God, Mighty in Your Life

September 10, 2015

Psalms 18
1 I love you, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. 7 The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. 8 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. 9 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. 10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. 12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. 14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies , great bolts of lightning and routed them. 15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. 19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. 20 The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God. 22 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. 23 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. 24 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, 26 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. 27 You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. 28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. 29 With your help I can advance against a; with my God I can scale a wall. 30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God? 32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. 36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 39 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. 41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them— to the LORD, but he did not answer. 42 I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind; I poured them out like mud in the streets. 43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations; people I did not know are subject to me. 44 As soon as they hear me, they obey me; foreigners cringe before me. 45 They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds. 46 The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! 47 He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, 48 who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me. 49 Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O LORD; I will sing praises to your name. 50 He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.

God, Mighty in Your Life

When we read a psalm like this from the pen of David, we realize how central and personal God was to him and is to us. Our path may take us down some dark and difficult corridors. Our lives may hang in the balance, but as God showed His faithfulness to David, He promises His faithfulness to us. He has promised He will never leave us or forsake us. He goes before us in the battles and He preserves our life in Himself. When our lives are hid in Christ we can only look back and marvel at what the Lord has done and continues to do. If God be for us, who can be against us?
Let go of your worries, don’t be anxious, but in everything, with prayer and supplication, let your request be made known. God is with us in those hard places. He is our deliverance and our salvation. What we have to know and grasp is that our strength, our wisdom, our prosperity, riches and blessings are not because of us, they are because of Him. In everything God is with us and He is the One that keeps our lamp burning. He is the oil and the fire; we are simply the vessel and the facilitator of His Spirit and His life.
If we do nothing else today, take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the greatness and the richness of God and Christ Jesus in your life. His salvation is bringing you into places that you can not even imagine. He is our life. All that we have and all that we are we owe to Him.
“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be the God my Savior!”

Blessings,
#kent

Luke 20:17
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

The Rock in the Middle of the Road

There is a rock in the middle of the road that is often traveled on foot. Those that pass by the rock, what will they do with it? Most will ignore and walk on. Some who are not paying attention will stumble over it. Some may kick it. Some may throw it or toss it aside. How many of a multitude of people will take the time to pick up the rock, examine it, value it or keep it? Why, because it is a common rock of no particular value or significance to those who pass by. What if it were a gold nugget obscured in granite or a diamond hidden in an ordinary exterior? This is what Jesus was and that is why He was missed by so many. It wasn’t the outer beauty that attracted men to Jesus; it was what was within the man.
Jesus passed a lot of ordinary rocks as He walked down the road of His life. Rocks that people passed by all of their time and never gave a second thought too. There were harlots, tax collectors, blind men, lepers, beggars, cripples, little children, demon possessed, those who were dying or those who were dead. The list goes on and on, but the point is that Jesus took the time to pick up a lot of rocks. He didn’t just see the ordinary or common without, He saw they were precious to the Father and so they were precious to Him. He ended up giving His very life for a lot of ordinary, common and undeserving rocks.
As we travel down life’s road it is easy for us to pass a lot of rocks and never give them another thought or glance. I know I need that sensitivity to take the time to pick up some of those rocks and as I can, make their lives better in some way. I may well be treading over gold ,diamonds and precious gems unawares. Peter shared what God had spoke to him in a vision in Acts 10:28, “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
As you go through life today, think about that rock in the middle of the road. As God has picked you up, pick up and value those around you.

