Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

God’s Love Letter to You

My child, I love you more than can be ever written or expressed. I loved you so much that I was willing to give My only begotten Son to die for you, so that I could redeem you back to My heart.
With My own blood I purchased you again from your sin. I blotted out your transgression and imparted to you the right and privilege to partake of My righteousness. I have called you out as a people to carry My very own name in all of its majesty and glory. As My children, all that I have is yours, because you are in My Son and He is in you.
You see and know so little and you aren’t even able to comprehend with your finite minds the length, the breadth and depth of My love for you. My love isn’t the revelation of material things that soon perish with the using. My love is you being transformed into My likeness and glory. It is bringing you into the full expression of who I AM.
Rejoice, even in your trials, for all things are working together for the good of those who love Me and who I have called according to My purpose.

Romans 8:28-39, ” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Blessings,
#kent

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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

Spiritual Mountain Climbing

Isaiah 40:9
You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”

In Hebrews 11:8-10 it says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.” As we have began our journey of faith we have started our spiritual climb up the mountain of God, at first the path may have seemed gentle and very pleasant. As we travel on we find there are very difficult and perilous places that we must pass through as we continue our assent. Continually the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are urging us on, but as we journey up the mountain we notice that many have turned off of the trail at various points. They have even put up dwellings and have set up house keeping on these lower realms of the mountain. At times we may have asked the question, “ Lord, haven’t I gone far enough? This seems like a pleasant enough place, can’t I just stay here?” But the Spirit of the Lord would say to us, “ to obtain My best, you must press into My highest.” It came to me that though these ones had chosen a pleasant and easy place to abide rather than press on up the mountain, they had left themselves very vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. They had no real cover or protection when they came under attack. So we press on, not knowing exactly what to expect or even the fullness of what we are pressing into. What we do have are the promises of God and we know that the more that we press up into the heights of this mountain, the more real and realized these promises will become.
There are times on our journey we become weary, discouraged and even scared. There are times that we experience the blessings of mountain lakes, streams and meadows and there are times we are inching our way along jagged rocks and perilous ledges. The thing that must continue to burn in our hearts is that the Lord is ever calling us upward.
In Revelations 4:1 the Spirit speaks to John on the Isle of Patmos where he was exiled, “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Every day there stands before us a door opened that speaks “Come up here.” It is the call of God upon our lives to continue pressing onward and upward into Him. We know that only in pressing onward and upward into Him that we will discover our destiny and calling in Him. Only by continuing our climb will we realize that He is the power and endurance in us to abide, to survive and to accomplish what He has designed our lives to accomplish. In those times when our body wants to give up, when our soul is discouraged, it is the Spirit of the Son that rallies within us and that reminds us that He has called us unto Himself. Where He has called us He has also gone before us and made a way for us. We are reminded that this journey and this climb are not in our ability, but it is in His ability through us as we press on in faith, believing that He is mighty within us. We are a called out people, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. We are the overcomers of God set apart for the glory of His Name, but we must keep climbing and keep pressing onward, upward and inward. As we climb we are developing agility, wisdom, faith and strength. Even when we slip upon the path, we sense the unseen hand of His grace laying hold of us and helping us back up into the way.
Sometimes we sit for a moment to catch our breath and regain our strength, but we never want our eye distracted from following that path that continues upward. We know that at every bend and over every precipice we may catch a greater revelation of His glory and find new truth revealed. Everyday is an adventure, a challenge and a steadfast commitment to follow on to Know Him in a greater and higher way. He is saying to the weak and the lame, “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” Take courage you saints of God as you ascend the mountain and be renewed in the spirit of your faith and place confidence in the high calling you have in Christ Jesus. “You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our “God is a consuming fire.””(Hebrew 12:18-29).
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

