The Favor of the Lord

June 10, 2014

Psalms 67:1
God be merciful unto us, and bless us; [and] cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

The Favor of the Lord

Did you know you are the object of the Lord’s favor and blessing today? Today as Father looks upon you He says, “Because you are my blessing in the earth, so shall I bless you.” Yes, you are blessed and highly favored of God. You are His child and He relishes in the very thought of you. You haven’t escaped His attention even for one minute.
You may have thought He didn’t care, or He didn’t hear you when you prayed or He couldn’t possibly love you with all of the adversity you are going through or the places you know you’ve failed. What you may forget is that because Christ is in you, He walks with you through every adversity and trial you face. Again, you may have lost sight of who you in Christ, because you have become so identified with the trials that are pressing in upon you.
May I remind you of another character in the Bible that was blessed and highly favored of God. Job 1:6-12 records this dialogue between God and satan, ” One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.”
May I propose to you that satan has no power or authority over you unless he be given permission by the Father. Remember Colossians 3:1-3, it tells you where he has positioned you. “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.” For satan to get to you he has to get through God and Christ, because that is where you are hidden. May I also suggest that while satan may think he has power and control God uses him as a smith and an instrument to perfect His saints and bring them into the authority of who they are and destined to be in Christ. He is simply an instrument to bring us into our destiny. Without a battle there can be no victory, without and adversary there can be no overcomer. Strength and power are developed out of opposition and resistance. God allows certain things to touch our lives for our ultimate good and triumph, not because He is mean of vindictive.
What does Romans 8:28-30 say? “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Believe me, when Job went through his trial he wasn’t experiencing what seemed to him to be the warm and fuzzy side of God, but God through those trials was transitioning him into a place of priesthood and double portion ministry and living.
Don’t despair because you are in the place of trial and testing. It only speaks to the fact that you are highly favored and blessed of God. “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (Hebrews 12:4-7)” Be encouraged beloved and highly favored of the Father.

Blessings,
#kent

Higher Level Living

March 5, 2014

Matthew 5:11-12

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


Higher Level Living


What is our natural response to insults, verbal and physical attacks, slander, gossip and false accusations?  Isn’t it to fight back, justify, retaliate and begin attacking our attackers.  Suddenly we find ourselves drawn in and participating in the same fleshly ugliness of those who attacked us. We have come down to their level and are fighting with the same carnal weapons they are.  We are opening our hearts to be influenced by the same spirits that are influencing them.  

“An eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth,” some will say.  Funny you should say that because a little further down in Matthew 5:32-42 Jesus says,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”  

Wow, that is pretty unconventional wisdom by this world’s standards and wisdom only a few are willing to walk in.  

Why?

Because it denies all of “my” rights.  It is asking me to give up and renounce what is “mine”.  It is asking me to return good for evil and it imposes seemingly unfair demands upon “me” as a person.  It  seems to be letting injustice prevail and our rights to be taken unfair advantage of.  

When we can all walk in the principles that Jesus gives us in Matthew 5-7 it is probably a pretty good indicator that we are getting very close to being dead unto self and alive only unto Christ.  For us to willingly walk in the principles that Jesus is describing means it can no longer be about me, but only about exemplifying and living out of  Christ.  These are the principles that He walked and lived by.  The reason He could is because His heart and affection weren’t upon His natural man or the things of this world.  

We all have our possessions and things we have worked hard for.  We all have our reputation and our dignity to uphold.  It so goes against our grain to be taken advantage of or exploited or to be spoken falsely about.  

What Jesus is telling us is, there is a higher level of kingdom living that most of us never touch or  really know because we are still so connected and attached to this earthly kingdom and realm.  Many of us still think that the political candidate or president is going to determine the fate of the world, the nation and my well being.   We may believe if others aren’t of our particular denomination or persuasion of belief they are going to hell or will miss it and yet how many of us are really living these principles of Jesus?  

What we all need as believers, who say we love Christ, is a deliverance from a lot of our materialistic and capitalist ways.  They are not His ways, but what the world has taught us is true and valuable.  If we are not of this world then why are these things still so important to us?  The truth is most of us are really living out of a lower level of life and values than what Christ has called us too.  

