Matthew 4:16
“the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”

The Light of His Presence

Jesus is the light of the world and He came to illuminate the world with the light of His physical presence. Today we long and await the manifestation of Christ in us in order to light up our world and make known the riches of His life. We cry out from the position of our weakness to lay hold of His strength. When His light comes it won’t be our flesh fabricating another religious move; it will be the reality of His substance and life. As a woman in travail we yearn within our spirits to bring forth that which we are pregnant with. It is with this vision and purpose that we live and press into Him. When He appears we will be like Him. 1John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” A Monarch butterfly is still a Monarch butterfly even when it is in the larva stage. It just hasn’t yet appeared what it fully is. A transformation or metamorphosis must take place for it to come into its fullness. 2 Corinthians 3:18 speaks of this transformation within us, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Romans 12:1-2 again speaks to us of that transformation, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Our eyes are now becoming fixed on who we are and shall be, not on what we were. Old things are passing away and behold all things are becoming new. We have seen that great light that is in Christ and as He is filling us and working in us, the shadows of sin and death are fleeing away. We have a hope in Christ that drives our faith to believe Him for what is humanly and naturally impossible. He has a great work of purpose to be worked through His people, but it can not operate out of a people who live in doubt, fear and unbelief. When we have finally come to that place where we have truly abandoned all and there is no longer the fear of earthly loss of possessions, position, family or even life itself, then we can be truly free to be filled with the purpose of God. When our love for Christ exceeds any other earthly passions, then His kingdom has place to come. Jesus has called His disciples to forsake all other affections in the light of Him. It is the cost of discipleship. It is not that we can’t love our family and others, but when it comes to Christ there is no question to where the fullness of our love and loyalty lie. The world will always encumber us with its cares, worries and agendas. It is not easy for us to break free of the economy of this world that we may enter into the economy of the kingdom of God. In His economy we find a freedom and a peace that we won’t find in this earthly realm. There He is king over all and everything in His kingdom finds its supply, provision and rest in Him. Are we willing to grasp Him with both hands so that He is able to lift us out of our weakness and defeat? Most of us only want to extend one hand to God while we hold on to our earthly affections and treasures with the other. God it wanting to pull us on up into Him, but we have to be willing to let go of what is in the other hand. It is in that place that we become the bright lights shinning in a dark place and all shadows will flee before us.

Blessings,
#kent

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Our Steps are Ordered of the Lord

Acts 26:16

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.


Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”  People of God, we have feet that are prone to wander.  We know and love God, but our hearts are still deceitfully wicked.  Our spirits are fully redeemed and delight in God after the inward man, but there is a soulish body of sin, that doesn’t want to let go.  It has been sentenced to death through the cross, but it doesn’t want to die.  It is an avenue of temptation that satan uses to lead astray and cause us to wander.  We can’t change ourselves, but we must maintain a vigilance to keep ourselves in relationship and in a place of sitting daily at the feet of Jesus.  We have to keep our focus on the kingdom of heaven and what our life’s purpose is about.  So easily our eyes and heart can turn away and something other than Christ catches our heart.   We often wonder why we experience so little of the Lord’s presence.  Perhaps it is because our time in seeking it and pursuing Him is so limited.  Here is what the Lord spoke through Jeremiah the prophet to Israel, which is for our example.  Jeremiah 14:10 says, “This is what the LORD says about this people:  “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” Does that sound like us?  

I don’t speak out of condemnation.  I speak out of conviction.  I speak out of shame and disappointment with myself at how often and how many ways I must grieve the precious Holy Spirit. God knows our form and He knows our weakness, but that cannot become our excuse, because it is no longer who we are.  Everyday we must lay hold of the life of Christ and when I miss Him, He will forgive me if I repent, but it must become the exception and not the rule.  Our steps are ordered of the Lord.  We must find and stay upon that path.  How subtly we can be steered out of it.  Usually it is just one little step at a time until we suddenly find ourselves in the deep waters of sin and wonder how we got there.  Many times we may find the discipline of the Lord upon our lives or even the course of the natural consequences of our sin.  God loves us.  His desire and purpose is always to draws us back into Him and into His heart.  Hebrews 12:11-15 of the amplified version exhorts us like this, “For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. 

