Strongholds

June 28, 2017

Mark 3:23-27

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

Advertisements

2 Corinthians 10:3-6
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

The Power of God’s Word

We most often readily receive and act upon medical advice and legal advice. We follow the recommendations of our insurance and financial advisors. We even follow a lot of the advice given to us through media, television, print and the Internet. Often, we are an open funnel to receive and act upon advice from many sources. Don’t we often follow the opinions and advice of our friends and associates? In all the answers that we seek in life, how much is God a part of our direction and decision making?
Now I am not saying that we can’t get good advice from other sources, but our first source, our first trust and desire for direction, answers and solutions should come from our seeking God through His Word. Most of the answers to life’s questions can be found there. We are all caught up in a world of convenience and quick solutions to our problems. They are often like fast foods to our souls; they lack real substance and nutrition. What we so often forget is that we are a people that can operate out of a higher realm and authority than does the rest of the world. We can more readily understand the spiritual implications and powers that are at work in many of the situations that surround us.
Our first line of defense, our first resource and first confidence should be faith in God’s Word and the accessing and unlocking of that power through prayer. God has given us resources in Him that exceed any that we can find on earth, yet, so often, we turn to Him as our last option, rather than our first. We need to stir up our faith to step out upon the promises of God, to trust Him, rely upon Him and in all of our ways acknowledge Him so that He can direct our paths.
Spiritual warfare is often not easy and it doesn’t come without opposition, but it will lead us to victory and freedom in Christ that we will never access through a dependence that is upon the world and its resources. When we truly allow God to go before us, He is able to unlock and open doors that we could never open. He is able to open to us blessings that we would have never received. There are untold resources in heaven at your disposal, but it takes an active faith and trust in God’s Word to lay hold upon them.
Perhaps you are living in bondage to strongholds in your life. The only way that you will truly experience freedom is through Christ and the power of His Word. Dare to lay hold of the promises and apply them daily to your life. Often the answers and solutions come to those who wait upon the Lord. There are things taking place as we pray and believe God that we don’t even know about. Don’t give up, if God has given you a word, continue to stand upon it. In His time all things come to pass. Meanwhile fight the good fight of your faith. Know that your strength and your power are in your God. Lean not on your own understanding or upon your own strength. Find that power and that life that resides within you and live out of Christ. He is the Word and the power in your life.
In Him you have spiritual authority, power and victory.