Blessings,
#kent

God, On Our Terms

August 14, 2015

1 Corinthians 3:10-16
10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

God, On Our Terms

Most of you who are reading this know Christ as the sure foundation of your life. We have received Him into our hearts by faith and we place our trust in Him. We have the sure foundation of our lives, which He is. The question then becomes as the apostle Paul addresses here, “what are we building upon this foundation?” Paul indicates that there are different materials that can be used to build this temple which we are. Some of them are fireproof and others are not, but He does warn us that there will be the Day that will bring to light what our house is made of.
Perhaps it is not so unlike the little story of the Three Little Pigs. Each one’s house was tested and those that were made of sticks and straw did not stand. The little pigs verily escaped by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin. I don’t think that this is how we really want to build upon this foundation that we have in Christ. Yet we have to consider the quality of the materials and the work that is going into building this temple.
Many of us have embraced Christ as our Savior, but do we really know Him as our Lord. Many of us have faith, but we still want God on our terms, rather than ourselves on His. We must understand that with the building of the temple there is a continual demolition of the old. While the grace and mercy of God builds us up we are allowing the cross to crucify and tear down that which is of the natural man and that which is not eternal, but will pass away. If we continue to build a corruptible temple on an incorruptible foundation, then there will be a day the building of our lives will come to ruin and destruction. What we invested our lives in building will come to naught, because it was on our terms and not His. We built with wood, hay and stubble instead of the nature of God, the redemption of God and His precious truth. God will allow us to build our house with whatever materials we choose, but their will come a day of final inspection and if we haven’t built according the blueprint and the materials declared in His word, then we can’t expect our house to pass inspection. Which of us wants to come to the end of our lives and then find out there was nothing lasting, permanent or of eternal value in what we did?
Jesus taught us that the foolish man built his house upon the sand and when the floods came it was washed away, but the wise man built his house upon the rock, the sure foundation of Christ. The same materials that have been used in the foundation must continue to be used throughout the building of the house. Then we will know and have confidence that it will stand and remain in the day of testing and fire. Consider that unless we know Jesus as the Lord, the One we relinquish all control too and are in true submission to His headship, then we are building with corruptible materials that will not be of lasting value or substance. That is the price of having God on our terms.

Blessings,
#kent

Draw Near to Me!

April 17, 2015

James 4:7-9
Submit 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.

Draw Near to Me!

If there is one theme I hear in what God is speaking in this hour it is, “Draw near to Me!” The greatest asset that any of us can have in their lives is a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we know Him intimately and are in communication with Him consistently then we know that we are in touch with the resources to meet every need and challenge that life might bring. Many of us for so long have become intoxicated and drunk in the well being that we have had all around us. We, especially Americans, enjoy and have so much. We, as a whole, don’t wake up every morning wondering what we are going to eat, where we are going to find shelter, how we are going to provide for our families, how we are going to get to our job and how we are going to survive. We may not be rich in the sense of having great amounts of money, but by and large our needs are met and we enjoy many luxuries in addition to our basic needs. As whole, we probably have and enjoy more than about 80 or 90 per cent of the world’s population. We have been very blessed. There is nothing wrong with being blessed, but one of the snares that follows blessings is that we can become complacent in our faith and trust in God. We begin to look at all that we have and possess as the results of our own talents and resources. Because we have need of little, we often have little need for God.
The Lord is sounding a trumpet in Zion and He is sounding an alarm to awaken us out of our complacency and calling us to return to Him. The first order of returning to God is in the area of submission. “Submit yourselves then to God”.
Jesus tells it to us this way in John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” The presence of the Godhead abides upon the one who is willing to submit in obedience to God and His Word. Develop an ear that hears the still small voice of the Holy Spirit and then be quick to obey it.
Secondly, He says resist the devil and he will flee from you. Many of us exercise very little resistance. We willing take in whatever is put in front of us. We exercise very little discipline of our flesh rather it is what we take in mentally, visually, audibly or physically. There is very little difference between most of us and the world at large. God is awakening us to our state of being, not to condemn us but to prepare us. If we men were suddenly taken out of our present lifestyle and placed on the front lines of battle, how do you think we would fair? The enemy would cut through us like butter and in effect that is what he is doing now, because we have become fat and lazy through our life styles. What we are not seeing is the spiritual battle that is raging before us like an ominous thundercloud.
God is saying to us, ‘take stock of your condition and where you are physically, mentally and spiritually.’ He is saying, if you will begin right now coming near to me, I will meet you and come near to you. Start by washing your hands of the sin and filth of this world that you have allowed to come into you. Cease from being double-minded, spiritually minded one time and fleshly minded the next. We are like a Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde. Depending upon the place and the company we are in we are either spiritual or fleshly. We must be of a single mind at all times and that mind has to coincide with the mind of Christ. We all need to come to a true state of repentance where we honestly recognize and acknowledge the spiritual state we are in and then truly repent of it with true weeping and mourning. If we humble ourselves before the Lord and fear Him, He will lift us up. He will ready us for the days to come and preserve us in the darkest hour. Only hear His exhortation, “Draw near to me!”
There is only One that can preserve us when the world is overtaken in calamity. Your wealth, your reputation and position, your influence and all of your possessions can be gone tomorrow. They are temporal. You only have one sure foundation and cornerstone that cannot be moved and His name is Jesus Christ. Draw near to Him with all of your heart, your soul, your mind and strength. “