12So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, 

13And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured. 

14Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. 

15Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it—” Our Father is for us, not against us.  Even in our weakness and failing He so greatly loves us.  Praise His Name, He loves us enough to correct and discipline us, even though it is often painful, to bring us back to Him.  

If we are walking out of His ways today, come back to Him.  Even this word you are reading now is God’s invitation and cry to come back to Him.  He desires that none of us “falls back and fails to secure God’s grace.”  Luke 1:79 says of Jesus that He came, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and [in] the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Who is ordering our steps today?  What are our hearts following after and our feet carrying us into?  The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord.  Let us delight ourselves in His ways and follow wholly after Him.  “God help us to loose ourselves and renounce the strongholds of sin that want and have taken hold upon our lives.   We are marching to Zion and we must not be turned out of the way.  We behold the throne of God and the Lamb of God that sits in that throne with Him and in Him.  “We must fix our eyes and our hearts upon You, oh Lord.  Order our steps, oh God, and direct our paths in righteousness for Your Name’s sake.”

 

Blessings, 

kent

Deliverance of the Afflicted

Psalms 107:8-15
Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, [being] bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and [there was] none to help. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

There are many reasons we go through trials, tribulation, sicknesses and afflictions in life. One of the things Jesus told us was that in the world we would have tribulation, but to be of good cheer for He overcame the world. Our trials and afflictions are not the more pleasant part of our life, but they can serve a valuable purpose.
Throughout the Old Testament we see the Israelites often suffering affliction due to sin or disregard for God’s order and way of doing things. There are times we see the Lord being pretty severe and exacting in His requirements Affliction and trials can do one of two things, either it causes us to seek and pursue God harder or we turn away from Him altogether.
What we are looking at here is a principle and reason why God deals with us at times through afflictions and trials. This is not about bringing condemnation on anyone because they are in this place. There are various reasons we go through trails and afflictions, our willfulness and rebellion is one of those. Let each of us search and judge their own heart in regards to what is shared here. One of the things I found in my own walk as I look back at perhaps specific times and circumstances where I went through an affliction that I felt like was a correction from the Lord. It was to deal with me in areas that I was in willful disobedience to Him. It is like the shepherd who has a lamb that keeps wandering off from the flock. Despite many warnings, exhortations and scolding it continues to venture off doing its own thing. The shepherd knows that this lamb, left to its own self-willed ways, is venturing into areas that it can become a victim and prey of the enemy of the beasts that look for weakness and separation in the flock and one they can single out for destruction. So out of loving concern for this lamb the shepherd does a harsh thing, he breaks the little lamb’s leg. Then he binds it up, anoints it and carries that lamb with him in his arms everywhere he goes. In that place of affliction that lamb learns about a place of intimacy and relationship with the Shepherd that it had never known or had before. There it learns the true character and nature of its Shepherd who cares for it, loves it, and personally tends to it during its time of healing.
Haven’t we all gone astray, each of seeking our own will and way in life? Many of us can relate with this little lamb and are perhaps in that place where we are despising God’s way as we pursue our own. In that place of trials and affliction that pain focuses our attention. Hebrews 12:5-8 brings this point of correction home to us as it says, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” I shutter to think where I would be today if the Lord hadn’t loved me enough to discipline and correct me so that He might put my feet back on a right path. Yes, there are times when my Shepherd has had to break my leg because of sin and rebellion, but thank God He loved me enough to do it. God often brings us to that place where our soul is lean and hungry, where we feel the bands of affliction and iron upon us. When we finally are willing to acknowledge our state, our weakness, our desperate need for our Savior and begin to cry out in our affliction, He hears our cry. It is in the place of true repentance He is able to bring us ‘out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!’
Are you in that place of affliction today? The Lord is present, not to condemn you, but to restore you to righteousness. You are His own and He loves you dearly. There are none more precious in His sight. Jesus would leave the other ninety-nine sheep just to find the one that is lost. That affliction may be your call to come home, to find that safe, warm place again in the arms of Jesus who has loved you unto death. ” Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!”

Blessings,
kent

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