God Outside Your Box

June 8, 2015

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God Outside Your Box

Don’t we all tend to like to make nice tidy boxes that we can nicely put God within the realms of our understanding, summations and definitions. Wouldn’t we all feel so much more in control if we knew that in this situation God was going to do this and in that one He would do that, but we are in God’s box, He is not in ours. Despite all of our theologies we cannot harness God. He defies our test tubes and analysis. Yes, there are things that we do know about Him. We do know that He is love, justice and holiness. We see so many of His attributes revealed in His Word and know that these wonderful attributes are what He acts out of. We know His Word is that which we can depend upon and which He will fulfill. Even though He is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can never limit Him to our understanding or fully grasp what there is to know about Him. If our God has limitations it is only because He has placed them upon Himself for our benefit and out of love for us.
Isn’t it ironic that God has given us a free will? Through that free will we have rebelled and sinned against Him. We have often denied Him, forsaken Him and tried Him. Yet when we see the hurt, destruction and death that our sin brings upon the earth we want to turn and blame God for allowing this to happen. We say He is not doing anything about it and yet He has already done it through His Son Jesus Christ. He has made a way, but it is still our choice and choosing that leads us out of the path of sin and destruction. Even though we are Christians and have made the choice for Him it doesn’t negate the effects that this sin-laden world can have on our lives. We can still experience its calamities and trudges just like everyone else, because in this body we are still part of this fallen race.
While in this body we still experience the limitations of our humanity, but what is different about us is that within our spirits we also experience an unlimited God. We often struggle with the fact that God doesn’t seem to act in our behalf the way we often think that He should have or that we prayed that He would. Does that make God in effectual or does it just mean that God is working in ways that we don’t understand and fully comprehend? Is God truly indifferent to our needs and cries or is there something of a higher order at work beyond what we see, feel and experience? How many times have we looked back in our experience or that of others to see that the tragedy, failure or the calamity that we felt God failed us in was the very thing that shaped our lives? It may have been the very thing that led us into the destiny and calling of what He had called us to be? This is why we mustn’t judge God prematurely when we don’t think things are happening according to our understanding and our ways. Often God is at work outside of the box of our understanding moving in ways that are infinitely higher than our immediate cognizance. What God asks of us is that we trust Him. Even when we don’t understand His hand we must trust His heart. God is working all things after the counsel of His divine will and purpose. Life will have its tragic and painful moments. Know that God is not insensitive to those places of our deepest hurts, but those are sometimes the birthplaces of our greatest miracles and triumphs. It is not necessary that we always understand what God is doing or why He does or does not move in the way that we pray. We must not make the mistake of trying to limit God to our understanding. He sees far beyond all that we could ask or think.
We often wrestle with why bad things happen to good or innocent people. Often it has do to the principles that operate in a world where sin has been sown. Just as God rains upon the just and the unjust, so sin and tragedy happen to both as well. What we are learning is that we don’t live according to the principles of this world, but in our spirit and out of our spirit we are living according to principles of the kingdom of God and His dominion. In that place we trust in His Lordship and His sovereignty, not always according to our understanding, but according to our faith. Can you still trust God even when you don’t understand and He doesn’t fit within your box?

Blessings,
#kent

BATTLE CRY!

March 9, 2015

Revelation 12:10-11
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

BATTLE CRY!

