The “Be” Attitudes

October 18, 2019

Matthew 5:1-11

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:

3″Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11″Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

The “Be” Attitudes

 

” Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Why would I want to be poor in spirit?  When I become rich in my own eyes I become prideful. I am no longer in a place of need, a place of seeking, openness, wanting and searching.  Psalms 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”  Psalms 34:18 says, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”  The poor in spirit is a condition of heart that is receptive and desiring of the richness of God’s presence and will in their lives.

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Mourning is a yearning, hurting and grieving of all that is not conformed to the will and the purpose of the Father.  It is the state of a repentant and contrite heart.  It is always crying out for Abba Father.  It is always travailing until Christ be formed and brought to birth in fullness.  It is the mourning of the death that still operates through sin and all that is in our lives that is less than Him.

 

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

The meek shall inherit the earth, because their strength is not outward, it is inward.  It is the strength of Christ under the control of the Holy Spirit.  It is a strength that is not flaunted or boasted of.  It is a strength that is, because He is.  It gives place to others, it submits to authority, it exalts others above itself and it gives honor where honor is due.  It is often not recognized as strength by natural standards but is the greatest strength by divine standards.

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we do not pray for mere physical substance.  We are praying for Christ to fill us, for He is the bread of life and we must partake of His flesh and His blood daily if we are to have His Spirit life living and operating through us.  Jesus told His disciples in John 4:34, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work.”  That needs to become our place of hunger and the fulfillment of that hunger is operating in the will and purpose of the Father.  Those who hunger and thirst for this righteousness will be filled.

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Mercy is the heart of God.  James 2:12 exhorts us, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!”  Romans 2:1-4 reminds us, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”  If you desire mercy, show yourself merciful, forgiving others as God through Christ gave mercy unto you.

 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

What makes us pure in heart but the cleansing blood of Jesus?  As all sinful and impure motives are cleansed away our lives we should have no motive or agenda other than the receiving and the expression of His life in us.  His love is pure and when it fully captures our hearts it makes all things pure in us.  1 Peter 1:22 says, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently.”  In His love and purity we see Him.

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

Peacemakers are a restoration people.  They restore breached and broken walls and relationships.  They bring reconciliation where division has been present.  They help restore man back into a right relationship with his God and Savior. The sons of God reconcile a lost creation back to its God.  They walk by the Spirit to accomplish the work of the Spirit.

 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 

Those who suffer for righteousness sake see a glory and hope beyond this natural man.  The natural man will not suffer long for that which is spiritually discerned, but the spiritual man who knows the hope that is before him is willing to pay the ultimate price even as Christ paid it for him.  Romans 8:17-18 says, “Now 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. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  Jesus says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  In the world we will have suffering and tribulation, but nothing can separate us from the love of God and we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  No matter what the cost, our life is His

 

These “be” attitudes are the make-up of kingdom people who have the vision of a spiritual kingdom and walk.  They won’t make sense to the natural world, because they are not the attributes of the natural, but of the spiritual man.  These are the foundation stones upon which we must live and build our daily lives as we are being transformed into His image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).  Let these attitudes so be in us as they were exemplified in Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

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Strength out of Weakness

October 17, 2019

 

Strength out of Weakness

 

2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 

Remember when you were a teenager and you knew everything and mom and dad didn’t have a clue about anything?  In your mind they may have seemed pretty dumb and were just a hindrance to the cool lifestyle you were trying to lead.  A few more years down the road, after you had grown up a little and had to experience life more on your own, you may have begun to think those people may have known a little more than I gave them credit for.  Then, after you were married and had kids of your own, you realized what you had put your parents through and may have been thankful that they had the patience and fortitude to allow you to grow into adulthood.  From that perspective of maturity, when you thought you were invincible and you had the world by the tail, you look back and see how weak and foolish you really were.  You took for granted the support system that was in place holding you up and allowing you to try your wings.  It is usually after a few good crashes that reality starts to set in.

We are often not so much different in our Christian perspective.  We like to see ourselves as having great spiritual wisdom and insight, having faith that can raise the dead and heal the sick and have the devil by the tail with our foot on his neck.  Much like when we were teenagers we sometimes forget the foundation of all that we have.  We get this idea that it is because we are something special and God is lucky to have us on His side.  Then, somewhere along the road we run into a reality check or two that make us rethink who and what we are.  A lot of us think maybe there must be something wrong with God.  We have to discover the truth that God isn’t great in us because of our strengths, talents and abilities; He is great in us because we are weak.

