For My Own Sake

July 8, 2015

Isaiah 48:8-11
You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth. 9 For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off. 10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. 11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.
For My Own Sake

We are not so unlike Israel of old to whom the prophet speaks these words from the Spirit of the Lord in verses2-4, “you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and rely on the God of Israel— the LORD Almighty is his name: 3 I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. 4 For I knew how stubborn you were;
the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze.” You know we can be very self-willed at times and determined to go ahead and do what we are going to do. We are the Lord’s people and yet we often don’t really listen and obey what God is telling us in this hour. We are complacent. We are caught up in our personal lives and agendas that aren’t about our God. They are about us, what we idolize, esteem and deem important. Thus it often takes God’s strong hand to align us with His word and purpose for us.
Many of us know that as parents our children can bring us praise or they can bring us reproach by their behavior. They may have been instructed and taught better, but if they ignore their instruction and upbringing, doing what negative things is in their heart to do, then don’t you bear the reproach of their actions as a parent? What we don’t realize is that we are the Lord’s glory, but we can also be His reproach when the world observes us living in unrighteousness and contrary to what we teach and believe. How does God get the glory from that? God is still dealing with the rebellious nature that still wants to manifest in many of us and He will take us through the furnace of affliction, not for our destruction, but for our transformation.
The Lord says in verse 11, “For my own sake, my own sake I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield My glory to another.” If we have been created and purposed for the glory of God, then God must do whatever is necessary to bring us into that purpose that He may be glorified. God is not glorified in our selfishness. Selfishness seeks God’s glory for its own and God says, “I will not give my glory to another.” If you are the Lord’s glory then you must be wholly His. How can you see the glory of the Lord fully expressed from you until you are wholly His?
In this hour God is giving us the word to return with all of our hearts unto Him. Again, He is speaking great and wondrous things to our generation through His word and through the prophets. The trumpet is sounding, but if you are too caught up in the noisiness of your own life you may fail to hear it and even if you do hear it, it is easy to ignore and become distracted. It will be as the Lord says in verse 3, “I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” Are you ready when the Lord acts upon what He said? We must not allow our stubborn and rebellious ways to cause us to miss what God is doing. It is for this purpose that you were created. We must not foolishly miss the train that is headed for our destiny. Our destiny is to be the expression of His glory, unto His glory and for His glory alone. Hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying, “Prepare you hearts and pursue His presence. Let all else become secondary to your relationship with Him. In Him you must live and move and have your being.”

Blessings,
#kent

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Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Closing the Door on God’s Forgiveness

One of our most blessed benefits in knowing Christ is our ability to call upon the blood of Jesus to forgive us of our sins when so often we stumble and fail. 1 John 1:8-9 teaches us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” With that promise of forgiveness in 1 John also comes the condition that Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:15. God requires that we give forgiveness to receive forgiveness. We can no doubt all think of times when others may have done things to us that are, in our minds and hearts, unforgivable. God would ask us a question. What if He considered the things we have done in our lives unforgivable? None of us can attest to deserving or earning God’s forgiveness. We have all come, or at least should have come to the realization that we have fallen short of the glory of God. We are all sinners standing condemned under the law of God, estranged from God except for the grace of the blood of our Lord Jesus that has atoned for us. For all of those who have acted in faith in asking Christ into their hearts to be the Lord of their lives he has washed our sins away, casting them as far as the east is from the west.
What if God continued to hold a grudge, an offense or unforgiveness in His heart towards us? How would that affect our relationship with Him? It would obviously bring a separation and estrangement again from His fellowship and love. That is exactly what we do when we hold on to an offense, resentment and unforgiveness for others. Our offense toward others becomes God’s offense toward us. Some of us would say, ‘but that isn’t fair, you don’t know what that person has done to me or to someone I love’. Is there anything that God has refused to forgive you for?
Yes, there are some horrible, detestable and seemingly unforgivable acts that one person can perpetrate upon another. They are not right and they will be judged, but we are not the lawgiver and judge. That is God’s department. We can’t control the behavior of others, but we are responsible for our own. We can’t always control how we feel, but we don’t have to choose to live and act according to our feelings. It is Christ that now sits upon the throne of our hearts. He is to be the ruler over our mind, will and emotions. We have been called to walk after the Spirit and not after the soul. Often that is a very hard position to align ourselves with when we are carrying deep seated emotions of anger, hate, resentment and unforgiveness. It is not a switch that we can just turn off and on, but it is something that the Lord can help us to come to terms with if we will allow Him too by opening our hearts and being honest about where we are at.
We must understand the principle that resentment, resistance and retaliation, repels love.
What is God’s nature? Love. When we hold these things in our hearts we are switching off His love, which is the light to bring us to healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. We may never be reconciled where we have the same relationship with a person that we once had, but the important thing is that we have reconciled the offense caused by someone else’s behavior or bad decisions with the love of Christ that abides in us. This often stands contrary to how the world acts and behaves, but we are not of this world, we are a kingdom people with the kingdom of God residing within our spirits and lives. That means we live and operate our lives out of the context of kingdom principles.
At some point and often at many points in our lives we struggle with these issues. What we must realize and remember is that resentments and unforgiveness will always do more to hurt us than the people that we are offended with. It is not our love, but the love of Christ in us that is the ointment and balm of our healing. It is His love in us that is that power to release the unconditional love and forgiveness that He has released toward us. If this is an area in your life that you are struggling with then, for your sake, open that door of forgiveness that God’s love and forgiveness might flow back into your life. He wants to set you free. How else can we give forth the love of God if it has never been tested in our lives?

Blessings,
#kent

Temptation

October 30, 2014

Mark 26:21
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.

Temptation

Temptation seems to always want to come and visit us in our weakest moments, entice us with its sweetest fruit and numb us to the consequences of its poison. Lust and desire are strong aphrodisiacs no matter what level or place in life they come to us. They always seek to turn our heads from who we are in Christ to who we were. In Genesis 3 we see the beguiler as he comes to rationalize with Eve that what God said wasn’t so and God just didn’t want her to partake of what would make her like Him. God warned Cain in Genesis 6, “… sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” We all, like Cain and those that have gone before us, are often caught up in our mind, will and emotions where we rationalize and court sin. It so often starts so subtly with the innocent and seemingly harmless things, just like a fish playing with the bait on a hook until before we know it the hook is set and we are being reeled into the depths of our sin that can lead us to strongholds and addictions.
In our passage from Mark 26, Jesus sees this happening even to His own disciples as He cautions them, “watch and pray”. Like them. many of us go through a time of spiritual victory and strength where we tend to let down our guard and think we are no longer vulnerable to the temptations of sin. What Jesus speaks to His disciples, He speaks to us. “Be vigilant, watchful and mindful of the cunning strategies of the enemy. Your spirit may be strong and willing, but your flesh may not have the resolve that you think that you have in your spirit. Given opportunity, it will want to indulge itself in those areas where it is weak and vulnerable.
Our spirit, in unity with God’s spirit is the strength we have to reign in the flesh with its desires. While we no longer have that appetite for sin, we all fall prey to it at various time and in various ways. What we all now have confidence in, is that even if we make a mistake, we no longer live in the realm of the law of sin and death, but in the realm of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We know that in Christ we have an advocate with the Father who ever lives to make intercession for us and if we fail 1 John 1:5-8 reminds us of the message we have from Christ. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”
God warns us even about the company we keep. Where our hearts are our actions will follow. 2 Corinthians 6:14 -18 exhorts us, ” Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.
17″Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”
18″I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
While we minister the love and righteousness of God to the world, it is no longer the place of our fellowship or abiding. We are a people separated out of the world and unto Him, so our affections are set on things above and no longer of things beneath. It is as we maintain the identity of not who we were, but who we have now come into that we live in Christ through the power of His Word and Life. We are no longer conformed to this world as Romans 12 tells us, but we are transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus.
Remember that the war that you are in, is not one of flesh and blood. The enemy is as 1 Peter 5:8 warns us, ” Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He is looking for our places of weakness and vulnerability. And Jesus says, the mission statement of the devil is “to kill, steal and destroy.” He will always entice you through logic and lust into sin and then condemn you for it. Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us that we are in a war and not a casual relationship with this world and the spirits that seek to rule it. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
We must not only be mindful of ourselves, but pray and watch out for one another. The enemy is always trying to catch us on our blindside and your brother may be able to see what you have been blinded too. Let us watch one another’s back in love, not in judgement or condemnation. Together we stand as one man to defeat our foe and overcome temptation. We need to watch and pray, not only for ourselves, but for one another. Together we must stand helping, ministering and exhorting one another to be strong, resisting the devil so that he will flee from us. The serpent only feeds on dust. Your dust has been redeemed through the cross so that you walk no longer in the former dust and lust of your flesh, but live out of the life of the Spirit of Christ in you. In that place he has nothing to feed upon.

