God, On Our Terms

August 14, 2015

1 Corinthians 3:10-16
10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

God, On Our Terms

Most of you who are reading this know Christ as the sure foundation of your life. We have received Him into our hearts by faith and we place our trust in Him. We have the sure foundation of our lives, which He is. The question then becomes as the apostle Paul addresses here, “what are we building upon this foundation?” Paul indicates that there are different materials that can be used to build this temple which we are. Some of them are fireproof and others are not, but He does warn us that there will be the Day that will bring to light what our house is made of.
Perhaps it is not so unlike the little story of the Three Little Pigs. Each one’s house was tested and those that were made of sticks and straw did not stand. The little pigs verily escaped by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin. I don’t think that this is how we really want to build upon this foundation that we have in Christ. Yet we have to consider the quality of the materials and the work that is going into building this temple.
Many of us have embraced Christ as our Savior, but do we really know Him as our Lord. Many of us have faith, but we still want God on our terms, rather than ourselves on His. We must understand that with the building of the temple there is a continual demolition of the old. While the grace and mercy of God builds us up we are allowing the cross to crucify and tear down that which is of the natural man and that which is not eternal, but will pass away. If we continue to build a corruptible temple on an incorruptible foundation, then there will be a day the building of our lives will come to ruin and destruction. What we invested our lives in building will come to naught, because it was on our terms and not His. We built with wood, hay and stubble instead of the nature of God, the redemption of God and His precious truth. God will allow us to build our house with whatever materials we choose, but their will come a day of final inspection and if we haven’t built according the blueprint and the materials declared in His word, then we can’t expect our house to pass inspection. Which of us wants to come to the end of our lives and then find out there was nothing lasting, permanent or of eternal value in what we did?
Jesus taught us that the foolish man built his house upon the sand and when the floods came it was washed away, but the wise man built his house upon the rock, the sure foundation of Christ. The same materials that have been used in the foundation must continue to be used throughout the building of the house. Then we will know and have confidence that it will stand and remain in the day of testing and fire. Consider that unless we know Jesus as the Lord, the One we relinquish all control too and are in true submission to His headship, then we are building with corruptible materials that will not be of lasting value or substance. That is the price of having God on our terms.

Blessings,
#kent

Exodus 26:14
And thou shalt make a covering for the tent [of] rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above [of] badgers’ skins.

Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover

If we read the description in the Old Testament of the interior of the Tabernacle we find that it was made up of very costly and finely made furniture and pieces. We know that within the Holiest place were the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. We know that the very presence of God Himself would manifest and come into that place. Isn’t is strange that with such beauty and holiness within, God chose to have a ram’s skin dyed red and an old plain ugly badger skin to be the outward covering? The person that would look upon the tabernacle from without and that didn’t have knowledge of its contents would not think that it was anything particularly special. It looked very ordinary, plain and unattractive.
We have all heard the expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That was very true of the tabernacle. We can speak to the symbolism of the tabernacle in several different ways. We know it was a type of Christ, but we also know that it can be symbolic of our lives as well. Let’s look for a moment at how it pertains to us. The old badger skin covering is like our bodies, which house our soul and our spirit. The man and woman of God contain something within them that is far more precious than silver or gold. They are the containers of the Christ and the Holy Spirit of God. The outward man, though he or she may be very plain, are the essence of this structure. The body simply serves to house and facilitate the soul and spirit’s function and activity. The ram’s skin dyed red speaks to the redemption of the soul washed in the blood of the lamb. The soul again is the residence of the spirit.
God often wraps His most precious gifts in plain brown paper. If our ideas of wealth, success and power are all about what we see as beauty in the outward world or in the outward man, then we have overlooked the truly rich, wealthy and powerful. The riches of God are hidden throughout the earth covered in plain, ordinary badger skin. The world will be amazed at the unveiling of the sons of God, when Christ is made fully manifest in them. Those they disregarded and counted as nothing will be the kings and priest that rule and reign.
Maybe you don’t even think that you are anything today. Maybe all that you see in yourself is that old badger skin that is getting more weathered and worn with time. What God sees is the rich and eternal presence of His life within you. What God sees is that you have become the habitation of His praise and worship. He covets His redeemed and He nurtures us under the shadow of His wing that which others may see as just a covering of badger skin. Jesus said, “ The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21) Don’t be so concerned about your outward status or success or beauty, come to know how rich you are in Christ and cultivate the riches of His grace within you. One day the cover will be opened and your book will be read by all.

