The Radiance of His Glory

Matthew 25:31
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

The glory of the Lord is an awesome thing. It is the outshining of God’s very presence, being and life. No mere mortal man can stand before it. Even the mighty men of God that experienced it, like Moses and Daniel were completely undone and prostrate before it.
When Jesus came and walked among us we were able to view the glory of God, but it was veiled in human flesh. When our Christ comes again there will be no concealing His glory. It will be fully manifested. A few of the disciples briefly beheld Him in the fullness of His glory on the mount of transfiguration.
2 Thessalonians 1: 5-12 reveals, “All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” When the presence of Christ is revealed in His glory, His glory will be made manifest in the earth. The fullness of the Head will come in union and fully be enthroned within His body. The glory that is resident in the Head will be manifested throughout His body as He comes to rule and judge the earth. Isaiah 60:1-5 prophesies, “”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.” The radiance of God’s glory will not only shine forth from the Son, but from those who are enthroned with Him. Revelations 20:4-6 says, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Thrones are the symbol of authority and power. This is the full expression of this King-Priest ministry that rules and reigns with Christ. They are fully as one. They express even one mind and one heart, that of the Father.
The Word of God teaches us that there are two resurrections. Those partaking in this first resurrection are those who will rule and reign with Christ. After the thousand years there will be a general resurrection in which all of the nations will be judged. We can glean that those who partake in this first resurrection are those that don’t partake in the mark of the beast and refuse to worship him. While we may not see this beast yet manifested the way that we might one day expect; his spirit still presides over the earth and the affairs of men. Our being caught up in the worldliness of this present time and our dependence upon the world can represent a partaking of that mark. This company of first resurrection saints are those who are willing to lay down their lives for their witness of Jesus. Their lives are not seated here; they are seated with Christ in God. They do not seek here any lasting city, but they are sojourners, foreigners, looking to a city whose builder and maker is God.
Where are our lives today? Is this earth our home? Is our glory found here? Are our hearts truly set upon the King of Glory and lived out in the hope of Him. There is no earthly comparison to the radiance of God’s glory. Let us not sell ourselves short of the great and glorious calling we have in Christ Jesus even if it cost us everything in this life and physical life itself.

Blessings
#kent

Stepping Up

September 17, 2013

Stepping Up

Ephesians 4:15
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:

Our walk in Christ is a progressive one; it is a journey that each day should bring us a little more into His character and likeness. If we charted it on a graph I doubt that for very many of us it would look like this smooth sloped line starting at zero and going up. The truth is we would probably see dips and rises. Sometimes it is like we go two steps back to take one forward. Some days we can be so discouraged with life or ourselves that we just want to give up and sometimes we may even do that for a time. Life is a series of ups and downs and we all know that on the surface it is easier live a sweet Christian life when things are going well. When we are caught up in the Spirit and we are feeling and experiencing the Lord’s presence and blessing in our lives it can be like we have heaven on earth. The reality is, we know that we can experience hell on earth well. There can be those times in life when all that we know and held dear is pulled out from under us. Our world can be turned upside down in a heart beat. One thing you can count on in life is that nothing stays the same. It is these experiences in our lives that are the testing and proving grounds of our faith. The adversities in life are what exercise our muscles of faith and sound the depths of our character and integrity. Often it is when we feel spiritual the least that we grow the most. Our Father always sees the big picture where we can only see the next hundred feet. The one thing we have to be committed too is that come heaven or hell, our lives are wholly His. We are His garden, to prune, to dig around, to water or however He decides to deal with us individually. What we can hold fast too are the facts and truths that ‘He loves us with an everlasting love’, ‘He is able to complete the good work He began in us’, ‘He will never leave us of forsake us’ and ‘all things work together for the good of them that are called according to His purpose.’
The important thing for all of us in Christ is that we maintain a focus and vision of continual faithfulness toward the Lord. The enemy of our souls has continual roadblocks, diversions, disasters, and snares to discourage, get us off track and get us back into that mindset of the flesh and the world. We must maintain a continual vigilance of our souls and we need one another to help us see the things that we often don’t see in ourselves. Our spiritual transformation and progression is not something we accomplish in and of ourselves. Romans 8:3-4 tells us, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” That is why our walking in the Spirit is so important. Walking in the Spirit is where we experience His righteousness, His freedom, His strength and power through us to overcome sin and temptation and deliverance from evil. It is where we walk in the company of the Strong One, the Wise One, and the Faithful One. It is in Him and our continual union and fellowship with Him that we experience growth from glory to glory as 2 Corinthians 3:18 puts it, “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.
Every day should be a progressive walk in the Spirit, irregardless of what life circumstances are. Each day should be a stepping stone of faith and trust that brings us up higher and transforms us into His likeness. Keep your eyes upon Him and your walk in the Spirit. Let each day be another step up into the glory that is before us.