Our scripture today is about what the Lord spoke to Paul in his infirmity.  Here is a man to whom God has imparted spiritual wisdom, power, and the gospel too.  He has been placed in the office of an apostle.  He has been entrusted with writing over half of the New Testament and he can’t even heal or deliver himself.  Did he miss God somewhere?  Is he out of His will?  Is it because of his sin?  Why won’t God answer his prayer and allow him to walk in perfect health, prosperity and blessing?  Could it be because only God could be glorified out of weakness and Paul could then never boast or be tempted to boast in his ability?  His strength was when his only ability or power to boast was in Christ.  He had all kinds of credentials and credibility from a religious standpoint.  He was like a doctor of theology and had the genealogy to go with it.  In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul lets us know that he can match credentials and even persecution with the best of those who came as ministers of light only to deceive and lead others away from Christ.  Now if Paul was God’s right hand man why did he have to go through all those beatings, those persecutions, hunger, shipwrecks, stoning, and infirmities?  He says in 2 Corinthians 11: 29-30, “Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not, If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”  Why was Paul focused on his weakness and not on his strength?  It was because his weakness was his strength.  In his weakness he couldn’t identify with his ability, but only the strength and ability of Christ in him.  As he was laid upon the altar then it was only God’s life that issued out of him to raise and bring others up.  In his death in daily living, others found life, encouragement, hope, faith, strength and power.  He was never sitting up on a pedestal telling everyone to look and listen to him, because he was the oracle and God’s man of the hour.  In 2 Corinthians 4:6-12 Paul gives us further insight into this revelation, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.”

It is evident, that with some, Paul seemed to receive little respect because they were so quickly drawn away to those who wanted to put them again under bondage.  Paul’s greatness was in the One he allowed to live through him.  When Paul wasn’t anything, then Christ could be everything.

Hebrews 11:34 talks about the men and women of faith when it says, “Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”  We have to get a revelation that if we are really going to do anything and be anything for God, it is not going to come out of us, it is going to come out of Christ in us.

Grapes have to be crushed for sweet wine to be made. Gethsemane means “olive press” and until the skin is broken and the pressure applied the oil won’t come forth.  Often this is true of the anointing we have in Christ.   A diamond is a chunk of coal under great pressure.  Pure Gold is excavated and crushed ore that is then refined in the fire and shaped by the goldsmith’s hammer.

If you are that person that may think of themselves as passed over by God because you seem to only reap suffering, pain and hardship; you may be the real gems of God’s garden.  The ones that He wants to perfect His strength in, through your weakness.  You have already come to the place where you know that God’s grace alone is sufficient in your weakness, but through your weakness we will see the manifestation of His strength.  Be encouraged and be strong, God hasn’t begun a good work in you that He cannot perfect or finish.  Hold fast in your faithfulness and He will prove Himself faithful and mighty through you.

Blessings,

#kent

Damage Control

October 16, 2019

 

Damage Control

 

1 John 3:18

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

 

Have you ever experienced those times either in yourself or in others where your words didn’t always follow through in your actions?  How often in our relationships do we offend one another and maybe we are willing to say, “I’m sorry”. Things are okay for a little while and then we slip back into the same old offenses.  Maybe the guys are spending too much time watching sports or playing golf and the wife gets fed up and then blows up.  In the obviously rational discussion that follows the husband sees the error of his ways, apologizes and promises to do better.  Finally, the wife calms down, accepts the apology and life goes back to normal.  Being the creatures of habit that we are, usually sooner than later the husband has slipped back into his old ways and round 2 and 3 and so on continues.  It could be the other way with a wife that likes to shop or go over budget on her spending, for example.  The husband hits the roof and the same type of scenario follows with the wife apologizing to the husband and promising to change.  This same type of thing can play out at work, or in other relationships, where we continue in a behavior until there is a breaking point. Then we do damage control to try to patch the immediate damage, but we never really repent and turn from the behavior that is causing the real problem.  This, no doubt, has much to do with why our divorce rate is at about fifty percent.  If we do that with one another, how much more do we do it with God and His will for our lives?  When we feel the conviction about something wrong in our lives, we so often are prone to cover it with a quick, “I’m sorry, please forgive me,” and then go on our merry way with no real attitude or heart change.  I’m preaching to myself today, because its too easy for us to get caught up in what we are doing and what is important to us that we fail to see and react to the big picture.  Life isn’t all about us.  It is about family, friends, relationships and a balance in our lives that helps us to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of others; the Lord being the first on that list.  Life has many demands upon us.  Most of us are running full tilt boogie just trying to keep up.  We feel the weight and the pressures of all these demands, and it is hard for us to be everything to everybody.  Many of us have become workaholics because there is so much to do and so little time.  As a result, our relationships suffer.  Could this be why the Lord created a Sabbath?  We all need to take that time when we close the work door and say, “this time is set apart just for relationships with God and family.”  We need to do that regularly and purposefully.