Blessings,
#kent

Our Pleasure is in the Lord

Psalms 16:5-11
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

The Psalmist declares, “You have made known to me the path of life, in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy and at thy right hand pleasures for evermore.” What a wonderfully secure and precious place the redeemed have found in Christ. Though the earthly realms and kingdoms are falling down around us, though outwardly we may face peril, adversity and death, what a security and peace we have in knowing who and what we are in Christ. We know that He will not abandon us to the grave. We know that He is our resurrection and our life, through faith in Christ we are eternally bound to Him. One of the greatest basic needs that a person has in their lives is the need for security. We all want to know and live in that safe place where we are not threatened and we have something and someone that we can count on, that will always be there for us. Someone who will never leave us or forsake us. That is what we have found in Christ. He is our security and our strong fortress. He is our shield and our buckler. Whatever life throws at us and whatever trials come we know that our reliance, our final hope and confidence is in him. Everything else around us may fail, but He won’t fail. Everyone else around us may desert us, but He will stand by us.
The Apostle Paul relates this steadfast confidence and the Lord’s faithfulness in 2Timothy 4:16-18, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge. ¶ Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.” We can hopefully see why our identification with Christ is so powerful and must be so strong. Our identity is in Him and not in the weakness, frailties and failures of our flesh. All that we truly are, all that we hope for and walk in faith in, is realized in Christ. He is our foundational and unmovable rock.
We are not going to always understand all of God’s ways or why some things happen as they do, but that must never deter us from knowing Him as our life and eternal security. The greatest undertaking of the enemy is to rock our boat and to bring about circumstances that will undermine our faith and cause us to forsake it. What we know is that God never fails. Our perceptions of God may not always hold water, but that doesn’t mean that He has failed. He is still sovereign upon His throne and He still holds the whole world in His hands. What I do know is that in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy and that is why I want to spend a lot of time in His presence. At His right hand are pleasures for evermore. There is no greater pleasure in life than to be walking in the perfect will of God for you. In that place you will have fulfillment, contentment, peace and joy. You will find the pleasure that the world can not offer. The world’s pleasures are temporal and fleeting. So many of them only lead to a hollow life full of darkness and despair, but not so with the Lord’s pleasures. They lead to life, liberty and fullness of joy.
The apostle Paul says it so wonderfully in Romans 8:28-39, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Your life is secure in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

The Seed of Heavenly Life

Matthew 13:37-38
He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];

This parable of Jesus concerning seed is a principle that runs through the Word of God. Here, He plainly says what the good seed is, that it is the children of the kingdom. In John 12:23-26 Jesus teaches His disciples this principle about seed as He is preparing for the cross. “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour” The principle of seed is that it lives to die to bring forth life more abundantly and in an increase that it could never see if it only lives to it’s self. Jesus tells us we are the good seed and that when good seed loses its natural life it gains life eternal.
1 Corinthians 15 teaches us some more along these lines. It deals a great deal with the principles of life, death and resurrection. In this limited commentary we would glean just a point or two from it. The first point is this; death isn’t often a pleasant process. We can see throughout the New Testament and throughout the Word of God that men and women of God often suffered hardships, persecutions and trials as they walked out their faith. Many even gave their natural lives for their faith. Paul makes the statement in 1Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Why did Paul make this statement? He was a seed planted in the ground who was dying, literally pouring out His life, for the lives of others. He makes another statement in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” The reason for dying and the reason for resurrection are so that death gives place to life, weakness gives place to God’s strength and corruptible gives way to that which is incorruptible.
1Corinthians 15:42-49 goes on to make this point, “So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” We are God’s seed that He is planting in the field of this world. The end is that it works the life of Christ in others as we are poured out unto Him. In the process of our dying or being poured out, there is a transformation that is taking place from the earthly to the heavenly. While we see only now in part, Christ shall complete that process when corruption puts on incorruption, when death is swallowed up in life and when we fully bear the image of the heavenly, the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we are experiencing the death today, be of good courage, it is giving place to His life.

