Qualifying

September 24, 2014

1 Peter 1:6-9
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

James 1:2-4
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Qualifying

How many of us have endeavored to do something in life that required us to qualify to participate. If we ever went through basic training in the military, or went out for sports or any number of other events, there was a difficult period we went through of preparation and trials. Many of us can probably remember times in our life when physically and maybe even mentally and emotionally we were pushed to our limits. We may have hurt so bad or been so discouraged we thought we couldn’t go on, we couldn’t make it. Something didn’t just magically happen that suddenly made us qualified and we were taken out of the testing. If we qualified we had to stay the course, we had to persevere and endure. Maybe some of us didn’t make it when all was said done, but the one sure way we were disqualified is if we gave up and quit.
Our life in Christ is often like that qualifying period when God is working in us a greater thing of His nature and character. Sometimes we are pushed to our limits and we want to give up and quit. The old ways of life were so much easier for us. Many do give up when trials come and forsake their faith. They allow the precious seed to be robbed from them and they fall by the way side.
James says that faith produces patience and it is that patience that must have its perfect work in us. We are like a raw sacrifice until we are cooked over the fires of tribulation and trials. It is that faithfulness and steadfastness in the trials that make us to be a sweet smelling savor unto the Lord. It is then that He can say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” It is faithfully keeping our eyes and heart on Him that is the demonstration of our faith and overcoming. Only faith can count as substance that which it cannot see and physically experience. It is that faith that pleases God. It is faith that sees beyond the natural realm and counts God faithful even in the thick of our trials and testing; that is the faith that is more precious than gold.
Today, if you are discouraged, if you are broken, if you are hurting, if you’re feeling bankrupt and destitute, hold fast to your faith. Don’t give up, don’t give in, just keep your heart steadfast in Him. Jesus will carry you through. He will become in you what you cannot be in yourself. It is only as we lose ourselves that He can be. Place it all on the altar. Reckon yourself dead unto sin and the world and alive unto Christ. He will qualify you as you hold fast your faith.

Blessings
#kent

What the Lord has Cleansed, Don’t Call Common

Acts 10:9-16
On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat
But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice [spake] unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

Many of us today in our Christian walk don’t consider ourselves to have prejudice or be judgmental. We really feel like we have the love of God toward all men until God begins to bring us into the presence of something or someone that flies in the face of all that we consider holy, right, just and good. How do we respond when God places us in the midst of drunks or drug addicts, gothic peoples with colored or spiked hair, tattoos and piercings? How about ministering to people that are slow, poor of speech and dress, lacking in cleanliness, etiquette and manors? What about old people, incapacitated and lacking in faculties and social skills? Can we really love those extremists, god-haters, abortionist, gays, idol worshippers and those of false religions? You might be thinking, “well, wait a minute, God hates sin and a lot of these that you are mentioning are sinners and anti-god.” Yes God hates sin, and what were we before He saved us and washed away our sin? The truth is that, like Peter, we all have prejudices; rather we acknowledge them or not. All of us can be put in situations with certain people groups that we would feel uncomfortable to say the least. The fact is that consciously or subconsciously we avoid or condemn what we don’t feel comfortable or accepting of. There are times in life when God will put us right where we don’t want to be. What we would often protest to God, that is unclean, common and should be rejected, is exactly what He suffered and died to redeem and sanctify. Not unlike Peter, we don’t want to be the ones to defile our hands and dirty our righteous garments. We are faced with a crossroads at certain times in our lives. Will I live out of a pious religious attitude that says to me, “I am better than these people, I will just cross the street and walk on the other side and ignore their existence?” Is the Holy Spirit convicting us in these times that, “you are not your own, you were bought with a price, it was the same price that Christ paid for these you deem undesirable and rejects.” “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
Don’t think it strange when God begins to move in what we might consider some unholy arenas and areas of humanity. Jesus loved that demoniac that no one else would dare to go near. We have to be willing as the priests and ministers of God to operate out of a love that requires that we die to personal prejudices and feelings. These are still a part of our natural man and not a part of the Spirit and love of Christ within us. Jesus was never afraid to roll up His holy sleeves and get his hands dirty with tax collectors, sinners, adulteresses, people demon possessed, sick, diseased, criminals, enemies of Judah, crippled and lepers. Those that no one else wanted anything to with Jesus loved and ministered life, health and deliverance. Quite honestly, most all of us have lived in our comfort zone where nothing we consider common or unholy enters in. In that place we can live piously, comfortably and enjoy our little religious, well groomed lifestyles. The truth is that Jesus went to Hell to redeem the most defiled and ungodly of sinners. Dare we turn our backs on those He so loved and died for? Will these not stand up to testify against us on judgement day? The Love and nature of Christ in us will take us outside of our comfort zone if we will really listen to the Spirit within us. His love reaches out to the depths of humanity. When He cast out His net of salvation He draws in the clean and unclean alike.
We, like Peter, have to have a revelation of our prejudices and God’s incomprehensible love. We have to be willing to lay down our lives, our pride, our dignity, so that Christ might reach through us to love and save the lowliest of men. Are we willing to get our hands dirty? Even the priest of the Levitical order had to get bloody, stinky and dirty as they prepared the sacrifices for the altar. It went with the job. Whatever it takes we must be willing to do, wherever He leads us we must be willing to go. We have been called to be Christ to the Nations. Are you truly willing?

