Roots

January 30, 2015

Matthew 3:7-10
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Roots

Roots in our lives come from seeds that were planted either in our lives or perhaps the generations before us. Roots go down into the recesses of our soul, but they produce fruit upward. That fruit can be good or bad, selfless or selfish, spiritual or fleshly. Like any good garden it is the gardener’s desire to enhance the fruitfulness of the good plants and to pull out the weeds that want to choke out what if fruitful and good. What happens to a weed if we only pull off what we can see? We know that if we didn’t get the root, the weed will grow back. Such are the areas of our lives that the good Gardner, the Holy Spirit wants search out in us and root out.
William Law wrote, “Self is the root, the tree, and the branches of all the evils of our fallen state. We are without God, because we are in the life of self. Self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking, are the very essence, and life of pride; and the devil the first father of pride, is never absent from them, nor without power in them. To die to these essential properties of self, is to make the devil depart from us. But as soon as we would have self-abilities have a share in our good works, the satanic spirit of pride is in union with us, and we are working for the maintenance of self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking.” He perceived that the major root of sin and separation from God is self. When Christ came into our lives it should be as John the Baptist said, “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” All that was built upon the foundation and has the root of self in it must be cut away. That root must be cut out, along with all of the other off-shoot roots that it produces.
Many of us struggle in different areas of our lives. We may pull them off for a time, but then they seem to continue to come back, sometimes even stronger than before. The question is, “Have we found the root?” Unless we trace these strongholds back to their root they may be hard to get free of. Somewhere we or an ancestor as opened a door for a spiritual attachment to come in and find root. It doesn’t mean that we are possessed or anything, but it does mean that there can be a strong soul tie to something that needs God’s axe to sever and separate us from it. It is something that we recognize the fruit of in our outward life, but we haven’t fully identified the root of it and then renounced and cut off that soul tie to it. Sometimes these roots like those of our wisdom teeth can become candy-caned and intertwined in the areas of our life where it is a process of identifying, renouncing and cutting off these roots by the power and authority we have in Christ Jesus. Nothing ever leaves our lives until we have fully repented of them, renounced them and no longer give them permission in our lives. We can go through the motions, but until our will is one with the Father, these roots will not be fully extracted.
Hebrews 12:15 refers to one such root. “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Bitterness, offense, unforgiveness are roots that are prone to try to get a hold of members of the body of Christ. If we don’t recognize and deal with them they can cause division, dissention, backbiting, gossip, slander and all manner of poisonous manifestations that would defile the many. Prejudice is often a root that is passed to us from previous generations.
The Holy Spirit has indwelled us to bring us into the nature, mind and character of Christ. We need to have intimacy with the Father and the time in the Word so that we can say like David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24)”
It is only as we partner with the Holy Spirit that these roots can be identified and cut out. If we want a weed free garden, then it starts with our renouncement of self in every area of our lives and the full surrender to Christ as our Lord and King. As we give the Holy Spirit permission He will search our hearts and reveal things to us that we then must renounce, repent and surrender to Christ. This is an ongoing process in all of our lives, but the more we work in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to give Him place the more freedom and liberty in the Spirit we can come into.
A lot of us want to continue to sweep our issues under the rug and just ignore them, but we are only robbing ourselves of that place of greater fullness through a wholly surrendered life to Christ. Find your roots.

Blessings,
#kent

Count it all Joy

December 8, 2014

James 1:2-4
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. 3Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (Amplified)

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (Message)

