Complicity

March 11, 2015

Acts 22:20
And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

Complicity

Complicity is the involvement as an accomplice in a questionable act or a crime.
When I was a young boy growing up in my early teens I used to run around with a group of the neighborhood boys. I guess I was kind of known as the “holy Joe” of the group, because I wasn’t into some of the smoking and drinking that most typical kids experiment with. I remember after school walking down to the hardware store with them. At this time they started doing some shoplifting. Now I knew that it was wrong and while I didn’t go in to shoplift I believe I remember asking them to lift an item or two for me. In my mind, my hands were clean because I didn’t do the crime, but that was complicity. What I have come to discover is that a whole lot of our self-righteousness is complicity. Outwardly we maintain our pious front, while inwardly our hearts are participants in sin. I guess it is not so unlike what Jesus said about the Pharisees, “You are white-washed tombs, full of dead men’s bones.” They had the piety of their status and religion, but inwardly they were corrupt and morally bankrupt.
Paul didn’t throw the stones that killed Stephen, but was he any less guilty? He was like the guy driving the get away car for the bank robbery. He didn’t actually rob the bank, but he had complicity in the crime.
How many of us in our daily lives, may not physically participate in a sin or immoral act, but we have complicity through our passive agreement or compliance with these actions? I’m sure we have all done it through what we have taken in through our eyes and senses. Our complacency and lack of taking a stand against what is sin can bring us into this place of complicity with it. Complicity itself is often our sin.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Place of Rest

September 29, 2014

1 Samuel 13:5-10
The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Micmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. 7 Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead.
Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings. ” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

The Place of Rest

This passage about Saul really speaks to the times of the testing of our faith that God brings us to in our lives. One of the most difficult concepts for us to learn and submit to is the “Rest of God”. We know we have God’s word and promises, but like Saul when fear is all around us and the situation is critical it is very hard for us not to get anxious and impatient.
Samuel was the prophet and priest of God to offer up the burnt offering. He is spirit man of intercession who spiritually prepared the troops for battle. What we have here is a type of the body in the fearful and restless soldiers of Israel. The souls typified by King Saul and the man of the spirit is exemplified by Samuel. How many of us have ever been in situations where we were trying to wait on God, but the situation was getting critical and God was running late? In fact, we began to wonder if He was even going to show up at all. It says of Saul, ” He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter.” Now there is an appointed time for the man of God, the spirit man, to show up, but God seems to often wait until that last hour before He reveals Himself. It is in the those last hours that our circumstances seem to be falling down all around and all hell is breaking out around us that we begin to get out of faith and into doubt, fear and unbelief. The soul starts succumbing to the same anxiousness that our body has been feeling for some time now. When we are in faith, trusting in God’s Word, we are in a position of REST. Quite honestly, in the natural Saul didn’t have much of a chance to win this battle against the odds of the Philistines in the natural. His only real hope of winning was to maintain his position of Rest in God. As so often can happen with us, we grow impatient with God, assuming He is not going to show up, so we take matters into our own hands. We do our homage by saying, “God bless the works of my hands,” and then we go about doing what we were going to do. When we make that decision, we just missed a crucial time in our obedience and position in the Spirit. We just set stepped out of our position of the Rest of God and into reacting to the circumstances, motivated by our fear and unbelief that God was not going to move on our behalf.
Seven days Saul was appointed to wait. Seven is God’s number. It is the number of His Rest, even as the scriptures say in Genesis, “so on the seventh day God rested from all His work.” We are now standing in the seventh day, the day of the Lord. The enemies gathered before us are vast in number. Outwardly we want to fear and quake, but inwardly in our heart and soul, we had better know that there is no victory outside of the Rest of God. Only in Him, in His timing and in His way are we going to be able to triumph over our enemies. The old religious way of doing it our way in the name of God isn’t going to work anymore. God is removing His Kingdom from the religious man’s hands and placing it into the hand of the ones who know how to wait. They know that there victory is not in getting in a hurry to confront the enemy, but it is in entering into the praise, worship and Rest of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The battle and the victory must first be won inwardly, before it can manifest outwardly.
Saul lost his position that day, because he yielded to his anxious heart and his fearful body. He moved out of the position of Rest and disqualified himself from the kingdom purpose for which he was called. Many of us are finding ourselves in hard positions today. Everything around is screaming, “you got to do something.” The something we have to do is to Rest and wait upon the Lord. We don’t want to dare move outside His Spirit’s leading and His timing. God’s time isn’t our time, but our time must become His time. That is the place of Rest and victory.
We would close with this appropriate exhortation from Hebrews 4:1-11. “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”

Blessings,
#kent

Confronting our Enemy

September 5, 2013

Confronting our Enemy

1 Samuel 14:4-14
4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba.
6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”
7 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”
8 Jonathan said, “Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.”
11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.” 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”
So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.”
13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

