May 22, 2014

Who’s Your Daddy?

John 8:42-47
42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

The question we ask today is “who is your real Father?” In this passage from the discourse that Jesus was having with the Jews they were quite convinced that they were of the seed of Abraham and that therefore God was their Father. Jesus was telling them it is not a matter of natural descent. Many people in this country and even in others think they are Christians by virtue of fact they grew up in a Christian heritage and that is their general belief even though it may have no effectual working in their lives. Many even call themselves Christians and claim God as their Father because they go to church, or they are involved in church activities or they have a religion. Muslims believe that God, or Allah, is their Father, so much so that many are willing to sacrifice their lives and yours too for what they believe is His cause. What Jesus was telling many of these same types of people are that God isn’t your Father, you only think that He is. If God were your Father, then it would stand to reason you would know His Son. The reason you would know His Son is because the Son is just like the Father in nature, in character and in purpose. The true children of God are able to hear the Father. They are able to receive spiritual instruction, exhortation and even rebuke. The true children of God embrace the Son of God, for they recognize and acknowledge that it is only by His life we have access to the Father and are adopted into sonship. The difference is seen in the fact that we have a new nature and what is more, we have put off the former nature with the sins and lusts that it carried. God’s children no longer pursue the flesh, but walk after the Spirit. We are as Romans 8:12-17 puts it, “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 live and operate our lives under the influence of who our Father is. We have to ask ourselves what is the fruit of my life, what am I producing and is it in likeness of God’s character and nature?
The Bible and Jesus himself warns us that in the judgement day, “21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23).” This tells us that it is not even the outward miracles and demonstration of the Spirit that are true evidence of who one’s Father is, it is the faith and the fruit produced by one’s life. It is seen in whom we listen too, whom we obey and whom we follow. We, like the Jews, can profess that God is our Father, but how much do we look like the Son; are we like it says in 2 Timothy 3:5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” It is not our outward appearance and demeanor that always reveals our true nature and descent. It is our heart for God, our love and faith in His Son and our obedience to His Word as the Spirit that speaks to His Fatherhood in us, leads and directs our lives. Who’s your daddy?

Blessings,
#kent

The Spirit of Fear

May 7, 2014

The Spirit of Fear

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind

There is a fear that is a phobia and a dread; beyond that, it can produce heart-pounding terror. Fear can be so strong that it can totally incapacitate us. It can grip us so strong that it will cause us to tremble and shake. Sometimes we can’t even move or think or we flee in terror. There is a spirit of fear that can grip our hearts in a way that makes us terribly afraid. There are varying degrees that this spirit can come upon us, but when it does, it robs us of faith and confidence in God if we only focus on the fear. Often fear plays upon the imaginations and perceptions of our mind. When we have experienced nightmares, they weren’t real, but they created such fear and panic in us because they seemed so real. We can experience waking nightmares, as well, that seem just as real. Fear, itself can’t harm you, but it can create such feeling within your mind and emotion that you often fear for your life and safety. We can sometimes enter into a tremendous battle with this spirit of fear and just speaking words doesn’t always bring the results of victory we would like.
Sharon, my wife will share with you a story of fear that affected her for about year. We hope in sharing this it may help some of you that have had experiences with attacks of fear, panic and terror. For my wife it was a process of the Lord teaching her how to obtain the victory and sometimes there are areas that we open up in our lives for these attacks to come in that we need to shut.
For Sharon, it came after a time when we had attempted to trust the Lord for a home birth. Our son was just too large for my wife and after a long period of transitional labor we had to go to the hospital. There we felt contempt and reproach from the doctor and medical staff for not having checked in earlier and done things the traditional way. It was a difficult time, but the good news is that we had a healthy baby.
It was shortly after this that my wife began to have a visitation of a spirit that would bring great fear upon her. This spirit came usually when she was alone and was resting. It was generally in this state of semi-consciousness, between waking and sleeping that this spirit of fear came.