Blessings,
kent

Faithfulness in Marriage

August 21, 2013

Faithfulness in Marriage

Malachai 2:14-16
You cry out, “Why has the LORD abandoned us?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made to each other on your wedding day when you were young. But you have been disloyal to her, though she remained your faithful companion, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “It is as cruel as putting on a victim’s bloodstained coat,” says the LORD Almighty. “So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife.”
Our hearts are not different than those that have gone before us. They are still deceitfully wicked and perverse. Unless guarded and kept under the Lordship of Christ and led by the Spirit they will lead us in the ways contrary to His will. We live in a day when the divorce rate is somewhere around fifty percent. One out of two marriages end in divorce. What is even more sad is that it isn’t a whole lot better even among the Christian community. What is this telling us about the condition of our hearts? In Matthew 19:8 Jesus says, “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
From today’s passage we can readily see that this isn’t the will of God and what His attitude about divorce is. The enemy is doing a masterful job of destroying our homes, families and marriages. The moral fabric of our society is deteriorating before our very eyes, as we become more complacent and accepting of it. So many of us end up playing right into this destruction and we wonder why God isn’t blessing us and answering our prayers. Could it be that we have become too self-centered rather than God centered? Probably the only ones who will continue reading this if it is an issue in their lives are those who really care more about God’s will than their own. None of us like to be confronted with our sins. We, like the world, want to run from the light. The difference is that we are children of the light and if we are really Christ’s then our spirit won’t let us run away even when we are in error. We have a conviction to return to what is right and repent of what is wrong.
Our biggest temptation today is self-isolation. We become too absorbed in what we want to do, what is important to us and what meets our needs and wants. As a result we isolate ourselves from the demands and needs of those around us, especially our spouses. Life begins to slowly and subtly take us in different directions and begins to place a wedge in our relationships. I can be perfectly content going my own way and doing my own thing, but when I got married and committed to that woman my life, love and loyalty, I gave up being just about myself. It is the two of us that make up one person and while we are individuals with differences we are one flesh both of us living for the good and well being of the other and not just ourselves. I know how oblivious I can become to the needs of my wife because I get so caught up in what I need to do and what is important to me. I have to remember that my top priority next to God is my wife. When I forget that I begin to unwittingly open myself up to a breakdown in our relationship. Just as I must cultivate and spend quality time in my relationship with the Lord, I can do no less with my spouse.
What I am learning is that our spiritual relationship is directly related to our natural relationship with our spouse. When there is disharmony and dissension in the natural, it hinders the spiritual dimension of our relationship with the Lord. As 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” We have to remember that we are not in this by ourselves, we are together in union with Christ. We need that unity to maintain right relationship spiritually. This is another reason we as husbands and wives must commit to keeping our hearts in an attitude of submission before the Lord and to one another, willing to pray together and share our hearts together without fear of reprisals. We will all have our difficult times, but if our hearts and attitudes remain right we can resolve them.
If we are finding ourselves in the place in our lives where the storms of divorce are brewing, start by submitting your hearts to the Lord and His will. It is only in being right with Him that we can be right with each other. Love has to be the conquering force to all obstacles and we know that His love is greater than ourselves. Let His love reign in your hearts and relationships always and let us submit ourselves to one another in the spirit of that love.

Blessings,
kent

The Groan Within

July 8, 2013

The Groan Within

Romans 8:18-24
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.