The Lord began to reveal a few things in this passage from 1 Samuel 14. It is best to read the chapter to get the full context. Many of us spend a good deal of our lives trying to avoid confrontation with the enemy of our souls. Spiritually we find ourselves cowered down, hiding, afraid and more or less defeated. Perhaps we keep waiting around hoping God will do some great thing to defeat the enemy and then we can just walk into the victory. This was more or less the state of Israel at the time. King Saul was waiting around under a pomegranate tree and a lot of the Israelites had gone up to hide in the hills, some had even gone over to the camp of the Philistines.
In this story we see a young man that got tired of waiting around and playing soldier in the traditional ways of his father Saul. He was a new generation, a man of faith and confidence in God. He dared to believe God for what He had already promised to give His people. He laid hold of the promise. While everyone was waiting around playing soldier, he decided he would be one. Together with his armor-bearer they decided to test the waters and if God gave them the sign then they knew that the Lord would fight their battle and it didn’t matter the odds. In their approach to the enemy camp there were two significant rock formations. One was called Bozez which means “surpassing white, glistening”, and the other was Seneh which means “thorny”. One cliff stood facing the north toward Micmash, which means “hidden”, and the other to the south toward Geba, which means “hill”. The spiritual significance seen here is that this is that place we must pass through to gain our victories. On one side we have a type of heaven glistening with promise and opportunity, but hidden to the natural eye and mind of man. On the other side we have the place that is thorny, full of trials, tribulations and an uphill battle. It is very evident to the natural man and stands as a monument of discouragement. The significance this has for us is that in our Christian walk we see so much of the thorny side of things we fail to continue to look with the eyes of faith to the heavenly things and the promises of God. This day Jonathan got a hold of a revelation that this was simply a pass he and his armor-bearer had to climb over on their way to experience God’s great deliverance and victory. They could have continued in the comfort and safety of the camp much like our traditional religion, but they only talked about great things, they never did anything about it. Jonathan got stirred up in his spirit and tired of just sitting around, so he spoke to his armor-bearer. I saw him as a type of the Holy Spirit that is ever with us to comfort, encourage and empower us. He is the one who is the resource of the weapons of our spiritual warfare. Together they were an unstoppable team to the Philistines. As the Lord went before to discomfit the enemy, Jonathan, by faith put down his enemies and the armor-bearer followed to put them to death. It was like God was his forward and his rearward. God used this act of faith to not only bring a great victory, but to also stir up faith and confidence in his brethren to enter into the battle and partake of the victory.
Where are we at today? Are we content to dwell under the pomegranate tree with Saul or hide in the hills for fear that the enemy will assault us with more trials and tribulations? Maybe we are even dwelling in the camp of the enemy. Perhaps this is the day to get the heart of Jonathan to believe how great our God is and that he can save by many or few. God is greater than your circumstance. He is the victory in your battle for He has equipped you to win. He has given His armor-bearer to back you up and help you in the battle. You are not alone; God is your rearward and your forward. It is a hard place between heaven and hell that we must pass through, but if God says go up then we know the victory is ours in Christ Jesus. Stir up your faith to believe great things of your God and seek His direction knowing that ‘you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus and greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world, for He overcame the world.’ Let us have the faith and courage of Jonathan, beloved of God, to go up and experience the victory that is ours in Christ.

Blessings,
kent

1 Samuel 17: 38-40
Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor.39David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.40He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.

Armor of Defeat and Victory

Many of you will recognize this passage from the story of David and Goliath. Saul, in his good intentions to protect David, gives him his heavy and encumbering armor. For David this was very confining, heavy, awkward and not the armor that He had learned to fight with. Saul’s armor represents the natural efforts of the flesh to defeat a spiritual foe. It represented why they had suffered defeat, because ‘the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through the Holy Spirit to the tearing down of strongholds’. In fact let’s take a look at this scripture in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,4for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.5We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,6and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.”
When we fight with natural weapons, rather they be physical, our words, our actions or our cunning; where are they based and where do they come from? They stem from fear, jealousy, greed, anger, rage, slander, contempt, unforgiveness, selfishness and natural mentality. What does James say about us as Christians when we do such things in James 4:1-10, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
Like David, we have to learn that victory and power is not in conventional weaponry based on earthly design and natural wisdom. It is based on our faith and confidence in who He is. I hear a lot of spiritual brothers and sisters talking today about getting guns, concealed weapons permits, storing up goods and finding fortification. We do live in perilous times and we do have to use wisdom, but Father would never have us to forget that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Little David was able to overcome and defeat mighty giant Goliath because of the Spirit of God in Him; that gave Him the confidence to know that God would fight His battles and all he had to do was show up and respond in faith. It wasn’t the natural armor that protected him, it was the spiritual armor of his right relationship with the Father and God’s faithfulness in his life through past experiences. He knew, not what he could do, but what God could do through him, if he made God his armor and weaponry.
Ephesians 6:10-20 instructs us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” The Word teaches us that our spiritual armament is the strongest and most powerful kind. It teaches us that our real battle is not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms. This where we must remember that as Ephesians 2 says, ‘we are seated with Christ in heavenly places’. We are seated in a spiritual position above our foes, even though our natural man may be positioned beneath them. Where are we living out of, our natural man or spiritual man? It is the difference between above and beneath, between victory and defeat.
No matter what we see in this world, we must maintain our identity and position in Christ. David won the battle against the giant and the Philistines because he knew his identity in God and his position with Him. That is where our true victory lies and that is how we will prevail, not with the armor of the natural, but with the armor of the spiritual.

Blessings,
kent

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