Robbed of Our Blessing

November 13, 2015

Haggai 2:10-14
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’ ”
The priests answered, “No.”
13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”
“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”
14 Then Haggai said, ” ‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

Robbed of Our Blessing

This is a day when the Lord desires to lay the spiritual foundations of His Temple again. What the Lord speaks to Haggai here He is speaking to us. In the analogy that Haggai brings forth, if a priest carried meat that had been sanctified and consecrated to the Lord in their pocket or the fold of the garment and touched another substance of food it didn’t automatically sanctify and consecrate that food. On the other hand if someone had handled or touched a dead body that defilement was transferred to all that he touched. The Lord says this people, His people, have been like those who have touched the dead body and so what ever they offer becomes defiled.
Are we wondering why we aren’t blessed, coming up short in our finances and experiencing so many struggles that we may not need too? The Lord says it is because we are defiled in our giving and our living.
We have talked about how the body of the old man is dead and crucified with Christ and we are a new creation in Christ, but when we fail to lay hold and live out of this reality and truth we are in affect touching the dead body. We are living out of corrupted fleshly thinking and attitudes. Thus what we touch becomes defiled because it is not the mind of Christ we are operating out of, it is the mind of the flesh, the old man, that which is supposed to be dead.
If God is to bless the works of our hands they have to be the works of His Spirit through us and not our fleshly efforts any more. When we lay the foundations of the Lord’s house, it is a spiritual house not built with human efforts and thinking, but directed and ordered by the Spirit.
We all want the God’s blessing and favor to rest upon us and it is in God’s heart to want to bless and increase us, but there are things we need to get rid of and the primary one is the mentality of this old dead man. We speak often concerning our identification with Christ because His is the life and the mind that we are being renewed and brought forth in day by day as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Romans 8:5-10 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” It is easy to see from this scripture how much we may still be living out of that old man and nature mentality. The Lord says that this is a defilement and pollution of the life He wants to live through us and the works that He wants to accomplish with our hands. We must begin to truly put on the mind of Christ and view our world through God’s eyes and perspective. In doing so we will be blessed. It is imperative that we identify the thinking that is filled with doubt, fear and unbelief and turn that around to agree and line up with the Word of God. Anything less is sin. Allow Christ to be at the forefront of your motives, your intentions, your will and your purpose. Filter your world and all that you are dealing with through Him. Ask Him and trust Him for wisdom and direction in all of your ways. We are a people that are putting away that which is dead and walking in the consecrated and sanctified life that we carry within us. Walk in the Spirit, build the Lord’s house and live in His blessing. If you will come and build the Lord’s house by the Spirit, He will build yours.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Law of Sin and Death

August 18, 2015

Judges 21:25
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

The Law of Sin and Death

The state that we see Israel in, in the book of Judges is the same state that we could see a lot of us as Christians in. We have the promise and the inheritance and we have the Word of God, but we haven’t embraced our King. Just as the Israelites could be God’s chosen people by name, it didn’t mean they were His people in their heart. They became apostate, doing whatever seemed good to them, while ignoring who God had called them to be. Isn’t that the way many in the Christian world have become. They have become apostate because they live and do what is right in their own eyes and justification rather than according to the will and calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I am not writing this to bring condemnation, but to make us aware of which law we are living under in this state of mind. Before Christ, we were living under the law of sin and death. It was a law of the commandments whereby sin abounded because of the weakness of the flesh to live and keep it. Under that law we stood condemned because we were lawless and law breakers. Even in our best efforts we were not able to find reconciliation and intimate relationship with Papa because our sin stood to condemn us. Because sin would ultimately rule us, God had to send judgement to correct us and bring us back to repentance. There we would cry out under our judgement and God in His mercy would send a judge to bring us back to Himself where we would remain briefly before repeating the cycle again.
Now, we have a King and His name is Jesus. He is not only the King, but the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. In His realm of authority and dominion He has called us out of the old law of sin and death, because the crucifixion of His divine life nailed that old law of condemnation to the cross. When we come to Him in faith we must recognize that is where our old selfish sinful nature and man has been identified; with Him on that cross. We also died to that former way of doing, “whatever seemed right in our own eyes.” As He raised us up by faith into His life we come under a new law, because we have entered and become citizens and partakers of a new kingdom. The laws of this kingdom don’t operate like the former one. Here there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. “In Christ” speaks to a state of being in our spirit man that is manifested through our physical being.
We find this in Romans 8. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” The key to living in this realm and kingdom is living by faith out of the law of the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. A line of demarcation has been drawn that you live under one law or the other, but you can’t live under both.
Jesus says you can’t serve two masters in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Mammon is the old world order that falls under the law of sin and death.
The question then really becomes, “What law are we living under?”
Romans 8 goes on to define what it is to live in the law of the Spirit of life and what the differences are. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12Therefore, 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. 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.”
The Word doesn’t say we don’t still struggle with the inclinations toward our former sinful nature, but it has become a matter of new identity, allegiance and citizenship. If you move to the United States from a foreign country and decide to become a US citizen then you have changed your identity, allegiance and citizenship. You must renounce the old to embrace the new. If the United States is at war with your former country, who are you going to fight for and stand with? Where is your identity and allegiance? You may feel the soul ties that want to draw you back to the former feelings you had for your country and countrymen, but now you have to cut them off, because it is no longer who you are. You can no longer go between countries and have your allegiance divided or you will be considered a traitor. You can no longer live under the former laws and traditions of the old country and still be a US citizen. They don’t work in this new country. You no longer have to live under tyranny, but you can live in freedom, but freedom isn’t freedom if it brings you again under the bondage of sin. “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. You see it is the Spirit that now indwells you that is the power in you to overcome who you used to be. As we learn to live in obedience and faithfulness to Him we are led by Him. It is living under His banner and direction that we become the sons of God.
If we are still doing whatever is right in our eyes we are missing what it is to live under the higher law. It is only under this law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that we live and abide in the life of God and we come to experience the intimacy of relationship with Him. God has given us the choice to be sons or slaves. Where is our true identity, allegiance and citizenship, in the law of sin and death or the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus? Your identity is who you are, not what you call yourself.