What I am hearing in my spirit is NOW is the kingdom come. The battle is upon us and the day of preparation is at hand. Ready yourself for battle! Put on your spiritual armor and sharpen your sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Make strong your shield of faith. Place well your breastplate of righteousness. Gird your loins and your reproductive powers with truth. Put on that helmet of salvation wherein your mind is renewed in Christ and you operate out of the covering and paradigm of His kingdom life and power. Protect your mind from powers of doubt, fear and unbelief. Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, for you are about to carry it and demonstrate it in the earth. All these things are as Ephesians 6 teaches us, “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.” Get it out of your head that you are just trying to survive and make it through. We are a violent people and a spiritual force to be reckoned with. God is empowering, training and preparing you for the hour we are coming into. We are going to do things that we have never done and experience things that we have never experienced because the manifestation of God Spirit is going to be so mighty through us.
We know that Jesus is the prototype of what we are becoming. We know that as 1 John 4:17 says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” We are standing in the day of judgement. This is our hour and the day has come. Either be prepared in your spirit to face it or be judged by it. These are sobering times, not just in the realm of economy, but in the realm of the spirit. We can readily see wickedness waxing worse and worse before us. There is no more time for spiritual sleep and slumber for this is a day and time for action. Hear this, people of God, as a trumpet from heaven calling you to prepare for battle, for it is coming whether you are ready or not.
In Matthew 11:12 it says, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Ask yourself what happened from the time of John the Baptist? Jesus came manifesting the kingdom. Principalities and powers of darkness had overrun this kingdom of heaven, but now the King of Kings has showed up. He is the violent One that is taking it by force. The sick are being healed, the blind see, the lame walk, evil spirits are cast out and the even the dead are raised up. How about it people of God? Are your ready for some spiritual violence? The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you (Romans 8). These are powerful times in the spirit realm. If you are being shaken in your life it so everything that can be shaken will be and everything that is not of God will be burned up so that you may come forth in purity, righteousness and in the power of God. The gospel will no longer be in word only, but with the demonstration of the Spirit and power. God has to change our old way of thinking because He is moving us into a new age and time. His kingdom is coming and we had better learn how to operate out of it.
You are a new generation. You are called to be spiritual warriors and overcomers. This is a day for radical faith and uncompromising confidence in the One we serve and love. It starts in you by stepping out right where God has you and with what He has placed in your life. What is in your hand? Like Moses, throw it down and see what the Lord will do. Be faithful to declare and speak His kingdom right where you are at and into the peoples lives He has placed you with. This seed of faith will grow into a mighty tree.
What that violent Jesus started He is going to finish through His people for He has set down at the right hand of the Father until His enemies be made His footstool. That means they are put under His feet and who are the feet of Jesus but you and I? These are dynamic and exciting times! Get up and get dressed. Put on your whole armor, for the battle rages before us!

Blessings,
#kent

Two Trees

February 16, 2015

John 6:44-59
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Two Trees

Most all of us are familiar with the story in Genesis of Adam and Eve and how God placed them in a garden. In the midst of that garden were two trees, the tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said of all of the trees of the garden you can eat the fruit thereof, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you do you shall surely die. Sure enough, when Adam and Eve yielded to temptation and partook of the fruit of that tree, death entered into the human race and the Pandora’s box of all of it consequences. Before this day it was perfectly acceptable to partake of the tree of life. We have come to know this tree as Christ Jesus who brings us into fellowship, unity and oneness with God. After the fall, the tree of Life was cut off. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden; a mighty angel was stationed there to prevent their return. They know longer knew the realm of personal fellowship they had once experienced with God. They now lived in the realm of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was not all evil, good did exist there as well, but it was a mixture and was subject to the will of the flesh.
What we actually are hearing Jesus say here in this passage from John 6 is that the tree of Life has been returned to us by the Father to bring us again into a state of fellowship and personal relationship lost through the ages since Adam. Romans 5:18-21 says, “18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Once again we have been given access through the tree of Life back into the realm of Spirit and God is Spirit. There, in that place, we can once again walk with Him, talk with Him and find His rest. In that place we have unity and oneness in Christ and are a part of His family experiencing adoption as sons.
Here is a paradox. Just as the partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil caused Adam to die to the spiritual dimension of God and at the same time become alive to the realm of the flesh and soul, we who, now come into Christ and partake of the tree of Life, must also die. This death is now to tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the flesh and the soul, so that we can become alive in the Spirit and experience the eternal life of Christ. The apostle Paul gives us the key to this revelation in Romans 5: 1-14, “1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
Where we struggle is that even though we become identified with Christ in His death and resurrection in our spirits there is a process of possessing and conquering the land of our soul and body. Just as God gave the Promised Land to the Israelites, they had to go in and conquer the land. Possessing the promise and disposing the former inhabitants in our case of the un-renewed mind, will and emotion; along with the giants of our imaginations and strongholds. Their victory was not in their strength, but it was in the reliance and obedience to the One who had promised. It is our identification with Christ, who He is and what He is, that is our victory within our own mortal being. When we take our eyes and identification off of Him then we find ourselves in the realm of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Which tree are you going to continue to eat from?

