We Have the Mind of Christ

September 22, 2015

1 Corinthians 2:14-16
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ

We Have the Mind of Christ

What a bold statement that the apostle Paul makes here when he says, “But we have the mind of Christ.” If you or I were to come out and say something like that many Christians might consider us heretics. It is made clear by what is written preceding this that we can’t make this statement if we are walking and reasoning out of the natural man. It is after we live and walk in the Spirit that we become spiritually minded and put on the mind of Christ. We can discern that the man who is not centered in the mind of the Spirit is often one that is a mixture of flesh and spirit. Most of us have seen or heard of someone who thought they were “the Christ” and were caught up in a God complex where they spoke as God. We all know of Jim Jones and David Karesh, for example, that led many astray and to a tragic end. Paul is not speaking in this context, because we never see ourselves as “the Christ”, we see that we are in Christ with the Lord Jesus being our head and yet He is bringing us into His likeness in mind and in being. Many are so afraid of identifying with Christ that they rob and deny the power of what He has called us to be in Him. Apart from Him we can do nothing, but as a part of Him all things are possible. Our faith is taking what God’s word says and counting it as so, even when the physical world and natural evidence doesn’t support it. Faith is what bridges the gap of time and space and the eternal. In Christ and in the flesh we stand between two dimensions and we are trying to reconcile who we truly are. In the natural we often see evidence in us that is often contrary to what we know we should be, but our faith renounces the old, repents of the shortcomings, sins and mistakes and then embraces God’s word and promise as to our true identity. Satan is always trying to convince us of who we are not, through feelings of unworthiness, condemnation, keeping our eyes on the natural man. Christ is saying to us, “Count that former man of the flesh as dead, as crucified with me upon the cross. Identify with me in resurrection life, for the power of sin over you is broken. You are a new and spiritual creation that no longer has to be subject to the law of sin and death. You have been called to be the children of God who walk after the Spirit and put no confidence in the flesh. As a part of your faith in identifying with me I am imparting my life to you and through you by My Spirit that dwells in you.”
God’s word provides our pattern of thinking and living. His Spirit is guiding and leading us into all truth. He is exploring our inward parts and revealing those areas that still need to line up with His nature and character. The difference is that the Spirit doesn’t bring conviction in us to condemn us, but to transform and change us. It is the man of the soul that must come into submission and obedience to this man of the spirit. As this happens our spiritual mind becomes more and more a way of our daily thinking and reasoning, for the natural gives way to the mind of the Spirit.
We have the mind of Christ, but it is our choice to embrace it and put it on by faith that leads to good works and righteousness.

Blessings,
#kent

Love and Obedience

June 26, 2015

John 14:10, 21, 23-24, 31
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. ..

Love and Obedience

The Lord began to show how much love and obedience go hand in hand in this passage from John 14. Jesus is coming to His final hour and the words that He speaks are both weighty and meaningful. He is clearly communicating with us as He speaks to His disciples that truth, faith and love are demonstrated through our obedience to what He has been teaching us through His word.
Our greatest revelation of the Lord comes through obedience. That is when we develop sensitivity to the Holy Spirit so that we hear His voice. The more responsive and obedient we are to that voice the more clearly we discern and know it. The Holy Spirit is like our conscience in some ways. Often we have a feeling or a knowing when something isn’t right or when we are doing something wrong. We can either heed that knowing or we can ignore it, rationalize it, justify it or just disobey it. Eventually it becomes less and less as we desensitize ourselves to it. We do the same thing with the Holy Spirit within us. That is why we don’t hear the Lord the way we need and should be hearing Him. So often we have shut Him out rather than do things His way. Jesus is saying our love for Him and the Father should sensitize us to the Holy Spirit. We should be so aware of His presence and responsive to His voice and dealings in our lives. This is what our love for Him should produce in us. It is a love for God’s will and His way rather than our own mind and our own will. Just as the Father was manifested through the Son, because of the complete uncompromising obedience to all that the Father commanded Him, so Christ will be more fully manifested in us the more we walk in complete obedience and submission to His commandments to us. The commandments, the teachings or the Word of God is God’s mind for us. It is His direction, instruction, admonishment and teaching so that we might be fully equipped and come into the maturity of who He is.
If we want to see more of God in our lives, then we need to love Him the way He has instructed that we love Him, through obedience to His Word. When we truly love God through our complete obedience and surrender to Him, we will become aware of His personal leading and direction in every aspect of our lives. To know Him is to love Him and to love Him is to obey Him. Jesus promises in John 14:21 that if we really love Him through our obedience then we are loved of the Father and Jesus says, “I too will love him and show myself to him.”
This is a key point to us in this hour that we become less focused on what our will and wants are and begin to focus on the will and purpose of the Lord for us at this time. We will find the key to that revelation in our obedience to Him. We must love Him as we never have before and with that love comes the complete surrender of our hearts and wills to His will. His commands are not burdensome, but they are life giving. There are times when God stretches us way out of our comfort zone, but if we are willing to obey and trust Him the reward can be tremendous. We will see, know and demonstrate God in ways that we didn’t even know were possible for us. Let us commit to love Him completely and fully through our obedience to His Spirit and His Word. In this place we will come to truly know Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Draw Near to Me!

