2 Chronicles 34:1-7

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

 3 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles, carved idols and cast images. 4 Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles, the idols and the images. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, 7 he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.

There is Nothing You Can’t Do

               It is no wonder that the apostle Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:2,”Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”  God is not a respecter of persons, or age, gender, race or even challenged individuals.  Here in 2 Chronicles 34 God shows how he can even take the weaknesses and immaturity of a young boy and show Himself strong and righteous.  We always want to make excuses as to why we can’t do the exploits and the works of God.  It is not who we are that hinders us, but our lack of faith to move out and believe God for whatever it is that He has placed upon our hearts to do. 

               This young boy, Josiah was different because he chose to fix his eyes upon the Lord and through the Lord’s strength and guidance, do what was right.  He turned his nation back to God.  He tore down and destroyed idolatry out of the land.  He was a purifier and a restorer of God’s holiness.  At a very young age He took the resources God had placed in his hands and he made a significant difference in his world. 

               What is it that may be holding us back from making a significant difference in our world?  No, we may not be a king, but there are resources that God has given us and placed into our lives.  The greatest resource is the Christ in us.  In Philippians 4:13 Paul declares, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  It is not a question of what you can’t do, it is a question of what has God put in your heart to do?  If God has commissioned you and placed His dream and vision in your heart, then all that hinders you is the faith to act upon it.  It is not your might or resources, it is the Christ in you that will empower you to accomplish what He has called you to do. 

               Take it from this little boy Josiah, nothing is impossible with God if you only believe, act and do.

Blessings,

#kent

Romans 14:7-8

For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Whether We Live or Whether We Die

               We speak to purpose this day.  All that we are in Christ is center in the purpose of His Being in us.  We are no longer our own, we are His.  Yes, we still have will and choice, but when we chose to follow Jesus, didn’t we make that choice?  It is often hard for us to function and think outside the paradigm of our earthly world, because we have grown up centered in that mentality and thinking, but this scripture moves our thinking out of the realm of time and into the realm of eternity.  Most of us have become rather attached to this natural life and for others they might be ready to do an early checkout.  Time is relevant to the natural man, but in God there is eternity, which supersedes the dimension of time.  We often look at life in terms of now, and then, when I die and go to heaven.  For us in Christ, life and death are really just life in different dimensions.  Eternity, God-Life, has already come into us.  In Him we now live in the dimension of His timelessness.  “In Him we live and move and have our being.”  Yet for the order of things God has given the dimension of time like the periods at the end of a sentence.  Your earthly life is but a sentence in the volumes of God’s library, but it is a sentence of purpose and relevance to what God has created you for.  If you only get one sentence, then wouldn’t you want to be very careful as to how you structure it?  You would want to make it as clear, concise and as meaningful as you possibly could.  That is what we want to do with our lives.  We want to be remembered and pondered for what that statement, that sentence of our life said to those that read it and saw it. 

               Often, we get so concerned about how others live their life, what they believe and that they are just like us.  God says we each have our own sentence to write and He will be the final critique on what was written.  Before Him we give account and before Him we stand or fall.  While we encourage each other to righteousness, we are not each other’s judges.  Write your sentence faithfully in the light of the truth and knowledge that you have.  Often, we find ourselves restructuring our sentence as we mature and grow in the knowledge and light of Christ Jesus.  The most important thing you want to remember is that whether you live or die, you belong to the Lord.  Allow Him to accurately structure the sentence of your life.

Blessings,

#kent

The Goodness of God Leads us to Repentance

Romans 2:4b

“not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? “

We have said before that everything God does is birthed out of His Love.  This little passage of scripture is a prime example.     How many times we would like to take God’s role and pass judgements on others, especially when we don’t think that God is dealing with a situation or individual near soon enough.  We can all get quite self- righteous, indignant and judgmental in our dealings with others.  We can be pretty quick to throw rocks, but we forget that Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”  He is the only one without sin and the only rightful judge.  What we often forget is that when we take God’s role of judging we become accountable and answerable to our own judgements.  It works along the same principles as unforgiveness.  When you can’t forgive others God can’t forgive you.  There are spiritual principles that come into play.