Blessings,
#kent

May 22, 2014

Who’s Your Daddy?

John 8:42-47
42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

The question we ask today is “who is your real Father?” In this passage from the discourse that Jesus was having with the Jews they were quite convinced that they were of the seed of Abraham and that therefore God was their Father. Jesus was telling them it is not a matter of natural descent. Many people in this country and even in others think they are Christians by virtue of fact they grew up in a Christian heritage and that is their general belief even though it may have no effectual working in their lives. Many even call themselves Christians and claim God as their Father because they go to church, or they are involved in church activities or they have a religion. Muslims believe that God, or Allah, is their Father, so much so that many are willing to sacrifice their lives and yours too for what they believe is His cause. What Jesus was telling many of these same types of people are that God isn’t your Father, you only think that He is. If God were your Father, then it would stand to reason you would know His Son. The reason you would know His Son is because the Son is just like the Father in nature, in character and in purpose. The true children of God are able to hear the Father. They are able to receive spiritual instruction, exhortation and even rebuke. The true children of God embrace the Son of God, for they recognize and acknowledge that it is only by His life we have access to the Father and are adopted into sonship. The difference is seen in the fact that we have a new nature and what is more, we have put off the former nature with the sins and lusts that it carried. God’s children no longer pursue the flesh, but walk after the Spirit. We are as Romans 8:12-17 puts it, “12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship And by him we cry, “Abba Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” We live and operate our lives under the influence of who our Father is. We have to ask ourselves what is the fruit of my life, what am I producing and is it in likeness of God’s character and nature?
The Bible and Jesus himself warns us that in the judgement day, “21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23).” This tells us that it is not even the outward miracles and demonstration of the Spirit that are true evidence of who one’s Father is, it is the faith and the fruit produced by one’s life. It is seen in whom we listen too, whom we obey and whom we follow. We, like the Jews, can profess that God is our Father, but how much do we look like the Son; are we like it says in 2 Timothy 3:5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” It is not our outward appearance and demeanor that always reveals our true nature and descent. It is our heart for God, our love and faith in His Son and our obedience to His Word as the Spirit that speaks to His Fatherhood in us, leads and directs our lives. Who’s your daddy?

Blessings,
#kent

John 14:6-7 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Knowing the Father is the Expression of Jesus

