Entering into His Rest

September 18, 2015

Hebrews 4: 1-11
1Therefore, 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.
Entering into His Rest

The Word teaches us that when God lead the people of Israel out of Egypt they wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they tested, quarreled and doubted the Lord even after all that He had done and shown them. What’s more, Hebrews 4 tells us that even after Joshua led the people through the river Jordan and into the Promise Land they still never truly entered into the Sabbath rest even though they had instituted the Sabbath.
The Sabbath first came into being after God had brought forth creation in six days and it says in Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” It is God’s desire that we now enter into the rest of the Lord. We are told that those who went before us didn’t enter into this rest because of disobedience. That Sabbath rest is a holy place and it is not found in the realm of natural doing and thinking. It is entered into not by the will of the flesh or the will of a man but by the Spirit through faith. We must first believe that He is. We must receive that He is the completion of all things in our lives and in our spiritual transformation. Many of us are still striving within our means and abilities to please God and curry His favor. His favor is already ours in Christ. Christ is the Holy rest that we are to enter into. He has finished the work. He has imparted His righteousness and salvation to us, now it is ours to rest in it. If we are still working to earn His favor, if are still living under condemnation and sin, if we still think that somehow we must get good enough for Him to receive us then we have missed the rest of God. The rest of God, His holy Sabbath, is when we cease and He begins. The rest of God is the relinquishment of our self and our self-efforts. It is that place where God is our all in all. We walk by faith and not by sight. We see our world through the promises and the heart of the Father. Our obedience and submission is to walk in the light of that Truth.
We will be challenged and tested even as Israel of old was, but will we murmur and complain? Will we rebel and be dissuaded from Him by our natural circumstances? Will we forget our covenant with Him, stray from Him and enter back into that place He died to deliver us out of? If disobedience causes us to fall away from the rest then it only seems logical that trust and obedience are the attributes that lead us into that rest.
We are called not to make the same mistakes as our predecessors. God has again led us into the Promise Land of Christ Jesus so that we might enter into His rest, ceasing from our efforts as we embrace all that He is and all that He has already done. As we enter into that rest the Holy Spirit will be at work in us discerning and showing us our true hearts and motives. He doesn’t do this to condemn us, but to show us the obstacles that are standing in the way of our rest. As we are willing to relinquish these things to Him then His rest will continue to fill our lives. We have a High Priest in Christ who has walked before us and experienced our weaknesses and our temptation. He is interceding on our behalf. Because we are now in Christ through our faith and trust in Him we can come boldly before the throne of grace and experience that rest that is now ours in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Galatians 3:2-4
2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

Legalism Seeks to Nullify Faith

The law is a static force, which is good in itself, but serves only to show man his weakness outside of God. The law in and of itself doesn’t stand as our salvation, but rather our condemnation. Instead, it is faith that is the dynamic force in union with the Spirit of God that produces life changing events and substance. ‘Without faith we know that it is impossible to please God.’
Most of us aren’t steeped in Judaism, but we might be surprised how much we try to please and earn God’s favor by our works rather than by our faith. We allow others to impound us or we put ourselves under bondage, rituals, ceremonial and dietary restrictions, the keeping of days and numerous other legal restrictions that allow us to feel somehow more superior and holy than those that do not observe and keep such things. The Word plainly tells us that righteousness is not of the law. Galatians 3:21-24 says, “Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” The Law then was but an instrument and a tool to prepare us for Christ, who is our righteousness by faith. The Law was not an end in itself. Verses 26-29 goes on to say, “26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Our position in God is not about who we are, where we came from, what sex we are or what race or background we come from. Our position in God is “Sonship” through faith in Jesus Christ. Our position is in Christ and He in us. It is out of this position that we will move into our full inheritance in Christ. This is why we must put on Christ by faith and no longer live out of the mentality of our natural minds that perceive us as separate and away from God. We are united with Him and it is our faith that lays hold of this truth and lives it out to produce victory and overcoming in our lives. This is the place we must learn to abide; the place of living out of His Spirit and His Life. This is the truth that declares we are the seed of Abraham and heirs according to promise. It is no longer the identification with the flesh and our goodness. That is legalism. It is our identification with “Christ in us” that will set us free and lead us into the expression of righteousness and justification that is by faith alone and no longer by works. Our works will be the fruit and expression of our faith and no longer the means of obtaining our goodness and righteousness.

