destruction and death. We are called unto life and godliness. If you lose you vision, you will lose your way.

Blessings,
#kent

Joel 3:9-16
Proclaim this among the nations:
Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say,
“I am strong!”
11 Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD!
12 “Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. 13 Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow— so great is their wickedness!”
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine.
16 The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.

A Sobering Word from the Lord
There shall be a day of mourning and sorrow for the sun shall not shine by day, nor the moon by night. Spiritual darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people. The Lord is with His own. Many stand in the valley of decision. They need to act quickly and not hesitate.
The Morning Star was given to bring light into the world, but the world received it not. People will cry out for light, but none will be found. They will stumble for lack of vision and knowledge of the Lord. The Lord in His grace has poured out the blessing of His grace and salvation, making it know unto every nation, tribe and tongue. The nations will be brought into the Valley of Judgement and Valley of Decision. “Choose this day whom you will serve. Before you are life and death. Choose this day who you will serve, for you stand in the Valley of Separation.
The Lord will thunder out of Zion. He will sit in judgement of all who have profaned His name and His people. You do not want to hear the hard things I have to speak. You want your ears tickled with blessing and good words. I have many rich and wonderful things for you My people, but you must not withdraw in fear and unbelief at the fires of purification that stand before you.
You worship My Son in this season and that is good, but so many are content to keep Him the infant child and fail to see Him mature into the warrior King. You have become content on the milk and Christ remains the infant in your hearts. Woe to them that give suck in this day for you have fed milk when by such time many of you should be mature and partaking of the meat of the Word. Pray that your flight be not winter when all is spiritually cold and dead. Oh My people, come into the fullness of your calling. Put aside the frivolous things that consume your time and resources. It is a time when the kingdom of God is to come into the earth and your kingdom is so polluted. Purify your hearts ye double-minded. Make straight the way of the Lord. The times are upon you and you continue to tarry in their season. The trumpet has sounded and the alarm has gone forth, but still you sit in your complacency and slumber. Awaken My people and arise to the marvelous calling that is before you. Become spiritually alert and astute to what I am about to bring to pass. Know that I am with you if you are in Me, but so many have strayed from the hedge my protection, because they have been rebellious and disobedient in their hearts. Their affections are far from me.
Today I am calling unto you, “Return unto Me!” Soon the door closes and those who are not prepared will not come in. This is the day of your reconciliation, forgiveness and restoration. Respond to the season of My compassion and mercy. Darkness is coming, enter in while you have the light. Hide yourself in the shadow of My wing and I will cover you there. I am purging and preparing My people for this time of darkness and for a time you will be hidden. The time of My judgement is at hand, be sober, vigilant and pray in the Holy Ghost. Turn your heart from all impurity and defilement of flesh and spirit. Come unto Me with a broken and contrite heart and I will not turn you away. My Risen Son stands at the gate awaiting My Word to go forth. Ready your hearts for your Redeemer cometh.

Blessings,
#kent

Joshua 23:16

When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.


Word of the Lord Concerning our Nation


Raise up a standard of righteousness lest you perish from your land which I have given you.  What you have formerly known is quickly passing away.  Wickedness has entered in and you have allowed sin to prevail.  My people have not raised up the standard of righteousness and as a result ungodliness has come in.  You have winked at sin and compromised with evil.  You have allowed your garment to become blemished and unclean.  You have taken you eyes off of Me and put them on the world and materialism.  That which has made you rich has also made you corrupt.  You have honored me with your voice while your heart has wandered from me.  It is evident what is before you and if you would change that then you must return to me with all of your hearts, humble yourselves and pray.  Repent of the evil you have allowed to come into your heart.  

It is my people that sets the example for the nation.  They are the standard bearers and the light of righteousness among the people.  When their light dims so does the nation.  Wickedness and evil are always present and seeking opportunity.  You have given them opportunity because you have compromised with the world and have been accepting of its values.  