“At this point, Kent has asked me to step in and tell my own story. It was a time in my life I thought I was strong in the Lord. The Lord had just healed me of breast cancer seven months or so before our son was born. For whatever reason, the Lord allowed me to go through this experience to teach me many things about my life, where I was with Him spiritually and how I had to change from the bondage my childhood held over me.
I remember the first encounter; it was in the early morning after Kent had gone to work. To this day, I don’t know if I was awake or in that semi –conscious state. It was so real; it felt like I was awake. I heard a noise downstairs and I remember thinking Kent had gone to work already. I heard what sounded like someone coming up the stairs, but it was more familiar than that. Whoever it was, came up skipping a stair, just like my Father used to do when one of us kids were in trouble. When this presence entered my bedroom, I could feel it, but I couldn’t see it. A fear entered with it that paralyzed me. This spirit sat on the edge of my bed and I felt strong hands grab me by my throat and it began choking me. I laid there in unbelief. I felt like I was going to die. When it couldn’t kill me, it left and went back downstairs. I laid there trembling, trying to understand what just happened to me. I could hear my heart pounding; it was beating so loud. Fear gripped me again, as I heard it coming back up the stairs for the second time. At this point, I was searching my thoughts wondering what was happening to me? Its presence entered my bedroom again and this time, it sat down and began beating me about my face. I felt the blows…and they hurt! When it couldn’t kill me by its blows, it left again. I heard the familiar sound coming back up the stairs for the third time and I wondered if I would survive this time. This time, it sat down and began touching me in a sexual way. It was then that I sat straight up in bed and rebuked it in the Name of Jesus! It left immediately.
This presence came and left over the next year. It came in other forms, taking on the form of my husband once. It seemed so real. This wasn’t an experience I wanted to share with people. Can you imagine going through this sort of thing as a Christian? There were many times, I would rebuke it in the Name of Jesus and it would laugh at me. How could I share this with others?
I will tell you briefly what I learned. The Lord taught me that it was only a spirit of fear and that it really couldn’t do anything to me, or it would have already done it. When I understood that, it helped me to enter into the Lord whenever it would make an appearance. Through this experience, it taught me how to climb up on the lap of my Heavenly Father and allow Him to put His big arms around me to protect me from this wicked thing. I learned to enter into the presence of the Lord.
There were areas of my life the Lord was dealing with at that time. I was repeating what I had been taught as a child from a stepfather who didn’t know the love of God himself. God was trying to free me from my earthly father’s example in order to follow my heavenly Father’s example instead. I was caught up in soap operas at that time and the Lord taught me what we put into our minds and take in through our eyes does affect how we live and think. I was also taught that we could control even our dreams when we allow the Lord to be the Lord of our lives. You see, I used to think we could do in our dreams what we couldn’t do in real life if it was sin, but if it were done in our dreams, it was okay. The Lord taught me, ”as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
The last significant time it came, I was lying on a couch in our family room. I heard what seemed to be a herd of these spirits. By this time in my life, I was so angry at this thing called fear, I grabbed for them and they went screaming. I remember getting a hold of one of their arms and it took hold of this spirit with both of my hands to break its bone. I heard it snap! I also heard great pain coming from the one I grabbed, while it was trying to get away from me. That evening, a young man came to our house for a Bible study and he prophesied, “Today, has the enemies arm been broken.” He had no idea what had gone on, but I knew exactly what it meant…and from that time on, this spirit of fear has never had the same grip it had, the first time it manifested itself in my bedroom.
While this was a hard trial to go through, I wouldn’t by pass going through it, when I stop and consider how much I learned from this experience.
When I got complete victory over it, it was because I learned to turn that fear into trusting my heavenly Father by climbing up on His lap whenever this thing would manifest itself. Through the years, it has come and left a few times. I have made comments like, “You again?” When it realized fear had no grip on me anymore, it came around less and less until I can’t remember when it manifested itself last.

Fear is not a physical enemy even though it may use physical means or even people to manifest its self. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” This includes that spirit of fear that can grip our hearts. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” The place where we find that perfect love is in the heart of the Father. If fear is your tormentor, then the heart of the Father is your deliverance. That is the place spoken of in Psalms 91:1-7, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, [and] from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth [shall be thy] shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; [nor] for the arrow [that] flieth by day; [Nor] for the pestilence [that] walketh in darkness; [nor] for the destruction [that] wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee.” Your faith, your abiding and your authority in Christ are your victory over the spirit of fear.

