Practical Application for a Holy Life

Colossians 3: 1-3
1Since, 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.

The first thing we need as Christians is a revelation of who we are in Christ. In Christ, the former man with it natural affections has passed away and we are putting on a new man renewed in thought, purpose and deed; reflecting and producing the image of Christ. Colossians 3 is a great application for who we are and what we are becoming, as well as what we need to be doing to get there.
We start out by realizing positionally where we are at, “raised with Christ” who is seated at the right hand of God. We are in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. We aren’t going to find many positions higher than that. We, who are in that position, have come to a new mindset different from the one we formerly carried. We must be a heavenly-minded people whose affections are on things above and not on things below, who walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Many of us are still holding on to that old unrenewed mind and earthly affections. It is bringing us down and robbing us of who we are and what we have “in Christ”. It is only as we behold Him that the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Colossians 3 is an instructional in the practical ways we are to become heavenly-minded and have a renewed mind. The first thing that it instructs us to do is often the hardest for us to put into practical application. Verses 5-11 instruct us, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming, 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Do you happen to recognize any of these attributes still lingering around your life? The hardest thing to put to death is our flesh. It has an instinct for survival and it will do anything, compromise anyway, promise to be good, it just doesn’t want to die; yet it must. We can see the value of keeping Christ and the Word of God constantly in front of us, so that we have a mirror of who we are in Christ and we don’t loose vision of where we are going and what our purpose now is. These little daily devotionals are just one more means I pray the Holy Spirit uses to continually prompt and exhort us in His ways and not our former nature. We tend to want to turn away and ignore the things that put a finger on our sin and our reluctance to yield certain areas of our lives to Christ. We all have our little weaknesses, our idols, and those things that our flesh covets and doesn’t want to give up. Yet, if we are unwilling, then we are living in rebellion and disobedience to Christ, we are not being true to who we are “in Christ”, thus we deny His best and His highest for us.
These scriptures tell us what we must take off, but what about what we must put on. God never takes anything away but what He doesn’t give us something better to replace it with. Verses 12-17 instruct us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God is in affect telling us to be clothed now with His nature, which is the holy apparel that is consistent with heavenly citizenship. The world around us must see something unique, different and special about the people who bear the name of Christ. If we are no different than the world, then we haven’t really changed identity or clothing. We are still living in the same old unredeemed man. Its not all about us going to church, or just talking about Jesus, or telling the world they are sinners bound for hell unless they repent; it is about a lifestyle and behavior that exemplifies who and what we are in Christ. That speaks so much more loudly than words. Give me a person that truly lives Christ before me and that will more quickly move me to change than all of the words and arguments they could give. When you put on Christ you don’t just put on different behavior, you put on a holy presence. It is a presence that exudes the love and power of the Spirit that you are of. God now has place and platform to glorify Himself through you.
Colossians 3 concludes by these instructions to the households of believers and the reminder that at the end of this natural life there is a reward and an inheritance. A reminder that it is Christ we serve and that if we choose to do wrong, that wrong bears its consequences without respect of persons. Verses 18-24 instruct us, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
Thus we have simply laid out for us the guide for living the practical Christ centered life that is consistent with whom we now are. Daily we present our bodies a living sacrifice and daily we renew our minds in Christ. We apply these practical instructions with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, that in all things we might be conformed to His life and live consistent with the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

Ephesians 1:16-23 (Amplified)

I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.

 17[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, 18By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), 19And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, 20Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], 21Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.  22And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church]  23Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].

 

Prayer of Power and Glory

 

This Spirit anointed prayer is a great one to memorize and pray over yourself, your loved ones and those that God has you making intercession for.  It is one that I am not sure that we could ever plumb the depths of all that it expresses, let alone fully comprehend them.  I can tell you this, it will only be by His Spirit that we do.  It is not a prayer formula, but a prayer of spiritual revelation and transformation.

Let’s just share a little commentary on it today.  