Blessings,
#kent

Appeasing or Pleasing

July 30, 2015

Appeasing or Pleasing

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
I think that I may not be so different than many others who earnestly love God, want to have an intimate relationship with Him, but are often tempted to make compromises to please the flesh rather than to please God. I was meditating this morning on how much appease and please sound alike only they are different. If we examine our hearts we will probably find that there are many times we actually try to appease the Lord, rather than please Him.
“So what’s the difference?” you might ask.
I’m glad you asked that question. The dictionary defines appease as, “To pacify or attempt to pacify (an enemy) by granting concessions, often at the expense of principle.”
Now we don’t think of God as our enemy, but He is the enemy of our flesh and when we are trying to appease God that is usually where we are operating from. Romans 8:5-8 tells us, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” When we get out of faith and into the flesh then we begin operating out of a mindset that wants to appease God rather than please Him. We want God to wink at our sin and to let us slide. We want the favor and blessing of God, but on our terms. Maybe we start to bargain with God. “God, if you will just let me do that, or have this or grant me that, then I’ll do this.” Maybe we give more and try to do good things. Usually we are not only trying to appease God, but our conscience as well. It is not that we want to forsake God or not serve Him and believe in Him anymore. It is not that we want to displease Him, it is just that we want our way more than we want His way. What we don’t want to acknowledge and submit too is, that it is always our ways that lead us away from His. It is our ways that separate and break fellowship with Him and it is our ways, the natural mind, that hinders us from God’s highest and His best for us.
Like King Saul of the Old Testament we become headstrong about doing things our way rather than God’s way. Listen as Saul attempts to appease God rather than please Him. 1 Samuel 15:13-26 says, “When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD’s instructions.”
14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”
15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”
16 “Stop!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
“Tell me,” Saul replied.
17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.’ 19 Why did you not obey the LORD ? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?”
20 “But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”
22 But Samuel replied:
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD.”
26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!”
Whenever we compromise what God has instructed by doing it our way rather than His, we only are deceiving ourselves and leading ourselves to heartache and misery. Hebrews 10:5-10 says in contrast, “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, O God.’ ” 8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Father is now asking the same of us. He doesn’t any longer want our burnt offering and sacrifices, our concessions and appeasement. He wants our lives, our obedience and our faith to trust and walk with Him wherever it is that He chooses to lead us. We can no longer seek to appease our Lord; we must walk in the faith and obedience that pleases Him.
“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4)

Blessings,
#kent

Galatians 5:7-9 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9″A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

Who is Keeping You from Obeying the Truth?