I am the Lord your God.  I am the One who established this nation and redeemed it from the most powerful of countries.  I set My Name here and it was My standard upon which this nation was founded.  As I raised it up so can I cast it down.  My people Israel were for your example that you would not follow after the same example of disobedience, but even now, you, as a nation, follow in their footsteps.  

Return unto me oh people of God.  Rend your hearts and not your garments.  Repent and bring your heart and values back to the standard of My Word.  It is the people of God that are the spirit of a nation.  If the spirit is not whole, the body will suffer.  This is why I have declared in My Word, ” If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  Notice I am addressing My people who are called by My name.  You are the salvation of your nation and unless you take heed, act and pray your nation will be lost.  

 
blessings
kent

The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength

Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for [this] day [is] holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

This key verse was spoken in an interesting setting. A remnant of the children of Israel had returned from captivity in Babylon. The city of Jerusalem was in ruin with its walls torn down. Under the leadership that God raised up through such great men as Ezra and Nehemiah the people were organized and the walls of the city were rebuilt through adversity and opposition of surrounding peoples. Now the city, walls and temple of Jerusalem were in ruin because God had brought judgement upon Israel for their sin and rebellion against God. After seventy years of captivity and exile from their country the people have been allowed to return and begin again to pick up the pieces and rebuild their city. When we come to the point where this verse is given we find the walls have been rebuilt and the gates have been hung. The work on the walls is done and all the people have gathered in Jerusalem to hear the Law of Moses read and explained to them. From early morning till noon the people listened attentively as the Word was read and explained to them. The people began to weep, for the verse prior reads, “And Nehemiah, which [is] the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day [is] holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.” Then, in our key verse, the people are exhorted and encouraged, ” Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for [this] day [is] holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Through our lives we are pretty much follow the same pattern as the Israelites of old who tend to go through many cycles of God’s goodness and blessing, then the people would forget and eventually turn from God to pursue sin. God would lovingly and patiently warn them, they would stubbornly and rebelliously ignore Him until the consequences of their sin and unwillingness to repent would bring judgement upon them. Under the hand of judgement the people would repent, turn from sin, and cry out to God. God in His loving mercy and kindness would hear them, restore and again bless them. Eventually the cycle would repeat itself. Have our personal lives been so different? This event takes place at a time the people have just returned from the judgement of God through their exile to Babylon. God has dealt with them even further through Nehemiah and others. They have labored to build up again not only the physical walls, but the spiritual walls of their walk with God. They learned in a practical way to put on the whole armor of God so that they no longer have to fear or submit to the surrounding threats of the enemy. Now as they sat and really heard the Word of God, just as we must sit and really, from a hungry and contrite heart, hear the God’s Word, it breaks our heart, because we realize how much we have grieved the heart of God through our life and our actions. We, like the people of that day, become truly broken and repentant as we are convicted by God’s Word. The Spirit of the Lord that day was not there to bring condemnation, or rebuke. The Spirit of the Lord, that day, was to make glad. We find that when we really come through a place where we have acknowledged and repented of sin in our lives then there comes a day of true joy. We feel the freshness and forgiveness of God’s cleansing. We often will weep for joy at God’s incomprehensible goodness, patience and love toward us in that He still loves us and embraces us back into His fellowship. May there be a day, as we have come through that place of repentance and restoration of right fellowship, that we have a holy day, a day when God dries our tears and blesses us. Let there be a day when we eat of the fat of His blessing and drink the sweetness of His love and mercy. As we are blessed in His goodness, He exhorts us to go our way and make our blessing in Him a blessing to those that have not. We become the portions for whom no portions has been prepared. Our joy is our strength to live, with renewed commitment, a life that is holy unto Him. It is not a day to be sorry, but a day for joy, as we experience God’s renewed presence and blessing, “For the joy of the Lord is our strength.”