April 17, 2015

James 4:7-9
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Draw Near to Me!

If there is one theme I hear in what God is speaking in this hour it is, “Draw near to Me!” The greatest asset that any of us can have in their lives is a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we know Him intimately and are in communication with Him consistently then we know that we are in touch with the resources to meet every need and challenge that life might bring. Many of us for so long have become intoxicated and drunk in the well being that we have had all around us. We, especially Americans, enjoy and have so much. We, as a whole, don’t wake up every morning wondering what we are going to eat, where we are going to find shelter, how we are going to provide for our families, how we are going to get to our job and how we are going to survive. We may not be rich in the sense of having great amounts of money, but by and large our needs are met and we enjoy many luxuries in addition to our basic needs. As whole, we probably have and enjoy more than about 80 or 90 per cent of the world’s population. We have been very blessed. There is nothing wrong with being blessed, but one of the snares that follows blessings is that we can become complacent in our faith and trust in God. We begin to look at all that we have and possess as the results of our own talents and resources. Because we have need of little, we often have little need for God.
The Lord is sounding a trumpet in Zion and He is sounding an alarm to awaken us out of our complacency and calling us to return to Him. The first order of returning to God is in the area of submission. “Submit yourselves then to God”.
Jesus tells it to us this way in John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” The presence of the Godhead abides upon the one who is willing to submit in obedience to God and His Word. Develop an ear that hears the still small voice of the Holy Spirit and then be quick to obey it.
Secondly, He says resist the devil and he will flee from you. Many of us exercise very little resistance. We willing take in whatever is put in front of us. We exercise very little discipline of our flesh rather it is what we take in mentally, visually, audibly or physically. There is very little difference between most of us and the world at large. God is awakening us to our state of being, not to condemn us but to prepare us. If we men were suddenly taken out of our present lifestyle and placed on the front lines of battle, how do you think we would fair? The enemy would cut through us like butter and in effect that is what he is doing now, because we have become fat and lazy through our life styles. What we are not seeing is the spiritual battle that is raging before us like an ominous thundercloud.
God is saying to us, ‘take stock of your condition and where you are physically, mentally and spiritually.’ He is saying, if you will begin right now coming near to me, I will meet you and come near to you. Start by washing your hands of the sin and filth of this world that you have allowed to come into you. Cease from being double-minded, spiritually minded one time and fleshly minded the next. We are like a Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde. Depending upon the place and the company we are in we are either spiritual or fleshly. We must be of a single mind at all times and that mind has to coincide with the mind of Christ. We all need to come to a true state of repentance where we honestly recognize and acknowledge the spiritual state we are in and then truly repent of it with true weeping and mourning. If we humble ourselves before the Lord and fear Him, He will lift us up. He will ready us for the days to come and preserve us in the darkest hour. Only hear His exhortation, “Draw near to me!”
There is only One that can preserve us when the world is overtaken in calamity. Your wealth, your reputation and position, your influence and all of your possessions can be gone tomorrow. They are temporal. You only have one sure foundation and cornerstone that cannot be moved and His name is Jesus Christ. Draw near to Him with all of your heart, your soul, your mind and strength. “

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

Feet?