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

Our Father, Guardian and Instructor

Proverbs 13:1
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

Why is it that God’s people should read and study the Word of God? Why is it that they should listen and read from Spirit Anointed men and women? Why are prayer and meditation so important?
As God has given us earthly parents that for a short time to teach and correct us, Our heavenly Father is continually our guardian, instructor and corrector. Hebrews 12:10 tells us, “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” Isn’t that our goal and destiny as people of God, to share in God’s holiness and nature? Isn’t this our new nature as we have been born again by the Spirit? As the wife and I read through the book of Proverbs we can’t help but be impressed with this message, ‘God will give us wisdom and life defining principles that will give us good success, long life and immortality. The condition is that we must take heed to listen and follow in these principles and ways of life. We all know that we have areas of weakness, failure and folly in our lives. We need correction, for without it we will perish. This is what distinguishes the wise from the foolish and the righteous from the wicked, the righteous and wise son will heed, receive and embrace correction and rebuke. He will not be offended by it because he knows that it is working life and godliness in him. Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Now none of us are overly fond of correction, because it generally hurts our ego or our flesh. Many of the trials that we endure are a form of correction, not because we are bad, but because God is exercising us in faith and in application of the principles and tenants of His Word. How do we get good at anything? Isn’t it by much repetition and practice? We are in God’s boot camp and His training ground for developing and exercising righteousness and right living. How are we going to know the right responses and ways to handle our trials and the circumstances that life throws at us if we don’t study the manual and listen to instruction? This is why we want a close walk and relationship with the Lord so that we can hear and discern the Holy Spirit’s voice. He is our personal teacher and life coach. He will teach us through our everyday life experiences if we are tuned in and listening to Him. Most of us are so busy blasting through life our own way we rarely give time or attention to even inquire or listen for the Holy Spirit. I wonder why we struggle so?
The wisest and richest man in the earth wrote Proverbs. Much of what is shared in Proverbs is a contrast between wise and foolish, simple and knowledgeable, righteous and wicked and life and death. We are continually instructed on right response and behavior and wrong response and behavior. It makes plain to us the consequences of our response and choices.
If any of us have had rebellious or disobedient children then we can relate with what the Lord puts up with in us. Somehow they can’t receive the fact that you are telling them things and limiting them from things that will result in their hurt. They perceive it as you being overbearing, unfair and just out of touch. As a result they choose to go down the hurtful path that results in pain and suffering for all. Many of us are certainly no different when it comes to obeying God’s Word.
We want to challenge you to read a chapter of Proverbs every day for a least two years and see if it doesn’t change your life, your finances and your situation as you begin to put these principles and proverbs into practice. There are thirty chapters, one for each day of the month. What Sharon and I are doing is reading a new chapter and then we reread the chapter we read the day before to reinforce it. God’s Word will change us if we will not only read it and hear it, but seek to give it application in our daily lives and circumstances. This is what develops holiness in the fear of God. This is what gives us faith and life and hope in every situation. Take the challenge and prove God’s Word. His promises and His Word will not come back void, they will work positive changes in your life. God is a good God, a wonderful and loving Parent and One that is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

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

Come unto Me

October 29, 2014

Matthew 11:27-30
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28″Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Come unto Me

We have a gift and an inheritance that so relatively few have. The Lord has made Himself known unto us and has drawn us to the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit which has quickened the reality and truth of Him to our spirits. What the Father has given us is life and just as we came into this natural life and drew our first breath we have come into the spiritual life of God and have drawn our first spiritual breath. Now we live and move and have our being in Him. We didn’t labor to enter in, but someone else labored over us. They travailed that we might be brought forth in Christ. It was not us that chose Him; it was Him that chose us from the foundations of the world. He has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His harvest.
We hear Him as He speaks to us, “Come unto Me.” What He is asking from us is not a labor; it is not our works or our goodness. We are called to take upon us the mantle of His spiritual life. That calling is not about works, but about rest. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Some of us have been so stressed. We have struggled to try and please God. We have wrestled with our sin and our unworthiness. We have come to the point where we have felt failure, defeat and condemnation. The arms of the Lord are extended toward you today and He is speaking to you, “Come unto me. Come and rest in my arms, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Religion often becomes our taskmaster rather than our revelation of Christ. It so often demands of us, uses us and often it manipulates us to its own ends and purpose. We often feel that if we fail at religion we fail God. The Lord has come to lead us into His Sabbath rest. It is a ceasing of us and even our good efforts and it is a release of ourselves into His rest.
Do we do spiritual work in this rest? Yes, but it is not our work, it His work through us as we learn His voice and move in obedience to His Spirit. We want to struggle to redeem this old man, but this old man is dead. Let go of him and embrace the new creation you are in Christ. This new man is birthed in the likeness of Christ and every expression of our being; it is this spiritual man that we want to now express. We see this new creation man represented and exemplified through Jesus. Did Jesus struggle to do the work of God or did He just come into His presence and fellowship? It was there that He found the will and purpose of God for each day of His earthly travels.
If you are tired and you want to find that rest, then take His yoke upon. His burden is light, because He is your strength and wisdom to carry out His will and purpose for your life. What He has called you to do, He will enable and provide for you to do. Don’t be anxious, just rest.