Blessings,
#kent

Hebrews 6:13-20 (Amplified)
For when God made [His] promise to Abraham, He swore by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, 14Saying, Blessing I certainly will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.
15And so it was that he [Abraham], having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained [in the birth of Isaac as a pledge of what was to come] what God had promised him. 16Men indeed swear by a greater [than themselves], and with them in all disputes the oath taken for confirmation is final [ending strife]. 17Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath. 18This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us]. 19[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, 20Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.

God’s Unchangeable Promise

Perhaps few passages in the Word speak more powerfully of God’s faithfulness and commitment to keeping His Word and promises than does this passage. Here we are given the example of the father of our faith, Abraham, and how God promised that in his seed all of the nations of the earth would be blessed. All of God’s promises have their season of fulfillment and in our terms that may be a short time or it could be a very long time. God’s promises are sure, but in between the promise and the fulfillment faith must stand in the gap. Hebrews 11:1-2 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.” God says that Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness because it believed and stood upon what it could not see and what may have seemed incomprehensible to the natural man. It wasn’t until way past that time of natural fulfillment that God gave Abraham His promised seed Issac; “the pledge of what was to come.”
In the fullness of time God brought forth another promised seed in Christ Jesus who brought forth the promise of God’s great salvation. He was a type of Issac in that He was the seed of promise and the beginning of the blessing that should follow. What we have seen in Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people and to mankind of His love, salvation and ultimate restoration of all things back to the Father. Just as Issac was not the completion of the promise, but the beginning of it, so the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus was not the completion of God’s plan of salvation, but only the beginning, the firstfruits and forerunner. “Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.” Now if Jesus isn’t the only runner, but the forerunner or front runner, then it is evident that others must follow. God gave us, as believers in Christ, His full assurance in that He gave unto us the Holy Spirit as the earnest and down payment on that inheritance that stands before us. 1 Corinthians 1: 21-22 states, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Again in Ephesians 1:13-14 we are told, “And 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.” God has sealed His promise in us, not only with His Word which cannot fail, but with His own Holy Spirit He establishes us as His own and the partakers of the divine nature through the great and precious promises He has given us (2 Peter 1:3-4).
What an assurance to our faith that Jesus never fails that God’s Word is established in eternity and can not be moved. In Hebrews 1:1-3 it says of Jesus, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The 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.” Because all of creation and the Universe is held in place by the power of God’s Word, which is Christ, then it reasonable to conclude that it is as likely that all of creation will come apart as it is to conclude that God will not keep His word and promises. “This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us.” What a powerful statement that should place unshakable faith and confidence in every believer that they can count on the God that they serve and worship. Now we can understand why the rock of our foundation is Christ Jesus which can not be moved and against whom the gates of hell cannot prevail.
Colossians 3:1-3 reminds us of where we are in the midst of these great and wondrous promises, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” So great is God’s faithfulness, so unchangeable His ways and promises. We are a people who are clothed in the great and precious promises of God. As we hold fast in our faith we, like Abraham, will reap if we faint not and our faith will be accounted unto us as righteousness. Christ is the forerunner who is bringing many sons into glory, into His likeness and into an everlasting priesthood to the praise of His glory and the fulfillment of His unchangeable promises.