As much as we can love the Lord and desire to be filled with the fullness and glory of His divine life we find that as long as we are still of this earth we are still tethered to our body of flesh. It is this body of flesh that poses our limitations; it is the dust to which we are bound and upon which the serpent feeds. This flesh is ever demanding our attention and our care as it provides the earthly housing for our spirit man. Yet it is the spirit man within us, redeemed and conformed to the image of Christ, that so groans to be set free from the limitations, the hindrances, the weakness, the sin and the failures that the flesh prompts and facilitates. Every day must be a recommitment to crucify this flesh, hold fast our faith in Christ and walk in a manner that glorifies Him. Yet every day it seems the enemy is at work in our lives to undermine, to seek some avenue of darkness that he might exploit in us. Everyday it is necessary to set ourselves in array with our spiritual armor to combat our spiritual foe. The battle is waged not so much without as it is waged within. We battle our thoughts that are impure or out of alignment with the Word of God. We war with our passions and our impulses to act out of our flesh rather than our spirit. We war with the individual weaknesses that are characteristic and inherent within us. “Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of sin and death (Romans 7:24)?” Isn’t that our groan and cry to the Lord? We often hate what we are still manifesting in our flesh, but we seem so powerless to gain the victory and righteousness that we so desire to see. It is this reality that we continually face that causes us to know that we are the products of God’s grace and mercy alone and through no righteousness of our own. It is His righteousness and life with which we now relate and identify. The answer to our cry and groan for the deliverance from this body of death is still “Jesus Christ”.
We groan to see that full deliverance from the influence and power of our body of sin, but God in His infinite wisdom has chosen that even in salvation that we must walk in faith and trust for the in-working of righteousness and deliverance in us. God has structured it in such a way that it is only in a holy and sustained union with Him and identification with who we now are in Christ that we walk each day in faith, working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Our day to day victories are only accomplished as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that has set me free from the law of sin and death. There are two laws operational in your life today. Whichever law you make the choice to serve that is whose servant you are. We know that, in ourselves, in this flesh, dwells no good thing. We know that the heart is deceitfully wicked and who can know it? This is why we need an ally to prevail over this body of sin.
Romans 8:12-13 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” The key to a victorious life in Christ is living and walking in the Spirit and by the power of the Spirit putting to death the passion and misdeeds of the flesh.
It is not often an easy walk. Sometimes we grow weary or complacent. Sometime we allow the moldy corruption of our sinful desires to have place under a cloak of righteousness, but eventually the stink of our misdeeds will be revealed. Yes, we are often weak and we can all stumble. We need to pray for one another. We need the ability to be transparent with one another without judgement so that we can minister grace and encouragement to each other. We are the body and with the life of Christ within each of us we must minister and function to the good and health of the whole. As we hold fast our faith and hope, one-day that groan will be turned to the shout of victory, as we will triumph fully in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

A Pure Heart

June 24, 2013

A Pure Heart

Psalm 24:3-5
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Titus 1:5 says, “Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” The purity of our hearts and our relationship with God has so much more to do with the condition of our hearts than it does with just outward acts, or do’s and don’ts. Many of us are concerned with how others perceive us and how even God perceives us. We spend much of our life and efforts trying so hard to project the right image or performing the outward works of righteousness. The Lord wants us to focus on the truth that purity and righteousness are a condition of our heart. If our heart isn’t right nothing else will be either, no matter how religious or pious we wish to present ourselves.
Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” It stands to reason then that the condition of our heart toward God is the measure of our purity. Impurity takes place when there is a mixture of unclean and clean. With regard to our spiritual state that could be a mixture of impure thoughts, desire, emotions, actions, or motives. If we are God’s kids, His desire in us is purity of heart. He wants every thought and motive of our hearts to be centered in Him, in His nature and character. If the Lord is the treasure we are laying up in our hearts then our motives and that which is spoken out of our mouths will reflect that.
One of the ways the Lords helps us achieve purity is by fire. It is the tribulation and trials of life that reveal our true heart. How do we act in stressful situations? How do we handle sin and temptation? The Holy Spirit within us discerns the thoughts and intents of our hearts. If we want to be pure then it is by exercising the knife or the sword of the Word of God in our hearts through skillful instruction and conviction of the Holy Spirit that cuts us to the quick concerning the areas of impurity in our lives. Hebrew 4:12 says, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word is able to cut into the gray areas of our lives and reveal true heart motive. Then it is our will and choice to purify and cleanse ourselves by relinquishing these areas of our lives to the Lord. If we are the Lord’s then we must always be mindful that this why Jesus came, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)” Jesus has saved us to deliver us from iniquity. The purification is a process by which He is pruning us, cutting away the unproductive ways of our flesh and baptizing us into fire that is constantly dealing with the issues of our heart. Why? The Lord is desiring a peculiar, separated people unlike the world. They are as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
In order to have purity, we must by the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word be willing to deal with the impurity. That comes in that place of relationship and desire for all that He is, counting all that we value in this earth as dung in comparison. James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.” The motives of our hearts must be centered in His Love. It is not out of legalism or ceremonial ritual or practice that we will be purified. 1 Timothy 1:5 says the end of the commandment is this, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:”
What is the condition of our heart today? Are we operating out of a pure heart and pure motives generated and birthed out of the love of Christ within us. It is in that continual, life-giving union with Him that the exchange of His nature for ours is taking place and purity of heart is the cream that rises from His love within us.