Blessings,
#kent

Roots

January 30, 2015

Matthew 3:7-10
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Roots

Roots in our lives come from seeds that were planted either in our lives or perhaps the generations before us. Roots go down into the recesses of our soul, but they produce fruit upward. That fruit can be good or bad, selfless or selfish, spiritual or fleshly. Like any good garden it is the gardener’s desire to enhance the fruitfulness of the good plants and to pull out the weeds that want to choke out what if fruitful and good. What happens to a weed if we only pull off what we can see? We know that if we didn’t get the root, the weed will grow back. Such are the areas of our lives that the good Gardner, the Holy Spirit wants search out in us and root out.
William Law wrote, “Self is the root, the tree, and the branches of all the evils of our fallen state. We are without God, because we are in the life of self. Self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking, are the very essence, and life of pride; and the devil the first father of pride, is never absent from them, nor without power in them. To die to these essential properties of self, is to make the devil depart from us. But as soon as we would have self-abilities have a share in our good works, the satanic spirit of pride is in union with us, and we are working for the maintenance of self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking.” He perceived that the major root of sin and separation from God is self. When Christ came into our lives it should be as John the Baptist said, “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” All that was built upon the foundation and has the root of self in it must be cut away. That root must be cut out, along with all of the other off-shoot roots that it produces.
Many of us struggle in different areas of our lives. We may pull them off for a time, but then they seem to continue to come back, sometimes even stronger than before. The question is, “Have we found the root?” Unless we trace these strongholds back to their root they may be hard to get free of. Somewhere we or an ancestor as opened a door for a spiritual attachment to come in and find root. It doesn’t mean that we are possessed or anything, but it does mean that there can be a strong soul tie to something that needs God’s axe to sever and separate us from it. It is something that we recognize the fruit of in our outward life, but we haven’t fully identified the root of it and then renounced and cut off that soul tie to it. Sometimes these roots like those of our wisdom teeth can become candy-caned and intertwined in the areas of our life where it is a process of identifying, renouncing and cutting off these roots by the power and authority we have in Christ Jesus. Nothing ever leaves our lives until we have fully repented of them, renounced them and no longer give them permission in our lives. We can go through the motions, but until our will is one with the Father, these roots will not be fully extracted.
Hebrews 12:15 refers to one such root. “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Bitterness, offense, unforgiveness are roots that are prone to try to get a hold of members of the body of Christ. If we don’t recognize and deal with them they can cause division, dissention, backbiting, gossip, slander and all manner of poisonous manifestations that would defile the many. Prejudice is often a root that is passed to us from previous generations.
The Holy Spirit has indwelled us to bring us into the nature, mind and character of Christ. We need to have intimacy with the Father and the time in the Word so that we can say like David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24)”
It is only as we partner with the Holy Spirit that these roots can be identified and cut out. If we want a weed free garden, then it starts with our renouncement of self in every area of our lives and the full surrender to Christ as our Lord and King. As we give the Holy Spirit permission He will search our hearts and reveal things to us that we then must renounce, repent and surrender to Christ. This is an ongoing process in all of our lives, but the more we work in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to give Him place the more freedom and liberty in the Spirit we can come into.
A lot of us want to continue to sweep our issues under the rug and just ignore them, but we are only robbing ourselves of that place of greater fullness through a wholly surrendered life to Christ. Find your roots.

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

The Children’s Bread

November 4, 2014

Matthew 15:21-28 (Amplified)
And going away from there, Jesus withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
22And behold, a woman who was a Canaanite from that district came out and, with a [loud, troublesomely urgent] cry, begged, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is miserably and distressingly and cruelly possessed by a demon!
23But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us.
24He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25But she came and, kneeling, worshiped Him and kept praying, Lord, help me!
26And He answered, It is not right (proper, becoming, or fair) to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.
27She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little pups (little whelps) eat the crumbs that fall from their [young] masters’ table.
28Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you wish. And her daughter was cured from that moment.

The Children’s Bread

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray in Matthew 6 part of that prayer was, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I see the Lord’s Prayer as an outline for us to structure our prayer and worship time before Him. One of the first things that I think about when I think about daily bread is that first and foremost we must do as John 6 says. We must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood. He is the bread of life. If we miss our daily nourishment of Him, we’ve missed the most important meal of the day. So many of us put our spiritual man as our last priority when it comes to feeding ourselves. We must realize the importance of daily feeding our spiritual man from His substance and His life, for out of Him are the issues of life both for the spiritual and the physical man.
Secondly, I remember this scripture in Matthew 15 as I prayed for my daily bread and the Lord brought it to mind that as believers in Christ Jesus that we are the true Jews and heirs according to the promise. Romans 2:29 tells us, “But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.” If I am in Christ and if we are true Jews then healing and deliverance is our bread for we are His children. As surely as I can ask and trust Him to give me physical bread, I can ask and trust Him for the bread of healing and deliverance. If Jesus was willing to give this to the woman who was outside the faith of Israel, because of her worship, persistence and faith, how much more should He be willing to give it to His children who approach Him in like faith?
Thirdly, our daily bread is tied to our natural provision. In Psalms 37:5 David says, “I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” God is the provision for His children. In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus teaches this kingdom principle, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Here is a kingdom principle that God gave me, “In the center of God’s will is the center of your purpose.” This is where He wants us to be focused. If we are too concerned and worried about the earthly things we will miss the higher purpose of God for our lives. I believe that God has great blessing in store for the people of God who will come together to labor on building God’s house and not their own. If the Father has called us as joint heirs in Christ to come along side of Him to establish His temple and His house then we can trust that He will provide the means to do it. All of the gold, the silver and the resources of both heaven and earth are at His disposal.
“Lord help me not to fight and struggle to keep what “I” have, but simply embrace Your provision for me. That may not look what I have known or what my natural thinking tells me, but we are now a spiritually minded people who are being transformed into your thinking and the mind of Christ. Thank you that You are my every provision for my spirit, mind, soul and body. You are my Bread of Life, You are my healing and deliverance and You are my physical provision as well.
Lord I pray for your body and the people of God that you will break every yoke of spiritual strongholds, debt, poverty, sickness and spiritual oppression. We come in Your Name declaring your Word and Your lordship, power and dominion over every need in your body.
Lord give us this day, our daily bread. In Jesus name, amen.”