Blessings,
#kent

Psalms 144:1-2
Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. 2 He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

Personal Trainer and Protector

In the Lord we have such a loving heavenly Father who is there for us in every way, even when we don’t see Him or perceive His presence. ‘ The Lord is my Rock.’ Daniel 2:35 says, “Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” This was not only prophetic of king Nebuchadnezzar, but it speaks to all of the kingdoms of this earth becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and King. In Revelations 11:15 the heavens declare, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Even in our weakness we are more than conquerors through Him that has loved us and gave Himself for us. Even in our weakness He trains our hands for war and our fingers for battle. It is in those times when we battle through the trials and tribulations of life that He is training our hands for war. In our weakness we find His strength and in our poverty we find His riches. It is as we stand faithful in the battle that we find, as David did, “He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” He is able to give us victory in circumstance in which we have no control. He is able to work all things after the council of His will. His will is that we are overcomers of this present evil world and that we prevail in faith until we see strongholds torn down. All it takes is humbly acknowledging Him as the Lord of all of your life. He is the One that goes before us into battle. He is our defender, our protector and He makes us to be a stronghold of righteousness for His namesake. Those who have ruled over you will be subdued beneath you.
Your triumph is in recognizing by faith what your Lord has already done and is still doing on your behalf. This is why the songs of David so magnify the Lord. By all rights David should have been dead, but at every death-harrowing turn He saw the Lord’s divine protection and the anointing that rested upon Him. You are no less His son or daughter. What He has done for David and others He will do for you. Stop striving in your own strength and efforts. Rest in the promises of His Word and what the Holy Spirit is training you to do. He is here today to train our hands for war and our fingers for battle. As we allow Him to train us up, then we will see Him going before us into battle and making our victory sure. God is preparing you for such a time as this. Faint not at that battle that rages before you. Be confident that the Lord, “He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” He is your victory today and you stand complete in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

The Secret of the Kingdom

November 7, 2014

Mark 4:10-12
When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

The Secret of the Kingdom

Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables which were stories of word pictures that carried within them kingdom truth. Now to many in the multitude they either didn’t understand or they may have just caught the natural understanding of what was being said. What Jesus was telling His disciples is that these parables carry kingdom mysteries and truths that are meant to be revealed by the Holy Spirit to true believers and followers of Christ. As we come to an understanding and revelation of kingdom truth it is to teach us how to live out of that truth and not what we see in the world. The blind follow the blind, but those who have spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear, pursue the truth that the Spirit wants to reveal and not just what their natural mind perceives.
What I believe Jesus was saying is that a lot of what He was sharing wouldn’t make a lot of sense or have a lot of meaning unless you have a real heart for the kingdom and the truth that is contained in these parables. A lot of us, through personal revelation or the teaching, we have heard through the years have some grasp of the these kingdom truths that Jesus spoke. What He spoke for His people to really hear was how to change your paradigm and thinking from the worldly culture you have grown up in to the heavenly culture of the kingdom. The secrets of the kingdom are keys for transformation from what we have been, into what we have been called to be. Many of us hear, but don’t put into practice what Christ taught. They just remain noble ideas, but they fail to transform our culture and paradigm because we haven’t become kingdom minded.
Jesus expresses it well in His parable in Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Kingdom building in our lives establishes Jesus Christ as the foundational rock upon which all of our life values, principles and cultures are built. Many will sit in church or hear the messages of the kingdom and give mental ascent, but fail to put into practice these truths. What Jesus is saying is, ‘it is not what you hear and agree with as being truth that makes you wise, it what you begin to apply and walk in that builds the kingdom in you. God’s kingdom can not be moved, but every pretense of it will be washed away. That is the foundation of sand. Sand is believing something in your heart, but never acting upon it to cement it into your life. This is where many “so called” Christians are deceived. They acknowledged the reality and truth of Christ, but denied the power of its life changing ability within them, by only coming and hearing, but not putting it into practice.
The secret of the kingdom is stepping into what you know with the grace, the power and direction of the Holy Spirit. Christ in you is not just in word, but it is in power, love and a faithful walking into kingdom truth.