Blessings,
#kent

Spirits of Influence

June 28, 2014


Romans 13:12-14

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

 

Spirits of Influence

 

There are three primary wills that are operating in our lives today: the will of God, the will of man and the will of satan.  We have the right and the good on one side, the evil and the darkness on the other and we are in between.   We know that we are a spirit being, with a soul made up of mind, will and emotion.  Then we have a body that is able to physically and outwardly express that which is resident in our spirit and our soul.   We find that our souls are the battleground for that which possesses our spirit and that which manifests itself through our outward man.  

As a Christian we have asked Christ to come in and indwell our spirits.  This is the beginning of our salvation experience.  While we have given our hearts and spirits to Christ, what we find is that there still remains spirits of influence in our outward man that continue to seek to find a place of residence and expression through our mortal man.  

Why is it that as Christians we still display so many attributes of the flesh?  It is because there is still a mixture in our soul of flesh and Spirit.  When the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the promised Canaan land, it was filled with inhabitants already.  The inhabitants were an idolatrous and wicked people.  The absence of the presence and working of the Spirit of God in that place had left it like a fertile field overgrown with weeds, thistle and thorns.  The possession of the land was through a physical and spiritual dispossessing of the former inhabitants and the spirits that possessed them.  

In our souls today we may well be struggling with spirits of influence that may be quite contrary to the Holy Spirit.  Each one of us has strongholds and weaknesses that the enemy seeks to infiltrate and exploit to his sinister end and purpose.  There may be areas that we are able to overcome relatively easy and have no real power or influence over us, but there are other areas that we struggle with and may feel constantly defeated in.  

Satan feeds on flesh.  In Genesis 3:14 the Lord curses the serpent, satan and says, “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.”  If we ask the question, “what dust does he eat?” we find the answer in Genesis 3:19.  “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”  Our bodies and our flesh are the dust that the serpent and his demonic host feed upon.  When we are in Christ, satan’s only right to us is through our flesh.  Satan had nothing in Jesus, because Jesus didn’t operate out of the flesh, but out of the Spirit.  This is why Romans 13:14 exhorts us to, “put on you the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lust thereof.”  What we feed, grows.  When we give place to those areas in our lives that are our weaknesses and areas of temptation then they grow stronger and stronger the more we give them life and place.  The stronger they become the more they bind and imprison us.  This is how the enemy gains a foothold in our lives and through time is able to destroy our testimony and faith.  This is the purpose and the goal of the enemy, to rule us with condemnation, guilt and shame.  The more these strongholds gain place the more isolated and unworthy we feel of God, thus the more we are separated through lack of faith, fear, doubt and condemnation.  

The reality is God has never stopped loving us and caring for us.  The blood of Jesus has never lost its power of forgiveness, but satan has found occasion through our sin to cause a separation between our God and us.  

Freedom is in laying hold of the key of faith that will unlock the door to our prison.  God has already set us free in Christ. It is our minds and the deception of the enemy that holds us captive.  The Word exhorts us to denounce the works of darkness.   Romans 13:12 exhorts us, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”  Our liberty is in putting on the armor of God’s Word and truth by faith.  ‘There is no more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  We will no longer walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit in Christ Jesus.”  By the Spirit we will put to death the deeds of the flesh and we will take back the land of our soul and mortal bodies through the authority and the power of Christ in us.  We have reckoned ourselves dead unto sin and alive unto Christ.  We will press on, overcoming in that truth.   “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)”  

Don’t allow the spirits of influence to rob you of your destiny and your purpose in Christ, 

“ But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].”]

Blessings,

#kent

Continued Renewal

June 11, 2014

Psalms 51:9-10
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Continued Renewal

As we travel this earth daily the dust and dirt of sin and its influences are continually around us and upon us. Christ has cleansed us within, but outwardly the world and the spirit of this world presses upon us. The scripture here is after Nathan the prophet had confronted David after he had gone into unto Bathsheba. David was a righteous man, but he was human and the influences of the flesh had caused him to stumble greatly into sin. Our endeavor, like that of David’s, is to walk with God in righteousness and uprightness. Like David and before we would fall into sin or temptation, our cry should be daily, “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
When Jesus, at the Last Supper, washed the disciples feet, Peter protested in John 13:8-10, “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9″Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.” We have been washed and cleansed in the blood of the Lamb. Our sins are forgiven, but there is a constant washing that must take place, a continued humility and contriteness before the Lord and cleansing from our daily defilement and pollution. Every day we need to renew our minds in Christ and our spirit that we may maintain a clean heart before the Lord. Have we washed our feet lately? Have we gone before the Lord daily to confess our sins and ask his forgiveness? 1John 1:8-9 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We all have need for that continued renewal of fellowship and right relationship before the Lord. Let us not neglect our spiritual hygiene and need for a right spirit before the Lord.

Blessings,
#kent

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