Blessings,
#kent

Temptation

October 30, 2014

Mark 26:21
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.

Temptation

Temptation seems to always want to come and visit us in our weakest moments, entice us with its sweetest fruit and numb us to the consequences of its poison. Lust and desire are strong aphrodisiacs no matter what level or place in life they come to us. They always seek to turn our heads from who we are in Christ to who we were. In Genesis 3 we see the beguiler as he comes to rationalize with Eve that what God said wasn’t so and God just didn’t want her to partake of what would make her like Him. God warned Cain in Genesis 6, “… sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” We all, like Cain and those that have gone before us, are often caught up in our mind, will and emotions where we rationalize and court sin. It so often starts so subtly with the innocent and seemingly harmless things, just like a fish playing with the bait on a hook until before we know it the hook is set and we are being reeled into the depths of our sin that can lead us to strongholds and addictions.
In our passage from Mark 26, Jesus sees this happening even to His own disciples as He cautions them, “watch and pray”. Like them. many of us go through a time of spiritual victory and strength where we tend to let down our guard and think we are no longer vulnerable to the temptations of sin. What Jesus speaks to His disciples, He speaks to us. “Be vigilant, watchful and mindful of the cunning strategies of the enemy. Your spirit may be strong and willing, but your flesh may not have the resolve that you think that you have in your spirit. Given opportunity, it will want to indulge itself in those areas where it is weak and vulnerable.
Our spirit, in unity with God’s spirit is the strength we have to reign in the flesh with its desires. While we no longer have that appetite for sin, we all fall prey to it at various time and in various ways. What we all now have confidence in, is that even if we make a mistake, we no longer live in the realm of the law of sin and death, but in the realm of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We know that in Christ we have an advocate with the Father who ever lives to make intercession for us and if we fail 1 John 1:5-8 reminds us of the message we have from Christ. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”
God warns us even about the company we keep. Where our hearts are our actions will follow. 2 Corinthians 6:14 -18 exhorts us, ” Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.
17″Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
18″I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
While we minister the love and righteousness of God to the world, it is no longer the place of our fellowship or abiding. We are a people separated out of the world and unto Him, so our affections are set on things above and no longer of things beneath. It is as we maintain the identity of not who we were, but who we have now come into that we live in Christ through the power of His Word and Life. We are no longer conformed to this world as Romans 12 tells us, but we are transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus.
Remember that the war that you are in, is not one of flesh and blood. The enemy is as 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, ” Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He is looking for our places of weakness and vulnerability. And Jesus says, the mission statement of the devil is “to kill, steal and destroy.” He will always entice you through logic and lust into sin and then condemn you for it. Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us that we are in a war and not a casual relationship with this world and the spirits that seek to rule it. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
We must not only be mindful of ourselves, but pray and watch out for one another. The enemy is always trying to catch us on our blindside and your brother may be able to see what you have been blinded too. Let us watch one another’s back in love, not in judgement or condemnation. Together we stand as one man to defeat our foe and overcome temptation. We need to watch and pray, not only for ourselves, but for one another. Together we must stand helping, ministering and exhorting one another to be strong, resisting the devil so that he will flee from us. The serpent only feeds on dust. Your dust has been redeemed through the cross so that you walk no longer in the former dust and lust of your flesh, but live out of the life of the Spirit of Christ in you. In that place he has nothing to feed upon.

