Proven Faith

July 10, 2015

1 Peter 1:3-9 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Proven Faith

Is there any one of us that feels like our faith has been sorely stretched and tested through our trials and tribulations? Yet even in what we have gone through few of us have been tested in the way many of these early Christians were tested. Even in our struggles and hardships we are blessed in so many many ways. Currently anyway, we still enjoy the freedom to worship without fear of retribution. Our children may actually experience less freedom of religious expression in their schools than we do. The important thing for us to realize is that God doesn’t paint a picture here of all blessing, prosperity and no opposition. For many of us we are only beginning to head into the winds of opposition, trial and testing. Few of us walk into the fire of our own accord, but it is so relevant in this hour that we know Him intimately that shields us as we pass through the fire. Verse 5 says, “who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” There is a divine promise of God’s great salvation and power towards us, but in order for us to reach that breakthrough we must pass through the fire. That fire will greatly test the metal of our faith. It will separate sheep and goats, but, more importantly, it will burn up in our own lives whatsoever is not of God. Some of us have already been feeling the fire and enduring the testing of our faith for some time now. You may feel there are days when you don’t know if you can still go on, but I want to encourage you that you are among the firstfruits of God’s delivering power if you will hold fast your faith. You will be the guide and the mentor to help others come through where you have already walked. You may feel right now like God’s rejected ones, but you are far more favored than you know. When we are going through the severe discipline and chastening of the Lord it is hard for us feel or see ourselves in a place of victory. What we must realize is that we are in a place of victory because of God’s discipline and chastening in our lives. While many Christians are still walking the superficial Christianity you have been experiencing what it is to be on the front lines of battle as you stand in faith concerning your circumstances and all that has come against you. What you probably don’t see is the precious value of your faith that is emerging out of this fire with purity and power. What we all have to learn and are learning even more in this hour is that our reliance and source can no longer be through our human efforts. We must learn the rest that comes from knowing Father as our source in all circumstances. You don’t have the resources, but He does. It occurred to me that it is like a Father that establishes a business and as he raises up his sons it becomes a family business and he changes the name from father’s business to Father and Sons. God is preparing us to take over His business and to operate in it. That is why we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.” He is establishing His business back in this earth through us. First we must be fully trained, equipped and tested to know how to operate in this business properly. We have all seen examples of how it can be improperly operated, but Father is putting integrity back into the business and He is doing it with the fires of purification. Be encouraged people of God. What is crucifying our flesh is strengthening us in spirit and in power. If we hold fast our confidence we will reap its exceeding abundant salvation. We will not only reap it, we will have the privilege of being the instruments of it. Be of good cheer and let the inner peace and joy of the Holy Spirit sustain and encourage you through every trial and testing.

Blessings,

#kent

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Motives of Prayer

June 30, 2015

James 4:3
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Motives of Prayer

It is said of Jesus in Hebrews 7:23-25, “Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” When Jesus intercedes for us what do you suppose His motive to be?
When we pray, what is the focus of our prayers? Of course when we pray and seek the Lord we all want to be favored and blessed and receive our petitions from the Lord, but to what end.? What are our motives in the things we pray and cry out to God for? If we think of God as a celestial Santa Claus to whom we come with all our needs and request to be met for our personal gain, we’ve missed the heart of God. Prayer is about seeking the heart and will of God.
If prayer is like a checkbook with an unlimited supply of resources and wealth, and it has been given to us, how will we write the checks? Will most of them have our name on them or are they written to benefit others we see in need? When God sees that our motives in prayer, intercession and petition aren’t centered around us, but others, do you think He might feel compelled to meet your needs as well? Selfish is never the heart of God and selfishness in us will always pervert the ways and means of God. God exemplifies Himself selfless in His giving. He doesn’t even give to us because we deserve it, He gives because that is His nature which flows out of love. He delights in His people that have this same heart to give and bless. His desire is to bless us so that we can in turn bless others. If we pray and seek with wrong motives then how can we truly pray in Jesus’ name. Jesus says in John 15 and a few other places, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” Jesus says He will give us what we ask in His name, but what is the prerequisite? “Go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.” The name of Jesus speaks to the character and nature of God. If we pray outside or contrary to His nature then should we be surprised if our prayers are not answered. Jesus wants to empower us through power in His name to establish and perpetuate His will and His kingdom in the earth. It is one of the next principles He teaches us in the Lord’s prayer right after He establishes the position and the holiness of the Father. Jesus said in John 8:28, “So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.” Prayer is our avenue to carry out the Father’s will, not our own. We want our prayers to never stem from selfish motive, but to be one with the Spirit of God that prays through us. It is when we have the heart of God, the intercession as priests of Jesus and the motivation to pray in the character and nature of His name that we will see our prayers be fruitful, because we seek the fruit that will last; His kingdom come and His will being done in earth as it is in heaven.

Blessings,
#kent

God’s Toolbox

May 27, 2015

God’s Toolbox

Romans 12:4-8
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

We have often heard the analogies of how we are members of one another in the body of Christ and how as such we serve one another. Perhaps another way of looking at the body of Christ and its members in particular is that we are God’s toolbox. He has a world of broken people down here, and many Christians are among them. They are broken, hurting and in need of attention and fixing. We know that God is a Master Craftsman concerning His creation, but He has chosen to work with and through His tools. Think today that you are a unique and special tool of God. God has given you characteristics, gifts and abilities He didn’t give to everyone else. There are ways and areas you can operate in that others can’t. Those gifts and abilities He has placed in you, some naturally and some divinely, are so that He can use you as His tool to do a work that perhaps no other tool can do quite as effectively. What’s more, He will put you in circumstances and with people that need the ministry of those gifts and abilities. Obviously, you are most effective as your life is yielded to the Holy Spirit so that He can direct and use you to fix, mend and encourage the broken, damaged and discouraged. Sometimes we often take for granted what our lives can mean to the well being and spiritual health of others if we are truly yielded and available to the Holy Spirit to use. How often we miss it because of our self-will. We take ourselves out of God’s hand to pursue our agenda and our priorities. We often rob others of God’s ministering, healing touch through us. We rob God from doing a divine work of grace in some broken person’s life and last but not least, we rob ourselves of being that tool in God’s hand that could have made the difference, that could have brought the healing and the restoration. We didn’t have the time, or the energy or our own agenda was more important. Haven’t we all been guilty of that?
God wants each of us to realize how important and vital each one of us are to His Kingdom coming forth in the earth. Isn’t that what we pray? “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done; in earth as it is in heaven.” If God’s kingdom isn’t fully come in us, possessing us and living through us, then how can it come in the earth? Jesus says the “Kingdom of God is within you.” We are the vessels and the conduits through which His kingdom flows out to the earth and waters the dry ground. The kingdom must first come and be revealed in us. Christ must have expression and license through us and through our will to perform His. That means to be effective tools, we must be yielded to the Master’s hand. As readily as He will use someone else to work grace in your life, He wants to use you to work the work of grace in another’s. We are created for a purpose and that purpose is to fulfill what God has fashioned us for. Everyone is different, but everyone is just as important to the whole.
Take time to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Be careful that we don’t blow past those divine appointments we have in life and the opportunities to minister the love, grace and gospel of Christ. A tool that is not used eventually becomes rusty, stiff and of no use. Be that tool at the top of God’s toolbox that He can lay hold of and use often in His work of grace in the lives of others. Be that yielded vessel that God can perform the will and do of His good pleasure in and through. We are God’s toolbox and He deserves only the best tools.

Blessings,
#kent

Mark 6:10
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.

Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be Done.

Jesus Christ is the King and the revelation of the coming kingdom of God. He has already come in past shadow and type. He is come in physical manifestation, glorification and presence in the earth and in His body. When Jesus exhorted His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”, what are we praying for? Most of us embrace a concept of the Second Coming of Christ in glory to establish His kingdom in the earth, but if He is going to do that anyway why do we need to pray this now?
Every day that we exist in Christ we need to be pressed deeper into the birth canal. We need a greater revelation of who Christ is in the earth today, what His kingdom is and how we are a part of that. When we pray, “ Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” we are praying out the old man of the earth and praying in the new creation of heaven. We are identifying and embracing our kingdom citizenship even as we walk in this earth. When we pray “thy kingdom come”, we are embracing the vision by faith of who we are in spirit. It is that Christ we are in spirit that we want to be manifested in our earth, our bodies and to the world around us. When God’s will is done in us it will have an impact upon the world around us. It is the people of God that set the moral temperature of a nation. It is the people of God that bring light and knowledge of the eternal into a land. We are the current revelation of the King of Kings. If His will is not accomplished and seen through us, then who?
As we pray this phrase of the Lord’s prayer don’t allow it to become just rote words. Allow it to impact you that as God is in heaven so He wants to be in your earth, in your life and to manifest through us, His will to the world around us. Even today as all of creation groans under corruption, we ourselves groan, within ourselves. We are seeing the vision of the hope that is within us. We continue to press into that hope until it is no longer a hope, but a manifest reality of God’s kingdom and will in the earth. We are the portals of heaven for God’s will to be done. Are we an open window or a closed door? It is His body that is paving the road for the King of Glory to enter in, for the Kingdom to come and His will to be done.

Blessings,
#kent

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