November 13, 2014

Feet?

Isaiah 52: 7
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

What do we think of when we think of feet? Do you think of the often smelly, dirty, corned and callused little members at the bottom of your body that carries you through life? It has been very enlightening, as I’ve taken some time to go through all of the scriptures in the Word about feet. These little, often neglected, members of the body are spoken of quite frequently. They are definitely members of spiritual, as well as, natural significance. Our feet, so often neglected and taken for granted, carry us through our whole life. They have to support the weight and burden of the whole body. If they don’t work or they slip or stumble, they take the whole body down with them. Spiritually speaking this is significant as well, because the feet represent our spiritual walk. There are many aspects to the feet, but let’s look at this one first.
We have often heard the term, “ to sit at one’s feet”. Throughout the Word of God it is shown that at the one’s feet that you sit at, is often the one who determines the direction and the way you walk. The authority that we submit too, the ones we learn from and how that translates into our lives is our definition of “sitting at one’s feet”. There are many instances where people would fall at another’s feet. By that act they were showing submission, obedience, asking for mercy, humbling themselves beneath that one’s authority.
In Deuteronomy 33:3, Moses speaks of God, “Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction.” As a people of God we have at least mentally assented to the authority of God to order our ways. Deuteronomy 11:22- 25 tells us the significance of walking in His ways. “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him- 23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea. 25 No man will be able to stand against you. The LORD your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.” We begin to see a principle unfold that our authority and dominion is dependent upon the way we walk and who we follow. God is saying, ‘if you follow after me and sit at my feet these are the results you can expect to see.’ In Joshua 10 there is an account of a miraculous battle when five Amorite kings moved into position and attacked Israel. You may remember that this was the battle in which their was such great victory for the Israelites that Joshua prayed that the Sun might stay still in the sky so that he could finish the battle. In verse 24-26 the kings have been captured and it says,” When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. 25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening. “ This is a type of what the Word of God is instructing us to do with our spiritual enemies and the strongholds of our lives. We could even see it as being our five senses and living after our natural man. For it is our flesh that wars against our spirit, but our spirit man must prevail and put to death the flesh. Through the example of putting their feet upon the necks of these kings we are seeing that our enemies are put under our feet. The condition is that we have to exercise our authority and if we let the flesh live we will have to come back to fight it another day and it will always plague us and be a stumbling block to us as we see it was for Israel.
Joshua is such a strong type of our spiritual authority because he learned it at the feet of Moses and by seeing first hand the faithfulness of God. In Joshua 14: 7-9 he briefly shares a testimony of earlier days and its lesson. “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.” What is the lesson? Faith, that is steadfast, has the reward of an inheritance. That faith is demonstrated through a walk that follows after God wholeheartedly. Fear on the other hand is the contradiction and arch–nemesis of Faith. If we follow it, then it will be our undoing and our defeat.
Another case for this truth is seen in 1 Samuel 2:6-10, “”The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. 7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. 8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world. 9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
“It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.” If we will believe in the Lord and walk in His ways He will guard our steps and bring us to good success and it isn’t dependent upon our might or ability.
We see the spiritual reality of our enemies being put under our feet in Christ. While satan may have been deluded in that day to think that he had defeated Christ when he nailed him to the cross, he simply sealed the Lord’s victory and dominion. When the Lord was resurrected He ascended into heaven, He led captivity captive and gave gift unto men. He took the keys of dominion and authority back from satan and gave them to the church. He gave gifts unto men. He gave spiritual gifts and offices to His church for what reason? Ephesians 4:12-13 says, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Christ gave us the power to crush the head of the serpent under our feet. He did the hard part, He gave His life to redeem us back to God and take those keys of authority. Now He has sat down as it says in Hebrew 10:12-14, “12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Christ, the head has done His part, now it is up to the body to complete and walk out what He started. We are His body and as such, we are also His feet. It is not finished until satan is our foot rest and he has been put under the least and lowest member of the body. 1 Corinthians 15:26-26 says, “25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” The body must experience and lay hold of the fullness that is in the head. For it is Christ through His body that must exercise full dominion and power to put all things under His feet. Ephesians 1: 22-23 tells us, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” It has to be completed in us. God, in Christ, shared our humanity with us, so that we might share His glory with Him. Hebrews 12:5-13 says it so well, “5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8and put everything under his feet? In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.” 13And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” We are the feet of the Lord and dominion and authority is coming from the head through the body till the feet of Christ are rested fully upon the neck of satan as they were on those Amorite kings in the book of Joshua. He that makes us holy and we that are made holy by him are of one family and one body. It is the Lord and trust in Him that gives us strength to walk the path of faith and trust even in perilous and trying times. It is the Lord who strengthens us and gives us help in the battle to overcome the adversary. David expresses these very thoughts in Psalms 18:31-40, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God besides the LORD ? And who is the Rock except our God? 32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. 33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. 36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 39 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.”