Blessings,
#kent

Fear

September 20, 2012

 

Fear


Hebrews 11:7
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Fear most often carries with it a negative connotation, something to be avoided and something we don’t want to have.  Let’s speak for a few minutes on the positive aspects of fear.
First, let’s define what fear is as used in the Word of God.  Certainly it can carry the meaning of terror, dread or to be made terrified, fearful and afraid.  It can also carry the meaning of standing in awe, to cause astonishment and awe or be held in awe.  It can mean to fear, reverence, honor and respect.  Fear can be one of those two edged swords that can be good and it can be bad.  Pain is often the same way.  We don’t like pain, but without it how would we know when we were injured or when something wasn’t right or that we need to pay attention to some aspect of our body?  Fear likewise is a natural sense that causes us to be cautious, to respect something or someone who could hurt us, it can even be there to help insure our survival because we fear what could kill or harm us.
All through God’s Word we are exhorted to fear God.  Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.”  Does God want us to be afraid of Him?  Through Christ we have grown to know God as the God of Love, as indeed He is.  1John 4:18 says, ” There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Now we say Lord, I don’t understand, first you say that we are to fear You and then You say there is no fear in love?   How can it be both?  “If fear is the beginning of wisdom, then perfect love is the fulfillment of it.”  We would agree that hope is not faith, but it stands in the place of faith until faith is brought into fulfillment.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. (Hebrews 11:1).”  We fear God why, because He is the awesome, all-powerful, omnipotent, omnipresent, creator God of all of Creation.  In the Old Testament, to look upon God was to die; to experience His presence was almost beyond human ability to abide in it.  Many of us have grown up with a watered down version of whom God really is and as such treat Him as almost common or matter of fact.  God should never be seen in this light.  We who are in Christ have an assurance in our hearts where we know God through the love of Christ, but I think we have become disconnected sometimes with true honor, reverence and respect which He is forever worthy of.  This is the fear of the Lord.  We know that in Christ, we are in God and while He still deals with us in loving discipline, we no longer dwell in the fear of judgement that those outside of God must deal with.  When we come into the love of God through Christ, we come into a place where there is no fear in the sense of terror or dread because we come to know Father as Abba (Romans 8:15) or Daddy God.  Still we honor Him in His awesome greatness and yet we experience the acceptance and love of a Father for His Children.  We are able to climb up on His lap, so to speak, in that place of prayer and worship and sense the caress of His wonderful presence and love.  There is no fear in that place of unselfish exchange of love and relationship.
Let’s take a moment to look at the negative side of fear.  Our life is a system of balances.  When something gets out of balance it gets out of the will of God for us.  Fear is such a thing.  There is a spirit of fear that satan uses to torment us, make us afraid and paralyze us from accomplishing God’s will and purpose for us.  2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  It doesn’t say that He hasn’t given us any fear.  It does say that He hasn’t given us a “spirit of fear”.  A spirit of fear is a demonic thing that is a phobia of something that robs you of your faith and confidence in God.  It exalts some terror, apprehension, or fear above our confidence, peace and security in Christ.  Against such a spirit God has given us love, power and a sound mind to stand in faith and confidence in the Word of God and His Life that is in us.  Does that mean nothing bad can happen to us or that we can’t die?  No, it simply means that when we really have our confidence that God is our all in all and nothing touches us outside His will and purpose, we have peace not fear.  We know, that according to Romans 8:28, “… that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.”  When the disciples were rowing for their lives and crying out in the stormy sea for fear that they would perish, Jesus rebuked them because of the little faith.  The more the spirit of fear grips you and finds place in you, the more it will rob you of your faith and confidence in God.  This is the fear that God has given us the victory over through love, power and a sound mind.  Our faith overcomes our fears as we trust Him in the unknown, dreadful and uncharted places of our lives and life’s circumstances.  We have a hiding place in the abiding place of God.  He is a shelter from our storms; He is our deliverer and our salvation.   No matter what satan or life brings, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4).  Courage is a quality that rises up in the face of danger and denies fear its due.  Let us be God’s people of faith and courage that rise to every test in the fear of God, overcoming, “the spirit of fear.”