               When I look back over my own life how thankful I am that God wasn’t so quick to pass judgement on me.  So many times, when I was faithless, He has remained faithful.  It is His goodness, love, longsuffering and patience that draws me back to Him when I stray.  Yes, He may discipline me, but not near to the degree of what I deserve.  Yet, my heart can become broken and repentant as He returns to me good for my evil, when He loves me and I have been so unloving toward Him.  Even when I am walking in righteousness and right relationship with my Lord, I am there in that place as a result of His grace working in me, so who am I to condemn another?  The same sin, degradation and perversion that are in others have been in my heart also.  It is only God’s grace at work in me that they aren’t having their destructive work in me at this time.  We who are the weak and fallen creatures of God’s grace, who have been restored and reconciled back to a place of relationship with our heavenly Father should be the greatest intercessors, the most compassionate of the fallen, and having the greatest heart of the Father toward those who are lost or who’ve strayed from Christ.  That is not to say that we compromise or condone sin, but our passion is to draw others out of sin through the Love and Grace of God that has and is working in our hearts.  We do that with all humility and care that we ourselves be not again entangled again in the snare of sin. 

               Discernment and condemnation are two different forms of judgement.  While we, as Christians, are to “discern evil” and lovingly, with all humility, help each other to avoid being entangled again in it, we are not to stand in the place of condemnation.  The Church has an order by which it must sometimes judge individuals within the church, but even that is done with the guidance of the Word and the Spirit of the Lord.

               Regard the Goodness of the Lord toward your life today.  Are their ways you have become rebellious, disobedient, neglectful, compromised and are out of right relationship with the Lord?  Isn’t it time we made our peace with such a good and wonderful God that receives us back when we come with a heart of repentance?  His goodness and forgiveness are continually waiting and desiring to put their arms around us and welcome us back into a holy relationship with Him where our lives find the meaning and purpose for which we were created.

Blessings,

#kent

From Fear to Faith

June 27, 2022

From Fear to Faith

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

            After being away a good part of the day, that night we brought a couple of our grandkids home with us to spend the night.  Before I had finished getting everything out of the car, the wife was telling me the back door was unlocked and open.  She said she was sure that she had locked it.  On the way into the house I grabbed a trusty little aluminum bat and went into to secure the perimeter.  As the grandkids followed we walked all through the house and did a search to make sure no one was there.  Everything was in tact and nothing was disturbed so it appeared to be just an oversight on our part that the door was open.  As the grandkids followed me talking. I could hear the apprehension and a degree of fearfulness in their voices as they wanted us to set the alarm.  Now these grandkids are about six and nine years old.  As we got them ready to put to bed I began to talk with them about fear and the author of fear.  I explained about the One who is our life and security, the One who has His hand upon our lives and all that touches us can only be by His permission.  We talked about “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world”; how we are “more than conquerors through Christ that loved us” and how God has “not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  As I began to speak these things to them, faith began to rise in their hearts as they began to remember and realize that even though they were just children, Someone, much greater, resided in them and watched over them.  I began to recount Bible stories of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, of Hezekiah when great armies came up against Jerusalem and the Lord told Him to send the praise team and worshippers out first.  I asked them how they would like to go out in the frontlines of battle with just a tambourine or a horn or just their voice.  We talked about how that praise and worship of faith and obedience released God to discomfit and utterly destroy those great armies so that by the time they reached them all there was to do was gather the spoil they left behind.  We talked about the story of Paul and Silas, beaten for their faith and thrown into dark dirty jail, their hands in chains as they began to sing hymns and songs unto the Lord.  Through that praise and worship, in the midst of such discouraging circumstances, God sent an earthquake that opened the cells and freed everybody, but nobody escaped.  As the distraught jailer thought everyone had fled he drew his sword to kill himself, Paul stopped him and assured him all of them were there.  We saw how, what had seemed to be a day of utter defeat and failure, had been turned by God to result in the salvation of this jailer and his household. 

            The kids wanted to hear more and more stories, but finally I said it is time for us to go to bed.  Now there was no more fear or apprehension as we turned in.  It was as the scripture says in Romans 10:17, So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Are you fearful today about some circumstance in your life?  Don’t look at how great the problem or the circumstances are, rather look to the Word of God and see how great your God is.  Look at all the times He delivered His people, because they put their faith and trust in Him.  Don’t look to how great the name is of the disease or burden that you bear, look to the Name above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God ( Philippians 2:9-11).  Our God can take us from fear to faith as we read and meditate upon His Word; remembering how great and mighty our God is, how He loved us and gave himself for us and how if we fear anything let us fear the Lord and trust Him.