Blessings,
#kent

Spirits of Influence

June 28, 2014


Romans 13:12-14

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

 

Spirits of Influence

 

There are three primary wills that are operating in our lives today: the will of God, the will of man and the will of satan.  We have the right and the good on one side, the evil and the darkness on the other and we are in between.   We know that we are a spirit being, with a soul made up of mind, will and emotion.  Then we have a body that is able to physically and outwardly express that which is resident in our spirit and our soul.   We find that our souls are the battleground for that which possesses our spirit and that which manifests itself through our outward man.  

As a Christian we have asked Christ to come in and indwell our spirits.  This is the beginning of our salvation experience.  While we have given our hearts and spirits to Christ, what we find is that there still remains spirits of influence in our outward man that continue to seek to find a place of residence and expression through our mortal man.  

Why is it that as Christians we still display so many attributes of the flesh?  It is because there is still a mixture in our soul of flesh and Spirit.  When the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the promised Canaan land, it was filled with inhabitants already.  The inhabitants were an idolatrous and wicked people.  The absence of the presence and working of the Spirit of God in that place had left it like a fertile field overgrown with weeds, thistle and thorns.  The possession of the land was through a physical and spiritual dispossessing of the former inhabitants and the spirits that possessed them.  

In our souls today we may well be struggling with spirits of influence that may be quite contrary to the Holy Spirit.  Each one of us has strongholds and weaknesses that the enemy seeks to infiltrate and exploit to his sinister end and purpose.  There may be areas that we are able to overcome relatively easy and have no real power or influence over us, but there are other areas that we struggle with and may feel constantly defeated in.  

Satan feeds on flesh.  In Genesis 3:14 the Lord curses the serpent, satan and says, “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.”  If we ask the question, “what dust does he eat?” we find the answer in Genesis 3:19.  “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”  Our bodies and our flesh are the dust that the serpent and his demonic host feed upon.  When we are in Christ, satan’s only right to us is through our flesh.  Satan had nothing in Jesus, because Jesus didn’t operate out of the flesh, but out of the Spirit.  This is why Romans 13:14 exhorts us to, “put on you the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lust thereof.”  What we feed, grows.  When we give place to those areas in our lives that are our weaknesses and areas of temptation then they grow stronger and stronger the more we give them life and place.  The stronger they become the more they bind and imprison us.  This is how the enemy gains a foothold in our lives and through time is able to destroy our testimony and faith.  This is the purpose and the goal of the enemy, to rule us with condemnation, guilt and shame.  The more these strongholds gain place the more isolated and unworthy we feel of God, thus the more we are separated through lack of faith, fear, doubt and condemnation.  

The reality is God has never stopped loving us and caring for us.  The blood of Jesus has never lost its power of forgiveness, but satan has found occasion through our sin to cause a separation between our God and us.  

Freedom is in laying hold of the key of faith that will unlock the door to our prison.  God has already set us free in Christ. It is our minds and the deception of the enemy that holds us captive.  The Word exhorts us to denounce the works of darkness.   Romans 13:12 exhorts us, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”  Our liberty is in putting on the armor of God’s Word and truth by faith.  ‘There is no more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  We will no longer walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit in Christ Jesus.”  By the Spirit we will put to death the deeds of the flesh and we will take back the land of our soul and mortal bodies through the authority and the power of Christ in us.  We have reckoned ourselves dead unto sin and alive unto Christ.  We will press on, overcoming in that truth.   “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)”  

Don’t allow the spirits of influence to rob you of your destiny and your purpose in Christ, 

“ But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].”]