Sometimes we don’t think much about it until we are put in those positions where we must choose between the conventional wisdom of this world and the wisdom that is from above.  If you want to really stand out as odd, even among most of the Christian community, try truly walking in the principles that Christ lays out here.  

Finally Jesus really stretches us even more in verses 38-43 by saying,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Jesus is calling us to a higher place.  It is not a realm where we can operate in conventional wisdom or even love with conventional love.  It  is place that we can only operate out of, by His Spirit and His Agape’ love.   It is a place where our self identity can not live; only our identity in Christ.  It is a place where we need to thank God for our enemies, because they are the only ones who can help elevate us to this realm of living and being.  Are we ready for a higher level of living?

 

Blessings,

kent

Let’s stretch Ourselves

October 24, 2013

Let’s stretch Ourselves

Luke 6:27-36
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Jesus tells us to do some things here that are pretty contrary to a lot of our human nature. I would venture to say, that in all of us, we probably aren’t fully walking in what Jesus is telling us to do in this passage. Let’s arm our selves with these instructions that the Lord has given us and as we go out each day let’s endeavor to stretch ourselves, step out of our comfort zone and the way that we have always done it. Let’s step out of our character and into His. Let’s do something radically kind and generous. Let’s endeavor to be a blessing to all that we meet, especially those that are irregular people in our lives that we struggle to even tolerate, let alone like them. Put on the mind of Christ today as you look out and see your world. See it through His eyes and His love. What would Jesus do? How can I get out of my thinking and into His? Bless someone in a spontaneous and unexpected way. Forgive that person who has offended and hurt you. Refuse to retaliate when others abuse you, treat you wrongly or speak unkindly to you. Return blessing for evil, love for hate and kindness for unkindness.
Let’s dare to be different today. Let’s dare to let the Lord stretch us and use us in new and uncommon ways. That means we have to step out of the character of who we have been and into the character of who Christ is and wants to be within us and through us. Go out and assault your world with random acts of kindness. Take the time to tell others how special they are and what a difference their life makes to you. Edify those around you. Be thankful that you get to go to work and that you have a job. Let everyday be another great day, because Christ is living in you and through you.
Dare to let go of the things that you hold onto so tightly. Rest in the Lord that he is your provision and your supply. As 2 Corinthians 8:15 says, “As it is written, He that [had gathered] much had nothing over; and he that [had gathered] little had no lack.” There are untapped resources within us waiting to be released, as we are willing to stretch into the Lord’s principles and commandments. How many times have we read this passage and others like it, but how much of it is actively working in our lives and everyday behavior. What Jesus speaks here is not often seen in natural behavior. Jesus wants to stretch us out of what we have been that is like everyone else and stretch into what He is. If He has commanded us to do these things then He has provided the resources for us to do it. Are you willing to stretch today?

Blessings,
kent

His Touch

October 2, 2013

His Touch

Job 5:17-19
“But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the chastening of the Almighty when you sin. 18 For though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal. 19 He will rescue you again and again so that no evil can touch you. “