This is a passage of scripture that is familiar to many of us. As the Father droped it into my spirit this morning I sensed that He was showing me that God the Father is Spirit. We so often don’t fully understand Him or comprehend His ways, but He has never revealed Himself more clearly than He did through the life of Jesus. Jesus is not only the way, the truth and the life; He is the open door to look into Father’s heart. When we observe and study the life of Jesus we see and understand that He was the open conduit of the Father’s heart and love for us. Jesus was the Father’s human expression to touch and communicate with us on the level of our understanding and comprehension. I’ll never forget an illustration I heard many years ago that related it like this. There was once a man looking through his window and observing the birds on a bitter cold, wintry, snowy day. The birds were gathered on his patio foraging through the snow for some morsel to eat. The man’s heart was moved with compassion and he thought if only I could invite them into my warm home and then feed them and warm them till the storm is past. He knew that if he tried to present himself as he was and opened the door he would only frighten the birds and they would fly away because they wouldn’t understand his heart. He thought, if only there were a way that I could become a bird and communicate to them my love and concern for them, then perhaps they wouldn’t fear me and would be able receive all that I want to provide for them. This is what the Father did through Jesus Christ, this God-man, who revealed the Father’s heart, love and intent for us. He made us to know that the Father’s heart is not condemnation and judgement, even though that is what we now live under outside of Christ because of our sin and separation from Father. We know that it is just and what we deserve in the light of His holiness, but Father’s heart is love and reconciliation back into a relationship with Him that He first had with Adam before the fall. What we have recognized in Jesus is the heart of the Father for each one of us and for His creation. What Jesus further reveals to us in John 17:20- 23 is His plan and desire was, not just for His disciples to be one with Him, but for us to be one with Father who would hear and believe their message, even as He is one with the Father. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” What Father is wanting to express through us is what He expressed through Jesus, His heart of love and reconciliation. How can we truly know and understand the Father? By How we know and express Jesus. As He was the expression of God the Father in the earth, so He has called His believers to be also. Jesus completes His prayer in John 17:25-26 by saying, “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” What Jesus exemplified as one man that Father sent into the earth to reveal Himself through His Son, He now desires to do in a many membered body that functions as one man in Christ Jesus. Jesus, who is no longer the body, but the head of the body bringing us together in the unity of the Holy Spirit that has been given us that we might be corporately and individually the expressions of His love and truth. Jesus completed His course upon the earth. He gave Himself for us and for all of mankind to be the pure and holy lamb that sacrificed His life for our sins. Now He sits at the right Hand of the throne of God, ever making intercession for us that we, by His Spirit and life in us, might continue to be the expression of the way, the truth and the life. We know the Father, because we have first come to know Jesus. The more we know Him, the more we know the Father and the more we know the Father the more we can become the expression of the Father through His Spirit and life that dwells in us. To know Jesus is to know the Father, for they are one, even as we are being made one in them.

Blessings,

#kent

The Blood of the Lamb

April 18, 2014

The Blood of the Lamb

Revelations 12:11
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

The Word of God makes the analogy that the life of flesh is in the blood. The Word makes very clear and specific statements concerning the blood of beast in Leviticus 17:13-14, “Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust; 14 for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.’ “ We see that much symbolism is given to the blood with regards to the law and the sacrifices. The blood is used to cover, to seal, to protect, to sanctify, to dedicate and redeem. What is more, Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” The blood became the vehicle and the bridge by which we were redeemed and reconnected to Father God, because our sins were washed and blotted out by His blood. The blood remains the fountain of life and cleansing whereby we are partakers of the righteousness of Christ through faith.
Sin carries with it a great price and certain fearful expectation of punishment. It requires a perfect sacrifice, without spot or blemish and it requires the blood or the life of the sacrifice be offered for the remission and the forgiveness of those sins. That is why every day each one of us as the children of God should be giving thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because He was our lamb and perfect sacrifice. He paid the price with His perfect blood was shed and poured out for us for the remission of our sins.
Just as blood had to be shed to establish the first covenant under the law, Jesus became the high priest and mediator of a new and better covenant sealed with His own blood. Hebrew 9:16-28 tells us, “16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. 19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” 21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. 23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation”. Thus we see the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, as our lifeline to God. Jesus states this, much to the dismay of many of Jewish listeners in John 6:53-58, “Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” “
While we have a commandment in Leviticus 17 not to partake of the blood of any beast, here we have Jesus telling us that unless you eat of my flesh and drink of my life you have no life in you. Obviously Jesus is speaking on a higher dimension than just the natural application. He is the “bread of life” and His blood is the means for us to partake of that life. That is why there is so much power in the blood of Jesus. It is the power of God’s life in us. We know that the way that we drink and partake is through faith in Him and the finished work of Calvary. As we partake of God’s Word, instilling and implementing it into our daily lives through faith and obedience, we are literally partaking of spiritual manna and the bread of eternal God life. As we become identified with both His death, which is represented in our death to self and His life is our partaking of His resurrection life, we are overcoming by the blood of the lamb. What is taking place is that we are speaking into being, LIFE, by the word of our testimony and the confession of our faith. It is in the essence of this Life that satan is defeated. This is what makes you an overcomer today. It is the word of your testimony and the blood of the Lamb. Drink deeply of the fullness of the life and blood that Christ has imparted to us.