The first thing it brings to our attention is the unceasing and unfailing act of thankfulness as Paul makes mention of them in his prayers.  Perhaps no one act captures the heart of God like our thankfulness.  It is an act that not only blesses, praises and worships God for all that He has done, is doing and shall do, but heightens our own awareness of how truly blessed we are.  How many times have you started thanking God for all that He has done in your life and you just start weeping, because you just become so aware of how extraordinarily rich He is in His love and blessing toward you.  We know that we didn’t deserve a one of those blessings and yet He lavishes on us so many good and wonderful things.  When we don’t have a spirit of thanksgiving, we can quickly start to take for granted and forget all of the wonderful benefits that our God bestows upon us.

Paul says, “For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.”  Paul is an intercessor that lifts up a continual supplication and prayer on behalf of those God has given him care over.  This is a prayer that you never stop praying.  

The first thing that Paul prays for is, “He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him.”  The more spiritual insight you have of your God the more you are going to be completely blown away by Him.  Nobody can wreck your world and your life in a good way like the Holy Spirit can.  What the Holy Spirit wants to impart to you is not just head knowledge so you can go around and brag about your revelation knowledge and how spiritual are.  The Words says, ‘knowledge puffs up, but love edifies’.  Why does God want to impart wisdom and revelation to you?  It is so that you can experientially become the expression of Him.  

There are three primary things that God wants you to know and understand to bring you into the expression of who He wants to be in you.  He wants you first to have a revelation of your identity in Him.  “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  You can’t  be who He has called you to be until you first know who you are in Him.  Then, He wants you to know your position; that you operate out of a heavenly perspective and not an earthly one.  Ephesians 2:6 tells us our position, “And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”  Thirdly,  He wants us to have a revelation of our purpose.  1 John 3:7 tells us the purpose why Christ came, “… The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”  Nothing destroys His work like the manifest love of God.  Love is the most powerful weapon on earth and in heaven.  It is the primary force and power that Almighty God works out of and He wants to demonstrate the full measure of His love through His people.  That is His purpose, to reconcile His creation back to Himself in love.  When you exemplify the love of God, you are the expression of His purpose.  We are to be the administrators and ambassadors of His love and as we host the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives the power of His love is revealed in us and through us to His glory. 

The prayer goes on to tell us that when we pray and have these spiritual insights and wisdom revealed to us then we will more fully know and apprehend our identity, position and purpose.  When you get a hold of these concepts then you can just begin to come into the greater revelation of, “what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, 20Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], 21Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.”  The one revelation you have to get out of this is that you are never going to come in to all the awesome things He has for you by just playing church.   We have to become radically in love with Him,  off-the-chart intimately involved with Him, because when we do the truth of which this is speaking begins to come to light and you will know this awesome power of which He speaks until you are fully baptized and immersed in love and relationship with the Father.  It is in the intimate place that He reveals His secrets and mysteries to those who love and pursue Him.  There is power and authority in Christ like we have never imagined.  That same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and set Him back in the place of authority in heavenly places is the same power that is raising you up to an awesome man or woman of God. 

In conclusion, “And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church]  23Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].  His church, in affect, YOU, if you are of His body, He wants to exercise the fullness of Himself through you.  Because you are “in HIM” the power of the fullness of Himself is in you.  Can you wrap your mind around that?  It is because we are apprehending a place in which we have no identity except that of Christ.  ‘As the Father is in Him and He is in the Father, so is He in us and we are in Him (John 17).’  He is become our head and our mind; we live, move and have our being in Him.  

Let everything else fall to the side of this revelation that He has called you to.  You are, “heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ. because 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. (Romans 8:14-17)”  Pray upon yourself and others this prayer of His power and glory revealed in His Church!

