More than all Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices

Mark 12:33-34
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

While we no longer literally offer burnt offerings and sacrifices we still do it in type. Many times I might rather love my neighbor, whoever that might be, from a distance rather than up close and personal. Just allow me donate some money for their cause, or pray for them, anything, but don’t make me become personally involved in their lives. Most of us like our own space and some of us like to be around friends and family, but even that has its limitations. How much time do I have for my neighbor, those people that I encounter in my daily life, business or work? Many times we might think to ourselves, “You know, I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to get involved with someone else’s.” If we love ourselves enough to care about our problems, our needs, our wants, desires and goals in life, then aren’t we mandated to care about the similar needs of others as well?
Most of us would agree that in a world where every time you turn around someone wants to sell you something or ask you to contribute something we begin to become rather cold and callused. We build these walls to try and keep these people out. It is true, we can’t be everything to everybody and we do only have so many resources, still, are we loving our neighbor as ourselves? All of the things that I do for me, am I willing to do them for someone else? Personally, I am not a real people person and the majority of the time I am quite content and comfortable to be by myself, doing my own thing, but can I really love my neighbor as myself from that position. Loving others is always stretching us. It causes us to move out of our comfort zone. It causes us to come out of the place of just making the token efforts of the burnt offerings and sacrifices and requires me to get involved. Jesus was involved with those around him and not just with the upper crust, the easy to get along with, the likeable or the ones that could benefit Him. He was relating to humanity at all levels, classes, sexes and races. He would relate with children and adults alike, to the whole and the broken, rich and the poor and to the sinner and the righteous. Jesus was not a respecter of persons and He was sensitive to the heart cry of people. There are a lot of people out there that just want to take advantage and use others. This tends to make us wary and cynical, but the Lord wants us to tune into the heart cry of others. Listen, by the Spirit to the real need in people. It often isn’t what we see being portrayed on the outside or in their actions. We need a spirit of sensitivity, not to be duped by everyone that comes along, but to see into the heart need of others.
As the ambassadors and representatives of Christ in this earth we are the channels of God’s blessing, healing, restoration and reconciliation. If we don’t take the time and make the time for the needs of others, then who will. If I want someone to love me, be sensitive to my needs and to just care then that is the love I need to be extending to others in whatever capacity I have to give it. It isn’t the religious gestures that I make and the token giving that the Lord is looking for. He is looking for my heart to be one with His heart in me. He desires me to love Him through the way I love others, through a heart that is really caring and concerned for the needs of others. So often we are like the Scribe, the Pharisee, “the Christian”, who walks to the other side of the road when we see our neighbor in need. We don’t want the inconvenience and the investment of our time and resources to get involved. If my neighbor is important to the Lord, then they have to become my priority also. We have to remember that our mission in the earth is not about us, it is about Him through the way that we serve others. Loving God and loving our neighbor are all part of the same pie.
“Lord, give us sensitive hearts and eyes to see into the real needs of others and to make ourselves available and willing to minister to those needs in what ever way we can. Give us your heart to really love others as we would love ourselves, not from a distance, but up close and personal. Help us to truly be the extension of your compassion, love and grace. May the world truly know us by our love and not just by our name and religion. Allow us to be willing to pay the price of the personal sacrifice required in the giving of ourselves and that which cost us personally to love You with all of our hearts; to love our neighbors as ourselves, no matter who they may be.”

Blessings,
#kent

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To God Be the Glory

May 19, 2014

Acts 14:8-10
In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

To God Be the Glory

Is the word that we speak one that creates faith in the hearer? Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” When we truly speak the Word of God it should produce faith in them that receive it. When Paul perceived the faith that was produced in this man’s heart, he simply spoke to it and it manifested in the man’s healing.
Don’t we believe that God wants to do like-miracles among people that we are willing to speak the word into? The danger of men is that they want to put their eyes upon what is seen rather than what is unseen. They want to get their eyes and worship on the facilitator rather than the Healer. If we are not void of that self identity we are apt to take this glory and praise unto ourselves rather than channeling it back to Christ where it belongs. When ever we allow people to start lifting us up then we are already setting ourselves up for a fall. In the following verses where the people saw the miracle of what happened to the crippled man they began to worship and want to make sacrifices to Paul and Barnabus. It was all they could do to restrain the people from doing this, but they didn’t make themselves out to be anything more than mere men. They were telling the people we are not God, we are simply the messengers sent from God to communicate and confirm God’s good tidings toward you.
God is looking to work through a people that aren’t in it for themselves. A people who aren’t really seeking their own glory, attention, or the recognition of men. How many did Jesus heal and then told, “go and tell no man.” God is looking for us to be the signs and wonders that point all men to Him. Many a vessel of God started out with the right heart, but got caught up in the glory and the praise of men. They began to think upon themselves more highly than they ought. They began to think that all that they did was okay, because they were God’s man or woman of the hour. Many of the those men or women have since fallen. The fear of God we must maintain in our hearts is that, ‘too whom much is given, much will be required’ and James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
When God begins to break out through us in a greater works anointing, it is important that we judge and discern the motives of our heart in all that we do. Pride and self will quickly spring up if the root of them is still in you. An interpreter should never take credit for what the speaker is communicating. Their responsibility is to communicate what they have heard as clearly and distinctly as possible, but not to take credit for what was said. We are God’s conduits and while we carry the source and the power of His life and we are His distribution system, we don’t usurp His place as Lord or take from His glory. That is His to give to us and through us, but not ours to take from Him.
Prepare your heart for what God wants to impart through you and search your heart that there is no unclean or selfish motive to misuse what He wants to give you.
“They cried out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the lamb!”” (Revelations 7:10)