Blessings,
#kent

Colossians 2:1-3
I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge

Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” Proverbs 4:5 tells us, “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget [it] not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Psalms 119:104 teaches us, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.”
The true treasures that God has for us are not riches of gold, silver and precious stones; they are the riches of wisdom, understanding and the knowledge of the Lord. That is why the Bible is the most precious and priceless book in the world for it contains these riches and the Holy Spirit is the guide that leads us into the depths of His treasure house. Unlike the riches of the world that promote greed, selfishness and lust, these treasures bring us into the character and knowledge of godliness, love and the fruit of the Spirit. What is even more amazing is that the fruit of following and finding these precepts of wisdom with understanding is what often produces the fruit of earthly prosperity and blessing as well. More importantly they teach us not to be looking at those things which are perishing, but rather those things which are eternal. Paul, in this passage from Colossians says the full riches are in the complete understanding, because understanding unlocks to us the full mystery of God, which is in Christ.
Who are you? “You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). It is when we comprehend and fully process this truth of who we are in God that we begin to truly be hid in Him. It is our spiritual ignorance that continues to hold on to an identity that is outside of Christ.
Paul reveals this truth in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Most of us in the mind of our natural thinking have not really gone down into the grave of our earthly reasoning, mentality and natural awareness and so we have never risen in the resurrection of the riches of Christ in spiritual wisdom and the knowledge of who we are in Christ. We acknowledged it by faith spiritually, but have we truly embraced it in reality? When a woman marries a man, in most circumstances she gives up her name and she takes on his, but aren’t most of us like the woman who wants to take on all the benefits of his name, but she wants to keep her own name as well? We still want to be Mrs. Adam-Christ. Isn’t this why we see the carnality in our lives and the mixture of flesh and spirit within the church. God wants to educate us in who we are. He has given us the riches of all that He is in Christ Jesus and we are content with the husks that are fed to the hogs. As we will press into Christ and into depth of His Word we will find the riches that will bring us into the liberty of the Spirit. It has been said that, “knowledge is power.” When you begin to come into the full realization of who you are in Christ and what God has created you for, will that not bring you also into the power of God? God operates through vessels that are in union and in sync with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us into all of the riches of God through His Word and then He begins to operate those riches through us in wisdom, knowledge and understanding. This is where we buy the gold of God, tried in the fire, because the truth of God’s word must become a reality in us and that can only be worked out through experience and the proving of God’s word in our daily lives. This is the oil that the foolish virgins asked of the wise in Matthew 25. It is not something that can just be given to you, it something that you must press into and lay hold of. It is a substance that is brought forth in your life through the trials and tribulations, because this is the place you must lose yourself and find who you are in Christ.
“Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” All of it is found in the riches of Christ Jesus in whom are all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Blessings,
#kent

Revealed

March 20, 2014

Revealed


1 Corinthians 2:9-16

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

As God’s people we know more than we think we know.  Just as I don’t know what I am about to write right now, the Spirit of God within me does.  Many times as He has led me to write in an area or on a subject, I have protested saying, “God, I don’t know about that or what to write about that. ”  He would simply ignore my protest and wait for me to begin to write.  Today is another of these days.  Often God doesn’t reveal but the initial portion we need to get started.  Further revelation comes as we step out in faith and act on what we have, rather than on what we don’t have.  If we are God’s vessels, filled with His Spirit and possessing the mind of Christ, as the last verse of our scripture for today says we do, then we have to realize that we have a power to move beyond our natural ability and limitations.  I know my limitations and they are many, but I also know that in my weakness God’s strength is revealed.  

How does God want to reveal Himself in you and through you?  Will you, like myself, protest of your inability and weaknesses, or will you like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8 say, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me.”  When God sends us, He will equip us and He will provide for us a way.  Faith is the precursor to all that He gives to us.  Rarely is everything laid out on the table and we know the whole plan and have all our provisions.  Faith reveals the will and provision of God as we walk in it and believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  You have a vast, immeasurable reservoir of Spirit Life within you.  You have not began to sound the depths of what God’s Spirit can and will do through you.  Our God is an ever increasing light revealing Himself more and more unto the perfect day when as 2 Peter 1:19 declares, “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.” God’s people are the revelation of His truth and the proclamation of His glory.  Before you see the fullness of this truth you will see the revelation of all that hold the truth in unrighteousness for the man of sin will reveal it in his day.  Matthew 12:24 says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 warns us, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”  All that is seen in the world proclaiming Christianity is not the Church.  The true Church is the remnant whose hearts and lives belong to the Lord, not just in outward profession.  The day will reveal His own.  

As God is revealing the dross in us, He is also revealing Himself in us.  Beneath the dross lies the gold and silver, the nature and character of God and His redemption.  Though we are often discouraged and mourn over the sin that still wants to cling to us, we must not let that become the identification of who we are.  God is at work in us, perfecting that which concerns Him, that His Son may be revealed through us.  2 Corinthians 7:1 tells us, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 

God has a plan.  Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” A body is prepared for Christ, the head, to rest upon and fill with the fullness of all that He is.  Are we prepared to have revealed in us all that He is?   Let us move out in faith and be that revelation of God’s glory and truth. 

 

 

Blessings,

#Kent

Fire

January 31, 2013

1 Corinthians 3:12-17
If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

Fire

The gold goes through the fire for purity. Your faith, which is much more precious than gold, is tried in the furnace of affliction for your purity. When it is not longer you that lives, but Christ in you, then the fire is no longer destructive, but only creative. Creating in you the nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The inner workings of gold, silver and precious stone is the richness of My nature and character in you. Self mourns the lose of self, but spirit rejoices when all is brought into the spirit and life realm. There, there is no dichotomy of natures or selfish ambitions. There love covers all and is the motive through which the character of God in you operates out of.
His life now has divine expression, as the self has been consumed in the fire.
In that fire, you become the sacrifice, as all that you formally valued and worshipped is consumed. Idols are broken, self ambition is quenched. Life has become the expression of Life and love orders it course.
What God is calling us to, few are able to lay down. It is the willingness to become nothing, that He might become everything. It is the baptism of fire where all else is consumed that is not in the likeness of Him.

Blessings,
kent

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