 

Blessings,

#kent

One Way Street Called Straight

Acts 9:11
And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

Saul, whom we know as Paul the apostle, at the time of his conversion, had been on his way to Damascus with a commission to persecute and imprison the Christians there. On his way he had a visitation from the Lord who appeared to him in a bright light, so much so that he was struck blind and then the Lord spoke to him audibly in Acts 9:3-9, “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.” It was here that the Lord spoke to Ananias and told him to find Paul on Straight street and tell him that he is a chosen vessel and what things he must suffer for my Name’s sake.
It would seem that it is not a coincidence that the Word makes specific mention of the name of the street that Paul was on. It is the same street that the Lord wants to bring us to when we come to Him. It means a straightforward, upright, true and is a sincere path that He brings us too. It is like the word of John the Baptist, “Make straight the way of the Lord”. Straight Street is a condition of our heart where we become blind to the things of the world and our spiritual eyes are opened to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. It is a place where we turn aside from the crooked paths of our walk when sin and self were upon the throne of our hearts.
We put braces on our teeth to straighten them out and set them in right order. The Cross will work that in our life. The Holy Spirit is continually here to conform us to this straight way if we are humble and sensitive enough to listen. Usually our problem, unlike Saul, is that we haven’t become blind to this world. Our eyes and attention is always wandering off from this place to that. As a result we suffer a worse state than that of being physically blind. We become spiritually blind. What we do see is colored by the tint of our own prejudices, viewpoints and opinions. It is God’s Word inspired and revealed by the Holy Spirit that leads us upon this Straight Street that leads us to the throne of Him who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light.
What street are you on today and where is it taking you?

Blessings,
kent

The Second Prayer of Ephesians

Ephesians 3:14-21
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians is such a wonderful book that reveals so much about the will, intent and purpose of God. His Church is right in the middle of that purpose. Because we are a part of so much of what God is doing, it is critical for us to grasp this calling and purpose as we lay hold of it by faith in Christ. Just prior to this scripture Paul tells us in verses 10-13, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” He is telling us that it is the Church that is to reveal and make known the manifold wisdom of God. We are not only revealing it to those on earth, but to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. God is revealing His secrets and His eternal purpose through us, His saints. We can see then how crucial it is that we are in right relationship with Him that we not only receive what He wants to reveal for us personally, but what He wants to reveal through us to others. Angels aren’t even privy to the things that have been revealed to us. Therefore, we approach the throne of God with boldness of faith, washed in the blood of the Lamb from all unrighteousness and unworthiness. We have boldness because by faith we know that we are in Christ. God’s desire as revealed through Paul’s prayer is that we be strengthened with the power of His Spirit in our inner beings to the end that Christ may abide in our hearts as we walk by faith in Him. Again we see the importance by Paul’s prayer of grasping and comprehending the mystery that we possess and the power and authority that are ours in Christ. Paul prays that we may truly grasp how wide, how high and how deep is the love of Christ. Why does He want us to know this love? It is important to know that His love is exceedingly greater than all knowledge, when we are filled with the measure of all the fullness of God, it is so much more than knowing; it is being. Perhaps one of our greatest faults as Christians is how we try to put God in our box of understanding and limitation. God is so much bigger than any box. He is able to do so much more than we can even comprehend or imagine. What is more is that this immeasurable power of His Being is resident in us. We must open the eyes of our understanding and take off the limitation of our faith according to our natural understanding. Pray these spirit anointed prayers over your life and those you stand in the gap for constantly. Each time we do, may we seek to gain a greater depth of understanding and revelation of all that God wants to work through His people. We are the containers of the greatness of our God. The most wonderful attribute of that greatness is His love. Take the lid of natural limitations off of your container.
“Lord, open the eyes of our understanding and remove the veil of unbelief and natural comprehension that we might grasp the supernatural; the greatness of our calling and being in Christ to your eternal glory and praise. Amen”

Blessings,
kent

Matthew 24:35
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Trivial words fade quickly from the hearing,
as does the familiarity of life from our memory.
When that which is trivial and familiar is passed away,
is there the substance of faith and reality to take its place?
When all that is known, becomes unknown,
and the life we’ve known comes tumbling down,
is our foundation strong to build again upon
those things which can not be moved, eternally sound?
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but God’s Word will always remain.
He is the confidence that anchors our hope,
when all else is stripped from its context and frame.