Blessings,
#kent

Parables of the Kingdom

August 7, 2013

Parables of the Kingdom

Matthew 13:44-52
44″The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45″Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
47″Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51″Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied.
52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

Jesus has given us some parables here in Matthew to help us grasp a spiritual understanding of the kingdom of heaven. It is much like you having discovered a large reservoir of oil beneath your property. You grasp the potential wealth of what you are sitting on, but until the oil can be brought to the surface it has no practical and realized value or worth to you. Aren’t our lives the same way? We have discovered the great truth and wealth we have of Christ in us, our hope of glory, but as long as He stays locked up in our spirit, our property, remains pretty much unchanged. So what will we do? Now having this knowledge of the great treasure possessed beneath the surface, we will make it our primary pursuit and investment in gleaning the treasure we know is there. We will make what ever sacrifices are necessary of what we now possess outwardly so that we might tap into the rich resources that are hidden in our earth. 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” There is treasure in these here vessels of clay and we need to mine it out. We are drilling for the nature, the power and the life of Christ, and we don’t want to spare any expense or fail to make any sacrifice necessary to lay hold of it. What is more is that as we are in pursuit of the riches within, we want to share the good news with others around us. We want them to know that they also can have this treasure, but we find that many are far too self-absorbed to hear us or lay hold of the truth that we are sharing with them. Paul says in verses 4-6, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” We have been blessed with the revelation of the riches we have within, now it is about laying hold of them till they become resident and manifest in our daily lives. In laying hold of these riches there are other things that we value in life that we will have to let go of. We have to decide where our treasure really is and what we are willing to give up to lay hold of it. If we choose the riches and what is valuable to us in this life then we will lose our grip on the eternal life and fail to realize the riches that we held. On the other hand when we are willing to forsake all else and spend all our resources to lay hold of this treasure within, then we will lay hold of riches that so far exceed those we could ever know in this world.
In another parable Jesus gives here of the net drawing in a great catch of fish we see that the kingdom of heaven is currently made up of a mixture of both good and bad. We see it in the realm of Christianity. It is a mixture of flesh and Spirit. We also see that in God’s time there will be a purification and casting out of all that is bad or that defiles. This same analogy could apply to our individual lives as well. We may often become disgusted with all of the flesh and ungodliness we see in the body of Christ, but we don’t have to look any further than ourselves to see where it comes from. We are like that net of fish, full of a mixture of good and bad. Surely, I am not the only one that becomes so discouraged with myself; with how far I miss the mark and fail to walk after the Spirit in so many aspects of my life. We are a mixed bag that the Holy Spirit is trying to help us sort out as we look and fully lean upon Him. Most any valuable thing in its natural state is impure. That is why God is processing us, to bring out the riches of His pure nature and love. Sometimes it is like going through hell with fire and gnashing of teeth as we deal with these areas of impurity and iniquity in our lives.
In Matthew 13:52 Jesus says something rather interesting, “52He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”” It is like, the more the Holy Spirit instructs us in our lives through knowledge and experience in godliness, the more we understand and know of its ways. As we grow in understanding and experience we share that with others who are likewise seeking to know Christ in a deeper and more meaningful way. We all have rich experiences of how the Lord has dealt in our lives and how He has taught us. As we share these with others it is mixture of not just past experiences and knowledge, but also of fresh revelation and insight into areas of our lives. Our lives should be a combination of new treasures and old. It is like building a house, you are continually building upon the former with new material. God’s Word never changes and yet it is always fresh as He unveils new truth, insight and revelation in it.
What kingdom truths is the Lord opening up in your understanding and what are we doing to lay hold and see the reality of these truths come to pass in our lives? He is our resource, our provision and our salvation, but we have to let go of the world with that other hand. It is going to take both of our hands holding fast to His so that He can pull us up into Him.

Blessings,
kent

Heart Attitude

February 5, 2013

Isaiah 66:2b (Youngs Literal Translation)
… And unto this one I look attentively, Unto the humble and bruised in spirit, And who is trembling at My word.

