Unto You, I Bring My Life

October 12, 2015

Psalms 55:22
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Unto You, I Bring My Life

The ways of the Lord are steadfast. He is not moved by every wind of circumstance as men are. His perspective is high above all and sees all and knows all. Why would we not want to put our confidence in Him who is all and in all. Life can weigh heavy upon us at times and seem even an insurmountable weight, but the Word says we don’t have to bear the weight of that burden, because our God has broad and strong shoulders. He will undertake for us and sustain us. For where we are weak, He is strong. Where we would fail, He overcomes. He is the overcomer in us, showing us His strength even in the midst of our adversity and suffering.
When you have a wash cloth full of water and you want to use it to wipe the counter what do you have to do first? You have to wring out the excess water, so you twist it tightly in you hands as the excess water pours out. That is similar to what God must to do in us to make us usable to wash and clean others. He has to wring out the self and selfishness, so all that remains is selflessness in service of others and we are usable in His hands. If He used us the way we were, we would no doubt make more of a mess than we cleaned up. Too much water. Too much self. God is breaking us only to establish us in Him who is immovable and unbreakable. He shall sustain us.
Psalm 25:1-5 in the Amplified version puts it so beautifully this way:
“UNTO YOU, O Lord, do I bring my life.
2O my God, I trust, lean on, rely on, and am confident in You. Let me not be put to shame or [my hope in You] be disappointed; let not my enemies triumph over me.
3Yes, let none who trust and wait hopefully and look for You be put to shame or be disappointed; let them be ashamed who forsake the right or deal treacherously without cause.
4Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.
5Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long.
It is in our God we wait expectantly and faithfully. We know that He is has our life in His hands and that all things are working together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose ( Romans 8:28). Even when we don’t see our answers in the time and the way we expect to see them, God is still God. He works all things after the counsel of His will and not ours. Even though we may think we know how to run God’s business better, trust me, we don’t.
I am reminded of the New Testament equivalent of this scripture in Philippians 4:6-7 (Amplified) it says this, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. 7And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Is everything in life going to go the way we planned and hoped? Probably not. Life has its bumps and turns, some more severe than others, but Christ is the vehicle that helps us negotiate all the roads that life takes us down. He is our peace, protection and provision. He will see us through and work His great salvation in us if we hold fast our confidence and do not grow weary in well doing. The pathway to Sonship is a disciplined path. It will often take us where we would not go and cause us to do what we would not do. Transformation is like that. It will turn you inside out as it makes a new creature of you.
Cast your burden and your anxieties upon the Lord. He is our peace, our confidence, our safety, our provision and our answer to every trial that is set before us. “Unto YOU, O Lord, do I bring my life.”

Blessings,
#kent

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Romans 14:1-5
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

Judgement on Disputable Matters

If we were all to gather around and talk our theology hopefully we would be in agreement concerning the basic tenants of our faith such as Jesus being the Son of God, His blood being the atonement for our sins, that we are saved through faith and not of works, the virgin birth and other foundational truths that define Christianity. Hopefully, what we do not do is what Paul and others warned us about and that is adding or taking away from the gospel. Many times men, doctrines and denominations want to put their addendum that it is not just by faith that we are saved. The Galatians had been deceived into thinking that it was Christ and the works of the Law that saved them, but Paul clarifies this all through the book of Galatians. In Galatians 2:16 it says, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” The Law is all about our doing and doing is never enough, therefore we find ourselves standing in condemnation because we can’t live up to the Law or we become judgmental and condescending because we think we are keeping it so much better than others around us. Christ came and died to deliver us out of the mentality and the separation from God that it brought. In Galatians 2:20 Paul puts our faith into perspective as to where our lives should be if we are a Spirit-led people. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” It is no longer about what I am or what I believe; it is about being the expression of the Christ that indwells me. “I” should no longer live, only Christ in me. The summary of our past, present and future in Christ is summed up in Ephesians 2: 1-10. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Now if we agree on these basic tenants of our faith, then what is all of Romans 14 about? It is about all of little disputes about what we see, understand, are persuaded and comprehend the Word of God to say. I have found in myself, that over my lifetime many of my opinions and perceptions have changed and are still changing. We all walk in the light of what we know, see and understand, but 1 Corinthians 13: 12 says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” The truth is, no matter how much we know, we all still just know in part, because we are limited through our natural mind and understanding. I read an illustration recently that helped me see this more clearly. If I held up a nickel between us and we were asked what was on the nickel, I would say an impression of Thomas Jefferson and you would disagree and say no, it is an impression of Monticello. The truth is that we would both be right depending on our perspective, paradigm and way of seeing it. Religious men, including us, have often been guilty of taking a particular truth and making a dogma out of it. The truths of God are like spokes in a wheel; they can only keep the wheel in round if they are balanced by all other truth. If I take any truth to an extreme it becomes out of balance. The truth is I need both Thomas Jefferson and Monticello to make that nickel work.
Let’s not get distracted by the minor points of truth that we loose sight of the bigger picture here. We are not in fellowship with one another to bicker over our differences, but to edify one another in who we are in Christ. Let us lay our petty differences aside and let us allow one another the freedom to walk in the light of what we know realizing that we are all growing in the light and knowledge of Him. God is our judge, not man, before Him alone do we stand or fall. The Lord told me once concerning trying to correct how someone else believes. Don’t argue and debate them. Speak the truth in love and the truth will set them free.

Blessings,
#kent

Confession of Faith

July 20, 2015

Philippians 3:3-6
I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Confession of Faith

Sometimes, if I start to see myself after the flesh, I will become discouraged, depressed and defeated. I will focus on all of the things I am not, all of the places I still fail, all the places I’m still selfish and self-centered and on all of that which I don’t yet see. I will allow my circumstances to dictate a life that I left behind when I identified myself with Christ on that cross and died to that old man of sin and death. If I allow myself, I could go back there again, but then that would be to deny Christ and what He has done for me. That would be to say that I wasn’t raised in the newness of His life, to live out of His life and no longer my own. That would be to return again and live under the law of sin and death, rather than out of the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. That would be to embrace the flesh, whose end is death and corruption, rather than embracing the Spirit, who enables and empowers me to walk in Life in the divine nature of His love.
What I am identifying with is what I am and am becoming, whether it be flesh or Spirit. It isn’t dependent upon what I see outwardly, it is fully dependent upon my believing the promises that my God gave to me or forsaking them to go back from whence I came. Behind me is only what brought me guilt and shame, but before me is my Jesus who has promised to bring to completion the good work that He began in me.
No, I may not see the fullness of Him yet, but I will keep pressing into Him, expecting and believing for His highest for me. I will not allow the discouragement, natural circumstances and even facts to detour me from the truth that I know in my heart. For I refuse to see through natural eyes alone anymore. He is teaching me to see all things after the Spirit; myself, my spiritual family and even the world around me. As I walk in the faith of who He is in me, I see more clearly others through God’s heart of love. I see that I walk in the earth, but I live out of heaven. I live in Christ Jesus who sits at the right hand of the throne of God. From that place I know that whatever touches my life has to come through the Father and the Son. I know that He works all things to my good, even the bad things, because He has loved me and called me according to His purpose. He doesn’t just love me, but in that love He corrects me, teaches me and stretches me. He makes me to come out of the dependency of my flesh, so that I can more full rest and rely upon Him. Only there will I learn of His rest that He has for me and only there can I operate out of the fullness of faith without which it is impossible to please Him.
I don’t know everything, I just know His Word. I don’t understand everything, I just trust the Holy Spirit to help me understand what I need to know. Life has a new meaning and purpose because He is in it. Because of that, it is no longer about me, it is all about Him. He has told me that all of His promises to me are “yes and amen”. As I walk in the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me, I believe I can walk into all that He has prepared for me. I don’t believe I have to die and go to heaven to experience and live out of a more abundant life. I believe heaven wants to live that abundant life through me as I walk in the earth. I believe God wants to manifest that kingdom in my earthen body as it is in heaven, but He can’t do that while I am still caught up in me. So with God’s grace and the power of His Spirit I submit myself and my will, which is the one gift He has allowed me to give to Him.
If you are looking for perfection in me, you won’t see it yet, but know that even in my human frailty and weakness I pursue Him who knows none. His blood continues to wash me and His grace certainly carries me. Out of His strength and abundance I will live and declare the name of the Lord, for He is my salvation, both now and evermore.

Blessings,
#kent

Hebrews 10:35-36
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Hold Fast to Your Relationship

Have you ever exercised, ran a race or just lived life and you came to the place where you thought you couldn’t or didn’t want to go any further. You were tired, exhausted, maybe even discouraged and felt defeated. There are times as we walk through life trying to hold fast the faith that we get tired. We just want to let ourselves drift back into the flesh and quit the daily effort of living a life of faith and righteousness. Perhaps we have a friend or loved one who is always pressuring us to go out and have fun with them or do the things we know would be displeasing to the Lord. There are times we get weak, we get discouraged and we want to give up trying and fighting the good fight of our faith. “After all, God still loves me and maybe He is not all that interested in what I do and don’t do.”
I can tell you from experience that when we step through that door, we step out of our place of fellowship and relationship with the Lord that we have cultivated through our walk and prayer time with Him. Often we don’t even realize what we do have and what His fellowship means to us until we lose it. When we walk away from it, that ground is so much harder to gain back the second time. The Lord knows our heart and our feelings, but we must be careful not to allow the enemy to come in and rob us of that confidence and relationship we have in Him. It is often so subtle and many times perpetrated through the ones we like and love.
The Lord says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The pressures and the trials of life often weigh heavy upon us and we sometimes want to give up, but the Word says, “don’t throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Stay the course, don’t give up and don’t give in. Find your rest and your strength day by day in the Good Shepherds arms. “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

Blessings,
#kent

Boys to Men

January 21, 2015

Ephesians 4: 14-16
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Boys to Men

As I was meditating this morning an old John Wayne movie came into my thoughts called “The Cowboys”. Many of you may still remember it. It was about a rancher who had to drive his cattle to market, but he couldn’t get any men to help him so he had to take a group of boys to drive his cattle. Along the drive they are confronted with cattle rustlers who capture them. John Wayne never allows fear or intimidation to be seen on him. He stands up to these rustlers and demonstrates before these boys what a man of courage and integrity is all about. In the process the leader of the rustlers kills him and they go on to take the cattle. The only other adult is the old cook. After John Wayne’s death, these boys rise to the occasion and they no longer see themselves as boys, but as men. They plan their strategy and take the cattle back from the rustlers, defeating them in the process and killing their leader. They then take the cattle on to market and complete their mission.
What I felt the Lord was showing me through this is that we have a man who has walked before us and shown us the true nature and character of God. He has never shown fear or been intimidated by His enemies, but demonstrated before us the greatest degree of courage and self-sacrifice as He gave His life for us. We are like those boys, who have never seen ourselves really as men, but God is placing us in circumstances that we must gird up our loins as men and walk the walk of the Savior. There comes a time we put aside our childish ways and we come into manhood and I speak this figuratively for women as well as men. The Holy Spirit is there to give the wisdom and guidance to grow up into Him which is the head, even Christ. As we come into maturity, we put aside our petty bickering and differences and we function as one man, one team filled with the Holy Spirit, with power and authority. I believe that in this time the Lord is telling us to grow up and go from boys to men. We know the way; Jesus walked it before us, now it is time that we walk His walk, not going where we choose, but where He leads us. Many of us may be weak or of no special ability or strength, but God has chosen the foolish to confound the wise and the weak to prevail over the strong. It is not because of who we are that we are anything, but it is because of who He is in us that we are everything and capable of anything. It is time we take our eyes off of our immaturity and childishness. It is time we place our eyes upon Him that we have been called to be conformed too and begin to walk in His image and likeness. Faith sees what is not evident and without faith it is impossible to please Him. It is that faith of who He is in us that is taking us from boys to men.

Blessings,
#kent

Fear of Man

October 14, 2014

Fear of Man

Psalms 56:1-6,9-13
Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. 2 My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? 5 All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. 6 They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life…
Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise- 11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Fear is a powerful force. Most all of us have been influenced and moved by it. But ironically it is the fear of God that will move us to faith, while the negative fears that we harbor and allow, touching and influencing our lives will move us away from faith. If we think about it most anything we fail to trust God for is either an act of disobedience through rebellion or it is disobedience out of fear. Faith is a confidence in God and His Word, fear is the doubt and apprehension that God will fail us. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” One of our greatest fears is what others think about us, how they will accept us and what they can do to hurt us. Fear is one of the strongest instruments at the enemy’s disposal. It undermines our faith and gets our eyes and our confidence off of Christ and back on to us. It causes us to see after the natural rather than the supernatural.
There are different levels at which fear can touch us from the most surface levels of fear to the deepest levels of psychological trauma. On the surface levels we all deal with fear of social acceptance, failure and insecurity. Think about a baby in the mother’s womb. It knows no fear there. It is safe, it is warm, provided for, accepted and secure. It has all of the things that we loose the guarantee of as we come into this world and are forced into self- responsibility. When these basic needs or wants are threatened it causes us to fear. We fear when we are not in a safe environment. We fear for our health, our daily provisions and needs as well as the needs of those we are responsible for. We fear when we feel insecure and threatened, physically, emotionally or even spiritually. Thus fear becomes a very powerful motivator and influence in our lives. Jesus addresses this fear that stems out of worry in Matthew 6:25-34, “”Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Is all fear bad? No, we can’t say that all fear is bad, because it is often fear that can motivate us to right actions or even protect us from things that could harm us. The fear of God is a good fear because it moves us into Him and the more that we move into God the more we learn to trust Him. He can bring us again to that place of peace we had as infant only it won’t be without conflict. It won’t be without many things, people and circumstances coming against us, as they attempt to rob our peace and confidence in the God that we’ve come to know, love and serve.
Many of the challenges to our faith come through the fear of man. We fear that others will not accept us so we focus on what will be pleasing to the world. Many of us get our self worth and esteem from what others think. We often fear man so much that we let society and our circle of influence shape our values, our opinions and form the standard for how to act, what to wear, what we can and can not talk about. In Jesus’ day people were fearful to talk about Jesus. John 7:13 says, “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” Many of us fear to speak openly of Jesus today for fear that others will be offended or not accept us. We want to have the heart that David had when he said in Psalm 56:4, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Our flesh avoids pain and seeks pleasure. We fear not living up the standards others have for us for fear of rejection. Many of us live in a constant state of worry and anxiety, which is fear. Yet the word teaches us in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Fear will always focus us on the natural and take our eyes off of our faith in God. Deuteronomy 31:6 exhorts God’s people, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” God speaks His Word into us to disperse our fears. Isaiah 41:10-14 says, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
It is our faith in God that gives us boldness in place of timidity, that gives us eyes and a heart to see beyond our fears as we embrace the realities of God’s promises and His Word. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” And again in 2 Corinthians 4:18 he says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. “ The fear of the Lord will bring us into faith for it will cause us to exalt God’s ways above man’s ways and it will embrace His Word as truth even in the face of opposing natural evidence. Our hope, our confidence and our faith are in the Lord. When we embrace who we are in Him, then the fear of this world looses its power over us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. (1 John 5:4)”

Blessings,
#kent

If I have to live this way, just shoot me!
1 Kings 19:4
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I [am] not better than my fathers.

Have you ever felt that way? You came to a point in life, maybe more than once, where life was just too painful, too hopeless and a dark cloud of depression and despondency covered your soul. Maybe it was from physical pain, emotional heartbreak or pressures around you that were just too much to bear. Thoughts of suicide were contemplated and maybe even attempted. Voices were in your head telling you, “just to end it, get it over with. Once you’re dead your pain is over. Besides, who really cares? Everybody will probably be better off without you.” Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? If they do then you have wrestled the enemy of depression and despair. If you have been in this place, don’t feel condemned or weak, even the most spiritual of men have had there bouts with these demons. Our scripture today is speaking of Elijah, the mighty prophet of God and it came just after one of the greatest spiritual victories of that time. He should have felt invincible, but here we find him weak, frightened, fearful, despondent and despairing of his own life. Isn’t it wonderful how God shows us the great spiritual men of the Bible in their weakness as well as there strength? That in itself gives us hope. If they are so spiritual and yet they went through these things, then maybe there is hope for me and you.
Beloved, some of you have endured great pain, suffering, persecution and affliction, beyond what one should have to bear. Even if you have tried to fight the good fight and be faithful, you can grow weary in the battle. Mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion can overcome you until thoughts and reasonings can come in that have no place being in your head. These are like the testing experiences of Christ in the wilderness when He was at His weakest point. The enemy tries to come in for the kill. He would tell us, “God is a lie, that He is not faithful, He has forsaken you, He doesn’t care about you, and there probably isn’t even a God.”
His strategy is to disconnect us from our unity, oneness and identification in Christ, who is our strength and our life, because that is our power. If He can rob Christ from us then what do we have? What strength can we stand in?
Some of you are thinking, “yeah, but if God loves me so much, why would He allow me to have to go through so much pain?” Sometimes it is the deep inner working of pain and suffering in our lives that brings us to terms with areas that we would just as soon keep buried forever. There may be root causes for these pains and afflictions in our lives that can’t be healed and delivered until they are brought into the light and dealt with. If Christ learned obedience through the things He suffered as it tells us in Hebrews 5:8, are we then greater than He?
It is not God’s will that we are in continual suffering and pain, but these are often the tools brought to bear upon us by the enemy, but God turns and uses them to do an inner surgery upon our character and our heart. One thing we have to come to terms with is, “God is faithful all the time”, but you won’t always outwardly see that faithfulness. Quite the contrary, everything in the natural can be speaking and demonstrating against the faithfulness of God. 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us a secret, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.” What does Hebrews 11:1 tell us about faith? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” As hard as it is, our trust can not be placed in the outward circumstances that surround us.
God loves you and is with you even in your weakest, darkest moments. He has not abandoned or forsaken you. What you are living with or going through may be the valley of the shadow of death, but David says, “I will not fear, for thou art with me. Thy rod (authority of the Word) and thy staff (salvation) they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” While the enemy is doing everything in its power to defeat and destroy you God is setting the table of blessing and mercy right in the face of the enemy. You are the anointed of God. He is pouring the anointing of His Spirit and power over you that you may be more than a conqueror through Christ who has loved you and gave Himself for you. See with your spiritual eyes, embrace with all the faith of your spiritual man the love and goodness God has for you, even in the midst of such darkness and despair. Don’t give up, keeping on trusting Him. The race isn’t to the swift and strong, but to the faithful.

Blessings,
#kent

Heart Issues

April 28, 2014

Heart Issues

Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

What are your heart issues today? What is the source and the outflow of what is in your heart? Our heart deals with the motivation of our soul. Out of that motivation of our being is the direction and the resulting fruit of what our life will produce. The heart is a precious thing to God. It contains the attitudes and desires for the things of life or the things of death. Most of us through the course of our lives may be very distraught with ourselves because we see our lives going in directions that we know are destructive, contrary to the will of God and what is best for us. Inwardly, if we are the Lord’s, there is a grieving of the Spirit of God within us. There is an inward crying out of our spirit not to continue in those ways. Our heart is divided between flesh and spirit. There is war in the heavenlies of our soul. Sin and darkness battle for possession of our heart, but you have made a choice. At some point in your life you opened up your heart and asked Christ in. You confessed your sin; did you also renounce the works of darkness? Sometimes when we are saying yes to the Lord, we still aren’t saying “no” to the flesh. We wonder why we find ourselves with a heart for Jesus, but also a strong compulsion for sin. Have we been diligent to guard our heart or have we left open doors for sin and darkness to come in? This is a hard area, because it is often hard to see ourselves and really judge our motives without our mind and flesh trying to justify it’s position.
If you are on the Lord’s side and you really want Him to be Lord of your life, will and emotions then you have to be willing to allow Him to have complete Lordship. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Without the Holy Spirit’s supervision and our permission to really allow Him to have His way, even as Christians, our hearts can become very perverse. Usually it comes about subtly as we have opened the door perhaps in what we thought were innocent ways. One day we start to become painfully aware that things are out of control and we don’t seem to have the strength and will power to stop them. The issues of our heart are producing sin and death, much to the dismay of our inner man, who is standing there, inwardly crying out, but weak and helpless. We cry out to God, but we still find ourselves overpowered by the strongholds of sin that has overtaken us.
Look around your life. Have you shut the doors and windows of your soul to the damning influences that have brought this corruption or are they still wide open for these demons to walk in and out of? The first step to guarding our heart is to close all the door of our senses, sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to the influences that have taken over and are defeating us. It is in guarding and renouncing all impure thoughts and desires of our mind. When these sources of entrance are cut off you will have made a major first step. Be aware that you will not be able to do this in your own strength. You must ask the Holy Spirit’s help to free you from the bondage of your heart. We must take the Word of God as our sword to speak by faith what the mind and will of God is in our circumstance and weakness. He, His Word, is our authority over the strongholds of darkness. Ask Him to show you every in-road satan has in your life and cut it off. Your flesh will cry out and protest for all it is worth because it doesn’t want to die. It will ultimately relinquish anything if it can maintain some small place in your heart. Beware of the weed that is cut off at the surface, but whose root remains for it will spring forth to live again another day. Ask the Holy Spirit to continually show you every area that sin can gain entrance and get rid of it.
If you are struggling with heart issues, then you need help in the battle. Surround yourself with strong and godly people that can pray for you and help you be accountable in these areas of weakness. James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Leviticus 26:8 tells us, ” And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” This is a spiritual principle of warfare that we are much stronger when we are not trying to stand alone.
The third thing is that it is essential to give these unredeemed places in our hearts back to the Lord. Begin to totally saturate and baptize and immerse your heart back into Christ. Let Him come in and fill up the desolate and waste place that vanity and sin have left in their wake. Many times we turn to sin because we are not satisfying the spiritual longing of our heart. Pursue spiritual things and let the Lord fill your heart with His desires. Let Him move you out of that stronghold of sin, turn it around and let it become a weapon against the enemy.
God loves you with an everlasting love. He doesn’t love you more when you are good and less when you are bad. He loves you always. God is restoring His people in this hour. He is calling us out of the throes of worldliness and ungodliness and calling us back to be a separated people, a sanctified people for His possession and glory. God is interested in our future, not our past. He has provided His blood to cover our past blunders and sins, but to continue in them is to crucify the Son of God afresh. We are not the world’s toilet bowl. We are the sanctified, redeemed and holy consecrated vessels of the Lord. We are His dispensers of spiritual life, mercy, justice, loving kindness and salvation. We must get our hearts right with the Lord and then guard them with all diligence for out them are the issues of life, His life.

blessings,
#kent

Strongholds

April 24, 2014

Mark 3:23-27a
So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.

Strongholds

There are strongholds that each one of us deals with in our lives. Some may be stronger than others, but all of us have dealt with areas of our flesh where we are weak and more prone to failure and sin. Most all of us tend to want to keep these in the secret places of our closets so others won’t see, but often very ugly things reside behind the closed doors of our home and our hearts. These strongholds have fettered us and kept us in a state of bondage even as Christians for far too long. It is most often a love-hate relationship. We hate our sin and yet we love it too much to let go of it. As a result we struggle with our hypocrisy, often justifying it or rationalizing it so we can live with this bondage that is crippling our wholeness in Christ. Many of us live with much guilt and condemnation because we truly love the Lord and yet in these areas that may differ with each one of us, we are weak and seem unable to break free.
The enemy knows our areas of weakness and vulnerability. These are his inroads to our soul to hinder us and cripple us in walking in obedience in these areas. No amount of rules or laws are going to deliver us from these sensual or fleshly indulgences.
Paul says this in Colossians 2:19-13, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” The truth is that Jesus Christ has bound the strong man, disarming his powers and authority. We now possess in Christ a greater power and authority than that which has bound us. Verse 10 says ‘you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority.’
So why are we still enslaved by these strongholds of sin and flesh? God has placed the Spirit of Christ in us to overcome the flesh. It is easy when someone does everything for you, but it doesn’t help you to grow or to find the strength you need to live in victory. God has called us to overcome in Christ Jesus.
We plead, “But I have tried and I still fail. I can’t do it.”
That is exactly right, we can’t do it, but we have a power resident within us by which we can. Romans 8:12-14 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 words here for us are “By the Spirit”. We have an identity in Christ that we must put on in every area of our lives. We are no longer identified with the weakness, fearfulness and the lust of our flesh. We are identified with what we possess which Colossians 2:10 says is the ‘fullness in Christ’.
Colossians 3:1-11 exhorts us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” We must know who we are and where we now reside in the Spirit. We are not an earthly people any longer, we are a kingdom people with the King of Kings setting upon the throne our hearts and souls.
Some of us cry out in our souls and say, “I want to be free, but I can’t.” Can’t is not a statement of faith, but of fear and unbelief. “We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.” Our greatest enemy is the deceptiveness of sin. We hide our sin in the closet because of our shame. We don’t want people to think of us less than spiritual; when in truth we are all struggling with the same garbage. It doesn’t matter how wicked or perverse the thing is that you struggle with, God sees it and He knows. It is not His will that this stronghold possesses you and rules over you. The greatest tactic of the enemy is to get you alone with your sin, like you are the only one going through this. You are not alone. We all struggle in areas of our life. Our greatest strength and victory is going to come when we bring our sin and struggles into the light and we allow the body of Christ to stand with us, pray with us and offer accountability to us. James 3:16 tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” The reason we confess our sins to one another is to bring them into the light, which renders the devil powerless. He can only work in darkness. In the light we unite with the strength and support of fellow believers who can pray with us, stand with us and help us to be accountable in those areas where we are so prone to temptation.
It is time for all of us to come out of our dysfunctional state of sin and failure. Let us help one another in coming into the full freedom and deliverance from these strongholds that have so long crippled and hindered us in our walk and full devotion to Christ. You are not alone in your struggle. Surround yourself with other solid believers that you can trust and confide in. You may find that you are able to help them as much as they can help you. Let us walk in the light as He is in the light. No more strongholds!

Blessings,
#kent

Spiritual Fitness

March 27, 2014

Spiritual Fitness

1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.

We live in a time and a society that is very health and fitness conscious. It almost seems ironic, considering over half our population would fall in the obese or overweight category. Yet we are hearing about it all of the time. The truth is we want to eat and enjoy all that we want, but we still want to have buff and gorgeous bodies and looks. Somehow God didn’t seem to create them to go together very well. If we want physical fitness, then we know that it requires discipline and effort on our part. People and companies have made billions of dollars by selling pills and products that told us we could have the one without the other. If I set in front of my TV and watch a workout program that should somehow help me to get fit. If I eat a snickers candy bar and a diet coke, then I think I’m on a diet and am going to lose weight. If I watch a lot of sports, then somehow that makes me an athlete.
This scripture makes an analogy. There is nothing wrong with physical training and staying in shape. Like anything it can get out of balance. While physical training in a natural sense can be good, in the light of what is really meaningful in life it isn’t that high on the list. We are in the process of maturing and training up our spiritual man. As in the physical, to be spiritually fit requires an investment of time, of dedication, discipline and exercise. What kind of spiritual shape is our life in today? Are we armchair and couch-potato Christians? Do we warm a pew, say a few weak amens, listen to a sermon or a word and then continue on through life without it affecting any change in our behavior, or actions, or involvement? Are we lethargic, complacent, dull, and self-willed? What is the state of our spiritual fitness today? How would you honestly rate yourself on a scale of 1 to10? When I look at my physical man and see how indulgent I have become in so many areas of my life, I realize that the same mentality can very well carry over into my spiritual life. Are we a nation of out of shape and overindulgent Christians? Outwardly we are very blessed, but inwardly do we fit the profile of Revelations 3:17? “17For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” This is not written to condemn us, but it is a call to action for all of us. Many of you who are reading this are spiritually strong and fit, but others of us may be strong with our words, but weak in our actions.
The apostle Paul gives us another analogy in 1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither.
26Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary.
27But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].”
We all need to come to grips with the fact that God has a calling and a purpose in our lives. I am being convicted today that there needs to be both a physical and spiritual discipline in my life. I am not talking about legalism, but like Paul, I need to conduct my life with temperance, self-control and have myself in check, spirit, soul and body. God is calling us in this hour to prepare ourselves for a time of great spiritual battle and a time of His revealing. Most of us aren’t prepared for that with the mentality and habits that we harbor. God is calling us to spiritual fitness through such things as prayer, fasting, personal time with the Lord and walking out our faith in love and actions that reveal the character of who we are in Christ. We are a called out people, a separated people and a holy people. We are a people called after God’s own name and for His glory. We are being called to the gyms of spiritual fitness to be exercised in godliness and righteousness. We have an adversary who has been lulling us to sleep and into spiritual laziness. This is the day to discern our spiritual state and develop a mentality and lifestyle that is in harmony with God’s desire for our spiritual fitness. The overcomer is a person of spiritual strength and fortitude. Spiritual strength is developed in discipline, consistency, a right state of mind and a vision of what we are being strong for. We don’t want to find ourselves, after believing, coming up short and missing the mark of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus. Let us press on with all of our being into Him and be strong in the power of His might.

Blessings,
#Kent

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