The Psalmist David says it so well in Psalms 56:11, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”

Blessings,

#kent

Duty

June 24, 2022

Duty

Ecclesiastes 12:13

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.

               When I heard the word duty in my spirit, I thought, “Duty?  That sounds like a rather legalistic term”.   When you think about it, our daily duties translate into what our responsibilities are.  If I have to get up and go to work every day to provide for my family and our physical needs then that is my duty or responsibility.  When I arrive at work, I have a job description, which are my duties and responsibilities.  In Christ and as Christians we have a duty toward our God.  Ecclesiastes sums up our duty quite well in our scripture for today.  Most of us read over this rather glibly and think, “yeah, yeah, fear God and keep His commandments.  I do that.”  If truth were revealed in most of our lives we will find that we regard the things of God lightly and keep the commandments of God when it is convenient to do so.  The Word says we have one duty and responsibility, and this is it.  This is our basic, but primary duty and responsibility toward the Lord. 

               In the New Testament there is a like scripture in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Here again is a passage that goes hand in hand with our passage from Ecclesiastes.  When we present ourselves and our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable; when we fear the Lord and endeavor to walk and keep His commandments.  We are not being super spiritual or going all out for God.  We are simply doing our basic duty and responsibility that we have in Him.  Our duty is to LIVE FOR HIM!   Our life now is all about Him.  Our Lord should no longer be just a side bar, compartment or extension of life; He is our life.  Life is about Him, for Him and lived through Him.  Again, the basic duty and responsibility of the believer. 

               On the surface this could appear to be just some dull, mundane, religious practice.  The reality is that when we truly surrender our lives to Christ and begin to walk after the Spirit many will testify that this is when they truly began to live, have purpose and find true joy and fulfillment in life.   Life became an adventure and a relationship with the God of the universe and if anyone can take you for a ride through life, He can.  Much like marriage, our covenant relationship with God includes duties we don’t always relish or that may not be pleasant, but it also may include duties that bring us great pleasure, fulfillment and joy.  When we come to the place in our relationship where we begin to experience the Presence and the personal intimacy with the Holy Spirit, we know that the world doesn’t have anything, but cheap substitutes to imitate the joy we find in Him.  That is why Ephesians 5:18-21 tells us, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  Herein is contained the joy of the Lord. 

               When we really live our duty and responsibility in the Lord it won’t be dead religious works, we feel obligated to do.  It will be our joy and delight to do what is pleasing and good in His sight, that which glorifies and honors Him. 

               Malachi 1:6, “A son honoureth [his] father, and a servant his master: if then I [be] a father, where [is] mine honour? and if I [be] a master, where [is] my fear? saith the LORD …”

Blessings,

#kent

A Parent’s Desire

June 23, 2022

A Parent’s Desire

1 Kings 6:3-9

And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as [it is] this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I [am but] a little child: I know not [how] to go out or come in. And thy servant [is] in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

               There are none so bound to the heart of a parent as their children.  From the time we become those bumbling parents with a newborn baby, trying to adapt to parenthood our hearts are bonded to that child.  They are a part of us; an extension of our dreams, hopes and aspirations.  Somehow, we hope to see accomplished in and through their lives the things we maybe never accomplished or was able to do.  We want to see their lives mature to be successful in life, marriage, but most of all, we usually desire to see them excel in the passions of our hearts.  For some parents that may be sports, for others it is financial success and higher education.  The parent that has a heart for God wants more than anything to see His children grow up in godly character and have a life and a walk with God that is even greater, deeper and richer than their own.  We want to pass that torch of a godly heritage and spiritual truth on to our children, that they in turn might pass it on to theirs.  We want to look back from heaven and see a long lineage of godly men and women, our ancestry, which has kept the faith and didn’t break from it.  We want to see our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren grow up in the fear and admonition of the Lord as our parents may have well planted that holy seed in us. 