Blessings,
#kent

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

November 17, 2014

1 King 8:61
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

A Heart Perfect with the Lord

If a heart is perfect it is at unity and oneness with the Father. Its ways, desires and ambitions are in alignment with the Father’s will, purpose and plan. It is at the center of where He wants us to be in Him today. All that the Father is working in you is to bring you to this place where it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me.
I had a young lady tell me the other day that she was finally at a place in her life where she was finding herself. As I thought about that, I thought I am in a place in my life where I am losing myself, for it is no longer self that I want, but Christ. Who I want to be is no longer me, but Him.
It isn’t even about me keeping the written laws and ordinances, not that these aren’t valid and right, but there is the law that He has written in our hearts on tables of flesh. The Holy Spirit indelibly writes them so that as I observe them I can walk after the spirit and no longer after the flesh. Even the efforts of righteousness and right doing are not my doing but the Spirit of Him that is living through me. Maybe that just sounds like semantics, but I believe it is more than that. The former righteousness spoke of my self efforts to please and walk before God, but in Christ it is the rest in His divine life and presence that we enter into by faith, ceasing from our efforts as we simply yield to His life living through us. This is a progressive work. Certainly not one done in a day, but it is accomplished in a lifestyle of living through Christ. It starts with the first order of the day being to submit our life unto Him afresh. We ask Him to order our steps in His purpose, to establish our ways and lives in His will and purpose and to be the power that energizes our mind, will and emotions in conformity with His righteous directives.
Have we arrived there yet in practice and in deed? No, but we are daily conforming our heart to an attitude that is perfect toward the Lord. John 7:18 says, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” Let us be of this latter one who works for the honor of the One who sent us. For we are a people of truth. May there be no false way about us because our hearts are perfect toward Him who has called us into His marvelous light and truth.

Blessings,
#kent

The Sabbath Day?

April 3, 2014

The Sabbath Day?

Luke 14:3
And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?

The Sabbath is the Lord’s Day, a day or rest from daily routines and the tasks of laboring for our natural needs. While the Jewish leaders of the day took this day quite literally, even to the point of making it more work to keep the Sabbath than to rest in it. Jesus has some higher principles He is communicating to the people that have spiritual ears to hear. Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath and the Jewish leadership of that day didn’t like the fact that He didn’t fit in their religious box. What kind of religious boxes have we built to confine what God can do and when He can do it?
Hebrews 4:9-11 says this, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” This REST references the true Sabbath that God wants to bring His people into. It is the REST that we want to labor or give diligence to enter into where it is no longer our Works, but we are resting in Him and the works that we do are His works, no longer our own. How do we enter this REST? The Word says it is only by faith, faith not in ourselves, but in the One who called us out of unbelief and into His REST. Hebrews 4:1 says, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” The true Sabbath and REST of God is a promise and like all promises it comes by faith. Prior to this we have the account of how the Lord swore to Israel when Moses led them out into the wilderness that they would not enter into God’s REST because of their unbelief. It is pretty obvious that the religious leadership of Jesus’ day had the same mindset. God is warning us, “don’t be like them and miss what Sabbath is all about.” Sabbath is about a continual abiding in Christ. It is not just a day of the week, but a time when we find our place in God where we quit struggling with life through our human efforts and begin to deal with life in the REST of God. Jesus is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, He is the Sabbath. He is God’s REST for us, not in the context of religion or knowing about Him, but in experiencing Him daily, in every activity, every conversation, in our thoughts, in every station of life.
You may say, “Don’t’ you think that is little idealistic and impractical?” I think the Lord would say, ‘there is a promise to you who lay hold of it by faith.’ It is a progressive work and that is why He says, “let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.” It is a daily walk of denying ourselves; picking up the cross and saying yes Holy Spirit, and yes to the Word of God. In the path of obedience and faith is our REST. As we enter into that Sabbath Rest of God we will do the Lord’s work even on the Sabbath.
Think of it not as just a day to keep ordinances and rules, but a place of REST where God is our continual delight and dwelling place. We are living in the Sabbath Day and it is time for us to enter into His REST.