Blessings,
kent

Poor in Spirit

September 4, 2013

Poor in Spirit

Matthew 5:3
Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

There is a parable that Jesus gave about a young man who thought he was very rich. He demanded his inheritance from his father and then set out to enjoy all that wealth. We find it wasn’t a long time before he had spent up all of his money on wild living and when all was gone, so were his so called friends. In the days to follow the young man came to a startling revelation. He was no longer rich, there was no longer security, there was no longer a family, or even daily provision. He was forced to take a job caring for pigs, just to share corn husks and trash food that was feed to them.
Many of us go through life and as long as our outward needs are met and things are going well we may never come to a revelation of how poor we truly are. It is usually when we come to the end of ourselves, our resources and feel the gnawing of hunger and emptiness in our soul that we make the discovery of how poor we really are. It is in the acknowledgement of this state that we are in a position to do something about it. Like the story of the Prodigal Son, we realize we are feeding on cornhusk and the emptiness of this natural life. Meanwhile our spiritual man is wretched, blind and naked. Even as Christians we can be so caught up in playing church and pretending religion that we think we have it all and yet that isn’t the way God perceives us at all. Religion may be among the things we acknowledge in our lives or a liturgy and practice we perform out of duty to God, but it isn’t our passion, our desire and our greatest need. We may be out of position with God altogether and not even realize it because we are going through the motions of life and spirituality.
How would we evaluate our relationship with Christ today? Would it be hot, lukewarm or cold? Many of us would have to admit that we are somewhere in the area of lukewarm.
“What’s wrong with lukewarm? That’s good enough isn’t it?”
That is not a good place to be, for the Word makes it quite clear that God doesn’t enjoy the taste of lukewarm. Revelations 3:15-19 may be the Lord’s personal rebuke and exhortation to us if we are in this state. “I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! 17For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. 19Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].” Our outward perceptions of ourselves are not always accurate and true. Many of us want to live out of a surface relationship with God like we do with many of our friends. You know how you meet an acquaintance on the street and you say, “Hi, how are you doing?”
“Oh, I’m fine. How are you?”
“I am doing well, thank you. Good talking to you. Have a nice day”
That about sums up the depth many of us may have with God. God isn’t real interested in surface relationships. He is a God of intimacy and depth. He wants to know and deal with the true and deepest issues of our heart and life, but we are always going around saying, “I’m fine, you’re fine, everything is fine.” We are living a lie. We are not acknowledging our true state before Him and He can’t meet us at our point of real need until we are willing to acknowledge how poor in spirit we truly are.
In Isaiah 66:1-2, God tells us, “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
2For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” It is only the person that acknowledges how truly broken, wretched, blind and naked they are that is open and ready to allow God to meet their need. Like the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father is ever looking for the return of His son, longing for him and never ceasing to love him. He can do nothing for him until the son gets a revelation of his true state of being where he is disconnected and out of fellowship with the Father; that is us. Only in the revelation of spiritual poverty can we acknowledge our need and know that it is only in intimate relationship with the Father God that our spirits are made rich and prosper.
What is the condition of our spirit today?