When Life gets Turned Upside-down

There can come a time in our life, and it may have already occurred in yours, when either naturally of supernaturally our world, as we know it, falls apart. All that was familiar and comfortable becomes unhinged and discomfited. We may lose our career, a loved one passes, we are bankrupted, our children run away or get in trouble; there are multitude of ways our life can get turned upside down. While those transitions in life are rarely desirable, they may put to the test all that we have lived and believed. All of sudden all the beliefs that we had neatly folded in our box become dumped out and the very fabric of all that we called faith is tested. In those moments of turmoil we may be desperately trying to find God in the midst and thick of it.
“How could He let this happen?” “Why?” ” Where are you God?”
It is probably much the way Job felt when satan was allowed to touch his life in almost every area. If we in our natural mind and reasoning, then all we can see and comprehend are our natural circumstances. We may have grown so accustomed to the blessings of God that we thought we were immune to the trials of life, but God never promised us a life without trials. Satan’s purpose through the trials might be to kill, steal and destroy. Most of all, he wants you to doubt God’s love and faithfulness, so that you would turn from God and count Him unfaithful. He wants to steal your identity in Christ.
We have to ask ourselves in the story we see of Job, what was God heart and His ultimate purpose in allowing such calamity, pain and devastation in Job’s life? In the end it gave Job a greater revelation of God in His holiness and majesty. In the end, because Job retained his integrity and faith, God promoted him to a place of priesthood where he was interceding and making sacrifice for his accusers and fault-finders and he was brought into a double portion of all that he formerly had, as great as that already was.
Father isn’t out to make us fail or to make our lives miserable, but out of pain is often birthed a greater blessing that can bring us up higher into Him. We won’t always understand its purpose at the time and it may feel like God has totally abandoned and forsaken us, but He is causing us flex our faith, not our intellect or natural abilities. He is causing us to trust Him in what we can’t see. Our response should be to bless the Lord in those times, not to curse Him and turn away. Even Job, without the Word of God to draw upon had a revelation of this truth in his heart.
Job 1:21-22 says that after Job heard of all that had come upon his property and family, “At 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.”
Will that be our response if and when our world is turned upside down? These will be the times when the true metal of our faith will be tested. It may be so bad, we don’t think it could be any worse and then it gets worse and it continues to get worse, but God never ceases to be God or to sit upon the throne. If we truly know Him, He will be the anchor in the storm that keeps us from running aground on the rocks of circumstances and unbelief. He is still there in the boat with us as we are weathering our storm and it may seem He is asleep in the hull of the boat and oblivious to all that is happening around us. We may be crying out, “Lord, don’t you care that we perish?”.
Just remember if you perish, Christ perishes with you, because He is in you. In those times, can you still remember who you are, “IN CHRIST”? Circumstances can change, but God’s word doesn’t change and Jesus doesn’t change. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. You anchored to eternity in Him. Even if your outward man would perish, you have a building, a tabernacle made by God, eternal in the heavens.
What we must have as saints of God, is an immovable faith and trust that can not be shaken by heaven or hell. A faith so grounded in Christ that even when our mind can’t wrap itself around it and our reason fails us, our faith remains steadfast and firm. Either God is who He says He is or we have believed in vain.
There may be or come times in our life when nothing makes sense. That is when faith in God’s Word is your anchor. We may be in total disorientation and vertigo, but just as a pilot in darkness and storm must rely upon his instruments to give him bearing and orientation, so we must do with the Word of God. We can’t trust our senses, our feelings or even our intellect; to do so could prove fatal. God’s Word must remain the anchor of our soul, because we know that even though all else would pass away, God’ Word remains.

Blessings,
kent

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