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

The Oil that Sustains Us

February 10, 2015

Matthew 25:1-13
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6″At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7″Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9” ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10″But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11″Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
12″But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

The Oil that Sustains Us

Virgins are symbolic of those who have been made pure before the Lord. They all have obviously had an experience with the Lord and are aware of His imminent coming. The lamps are the illuminated lights of God’s Spirit within us. What keeps that light burning is the oil. The oil is the Holy Spirit, but it is more than that. It is the Holy Spirit worked out through our lives in experience.
In Leviticus 24:2 the Lord tells Moses, “Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.” This oil was created through a process of beating or pressing. This is the in working of the cross of Jesus Christ in our lives. We are beaten and pressed as we press into Christ. Through our walk we experience tribulations, trials, persecutions and difficulties. It is as we walk through these hard places in the faith of Jesus Christ that the precious oil of the Holy Spirit is formed and stored up in us. The wise virgins know that if the relationship with the Bridegroom isn’t there, then the oil will not be there either. The oil has flowed out of that relationship of walking in faith and obedience.
The foolish have received the fundamentals of the faith, but they have not pressed into the relationship to really know the One to whom they professed to give their hearts. They have gone about life eating, drinking, giving and taking in marriage. It is life as usual. In other words their relationship is shallow and without substance and depth. They have chosen to remain babes when they should have grown into maturity. The things of the world and the cares of life have occupied their time and their hearts. As a result they have not bought the oil with the price of experience and relationship in walking with the Lord. Now that the time of the midnight hour has come they have been found wanting. Now it is too late to go out and buy the oil, for the Lord has opened the door to the ones who have come to truly know Him in an intimate way, not just from a distance through the teaching of others. The hour has come and they can’t ride in on the coattails of those who have stored up the oil and prepared for this hour. By the time they get what they need the door is shut and it is too late to enter into the Bridegroom. His reply is, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
Religion is the oil of the foolish virgins. It is merely man’s search for God. It is merely head knowledge and outward works to appease God. God doesn’t want our sacrifices, He wants our obedience and He wants our hearts. Relationship with Christ is what will bring forth the oil of His Spirit as we walk through the hard and difficult places and come to know Him as our Redeemer and Deliverer in every situation.
Hear the word of the Lord. This is the hour for you to be storing up the oil. The midnight hour is soon approaching and you better have the oil of His Spirit and Life worked and stored up in you if you want to enter in. If we have been half-heartedly serving the Lord, it is the time to repent and give Him our whole heart, mind and soul. We must walk in the truth of His life if we are to have the oil to see us through and keep our lamps lit in the greatest hour of darkness. We need this oil if we are going to go the distance and hold fast the course. We must make Him the priority of our lives, for His kingdom is come and it must be established in us. Let us come to Him and give our utmost for His highest.

Blessings,
#kent

In Our Darkest Hour

January 16, 2015

Acts 16:16-29
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
19When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