Blessings,
kent

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

A Principle of Life and Fear


If given the choice, most of us would be quite content to live a nice, safe, secure, healthy and relatively uneventful life.  In many ways, a lot of us have.  We need to ask ourselves is that really living or is that comfortably dying a slow death?
One thing fear does, is it gets us out of our comfort zone.  It often gets our heart racing and our adrenaline pumping.  Our senses come alive in the face of danger and uncertainty.  If we can see our lives in the light of the spiritual couch potatoes we would become if we never faced any trials, testing or adversity, then we can better appreciate why God allows them to come into our lives.
In order for our faith to grow it must be challenged so that our faith can come up to the level of our challenge.  Since fear doesn’t come to us from God then we must realize that faith is the antidote to fear.  Faith sets our eyes and attention back where they belong.  Looking to the Father.  When we realize that fear comes from our inadequacy, weakness and inability to control a situation, we either have to face it in the frailty of human ability or have a revelation of what God has given us to counter it with.  God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, but what He has given us is the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind.  We have a mighty arsenal to combat fear and to overcome it.  Fear only works as long as you are afraid.  When you are no longer afraid, fear has lost its power.  What the Word of God is telling us is that you don’t have to be afraid.  You don’t have to fret, worry or anxious.  What you need to do, is lay hold with faith and confidence upon God’s Word, His promises and assurance.  The more you fill your self with the Word of God and spend time in His presence; the more bold, confident and faith-filled you become.  For the enemy and the spirit of fear, you then become a force to be reckoned with.  The person who really has a revelation of their identity in Christ, who knows their position in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and operates in their God given and appointed purpose is a dangerous person to the enemy of fear and darkness.  The gates of hell can not prevail against that person.
An example of such a person was seen in David.  He was called, appointed, anointed and knew who he was in God when he confronted Goliath.  He didn’t fall into that trap of fear like the rest of the camp of Israel.  He came from a place of faith and authority, not his, but the Spirit of God in him.  Later, we see Saul, with all the resources and armies of Israel at his command pursuing David’s life, but unable to capture and take it.  He was that spirit of fear that pursued David, but was unable to prevail, because David put his trust and confidence in the Lord.
Was that an easy place for David? No, it was a very difficult place, but at that time David lived and walked with God closer than at any other time in his life.  Adversities are often allowed in our lives to stir us into faith.  They cause our spiritual senses to come alive and get our focus off of the world onto the Lord.  Fear isn’t always a bad thing, not because we want to succumb to it, but because we want the faith to arise in our hearts, along with the resident power, love and the mind of Christ to overcome all fear and the adversary that stands before us.  The force of opposition only serves to make us stronger.
We are sons and daughters of the Most High God.  Our Captain, King and Savior has conquered death and the grave.  He has set down at the right Hand of the Father until His enemies be made His footstool.  We are the body and feet of our Captain and King, Jesus.  He is putting the enemy beneath our feet, because we are His.
Someone once said, “You need to either get busy living or get busy dying.”  Our time for being complacent, lethargic and comfortable is soon coming to an end.  We need to make the choice to live or to die, life or death.  If we are going to live then we need to live out of the place where we pursue fear and it doesn’t pursue us.  We have to come into that place of having assurance of who we are and what God put us on this earth for.  We were not put here to be subject to this kingdom that lives under the rule and power of sin and death.  We live under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.  We were put here to invade this earthly kingdom with the kingdom Heaven, Life and God.  “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.”  We are God’s portals, conduits and well springs through which He invades the kingdom of this earth.  That is not going to happen through spiritual couch potatoes that are content with the leeks and onions of Egypt.  It is going to happen through an army of believers that are hearing the trumpet of war sounding in God’s camp and are responding to it.  If we don’t respond to God’s calling and come into that place of abiding in the Almighty and under the shadow of His wing, then soon the spirit of fear will arise and cover the earth and those who have not found their place in Him will be overtaken by it.  Father has not given us that spirit of fear,  He has given us the Spirit of Sonship, whereby we cry, “Abba, Father”.  We are His kids and we were born for this, so don’t allow fear to rule your hearts, but come up into the faith and confidence of who you are in Christ and trample fear beneath your feet!

Blessings,
kent

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