Blessings,
#kent

Friend or Foe

November 7, 2013

Friend or Foe

Matthew 16:13-28
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15″But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ,] the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Most of us would agree that Jesus’ disciple Peter was a friend of the Lord. He really did love the Lord and while a little rough around the edges Peter had some great qualities about him. I think most of us would say that we are a friend of the Lord’s, that we love Him and like Peter, we have committed our lives to follow after Him.
It is an interesting passage that we read today because first we see Jesus asking the question about who men think that He is. We see Peter chime in, with spirit of revelation, that Jesus is the Christ. Peter is called blessed and commended of the Lord. The Lord gives him the keys of the kingdom and the power to bind and loose in heaven and earth. Peter must have been feeling pretty good about himself about then like maybe he was just one up on the others cause he had the goods. He had the revelation of the Christ.
We then see a quick turn of events where Jesus reveals the purpose and plan of his life to suffer and die in Jerusalem at the hand of the elders, chief priest and teachers. Peter, perhaps a little full of himself, begins to rebuke the Lord and let Him know that we are never going to let this happen. Suddenly we see a friend turned foe as the Lord rebukes Peter and says, “Get thee behind me satan.” That must have really taken the wind out of Peter’s sails. Jesus goes on to explain the definition of discipleship and the exchange of life that must take place which means the death of the self life to experience the resurrection of God’s life.
I think that we are not so unlike Peter. We have a true zeal and love for the Lord. We have a revelation and understanding of many things, but we become the enemy of the cross because we want to preserve our life when we need to lose it and reckon it dead. We want to hold on to the natural things of this world rather than to die to them that we may possess the treasures of the kingdom. We are like a baby that would rather hold on to a rock than exchange it for a silver rattle. We are much like Peter, spiritual on one hand and unwilling to embrace the cross on the other. What if Peter had had his way? He thought his intentions were noble and good. He wasn’t going to let Jesus have to go to the cross. Often we view the death that the Lord is leading us into as the worse thing for us, because we see the price of suffering and sacrifice. What we fail to see by faith, is what is on the other side of that death, it is abundant and eternal, resurrection life with great reward. We may be traveling that road to Calvary today and satan may be working through agents and people that mean well, but they don’t comprehend the way we must go and why we must go there. We must be careful that we don’t allow others to turn us from our call to discipleship and the cross or that we don’t become a stumbling block to others to keep them from walking that way as well. In order to fully realize who we are we have to die to what we were. It takes two hands to embrace discipleship. We have reached out in faith with one, but we have to release our world and the things we have held dear to take hold of the Lord with the other. The things of this world keep pulling us down into death while the Lord is pulling us up into life, but it takes both hands laying hold of His for us to be pulled up into the fullness of His life.

Blessings,
kent

I Shall Not Be Moved

October 16, 2013

I Shall Not Be Moved

Psalms 62:2&6

He only [is] my rock and my salvation: [he is] my defence; I shall not be moved.

When any of us go to build a house or a structure the fundamental issue is to build it on a solid foundation. We not only have to consider the foundation itself, but also the soil conditions of where that foundation is setting. If the soil is expansive it could swell and crack our foundation and our structure. If it is unstable and not solid, it could settle and do the same thing. If the soil is to sandy or shifting, again our house is at risk, so the foundation has as much to do with the soil conditions as it does the footing our structure is built upon.

Spiritually we must use much of the same logic when we make the decision about how to build our lives. We want our lives to be secure and stable. We want our belief system to be solid and basically unchanging. We know that as we mature in Christ and in our understanding that many things will change in the way we think and view things, but there are certain principles and fundamental truths that should not change. They are our foundation. The stability of our whole house rest upon our foundation. We are not moved, because our foundation is not moved. When our house was built that foundation became the fundamental part of our house. It is not separate, but is a key component of the house.

The Word teaches us that Christ is the Rock, the spiritual cornerstone of his temple, which we are. The reason we will not be moved is because of who He is, an unmovable, unchanging Lord and God who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). When our lives are rooted and grounded in Christ then we become a very stable people because we know whom we are, where come from and where we are going. We have purpose and direction in our lives. We know we have resources that the world does not have, because our strength comes from the Lord. David, in Psalms 62 in verses 7 and 8, goes on to say, “In God [is] my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, [and] my refuge, [is] in God. Trust in him at all times; [ye] people, pour out your heart before him: God [is] a refuge for us. Selah.” David had come to know, as we must, that life can be very unstable and undependable, but God is not. Our stability and security is in Him who is our strength and our refuge.

Many of us are prone to compromise concerning our faith and the values we get from God’s Word. If we continue down this path without correcting our course and getting back on spiritual track then our house starts to lean and deteriorate. It is not because our foundation is bad, but because we have left it and started building on unstable ground that is sure to bring us to a disastrous and destructive end. Where are you building your house and your life today? Is it built on the uncertainty and instability of the world or have you made the stand that, “I shall not be moved”. Is your confidence, faith and reliance solely upon the Lord and His strength, life and faithfulness as your foundation? We know there is not a problem with Christ the foundation, so if something is moving, shifting, settling, falling, check what your foundation is. Jesus gave us the parable in Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” It is not what we hear and know that makes for a sure foundation, it is what we “do with what we hear and know” that determines if we stand or if we fall.

Blessings,

kent

Tenderhearted

May 10, 2013

Tenderhearted

2 Kings 2:19
Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard [thee], saith the LORD.

What is the condition and state of my heart today? As you and I ask that question of ourselves today, what is the true answer? Through our life experiences, choices and decisions, we can find our heart in many different states. It can become hardened because of sin and willful living. It can become broken from abuse, disappointment and hurt. It can be elated with life and living or it can become cold and unfeeling. Life and experiences can have a lot to do with shaping the condition of our hearts, but so can the choices we make with what comes to us in life. It would be safe to say that no matter what befalls us in life our safe place is a place of a tender heart before the Lord. That is the condition of the heart that touches His heart.
Sometimes life can be so devastating that we feel like we are like a tree that has been cut down and all hope of life is lost. Yet even Job, in his state of abject suffering and loss makes this statement in Job 14:7-9, “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; [Yet] through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.” I believe a tender heart toward God is our hope in every circumstance of life. Only the Lord can take that which bad and turn it for good. Only He can bring life out of death. Only He can take the crushed grapes of our life’s sufferings and trials and make sweet wine. James 5:11 makes the observation about the condition of God’s heart toward us when we continue in a place of obedience and tenderness before Him. “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
Jesus is the Rock and it says that with Him one of two things can happen, either we are broken upon the rock through a tender and repentant heart or we become broken by the Rock through a rebellious and hardened heart. What is the state of our heart today?
Isaiah 66: 1-2 says, “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? For 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.” The Lord is looking and desires above all our sacrifices and the works of our hands that our hearts are right and tender before Him. If He is ever going to manifest His presence and perform His works through a people, it is going to be a people who have a tender and contrite heart before Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him… “No matter what life has dealt us let our hearts become tender, broken, pure and right before the Lord. This is the condition of heart we need to have in order to experience His visitation and presence. This is the place where we find the rest and the true fast of God. This is the ground that is broken up and is ready to yield the fruit of His divine life.

Blessings,
kent

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