Organized religion and legalism has hindered many in Christian faith from obeying the truth. With legalism people can control you, condemn you or make you believe that you must measure up to their standards. They put you again into bondage to try to win or earn God’s favor. The simplicity of the law of the gospel is simply to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and with all of your mind and then to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said on these two commandments, all of the law and the prophets hang. If you are still struggling with trying to be good enough for God and earn your way into heaven, you are missing it. Jesus did for us what we could never do for ourselves, through the cross He justified us as if we had never sinned, redeemed us, forgave us and washed us clean in His own blood. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Our only worthiness and acceptance before God is found in Christ. Nothing that we could do to be good enough or works we could do to earn His favor could replace or add to what God has already done for us in Christ. Our religion is to accept the finished work of Jesus that He accomplished on that cross. When we accept Christ we enter into an exchange, my old sinful life for His righteous spiritual life. We die to what we were so that we might live into what He is. That living is a walk of faith and obedience to His Word and the Holy Spirit that now resides within us. Christ didn’t die for us to be put again under bondage; He died that He might impart unto us freedom. Galatians 5:13-18 goes on to say, “13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” The religion of man and legalism only brings us again under condemnation. Roman 8:1-4 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” If there are those that are putting laws, ordinances and requirements upon you in order for you to be saved or accepted by God other than what the Word itself requires, they are keeping you from obeying the truth. They are robbing your freedom to put you again under bondage and the will of man. Know the truth of God and allow that truth to set you free. Galatians 2:21 says, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Do not allow yourself to be put under bondage, but come out into the wonderful liberty of the Spirit that is in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,

#kent

Galatians 5:13-15
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Beware of the Pack Mentality

One of the things that I have often observed in the work place or social gatherings where people are in frequent association is what I will call a pack mentality. It is so subtle that often we don’t even realize that we have been caught up in it. I know I have at times and probably most of us have and perhaps still are.
It often goes something like this, someone, especially someone outside our circle or click, has a weakness or makes a mistake. Some one of our peers begins to make jokes either to the person or about the person to others. Before, long others are chiming in with their wise crack, comments and jesting. Suddenly we find ourselves adding to that dialogue as we all laugh at that person’s expense. The person may seem to take it in stride and may even laugh along with you, but what is going on inside of the person who is under attack? That person is being demoralized, made to feel less of a person and has become a victim to a group of people who are delighting in biting and devouring the person’s dignity and worth. This can be very demoralizing to a person and many of us have been on the side of the victim so we may well know or remember what that feels like. What may have started out in light ribbing or jest can become a blood bath for the victim. The more blood that is drawn the more the “pack” moves into devour and tear apart. Gossip works that same way.
This kind of behavior not only takes place in the work place and social gatherings; it can and does often take place in our churches and among our assembly. While this may afford some of us great entertainment it usually doesn’t come without a price, but as long as we are not the one paying it, who cares, is often our attitude.
Our scripture today reminds us that walking in love is to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we are a part of doing something to someone that we wouldn’t want done to us, then we are not walking in love. Our jesting and faultfinding can sometimes turn very ugly and hateful as one party may try and out insult the other. What started out in fun can become very personal and hurtful. The Spirit of Christ is seen in Philippians 4:8, which should be our guiding, light. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.” We have the Spirit of the life of Christ in us and by His very nature we are to be life-givers and not life-takers. Speak those things, which edify and build up. In the pack mentality that will make you like a wet blanket in a blazing fire, but we were not called to be a part of the world and their thinking.
Each day, make it your objective and desire to see how many people that you can build up, edify and speak good things about. Be quick to praise others and very slow to find fault. There is a need for life-givers in a cruel and negative world. Let us fit the description of Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Blessings,
#Kent

Show us the Father

April 16, 2015

John 14:8-13
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Show us the Father

