Love and Obedience

June 26, 2015

John 14:10, 21, 23-24, 31
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. ..

Love and Obedience

The Lord began to show how much love and obedience go hand in hand in this passage from John 14. Jesus is coming to His final hour and the words that He speaks are both weighty and meaningful. He is clearly communicating with us as He speaks to His disciples that truth, faith and love are demonstrated through our obedience to what He has been teaching us through His word.
Our greatest revelation of the Lord comes through obedience. That is when we develop sensitivity to the Holy Spirit so that we hear His voice. The more responsive and obedient we are to that voice the more clearly we discern and know it. The Holy Spirit is like our conscience in some ways. Often we have a feeling or a knowing when something isn’t right or when we are doing something wrong. We can either heed that knowing or we can ignore it, rationalize it, justify it or just disobey it. Eventually it becomes less and less as we desensitize ourselves to it. We do the same thing with the Holy Spirit within us. That is why we don’t hear the Lord the way we need and should be hearing Him. So often we have shut Him out rather than do things His way. Jesus is saying our love for Him and the Father should sensitize us to the Holy Spirit. We should be so aware of His presence and responsive to His voice and dealings in our lives. This is what our love for Him should produce in us. It is a love for God’s will and His way rather than our own mind and our own will. Just as the Father was manifested through the Son, because of the complete uncompromising obedience to all that the Father commanded Him, so Christ will be more fully manifested in us the more we walk in complete obedience and submission to His commandments to us. The commandments, the teachings or the Word of God is God’s mind for us. It is His direction, instruction, admonishment and teaching so that we might be fully equipped and come into the maturity of who He is.
If we want to see more of God in our lives, then we need to love Him the way He has instructed that we love Him, through obedience to His Word. When we truly love God through our complete obedience and surrender to Him, we will become aware of His personal leading and direction in every aspect of our lives. To know Him is to love Him and to love Him is to obey Him. Jesus promises in John 14:21 that if we really love Him through our obedience then we are loved of the Father and Jesus says, “I too will love him and show myself to him.”
This is a key point to us in this hour that we become less focused on what our will and wants are and begin to focus on the will and purpose of the Lord for us at this time. We will find the key to that revelation in our obedience to Him. We must love Him as we never have before and with that love comes the complete surrender of our hearts and wills to His will. His commands are not burdensome, but they are life giving. There are times when God stretches us way out of our comfort zone, but if we are willing to obey and trust Him the reward can be tremendous. We will see, know and demonstrate God in ways that we didn’t even know were possible for us. Let us commit to love Him completely and fully through our obedience to His Spirit and His Word. In this place we will come to truly know Him.

Blessings,
#kent

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Beware of the one who seeks to take your Life Luke 2:1-15 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the eastand have come to worship him.” 3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5″In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6″ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'” 7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” We have often read and seen the nativity of Jesus most generally around Christmas time. It is easy to see by this account that the Magi or wise men were not at the stable where Jesus was born in Bethlehem like many of our plays would lead us to believe. That was when the Lord’s star appeared in the heavens signifying His birth and arrival in the earth. It was the beginning of a two year pilgrimage for the wise men of the East that brought them first to Herod to inquire and actually enlighten him to this future King’s presence. It was the star that continued to lead them to the house where Jesus was living with His parents. They had come such a long way to worship this “King of the Jews”, but more than that, the King of all Kings. They had a revelation of what most of the Jew’s didn’t even know. Now Herod knew, but he saw it in the natural as a threat to his earthly throne. Herod serves as type of satan, the god of this world. He is threatened still not just by the Jesus Christ of this day, but by the Christ that is birthed into a people of faith and who are starting to mature in authority and power. The objective is to destroy the life before it can come into maturity and then into the power and dominion of its authority and life. Satan fears what has been birthed in us. We are not ignorant of his devices to rob, kill and destroy the life of the spirit. He uses temptation, manipulation, intimidation, deceit, trials and tribulation and even physical death. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says, “And fear not them which kill the body (satan and his agents), but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him (God) which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” We see this scenario played out again in Revelations 12:1-7, “1A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” The point I believe the Lord wants to make to us in the simplest of terms is this. There is a divine life that has been maturing in the womb of the church and is seeking to come to birth. There is an evil one who knows this will be his final demise for it is the union of Christ coming forth in fullness within His body. This union of Christ manifest in His body is the start of the final nail in satan’s coffin. The great red dragon is desperate to destroy it before that life can really manifest. God wants us to recognize, not only what it is that He is doing in this time and place in history, but what is taking place is being birthed out of eternity. He is speaking to us that if we will walk in obedience and faithfulness to the calling that is within us and the life that He has birthed, He will preserve that life. Our hiding place and protection is in Him. Satan can’t touch what is God’s without God’s permission and if we are allowed to be touched then it is for a reason that God is working. Our umbrella of protection is in living in the center of God’s will. Outside of that umbrella we open ourselves up to the attack of the enemy in our lives. It is the time that the Lord is gathering His own unto Himself and they that are His own will hear His voice and will not listen to the voice of another. There is one who seeks to devour and destroy the precious life that has been birthed within you. If you and I will return to the Lord with all of our hearts and with repentance He will be our fortress and protection in an hour of the great outpouring of satan’s wrath. As the Redeemed of the Lord we must walk as Jesus walked receiving our instruction from the Father and hearing Him for ourselves. It is no longer about us listening to everyone else and all of the voices of Christendom, it is about a personal relationship between you and God where you come to hear and obey Him as your Shepherd. Beware of those that seek your life and lure you into complacency and worldliness. They are as the harlot in Proverbs 7 that would lure your soul to hell. Be wise and seek the Lord’s instruction. Press into to know Him now like you never have before. Our time grows near.

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Lord’s Friendship

John 15:14-15
Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Jesus says there is a characteristic that goes along with friendship with Him and that is obedience. Our obedience to the Lord is something we all probably take much too lightly. We tend to go our merry way through life and regard lightly the many ways and places in our lives that we offend the Holy Spirit and regard lightly the Lord’s will and commandment for our lives. It becomes an unconscious act on our part, because we get caught up in our busyness and our lives. We fail to always keep the Lord constantly before us, so that our day, our thoughts, our actions and words are centered around and in Him. Jesus is more often our afterthought rather than our forethought. What the Lord is communicating to His disciples is that in order to be in that relationship as a friend of God, rather than just a servant of God, requires obedience and cognizance of His will and His ways in all that we do. Obedience on our part is an expression of our love and friendship with the Lord. We are communicating that we value Him above ourselves and the relationship we have with Him is of more value than our personal will and desires. Jesus speaks in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In this fourteenth chapter of John where Jesus is basically bidding farewell to His disciples before His Passion, He emphasizes this aspect of love, friendship and obedience quite strongly. “At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me (John 14:20-24).”
Most all of us want a closer and more intimate relationship with Christ. We want to hear His voice and experience His manifest presence in our lives. It is the consecration of desiring Him above all else that brings us to that place. Would we want to be or abide someplace where we were ignored, put aside, unappreciated and not valued? Yet, somehow we expect to experience the presence of the Lord when this is often the attitude of our hearts toward Him. If the Lord is to feel welcome in us and extend His tent over our lives, then we have need of a heart attitude that reflects true love, reverence, respect and obedience to Him. He needs to know that we are truly His and not our own. He will not usurp the will He has given us and we can certainly override His will for our lives. Most of us have learned that when we do this, we rob ourselves of God’s best for us. Is there anything really better than abiding with Him, experiencing His closeness and abiding in the heartbeat of God? That is the place we really realize the fullness of joy, contentment and purpose.
The Lord wants to be our friend. He wants to reveal Himself to us in a much more personal way. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.” Jesus wants to be that friend to us that is closer than a brother, but we must show ourselves friendly through our response and obedience to Him. Our obedience is the expression of love to our dearest Friend.

Blessings,
#kent

Be still and know that I am God
Psalms 46:10
Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