In Our Darkest Hour

As we endeavor to walk the walk of faith we come to experience and realize that God doesn’t just rescue us out of every bad circumstance and trial. The experience Paul and Silas have here is a case and point. God had something more far reaching than an immediate rescue or even the avoidance of a very unpleasant experience for His servants. Like them, there are times when our reasoning might be “God, I am doing your will and I am in your service, why are you allowing these things to happen to me? Why didn’t you come through when I called upon You?”
Remember the words of Jesus in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” If Jesus, the Son of God, had to endure the cross, despising the shame, then know that there can and will be dark and difficult times when we follow in His footsteps. The question then isn’t really are we going to experience trials and tribulations, those are almost a given. The question is how do we respond when we are in the midst of these dark times? Will we blame God for failing us? Will we give up and forsake the faith or will we do what Paul and Silas did in there greatest and darkest hour of despair. They were praying, praising and singing hymns unto the Lord. If you want to talk about a time when they might have had zero incentive to praise God this could have been it. They have been wrongfully accused, convicted, beaten within an inch of their lives, thrown into the inner, darkest dungeon and put into chains. Everything in the natural declared that they were defeated and God hadn’t saved them. Just stick a fork in them cause they are done.
These are men that no longer walk by their feelings and emotions. These are men that have entrusted themselves into the hands of God whether for life or for death. Their faith and commitment have superseded their circumstances. This is where we have to be in our walk and in our faith in this hour. In our darkest hour we cannot be murmuring and complaining about how God failed us. God is God and does all things according to His time and purpose which may be in direct contradiction to ours. So what do we do in these times? We worship Him. It doesn’t matter what happens upon the earth or how bad it gets, God is still on the throne. He is still sovereign over the affairs of men. Evil men may prevail for a time, but in the end they must answer to the Almighty.
Job 13: 15 says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” This must become the motto and battle cry of God’s people. We are His in life and in death. We are His in health and in sickness. We are His in prosperity and poverty. We are His in freedom and in prison. We are His in justice and injustice. In all our ways and with all of our hearts we must be His.
We see God showing up in the darkest hour in the midst of praise and worship. He shows Himself strong and sovereign even in a naturally impossible situation. Through this travail and sorrow, salvation and life are brought forth to the glory of God. We are pregnant with His life and often the bringing forth of that life comes with much travail and sorrow, but joy comes in the morning. Light triumphs over the darkness and life over death. There is no greater honor we can have than to lay down our lives for Christ’s sake. Many saints have not been rescued as Paul and Silas were this night and eventually they, also, came to a time when they gave their lives for the gospel. The martyrs are the color guard of heaven. They carry the standard of His righteousness and the banner of His love. They are His elite elect and faithful ones, because they loved not their lives even unto death.
Many of us are in dark times or will be in the near future. They may or may not be life threatening, but they won’t be easy. In these times we must enter into His rest. We must resign to the truth that our greatest victory is found not in self-effort, but through prayer, praise and worship. In Daniel 3 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s idol they faced sure death for not complying, but this was their response, “16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” This is the abandonment of faith into the hands of God. This is something that everything in the natural cries out against, but for the ones who know their God this is the place of our peace.

Blessinsg,
#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

God is for You

December 10, 2014

Romans 8:28-39
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, we have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is for You

There are times we go through in life when it seems all of hell comes against us. There are times the enemy wants to condemn and defeat us through accusing voices within and without. There are times circumstances of life overwhelm and flood over us like a tsunami seeking tear away all that we have held sacred and dear to us. There are times that if we lived only by our feelings we would be utterly lost and forsaken. But, God says we are His predestined ones called according to His purpose.
Predestined and purposed for what?
Predestined and purposed to be conformed to the likeness of His Son!
Sonship will allow the world to tear at every fiber of your humanity so that it may reveal your destiny as a son. It causes us to turn from every reliance and dependence upon the world so that we might fully depend on Abba Father. That is why all things are working for our good even in the darkness and seeming discouragement of our life circumstances. Father is saying take heart, I am only allowing it to conform you by faith and steadfast obedience to that which you are called to become.
“I am for you, not against you”, says the Lord.
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.” We have a promise to suffer persecution if we live godly in Christ Jesus. “As Jesus is so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)” We will have our hardships, but Father wants us to know beyond a shadow of doubt those hardship are in no way indicative of His inseparable love for us. There is a principle in God that out of our dying to self and the natural realm, spiritual life is produced and propagated. The more we die to this life the more of Jesus is released into the earth.
Paul describes it this way 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.” Every assault of the enemy and this natural world should only serve to bring forth Jesus. Every time you are wounded physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially; it should only cause you to bleed more of Jesus into every situation, because that is who you are and what you are becoming.
This is why it is so important not to weigh your spirituality or God’s love for you by your circumstances. How can you be an overcomer, unless you have to overcome? God wants us to so get a hold of who we are. He so wants you to have a revelation of your identity in Him, your destiny and purpose in Him. If you have a secure revelation of that and that nothing in hell or earth can steal that from you, then you will overcome the enemy, “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” You will not fear or shrink back from the death in this life, because you have so much of a revelation of the life of Christ that dwells in you. In the understanding of that revelation is the peace of knowing, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If God is so much for you, who can ever be against you?

Blessings,
#kent

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