Blessings,
kent

Ephesian 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

The Prominent Woman of the New Testament

I was thinking this morning, “If I were to identify the most prominent woman in the New Testament, who would it be? Would it be Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Elizabeth or one of the other godly women? Then it struck me that the most prominent woman and the one to whom the whole New Testament is dedicated too, is the bride of Christ, us, His Church.
He loves us so much that He laid down His life to redeem us for His bride. His love for His bride becomes the model of every husband’s love for his natural wife. For Jesus, the life that he lived, the love that He proved in action, the Word that He gave and His Spirit that now indwells, all speak to the passionate love that He has for us. He did nothing for Himself, but all was for us.
The Word teaches here that even with the same love and care you extend to your personal self, you should extend to your wife; loving your wife as your own body. Our wife is an extension of our own flesh and blood. Spiritually she is united and one with us. This scripture teaches us that all that Jesus did and is still doing, even His very life was dedicated to this woman, His bride. All that He has done and is still doing is to make us all that we were called to be in union with Him. We were called and betrothed to holiness, so He cleanses us with His blood for the forgiveness of our sins and He washes us with the water of His Word that renews us in our identity with Him; His mind, His heart, His love. By the sacrifice of His own self He imparts into us His own righteousness and virtue to remove every stain, wrinkle and blemish. As husbands who follow this example, we are compelled to provide an atmosphere and environment where our bride is treated in the same manner. When she submits herself to us there is no fear or trepidation in her, because she is so secure in our love and best interests for her. In that love she finds such a place of security and peace. She knows that she is at the forefront of all that we do and provide. She delights to submit, because her joy is to reciprocate the love that is so freely and unselfishly lavished upon her. Her husband has cut all ties to his former obligations and earthly commitments that He might put her first. She is His treasure and He will protect and cherish that treasure with His very life.
This may all sound very idealistic, but it shouldn’t. It should be the way, we, as Christian men and husbands should think and believe, because it is the Word of God. It is the way that Christ loves us. Since we have inherited this same love, it is incumbent upon us to love our wives in this same manner. God gave us all of His Word, but in particular the New Testament as His love letter to His bride. His one desire is to bring us into all that He is and all that He possesses. Jesus loves us with undying, unfailing and unending love. Just as He is so in love with us; He wants us to be so in love with Him. He gave us marriage to practice that love affair. In the same way that we love one another in that marriage relationship, it is the same way we love Jesus. You may think your spouse is so stubborn or has such issues that you can’t get along and love them in that way. Do we think that it has been any easier for Christ to love us through all of our issues and sins? Yet He does. His love never fails, it never gives up and never runs out on us. He looks past our faults and sees our needs. While He would have every justification to divorce us, He doesn’t. He patiently loves us, forgives us, ministers life and blessing to us, even when we live in defiance and rebellion to Him. Love never fails when it comes to this prominent woman in the New Testament. He has committed to stay with Her until He brings Her into His highest and into the fullness of Himself.

Blessings,
kent

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