Blessings,
#kent

Unity in Diversity

October 20, 2014

Unity in Diversity

Romans 12:16
[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Why is it we struggle so much with our human relationships with other people? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if everyone thought just like us, even if they could just see that the way that we think is the best way to do things? Unfortunately and maybe fortunately, we are quite diverse in how we solve our problems and deal with the issues of life. While that is not so much a problem if we are dealing with just us, it becomes quite a challenge when we are in relationships where we need to be in one accord concerning decisions and policies of how we want to do things. We all have different ideas of how something should be. Often it is not a question of one being right and one being wrong, except perhaps in their own eyes, it is more a matter of being in one accord and reaching a common ground where we can share and come into agreement though we differ in opinion and logic. This is the crux of life, whether it is in business and working relationships, marriage, family, the body of Christ, no matter what the relations, it is often a challenge to come into one mind. How do we find unity in the diversity of our personalities and ways of thinking and viewing things? Well, obviously the world has come up with many ways of dealing with these issues, monarchies, dictatorships, socialism, totalitarianism, democracies and even theocracy.
Perhaps you are struggling in a relationship today. In secular relationships we seek to have the mind of Christ and as Romans 12:18 puts it, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” What about our Christian relationships, our marriages and our families, these areas that we all struggle with daily? Unfortunately we don’t have a much better record at these relationships than the world does, but we should because we have what they don’t have, Christ. If we have committed ourselves to live our lives under the theocracy of God’s will then what our efforts should be focused on is not what my will or my way is or what yours is, but what is the mind of God concerning our decisions. Do we come to the bargaining table with different agendas and different priorities? How do we arrive at peaceable solutions? First, are all parties willing to lay down their rights, agendas and opinions to submit to what God’s will is in a particular area of dissension? Are we willing to approach our differences with respect for one another and our differences of opinion, realizing that we are all made up of strengths and weaknesses? Are we willing to give place to someone else’s gifting or strength in an area? Are we willing to lay these differences at the altar and unselfishly pursue the Lord’s will through praying together and seeking the mind of the Lord? That’s probably not normally our way, but it should be. Are we all honest in our dealings and can we bring our feelings under submission to the Lord? We often want to resolve our differences emotionally which usually only further polarizes us rather than unifying us. Are we willing to come with unselfishness in our hearts and pursue the end that best meets the needs of all concerned? Our God is a God of Peace and He wants us to pursue peaceable means through His love that is within us by being longsuffering, courteous, respectful and giving place to one another.
It comes back to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5).” He became a servant though He was Lord of all and laid down His life for us. We need this mind to be the servant of one another working, living and giving what is best for the benefit of others and not just ourselves. When we get ourselves out of the picture then resolution to our conflicts and differences becomes much easier. Love is about our desire to give and not just to get. The more this love is working in the hearts of all concerned the easier our differences will be resolved and we will find unity in our diversity.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:13-16).”

Blessings,
#kent

Practical Application for a Holy Life

Colossians 3: 1-3
1Since, 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.