Blessings,
#kent

Kindness and Severity of God

September 10, 2014

Jeremiah 4:8
So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us.
Isaiah 60:5
Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.
Kindness and Severity of God

Today’s passages come from two totally different aspects that represent both the kindness and the severity of God. Even in the severity of God, He is working to bring all things to His purposed end. He is able to deal with His people in whatever means are necessary to accomplish that purpose. Our faith and obedience to Him or the lack of it often determine our choice in this process.
In Romans 11:13-24 the apostle Paul teaches this, “13I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
We see then that the severity of God has worked to our salvation and our being grafted into the tree of God’s family and people, but it will also work to the ultimate reconciliation and restoration of natural Israel. Then we two branches will become one spiritual Israel unto His glory. Even within our lives now we see both the kindness and the severity of God. We love His blessing, but He also gives of His correction because Hebrews 12:4-12 reminds us, “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? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Within the severity is contained the same love as in His kindness. We often reap what we sow and bring upon ourselves the need for His severity, but even in that severity it is to lead us to repentance and turn us back to Him. God’s severity is not His first course of action and with great longsuffering He often forbears our sin and rebellions. Romans 2:4 speaks of how God desires to deal with us, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? We are most often the ones that forsake our own mercy and provoke the severity of God.
This doesn’t mean that our sin or failure brings on all of the trials that we go through. Often it is these trials and tribulations that are most likely to cause us to keep our eyes and attention fixed upon Him. God’s sternness is to those who fall away, but His kindness is to you provided that you continue in His kindness.

Blessings,
#kent

Are You Putting Me On?

Galatians 3:27
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Let’s talk further of our spiritual wardrobe and how we are to clothe our whole man. The Word says that when we were baptized or immersed into Christ we have put on Christ. The struggle isn’t that we don’t have Christ, the struggle is with our thinking and old ways of behavior that must be transformed to the mind of Christ. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Just as we choose each day which clothes we are going to wear, we make choices, either knowingly or unknowingly, about our mindset and how we are going to think and act. It can be all too easy to fall back into the rut of our former way of thinking and behavior because we fail to acknowledge who we are, how we should think, and consequently how we should act. We fail to come into union and alignment with the Holy Spirit on a constant basis to enable us to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh.
There is an active decision going on each day in us to press into and follow after Christ. Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that we are to give ourselves daily to renewing our minds; “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We are continually to pursue and put on that mind of Christ that walks by faith in our Father and not by the sight of natural things. This is a way contrary to our natural thinking and our former behavior. It is an area we must give ourselves too as we seek to come into concert with the Holy Spirit within us. Colossians 3:8-15 continues to give us further insight into the direction of this exchange and transformation, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.
And above all these things [put on] charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” The word is exhorting us to make right choices about our spiritual wardrobe. It is the reflection of who we really are in Christ. When Paul exhorts women about their outward apparel in 1 Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” he is simply saying let the outward man reflect the inward man. What we are inwardly should show forth in who we are outwardly.
Our spiritual man is not just about an attitude or way of thinking, it is also an armor and protection against the powers and influences of darkness that are ever there to tempt us, distract us, and undermine our authority in Christ. Romans 13:12 tells 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.” Ephesians 6:11-13 says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Paul goes on in this passage to explain the different parts of the armor and their spiritual application to us. We are not dressing to go to the mall; we are dressing for battle and spiritual warfare. If we fail to see the significance of our spiritual garments and wardrobe, then we are going to find our selves in those old sweaty garments of the flesh and spiritual defeat. Those aren’t the garments of heavenly attire. How does our Father want us to dress? ” But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof] (Romans 13:14).”

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

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