               This subject was brought home recently by a birthday card my parents sent me that was very edifying and encouraging as they reminisced about when they were young parents first starting out with me and about the little prayers that I prayed when I was three.  They spoke of a tenderness I had in my heart as a child toward God and how they were blessed that I had grown up to walk with Him and was sharing with others through this writing ministry.  I felt that unity and oneness of heart for my own children and their walk and relationship with the Lord.  It is almost a standard line when our children will ask my wife or I what we want for our birthday.  We simply say, “you know what we want and what we want money can’t buy.”  Our children know that our greatest desire is for them to walk and be in right relationship with the Lord.  We want them to fulfill the destiny and answer the unique call that God has for their lives.  We rejoice when they have good marriages, when they are financially successful and they have a good life by the world’s standards, but our heart’s cry is for Christ to be the utmost in their lives and for them to raise up their children by this same standard of godliness.  Psalms 127:3 tells us, “Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward.”  Malachi 2:15 reveals to us the reason for the institution of marriage,”15 Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one?  Because he was seeking godly offspring.  So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.”

God’s desire from our marriages and homes is godly offspring.  That is why it burns so deeply in the hearts of godly parents.  That is why many spend many hours, days and even years on their knees before the Lord, interceding on behalf of their children.  Their heart’s cry is for godly offspring to fulfill the will and purpose of God.  This is why the sanctity of marriage and the home is so important.  It is the cornerstone of perpetuating the Church and the heritage of the Lord. 

               Children, understand the heart of every parent is for the welfare and well-being of their children.  They can’t live your lives for you or make your decisions, but they will cry out to God for you and they will give you godly counsel out of a heart of love.  Just as my heart is for my children to become all that God has destined and purposed they should be, so that is my parent’s desire for me and their parent’s desire for them.  The desire of a godly parent is for a spiritual legacy, that passes the torch from generation to generation, uninterrupted and committed to the call of God on our lives.

Blessings,

#kent

Romans 11:29

For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

Gift and Callings Unchangeable

               What God gives and imparts to us He does not take back.  With those gifts and callings there needs to be worked in us a continual humility and responsibility to use and exercise what He has given us to His glory and not our own.  Many have been the man or woman that came from humble beginnings.  Like king David, they were like the little shepherd caring for the sheep in the back pastures.  The only one that really heard them or saw their hearts was God.  Those early years of our obscurity are perhaps the most important and formative of all.  It is in those years that the objective of our love and ministry is the Lord Himself.  It is in that time of separation and often desolation that we learn and develop our relationship with the Lord.  It is there we find what pleases Him and there that He gives us a revelation of Himself.  It is often a time of discipline, faithfulness, learning and practicing obedience.  It is where we learn to discern His voice and direction.  It is where we learn to praise Him, worship Him and come before His throne.  I can only imagine that the Father delighted in David as he composed and sang His psalms unto Him in praise, adoration and appreciation.  In that place God found the tender heart of a child that was moldable and useable.  He took this little backwoods nobody and through the years of testing and trials raised him up, exalting him above all his fellows.  Now David was a precious man of God, full of the Spirit and anointed of God in leadership, war and worship.  While David was a good and faithful king, God doesn’t hide his humanity and frailty from us.  His godly attributes as well as His fleshly ones are written in the Book for all to see.

               One of the greatest subtle dangers of power, fame, recognition, and of being wonderfully used of the Lord is pride.  People always want to put their eyes upon man and we all have an ego that wants to feed upon that when it happens to be us.  How many great men of God have we seen that were prominent in the public eye and greatly respected for the gifts and calling of God that was plainly seen in them, only to see them fall.  With every man there are weaknesses that accompany his strengths.  The strengths we want to show forth while the weaknesses we want to hide in the closet.  The most important thing we can be with God or with others is just real.  Even with our gifts and calling we are really no more than another is, we just may have a greater responsibility and accountability for what the Lord has imparted to us. 

There are those who have been entrusted with great things from the Lord and I feel like God wants to speak to someone’s heart in particular.  God has greatly blessed and used you, but you blew it.  You have sinned; you have failed God, others and yourself.  In that place it is hard to receive that God still loves you and has not cast you off.  You know that you don’t deserve His love or forgiveness, but that, like His gifts and callings, are without repentance.  He doesn’t take them back.  Your life might be a train wreck, but God is in the business of cleaning up wrecked lives.  The good thing about falling is it humbles us and takes us back to our beginnings.  It wipes away all of the pride and pretense that had corrupted our lives.  It brings us back to the foundational principles of repentance from dead works and God’s love and forgiveness.  Sometimes the broken vessel is the more useable one, because it becomes more real through the breaking.  It can no longer boast in itself, but only in the Potter that created it. 