Blessings,

#kent

Lift Up a Standard

June 20, 2014

Lift Up a Standard

Matthew 6:13 (NLT)
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

All of us have had strongholds and weaknesses in our lives in which we were prone to sin and perhaps still are. When we came to Christ we found the truth of Ephesians 4:8, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Jesus suffered and died to break the power of the enemy over our lives. He bound the strong man of the house (satan) and loosed the captives held in sin and bondage. That was you and I. Romans 6:22 says, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” And Romans 8:2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
How many of us have enjoyed the freedom we found in Christ, then one day have satan show up on the doorstep of our soul with the temptation to partake again of those things from which we had been set free? James 1:13-16 says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” So we know the temptation doesn’t come from God, but many of us know the slippery slope it has led us too and many of us have slid down that slope, feeling the shame and disgrace of again giving place to those temptations that led us into sin.
Jesus told his disciples when they were in the Garden with him just before the Passion, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak. (Matthew 26:41).” The flesh we live in is our weakest link in living a victorious life in Christ. While we have been set free from the sin nature, the power and temptation of sin can still influence our soul as it stirs up those former passions and desires. Jesus said this in Luke 12:39, “And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.” If you are the good man of your spiritual house and you knew that at a certain time satan was going to come to you with a particular temptation, you would prepare for it and strengthen and fortify that area so that you would not yield to that temptation. Check the doors of your spiritual house. Have we left an access open, windows or doors for temptation to find its way into our house? Have we failed to rid our lives of all the avenues that sin can again have access into our souls? Lock the windows and doors of your soul, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1Peter 5:8).” This is why we must watch and pray always, maintaining a vigil against the temptation that wants to come and entice us back into sin. The spirit man in us must be the strong man in our house as we are identified with Christ and each day we are to be walking in the revelation of our union and oneness with Him.
Isaiah 59:19 says, “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” That standard is the Word of God and our faith in it. As Jesus used the Word to defeat devil’s temptations in the wilderness, so it is our standard by which we establish in our own hearts the righteousness upon which we stand.
Have we slipped back into those former sins? Are we tempted to do so now? The blood of Jesus is there to provide the way back. God does not want us beaten down by the condemnation of our failures; neither does He want us to remain in them. Reach out and take hold of the hand of Jesus. He is there to pull us back out of that miry clay and set our feet again on solid ground. 1John 1:9 is His outreached hand of grace to us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We must find our victory, not out of condemnation, but in the love of whose we are. Wrap your spiritual arms around Jesus, let Him be the passion and desire that is above every other. Satan will come knocking at our door, but 1Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].” Run away from the temptations that comes your way and run into the arms of Jesus that He might show and provide for you the way of escape. He is our standard, our banner and our victory.
The Word of God gives much mercy and grace to be forgiven and to turn from our sin, but it never gives us justification and excuse to continue abiding in it. It is where we change our direction, not our pretense of righteousness while we continue in sin.
Pull up all of those markers where sin has marked our life. Make a righteous declaration of faith based on what the Word of God says we now are in those places in Christ Jesus. Allow righteousness define you, where sin once defiled you.
When we harbor the fugitives of our repentance we are still in collaboration with the enemy of our soul. You can’t conquer the ground in the places where you are still giving place to the enemy.
True Christianity is not an ideology or a theology, it where we walk as Christ walked and where His Word becomes flesh in us. If we love God we will keep His commandments.