Count it all Joy

I don’t know about you but I think most of us think about joy and gladness coming with blessing, prosperity, good health and divine favor. So when the Word comes and says count it all joy, a sheer gift, when trials and temptations come upon you, that goes against the grain of most our thinking and paradigms. Why should I be glad about that? That is exactly what I have been praying to get out of.
As much as we all love the good times and the blessings of this life most of us know by now that it isn’t in these places that we grow spiritually. In fact it is in these places that we usually grow complacent and our heart generally moves away from God and onto ourselves. It becomes about us and not Him. The joy of the trials, temptations and tribulations is that it exposes our weakness, but reveals His strength. It forces us into that place of dependence and trust in Him to do in us and through us what we could not produce in ourselves. The “sheer gift” of our trials is the working of the divine nature in us, because we are compelled into a place where we must walk by faith and not by sight.
Does it seem joyful at the time we are going through it? Probably not, until we see God show up. When he shows up in the midst of our weakness, our failures and our struggles then we so appreciate who He is in us and what we are not in ourselves. These trials and testing are the boot camp of our faith. They strengthen our resolve. They train us for war. They teach us how to endure with patience under pressure and hardship. They reveal to us our true nature and where we are at with our walk in Father. When we see where we truly are then we can see where we truly need to be. As we start moving in the direction of godliness and dependence we are being exercised and finding more and more that Father is our strength and provision in these difficult circumstances. The circumstances of life are not our enemy; they are simply the tools to exercise and increase our faith and maturity. The old saying goes we can never have a testimony unless we have first had a test. God wants to show His faithfulness to us. We will never experience His rest until we come to the place where we realize that our self-efforts and abilities can never measure up to produce what only God Himself can produce in us and through us as we yield fully and unconditionally to Him.
I am of the firm conviction that many of us in the body of Christ are going through great financial hardship in this time so that we may learn the rest and faithfulness of Father. It is pressing us into a place of maturing in areas where we may have always had plenty. We have grown up with our dependence upon the economy of this world and now God is weaning us off of that bottle and beginning to feed us the meat of a kingdom economy that operates out of faith and not works. Most of us are out here crying, “Give us back our bottle Father”. The earthly things are passing away and Father wouldn’t be showing us His love if He left us in that desolate place. Rejoice in Him, because He loves you so much He is teaching you a higher way and we have to relinquish the old to embrace the new. While we may be struggling now, we will be those who help others who are struggling when this world economy fails. Your struggles today are God’s answer to someone else’s struggles tomorrow. Because of your testimony to the faithfulness of God and the principles that He has taught you someone else is lifted up to where you are. God brings us into maturity not for our benefit. Maturity means you are moving from selfish to selfless. You are the giver and not the taker. You are the example and not the follower.
Precious people of God, get down and get happy because all of the various trials and temptations are here to perfect your faith, teach you endurance, mature and develop you into your destiny and purpose. Rejoice, for these are the tools that bring forth the Christ in you!

Blessings,
#kent

The Blessing of Giving

November 26, 2014

Matthew 25:31-46
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Blessing of Giving

The greatest blessing we can give and gift that we can receive is in giving something of substance and ourselves that is life changing and life giving to someone else. There are few things more rewarding than the joy we feel when we have made a difference for someone else. Some of us struggle with that. We have become so focused on how to sell ourselves, our goods and services trying to provide for our own that we have missed the joy of caring and blessing another. There is always a constant barrage of mail, phone calls, pleas over the television and radio all asking for our contributions. We often begin to build walls that automatically shut out any plea for help. Realistically we can’t give to everything. Few of us have the financial resources to do that, but at the same time we don’t want to harden our hearts to become insensitive to every need that passes before us. This is where we need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and where He would have us to extend ourselves in our time and our finances. We each have different gifts and abilities, but all of us have something we can give. It is wonderful that we give our tithes, but what can we offer of ourselves as a tithe. It isn’t really our money that God wants from us, He wants our hearts. Our tithe is an expression of obedience, worship, thanks and giving back in a small portion what He has provided abundantly toward us.
Our lives will be so much richer when they are filled with random acts of kindness and giving. We are the hands, the feet, the mouthpiece and the body of Christ to carry out His works. Acts 10:38 speaks of the works of Jesus, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” God has anointed us with the same Spirit that indwells Jesus. He has given us power and authority to act in His Name. Let us be sensitive in our every day lives to not pass by the opportunities to express the love of God in the lives of others. May we let our words and our deeds carry with them this anointing that was in Jesus, so that we are life givers and a blessing in the earth.

Blessings,
#kent

Hope, Joy and Crown

November 24, 2014

Hope, Joy and Crown

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

When we selflessly plant ourselves into other people’s lives what is our gain if they can’t reward us and we see no earthly or monetary benefit? What do we hope to see in our children through the years of raising them, nurturing, teaching and mentoring them? It is not for what they can pay us back in material gain that we do it. It is a labor of love and the harvest we long to see, that we continue to pray for, hope for and believe for are lives that are healthy, productive and that produce a legacy. A parent’s greatest reward is to have children that love and respect them, but also that hold to the values of faith that were instilled in them and that they in turn instill those same values in their children. We long to see a perpetual legacy of generations that follow on to know and obey the Lord.
The churches that the apostle Paul established were his children. He taught them, mentored them and raised them up in the faith and knowledge of Christ. It wasn’t a job for him; it was his life, his purpose and his joy. When he stood before the Lord there was no greater testimony to his faithfulness and his greatness as a servant of God than those that he had raised up in Christ. He was able to stand with the Lord and look through the generations at the harvest he had been instrumental in producing in the earth. This stood as Paul’s greatest, hope, joy and crown. This was his greatest reward.
Our greatest reward in heaven won’t be about our businesses, our finances or our status in the community; it will be about what we planted in others. It will be about what we sowed into their lives through our faithful commitment and walk with Christ. We want to see it in our children and our grandchildren. We want to see it in the ones that we helped disciple and bring to Christ. Nothing breaks our heart more than to see what we have treasured and nurtured stolen and destroyed by sin. It is for this reason that our Lord Jesus ever stands as our high priest making intercession on our behalf. He too, longs after us to be His hope, joy and crown.
Let us not grow weary or complacent concerning the awesome responsibility that we have toward those who under our spiritual authority or influence. We must remember that we are the priests of our home and have the responsibility to pray, intercede, teach and persuade our families in the ways of righteousness and salvation. Be faithful to the gift, the calling and instrument that God has created you to be. How we respond and use what He has created us to be and how that translates into the lives of others will be our hope, our joy and crown. Our legacy is our glory and our joy.

Blessings,
#kent

The Blessing of a Spouse

November 20, 2014

Proverbs 18:22
[Whoso] findeth a wife findeth a good [thing], and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

The Blessing of a Spouse

Many of us are blessed with a wonderful spouse that is a blessing to our life in many ways. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have our trials, our disagreements and differences, but a good spouse is a compliment to our life. Sharon and I are so different in so many ways and yet she brings a compliment and qualities to my life that I need to complete who I am. A good spouse is someone you can confide your heart with. Someone who sees and knows all of your weaknesses and shortcoming and yet loves you anyway. We are not there to judge and criticize one another’s weaknesses, but to be their strength in that weakness. Sometimes there is nothing that we can do to help, but we always have prayer and the power of God.
When scanning through the TV channels the other day I briefly came across a panel of wives whose husbands were millionaires and the host was asking them what was the one thing that they felt that they personally contributed most to their husband’s success. The the theme I kept hearing is that they supported them, they really listened to what their needs were and that they were a team. It is hard for any of us to be successful when the other partner is always negative, finding fault or complaining about all that is wrong. Your spouse is not your enemy, you are the key to one another’s success, salvation and prosperity. Nothing destroys our blessing like division and strife. Marriage should never be a one way street with one person always getting their way. It should be a compromise and blending where each partner is looking for what is best for the other. It can’t be built on selfishness, but rather selflessness. I can’t tell you how many times my wife has gone out bought me things that I wouldn’t even buy for myself to support me, help me and just to bless me. We all have different needs, but it is important that we get in tune with our spouse’s needs and be there to help them and support them
In conclusion allow me to leave you with the words of 1 Peter 3:1-7 which speaks to both wives and husbands. We are in this together. We are heirs of life and salvation together. Together let’s be a blessing and a strong support for our spouse. Always respect and value the one God has given you.
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
Now if you will excuse me, I need to go spend some quality time with my wife. 🙂

Blessings,
#kent

To God Be the Glory

May 19, 2014

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

To God Be the Glory

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

Blessings,
#kent

God Manifest

February 10, 2014

God Manifest


1 John 1:1-3

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life (For the life was manifested, and we have seen [it], and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 



What a divine revelation we have of God who came down and manifested Himself in mortal flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.  Never had man seen the practical and tangible presence of God as we have in Jesus.  It is often hard in our natural thinking and reasoning to comprehend God in our world, doing what we do, struggling with what we struggle with, living in the limitations and frailties we deal with in these human bodies.  In Jesus we could readily see in a picture of the reality of what God wants to be in us.  We could observe in the selfless life of Christ, that life isn’t about me, or what I become in this world with regards to the standards and accomplishments of men; it is about how yielded I am to the Father’s life in me.  His true design for you and me is to be the divine expression of His nature and character.  Most of us have fully come to terms with the fact that this isn’t going to happen through our own strength, abilities or determination.  It is only going to happen as we become less and less and He becomes more and more.  Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 says,  “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changedinto the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  The words “transformed” and “changed” come from the Greek word “metamorphoo” from which we get our word “metamorphosis.”  We all can relate with that process wherein that grubby ugly little devouring caterpillar enters into a state in the cocoon wherein it is transformed into a beautiful winged creature that instead of devouring life becomes the perpetuator and the carrier of life as it helps pollinate flowers going from one to another.  They are transformed from the earthly to heavenly creatures.  This same type of process is taking place within us as believers as we walk by the Spirit and not after the flesh.  The Holy Spirit of God is at work in us transforming our nature and character into His.  The transformation is a spiritual act of God as we surrender and give place to His working in us.  

John is communicating here that the disciples were privileged to physically handle and experience God incarnate in Jesus.  They fellowshipped with the author and creator of life.  They lived with and had a window into the very heart and nature of God Himself.  In John 14:6-10 Jesus reveals this truth of the Father in Him, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

John says this in verse 3 of 1 John 1, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”  He says I’m here to share with you what we experienced and the revelation that we have been brought into so that you can have fellowship with me. For those of us who have been personally touched by the Christ, we know that our fellowship, our life and all that we are about is centered in the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.   As the Father was manifest in Jesus, so the Christ is manifesting in those who live and walk after the Spirit.

Are we experiencing the life changing, transforming power of God in our lives more and more each day?  That place of transformation is in His presence, pressing into the life and fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  There is a cocoon of transformation and it is where our life is hid in Christ.  There is where God becomes manifest in us.  

 

Blessings,

kent

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