The Wounded and Broken

September 23, 2015

Deuteronomy 32:39
See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand. 
 
 
The Wounded and Broken
 
In the Garden of Eden were two trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.  Choices were given to man as to which way he would come to know God and walk with Him.  When wrong choices were made, consequences ensued that brought darkness, sin and death into our world and all of creation.  We must know that this came as no surprise to God and that His plan was before the foundation of this world.  Life and death have become the cycles of life that have carried down since the beginning.   In between that cycle of life and death many things touch our lives.  Life can bring much joy and blessing, but it can also bring us much heartache and pain.  Many of us today bear in our lives the marks of pain and suffering.  That can take many forms, mental, physical, psychological and even spiritual.  Pain has many avenues.  Many times it comes as consequences of what we sow knowingly or unknowingly into our lives, bodies and minds.  Sometimes our pain comes from the consequences and actions of others.  Sometimes it comes as part of the fallen world that we live in.  However it comes, we are left to endure.  
Now as unpleasant as pain is, it is not all bad.  It often works in us what no amount of blessings could.  It is much like our enemies, as unpleasant as they are; they can touch areas in our lives that friends never will.  Often we wonder, “God why all of the unpleasantness?  Why all of this pain and suffering?  Why do our enemies persecute us?  God why must I suffer?”  Joseph, in the book of Genesis 50:20 reveals it so well, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.”  We have an enemy of our soul that perpetrates evil upon us, but what he has thought for evil, God has meant for good. How can this be good?
Romans 8:18-25 helps us to see into the eternal and far reaching purposes of God. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  The Word says that God is the one that subjected creation to this frustration, but in hope, hope of what?  “That the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage and decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children or the sons of God.”  
Jesus Christ was the prototype and firstfruits of this glorious liberation.  What did He say His purpose was?  It says of Jesus in Luke 4:14-20, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18″The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 
20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.””  The people were murmuring, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”  This was a proclamation that Jesus had stepped out of the earthly paradigm of humanity into His divine purpose of eternity.  What was begun in the headship of Jesus, He will complete in and through His body which Ephesians 1:23 declares is, “…the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”  
Pain and suffering can rend our hearts and bodies like few things can.  They are processing tools that bring us into the purposes of God if we catch that revelation.  They are areas we can see God work supernaturally in, both in the areas of healing and deliverance, but also in the areas of tribulation, patience and longsuffering.  Job certainly wanted to be free from his pain that he felt unjustly afflicted with, but it was a process that brought him into a double portion anointing and priesthood that he would have never experienced without it.  David would certainly have not chosen to be fleeing his enemies that sought for years His life, but it was preparation for kingship.  Joseph wouldn’t have chosen captivity, slavery and prison, but it prepared him to rule and reign.  Even of Jesus it says in Hebrews 5:7-9, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”  We, like our Savior have been called to a royal priest hood.  We also will pass through our seasons of suffering.  When we pass through these valleys, for however long we must endure them, let them have their perfect work in us.  Allow them not to discourage you, but to encourage you that, “whom the Lord loves He chastens.”  He doesn’t discipline bastards or illegitimate ones, he disciplines His sons that in due time it might work the peaceable fruits of righteousness (Hebrews 12).   God is preparing us for greatness and what the evil one has meant for evil, God has meant for good. 
 
Blessings,
#kent

Instructions for Life

September 11, 2015

Proverbs 4:13
Take fast hold of instruction; let [her] not go: keep her; for she [is] thy life.