Blessings,
#kent

All of our need is met in Jesus

Philippians 4:19
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

It is interesting to note that this scripture follows Paul commending the Philippians for their faithfulness in communicating and supporting his needs. In Philippians 4:15-18 Paul has just remarked to the Philippians, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.” We can see from these passages that the Philippians weren’t just out seeking the blessings of God, their focus and endeavor was to be a blessing. So often we take the promises of God out of context to meet our particular needs or desires. What is as important as the promises are the conditions of the promise and the foundation it is based on. There are some that have the idea that God exist in order just to bless them. It is God’s heart that we be blessed and that our needs are met, but our heart should not be that of seeking the gift, but the Giver. What we find in the economy of the kingdom of God is that in blessing we are blessed, in giving our needs are met. The Lord increases us for the purpose of being a greater blessing, as well as being blessed.
What we must ask ourselves is what is at the core of our heart when we approach God for our needs or wants. Is it covetousness, the strong desire for what we don’t have, or is it the desire to be a blessing? Is our heart just to get or is it to give. Jesus says in Matthew 6:31-34, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.” Jesus is telling us here that it isn’t the natural commodities of this world we need to be focused on, it is the kingdom of God. When we get in the flow of God’s economy we don’t have to worry about the natural, those needs will be met in the course of our living. Certainly we must still work, the Word exhorts “let him who will not work, not eat.” What we fail to see is that even our work can be a spiritual exercise and function of the kingdom. It is a means for providing not only our needs, but also the needs of others, which is a spiritual principle. Ephesians 4:28 says, ” Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” It is in the meeting of needs that our needs are met.
Paul says in this passage, ‘may God supply all of your need, singular, according to His riches in glory.’ What is your need today? Is it about all of the things in life that we need or is it about knowing that Christ is our greatest need and everything else is worked out as we pursue Him.
May we have the heart of the Father in our giving and being a blessing. In blessing we will find ourselves blessed and all of our need met according to His riches in glory.

Blessings,
#kent

The Love

March 6, 2014

1 John 4:7-12

7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 


The Love


This scripture in 1John is so simple and yet so profound because it sums up who we are to be in Christ.  We are love, because He is love.  Here, we are not talking about a superficial love or even a friendship kind of love.  John is talking about an “Agape” kind of love, God’s love.  His love is not selfish, but is ever giving to the point of laying down its life for another.  

If most of us think about how easily we are offended by others we are going to catch a glimpse at how shallow the waters of our love are.  In order to love like Christ, we have to move into Christ and it has to be His Spirit and life abiding in us that enables us to love with this level of love.  We are called unto a high calling of Love.  The reality of that love abiding and operating through us will speak more to the glory and reality of God than a thousand sermons.  People in the world so rarely see the operation of that level of love and yet it should be commonplace within the body of Christ.  God’s love is a gift that is worth living for and it is worth dying for.  

God’s love is much like an expression of freedom.  It is freedom from the tyranny of sin, oppression and selfishness.  While men may come against you with all manner of hate and violence, your choice to love in Christ is something no man or spirit can take from you unless you allow them too.  God’s love doesn’t operate out of feelings; that is how our love normally operates.  Our feelings come and go, they change, but God doesn’t change.  He has continued to love us even when we least deserved it and when we were His enemies.  Can we love with that kind of love?  Only in Christ can we love with that manner of love.  It is not a love that is earned, but a love that is given.  It is not a love that seeks only one’s own good, but works to the good of those it comes into contact with.  It is not a love that is to be manipulated or used, but stands firm in integrity and righteousness.  It works to the higher good in others even when they don’t recognize and understand the means to an end.  It operates out of the wisdom of the Spirit and in harmony with the nature of Christ, for it is one and the same.

The reason this love is a testimony, to who we are in God, is because it is a love that can not be counterfeited or self produced.  It is only found and obtained as we release who we have been and are becoming what He is through a life yielded completely to Him.  The love of God in us is released in proportion to the level we are allowing the Sprit of Christ to operate in and through us. Even as your body houses your spirit, your spirit houses His Love and presence.  That, in turn, should be expressed back through our body, as we are the servants and instruments of righteousness in God’s love.