The first thing we need as Christians is a revelation of who we are in Christ. In Christ, the former man with it natural affections has passed away and we are putting on a new man renewed in thought, purpose and deed; reflecting and producing the image of Christ. Colossians 3 is a great application for who we are and what we are becoming, as well as what we need to be doing to get there.
We start out by realizing positionally where we are at, “raised with Christ” who is seated at the right hand of God. We are in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God. We aren’t going to find many positions higher than that. We, who are in that position, have come to a new mindset different from the one we formerly carried. We must be a heavenly-minded people whose affections are on things above and not on things below, who walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Many of us are still holding on to that old unrenewed mind and earthly affections. It is bringing us down and robbing us of who we are and what we have “in Christ”. It is only as we behold Him that the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Colossians 3 is an instructional in the practical ways we are to become heavenly-minded and have a renewed mind. The first thing that it instructs us to do is often the hardest for us to put into practical application. Verses 5-11 instruct us, “Put 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.” Do you happen to recognize any of these attributes still lingering around your life? The hardest thing to put to death is our flesh. It has an instinct for survival and it will do anything, compromise anyway, promise to be good, it just doesn’t want to die; yet it must. We can see the value of keeping Christ and the Word of God constantly in front of us, so that we have a mirror of who we are in Christ and we don’t loose vision of where we are going and what our purpose now is. These little daily devotionals are just one more means I pray the Holy Spirit uses to continually prompt and exhort us in His ways and not our former nature. We tend to want to turn away and ignore the things that put a finger on our sin and our reluctance to yield certain areas of our lives to Christ. We all have our little weaknesses, our idols, and those things that our flesh covets and doesn’t want to give up. Yet, if we are unwilling, then we are living in rebellion and disobedience to Christ, we are not being true to who we are “in Christ”, thus we deny His best and His highest for us.
These scriptures tell us what we must take off, but what about what we must put on. God never takes anything away but what He doesn’t give us something better to replace it with. Verses 12-17 instruct us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God is in affect telling us to be clothed now with His nature, which is the holy apparel that is consistent with heavenly citizenship. The world around us must see something unique, different and special about the people who bear the name of Christ. If we are no different than the world, then we haven’t really changed identity or clothing. We are still living in the same old unredeemed man. Its not all about us going to church, or just talking about Jesus, or telling the world they are sinners bound for hell unless they repent; it is about a lifestyle and behavior that exemplifies who and what we are in Christ. That speaks so much more loudly than words. Give me a person that truly lives Christ before me and that will more quickly move me to change than all of the words and arguments they could give. When you put on Christ you don’t just put on different behavior, you put on a holy presence. It is a presence that exudes the love and power of the Spirit that you are of. God now has place and platform to glorify Himself through you.
Colossians 3 concludes by these instructions to the households of believers and the reminder that at the end of this natural life there is a reward and an inheritance. A reminder that it is Christ we serve and that if we choose to do wrong, that wrong bears its consequences without respect of persons. Verses 18-24 instruct us, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
Thus we have simply laid out for us the guide for living the practical Christ centered life that is consistent with whom we now are. Daily we present our bodies a living sacrifice and daily we renew our minds in Christ. We apply these practical instructions with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, that in all things we might be conformed to His life and live consistent with the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
#kent

Lean on Me

September 9, 2014

Lean on Me

1 Kings 18:21

Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, [even] upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so [is] Pharaoh king of Egypt unto all that trust on him. 

Through the exodus of Israel out of Egypt we can easily see the type and parallel of our spiritual deliverance out of the bondage of sin and the world.  We see how the Passover lamb and the blood applied upon the door post of Israelite homes was a type of the blood of Christ being applied to the doors post of our hearts when we trusted in Him and His blood to take away our sins.   We saw the Red Sea as a type of our baptism into Christ.  As we walk out on the other side of Egypt into a new life, we find ourselves there in the wilderness, our supply and dependence is no longer in Egypt and Pharaoh, but in God alone.  Pharaoh was that type of the god of this world, satan, who does everything he can to hinder and prevent our deliverance and salvation, but God is greater and the things satan intends for evil, God can turn to good.  Satan continues to come to us, as he did to Jesus in the wilderness, seeking to bring us again into bondage, submission and reliance on him.  

This parallel and type continues to carry through in our scripture for today.  It is interesting that the Word refers to the world and satan a bruised reed.  It reminds me of Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. ”  These were the words that God spoke to satan after the fall in the Garden of Eden.  The woman is a type of the Church with her seed bruising the head of satan and satan bruising the heel of her seed.   Romans 16:20 says, “And the God of peace shallbruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you. Amen.”  From this we can see that we are the seed of the woman and through Christ, satan is bruised beneath our feet.  So why would we want to trust again in this “bruised reed”?   Why do we want to put our dependence in a defeated foe and in that which is passing away?   The Lord is warning us not to lean on this bruise reed, because as surely as we put our trust back in the natural things of this world it will end up piercing through our hand.  One of the greatest pitfalls and the place where Israel grieved God the most is when they were being tried and tested, they wanted to go back to Egypt.  It is an ironic thing that people would rather go back and live in bondage and slavery rather than have to exercise faith in what they can’t see and what is not familiar to them.  

Recently we talked to a soldier that just returned from Iraq.  He was relating to us that the mentality of many of the people is they would rather have Sadam back than to have freedom and liberty from bondage and fear.  He said their reasoning was that even though Sadam was evil and did many terrible things, they knew what to expect and they were use to the way things were.  That holds true a lot with people being unwilling to let go of this world and all of the fear, bondage and slavery to sin that it brings to us.  We would often rather continue on in this natural way of life because it is all we have ever known rather than put our dependence in God.  We can’t see freedom.  It is like faith, it exist to liberate us into a higher dimension of life, but because we can’t see it and always understand and quantify it we want to lapse back into our former way of living, even if that is bondage.  

God is calling us to, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding,  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7).  In much the same way we in America are willing to sacrifice our lives for the freedom we have come to enjoy and live in, God wants us to have that same type of commitment to our faith in Him and in His Word.  We in America enjoy the highest standard of living of anyone one in the world.  We experience freedom and riches that most of the world can only dream about.  This is a type of what we have in Christ.  It was even said of Moses that he had such a revelation of God, “Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. (Hebrews 11:26).”  When we really catch the revelation of what we have and who we are in Christ we realize that even the downside of trials and reproach is greater riches than what the world can only offer us on a temporary basis.  Let our confidence, hope and joy be found wholly in Christ and His Word that is able provide all that we need and beyond.  Let us lean wholly on Him, ‘who is able to meet all of our needs according to His riches in glory.’  

Blessings,

#kent

In God’s Time

June 25, 2014

Exodus 7:6
Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD commanded them. 7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

In God’s Time

The calling of God can come at any time upon our lives. Some think they are too young and some, like Moses and Aaron may be in their eighties before they received their call. The important thing is not our age, but our readiness and willingness of heart. Moses actually provoked the Lord to anger, because he didn’t want to answer the call. He wasn’t eloquent enough in his speech to talk to Pharaoh he felt. God reminded him that all that he had was from Him, but nevertheless gave him Aaron to be his spokesman.
God knows your time and season. He has prepared you for it and He will enable you to perform what He has called you to do, regardless of the age when you are called. When we are called we always want to see ourselves after the flesh with all of our inadequacies and faults, but God has seen our heart and He wants us now to trust Him to perform His will and good pleasure. This is where our willingness and submission come in. We can all make excuses as to why we can’t do something, but with God’s enablement there is really nothing that we can’t do.
Listen to the Lord. Wait upon Him. Allow Him to direct your path, but be faithful and obedient to walk in the way that He shows you. Remember things are not always as they seem outwardly, so don’t judge all things after the natural understanding, but seek the mind of Christ. Wait upon Him; don’t run impulsively ahead of Him. He will work things out in His time and way.
Allow His peace to fill your heart. ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication make your request known before the Lord.’ When you listen to the Lord it is important that you get your heart still, so that there are no other voices distracting and confusing you. Listen and know His voice. Follow the Shepherd wherever He leads you to go and do whatever He gives you to do. This is His will concerning you.
When He gives you good success and you accomplish those things that you may have never once thought possible, don’t be deceived. This is one of our great pitfalls when we enjoy success and prosperity. We begin to take the glory unto ourselves. We plagiarize on what God has done and deem it as the work and accomplishments of our abilities and strengths. God warns his people of this very thing in Deuteronomy 8:10-20, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
19 If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.” It is a strong and solemn warning for all of us as His people to never forget where our blessings and our help come from. Let us never forget to acknowledge and praise Him for the work He has wrought in us and through, along with the blessings that He has bestowed upon us. God does not share His glory with another. To Him alone belongs all of the praise, dominion, power and glory forever and ever! Amen.

Blessings,
#kent

Kingdom Inheritors

April 1, 2014

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Kingdom Inheritors

Romans 14:17-18 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” We are not inheriting a kingdom of flesh, but of Spirit. God is making real to us who we are in Christ, that we are a spiritual and kingdom people being fashioned and transformed into His image and likeness. It is just as important to know who we are not in Christ. We are not what we used to be. We are not what we came out of. Those things have passed away and we are a new creature and creation in Christ Jesus. God makes it clear that His kingdom is not made up of the thinking, ideology and behavior of this world. Anyone that is still living and abiding in that paradigm in their thinking and living is not going to fit into the kingdom of God. If we want God’s kingdom there is only one way and that by being ‘washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’. The blood of Jesus is the only thing that has the power to transform our lives from the world that is lost outside of Christ to those are in Christ and become partakers of kingdom thinking, living and being.
The Corinthians in this text were having a hard time transitioning their thinking and being to kingdom principles and kingdom ways. The apostle Paul is telling them here that the former ways have no place in the kingdom. They are enmity to it. We live by a different standard and if we are not seeing the effectiveness and power of that kingdom, it may well be that things are not lining up in our thinking and living with kingdom principles and ways.
We have a righteous King of glory, Jesus Christ the Righteous, who is establishing His kingdom within the hearts and the lives of His people. If we consider ourselves His people then we need to find that place of complete submission to His Lordship. Most all of us would agree that we want to go to heaven when we die, but how many of us are willing to go there while we live? Ponder that question for a moment.
You see living heaven on earth is a place we find first in our spirits. Outwardly we still live in this world and as such we are faced with all of it trials and difficulties, as well as its pleasures, temptations and sins. Heaven comes to earth when we are living and walking out the life of Christ and the principles of the kingdom in our earthly life and vessel. We are the manifestation and expression of His kingdom in the earth. When we mix the two realms of flesh and Spirit we get a muddy mess. It is this muddy mess that defiles and taints the name of Jesus in the earth. The world sees in us a people that proclaims and preaches one thing, but then tries to live it out with natural thinking and human ways. No wonder they are put off by our hypocrisy. God gives us some grace here. We are growing and we are not fully matured yet, but it is important that our heart is after the kingdom of God and not the kingdoms of this world. Already we see them passing away and more than ever we are impressed with the truth that we must lay hold of His kingdom in mind, word and deed. Judgement is swiftly coming for the wicked, but our lives must stand as a testimony against all wickedness and perversity of men through the demonstration of righteous living and through the power of our love in Christ. We stand as a testimony to God’s alternative to judgement. We stand and walk with the light of hope and salvation for all that would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and turn from their wicked ways. Heaven is here, but it needs you as a vessel to reveal it and unveil it. The kingdom of God has come, is come and is coming, but we are the revelation of its presence and reality in this world. How will they know the King unless they see the reality of His kingdom in you and I? We are where the rubber meets the road and where spiritual principles become practical reality in our daily living and actions. If the wicked would see Jesus, they must see Him through us, not through our condemnation, but through our love and righteousness.
A kingdom principle is, that our gain is often in our loss, and our life is found in our death. Paul reveals it this way in Philippians 3: 7-11, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” This is a kingdom mentality and thinking. It is how we transition into the kingdom of God. We become the less that He might become the more, till He becomes our all in all.

Blessings,
#kent

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