Heart Attitude

It is interesting what men will do to get God’s attention. In Isaiah 66, God addresses all that man does for Him. He is not looking for what we can build for him or the sacrifices that we can make unto Him. There is one thing He is looking for in us. It is the condition and the attitude of our heart.
The prototype and example of all that we hope to be is seen in Jesus. Before he comes to be known in the three years of His earthly ministry, Jesus is a relative nobody. A man of no notable reputation. Don’t think that just because others don’t see you or the church doesn’t recognize you that you are a nobody to Father if you heart is in the right place. What we sometimes forget and grow impatient with is that Father is looking for a people whose heart condition is right before them privately, before He ever shows them off publicly.
What is that heart condition?
Is it education, knowledge, status, talent, strength, position, riches, popularity? No, it is none of these things. In fact, it is quite probable that the person with a right heart condition before God is perhaps the one least regarded by men. David, was said to be a man after God’s own heart and yet he wasn’t even regarded or thought of when Samuel came to anoint a king from among Jesse’s sons. God’s people are not flashy or showy and quite often they are hidden jewels and treasures. The only ones that find and benefit from them are the ones who are willing to search out and dig for them. The richest things in the earth or hidden from plain sight.
Jesus was a man of humility. That doesn’t mean He was a sissy, a wimp or weak. It means He was being filled with God’s strength and was able to keep it under control, because He was ever submissive before the Father. The fear of the Lord is not being afraid of Him, but the strong desire to only do that which pleasing and acceptable to Him out of a heart of obedience and love. That is the one who will tremble at His Word.
For many of us, God has become common, ordinary. Yes, we outwardly love and worship Him, but we don’t have that contrition of heart, that brokenness of our sin, that great appreciation for the enormous grace that works in our lives through the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. Like Israel, we often go through the outward motions of religion, but that is not what Father is really looking for.
Life is often the tenderizing hammer that God uses upon our lives. Through our often painful experiences, He brings us into a brokennesss that only He can heal and bring healing through. Those painful experiences and lessons in our lives are what work the heart of His mercy, grace, forgiveness and love toward others. Out of our brokenness, we gain compassion for others that are broken. From that compassion we gain Father’s heart to cry out, intercede and to pursue God’s ability to heal and touch the broken lives of those around us.
If we have all of those other things of privilege, we often miss the greater treasure that God wants to deposit into our hearts, His true love. That is what He is looking for; a heart that is in the position where He might culture and cultivate His true love and nature. If our attitude is wrong or we caught up with all of the outward things, we will miss it. It is cultivated as we spend time in His presence getting to really know Him for who He is. The more we really know, the more undone we are before Him. From that place comes the heart that God is looking for in us. One of true humility, brokenness, contrition, submission, that truly trembles before the greatness of His Word.
It is not the outward offerings and sacrifices that we make that truly please God. Micha 6:8 again speaks to what God is looking for in His people. “He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” When you are truly intimate with Father, when you truly love what He loves and hate what He hates, when you truly gain His heart, then you will walk in all humility and contrition, because you will realize, it is no longer you that lives, but Christ that lives in you.

Blessings,
kent

Vision Leading to Revelation

The right hand of fellowship with God moved forward to lay hold of the door handle of the semi-transparent door of faith. Slowly it opened and we passed through. Glorious sunset clouds surrounded as we rose up in that place. Clouds giving way to the unlimited expanse of space.
Semi darkness was around as the sense of people and places past. Glimpses of ethereal forms showed the traditions of men come and passed. Moving on through this cemetery realm of relics that sought to live. There time had come and gone and they had no life to give.
Moving on through into the darkness and expanse of space. It was lit brightly by the stars, each one in its place. Suddenly a holy presence on each side of me, at hyperspeed, took me through space and eternity. Total darkness veiled any other form, till at last hands pulled back the darkened veil. There in the background of space I beheld a noble lion’s head. A majestic vision as He called me to come into this place.
Hosea 9:5
“What will you do on the day of your appointed feasts, on the festival days of the Lord?”
The place was no longer the form of tradition, feast and festivals, the place was the living reality of all that they represented and were. We are no longer to celebrate the Sabbath days, feast days, new moons and harvests, but become the feast and festival in the lives that we live and the expression of Him who is the fulfillment of all they represent.
Hosea 2:11
” I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days–all her appointed feasts.”
Hebrews 4:14
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.”
Hebrews 10:1-8
“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
6with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
7Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, O God.’””
8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Through the right hand of fellowship entering in through the door of faith, we are to enter into these realities that Jesus first entered into and became for us. We are His expression and His expression is through us becoming the manifestation of all that He is. As long as we hold on to the former, we can not be made perfect.
Hebrews 9:8-10
“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.”
As long as we are still walking. living, celebrating in these former traditions, which are but a mere figure, they represent the first tabernacle built with hands and prevent us from entering into the holiest of all. God’s heartbeat is to bring us completely out of the former shadows into the full light of His truth and holiness. Only in that light and truth will we fully behold Him and the holiest of all.

Blessings,
kent

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