Instructions for Life

Every day is a classroom of instruction, learning and experience. Much like school when we were children, many of us still don’t pay very close attention. God has something to teach us every day if we are tuned into the Spirit and we have spiritual ears tuned to hear what He is speaking. As we grow to know God’s Word we are learning instruction in spiritual, as well as practical life. God gives us the principles to live full, productive and satisfying lives, but are we listening, are we paying attention and are we applying these life principles to our lives? Often we nod, say an amen and acknowledge them with our minds, but have they gotten down into our hearts?
Just like in school there is a time of listening, studying and learning; then there is a time of testing to find out what we really know and remember. It is our testing that really tells us where we are. God already knows where we are, but most of the time we really don’t. It isn’t till we are put to the test of faith in certain areas that we see if we really have learned to trust God and apply the principles that He has taught us or if we resort back to acting out of the natural man and that way of thinking.
Often we can be going through life filled with joy and being blessed and then suddenly wham!!!!!!!!! We are hit with a punch that knocks our breath out. Tragedy may strike, we are treated unfairly, we are fired, our spouse wants to divorce us, we are faced with a life threatening disease in ourselves or one that we love and life no longer makes sense. Any number of things may assault us at any given time. How will we cope with these calamities? This is where the rubber meets the road and theory meets reality. Can we now make application in our lives of the things that we have learned and have knowledge of or are we sitting there stunned, shaking our heads and asking, “why me, God?” God says that it rains on the just and the unjust. Whether we are in Christ or in the world, tragedy and calamities are a very real part of life in this body. The life, the power and the grace that takes us through these times are found in the instruction that God has given us. Fortunately, it is an open book test and if we are struggling to make sense of all that is going on with us we can go back to the instruction of God’s Word. There we can find the answers that will help us to gain the perspective and even the faith that we need to prevail in difficult times
Jesus assures us that we will have tribulation in this world, but to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). What does that mean to us? If our life is hid with Christ, in God as Colossians 3:3 says, then you also have overcome the world. The Overcomer dwells within you to help you walk where He has walked and prevail in victory where He has prevailed. Yes, we will have tribulation, but we are promised that we don’t have to face it alone. Christ is always there with us and the last part of Romans 8 assures us that there is no calamity or being or even death itself that can separate us from the love of God.
How do we pass the test? It is first in listening and learning the instruction of the Lord. Proverbs 6:3 says, “For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life.” God in His love shows us, teaches and corrects us. If we are wise we will receive His correction and we will grow wiser still. Proverbs 9:7-12 teaches us, “”Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. 8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you. 9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. 10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. 12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”
Learning and putting into practice our instruction is what is maturing us into the image of Him that is our teacher. It is God’s purpose and plan that we are like our Teacher and Master. If we will humble ourselves before Him, He will give us the instructions to a godly life and He will help us in the tests to practice the principles that He has taught us. Pay attention to His instruction and humbly receive His correction, ‘for whom the Lord loves He chastens’. Hebrews 12:7-13 leaves us with this exhortation, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Blessings,
#kent

This Day

September 8, 2015

Isaiah 60: 1-5
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. 2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. 5 Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.”

This Day

This day are we seeing this scripture fulfilled in our midst. A tremendous stirring and emerging of the Spirit of God in the midst of His people is coming forth. We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of what the Lord is preparing to bring forth. There is a trumpet sound of heaven going forth and there is anticipation and excitement arising in the heart of God’s called out people in this hour. The Lord is assembling His troops. He is training them, preparing them and setting them in rank. This scripture is exactly why, we His people, do not despair or fear, because when gross darkness covers the earth it is a sign that we are about to take flight into heavenly places as the glory of the Lord comes upon His people and all of the earth is drawn to her light.
As I am speaking with God’s people I am so encouraged and in awe of what the Father is working and doing in the hearts of so many. Right now, in this moment many of us are standing at the end of our resources. God has brought us to this place for a reason. It is so He can show Himself mighty in His people and that He is all of the resource that we need. He has brought to the place where we are hanging on by a thread, we have cried out to God for help and He is telling us what scares the life out of so many of us, “LET GO”. Most of us are reasoning with our natural minds, “If I let go I will fall to my death and be dashed in pieces by the rocks below. All will be lost.” Jesus is saying, “He who seeks to save His life will lose it, but He who loses His life for my sake shall find it (Mark 8:35).”
The paradigm God is bringing us into in this hour is that our lives are not about us any more as individuals. Our lives are about kingdom purpose, kingdom principles and kingdom living. Our wealth is no longer about individual gain, but will be seen in corporate distribution. Our lack has come because we have been individuals seeking our own prosperity while the Lord’s house lies in ruin. It is time for us to join our resources, our talents and our abilities to build and restore the house of God, which is the body of Christ. We are each other’s greatest assets. We can not be truly blessed and prosper until the body comes together in unity and oneness of purpose. It is every joint supplying the need as it arises and we are able. We are no longer a bunch of individuals that meet together once or twice a week, we are a family that loves and cares for one another on daily basis.
Why doesn’t the world see the love of Christ? Jesus says, “By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35)” This is not a day of denominations and religious camps, it is day when we must start flowing in the love of God for one another. If you love Jesus and truly know Him as Lord, it is not important that all of your beliefs are exactly like mine. You are still flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone in Christ.
The glory of God will fall when the love of God arises in the hearts of His people and they learn not to be takers, but givers. We will learn to no longer live just for our benefit, but for the benefit of our brother and sister. As we operate in these principles we will see wealth begin to flow into the body of Christ as never before. It the simple kingdom principle, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)”
This day God is stirring our hearts with His love as we come out of our private, guarded houses where we have lived for our own agenda and seeking our own prosperity. We are coming together to build the house of the Lord and when we do, from this day forth we will be blessed.
This day hear the trumpet of the Lord calling us together and assembling us for the common purpose of building His house. When we build His house, He will fill it with His glory!

Blessings,
#kent

In God’s Time

April 13, 2015

Acts 12:25, 13:5, 13
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled [their] ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
13From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.

In God’s Time

Many a young person has been caught up in the zeal of the Lord and desired to go into ministry. One thing that many don’t realize at first is that to be a true minister of God is it is not man or education that truly prepares you. Certainly God can and does us these in the process, but what any of us who desire to be in the service of the Lord must realize is God’s order and not man’s. It is really God who raises up a man or woman for His work. It is He who trains them through most often humble beginnings. It is He that anoints them for their calling and it is He that test their hearts before He sets them in a place of authority and ministry. For many of you who are excited to serve God, we are not always ready when we think we are. Such is the case with John Mark.
John Mark was the son of Mary and we first hear about him when Peter is locked in jail in Jerusalem. Herod had pretty much chalked Peter in to be the next martyr after having put to death James. We read the account of the angel coming into the prison and setting Peter free. Peter then goes to the house of Mary. Acts 12:12 says, “And when he had considered [the thing], he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.” We gather from this introduction that Mark had some strong Christian influences and roots. He gets his first shot at getting on the big name ministry team of Paul and Barnabas, and so we see him embarking on his first missionary trip in Acts 12: 25. Then over in Acts 13:5 it affirms that John is there with them as an apprentice and helper, but by verse 13 we see John leaving them and returning to Jerusalem. What happened? The word doesn’t give us much in the way of details, but it becomes obvious in Acts 15:37-40 that Paul was not impressed by Mark and wanted no more part in his going with them again. Apparently Mark wasn’t as ready and able as He thought. Maybe he couldn’t take it and went home, but Barnabas was one that did see the potential and continued to believe in Mark even after he apparently failed the first journey. Later we see that Paul has softened his position concerning Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11 when he remarks, “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”
The message we can learn from Mark’s life is that ministry and service to God comes through a preparation of God. Sometimes we may fail to meet our own expectations or the expectation of those we are working with. Fortunately Mark didn’t just quit and fortunately he had men who still believed in Him and helped him to come into his place of ministry and service. Mark was also known to be Mark the Evangelist and later wrote one of the first gospels, the gospel of Mark, thought to have been largely narrated and influenced by Peter.
When we look over the lives of many of God’s great people we see them coming up against times of apparent failure, shortcoming, trials and tribulation. What we come to realize is that this is really God’s school of preparation. We may know that God has anointed us and given us a passion in some area of ministry, but what we have to be careful of is that we allow Him to establish and place us in that ministry in His time and His way. That often means that we may feel passed over, put aside or not really valued. All of the time it is searching our true heart and motives, to see if there would be any unclean, impure or selfish motive on our part. When we can truly be okay with whatever and whenever the Lord wants to use us, then we are getting much closer to being where He wants us. Love always wants God’s best first and our best last.
Moses was 80 when he started his ministry. David was anointed as young teen, but didn’t become king until he was 30. The word tells us not to despise the day of small things. It is in those days that our hearts and lives are being prepared for greater ministry. We must first prove ourselves faithful in the little before we can be faithful over much. Don’t be discouraged if your life and ministry isn’t where you want it to be. Remember God is in control, not you and not man.

Blessings,
#kent

Deuteronomy 8:1-5
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

First the Test, then the Blessing

As a people of God we can often relate with the children of Israel out in the wilderness. Most all of us have experienced our share of trials and tribulation and some of us more than others. While we pray and trust God, sometimes we may be tempted to murmur, if not out loud, then in our minds. When we pray we expect God to just listen up and get that prayer answered. So why doesn’t it always work that way? Why do we sometimes have to wait and endure so long to see our answer?
One of the first things we have to remember here is who is the parent and who is the child. Who is training whom? There are many instances in our present day society that it is evident that the child is in charge and not the parents. When the child demands the parents obey promptly to keep that spoiled child happy and content. God wants to bless us, but He doesn’t want to spoil us. He is not the great celestial Santa Clause that some like to imagine and even believe that He is. God is the Father and He is not just any Father. He is the awesome creator God and Father. The first thing we must learn, to operate in alignment with His kingdom, is that we are not in charge, He is! That seems an obvious statement, but it is one that we often seem to forget in practical living.
James 4: 3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Our Father is not raising his children to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, so when we ask we are often tested to see what is truly in our hearts. It is not so much for God’s benefit as for ours, so that we can really see our true motives.
What leaps out to me as I read this passage in Deuteronomy 8 is “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna. What came first the test or the provision? It has to be obvious even to the unbeliever that well over a million people could not have survived out in a wilderness without a supernatural provision. It is apparent in this scripture that when they received the manna and the provision it wasn’t always in accordance with their timetable and expectations. As a result, many of them would begin to grumble, murmur and complain. While I am sure none of us reading this have ever been guilty of doing that, it is enlightening to know that in God’s economy, provision and blessing works on His time table and not ours. Why do we need faith if we never have to believe in hope for the expectation of its manifestation?
Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” We love to rejoice in the goodness and blessing of God. We love to rejoice in the salvation we have in Christ and the forgiveness of our sins. We should, these are glorious, but then look what it says we should also rejoice in. Suffering! Why should we have to endure suffering? Didn’t Jesus do all of that? No, He was our example of suffering and what it works in us. Suffering is a training tool to teach us obedience along with the attributes of obedience which are patience, perseverance, character and hope in what does not disappoint us.
Hebrews 5:7-10 says of Jesus, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” God is calling those that can here this to this same high priesthood in Christ Jesus, but to walk in the priestly calling we must be willing to walk where Jesus walked and suffer like He suffered. This identification with His life will bring the ultimate blessing, but first we must walk through the ultimate test. Do not despair if you are in this hard place of testing and suffering, use it to learn the perseverance, patience, character and hope that you need to press into His highest and inherit the blessing. “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. (Luke 6:40)”

Blessings,
#kent

Dead Man Walking

June 18, 2014

Dead Man Walking

Colossians 3:3
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Please take just a minute and try and absorb the impact and implication of this one verse. Sometimes I think I comprehend this truth mentally, but do I possess a real revelation of what it should mean in my life? This truth should continually revolutionize my world-view and perception of reality. The spiritual reality and implication to this is that this self-life is dead. That could seem pretty dreary and boring if it were not for what I traded it for. If I am dead to myself, that means that I am free to be fully alive in Christ. That means that God’s life inhabits me, fills me, expands and promotes beyond human limitation what I have the possibility of being “in Him”. Say your name and put Christ behind it. You are now that expression, uniquely and divinely His.
Now someone will be thinking, “what are you saying, that we should now have this god-complex?” If we are indeed dead to the flesh and alive unto Christ, the God in us is in reality Him and not us. We understand that whatever God does through us, great or small, it is by the power of in His in-working grace and Holy Spirit. We are simply the living organism of His expression, unified with Him and in full corporation with His intent and purpose.
Perhaps one of the most staggering handicaps in Christianity today is, “we don’t really know who we are” and if we do get a hold of that, we so quickly forget it as we are quickly caught up in the life and economy of the world that we walk in. The reality is that we are ‘dead men walking’ with regards to the flesh and our former soulish life, but we are resurrected men of the spirit who should be walking in the newness of life and hope in Christ Jesus. If you are dead to the world then you have nothing to fear from the world. The most the world could do is take your temporary existence in this world, but “your life is hid with Christ in God.” That means that for anything to truly touch your life, it has to go through God to do it. Will God allow things to touch you? God will allow what will make you stronger and continually work a greater measure of His grace and perfecting work in you. You are His family. When He corrects you, it is for your good, because of His exceeding great love for you. He wants kids that hold the family resemblance of holiness and purity and love. He wants kids after His nature and likeness. That is who you are! Every time we look in that mirror we should see no longer just an outward man that represents our soul, we should see an outward man that possesses and is the habitation of the Christ. Because that is who we are, we are focused not on the temporal and earthly life; we are focused on the things above. We are as it says in Hebrews 11:13, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.” Peter picks up on this same thought in 1Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”
The greatest victory for the enemy and the saddest defeat for the Christian is for the devil to steal your identity. You talk about identity theft; there is no greater case and point than when you go around believing the lie about who you really are and who you really are not. God’s Word tells us who we are. It is the mirror we must continually look into until it becomes so ingrained in us that we are no longer this former person in the world, we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Romans 12:2 exhorts us in the light of this reality, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We can never be the overcomers that God intended we should be while we still identify with these weak sin-laden bodies. Quit focusing on what you don’t think you are and start focusing on what God says you are. Because we experience some mistakes and setbacks, that doesn’t make us failures, it should only make us more determined to allow God to be our all in all. 1 John 4:17 tells us, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”

Blessings,
#kent

Spiritual Fitness

March 27, 2014

Spiritual Fitness

1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.

We live in a time and a society that is very health and fitness conscious. It almost seems ironic, considering over half our population would fall in the obese or overweight category. Yet we are hearing about it all of the time. The truth is we want to eat and enjoy all that we want, but we still want to have buff and gorgeous bodies and looks. Somehow God didn’t seem to create them to go together very well. If we want physical fitness, then we know that it requires discipline and effort on our part. People and companies have made billions of dollars by selling pills and products that told us we could have the one without the other. If I set in front of my TV and watch a workout program that should somehow help me to get fit. If I eat a snickers candy bar and a diet coke, then I think I’m on a diet and am going to lose weight. If I watch a lot of sports, then somehow that makes me an athlete.
This scripture makes an analogy. There is nothing wrong with physical training and staying in shape. Like anything it can get out of balance. While physical training in a natural sense can be good, in the light of what is really meaningful in life it isn’t that high on the list. We are in the process of maturing and training up our spiritual man. As in the physical, to be spiritually fit requires an investment of time, of dedication, discipline and exercise. What kind of spiritual shape is our life in today? Are we armchair and couch-potato Christians? Do we warm a pew, say a few weak amens, listen to a sermon or a word and then continue on through life without it affecting any change in our behavior, or actions, or involvement? Are we lethargic, complacent, dull, and self-willed? What is the state of our spiritual fitness today? How would you honestly rate yourself on a scale of 1 to10? When I look at my physical man and see how indulgent I have become in so many areas of my life, I realize that the same mentality can very well carry over into my spiritual life. Are we a nation of out of shape and overindulgent Christians? Outwardly we are very blessed, but inwardly do we fit the profile of Revelations 3:17? “17For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” This is not written to condemn us, but it is a call to action for all of us. Many of you who are reading this are spiritually strong and fit, but others of us may be strong with our words, but weak in our actions.
The apostle Paul gives us another analogy in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither.
26Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary.
27But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].”
We all need to come to grips with the fact that God has a calling and a purpose in our lives. I am being convicted today that there needs to be both a physical and spiritual discipline in my life. I am not talking about legalism, but like Paul, I need to conduct my life with temperance, self-control and have myself in check, spirit, soul and body. God is calling us in this hour to prepare ourselves for a time of great spiritual battle and a time of His revealing. Most of us aren’t prepared for that with the mentality and habits that we harbor. God is calling us to spiritual fitness through such things as prayer, fasting, personal time with the Lord and walking out our faith in love and actions that reveal the character of who we are in Christ. We are a called out people, a separated people and a holy people. We are a people called after God’s own name and for His glory. We are being called to the gyms of spiritual fitness to be exercised in godliness and righteousness. We have an adversary who has been lulling us to sleep and into spiritual laziness. This is the day to discern our spiritual state and develop a mentality and lifestyle that is in harmony with God’s desire for our spiritual fitness. The overcomer is a person of spiritual strength and fortitude. Spiritual strength is developed in discipline, consistency, a right state of mind and a vision of what we are being strong for. We don’t want to find ourselves, after believing, coming up short and missing the mark of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus. Let us press on with all of our being into Him and be strong in the power of His might.

Blessings,
#Kent

The Will and Do of His Good Pleasure

Philippians 2:13

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

You and I are a work in progress. How many times would we just like to give up and say, “it is no use, I’ll never change?” The Lord is encouraging us to do one thing, look to Him. It doesn’t matter what we see; it doesn’t matter what others say about us or to us. It doesn’t matter that satan is the accuser of the brethren and is forever parading our faults and shortcomings before us. God hasn’t called us to be the works of our own hands, “for it is God, which worketh in you both to will and to do His good pleasure!” God not only wants too, but it is at work in your life in ways you don’t even see or know. What is that saying, “a watched pot never boils?” When we are looking at our lives we don’t often see the many obvious changes, but the Lord is working in us over the course of a lifetime. The more we are willing to submit these vessels to the will and do of His good pleasure the faster that work can be accomplished. The Lord is always steadfast and faithful; the problem is, we aren’t. We so often want to take these little rabbit trails that depart from His perfect will for us and get off doing our own thing rather than His. Yet He is faithful even in that to work in us and use the errors of our ways to correct us, teach us and instruct us in righteousness. So many times we are like our children, we can’t just take God’s Word about what is best for us, we have to do it our way and then endure the consequences of our stubbornness and disobedience.

God never loves us less or desires less for us. He has His perfect plan for our lives. Our greatest joy is to find the center of His will for us. When we are abiding in that place and find the center of His good pleasure we are fulfilled and content as well. It is like when we realize that it is in blessing others that we are blessed and that there is no greater joy than bringing joy and blessing to others. We can never be as content doing our own pleasure as we can be in fulfilling God’s good pleasure for us. This is true success in life. It doesn’t even matter what the outward surroundings are, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content (Philippians 4:11).” 1 Timothy 6:8 says, “Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” It isn’t in the abundance of the things we possess that we ever find our contentment, that is only found in the center of God’s will. We have a concept in our Christian culture today that if we aren’t wealthy and prosperous we aren’t living the “blessed life.” How many of the apostles and prophets do you see in God’s Word living the “good life” by the world’s standards? If you are and that’s where God has you, that is great. There is nothing wrong with being blessed materially in this life, but that isn’t the essence and meaning of our lives. That essence and meaning for our lives is only found in the center of God’s will. That is where we find true riches. It may be in some stench filled hovel in India or in the kitchen of your home raising these crazy little kids. If you are in the will and do of God’s good pleasure then you are experiencing the riches of heaven.

Even if you are in that place of discouragement where you are looking at your life as just a failure and waste then you are discounting and denying God’s great love and purpose for you. Sometimes we have to get off of our pity pots of self-doubt and failure and get our eyes on the Lord and not on ourselves. We all are cracked pots with weaknesses and failures, but we serve a mighty and perfect God that loves us never the less, in spite of those weaknesses and failures. Let it always be in our prayers that God will work “the will and do of His good pleasure in us” to the end that we might, in return, bring Him pleasure and blessing.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)”

Blessings,

kent

Our Children

May 13, 2013

Our Children

Psalms 127:3
Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward.

There are perhaps fewer things in life that can bring us greater joy or deeper sorrow than our children. There are perhaps fewer things in life that can help us relate with our heavenly Father than our children. In our children we see the individual and we also see ourselves. Through our children many of us may have tried to live out a part of ourselves, our children thus becoming an extension of ourselves in their youth. We are given the awesome responsibility to raise them up into adulthood, to be their examples, their mentors, their disciplinarians, and the ones they turn too and trust in. Our heavenly Father has given us a role in a much smaller sense, yet similar to the role He plays in our lives.
Our children, while under our authority, still have a free will to make right and wrong choices. Through those choices they can either bless our hearts or break them. The Lord tells us in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 concerning raising our children, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Our foremost responsibility, besides caring and providing for our children is to raise them, seeking every opportunity to instill in their hearts the Word of God. We do this through our personal instruction, our lifestyle, example, and the atmosphere in which we raise them. Hopefully we learn to instruct our children in the love and grace of God, not just in harshness and legalism. In our exuberance to have them conform to godly ways we may use God like a club to beat them over the head, using condemnation and judgmental tactics to try and control them. This may not be so different than what many of you grew up in. On the other hand some may give there children too much lee way, not providing a loving atmosphere of discipline and correction to guide them and train them into maturity. The bottom line is most of us try and do the best we can to raise our children in a right way. Being human ourselves, we are prone to make mistakes along the way and we pray God’s grace will fill in the potholes of our shortcomings.
Sometimes our children grow up fulfilling all of our expectations to our delight and joy. Sometimes our children falter, but then recover to still grow up and bless our hearts. Sometimes our children become headstrong, rebellious and turn away from the principles of right and wrong we endeavored to instill in them. They may reject our values and us to go their own way. As a result many have ended up in trouble with the law, have broken homes and marriages, have children and relationships outside of marriage, or have adopted lifestyles and behaviors contrary to the way we sought to raise them in. They may be the source of our greatest hurt and heartache today. Even as much as we disapprove of their actions we never stop loving them. Our natural tendency is to some how take responsibility for their actions and the choices they made. Sometimes it leads to marital strife and tension because one spouse blames the other because of some weakness or failure on their part. We all have shortcomings, but at some point our children choose to no longer submit to our authority as their parents. At that point they take the responsibility upon themselves for their choices. Many of us know that while we may no longer have control in the natural we continue to take our petition into the heavenlies unto the throne of our Father. We begin to identify with how we must break the heart of our heavenly Father through our own rebellion, self-will and defiance of His authority. Yet, He is our example of patience, grace and love that is unconditional and whose arms are always open to receive us back into relationship with Him.
Wherever you are at today with your children we know that God knows our heart as a parent. Hopefully your children are an area of blessing and delight to your soul, but even if they aren’t you are their greatest ally and intercessor. Rather they appreciate you or curse you, you are still the heart and example of the Father to them. They have to know that your love is unconditional even if your approval isn’t. They have to know that in their darkness you are the one that lights their candle before the Lord through your faithful prayer and intercession. As the prodigal’s father stood believing and watching in faith for his son to come home, so many of us must stand, watching and believing God to bring our children back home. Faint not, the Father knows and feels your heart. If you have planted good seed in their hearts and lives, never give up looking for the harvest. “For as a man sows that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).”

Blessings,
kent

Stepping into Maturity

April 8, 2013

Stepping into Maturity
1 John 3:2-3
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

There is a place we grow to in the kingdom of God when we cease to be a child, adolescent and teenager with all our sins and indiscretions. We are brought to that place of manhood or maturity in the Spirit. Often we love the benefits of being God’s children but we don’t want the responsibility and accountability. Yes, the Lord’s convicting me, how about you? Galatians 4:1-7 says, “Now I say, [That] the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” What is this Sonship?
We are theKing’s kids and our Christian upbringing is to be groomed and prepared for the place of authority, power and rulership where we step into our places as Kings and Priests of the Most High God. While we love the Father and we love His blessings, we must often learn obedience through the things we suffer, even as Christ (Hebrews 5:8). Whether that be through trials and tribulations, consequences of our sins or the actions and dealings of the Holy Spirit through any or all of these. These are bringing us more and more to that place of obedience. We ultimately must come to the place where we lose our identity as an individual in order to fulfill the office, calling and position for which we have and are being prepared. At that place we relinquish the place of self-will for God’s will. If He is to bring us to our coronation of “Royal Kings and Priest” we have to truly be at that place where it genuinely is ” no longer I that liveth, but Christ in me” (Galatians 2:20).
There may be part of us that wants to shrink back from the cost of service, sacrifice and commitment. Then there is another part of us that knows for this purpose we were born. There is a high calling of Sonship and it comes with a high price; the cross for a crown. The authority and power of God must be exercised out of the nature of Christ in us, and a pure heart, anything less will corrupt and pollute. Instead of life it will bring death. Instead of selfless giving there will be selfish misuse and abuse of authority. How much of this do we see at work in the church world today? Authority and power are given for service to the bringing forth of life and for the glory of God. Never is it to be used for selfish ends. The Lord is our instructor. For us to truly bear His name we must lose our old name (nature). We must to come to our death to experience the fullness of our Life and inheritance in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

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