Isaiah 58:13-14
“If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words, delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it]. “

Blessings,
#kent

Three Dimensions of Jacob

Genesis 32:22-32
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”
29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.
30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Many of us will remember this story of Jacob. We often say that Jacob wrestled with an angel. As I was meditating upon Jacob this morning I felt like the Lord gave a little insight into this man Jacob. Jacob’s life is like our spiritual journey. Consider with me some of the analogies I felt like the Lord was showing me and I know there is so much more to this than what we will share here today.
When Jacob came into this world, he came in with his first-born twin named Esau. Now Esau was hairy, red and ruddy. He was a man of the earth and field. You might say he was the Adamic nature. The scripture that gives us great insight into these three dimensions of Jacob, which is a type of us, is found in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” While Esau is a type of the body, which is pretty much self-centered and driven by its needs and wants, Jacob is a little more subtle. Jacob is a type of the soul. The soul is where our identity lies. It is our mind, will and emotion. It is expressive of who we are as a person. Like Jacob, most of us have our spiritual side and then we have our fleshly side, for our soul is a mixture of flesh and spirit. Even the name Jacob means “heel holder or supplanter”. The truth was he was an artful manipulator. Even so, Jacob had a spiritual side that hungered for the things of God and the desire for the inheritance or birthright that would normally go to the firstborn. The trouble with the firstborn is that he had little or no appreciation for the birthright. Yes, he wanted the blessing that came through the birthright, but he didn’t have a heart or desire for the legacy and the responsibility that it carried with it. Jacob, on the other hand, did, but he sought to gain it through unscrupulous means, even though, prophetically it had been spoken that the older would serve the younger. Jacob is like us in so many ways. He was always cunning and devising in the flesh how he might obtain the things of the spirit. Whether it was his life, livelihood, his wives or his children, Jacob set about with natural wisdom and understanding to obtain them. That is not to say that Jacob did not have his spiritual side. He encountered God at Bethel in the dream of the stairway or ladder with ascending and descending angels. He experienced God’s blessing, protection and wisdom in his life, but like us, we often seem to struggle and work so hard only to come up so short of our dreams and strongest desires. We have that Labon in our lives, Jacob’s father-in-law, that is always promising so much and delivering so little. No wonder, like Jacob, so many of us are frustrated physically and spiritually.
Even though Jacob knew God and had a relationship with Him, he had his shortcomings, his fears and demons to face. His biggest fear was his brother Esau, the one he had taken the birthright and the blessing from. It is like even though we possess the promises and blessings of God we face our own mortality. Faced with who we are in the natural we fear. In the natural we perceive our weaknesses, our failures, the ungodly part of our nature. That is what Jacob faced in Esau.
In Genesis 32 we see Jacob escaping Labon and his stronghold to return to the promise land, but there he must face his Esau. In this place of fear for himself and his family, he is crying out for answers and favor from God. Try and scheme as he will, he fears the strength of the flesh that is represented in Esau and his ability to take from him all that he has labored to build. While he possesses the promises and the birthright they are of little value to him in his own identity. He sends his family and the others on ahead and takes them over the ford of Jabbok, which means emptying. He sent away his family and all that he had and now, empty, he is left alone. There he encounters this third man. The scripture doesn’t say it is an angel, but it is definitely an agent of God. There, Jacob wrestles with this man till daybreak. Could this be the spirit of Christ in us? The spiritual man that we need to change our nature? The first thing that had to happen in Jacob was an emptying and laying down of all that he loved and possessed. Then there was a battle, the struggle and wrestling with that old soulish nature of Jacob, the heel-holder, supplanter and deceiver. These two men seemed pretty equally matched for strength for they wrestled through the night till daybreak. Is this our place of prayer and intercession where we are in a spiritual battle. Have we come to the place that we are going to lay hold of God and let go of everything else unto He blesses us? Are we the overcomers that will prevail with God and man?
What is our greatest blessing? Isn’t it to be delivered of our former nature with all of its weaknesses, lust and affections?
That morning, at daybreak, the man said, “let me go, it is daybreak.” Jacob said, “I won’t let you go till you bless me.” In Genesis 32:27-31 it goes on to tell us,” The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”
But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.” It is there that Jacob prevailed with God and received a new name and a new nature. The new name is Israel, “God Prevails”. The agent of God touched Jacob in the hollow of his hip, so that the sinew shrank and he crossed over Peniel, which means, “facing God”. Jacob would always walk with a limp, no longer dependent upon his own strength and ability.
We have a similar word to us in 2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” There is a day for our transformation and new nature to come forth in its fullness, but we wrestle on through the night till we, like Jacob, prevail with God and lay hold of the promises of our inheritance. Then, no more do we need fear our strongholds like Labon or our mortality and flesh, like Esau. No longer are we afraid to loose the things we possess and love. The losses and the wounds we suffer are a small price to pay for the glory we lay hold of. God’s nature and character will prevail in us if we faint not. We will see the face of God, our Lord, and live; no longer after the flesh, but after the spirit. These are the three dimensions of Jacob, body, soul and spirit.