We may see ourselves as a long way from this level of love in us, but it is much closer than you think.  The only thing that stands between God and His love expressed through us is ourselves. That is why we must be willing to pick up our cross daily and follow Him.  As we are crucified, His love is released.

 

Blessings,

kent

God Offenses

February 21, 2014

Genesis 4:2-6

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”


God Offenses


How many of us, if we are being totally honest, have had times and maybe still are, when we were angry or offended at God?  God didn’t answer in the way or time that we thought he should have.  Maybe someone we loved dearly was taken from us or someone we had been praying for to be healed died anyway.  Maybe that spouse never came back as we believed God to heal our marriage.  Somewhere along the way most all of us have had the opportunity to take up an offense with God, because He didn’t meet our expectations.  I know there has been times I have struggled with that and maybe we say, “We’ll God, what is the use of praying and believing if you’re not going to answer.”  The fact is, He did answer, it just wasn’t the answer we were looking for or that we wanted to hear.  One thing about God is that He is far too great and big to fit in the box of our finite thinking.  

When we come to these places in our life we find ourselves in the place where Cain was.  God didn’t reject Cain.  He simply told him to do what was right and he would be accepted, “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” 

What was Cain doing wrong?  There is a principle in the Word of God that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22).  Cain was a man of the soil, which speaks to him being man that operated out of the works of his hands.  What he brought God was the product of the works of his hand.  Our works are not an acceptable sacrifice.  It is not that good works can’t result out of faith, but neither can they be the substitute for faith.   The fat portions of the lamb that Abel offered spoke of the blood that covers sin and the sacrifice of that offers up our flesh to Him as a living sacrifice (Roman 12:1).  

When we pray and believe God that is a good thing, but He doesn’t act according to our will unless it is in alignment with His will and purpose. 

Let’s take a New Testament example of offense.  This one that the Lord showed to Sharon, my wife, but a lot of us don’t really see it.  It deals with John the Baptist when he is imprisoned by Herod.  

Does he know who Jesus is?  

John 1:29-34 says, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”  So, yes, he knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God.  

Matthew 11:2-15 reveals John the Baptist’s offense with Jesus. “When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

We just read in John 1 where John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the Christ.  So if He is the Christ why hasn’t He done a miracle or something to rescue John the Baptist?  Do you suppose John the Baptist was praying to God to take him out of that prison?  If Jesus can work miracles and He is the Son of God, then surely He can get his servant, John the Baptist, this great man of God out of prison.  

John was in a test.  The enemy was no doubt bringing everything about God and his ministry into question as he remained there in that dark dingy cell.  He was even beginning to question if this Jesus really was the Son of God. Sin was crouching at the door and only an unrelenting faith would conquer it, but he sends his disciples to ask Jesus if He really is the Christ.  Have we ever been in a test like that?  

“4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

7As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’

Jesus rehearses the greatness and the calling of God on the life of John the Baptist, that there was none greater and yet what does He say?  “yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  Why?  Because John the Baptist had taken up an offense with God. 

11I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15He who has ears, let him hear.

What forcefully advances the kingdom of God is those who refuse to be offended when things don’t work out their way.  They will speak as Job did in Job 1:18-22, “While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

20At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job didn’t take up an offense, even though God contradicted every principle he knew,  he would not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.  It was this kind of faith and faithfulness in Job that would eventually promote him into a priestly ministry  of intercession and bring a double portion increase of all that had been taken from him.

We may need to repent today if there has been a offense in our heart against God.  We aren’t always going to understand the ways of God and it is not necessary that we do.  What is necessary is that we maintain our faith and our faithfulness.   ‘He gives and He takes away, but blessed be the name of the Lord.’  ‘When we can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.’

 

Blessings,

kent

A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice

January 22, 2014

Phl 4:18

But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God.

