Strongholds

June 28, 2017

Mark 3:23-27

So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.

Strongholds

There are strongholds that each one of us deals with in our lives.  Some may be stronger than others, but all of us have dealt with areas of our flesh where we are weak and more prone to failure and sin.  Most all of us tend to want to keep these in the secret places of our closets so others won’t see, but often very ugly things reside behind the closed doors of our home and our hearts.  These strongholds have fettered us and kept us in a state of bondage even as Christians for far too long.  It is most often a love-hate relationship.  We hate our sin and yet we love it too much to let go of it.  As a result we struggle with our hypocrisy, often justifying it or rationalizing it so we can live with this bondage that is crippling our wholeness in Christ.  Many of us live with much guilt and condemnation because we truly love the Lord and yet in these areas that may differ with each one of us, we are weak and seem unable to break free. 

The enemy knows our areas of weakness and vulnerability.  These are his inroads to our soul to hinder us and cripple us in walking in obedience in these areas.  No amount of rules or laws are going to deliver us from these sensual or fleshly indulgences. 

Paul says this in Colossians 2:19-13, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  The truth is that Jesus Christ has bound the strong man, disarming his powers and authority.  We now possess in Christ a greater power and authority than that which has bound us.  Verse 10 says ‘you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority.’ 

So why are we still enslaved by these strongholds of sin and flesh?  God has placed the Spirit of Christ in us to overcome the flesh.  It is easy when someone does everything for you, but it doesn’t help you to grow or to find the strength you need to live in victory.  God has called us to overcome in Christ Jesus. 

We plead, “But I have tried and I still fail. I can’t do it.” 

That is exactly right, we can’t do it, but we have a power resident within us by which we can.   Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “Therefore, 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.”  The key words here for us are “By the Spirit”.   We have an identity in Christ that we must put on in every area of our lives.  We are no longer identified with the weakness, fearfulness and the lust of our flesh.  We are identified with what we possess which Colossians 2:10 says is the ‘fullness in Christ’.   

Colossians 3:1-11 exhorts us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put 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.” We must know who we are and where we now reside in the Spirit.  We are not an earthly people any longer, we are a kingdom people with the King of Kings setting upon the throne our hearts and souls. 

Some of us cry out in our souls and say, “I want to be free, but I can’t.”  Can’t is not a statement of faith, but of fear and unbelief.  “We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.”  Our greatest enemy is the deceptiveness of sin.  We hide our sin in the closet because of our shame.  We don’t want people to think of us less than spiritual; when in truth we are all struggling with the same garbage.  It doesn’t matter how wicked or perverse the thing is that you struggle with, God sees it and He knows.  It is not His will that this stronghold possesses you and rules over you.  The greatest tactic of the enemy is to get you alone with your sin, like you are the only one going through this. You are not alone.  We all struggle in areas of our life.  Our greatest strength and victory is going to come when we bring our sin and struggles into the light and we allow the body of Christ to stand with us, pray with us and offer accountability to us.  James 3:16 tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  The reason we confess our sins to one another is to bring them into the light, which renders the devil powerless.   He can only work in darkness.  In the light we unite with the strength and support of fellow believers who can pray with us, stand with us and help us to be accountable in those areas where we are so prone to temptation. 

It is time for all of us to come out of our dysfunctional state of sin and failure.  Let us help one another in coming into the full freedom and deliverance from these strongholds that have so long crippled and hindered us in our walk and full devotion to Christ.  You are not alone in your struggle.  Surround yourself with other solid believers that you can trust and confide in.  You may find that you are able to help them as much as they can help you.   Let us walk in the light as He is in the light.  No more strongholds!

Blessings,

#kent

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The Secret of the Kingdom

November 7, 2014

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

The Secret of the Kingdom

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

Blessings,
#kent

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

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