Blessings,
kent

The Way of Faithfulness

June 12, 2013

The Way of Faithfulness

Revelations 19:6-8
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

The message of this hour is for the Bride to prepare herself for the Lamb, her husband, Christ. Here we read where his wife has made herself ready and she was granted that she should be clothed upon in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. The question for us today that might be inspired by this scripture is, “how do we prepare ourselves for the Lamb”? Obviously this scripture is addressed to the Bride which we consider ourselves a part of, as His saints. Previous to this passage in Revelations 19 we have read about the great whore, Mystery Babylon, the beast and the man of sin all of which sought to destroy the seed of God through great persecutions. We can summarize that our walk in God is not always an easy road, whether in this time or the times to come, so one of the primary requirements for us is faithfulness. Hosea 2:19-20 tells us, “And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.” In fact, this scripture covers several areas that the Lord will deal with us in our betrothal to Him, all of which work together for the preparation of the Bride. Even as the Lord is ever faithful to us, He desires faithfulness on our parts to Him. This is an area that many of us fail in. Our hearts are not wholly His, but we share our affections and desires for others, other things and other pleasures. We are often easily moved away from our faith and faithfulness by circumstances and adversities that we face. God desires to develop in us a faith that cannot be moved, but is cemented in love to Him as His love is to us.
Concerning righteousness, Ezekiel 44 speaks to us of an order of priests that minister faithfully before the Lord even when the children of Israel went astray. God says these were the ones that should come forth to minister before Him, but like the Bride here in Revelations 19 there were requirements of how they should dress. Ezekiel 44: 16-18 describes these requirements: “They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge. And it shall come to pass, [that] when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird [themselves] with any thing that causeth sweat.”
The righteousness signified by the linen garments is that which doesn’t cause sweat. Sweat speaks of the works of our hands and the efforts of our flesh, that which we labor to perform and accomplish through religion or self works. It may be noble, honorable and good, but it is not acceptable when we come to minister before the Almighty. Hebrews 4:2-3a tells us, “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…” Verses 6-11 go on to say, “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.”
The linen garments of righteousness that the Bride is arrayed with didn’t come from her self efforts at righteousness. It came from entering into the rest of the Lord; into faithfulness and fullness of faith in the accomplished work of the cross. It came through embracing Christ in relationship, knowing Him, becoming in tune with voice of the Spirit and the will of God. It came by faithful obedience to Him regardless of the circumstances and living out of His life, power and strength. It came through constantly submitting, repenting when failing and humility before Him. He is the only One that can transform us, change us and array us with His righteousness, but we have to get into the harness with Him in faithfulness.

Blessings
kent

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