There are many concepts of God. Some think of Him as an old man with a great white beard setting upon a throne in heaven. Some conceive Him as a celestial Santa Clause. Some see Him as an angry God with a big stick ready to smack all who sin. Men have contrived many ideas and views of God, but what is true? Philip obviously had his own ideas when he asked Jesus to show them the Father.
Jesus once said something to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 about who God is as she was confronting Him about this similar question. “Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”” (John 4:21-24) He tells us something key, God isn’t natural physical substance or being; He is Spirit. The Holy Spirit that abides in you is God in you. What Jesus, the man, manifested and lived out in the earth was the Spirit of God in Him. Because Jesus was never given to the flesh, but only walked by the Spirit, He was the embodiment of the Father, the Spirit of God. Jesus came to get that same Spirit into us, so that we will operate out of faith in His name; embodied and indwelled by His Spirit and nature so that we might do the works that He did. Jesus says, “he will do even great things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Some of us have thought that if we just use the magic words, “In the name of Jesus” all these things would happen. What Jesus is showing through His life of example is that a name is not just words that we speak, but a nature and character that we possess and the Spirit of the Father is what we manifest.
Remember Romans 8:9-17 teaches us? “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12Therefore, 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. 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.” We are no longer naturally minded beings, but spiritual beings operating as sons of God out of the Spirit of God. This why it is so important that we get a hold of our identity and live out of it. We live so much a mixture of flesh and spirit that we negate the power of God in us. Isn’t Father looking for human temples that are consecrated solely to His will and purpose. If we are to see that greater works ministry through our lives then let us do as Hebrews 12:1-3 exhorts us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
If we would see the Father, then let us walk as Jesus walked and operate out of His Spirit, which is the Spirit of the Father. Father already came down into earth and humanity, now He is desiring to bring us up into the Spirit and heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I have shared it before and I will share again a saying I once heard as a teenager that has always stuck with me. “The Son of God became the son of man, so that the sons of men, could become the sons of God.” (author unknown)

Blessings,
#kent

Matthew 5:17-20
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The Law: To Abolish or Fulfill

Often times many us think of the Old Testament as being a former dispensation of God that applied to the Jewish people, gave the Law, the history, the Psalms, Proverbs and a lot of good stories. Many might think that because we are a New Testament people that the Old Testament doesn’t have real application and promise to us. After all we are no longer under the Law. While there is truth to this we might be overlooking what Jesus is saying here. Jesus declares that His mission and purpose isn’t to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. The Old Testament and the Law provided the foundation and groundwork for the fulfillment of that Law through Christ. What has changed for us is that it is no longer the works of the Law that we are trying to keep through the efforts of the flesh, but it is the Spirit of that Law now written upon the tablets of our heart. The nature of God has not changed or His Laws, but He has taken them from the outward to the inward through the power of the Holy Spirit and His nature that now resides in us. Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” Christ fulfilled what we could not in that He fulfilled all of the requirements of the Law, but more than that, He became the sin offering to take upon Himself all of the penalty of sin for us. His faith in us embraces and appropriates that finished work of Christ that fulfilled the Law. It is that faith in His finished work that is now reckoned unto us for righteousness. The Law is fulfilled in us only through Christ. As we now live in Christ it is His nature within us that fulfills and keeps the Law. As we walk by the Spirit we no longer fulfill the lusts of our flesh. Romans 8:10-11 declares this truth by saying, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” In Christ, in this New Testament man, we do not abolish the Old, but we become the fulfillment of it. We have the power, authority and life of Christ to walk into what the Old Testament saints dreamed about. They were our examples and mentors to help us walk into a greater dimension of faith and faithfulness to the Lord. We walk into it by the power of Christ in us and the identification that we have died to the weakness of the Law, which is our sinful flesh. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. We have the finished work of Christ behind us. We have a commission of Christ to bring Him into our entire world. The Law and the Prophets live on. They along with the apostles have become the foundation of our faith. What is it that God is building? Ephesians 2:19-22 declares, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” We are God’s lively stones built upon this foundation to be the holy temple of the Lord. This is that place where God chooses to make His abode. Christ didn’t come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them and we a part of that fulfillment as we abide in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

Setting the Prisoners Free

December 31, 2014

Setting the Prisoners Free

Zechariah 9:11-12
As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
12 Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