Damage control only works for so long.  If a ship were in battle and sustained injury, the crew would do what they had to do to get the ship back up and operational, but that wouldn’t be the permanent fix, it would only be temporary till permanent repairs could be made.  If they continued to operate the ship on “damage control” it would probably eventually sink.  That is where many of us are.  Many of us need to do some permanent fixing starting with our heavenly relationship, then our family and then others.  Our words and apologies must be followed with actions of change.  We tend to neglect the more important people in our lives that love us, thinking they will understand.  Occasionally they will, but we have to change our behavior and place our relationships as the first priority on our list instead of the last.  As I’m talking to myself today, I know I’m speaking to a lot of you.  God’s priorities are people and not things.  A lot of us need real repentance in these areas where we offend and neglect.  Instead of “damage control”, let’s work on some permanent changes that will heal our relationships with our God, our family and others.  We need to make commitments to specific times we set apart just for relationships and then follow through with consistent actions.

” …Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

Blessings,

#kent

Suffer the Little Children

October 15, 2019

 

Suffer the Little Children

 

Mark 10:13-16

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and [his] disciples rebuked those that brought [them.  But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  And he took them up in his arms, put [his] hands upon them, and blessed them.

 

Our children are so often ignored and neglected in spiritual things.  We are faithful to feed them, cloth them and provide them with all manner of toys and devices of entertainment, but in a world that is rampant with perversity and sin are we providing what they need most?  I believe Jesus has time for no others like He does for children.  Their simplicity, their trusting innocence, their complete confidence in us as parents to provide and care for them is exactly what the Lord is looking for in all of us that come to Him.  These are basic Kingdom principles.  The wonder years of our children are the fertile ground in which the love and relationship with the heavenly Father needs to be nurtured and grown.  If we are not planting Life in them, then something else is replacing it and the fruit of it will be death.

Sometimes our children grow up and even though we were faithful to plant the Word of God in their hearts and teach them the ways of the Lord they seem to walk away and turn their backs on the Life we labored to give them.  That is when we stand upon the promise of Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.”  I don’t believe God’s Word comes back void, especially when it is combined with prayer and faith.  So if you have children that have walked away from God, take encouragement from God’s Word and never give up praying and believing.

Let’s be vigilant to nurture and feed the most precious treasure you and your child posses, their soul.  I am so thankful for a mother that nurtured that in me, that taught me about Jesus from an early age and prayed with me every night as a small child.  Through the years of my life there have been times I have walked away and been unfaithful, but the roots of God’s Word and Love have grown deep in my soul and His Love continues to draw me back to Him.  Be faithful in this area with your children and grandchildren.  There is not a more precious investment you can make, than in bringing them constantly to Jesus.  He wants to sit them upon His lap and bless them.  Let us not error as the disciples and hinder them from that place of relationship and time in His presence, but let us be diligent to nurture and develop them to really know their Savior.

Blessings,

#kent

Feelings of Unworthiness

October 14, 2019

 

Feelings of Unworthiness

 

Luke 15:21-24

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put [it] on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on [his] feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill [it]; and let us eat, and be merry:  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

 

I think there are times when we all struggle with thoughts of unworthiness and condemnation as we approach and acknowledge the Lord.  Certainly there is no worth in our efforts or abilities to please God or appease Him for our sins.  Outside of the blood of Christ we could have no right standing and reconciliation with the Father.  Yet the heart of the Father stands at the window day after day and watches for His prodigal son to come home.  When the son came home the reconciliation that took place between the two of them was possible, because of the attitude of both of their hearts.  On the part of the Father there was the attitude of love, mercy, forgiveness and the strong desire for restored relationship.  On the part of the son, his attitude had changed from the arrogant, self-reliant, self-serving and the selfish son that had left the Father, to one who was broken through a revelation of his utter worthlessness and unworthiness that he possessed outside of the Father.  When we get a true revelation of what we are outside of the Father and the utter hopelessness and unworthiness apart from Him, we then have come to a condition and attitude that is right to approach Him.  This time we return in total humility, fearing and respecting our Father.  This time our heart is fully aware of its unworthiness of ever again being called a son.  This time we come with a heart that is broken by the awareness of our sin and repentant with the willingness to fully turn from it.  Both heart conditions were present for the full reunion and reconciliation of the Father and son to take place.

Even as believers, we come to the times in our lives when we have rebelled, been self-willed or let sin enter in.  One day, we wake-up spiritually and realize how bankrupt we have become because we have forsaken the relationship we had with the Father.  We have turned our back on our sonship for selfish pursuits.  Eventually we return to the realization that without the life and the blessing of the Father, we are spiritually blind, poor, wretched and naked.  We have become spiritually bankrupt and void of self-worth.  For a time we are willing to work in the pig pens and the filth of the world we have again partaken of.  Eventually, through the leanness and the spiritual hungering of our soul, we decide that we would like to return to the Father.  We find ourselves living under the cruel taskmaster of guilt, condemnation and unworthiness that is telling us you are totally unworthy and disqualified from ever having a relationship with the Father again.  Maybe you even felt like you had committed the unpardonable sin.  “How could Father ever again love and receive back a wretch and failure like me?”

Our Father is a God of love, forgiveness and reconciliation.  1 Timothy 1:15 says, “This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”  While we may still have to face the consequences of our sin and rebellion the Lord has not shut us out into the cold.  He says, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. (Psalms 34:19)” If we are willing to return to the Lord with the attitude of brokenness and repentance; then the Lord is willing to receive us and deliver from that taskmaster of condemnation and guilt.  John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Don’t allow the feelings of unworthiness and condemnation rob you from a restored relationship.  All who are in Christ Jesus have come to know that none of us have any standing or worth in God of ourselves.  Jesus paid the price for our sin.  He alone was righteous and worthy.  When we become identified with Him and the cross, He makes us worthy through His righteous blood.  We must simply appropriate what He has already done by faith and obedience to the name of Jesus and the blood of the Lamb.  “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)”

If you are struggling with feelings of unworthiness or if you have strayed or perhaps have yet to find your way to the Father’s house.  Jesus is still the way.  He is the Restorer and the Redeemer of your soul.  With a right attitude of heart and true repentance, return to Him and He will receive you again to Himself.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Enter In, the First Dimension

Jeremiah 7:2

Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all [ye of] Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.

 

When Moses was given instruction by God to build the tabernacle, there were three dimensions to its construction.  There was the outer court where only the Jewish people could come in, those who were the circumcised Jews.  Strangers and uncircumcised could not enter in.  Ezekiel 44:9  says, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that [is] among the children of Israel”

The tabernacle is a very in depth study as God reveals through its structure and protocol an outline of spiritual worship, communion and relationship with God.  We could not begin to touch on all these in this brief discourse.  What the Lord has impressed is to just look briefly at the entrance to each one.  As we come into Christ, the first thing we come to understand is that God is God and that our sin has made a separation whereby we are outside of Him.  In that place of the world, ruled by sin and death we come to understand that all that is outside of Him is subject to the judgement of God because it stands in opposition to Him. The good news is that “God so loved the world, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”  Jesus was the perfect lamb, offered upon the altar of the Cross to make atonement for our sins, to bring us into “at-one-ment” with the Heavenly Father.  By His blood and faith in Him we now, as strangers, uncircumcised outsiders, could find entrance into the outer court experience of salvation and relationship with God.  With that, our relationship with God went from an impersonal, fearful, understanding clouded in ignorance to one where, when we received Him into our hearts by faith, He became a personal, loving, Abba (Daddy) God.  One where we reverence Him with all awe and respect, but one where we know He is a God who is personally interested in every aspect of our lives and existence.

The first thing one encountered when entering the entrance to the outer court of the tabernacle was the Brazen Altar.  This is where the sin offerings were made for the people and the blood of animals was shed as symbol of the life that must be sacrificed for sin and it’s consequences.  Jesus became that for us.  His blood is essential to every dimension that we come into in our spiritual walk with Him.  His blood is our righteousness, it is our covering, protection and sanctification.  Without the blood of Christ we have no place in Him.  There is wonder working power in the Blood and we can never offer enough praise and thankfulness to our Lord who has provided that for us.  Romans 9:10-12 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”  We have found access and entrance into the outer court whether we are Jew or Gentile through the blood of Jesus and by faith, confessing His name as the Lord of our lives.  This is our salvation entrance.