One of the most difficult things for us to do in our busy lives with all of its demand is to really be still before the Lord. Even in our prayer life, don’t we tend to want to say our peace to God and then move on? Most times we don’t want to take the time just to be still in His presence, to listen for His voice and meditate on His wonder and greatness. Psalms 4:4 says, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah”
We tend do with God what many of us are guilty of doing with our loved ones, “I would really like to talk with you about it, but I’ve got to run. Maybe we can talk later.” Is that similar to the words that come out of our mouth sometimes? It is often really hard for us to be still, but until we do, we often don’t really hear the things we need to hear. Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “The words of wise [men are] heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.” Even in our human and family relationships, we don’t really hear their hearts until we are willing to take the time to really interact with them and listen to them. The greatest mysteries, the greatest truths, the revelations we receive are most often heard in the quite and still places. Those are the places and times when our minds are at rest and peace and we take time just to listen and focus. We all really need that time every day with our God and with each other to stay in tune and in touch with the ones and the One we really love. Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t want to sit and be still is because, even subconsciously, we are running away from facing issues or confrontations or unpleasant dealings we really don’t want to deal with. Maybe the reason those things even exist in the first place is because we don’t take the time on a regular basis to talk, heart to heart, on a human and a God level. We want the quick fixes of our present society and culture to handle our relational problems, but they don’t. They still take the investment of our time and our true heart to really deal with them effectively.
Our lives are incredibly busy and full, but we need to set aside those times every day when we can just be still and know that God is God and be able hear, should He wish to speak to us. More than likely He is speaking to us, or at least trying to throughout our day, but we aren’t tuned in to see and hear Him working in our lives and circumstances. The way we get ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart that is tender before the Lord, is to be still and really know that He is God in our lives. Don’t neglect the valuable time it takes to get quiet and be still before the Lord.

Blessings,
#kent

Counsel of the Lord

October 15, 2013

Proverbs 19:21
[There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Counsel of the Lord

Are there any of you, besides myself that get in our mind what we want to do and that is like our final counsel? We have decided this is the way it needs to be and in our mind we are right. We are insistent in our arguments and dogmatic in our commitment to see it done our way. Maybe someone has said to you, “It doesn’t matter what I say, you are going to do what you are going to do.” So we bulldog our way through; sometimes it turns out good and a lot of times not so good.
Conviction of purpose is a good thing to have if we follow the right counsel. Proverbs 19 says that there are many devices in a man’ heart. We have our ways of how we think things will work, what is best and how things should be done, but is that God’s counsel or ours? What we often find out, and don’t like to admit, is that we are not always as wise as we thought we were at the time we decided what the right way to do something was. What we all have to come to the realization of is that no matter how good our intentions or our motives the only counsel that will surely stand is the Lord’s counsel. How imperative it is in this hour that we develop an ear for the Lord’s counsel. Most times we can find it in His Word if we have ears to hear and a heart to obey. Human nature is such that it usually hears what it wants to hear and kind of ignores the rest.
Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors [there is] safety.” Counsel is an important element of success. Where we lack proper direction we usually fail, but if we have the right counselors to advise us and we have a willing and an open heart to listen, we can be successful because we follow sound advice. The advantage of a multitude of counselors is that you get a multi-faceted opinion and direction. The key here is to choose a multitude of counselors that are people of God and seek to have the mind of the Lord. In that multitude you may find confusion or you may here a reoccurring theme and advice that is a witness that this is the way to proceed. Most of us have had the experience of hearing something that we thought was of the Lord, then we started hearing that same thing or something similar coming from different places and people. It serves as a confirmation in our hearts that what we first heard was true. It is like a multitude of counselors and can work the same way.
Many of us can relate to places in our spiritual walk where we are much like teenagers. We thought we had it all figured out, we had just enough knowledge and information to be dangerous, but in our minds we knew what we wanted and what was best for us. So despite the counsel of others we proceeded to do what we wanted to do. We usually continue in that vain for a time until we gain enough maturity, generally through our failures and mistakes, that we realize we don’t know it all and that those who were trying to give us good counsel weren’t as dumb as we seemed to think they were. Why is it that we can see it in our teenagers, but we can’t see it in ourselves? What we generally find out is that we didn’t want to do something God’s way because we wanted to have our freedom. What we come to find out is that our so-called freedom became our bondage and downfall and our response of obedience really brought the liberty and freedom that we thought we would miss. The sad part is what we had to go through to come to this realization.
Lord may we find the wisdom of your counsel each day of our lives. May the divine counsel of the Holy Spirit guide us and order our steps in the ways of righteousness. May You place the will and the do of Your good pleasure within us to follow Your counsel and gain the principle thing, which is divine wisdom. Help us each day to put on the mind of Christ, not being conformed to this world, but being transformed through the renewing of our minds in Your counsel. Straighten our crooked paths and correct us when we steer off course. Bring us into the straight and narrow of Your divine will and purpose for our lives. In that place we will find the green pastures of your peace and the gentle stream of living water. In that place our soul will be satisfied with comfort and joy because we are the sheep that know Your voice and follow in Your counsel. Amen

Blessings,
kent

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