This passage of scripture deals with the ushering in of the spiritual kingship and lordship of Jesus. His was not the outward kingdom that so many looked for, but His kingdom was one that was established in the hearts and souls of the men and women that would believe upon Him. Through the blood of His covenant Christ has come into our hearts to be our Lord, our salvation and our fortress.
While we have experienced the liberation of our spirits, our souls have remained the battleground of our will and desires coming into conformity and submission to the lordship of Christ. All through the Old Testament and into the New we see the warring of flesh and spirit in the midst of God’s people. We see the dealings of God when the flesh went unchecked and how it led to perversity and sin. God would warn, but the will of the flesh made for deaf ears and a hardened heart. So often it took the severity of God to bring His people back to repentance. We are no different today. We all have struggled with sin and its strongholds in our lives. No doubt we have often cried out to God to deliver us from our ungodly and impure ways. We have experienced being the prisoner of that waterless pit which is like a well without water. Instead of drinking from the wells of salvation we are experiencing the parched emptiness and life void we experience in that place where we have been a prisoner to our sin. How many times have we cried out in our weakness as we have sought to climb out of the slimy pit of our despairing ways only to slide back down again? In our spirits we know it is not what we want to be, we know it is not God’s highest or best for us and we know that it is void of the Spirit and Life of God and yet we still feel a prisoner to it.
The good news that the Lord is speaking here is don’t give up and don’t despair; the Lord has not given up on you and me. He will not forever leave us to our prison, but He says, “Return to the fortress”. You are not a prisoner of hopelessness and despair, but a prisoner of hope. Paul makes this cry in Romans 7:21-25, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
Doesn’t Paul describe himself as a prisoner in this passage? And we can all relate with where he is coming from. Yet he is a prisoner of hope in the midst of his despair. He sees, as we must, our hope, our anchor and our fortress in Christ.
Joseph was thrown into a waterless pit by his jealous brothers and then sold into slavery. Joseph had nothing but the dream, the destiny and the hope that God had placed inside of him. How many times he must have longed for and cried out to God for his deliverance and freedom, yet things didn’t get better they only got worst. Joseph may have been a prisoner outwardly, but inwardly through faithfulness and a right spirit he was the Lord’s freeman. He remained a prisoner of hope until one day the Lord brought him forth out of the prison and into the palace. It was a day of double portion blessing. He not only gained his freedom, but he came out of prison to reign.
If we have become discouraged by the state of our life, our growth and seeming immaturity in Christ, never be a prisoner without hope. We keep returning to our fortress, which is Christ in us, our hope of glory. His blood covenant has made a promise to deliver us from this body of sin and death. ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ Never succumb to your sin and fleshly weaknesses even though you may stumble in them. Never depart from the hope you have in Christ to bring you out of the waterless pit of your sin struggles. Continually turn to your fortress, identify with who you are in Christ and know that His blood covenant will bring you through and bring you out. Hold fast that you my see your double portion blessing.

Blessings,
#kent

Strongholds

April 24, 2014

Mark 3:23-27a
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

A Different Culture

January 8, 2014

Ephesians 4:17-19

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 


A Different Culture



Do the principles of the kingdom of God make sense to those that are in the world?  Of course not, for 2 Corinthians 2:14 tells us, “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.”  The natural man and the spiritual man live under the dominion of two different kingdoms. One is the kingdom of light and truth and the other is the kingdom of sin and darkness.  When we came into Christ and received Him by faith into our hearts, the Word says that we were translated out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.  Colossians 1:13 says it this way, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son.”  We were transplanted, transposed into a whole new realm while physically we didn’t change and our local we didn’t change; yet inwardly a transformation began to take place.  A life that is given by surrendering its will to its Creator and Redeemer is no longer a life lived for self, but instead it is lived to the One who redeemed it.  Sin hardens a person’s heart toward God. It robs a person of the ability to discern, understand and know the ways of God.  Just as hate blinds a person to love, so sin blinds a person’s eyes and heart to “The Truth”.  Because the natural man has become insensitive to spiritual things they are foolishness to him and as a result he becomes ignorant to the truth.  That ignorance and unbelief keeps him in a state of separation from God and in a place of the judgement that is already in place against all ungodliness and wickedness.  Some have deluded themselves by thinking that because they are a pretty good person and they do lots of charitable acts that God receives them because of that and they can earn their way to heaven.  The Word declares in Romans 3:23,  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Ephesians 2:1-9 tells us where we were and how we came back to God. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  It is because of this wonderful undeserved grace that has translated us out of darkness and into light, that we can no longer live as those who are still in darkness do.  We have changed our culture.  If I am truly a Christian how can I live contrary to my culture?  Just as a Muslim or a Buddhist can’t live as a Christian, because it is contrary to their beliefs, a Christian should no longer live as the world, which is contrary to his or her beliefs.  My being, culture and moral compass is now rooted in Christ.  He has made me His temple and dwelling place; to now live as the world, is a betrayal and defilement of His sanctuary and of the covenant I have entered into with Him.  A covenant is a life binding agreement and commitment unto death.   Christ sealed it in His own sinless blood.  How can we then live as the world when He has given His life to take us out of it and into His righteousness?  How can we adulterate any longer His holy covenant with actions that are conformed to this world?  We, who are in Christ, are a holy people set apart for God’s own possession.  We must realize who we are, what we were called for and what our responsibility is to the holy calling and salvation we have graciously received.  Obedience is to honor Him you proclaim as Lord.  

 
Blessings,
kent
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