No evil will befall the man that is touched by God, for God’s hand is there to perform what works to a man’s righteousness and salvation. As a surgeon who cuts with a knife, so is the hand of the Lord. For He is not willful to destruction, but every incision is perfect and precise.
There is pain. The pain is a reminder of our sickness and disease. It is that which has attached itself to us and would destroy if it were not for His touch. Our sickness of sin is unto death, but the hand of the Lord delivers unto life.
We have cried out in our pain, “God deliver me, heal me, touch me.” It may well be His touch that pains you and yet it is a pain unto deliverance and salvation and not unto death. Often the removal of a disease is more painful than the disease.
There are many things that men can do, but there are certain areas that only God can touch. The pain that touches our lives will cause us to either run away from God or it will cause us to run into Him. The hand and touch of the Lord is both severe and gentle, both kind and ruthless. It can wound, but it can also bind up. There are many areas that God can put His finger upon in our lives and sometimes more than one. There are areas in many of us that He is touching today. It may be in our health, our finances, our relationships, our job, but all these avenues are leading to our heart and the work He wants to do in each one of us. If He destroys, it is that He might recreate. If He afflicts the body, it is so that He can heal the soul. If He takes our gold, it is so that He might replace it with gold tried in the fire. There are areas in each one of our lives that only God can touch, only He can make them right, only He can deliver and only He can heal.
We all need God’s touch. It was Adam’s touch and taste of the forbidden things that brings us to where we are now. We have had the same heart, the same nature and partaken of the same fruit, but God is doing something so that we might partake of another tree, the tree of life and another fruit, the fruit of the Spirit. God doesn’t sadistically hurt us. His pain is for our correction and for our salvation. We need not despise Him for it, but run into Him with a contrite spirit and a heart of repentance.
Job was the most righteous of men and yet the Lord allowed a great affliction to bring forth His man into His priesthood. He would be a man of not only great integrity, but also a man that would stand in the place of intercession for the sins of others. Are we such men and women? Are we willing to maintain our integrity before God in the face of great pain and affliction or will we curse God and turn from Him? He bought us with a price. We belong to Him. Are we willing to allow Him to have His perfect work to be done in us, so that out of that pain can come healing, deliverance and life? In order to enter into the fullness of what God has for us, we must be willing to pass through the fire, whatever form that takes. We only need look at those in the Word who went before us to know that it was not an easy way, but it’s path was the way of life.
When we cry out for a touch from God, understand it doesn’t often come with instant solutions and gratification. It is a process that leads us into life.

Blessings,
kent

Buffet

September 18, 2013

Buffet

2 Corinthians 12:7
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

The word buffet means to strike with the fist, give one a blow with the fist, to maltreat or treat with violence. This is one of only two places where this word occurs. In both cases the outward violence is prompted by a spiritual influence. Here Paul speaks of the afflictions in his flesh brought about by a messenger of satan. The implication here is that God permitted satan to afflict or beat up on Paul for the purpose of keeping pride in check.
The other scripture deals with Jesus, when the religious leaders are examining Him. “And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands (Mark 14:65).” We might observe that these buffetings were physical afflictions or attacks brought by satanic influence, but permitted by God.
The question then becomes why does God allow bad things to happen to good people. Why would God allow Jesus or Paul or any of us to be buffeted by satan, especially in light of the fact that he is a defeated foe. Hebrews 5:8-10 tells us of Jesus, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” The one principle we learn here is that in the place of suffering we learn obedience and submission. Paul says this in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” When we desire and press in to rising above our earthly state we are often met with great spiritual resistance. Of course we cry out to God, but God doesn’t always immediately remove our trial and test. Perfection in us is not brought about by our deliverance from every unpleastantry, but by our steadfast fast faith and obedience to overcome in the midst of trial and testing. It is counting God faithful even in the face of failure, defeat or loss.
Why would God be so hard on us? The condition of every precious jewel and precious metal, in it’s raw state, is mostly earth and dross and impurities, that’s us. God is the master jeweler, the great potter and the master craftsman of His creation. What He is working in you and I are nothing short of perfection and stunning beauty in His eyes. What we feel in the process is often rejected, persecuted, abused, afflicted, cast down. We are not so unlike Paul’s description in 2 Corinthians 4:7-8, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” Satan is simply a tool or hammer in the left hand of God. While Satan may have delusions of destroying our faith, God’s intent is to test it, try it and temper it, dealing with it and burning away all of the impurities. He is giving us eyes for only Him, so that no matter our circumstance, rich or poor, sickness or health, success or failure, Christ is all and in all. Like Paul, we cry out for God to deliver us, but often His answer to us is the same that He gave to Paul, “My grace is sufficient.”
You are not enduring this buffeting because God hates you, or despises you, or is mad at you. You have been counted worthy to suffer the cross. You have been called to come into the ranks of the saints who ‘overcome by the word of their testimony and the blood of the Lamb; and they loved not their lives unto death (Revelations 12:11).’ Revelations 12:17 says, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This is you and I.
If you are buffeted today rejoice in the love of God and that He has counted you worthy to be the ultimate instrument of His victory, glory and praise. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:37)”.

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: