Not the Outward, but the Inward

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The church is not so unlike the Jewish nation before us. We have taken the principles of the kingdom of heaven and have fashioned them into laws and burdens that are placed on the backs of men. So many of our denominations have taken a revelation and a truth, dug their foundations and built their denominations and that is where they have staid. God is not stagnant. He is an ever-moving river of truth. He is continually unfolding and unveiling His plan before us. His truth is all there in His Word, but the revelation of that truth has not been fully manifested. It is a progressive thing. One of the chief kingdom principles is never think that you have it all and never be content to build your faith and religion on present day truth. That is not to say it isn’t truth, but it may be only a facet and part of the whole.
From the early days of Christianity men have done what the religious leaders of old did with Judaism. They try and make our faith a mandate of rules and regulations. Men still try and dictate and control by taste not, touch not and eat not. If Christ taught us anything He taught us to change the outward there must be a change inwardly. Jesus once told the Pharisees, “ It is not what goes into a man’s belly that defiles him, it is what comes out.” Jesus knew that unless the condition of the heart is changed no amount of rules and regulations will really change men. They may try to act correctly outwardly, but inwardly they are still the same. The kingdom of heaven in us begins with a heart change. It must change from the desire for earthly enrichment and expression to the desire for the Spirit of God to have expression through us. No longer my will, but Your will be done. What we find is that when we really get in step and in sync with God’s heart and the Holy Spirit, we have set out on a God adventure and there is no telling where it may take us. It is exciting and it is ever fresh and new. The neat thing is we are not struggling to control it, but we have relinquished control to the Holy Spirit. Now our chief desire and ambition is to flow in harmony and obedience to Him. It is no longer about religion telling us we have to do this and we can’t do that. The law that governs us lives within our hearts and we know that our obedience to Him leads to heightened relationship and fellowship. We have found that our faith is not of the ceremonial outward protocol, it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Instead of ceremony we celebrate who and what we are in Christ and all that He is becoming in us. Perhaps that would explain why there is such a large movement away from traditional religion and more of a move toward non-denominationalism. The kingdom of heaven is not about the organization it is about the organism in which the Holy Spirit is released and free to move in and through His body according to His will and purpose and not the dictates of men and their programs. Where the Holy Spirit is free to move is where you will find that it will be as the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power.” Isn’t that what we desire and seek today? We have heard countless words, but God we want to behold your power. We want to see the kingdom manifested in the lives and affairs of men. This is what we press into as we seek the deeper experience of the kingdom of heaven. We want to find the lover of our soul, our King. We want to find the place of intimacy and relationship with Him where we have true communion and dialog with His presence.
May our hearts become inflamed with an everlasting passion for our Christ and His coming as well as His manifest kingdom. When we are consumed in our love for Him, the things of this world become strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Righteousness then becomes a state of who we are by association and relationship with Him who is righteous rather than something we seek to achieve through outward efforts and works. The kingdom of heaven in you is allowing and giving place to Christ being all that He desires to be in you. Allow the kingdom to flood into every part and fiber of your being and your life. As He is in you, so will you be in this world.

Blessings,
#kent

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Skating on Thin Ice

May 1, 2014

Skating on Thin Ice

Matthew 25:10-13
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
29-30
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
41-46
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Our texts from Matthew 25 present us with three parables given by Jesus that illustrate wise and faithful servants with subsequent rewards and foolish and slothful servants who reap the closed door to God’s presence and His judgement of displeasure. There are many that loosely wear the name of Christian. There are many who attend church and acknowledge the name of Christ, but if we all stood before Him in judgement today how many of us would truly be considered His? The passage in Matthew 7:13-23 instructs us, “13″Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ The scriptures speaks something very specific to us that many tend to ignore. Many of us have a philosophy that we can have religion, that we can have works and that we can generally believe upon the name of Jesus and that insures us of heaven. I fail to see that premise supported in these scriptures. There is a connection necessary for us to be “in Christ”. The connection we have in Christ is not just one made in a moment of repentance when we came to the altar; that should have been the beginning of a continuing, ongoing and deepening relationship that leads us into the heart of God and establishes us as part of the vine, yielding the fruit of the Spirit. Our salvation is not contingent upon how religious we are, what church we go too, what denomination we do or don’t belong too or how good our works are. Salvation is union with the One who hung upon that cross for you and I and gave His life so that we might have eternal life. For many, the definition of salvation has become very loose and general, but in these scriptures and many like them we find an exacting Lord, who expects faithfulness, obedience, commitment and fruitfulness. That fruit has no value or worth if it is produced outside of the vine; it is the fruit of the vine that produces life and lasting value.
Jesus says specifically in Matthew 7:13, “”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Religion is a wide road that may lead us in pursuit of God, but does not lead us into life and relationship with Him. That small gate and narrow road is not the one traveled by the masses or even the church in general; it is traveled by those in pursuit of Him. Where are we at on life’s road? Do we just possess religion, a belief system or even spiritual gifts? None of those in themselves make us His. He is looking for the ones who bear the fruit of His life within them, who are faithful with what He entrust them with, who are watching and preparing for Him and those who are ministering the life to others that they themselves possess. Do we really know Him and are we in relationship with Him or are we skating on the thin ice of a mindset that just says, “sure I believe in Christ” but aren’t really living what we think we believe. Our beliefs have to become your realities.

Blessings,
#kent

The Sabbath Day?

April 3, 2014

The Sabbath Day?

Luke 14:3
And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?

The Sabbath is the Lord’s Day, a day or rest from daily routines and the tasks of laboring for our natural needs. While the Jewish leaders of the day took this day quite literally, even to the point of making it more work to keep the Sabbath than to rest in it. Jesus has some higher principles He is communicating to the people that have spiritual ears to hear. Jesus was the Lord of the Sabbath and the Jewish leadership of that day didn’t like the fact that He didn’t fit in their religious box. What kind of religious boxes have we built to confine what God can do and when He can do it?
Hebrews 4:9-11 says this, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” This REST references the true Sabbath that God wants to bring His people into. It is the REST that we want to labor or give diligence to enter into where it is no longer our Works, but we are resting in Him and the works that we do are His works, no longer our own. How do we enter this REST? The Word says it is only by faith, faith not in ourselves, but in the One who called us out of unbelief and into His REST. Hebrews 4:1 says, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” The true Sabbath and REST of God is a promise and like all promises it comes by faith. Prior to this we have the account of how the Lord swore to Israel when Moses led them out into the wilderness that they would not enter into God’s REST because of their unbelief. It is pretty obvious that the religious leadership of Jesus’ day had the same mindset. God is warning us, “don’t be like them and miss what Sabbath is all about.” Sabbath is about a continual abiding in Christ. It is not just a day of the week, but a time when we find our place in God where we quit struggling with life through our human efforts and begin to deal with life in the REST of God. Jesus is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, He is the Sabbath. He is God’s REST for us, not in the context of religion or knowing about Him, but in experiencing Him daily, in every activity, every conversation, in our thoughts, in every station of life.
You may say, “Don’t’ you think that is little idealistic and impractical?” I think the Lord would say, ‘there is a promise to you who lay hold of it by faith.’ It is a progressive work and that is why He says, “let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.” It is a daily walk of denying ourselves; picking up the cross and saying yes Holy Spirit, and yes to the Word of God. In the path of obedience and faith is our REST. As we enter into that Sabbath Rest of God we will do the Lord’s work even on the Sabbath.
Think of it not as just a day to keep ordinances and rules, but a place of REST where God is our continual delight and dwelling place. We are living in the Sabbath Day and it is time for us to enter into His REST.

Isaiah 58:13-14
“If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words, delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it]. “

Blessings,
#kent

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Romans 8:28-39

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 

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

 

We often struggle with why the people of God go through so much suffering and trials.  Some might say it is because they don’t have enough faith or they must have sin in their lives.  I tend to believe that it is often the sweetest and most precious grapes that make the best wine, but in order for them to offer up their vintage taste and sweet fragrance they must first be crushed.  Suffering and trials have been the plight and portion of many a saint.  It is not a new concept.  We struggle with that because we think in our hearts, even if we don’t outwardly say it, “God if you are sovereign then why don’t you deliver the afflicted and the suffering, especially those who are calling out to You?”  The victory of life in the natural and fleshly man is not always living in health, wealth and prosperity.  It is not about what we have in the good times of our life.  The true metal of a godly nature is tested in the fire.  All of our works will be tested in that fire at some point.  Some may be going through that fire right now.  Perhaps you are very weary; the enemy has assaulted your faith and your God.  Your friends may be like those that Job had, only content on you confessing your sins or shortcomings.  It takes a tremendously faithful person to go through the fires that God sometimes allows in our lives.  The real victory is not in whether or not we see our earthly deliverance; it is in how we live our lives in the midst of those trials.  God’s Word says in 1 Peter 1:7-9, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.”  It is not the suffering and trials that God rejoices in, it is the faithfulness of His saints in the midst of it.  That faithfulness and praise in the midst of suffering is the sweet aroma and incense that rises into the heavens.  It is a sweet smelling savor unto the Father’s nostrils.  Nothing can speak louder to God that we love Him for who He is and not just what He can do, than our faithfulness in the midst of our suffering and trials.   

We know in our hearts that God’s arm is not short that He can not save, but nothing torments and discredits satan more than a Christian who will only honor and praise His God even when satan is twisting his arm behind his back.  What focuses us more on God’s grace and strength than our trials and tribulations?  In those places where we have no further human resources or help in the flesh to lean on, we learn to take hold of the grace of God.  We learn the patience to enter into His rest and know that these earthly vessels of clay and the very life that they we breath are in His hands.   Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand.” We have offered ourselves up into God’s hand to do as it pleases Him.  Our lives are for His glory and not for our own.  We struggle with the perspective of suffering and trials because we see it from a human standpoint.  Our view is the preservation of the natural life.  God’s view is not in the importance of the outward haul of the seed, but He is looking to the life within.  The threshing floor was a place of separation between wheat and chaff.  The outward man with this body is like the chaff.  The separation is really a claiming of the Christ nature and a revealing of it.  No one has the goods like the one has passed through the fire.   Their testimony is not one borne out of head knowledge; it is a witness of experience.  Before Job went through his trials he knew a lot about God and had a relationship with Him, but it didn’t compare with how he knew God when he went through the fire.  In the conclusion of what Job went through and after his discourse with the Almighty he says this in Job 42:1-6, “Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.””  Many of us know about God, but it is only as we have gone through the fire that we come into a place where we have seen Him.  When we have seen Him, all foolish doubts and questionings cease and we repent in dust and ashes.  

God loves us.  We have been called out and set aside for a purpose.  He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son.  His Son learned obedience through the things that He suffered.  If you are in that place of suffering then God is only proving your faithfulness and your faithfulness is a mockery of the enemy.  He is raising you up in LIFE even when your body only seems to be experiencing death.  Lay hold of the resurrection and the Life within you and live out of Him.  His grace is sufficient and He will raise you up to the praise of His name.  Hold fast your faith, you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!

 

Blessings,

#Kent

 

Ephesians 1:16-23 (Amplified)

I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.

 17[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, 18By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones), 19And [so that you can know and understand] what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, 20Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], 21Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.  22And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church]  23Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].

 

Prayer of Power and Glory

 

This Spirit anointed prayer is a great one to memorize and pray over yourself, your loved ones and those that God has you making intercession for.  It is one that I am not sure that we could ever plumb the depths of all that it expresses, let alone fully comprehend them.  I can tell you this, it will only be by His Spirit that we do.  It is not a prayer formula, but a prayer of spiritual revelation and transformation.

Let’s just share a little commentary on it today.  

The first thing it brings to our attention is the unceasing and unfailing act of thankfulness as Paul makes mention of them in his prayers.  Perhaps no one act captures the heart of God like our thankfulness.  It is an act that not only blesses, praises and worships God for all that He has done, is doing and shall do, but heightens our own awareness of how truly blessed we are.  How many times have you started thanking God for all that He has done in your life and you just start weeping, because you just become so aware of how extraordinarily rich He is in His love and blessing toward you.  We know that we didn’t deserve a one of those blessings and yet He lavishes on us so many good and wonderful things.  When we don’t have a spirit of thanksgiving, we can quickly start to take for granted and forget all of the wonderful benefits that our God bestows upon us.

Paul says, “For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.”  Paul is an intercessor that lifts up a continual supplication and prayer on behalf of those God has given him care over.  This is a prayer that you never stop praying.  

The first thing that Paul prays for is, “He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him.”  The more spiritual insight you have of your God the more you are going to be completely blown away by Him.  Nobody can wreck your world and your life in a good way like the Holy Spirit can.  What the Holy Spirit wants to impart to you is not just head knowledge so you can go around and brag about your revelation knowledge and how spiritual are.  The Words says, ‘knowledge puffs up, but love edifies’.  Why does God want to impart wisdom and revelation to you?  It is so that you can experientially become the expression of Him.  

There are three primary things that God wants you to know and understand to bring you into the expression of who He wants to be in you.  He wants you first to have a revelation of your identity in Him.  “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  You can’t  be who He has called you to be until you first know who you are in Him.  Then, He wants you to know your position; that you operate out of a heavenly perspective and not an earthly one.  Ephesians 2:6 tells us our position, “And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”  Thirdly,  He wants us to have a revelation of our purpose.  1 John 3:7 tells us the purpose why Christ came, “… The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”  Nothing destroys His work like the manifest love of God.  Love is the most powerful weapon on earth and in heaven.  It is the primary force and power that Almighty God works out of and He wants to demonstrate the full measure of His love through His people.  That is His purpose, to reconcile His creation back to Himself in love.  When you exemplify the love of God, you are the expression of His purpose.  We are to be the administrators and ambassadors of His love and as we host the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives the power of His love is revealed in us and through us to His glory. 

The prayer goes on to tell us that when we pray and have these spiritual insights and wisdom revealed to us then we will more fully know and apprehend our identity, position and purpose.  When you get a hold of these concepts then you can just begin to come into the greater revelation of, “what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, 20Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places], 21Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.”  The one revelation you have to get out of this is that you are never going to come in to all the awesome things He has for you by just playing church.   We have to become radically in love with Him,  off-the-chart intimately involved with Him, because when we do the truth of which this is speaking begins to come to light and you will know this awesome power of which He speaks until you are fully baptized and immersed in love and relationship with the Father.  It is in the intimate place that He reveals His secrets and mysteries to those who love and pursue Him.  There is power and authority in Christ like we have never imagined.  That same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and set Him back in the place of authority in heavenly places is the same power that is raising you up to an awesome man or woman of God. 

In conclusion, “And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church]  23Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].  His church, in affect, YOU, if you are of His body, He wants to exercise the fullness of Himself through you.  Because you are “in HIM” the power of the fullness of Himself is in you.  Can you wrap your mind around that?  It is because we are apprehending a place in which we have no identity except that of Christ.  ‘As the Father is in Him and He is in the Father, so is He in us and we are in Him (John 17).’  He is become our head and our mind; we live, move and have our being in Him.  

Let everything else fall to the side of this revelation that He has called you to.  You are, “heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ. because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  “15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)”  Pray upon yourself and others this prayer of His power and glory revealed in His Church!

 

Blessings,

#kent

How Profound is His Love?

February 17, 2014

Romans 5:6-8

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


How Profound is His Love?



Meditate on this simple truth that we often so quickly read past.  Nothing you, I or anyone did or could do could provide for us what only God the Father could provide for us through the love of His Son Jesus Christ.  It speaks to a principle of God, that out of utter weakness, helplessness and depravity the power of God is revealed toward us.  Most of us know that we could never get good enough on our own to deserve God’s love and salvation.  He is not wanting us to come to Him only after we have cleaned up our lives, that is like trying to take a bath without water or soap. He is the only way that we can get clean. Faith in His blood and in the washing of the water and the Word is our cleansing.  It is by nothing we can do or earn, but by simple faith that embraces God’s Son who took our sins upon Himself, suffered the incomprehensible pain and shame that  should have been ours and then died the death of sin that we deserve.  

Who is this Jesus that He should die for me?  He was the divine expression of God’s insurmountable love for all of humanity.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”  This is a very simple elementary truth of the Christian faith, but one we never want to loose sight of. It is the simple faith we placed in Jesus that has brought us into one body and one hope of our calling.  Nothing else exists without this foundational truth and reality.  Even the faith that we have to embrace Christ was the gift of His grace, lest any of us should boast (Ephesians 2:8).  

Do we fully understand that it is not our power that is at work here in our Christian walk and faith?  It is religion and a religious mindset that doesn’t comprehend this mystery of God and tries to establish a godliness out its own works, strength, knowledge and goodness, but God operates best out of weakness and total dependence upon Him.  Just as we couldn’t save ourselves, we can’t produce our own righteousness.  He alone is our righteousness.  It is in that daily exchange by faith of “who we were for who He is”, that we embrace that divine nature.  There is no amount of knowledge or gifting that can bring you into the likeness of the Son, only He can do that by the power of His Spirit working in you.  It doesn’t matter your status, your fame, your perception in the eyes of this world, Father knows and wants us to know that it is only His power working out of our weakness that makes us strong.  

Notice that there was an appointed time, just the right time, when we were still powerless , that Christ died for the ungodly.  There is another time, just the right time, when as 1 Thessalonians 1:10 says, “on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”  You and I are the incubator and womb of this manchild that is growing inside the true Church.  There is a right time, the fullness of time when Christ shall be revealed in glory, within and without of His body, which we are.  

It is this simple truth that we first embraced that now grows within our womb.  This seed of life, deliverance, salvation and glory.  In your weakness He is working His strength.  Let your dependence and your hope be in none other, but Him.  He is the author and the finisher of your faith.  “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).”

 
Blessings,
kent

A Different Culture

January 8, 2014

Ephesians 4:17-19

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 


A Different Culture



Do the principles of the kingdom of God make sense to those that are in the world?  Of course not, for 2 Corinthians 2:14 tells us, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.”  The natural man and the spiritual man live under the dominion of two different kingdoms. One is the kingdom of light and truth and the other is the kingdom of sin and darkness.  When we came into Christ and received Him by faith into our hearts, the Word says that we were translated out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.  Colossians 1:13 says it this way, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son.”  We were transplanted, transposed into a whole new realm while physically we didn’t change and our local we didn’t change; yet inwardly a transformation began to take place.  A life that is given by surrendering its will to its Creator and Redeemer is no longer a life lived for self, but instead it is lived to the One who redeemed it.  Sin hardens a person’s heart toward God. It robs a person of the ability to discern, understand and know the ways of God.  Just as hate blinds a person to love, so sin blinds a person’s eyes and heart to “The Truth”.  Because the natural man has become insensitive to spiritual things they are foolishness to him and as a result he becomes ignorant to the truth.  That ignorance and unbelief keeps him in a state of separation from God and in a place of the judgement that is already in place against all ungodliness and wickedness.  Some have deluded themselves by thinking that because they are a pretty good person and they do lots of charitable acts that God receives them because of that and they can earn their way to heaven.  The Word declares in Romans 3:23,  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Ephesians 2:1-9 tells us where we were and how we came back to God. “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.”  It is because of this wonderful undeserved grace that has translated us out of darkness and into light, that we can no longer live as those who are still in darkness do.  We have changed our culture.  If I am truly a Christian how can I live contrary to my culture?  Just as a Muslim or a Buddhist can’t live as a Christian, because it is contrary to their beliefs, a Christian should no longer live as the world, which is contrary to his or her beliefs.  My being, culture and moral compass is now rooted in Christ.  He has made me His temple and dwelling place; to now live as the world, is a betrayal and defilement of His sanctuary and of the covenant I have entered into with Him.  A covenant is a life binding agreement and commitment unto death.   Christ sealed it in His own sinless blood.  How can we then live as the world when He has given His life to take us out of it and into His righteousness?  How can we adulterate any longer His holy covenant with actions that are conformed to this world?  We, who are in Christ, are a holy people set apart for God’s own possession.  We must realize who we are, what we were called for and what our responsibility is to the holy calling and salvation we have graciously received.  Obedience is to honor Him you proclaim as Lord.  

 
Blessings,
kent

Good Enough

December 13, 2013

Good Enough

God is not looking for those who can be good enough to earn His favor, but humble enough to receive the favor and forgiveness He has already given us in Christ Jesus. In Him, there is no more condemnation.
Kent Stuck

Created for Good Works

December 4, 2013

 

Created for Good Works

 

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

               Everything that is created and fashioned has a purpose and function.  Some things are fashioned for honorable purposes and some for less than honorable purposes.  God’s word to us today is that He has taken special time, effort and direct thought to create and fashion you for a specific and wonderful purpose.  In Christ Jesus, the Father has chosen you out and is forming His nature and character in you for good works, His works.  The awesome thing about it is that it didn’t depend on any ability or natural attribute you had.  You and I strictly are a product of His grace at work within us.  That grace took us out of the place of the dishonorable and placed us in the position of the select and the elect of God.  He chose us out and is fashioning us in the likeness of Christ Jesus for a reason, “good works.”  This is how we can know what the Father is working in us, by what comes out of us.  It won’t be religious works or self-righteous works or even our works.  It will be us walking and producing good works because of the One that has separated us out and made us His workmanship.  What is He working in you today?  Are you yielding yourself to the master craftsman’s hand so that He can fashion you to be all that He desires and purposes you to be? 

               Let us remember our purpose and on purpose yield our will and our lives to Him so that He can work His precious work of grace in us. We will recognize it by what our lives are producing.  We will produce the fruit that will bear witness to the tree from which we came from.  James 2:14-18 says it quite well: “What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  True faith will manifest the works of God in a practical way.  Our good works should not just be the product of self-efforts at doing well.  Those efforts will fail when they are tested with scorn, criticism or lack of appreciation.  The good works Christ is working in us comes out of the Father and it is unto Him we live our lives and work the works that are produced out of His unconditional love.  They will not cease because of circumstances and response of others.  They are being fashioned into our being as a product and witness of our faith.  Through these works people will see that we do not have just a superficial religion, but a true and unshakable faith, that truly we are the workmanship of God unto good works in Christ Jesus.

 

Blessings,

kent

Hot Spots, Cold Spots

October 29, 2013

Hot Spots, Cold Spots

Revelations 3:2-3
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

If the Lord were to do a geological survey of our spiritual lives today, what would that topographical map look like? Would we see a high plateau of spiritual consistency with every area of our lives being in alignment with the Spirit of God? I think we are not so much different than the seven churches of Revelation 2-3 that John addresses by the Spirit of God. Each one had their strengths and weaknesses, their high points and their low points. While the Spirit commended them in their strengths, He rebuked their weaknesses and exhorted them to pay attention and give diligence to correcting them. Our spiritual lives are not so different than the churches, because we can see ourselves represented in them. Each one was in a different place, under different circumstances, but each one was exhorted to have an ear to hear the Spirit and overcome. When we honestly survey our spiritual lives most of us can see hot spots and cold spots. We see areas that we are fervent and faithful in, areas of strength where we are walking and doing well in the Spirit. Then, on the other hand, most of us can see areas in our lives where we are in compromise and weak in faithfulness and obedience to the will of God. We tend to preach from the areas of our strengths, while we try to hide and disguise the areas of our shortcoming that we hope others won’t see in us. While the Lord wants us to maintain the strengths that we have and the areas of victory we possess, He is, at the same time, wanting to show us the areas of shortcomings that are hindering us from His highest and best for us. He is constantly calling us to come up higher, to cast off the earthly garments of unrighteousness and put on Christ. These areas of weakness are as varied as we are as individuals, but the Holy Spirit knows our spiritual typography. He knows our high and low places. What we want Him to do in us, as we act in faith, is to bring us up in those low areas so that every area of our life is dwelling in the heavenly places. That place, where there are no holes in our faith and walk with Him that are still abiding in the flesh.
Many of us go to great lengths to put up walls and barriers so that we isolate certain areas of our lives from others. Many of us have a spiritual side and fleshly side. We just conveniently put on what we feel is needed at the time for the place and circumstance we are in. When we are in the worldly setting we act as the world, when we are in a spiritual setting we act spiritual. This is hypocrisy in us. God wants a people that are wholly and consistently His in every area of their lives. Our spiritual destiny and reward with Him is dependent upon it. When we read what the Spirit is saying to the churches here in Revelations, there are strong consequences if areas of offense and weakness are not repented of and corrected. Do we think it is any different with us?
In order to allow the Holy Spirit to have His perfect work in us we need to be willing to allow Him to be Lord in every area and aspect of our lives. We need to have the kind of relationship with Him that we get quiet before Him, listen to Him to speak to us about areas of our lives, through His Word, His Spirit and what other avenues He chooses to use. Then we need to make them a matter of prayer and priority to address and change. Our days are filled with much busyness and distraction, but it is imperative that we prioritize the will and work of God in our lives. What we are speaking of has eternal consequences in our spiritual walk. We can’t afford to allow the temporal things of this life to distract and rob us of our eternal destiny and calling in Christ. He must be the first priority of each day and each area of our life.

When we get too many hot spots and cold spots, we tend to mellow into lukewarm. Revelations 3:15-16 says, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” If God is turning up the heat in our lives it is so that we might become hot for Him. We must allow the heat of His Holy Presence to come into those cold areas of our lives and melt the ice cubes of selfishness, inconsistency, complacency, compromise and sin. God wants us to be all or nothing.

Blessings,
kent

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