Blessings,
kent

God at Arm’s Distance

July 18, 2013

God at Arm’s Distance

Revelations 3:15-20
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Did you ever have a relationship with a person where you really liked them, but you wanted to keep a little space with them, you really wanted the relationship on the terms of your comfort level? Many of us have those kinds of relationships in our marriage where we love our husband or wife, but we want our own space to live our own life and do our own thing. We want a relationship, but we want it at arm’s length, a place we can either pull away or be close, but not feel too confined. Isn’t that very much like the relationship many of us have or have had with the Lord? We believe in Christ, we love God, but we are afraid to get to close to Him. We’re afraid He might let us down, or we’re afraid He might require too much of us, or we’re afraid we’ll have to give up the things we love and want to do. Fear is the counterpart of faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Herein is contained a promise of God that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. For a lot of us there is truth we would rather stay ignorant of or things we would rather not hear, because it requires of us accountability and we rather like things the way they are. I know these things because I see so many of them in me. I don’t always like it when somebody speaks the truth to me in areas where I am comfortable and don’t really want to change, yet I know that if I refuse to hear the truth and harden my heart, I am shutting out the Holy Spirit. I am holding out my arm and saying to God, “don’t come any closer Lord, you are infringing upon my territory, my self will.” Then I am reminded that I am not my own, He bought me with a price and my life belongs to Him completely and without reservation.
So many of us, especially here in America, have been so blessed and we have enjoyed so many things and privileges that we have become fat and satisfied. We are the Laodicean Church it speaks about hear in Revelation 3. “We are rich, increased with goods and have need of nothing.” In the natural that is true, but in the spirit it has left us “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” We can’t serve two masters and when we choose to be rich in the things of the world we suffer spiritually.
Most of you who read this faithfully are those who are willing to hear the truth even when it is convicting and most who don’t may not want to read it because the Lord does deal with us in hard areas that we maybe rather not have to deal with. The truth is we will have to deal with these issues either now while there is still time for us to align ourselves with the will of God or when it is too late and we experience the displeasure of the Lord. If there is one theme the Lord seems to be reiterating again and again through these writings it is that He is calling out a people for His Name, a people He wants to have relationship with and bring out of the common into the Most Holy Place. He is calling us higher into Him. The Lord is a consuming fire and as He draws us into His bosom and into His heart that fire is going to become hotter and hotter to our flesh till it consumes it more and more. Will we welcome his embrace which means we will buy the gold of His nature tried in the fire and we will put on the white raiment and clothing of His righteousness? Will we anoint our eyes with the salve of His Truth so that we might see by the Spirit and no longer by the flesh? Will we receive the rebuke, the correction and chastening of the Lord that brings us to repentance because we have quit holding God at a distance, surrendered our whole heart and said, “Yes Lord, I want all of you no matter what the cost.” Some of us need to make that commitment today in our lives. Perhaps we had in the past, but have found ourselves again compromised with the world. It was to the Church that Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Jesus is calling out for us to come back into right relationship with Him, to sup with Him, to “eat of His flesh and drink of His blood” so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. We can never give up anything in this life that the Lord requires of us but what it will result in so much more in Christ. Instead of holding God at a distance open your arms and embrace Him with a full commitment of your love and devotion. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelations 3:21-22).”

Blessings,
kent

Return to Your First Love

Revelations 2:4
Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Most of us have been in love and hopefully still are if we are married. Remember the thrill you felt to be with the one you loved. They were your desire, your focus and they filled your thoughts continually. All you could think about was them and how you wanted to be them when you were apart. Remember how your world revolved around that special person. There was no one else in the world like them. When you were away from them for an extended period your heart yearned for them or when you thought you might lose their love your heart grieved and broke. That was your first love.
Remember when you first came to Christ and the joy of salvation filled your heart. The Holy Spirit had given you a revelation of Christ’s great love for you and you fell so in love with Him. Many of the same emotions that you experienced with the human relationship of love, you experienced with Christ. He was the delight of your heart and you wanted Him to fill and be a part of everything you did. No greater joy and blessing was there than to be in His presence. He was so real to you and you vowed in your heart you would never leave Him or turn away from Him.
Many of you know that when you have been in a long-term relationship, such as marriage, with the person you love those feelings and emotions often subside over time. You still love them, but you take each other for granted a lot. All of those first feelings, emotions and passions of love have faded into a daily routine that often has lost it’s luster. After all, we have all of the demands of life upon us and so many other things competing for our time, attention or affection. We come to find we have left our first love.
As we have done this with our human relationships, we have most likely been guilty of doing it with Christ. Is He the passion, the love, the joy and the longing of your heart that He once was or have we slipped into complacency and lethargy concerning our love relationship with Him? Yes we still love Him, we are Christians and He is our Savior, but is He still our lover? Does our hearts still long and thirst after Him every day? Does He continually fill our thoughts and are we in constant communication with Him? Is He the praise on our lips and the song in our heart? We all so often fail in the area of neglecting our relationships. We can have many good attributes, but we don’t want to lose that “first love”. It is the passionate and fervent love that is always in pursuit of the object of its love and affection. Ask the Father to renew in you that passionate, fervent “first love” for Christ. Seek it out and lay hold of it again. It is vital to us individually and corporately if we are to be His bride, His Church and possess all that He has for us in Himself as our husband.

Blessings,
kent

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