Blessings,

#kent

Windows of God

October 10, 2019

 

Windows of God

 

Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 

The other day a colleague and friend of mine made a statement that hurt and troubled my heart.  While I wasn’t in a place to really get into a discussion about it, it has continued to disturb me.  This woman is an accomplished artist and photographer who has a heart for others.  She has done and desires to do more of photojournalism that will help the plight of people who are battling disease, poverty or oppression, she cares for them, having grown up in the Appalachia Mountains and experienced poverty herself.  I mentioned she should work for one of the international Christian organizations that help such people.  She made the comment that she considered herself a very spiritual person, but wouldn’t really consider herself a born again Christian.  Then there was some comment about the way they had treated others.  What I was hearing was that she had been hurt, disillusioned and probably disappointed in those who said they represented Jesus Christ.  I’m sure many of us have heard and seen a lot of that sort of thing.  How sad that we, God’s people, are often the greatest stumbling blocks to people in their search for truth and a relationship with God.  We are the window through which people see the heart and nature of God.  If that window is dirty and the glass is distorted, then what kind of view are they going to get of a loving Savior who came and died for them that they might have that relationship with God?  What kind of window am I today; what kind are you?  Are people looking into our lives and seeing us profess one thing and live another?  Are they seeing self-righteousness rearing its ugly head in prejudice, judgmentalism, and condemnation of others?  Are we more concerned about seeing the faults and judging others than we are with seeing past their faults and seeing their need for Jesus?  If we are only condemning everybody to hell that is not just like us, then all we are is a religious bigot who will receive the same measure of judgment that we have doled out to others.  God speaks concerning this area of judgment in Romans 2:1-11, “1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? 5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.”  In verse 28 it goes on to say, “28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”  The same could be said of those who profess Christ, “he is not a Christian who is one outwardly; it is he who is one inwardly, whose commitment is from the heart and by the spirit, not simply an outward form of religion and head knowledge.”  If we are truly Christ’s then the world around us should be seeing the genuine truth and love of who we profess to be.  Far too many have used the profession of Christ as a cloak for unrighteousness, exploitation and self gain at the expense of other’s souls.  How sad when we can better trust and rely on the people of the world in business and in keeping their word than we can in those who profess Christ. 

          We are the windows of heaven.  Unless God’s heavenly light is shinning through us in the face of Jesus Christ we will be the stumbling blocks to the world around us rather than the light to their salvation.  What is shinning out of your window today?  How do others perceive the face and nature of God through you?

Blessings,

#kent

They that Wait upon the Lord

 

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

 

What does it mean for us to wait upon the Lord?  The concordance says this phrase means to look for, hope, expect, to wait, linger or look eagerly for.  Those that have grown mature and rich in the Lord can tell you they have done so with much waiting upon the Lord.  As we wait for the Lord it is done with a heart of desire, expectation, longing, pursuing through prayer, worship, praise, thanksgiving and studying and searching of God’s Word.  They have invested their lives to know Him on a more intimate basis, so they know His voice and are full of the treasures of His truth.  The Lord most often doesn’t come to us on our timetable.  He can often seem illusive and distant, slow to answer by our estimation.  Do you suppose God is searching our hearts in this to find out how determined and in love with Him we truly are?

The society we live in wants everything instantly.  We don’t have time to wait.  Our lives are busy with many demands as we are pulled in so many directions.  It is so difficult for us to make that time just for the Lord.  I believe God sees the demands that are upon us and is not insensitive to commitments we must respond to.  But what about all the hours of leisure time we spend in watching television or our own pursuits.  We don’t think so much about waiting upon God then.

Jesus gives us some very interesting parables in Matthew 24 and 25 in the light of waiting upon the Lord and looking for His coming.  In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about the ten virgins who took their lamps.   Five took oil (But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.) and five didn’t.  They all slumbered and slept.  There is time for resting and sleeping for all of us.  The difference comes in the preparation of the five wise.  Matthew 25:5-13, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, [Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 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.”   We are the lamps of the Lord.  Our lives must be able to illuminate our world through the Spirit and Life that is within us.  If we have not taken the time to wait upon the Lord in the many ways that we build an intimate relationship with Him we’ve missed what it is to get oil for our lamps.  Many may sit in church every Sunday and hear the Word of God, but if it is just a head thing and not a heart thing where that Word gets down into our hearts and transforms us as we apply it, we’ve missed it.  The waiting on the Lord through spiritual acts of pursuit is what gives us the oil for our vessels.  It is in those times that the Holy Spirit comes to quicken God’s Word to our heart and make Himself known in ways we don’t always see outwardly.  The Lord reveals in this passage that He came for the ones who knew Him.  They may have all been virgins or Christians, but if the Lord says, “I never knew you” then you have never come into that place of intimacy that goes beyond a surface knowledge and relationship and into a covenant relationship.  That place where you share His Life, where He becomes the source, strength and dependence of your life.