               Be faithful to use and exercise what God has given you, but be careful to always retain a genuine humility and total acknowledgement that all that you have and all that you are is the gift and calling of God and to Him alone belongs all of the glory.

Blessings,

#kent

Focus

June 21, 2022

Colossians 3:2

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Focus

               One of the key elements for us to keep our lives together and on track with our purpose in Christ is to focus.  When I photograph, one of the key elements to capturing a good image is focus.  If I am out of focus my image is soft and distorted.  The details aren’t clear or as sharp as they should be.  Even though I may have all the elements such as composition, lighting, impact and exposure right, being out of focus will ruin it all.  Our lives can become the same way.  It is easy for all of us to lose sight of who we are and our purpose in Christ as we go about our daily routines of trying to make a living, raise a family, maintain friendships and all that goes into life.  We can easily get out of focus as to our function in living out of the Christ in us and not out of the flesh of us.  Our soul can be easily distracted by the world and it is our spirit in tune with the Holy Spirit that must direct and keep us in focus. 

               Focus isn’t something that we lock in once and we’re done.  It is something that we are continually are doing just as our circumstances and life is constantly changing we must continually be refocusing to keep our vision and purpose clear. 

               One of the ways that we focus is with the Word of God.  Deuteronomy 32:46 says, “And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.”  It is the Word of God that continually instructs and helps to guide us in the ways of righteousness.  It continually reminds us of the heart and mind of God, as well as His direction and purpose for our lives. 

               Other ways that we focus are through our time we spend with the Lord, meditation upon Him and prayer.  1 Chronicles 22:19 says, “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God…” Our primary pursuit in life is the Lord and to be well pleasing to Him.  How often we become distracted with pleasing ourselves.  We get the focus of God’s love and service out of its proper order.  Instead of loving and serving God, others and then ourselves, it can easily become loving and serving ourselves, others and then God. 

Finally the other way we keep in focus is found in Proverbs 3:6, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  We must keep before us the truth, that ‘it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me.’ We are not our own and yet God has left us with the choice to be our own or to be His.  It is our focus that keeps us His.  It is focus that keeps us in Christ and living out of Christ.  In all of life’s demands, drama’s, pleasures and enticements keep your focus.

Blessings,

#kent

The Garden of God

June 20, 2022

Song of Solomon 4:16

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, [that] the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

The Garden of God

               The garden in the Word is often seen as place where we come to have communion and fellowship with God.  Many of us remember the old hymn, “I Come to the Garden Alone”.   We see Adam and Eve first communing with God in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden and then we see them cast out of the Garden in their disobedience and losing that place of fellowship and communion that they once enjoyed.   We know that Jesus liked to go to the garden of Gethsemane and fellowship and commune with the Father.  Perhaps the garden is a good analogy of our communion and fellowship with the Lord, because it is a place of fruitfulness and a place where we smell the sweet fragrance of His presence as we come there to worship and abide with Him. 

               A garden is a wonderful and beautiful place.  In the Song of Solomon the Lord likens His bride as unto a garden.  He calls the north and the south wind to come up and blow upon His garden that the spices may flow out.  Often the directions of winds are used in scripture to denote judgements and testing.  The south wind was often a hot wind that could bring drought and unpleasant temperatures.  Why would the Lord call these winds upon His garden?  It says so that the spices thereof may flow out.  Fruit and spices that are never pruned, gleaned and harvested will rot upon the tree and the vine.  Their sweetness and fragrance are only seen, smelled and enjoyed when they are released and partaken of. 

               We often wonder, as the people of God, why we must endure suffering, persecution, hardship, trials and tribulation.   These are the winds that must blow upon your garden to bring you to the fullness of your fruitfulness.   Only when the grapes are crushed can they make fine wine.  God is working the fruit of the Spirit in your heart and lives, but that fruit has to be exercised to be fruitful.  The thing about fruit is it must be picked and partaken of to be enjoyed.  The world around you has the privilege of partaking of God’s garden; overtime your fruit is released in the nature and character of Christ.  They get to taste and partake of something they don’t find very often in the world. 