Blessings,
#kent

Heart Issues

April 28, 2014

Heart Issues

Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

What are your heart issues today? What is the source and the outflow of what is in your heart? Our heart deals with the motivation of our soul. Out of that motivation of our being is the direction and the resulting fruit of what our life will produce. The heart is a precious thing to God. It contains the attitudes and desires for the things of life or the things of death. Most of us through the course of our lives may be very distraught with ourselves because we see our lives going in directions that we know are destructive, contrary to the will of God and what is best for us. Inwardly, if we are the Lord’s, there is a grieving of the Spirit of God within us. There is an inward crying out of our spirit not to continue in those ways. Our heart is divided between flesh and spirit. There is war in the heavenlies of our soul. Sin and darkness battle for possession of our heart, but you have made a choice. At some point in your life you opened up your heart and asked Christ in. You confessed your sin; did you also renounce the works of darkness? Sometimes when we are saying yes to the Lord, we still aren’t saying “no” to the flesh. We wonder why we find ourselves with a heart for Jesus, but also a strong compulsion for sin. Have we been diligent to guard our heart or have we left open doors for sin and darkness to come in? This is a hard area, because it is often hard to see ourselves and really judge our motives without our mind and flesh trying to justify it’s position.
If you are on the Lord’s side and you really want Him to be Lord of your life, will and emotions then you have to be willing to allow Him to have complete Lordship. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Without the Holy Spirit’s supervision and our permission to really allow Him to have His way, even as Christians, our hearts can become very perverse. Usually it comes about subtly as we have opened the door perhaps in what we thought were innocent ways. One day we start to become painfully aware that things are out of control and we don’t seem to have the strength and will power to stop them. The issues of our heart are producing sin and death, much to the dismay of our inner man, who is standing there, inwardly crying out, but weak and helpless. We cry out to God, but we still find ourselves overpowered by the strongholds of sin that has overtaken us.
Look around your life. Have you shut the doors and windows of your soul to the damning influences that have brought this corruption or are they still wide open for these demons to walk in and out of? The first step to guarding our heart is to close all the door of our senses, sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to the influences that have taken over and are defeating us. It is in guarding and renouncing all impure thoughts and desires of our mind. When these sources of entrance are cut off you will have made a major first step. Be aware that you will not be able to do this in your own strength. You must ask the Holy Spirit’s help to free you from the bondage of your heart. We must take the Word of God as our sword to speak by faith what the mind and will of God is in our circumstance and weakness. He, His Word, is our authority over the strongholds of darkness. Ask Him to show you every in-road satan has in your life and cut it off. Your flesh will cry out and protest for all it is worth because it doesn’t want to die. It will ultimately relinquish anything if it can maintain some small place in your heart. Beware of the weed that is cut off at the surface, but whose root remains for it will spring forth to live again another day. Ask the Holy Spirit to continually show you every area that sin can gain entrance and get rid of it.
If you are struggling with heart issues, then you need help in the battle. Surround yourself with strong and godly people that can pray for you and help you be accountable in these areas of weakness. James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Leviticus 26:8 tells us, ” And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” This is a spiritual principle of warfare that we are much stronger when we are not trying to stand alone.
The third thing is that it is essential to give these unredeemed places in our hearts back to the Lord. Begin to totally saturate and baptize and immerse your heart back into Christ. Let Him come in and fill up the desolate and waste place that vanity and sin have left in their wake. Many times we turn to sin because we are not satisfying the spiritual longing of our heart. Pursue spiritual things and let the Lord fill your heart with His desires. Let Him move you out of that stronghold of sin, turn it around and let it become a weapon against the enemy.
God loves you with an everlasting love. He doesn’t love you more when you are good and less when you are bad. He loves you always. God is restoring His people in this hour. He is calling us out of the throes of worldliness and ungodliness and calling us back to be a separated people, a sanctified people for His possession and glory. God is interested in our future, not our past. He has provided His blood to cover our past blunders and sins, but to continue in them is to crucify the Son of God afresh. We are not the world’s toilet bowl. We are the sanctified, redeemed and holy consecrated vessels of the Lord. We are His dispensers of spiritual life, mercy, justice, loving kindness and salvation. We must get our hearts right with the Lord and then guard them with all diligence for out them are the issues of life, His life.

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

%d bloggers like this: