Treasure Unearthed

April 18, 2013

2 Corinthians 4:7-12
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Treasure Unearthed

I want you to imagine today the there is this large earthen clay statue of a man and it has been revealed to you that within this earthen clay man is a treasure of untold wealth, power and blessing. You can’t see it because it is hidden in this earthen covering of clay. If you are told you can have that treasure, but all you have to do is reveal it what would you do? Chances are that no matter how lovely the statue is outwardly, you no longer see or are concerned for the outward sculpture. You are intent upon reaching the treasure within. So you go to work on this statue with all of the tools that are at you disposal. You are using picks, shovels, sledge hammers, chisel and whatever else that will give you access to this treasure. While you are intently uncovering the treasure within, what is happening to this clay statue without? It is being put to death, destroyed and decimated. Yet what you discover is that the more the red earth is peeled away from the statue the more a new substance is revealed to take its place. It is a substance of life that cannot be destroyed and contrary to destruction it actually gives life to those who come in contact with it. All of your efforts to unveil and to remove the earthen outer man have left his clay flowing off of him like streams of water. What you have discovered is a new creation man under that earthen exterior that is only revealed more and more as it is attacked and put to death, not so much by those who are intent upon the treasure, but by those who are intent upon discrediting and destroying the treasure. The more others seek to kill and destroy it the more life that is revealed from it. After awhile the clay statue has been changed in its form. The treasure has been unearthed and it is the life of God, the Christ within that is the treasure that is now revealed. While death worked in the outer man of this clay vessel, the life of God was being revealed through the forces that were brought against it. Outwardly the old was dying, but the inner man was coming forth in life.
Such is the case in our own lives. We often see all of the forces of destruction and opposition in our lives as negative things. They bring to us much pain, anxiety, frustration and hurt, but each one of them causes us to reach into the resources of the treasure that we all contain in Christ. It causes us to draw from His strength, His healing, His forgiveness, His provision, His protection and His supply.
Paul goes on this passage in Corinthians 4:16-18 to say, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” What is within us is rock solid and it cannot be destroyed. Though outwardly we are perishing, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Our heart and our eyes are not fixed upon that which temporal and soon fading away. It is fixed upon the eternal, unmovable, unchangeable, unshakable, faithfulness and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Blessings,
kent

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Heart Attitude

February 5, 2013

Isaiah 66:2b (Youngs Literal Translation)
… And unto this one I look attentively, Unto the humble and bruised in spirit, And who is trembling at My word.

Heart Attitude

It is interesting what men will do to get God’s attention. In Isaiah 66, God addresses all that man does for Him. He is not looking for what we can build for him or the sacrifices that we can make unto Him. There is one thing He is looking for in us. It is the condition and the attitude of our heart.
The prototype and example of all that we hope to be is seen in Jesus. Before he comes to be known in the three years of His earthly ministry, Jesus is a relative nobody. A man of no notable reputation. Don’t think that just because others don’t see you or the church doesn’t recognize you that you are a nobody to Father if you heart is in the right place. What we sometimes forget and grow impatient with is that Father is looking for a people whose heart condition is right before them privately, before He ever shows them off publicly.
What is that heart condition?
Is it education, knowledge, status, talent, strength, position, riches, popularity? No, it is none of these things. In fact, it is quite probable that the person with a right heart condition before God is perhaps the one least regarded by men. David, was said to be a man after God’s own heart and yet he wasn’t even regarded or thought of when Samuel came to anoint a king from among Jesse’s sons. God’s people are not flashy or showy and quite often they are hidden jewels and treasures. The only ones that find and benefit from them are the ones who are willing to search out and dig for them. The richest things in the earth or hidden from plain sight.
Jesus was a man of humility. That doesn’t mean He was a sissy, a wimp or weak. It means He was being filled with God’s strength and was able to keep it under control, because He was ever submissive before the Father. The fear of the Lord is not being afraid of Him, but the strong desire to only do that which pleasing and acceptable to Him out of a heart of obedience and love. That is the one who will tremble at His Word.
For many of us, God has become common, ordinary. Yes, we outwardly love and worship Him, but we don’t have that contrition of heart, that brokenness of our sin, that great appreciation for the enormous grace that works in our lives through the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. Like Israel, we often go through the outward motions of religion, but that is not what Father is really looking for.
Life is often the tenderizing hammer that God uses upon our lives. Through our often painful experiences, He brings us into a brokennesss that only He can heal and bring healing through. Those painful experiences and lessons in our lives are what work the heart of His mercy, grace, forgiveness and love toward others. Out of our brokenness, we gain compassion for others that are broken. From that compassion we gain Father’s heart to cry out, intercede and to pursue God’s ability to heal and touch the broken lives of those around us.
If we have all of those other things of privilege, we often miss the greater treasure that God wants to deposit into our hearts, His true love. That is what He is looking for; a heart that is in the position where He might culture and cultivate His true love and nature. If our attitude is wrong or we caught up with all of the outward things, we will miss it. It is cultivated as we spend time in His presence getting to really know Him for who He is. The more we really know, the more undone we are before Him. From that place comes the heart that God is looking for in us. One of true humility, brokenness, contrition, submission, that truly trembles before the greatness of His Word.
It is not the outward offerings and sacrifices that we make that truly please God. Micha 6:8 again speaks to what God is looking for in His people. “He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” When you are truly intimate with Father, when you truly love what He loves and hate what He hates, when you truly gain His heart, then you will walk in all humility and contrition, because you will realize, it is no longer you that lives, but Christ that lives in you.

Blessings,
kent

Your Treasure

January 4, 2013

Matthew 6:19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Your Treasure

The true joy in life is not in what you possess, but in Who you possess. The true blessings in life are not in storing up possessions, but in sharing the treasure of Who you possess within. If Christ is the treasure of your storehouse then the depth of your being is determined by where you live from. The more you share out of the treasure and storehouse of who you are in Christ, the more incorruptible treasure that is added to your account. What you value most, is what your heart pursues.
As human beings living in this world we are often short-sighted and short-circuited into believing that the pursuit of earthly gain equals security, joy, happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction and all of those emotions that we believe we will find at the end of our rainbow. In reality, what we find, is that this is as much of a myth as the pot of gold.
When you check out at the grocery store and you see all of the tabloids. There are stories of the rich and famous, but I don’t read or see stories about their joy and deep fulfillment. These are the people that are where most of us think we would want to be, but without Christ it is all empty vanity. In so many ways, you who have Christ, are so much richer than any of them. You can find in Christ all of the things the world is pursuing by natural means. The wonderful thing is that it is not through all of our works, efforts and scheming. It is not even through our goodness, talents or abilities. It is all about faith and resting in the arms of Him who desires to give it all to you. I have found a truth in my life that the more I put Him first, the less I lack. I found that He is my sufficiency, my provision, my healer, my Redeemer and the greatest friend I could ever imagine. I don’t get up and pray early in the morning because I have too, I do it because I love hanging out with Jesus and being in His presence. I love sharing my heart with Him and asking Him to share His heart with me. I love the things He shows me and the words He gives to me as I just trust Him. I can never brag about what I have, my abilities, my belongings, my gifting, my writings, because it isn’t mine to brag about. All that I have, I owe to Him. He is my treasure and life is so rich because He is in the center of it. When we truly find Christ and our relationship with Him, then we understand we don’t have to value what the world values, because our treasure is so much richer, rewarding and fulfilling.
What the world doesn’t so often see is what Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” God doesn’t promise us an easy life, but a life that often crushes the grapes of our natal man to produce the sweet wine of His life. That crushes the petals of our rose, to release the fragrance of His life within us.
In Christ we are not given to the natural affections and desires of this world, we have been transformed to dwell in the heavenly realms and part of that is allowing the natural to be touched so that the heavenly can be released. Let us never lose sight of who we are, where we are and where our true treasure is; for through your life and mine are released into the earth the treasures of heaven. The world is a richer place because we are in it and Christ is in us.

Blessings,
kent

Key to the Treasure

December 28, 2012

Isaiah 33:5-6
The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.
6He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

Key to the Treasure

It is important for us in this time to know the difference between religion and relationship. Religion carries with it a knowledge of God, an exercise or expression of ceremonial worship, but it is evident that this not acceptable to God if our hearts are not right and our spirit in tune with His. Religion can know about God, His salvation, His power to save, but it doesn’t move God if the heart of the people doesn’t line up with the pursuit of God’s heart in their obedience and faithfulness.
Jeremiah 14:7-10 is a good example. Here Jeremiah cries out to God for His people, but hear God’s answer. “Although our sins testify against us, O Lord, do something for the sake of your name.
For our backsliding is great; we have sinned against you. 😯 Hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress, why are you like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who stays only a night?
9Why are you like a man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save?
You are among us, O Lord, and we bear your name; do not forsake us!
10This is what the Lord says about this people:
“They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the Lord does not accept them;
he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.”
When we are powerless and it doesn’t seem like God is showing up, the first thing we want to check is, are we lining up with God’s Word, walking in His principles and ways, living in obedience and pursuit of His highest for our lives. Much of our impotence and the absence of God’s power from our lives may have to do with an outward expression of religion, but our lives aren’t lining up with our confession and outward expression. Perhaps we have been seeking to please God with our outward works and religious expressions rather than communing with Him consistently within our hearts and honoring Him by our fear, reverence, obedience and faithfulness.
Look again at Isaiah 33:5-6. Look at the results when we align our hearts with His. When we exalt Him with a right heart and attitude in Spirit and in truth then, “The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” The key to the treasure of God’s heart is our relationship with Him. When we pursue Him in honesty and whole heartedness then we are fearing and reverencing Him. He is center of all that we are and all that we do. He is exalted in all that we are blessed with and to Him goes all of the glory. He will be all that He has promised to be when we are living what He has called us to be.
Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that mere religious acts can appease the Father. He doesn’t want our lip service, He wants our hearts. If we feign to live godly and yet do not restrain our feet to wander, do we have a right to expect God to honor us with His great salvation and deliverance in our time of need? If we love Him we will keep His commands and walk in them. Then we well experience the rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge, because the “FEAR” of the Lord is the “KEY” to this treasure

Blessings,
kent

Luke 12:32-34
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Father has been Pleased to Give You the Kingdom

Our culture and focus has not been so different than that of Jesus’ day. Men have always been striving after earthly wealth, position, power, comfort and provision. People have always been concerned about the food they would eat, the clothes they would wear and the houses that they would live in. An earthly people are concerned for earthly things, but a kingdom people are concerned for kingdom things.
Where we are at now is the same place Jesus was speaking to the people on the Sermon on the Mount. He was sharing kingdom economy, vision, culture and living. He was telling us these aren’t just lofty ideas; He was telling us this is what kingdom living is all about. The truth of the matter is, very few of us really live in that kingdom culture.
The Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom, but to live in the kingdom you have to embrace kingdom culture. In our “Christian culture” we more or less have a mentality of an earthly culture cake with a spiritual icing. Outwardly we want to look spiritual, but inwardly it is pretty much like the rest of the world.
Jesus is telling us that there is a higher way that Father has been pleased to give us, but we have to let go of the one to embrace the other. Most of us are struggling with letting go. A lot of our prosperity messages appeal to us because we see that as a way of having the best of both worlds.
Earthly culture is all about us. It quite honestly is self-centered. Our first concern is our survival and our benefits. We are driven by how we can do better and have more, but are those God’s goals for us as believers. The real question is not how much you have, but what possesses and obsesses your heart? It is like Jesus says, Your Father knows what you have need of, so do we trust Him or do we trust us? Now Father’s ideas and yours may differ, but then who needs to make the adjustment?
Kingdom living is getting the heart of the Father and living into that with all of your being. If you want true treasure, heavenly treasure, then sow into what is in Father’s heart. Your reward may not be great on earth, but it will be eternal and rich in heaven. What we strive to attain here is but for a breath of time and then it is forever gone, but what we sow into kingdom living will prosper us always.
In this time of uncertainty many of us are asking where do we invest to protect our assets and all that we have worked for. We can foresee the economy tanking and much of what we have worked our whole lives for becoming worthless. God is telling us today the same thing that Jesus told those that he preached to on the Mount. Invest yourself in the kingdom of God, that is the only thing that is not going to be passing away. If you want to be rich, be willing to become poor, if you want to be strong, then be willing to become weak, if you want to be wise then be willing to become the fool. God is building a kingdom not out of the dust of the world, but out of lively stones that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. What He is building is by His Spirit, not by might, nor by power or by the will of man.
How many of us really want the kingdom that the Father is pleased to give us? We must be willing to relinquish ours that we may fully embrace His. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Blessings,
kent

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