               Think about the last place Jesus was before He was taken to be crucified.  They came to the garden.  It was from the garden that Jesus was picked, broken, crushed and poured out for all of humanity to have access to partake of the new wine that He had become.  There the wind of adversity, judgement, trial and tribulation blew hard against Him.  There the precious spices of His God life were poured out and released for all who would to partake of and share in.  If God spared not His own Son from these sufferings, will He spare us as His sons and daughters?  Romans 8:16-18 tells us, “The 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. 18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  Grapes must be crushed to make a great wine.  Gold has to crushed, smelted, fired, melted, beaten and formed to become a beautiful vessel of honor.  You are God’s garden and what He is picking, pruning and blowing upon you is not for your destruction, but for your perfection.  Often, we lose sight of the end result through all of the processing that brings us there. 

               Spend much time in the garden of His communion and presence for that is a place of fruitfulness and growth, but don’t despair when He picks the fruit and prunes the branches.  Romans 8: 28-30 reminds us, “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.”  Become that sweet smelling fragrance of His character and likeness and do not grow weary and discouraged in the process. 

Blessings,

#kent

Fountains of Life

June 17, 2022

John 7:38

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

Fountains of Life

               I will not live my life out of fear of lack.

               I am not a reservoir that I should store and hold back.

               I am a living stream that is released to flow

               And bring blessing and giving wherever I go.

               Kent Stuck

               A fountain gives out of the abundance and overflow of what it contains. It has become so saturated with liquid that it has to give forth for it can no longer restrain the pressure of its contents.  That should be a description of us as God’s vessels.  The living water within us should be filling us to overflowing where it just oozes out over everything that we touch and say.  We were created to be streams and not reservoirs.  We were commissioned to give out and not hold back.  Does everyone know that when they are around you they are going to get wet?  They get wet because we are so full of Jesus and His word that is all that we can talk about.  It is the love and focus of our hearts.             

               Some of us, even as Christians, feel very uncomfortable around people like that because they are way too radical and extreme.  “It’s like that’s all they can talk about. Don’t they have a life?  Don’t they know people don’t just want to talk about Jesus?” 

               Well, if we are to be like Jesus, what was the topic of all of Jesus’ conversation?  Was He going around saying, “Hey, how about that Jerusalem soccer team?  Are they awesome or what?”

His conversation was always about Kingdom.  He was a fountain of Life.  Isn’t that what He would have us to be?  

               We weren’t called to be a Dead Sea where the river runs into it, but nothing flows out.  It’s very description tells us what that produces.  We are life givers and kingdom builders.  We are the ninety degree bends in God’s pipeline that bring the vertical outflow of our relationship with Him into a horizontal distribution of His love and truth.   We are streams in the desert bringing grace and life to all that has been barren and dead. 

               There are three places that Proverbs talks about the fountain of Life that relate with the attributes of Christ.  Proverbs 13:4  tells us, “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.”  What is the beginning of wisdom?  Proverbs 9: 10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  Proverbs 14:27 then says, “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.”  Finally, Proverbs 16:22 tells us, “Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.” How do we get understanding if it is not through the wisdom and counsel of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.  With that in mind, let us look at the seven attributes that were upon Christ given in Isaiah 11:1-3, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

2The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord—

3and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

               Is not this same Spirit that is upon the Head also on the body.  Is He not the Vine and we the branches?  Aren’t we to bear the same fruit?

               Now we know that Christ Jesus was the fountain of life, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth and the life.  Psalms 36:9 says, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” He is the very issue of the life of God to us, that now dwells in us so that we can be that fountain of life that issues into humanity to bring creation back to God.  That is the purpose of our being. 

               We have so long soaked up the knowledge of God, but knowledge that doesn’t become heart experience simply flows into a Dead Sea.  If we come and hear, but it doesn’t produce the doing and the fountain flow of God’s life through us we are as the foolish man who builds his house upon the sand or the foolish virgin who stores up no oil.  If we are to be the fountains of life that God has called us to be, we have to become the issue of life rather than just the recipients of life.  The only reason for our taking in is so that we might give out. 

               Jeremiah 2:13 warns God’s people of these indiscretions and sins, “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”  What is coming out of us today?  Are we fulfilling our purpose and destiny or have we fallen into the sins of Jeremiah 2:13?  We become that fountains by saturating ourselves in the fountain of life till it flows out of everything we touch, it seasons every word that comes forth from our mouths and gives life everywhere we go. 

               “In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk. Water will fill the streambeds of Judah, and a fountain will burst forth from the LORD’s Temple, watering the arid valley of acacias. (Joel 3:18)”  Let that be a description of you.

Blessings,

#kent

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