Waiting upon the Lord is working and living in concert with the Holy Spirit.  If we are not waiting then we are either running ahead of the Lord or we are distracted to other things.  To wait upon the Lord is spend time in the Lord’s presence coming to know Him in the secret place.  It is a place we renew our strength and indeed find strength and abilities that rise above our natural ones.  Let’s find the wisdom of waiting on the Lord.  It is an eternally rewarding experience.

Blessings,

#kent

2 Samuel 22

1 David sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. 2 He said: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent men you save me. 4 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,

and I am saved from my enemies. 5 “The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 6 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 7 In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. 8 “The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry. 9 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. 10 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. 11 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. 12 He made darkness his canopy around him—

the dark rain clouds of the sky. 13 Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth. 14 The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. 15 He shot arrows and scattered the enemies , bolts of lightning and routed them. 16 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of breath from his nostrils. 17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. 20 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. 21 “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. 22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God. 23 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. 24 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. 25 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight. to the blameless you show yourself blameless, 27 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. 28 You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low. 29 You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light. 30 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. 31 “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 32 For who is God besides the LORD ? And who is the Rock except our God? 33 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. 34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;

he enables me to stand on the heights. 35 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 36 You give me your shield of victory; you stoop down to make me great. 37 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. 38 “I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 39 I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 40 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 41 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. 42 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them to the LORD, but he did not answer. 43 I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets. 44 “You have delivered me from the attacks of my people; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know are subject to me, 45 and foreigners come cringing to me;

as soon as they hear me, they obey me. 46 They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.

47 “The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior! 48 He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me, 49 who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me. 50 Therefore I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. 51 He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”

 

When You are Circling the Drain

 

 

God is with you even as you fight your battles and experience the hand of the enemy against you.  God hasn’t brought you this far to fail you.  Even as His anointed David was circling the drain and was for all intents and purposes a goner according to conventional wisdom, it was God alone who rescued Him and preserved His life from destruction.  Some of you have felt this kind of onslaught from the enemy.  You have cried out to God, but still the enemy advanced against you.  Perhaps it looks to you like all is lost, but don’t lose your faith.  David says of the Lord, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. 18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. 20 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

You have been going through the fire and under severe attack.  For all practical purposes it would seem the enemy is winning, but it is in our time of greatest weakness that we behold the mighty strength and power of our God.

Those who rule and reign with Him must know this place of testing and proving.  It is what tempers us for the throne.  Yes, we can become discouraged, tired and weary.  There are times we cry out to God either take me or deliver me.  All things are according to His time and wisdom and not our own.  When you know and experience His deliverance it will be as none other could provide.  When the Lord takes up your cause the pursuer will become the pursued.  Your trial and curse will become your victory and your triumph.  You shall prevail, because you have put your full trust in the Rock of your salvation.  God’s word to you today is to hold fast your faith and stay the course.  Soon, you, like David will make the declaration; “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent men you save me. 4 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,

and I am saved from my enemies.”  You are passing from your strength into His strength.  Even though you can’t go on, He remains mighty in you.  You shall prevail if you remain steadfast.

Blessings,

#kent

God gives more Grace

October 7, 2019

 

God gives more Grace

 

James 4:4-10

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely  6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 

There is no reason in the man without a season,

There must be a time and purpose for all reasons.

Things spent upon our own desires and pleasures,

Seldom yield a spiritual fruit of any good measure.

 

Darkness often looms beneath our spiritual light,

Hypocrisy often turns our day to night.

Our envy, lust and strivings are seldom for the higher good,

Often, we find ourselves not living in the spirit we thought we would.

 

Outwardly we wear our religious and righteous attire,

Inwardly, struggles with sin burn in our belly like a fire.

There is hope if in humility we cry out to God in our need,

But many are the proud, blinded to the life that they lead.

 

Oh God, what wretched men we so often are,

Shunning the grace and Lord that is our redemptive star.

Yet you give more grace, so let us humble ourselves anew,

Help us resist the devil, submit our hearts and draw near again to You.

 

Help us draw nigh to you, oh God, that you might draw nigh to us,

Give us grace, strength and power to forsake our envy, pride and lust.

Let us weep and mourn when in our sin we’ve failed,

But help us overcome our failures and by your strength, prevail…

Kent Stuck

Blessings,

#kent

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