 

A Sweet Smelling Sacrifice


Is the Lord only interested in our tithes and offerings that we give out of obligation and legalism?  Tithes and offerings are a good thing to bring unto the Lord, but what is God looking for?  Is it just money and our substance?  In Hosea 6:6 God says, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”  Often in the law of our traditions, we, like Israel of old are only concerned with carrying out the ceremony and doing our duty.  God tells His people your duty has no relevance if you don’t have a revelation of what the significance of the duty is about.  God doesn’t need our money.  He is the Creator of all things and all things are His possession.  The possession that He doesn’t own is that which He gave to us to choose to whom we give it too.  That is our soul and will.  If we bring our offering, but it is not an expression of our soul and our will then it is not acceptable to God.  

We have all had experiences with others where they may have did what we said or expected, but their heart and their will was not in it; especially within our own family.  Love gives from the heart, not just out of obligation.  The sweet smell of our sacrifice is when it comes from the love of our heart.  Song of Solomon 4:10 says, “ How fair is thy love, my sister, [my] spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!”  What was it that made, in type, the Lord’s bride better than wine and all spices?  It was her love.  The Lord so loves us and He proved that by giving Himself for us.  Now it is our opportunity and privilege to express back to Him our love for Him in every way.  When we offer up the sacrifice of praise from a heart of love, worship and praise then it is like that sweet smelling incense that was burned upon the altar.  We are like that altar, made of flesh, but covered in the nature and gold of God’s character and likeness.  We are the instrument upon which is offered the sweet smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and well pleasing unto the Lord.  

Paul experienced this same type of sacrificial giving from the Philippians in Philippians 4:18.  Paul, who had sacrificially given of His life to the church was now experiencing back a sacrifice that he knew came out of a heart of love and caring.  I believe his words are expressive of how the Lord sees the sacrifices that we bring Him that comes out of a right attitude of heart and love.  

In Exodus 30: 7-8 the Word says, “Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the LORD for the generations to come.”  God is looking and desiring an incense that will arise continually from that altar of His people.  The incense of a broken and contrite heart that functions in the love and fear of God.  The incense of continual worship, praise, thanksgiving and adoration of the One who gave it all.  Our lives, how they are lived and expressed, have the ability to be that sweet smelling incense that rises up into the nostrils of the Father.  It is in the expression of our love that he delights and it is in this expression that our offerings and sacrifices are acceptable unto Him.  

 
Blessings,
kent

The Lord Will Provide

January 6, 2014

Genesis 22:9-18

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” 

“Here I am,” he replied. 

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” 

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” 

15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” 


The Lord Will Provide


Most of us are familiar with the story of Abraham and Isaac when God spoke to Abraham to come up to the mountain and sacrifice the very precious promise that God had fulfilled to Abraham through his miracle son Isaac.  Isaac was the seed of promise and of the covenant that God had made with Abraham that his seed would be as numerous as the stars of heaven and of the sand of the seashore.  Now we come to the place where God has commanded Abraham to give his very best and the most beloved thing in this world, his son.  In faith and obedience Abraham did as the Lord had spoke to him, trusting God for what he did not understand, but God’s will and purpose truly held the foremost place in Abraham’s heart.  Here we see that Abraham has made the preparation and is about to sacrifice His only begotten son of faith and promise, when God stays his hand.  God proves Abraham’s faithfulness and his fear of the Lord.  When Abraham looks up there is a ram caught in the thicket.  A ram to sacrifice in place of his son.  “So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.” 

What a type and shadow of God offering up His only begotten Son of covenant and promise for us.  He did not withhold His very best from us that He might provide for our every need according to His riches in glory.  

When we acknowledge the death and resurrection of our Lord would we be willing to plant our very best seed for Him as He did for us in Christ Jesus?  In John 12:23-26 “Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”  The resurrection seed is a seed of increase, just as on the mountain of God Abraham declared, “The Lord Will Provide”.  It is a seed that unless it falls into the ground and dies, it remains a single seed.  Without a death there is no multiplication.

What is our Isaac today?  What do we hold dearest in our hearts and are we willing to come and lay it upon the altar?  Are we willing to come and give our very best to Him so that we may find His very best for us? 

Determine in your own heart what that resurrection seed is for you.  It may well be the seed you need to plant to find your breakthrough and your provision.  Trust the Lord and bring to Him your very best.  Let it be what you determine in your heart and what you bring to Him out of joy and worship, not out of obligation and condemnation.   When we come to this mountain, we, like Abraham, will find “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”  

 
Blessings,
kent
%d bloggers like this: