Call to Worship

November 16, 2015

Psalms 95:1-11
1O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
3For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
8Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Call to Worship

Do you want to be blessed today? If so come with me before the King of Kings, let us sing unto the Lord our God and Maker. Let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! Let us exalt Him, praise and magnify His Holy Name. If you want to experience joy then get glad about Jesus. Think upon all His wondrous works throughout the ages and then think upon all the things that He has personally done in your life. We are the products of His loving grace and mercy. No one should know the joy of the Lord like we do. “Oh come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our God and Maker. For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His Hand.” Can we truly comprehend what that means and how privileged we are to be His? Could we ever acknowledge and thank Him enough for the riches of His love toward us? When we come into His presence with joy and thanksgiving how can we be anything but happy and blessed. The deeper we enter into worship the richer His presence and joy becomes. Let us not neglect so great a privilege as we have to be His worshippers and the magnifiers of His great and Holy Name. For all things are through Him, by Him and for Him. We are created for Him, to be His children, to delight in our Papa God. He delights in you and so greatly loves you. When we honor Him in our praise, our worship and our thanksgiving, then we have the privilege of blessing His heart, for He delights in our love for Him.
It is somewhat strange that this Psalm would end on such a somber note, but it is a warning to us of how quickly our hearts can become hardened and we can lose sight of our great and illustrious King. Even though we know Him for who He is, we can, and still do, err in our hearts. It says “and they have not known His ways.” Let us walk carefully lest we also forget our God, tempt Him, grieve Him and provoke His wrath.
When we acknowledge Him day by day. When we spend the time to be with Him in the Word, prayer, praise and worship. When we center our world and lives on Him, then we come to know Him, delight in Him and know the peace that passes understanding. In this place we enter into the place of His rest, for we cease from our works and all that we are about. Our purpose is to be about the Father’s business, expressing that through our everyday lives and duties. Let every expression that we are be an act of worship and praise unto Him. We are a privileged generation of kings and priest that our God has ordained to magnify His Holiness. Unto Him be all praise forever and ever! Amen

Blessings,
#kent

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Keep to the Path

September 4, 2015

Proverbs 4:18
But the path of the just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Keep to the Path

There are many and diverse paths that we can take in life, but there is only one that we should be focused and sure to stay on. It is the path of the justified in Christ, the path of righteousness, the path that is leading each day into light that is shining more and more unto the perfect day. It is when we stray from this path that we begin to err from life. There are many exhortations from the Lord and many prayers from the saints to stay true to this path. Psalms 27:11 says, “Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. “ Psalms 119: 35 speaks, “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.” Psalms 119:105 continues saying, “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” These scriptures acknowledge the importance of learning and keeping to the path of the Lord. We see that it is the Word of God that is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path. It shows us the way and so we continually rehearse it and put it before us so that we might keep to the path.
The book of Proverbs, in teaching us its wisdom, instructs us in like manner. Proverbs 1:10-18 warns against following the pathway of sinners. “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. 11 If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for someone’s blood, let’s waylay some harmless soul; 12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13 we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; 14 throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse”- 15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16 for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood. 17 How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves!” It exhorts us to avoid the temptation of hanging around bad company where we can get caught up in the snares of the enemy and stray from the path of life. Proverbs 2:6-8 tells again how to find and maintain our walk in the path of righteousness, “For the LORD gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.” Proverbs 4:10-15 give us this advice, “Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. 14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” Finally we are left with this godly counsel in Proverbs 4:20-27, “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. 27 Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
It is imperative for us as the children of God to maintain diligence in holding to the path of the just. That requires that we maintain a vital relationship with the Lord in fellowship, prayer and in His Word. It means that we are always examining our ways to make sure we are not deviating from the path that Jesus walked before us.
There may be times when we find ourselves off of that path and out of the way then what do we do? In Isaiah 30:15-18 the Lord says this, “This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” 18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” The Lord is waiting for you, repent and keep to the path.

Blessings,
#kent

When I am Weak

August 20, 2015

When I am Weak

Psalms 6:2
Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I [am] weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

Show me Thy ways and I will aspire to walk in them,
Impart unto me Your strength that I might carry them out,
Give me Your heart that I can have like passion and commitment,
Take my will that Yours may be done.

Father, we often faint in the heat of the day,
Our eye dims and our desires begin to stray.
Please take my hand and lift me up,
I keep wanting to sink in this miry clay.

Life can be good, but it is also hard,
It is not always easy to keep up my guard.
Often I grow discouraged with myself,
I want give up on my spiritual health.

Like a diet gone bad,
Sometimes I just want to give in to sin.
“Ah, what’s the use?
I’ve already blown it again.”

Yet the cross compels me not to give up,
It can’t be in vain that Christ drank from that cup.
I can not give place in my weakness to sin.
Would I drive those nails in His loving hands again?

Lord, I cry out in my weakness to You,
Help me not my old ways to pursue.
They never brought me peace or joy before,
Help me, oh Lord, not to open again that door.

You know my frame, that it is weak,
But my eyes are on you, and it is You that I seek.
Let it be no longer I that lives,
Help me lay all on the altar to freely give.

For my death, You give me Life.
For my heartache, you give me Peace.
For my sin, You give me Righteousness.
For my failure, You give me Salvation.

Your Word have I hid in my heart,
That I might not sin against Thee.
It mirrors Your Love and Grace,
When my eye grows dim and I fail to see.

Keep my feet in that narrow path,
I want to know Grace, not judgement and wrath.
Grace that takes me to a higher standard than law,
Grace that restores me in those times I fall.

Lord, You are my everything,
Without You I really have nothing.
Help me when I grow frail and weak,
May it be Your Life within me and Your words that I speak.
Kent Stuck

Blessings
#kent

Our Desire, Our Blind Folly

2 Samuel 11:1-5
1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”

Most all of us are familiar with the story of David and Bathseba. It was a love and lust story of tragic proportions. Why would David, this man after God’s own heart and champion of Israel do such a thing and make such an error in judgement that would lead not only to adultery, but murder as well?
One area we see in verse 1 is that it says this was a time when kings go off to war, but David doesn’t, he sends Joab out while he stays behind and hangs out back at the palace. The old adage, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” seem to hold true here. When we are bored, with time on our hands, it is fertile ground for the enemy to come in and lead us astray. This would appear to be the setting in which we find David at this time in his life. Life is good, no more running for his life, fighting giants, fighting battles, finally the days of middle age have come. He’s got money in the bank, chariots in the stalls and he is enjoying the good life. That can be a very dangerous place spiritually for many of us.
Now if someone had told David prior to this what he was going to do, he would probably have been appalled, shocked and perhaps angry, protesting that never would he do such a thing. Do you find that when you are headed into temptation and desire is drawing you into it’s embrace that your mind just starts shutting down as far as rational reasonable thinking goes. It’s like we put this wall between us and the voice of reason that are screaming, “are you crazy, what do you think you are doing?” This obviously is what is going on for David at this time; desire and temptation have overridden all logic, reasoning and spiritual gravity this great man should have had. He just goes headlong into sin and contrary to the Spirit and law of God that he so loved and held dear to his heart.
Some of us have found ourselves in similar situations in our lifetime; maybe some of us are facing such a circumstance now. We can’t even begin to see the disaster, heartache, scandal and damage it will reap. What’s worse is, that we don’t want too, our desire is so strong that it is like a blindfold over our spiritual discernment and right judgement. Often, like David we look back in retrospect, after reaping the consequences of our actions and think how did I let this happen? How could I have been so foolish? We are creatures who have had wicked and deceitful hearts that are prone to sin. We all can easily fall back into the areas of weakness and temptation in our lives if we don’t continually guard our hearts. It is an important principle that we continually be about our Father’s business not just idly doing our own thing, enjoying the good life and allowing our imaginations to be fertile ground for temptation and sin to grow in. If we are continually setting our minds upon the Lord in prayer, worship, praise and the Word then it is a source of continual accountability and awareness of God’s presence and our relationship with Him. We can also see the value of making ourselves accountable to others. When we commit to doing this, then even if our desire turns us dumb and stupid we have counsel that is objective and is correcting us in love. I don’t know that any of us would say we are more godly than David is, but he is an example that none of us are beyond the folly of temptation and sin. We must set a continual watch over our souls. We must never cease to go up in our authority to battle sin, when we become complacent; our desire can become our blind folly.

Blessings
#kent

Where isYour Focus?

May 26, 2015

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

Where isYour Focus?

There is an old song that goes, “Set your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will go strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” I believe this is what this scripture is, in effect, telling us to do. The attitude of a Christ-minded person is going to be focused on the things above and not on the things of this earth.
Our heart is to be honest and forthright in our dealings with others, because the Holy Spirit is honest with us in love as He deals with us. Our heart is to see justice, to uphold a righteous standard and integrity, judging and discerning all things out of the mind of Christ and not our flesh or earthly perspective. Our focus is on purity, putting away all defilement of flesh and spirit. In every area of our life we want to line up with God’s standard of holiness. This isn’t self-righteousness or an attitude of being more spiritual than everyone else is it is simply a mindset that runs everything we do through the purifying filter of the Holy Spirit. “What would Jesus do?” What is the attitude and position of the Word in what and how I do things? Often times our purity can be helped by accountability that helps us to see ourselves through the eyes of others and find areas that we have become blind, deceived or indifferent too. We can help wash one another’s feet by voluntarily guarding one another’s souls. We deal with each other like we would want to be dealt with, not in judgement, but in love. The enemy does his best work in the darkness of our hearts and where things are hidden. Are we doing anything that we wouldn’t want to be shouted from the rooftops? If we are able to keep all things out in the light, the enemy has nothing to work with in temptation or condemnation.
It is often so easy to see and major on the faults that we see in others and in those things around us. Here we are exhorted to look for the best, the lovely things in people and in our circumstances. Focus on the good and how God can use it to make something lovely out of that which may not be so lovely. Look for the positive attributes in people and focus on those things, being patient, longsuffering, forgiving and self-controlled concerning the areas in others that present themselves as offensive, selfish and hurtful.
Seek out the good news that edifies others and glorifies God, not on gossip, slanderous speech and backbiting. Turn away from those that only want to create dissention and find fault. We are builders and creators, not destroyers and wasters. Look for the things that are of good report, those things that speak graciously and out of a kindly spirit. How often we gather to find common ground for our negative feelings and viewpoints rather than to extol the virtues of another. If we can find any virtue and good in a person or a situation then set your mind there. Isn’t it amazing how our minds always want to gravitate to what is wrong with a person or a situation rather than what is right about it? When we see the wrongs they should compel our prayers and not our criticism.
We are in the midst of changing our paradigm and mindset. This passage definitely goes against the grain of what we have grown up with and the direction our own speech and point of view has gone. We are worshippers with praise and rejoicers in the truth. How can we rejoice in iniquity and evil? The worshippers that are filled with praise and rejoicing are focused on the goodness of God, His sovereignty and ultimate justice and righteousness ruling. We are now a kingdom people living in the kingdom of God and ruled in our hearts by kingdom principles and ways. We are exhorted in Christ Jesus to put away our negative, our pessimism, our criticism, our judgements and our impure ways. We are exhorted to set our eyes upon Jesus; ‘to look full into His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace’.

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

Drawing Near

February 17, 2015

James 4:7-10
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.

Drawing Near

James gives us a strong admonition here reminding us prior to these scriptures that our friendship with the world is enmity and rebellion against Him. His Spirit is jealous over us as His possession. It is His will and desire that we honor Him with the fidelity and faithfulness of our hearts. If we wonder why we are in such a state of disconnect with our God this may well be why. A sanctified people are a separated people. We are disassociating with the world, its standards and its ways as we consecrate ourselves to the Lord’s service and His purpose.
James now admonishes; do you want to get back into right relationship with your Lord? Do you want to know His fellowship and closeness again? It first starts with submission. Until we are willing to submit our self-life to Him we are going to be double-minded and adulterous in our thinking and doing. First, we must submit ourselves through repentance and consecration of our lives and wills to Him.
We should know up front that if we have been allowing the devil access into our lives then just because we change our minds and hearts doesn’t mean he easily gives us up or leaves us alone. Temptation will come which brings us to Jame’s second admonition, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, He resisted the devil by speaking the Word, “It is written…”. Our power to resist the devil is never in our reasoning or rationalizing with him. He knows how too artful twist the Word to pervert it to his own ends. Resist the devil by standing on the truth and declaring it over your life and circumstances. As an example, do you know that Romans 8:37 declares, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” This word, “more than conquerors” in the Greek is hü-per-nē-kä’-ō. This word indicates no small win, but a great, pre-imminent and surpassing victory. This word indicates you just kicked the stuffing out of your adversary. It wasn’t even close. Your victory in Christ is so superior, overwhelming, and indisputably complete. In your resistance of the devil come into complete identification with the Victorious One and stand on your complete victory through Him who is completely and utterly victorious over all the powers of sin and the devil.
Thirdly, “come near to God and He will come near to you.” This passage is all about the restoration of that fellowship and unity that has been broken because we have been double-minded, trying to please ourselves and please God also. It is like dating another while you are married to your wife or husband. Your spouse is jealous over you because you have entered into a covenant with him or her, promising to forsake all others. If you want right relationship, you have to be single in your love and affection for that spouse. We are espoused to Christ and our covenant, sealed in the blood of Jesus and the earnest of His Spirit, is with Him.
Fourth, purify your hearts and wash your hands. Separate yourself from all impurity of spirit, soul and flesh. Renew your mind through the washing of the water of the Word and put away from you all impure and unholy things. The hands speak of our works and doings. When we wash our hands we are separating and cleansing them from the works of iniquity. We are choosing rightly and doing the works of righteousness.
Fifth is the change in the attitude of our heart. In verses 9-10 we are reading about a true attitude of repentance, not just in our heads, but in the inner depths of our heart. This is a deep cleansing act of repentance where we become very grieved over our sin and rebellion. We have a true revelation of how we have called ourselves Christian, but have been anti-Christ in our behavior and compromise. This is an attitude much like Peter had after he realized he had just denied and forsaken his Lord. Because of the repentance of his heart and his willingness to humble himself the Lord forgave and restored Peter. He will do the same for us if we will get our hearts right before Him.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, but recognize, acknowledge and do what is required so that you may have a right relationship with your Lord again. God is in the business of restoration, so no matter how far you have wandered or how much condemnation you may feel, Jesus wants to restore you to right fellowship and relationship with Him again. Just honestly, completely and without reservation give back to Him your whole heart, mind and soul. His blood will wash you. His Word will renew your mind and His Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth if you will turn your back on all of the past darkness. He loves you with a complete and unconditional love. He abides faithful, even when we are faithless. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you!

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

Shine a Diamond

January 28, 2015

Shine a Diamond

Romans 14:19
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

We live in a very negative world in a lot of respects. Life is often taking twist and turns that can bring us discouragement and despair. Many around us only know how to speak death. They, like many of us, can become cynical, skeptical and suspicious in a world that is always seeking to exploit us in one manner or another. It is hard for us to be real, even with one another, for fear that someone will take opportunity in our vulnerability and openness to hurt us or will despise and not respect us because of some weakness that we allow them to see in us. As a result we become individual sealed houses, our own little islands in some respects, keeping a certain amount of distance and aloofness so that we won’t be hurt. Certainly we have to be careful about who we share the more intimate parts of our lives with. Jesus gives the warning in Matthew 7:6, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” As it is with the holy and precious things of God, so it is with the matters of our heart. We need to really know the character of those we share our hearts with. If the love of God is truly operating within them, then they understand the grace that not only they have been given, but that which they must extend to others. God wants us to cover one another’s nakedness, not expose it, gossip about it or despise them for it. He wants us to be a people that can truly edify and build up one another. We need to have that place and safety to truly confess our sins and faults to one another without fear of rejection and judgment. James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Does that mean we condone whatever sin someone shares or confesses to us? No, we can’t because then we would share complicity with their sin. The reason for sharing our sins or faults with one another is for repentance, support, help in our weaknesses and restoration of our fellowship with God and one another. If we share our faults with one another it shouldn’t be for approval, neither should it be for judgment but our response to another’s faults should be that of humility and love, knowing that we are also weak and vulnerable to sin. Galatians 6:1 teaches us, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” You see we are not one another’s judges, but we are one another’s watchmen. We watch out for one another, because we are of the same body and share the same common faith and purpose, to glorify the Lord. It can be easy for any of us to become distracted and turn aside or grow complacent concerning our faith. This is why it is so important for us as the body of Christ to have personal friendships and relationships with others in the body, not just for fellowship, but also for accountability. We need to be speaking life into one another to build each other up in who we are in Christ. We need to pray for one another and exhort one another, always stirring up faith. A healthy body is one in which individual members and cells are ministering health and blessing into those around them. The words that we speak into one another’s lives should be for building up and not tearing down, even if they must be honest, direct and hard words, the motive behind them should always be love. Sometimes, like Paul, we must tear down to build up, but what are our motives and the end of what we do?
Are you and I the brush that polishes the diamonds of the Lord? Are we causing others to shine in His glory and come forth in the image of who they are in Christ? Remember that the power of death and life are in the tongue. Our actions and our tongue can make or destroy another’s life. Let our lives and our ministry be for building up and not for tearing down, for edifying and not for condemning. You are your brother’s keeper and he is yours. Let us honor and seek to bring forth the Christ in each other. Speak life, hope and blessing into someone today and let it become your lifestyle. Shine a diamond!

Blessings,
#kent

Hey You! Wake Up!

January 6, 2015

1 Peter 5:9-10
8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Hey You! Wake Up!

Isn’t it amazing how there can be a time when we are so in love, so on fire, so excited, full of joy and anticipation about someone or something, but as time goes on that which was extraordinary, can become ordinary, neglected and taken for granted. It has often happened with our spouse, our children, our careers, but most unfortunate is that it also happens with our relationship with the Lord. The things, events, people and especially our God, how do they fall off the radar of intensity, love and excitement? Other things keep coming in and little by little diverting our attention, draining our excitement and distracting us from that which was once the most important thing in our lives. Sometimes opposition, trials, frustrations tend to exhaust us and we get tired and want to give up. So we tend to quit trying, we just want to take a sabbatical from all of our problems and challenges in life. Often when we come to this place we let go of our self-control. Instead of alert we be become apathetic, complacent and uncaring. Now we are ripe for the adversary to come in. We are like the sheep separated from the flock, vulnerable and easy prey. You are not alone when this happens. It happens to most of us at one time or another. That is why we so often see our brothers or sisters that were so strong in the Lord and then we find out they have fallen into sin, or a couple that seemed to have such a strong family and marriage has come to divorce and separation. The enemy is looking for our places of weakness and vulnerability. This is one reason we need to be strong in our relationship with the body and have close fellowship. We need accountability with one another, we need to be able to share our weaknesses and struggles praying and lifting up one another rather than condemning, judging and gossiping about each other.
Brothers and sisters you have precious seed within you. You have the life and promise of Christ within. You have an enemy that hates that seed. He will do whatever will rob, steal or destroy it out of your life. He will do whatever will make you fall or others to fall because of you. This why the Holy Spirit is saying here, “Wake up! Pay attention! Come out of your slumber, your apathy and complacency. The destroyer is near and seeking opportunity.
A pastor shared a scripture out of Proverbs 24:10-12, “If you falter in times of trouble,
how small is your strength! 11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. 12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?” We have a responsibility not only to stay awake for ourselves, but also to rescue one another when we are getting weak or faltering in our walk. We are all going to have trials, difficulties, troubles, heartaches and temptations. That is a part of our destiny and heritage. While none of us look forward to going through these they are the birth pains of the kingdom of God within us. These are the places where God is able to help us to find the riches of gold tried in the fire, When we overcome and prevail through them in the faith of Christ, this is what makes it ours because we possess a victory through experience. It is great to read the testimonies of others, but there is nothing more precious than when the testimony becomes our own. We all have testimonies and experiences, but in the midst of the heat of our trials we tend to forget what God has already done for us. I find that I am often brought to tears as I begin to remember and recount the many blessings and faithfulness of God in my life. It is always good to keep a journal of all the answered prayers and the ways that God is moving and doing in your life, because we have short memories and we tend to forget. We only see what God hasn’t done for us yet, rather than all that He has already done. Recounting the blessing and faithfulness of God will build faith, reassurance, new hope and confidence as you are facing your trials and tribulations. Ask David. Much of Psalms is David writing about the faithfulness of God in His life and the attributes of His character and nature. That was building faith in Him to continue to stand in His trials, putting His faith in the Lord in the midst of great adversity.
This is a day when the tempo of the spirit world is changing. It is going to become much more intense both in light and in darkness. God is going to begin moving through His people again in a much more powerful way. As He does the spirit of opposition will also become stronger. It is not a day to run and hide or be fearful. It is a day to rise up in the authority you have in Christ Jesus and come forth in a new boldness of faith. As I prayed this morning there was a fresh anointing of power and authority as I prayed and prophesied over loved ones and those that God would have me pray for.
Let us wake up out of our apathy and complacency of spirit. Get excited again about the mighty Christ who has called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Open your ears and eyes to the things of the Spirit, stepping into what God shows you with authority and purpose. Remember what can happen through you isn’t dependent upon your ability, but upon your willingness to allow Him to be mighty in and through you. Together, as one man, let us lift up holy hands and say, “Here am I God, send me.” Let us stir up one another to good works and ministry. Let us edify, build up one another and magnify the name of the Lord in our midst. Hey you! Wake up! This is a day for us to walk in victory and to be filled with the joy and excitement of what our God wants to do in and through each of us.

Blessings,
#kent

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