Abiding in the Vine

January 27, 2015

Abiding in the Vine

1 John 2:24
Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.

John, the apostle and disciple of Jesus, was very passionate about certain things. Two of the things he is most passionate about is love and relationship. I believe John was a man of the heart and when he committed his love to you it was constant from then on. One area of emphasis is the place of “abiding”. This word speaks of a place where we remain; we don’t depart from, we continue to be present. It is a place we last and endure in and a place where we survive and live. It speaks of a state or condition that is constant and a place where we wait for someone. This concept of abiding is one that Jesus is passionate that we catch a revelation of.
Abiding is a two way street. It is a place of exchange of living and giving, and loving and receiving. That place where we live and abide in our heart is the key to what our life produces. Jesus shares the reality of this truth in John 15: 1-8, ““I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” Our place of abiding in Christ is the place where we grow up into Him in all things. It is the place where He loves us, trains us, corrects us and prunes us. It is the place where He makes us productive and fruitful with regards to the kingdom. It is the place where we learn that our life is one with His and the blood that flows in Him, flows in us. We are of one life and one nature as we abide there. If or when we sever and separate our life from His then that fellowship and circulation of His life ceases to work in us and we begin to spiritually die. Outside of Him we perish spiritually.
God is a God of mercy and restoration and I believe that through repentance and the redemption of the blood we can be restored should we leave this place of abiding. Many of us may have walked away from Christ for a time, but hopefully all of us realize how dead we are inside without His life and fellowship. It is in the place of abiding that we are living in eternal life, for we are living in Christ. 1 John 2:1-2 tells us, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1 John 1:9 has told us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There is a place and provision for restoration when we fail, but our heart should be that we don’t want to fail Him. 1 John 2:17 tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Our abiding in eternal life is our abiding in obedience to the will and purpose of God. 1 John 3:6-9 tells us about the state of the believer in that place of abiding, “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” Our continual abiding in Christ is going to make us want to be like Him in every way. We are learning to love what He loves and hate what He hates. We are being conformed to His mind and transformed into His likeness from glory to glory. It is a process and a maturing, but it takes place as we abide in Christ.
It is important that we connect in our understanding our unity and oneness with Christ, if we are always seeing ourselves as outside of and apart from Christ then we always see ourselves separate and detached from Him. While our unity and oneness may not be in the manifest glory that it one day will be, we are robbed if we see ourselves as anything but one with Him. Otherwise we are trying in our efforts to live Christian lives and looking to heaven for God to help us. He has helped us sometimes more than we comprehend or have revelation of. He has placed His life in us and our lives are in Him so that we might live out of Christ and unto Christ. He is our being, we have become identified with His life in us, and we have disowned and are putting to death the former man that we were before Christ. We have to always remind ourselves that we are dead to our former identity and now our identity is in Christ where we abide in His love and His life. Lay hold of the truth of where you live, abide and have your being in Christ. It is Christ in you and His love that now lives through you as you abide in Him.
“These things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1 John 1:9 has told us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There is a place and provision for restoration when we fail, but our heart should be that we don’t want to fail Him. 1 John 2:17 tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Our abiding in eternal life is our abiding in obedience to the will and purpose of God. 1 John 3:6-9 tells us about the state of the believer in that place of abiding, “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” Our continual abiding in Christ is going to make us want to be like Him in every way. We are learning to love what He loves and hate what He hates. We are being conformed to His mind and transformed into His likeness from glory to glory. It is a process and a maturing, but it takes place as we abide in Christ.
It is important that we connect in our understanding of our unity and oneness with Christ, if we are always seeing ourselves as outside of and apart from Christ then we always see ourselves separate and detached from Him. While our unity and oneness may not be in the manifest glory that it one day will be, we are robbed if we see ourselves as anything but one with Him. Otherwise we are trying in our efforts to live Christian lives and looking to heaven for God to help us. He has helped us sometimes more than we comprehend or have revelation of. He has placed His life in us and our lives are in Him so that we might live out of Christ and unto Christ. He is our being, we have become identified with His life in us, and we have disowned and are putting to death the former man that we were before Christ. We have to always remind ourselves that we are dead to our former identity and now our identity is in Christ where we abide in His love and His life. Lay hold of the truth of where you live, abide and have your being. It is Christ in you and His love that now lives through you as you abide in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

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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

Poor in Spirit

September 4, 2013

Poor in Spirit

Matthew 5:3
Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

There is a parable that Jesus gave about a young man who thought he was very rich. He demanded his inheritance from his father and then set out to enjoy all that wealth. We find it wasn’t a long time before he had spent up all of his money on wild living and when all was gone, so were his so called friends. In the days to follow the young man came to a startling revelation. He was no longer rich, there was no longer security, there was no longer a family, or even daily provision. He was forced to take a job caring for pigs, just to share corn husks and trash food that was feed to them.
Many of us go through life and as long as our outward needs are met and things are going well we may never come to a revelation of how poor we truly are. It is usually when we come to the end of ourselves, our resources and feel the gnawing of hunger and emptiness in our soul that we make the discovery of how poor we really are. It is in the acknowledgement of this state that we are in a position to do something about it. Like the story of the Prodigal Son, we realize we are feeding on cornhusk and the emptiness of this natural life. Meanwhile our spiritual man is wretched, blind and naked. Even as Christians we can be so caught up in playing church and pretending religion that we think we have it all and yet that isn’t the way God perceives us at all. Religion may be among the things we acknowledge in our lives or a liturgy and practice we perform out of duty to God, but it isn’t our passion, our desire and our greatest need. We may be out of position with God altogether and not even realize it because we are going through the motions of life and spirituality.
How would we evaluate our relationship with Christ today? Would it be hot, lukewarm or cold? Many of us would have to admit that we are somewhere in the area of lukewarm.
“What’s wrong with lukewarm? That’s good enough isn’t it?”
That is not a good place to be, for the Word makes it quite clear that God doesn’t enjoy the taste of lukewarm. Revelations 3:15-19 may be the Lord’s personal rebuke and exhortation to us if we are in this state. “I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! 17For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. 19Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].” Our outward perceptions of ourselves are not always accurate and true. Many of us want to live out of a surface relationship with God like we do with many of our friends. You know how you meet an acquaintance on the street and you say, “Hi, how are you doing?”
“Oh, I’m fine. How are you?”
“I am doing well, thank you. Good talking to you. Have a nice day”
That about sums up the depth many of us may have with God. God isn’t real interested in surface relationships. He is a God of intimacy and depth. He wants to know and deal with the true and deepest issues of our heart and life, but we are always going around saying, “I’m fine, you’re fine, everything is fine.” We are living a lie. We are not acknowledging our true state before Him and He can’t meet us at our point of real need until we are willing to acknowledge how poor in spirit we truly are.
In Isaiah 66:1-2, God tells us, “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
2For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” It is only the person that acknowledges how truly broken, wretched, blind and naked they are that is open and ready to allow God to meet their need. Like the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father is ever looking for the return of His son, longing for him and never ceasing to love him. He can do nothing for him until the son gets a revelation of his true state of being where he is disconnected and out of fellowship with the Father; that is us. Only in the revelation of spiritual poverty can we acknowledge our need and know that it is only in intimate relationship with the Father God that our spirits are made rich and prosper.
What is the condition of our spirit today?

Blessings,
kent

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