Just Follow Me

April 30, 2013

John 8:12
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Just Follow Me

A while back my wife and daughter had left to go do something and I had my two grandsons 9 and 14 at the time. I am always trying to think of ways that I can mentor and teach my grandchildren valuable lessons. It is difficult at that age, because they are into their games and their own things, so I asked the Lord to give me some ideas. Well they were both engaged in doing their own thing when I announced the command to get in the car because we are going someplace. Immediately the question came, “Where are we going?”
I said, “You don’t know have to know where we are going you just have to get into the car so we can leave.”
Well, that wasn’t a sufficient enough answer so they continued to press me about where they were going.
I told them, “You know, there are times that God asks or speaks to us to go somewhere or to do something, but He doesn’t always tells us where or why. He just asks us to trust and obey Him. We don’t always have to understand the “why” of God to do the will of God.”
Anyway the boys were loaded in the car and away we went. The first stop was the dollar store. I asked the boys if they would like to go in with me. They decided, no, they would stay in the car. So I went in and bought some different kinds of candy for a project that was later to follow. When I came back to the car with the candy the boys were disappointed that it wasn’t for them, but I explained if they had just followed me they could have gotten the candy of their choice. I explained that when we choose not to follow Jesus at times we can really miss out on the blessing.
The next stop, I took the boys to the drive through ice cream place. As we were in the car line I gave the boys the opportunity to step out of the car and wait till after I got my ice cream cone and I would pick them up on the way out if they would like, so they didn’t have to go with me. Well, needless to say, I didn’t have any volunteers for that offer.
We purchased our ice cream cones and just set and talked as we ate them. As we did, I was showing them the correlation of what we were doing and our walk with Jesus, how it was much the same.
After we finished the ice cream and was headed in a homeward direction I pulled into a nursing home and rehabilitation center.
My oldest grandson asked if we were going to have to pray for people.
I answered, “I don’t know. We are here on assignment for Jesus, so we’ll do whatever He would have us to do.”
Well, we went in and walked up to the desk. I told the lady we had just come by to visit and encourage anyone that might be lonely or want some company. I had also brought some candy to share with them.
She said that was sweet and said we could go into the community room where some were hanging out and visit with them. So that is where we went.
We first visited with woman whose daughter lived in town. A very pleasant lady.
We were then engaged by another lady standing in the corner of where a piano met the wall. She was eating an ice cream cone and asked my oldest grandson what grade he was in and if he liked basketball. This really caught his attention as she guessed his age and favorite sport.
This lady was 92 and moved here from Washington. She had two boys that had gone through the Air Force Academy. One was still an instructor there and they both lived here.
We had a pleasant conversation in which my older grandson was quite involved. This lady had been a high school teacher and was still pretty sharp. Eventually she announced she needed to get back to her room.
An older man sat quietly at the table and so we attempted to strike up a conversation. I offered some of the candy that I brought which peaked his interest and he gladly accepted. I helped him with the candy wrapper, as I noticed he was missing a finger and his right hand was badly swollen. I asked him if we could pray for his hand to which agreed and we just laid hands upon him and prayed for him.
About that time my daughter called. They were back and she needed to get the boys, so we headed back home.
Through these simple little exercises I believe the boys could see there are blessing when we simply follow, trust and obey. We don’t have to know why, have all the answers or the resources; all God asks of us is that we say yes to His direction. He will provide the rest and often our way is filled with blessing and opportunity, along with the privilege to serve Him.

Blessings,
kent

From Such Turn Away

April 29, 2013

From Such Turn Away

2 Timothy 3:5
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

This scripture comes after Paul gives a description of a people you would think would be obvious that they were not Christians, for he writes in 2 Timothy 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Yet, these people, as ungodly as they are, are described as having a form of godliness, but their very nature denies the power of it. 2 Corinthians 11:14 describes a similar situation of how satan often appears to us, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Does that mean he is an angel of light or simply masquerades or disguises himself as one? If we are gullible and take everything and everyone at face value, we are open to deception. Most likely many of us have been deceived at one time or another by someone, who having a form of godliness, came in with heresies or teachings that subtly distorted and manipulated God’s Word to appear to say and teach something different than what the Holy Spirit was conveying. There are those that would love nothing more than to draw us away unto themselves and through there teachings or influence shipwreck our faith. Obviously that is why Paul is telling Timothy “from such turn away.”
Jesus gives the same type of exhortation to his disciples in Matthew 7:14-23, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the w!y, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; ” a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, sh!ll enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
The message here is plain, just because a tree looks like an apple tree doesn’t necessarily mean it is, but if it is, it will bear apples and not some other type of fruit. While none of us professes our lives to be manifesting perfection just yet we are told that by observing the fruit, the behavior, the attitudes, the true nature of a person; we will be able to discern if they are really of Christ or not. One can only hide their true identity and nature for so long until it will show itself for what it is. Beware that not everyone professing Christ is of Christ. They may well be as deceived in as much as they are trying to deceive you. Don’t compromise the standard of God’s Word. It doesn’t change no matter how spiritual someone professes to be or how much Greek and Hebrew they say they know. Hold fast to the foundational principles of the faith. If God is showing you a deeper revelation of a truth in His word that does not follow conventional teaching He will confirm it for you if you seek him. It won’t have to just come through one person or one source, there will be other witnesses to it and it won’t go counter to God’s Word.
The exhortation is when we recognize these ones who only have a form of godliness, but lack the true Spirit of Christ in them, turn away from them and have no more fellowship with them. It doesn’t mean that you take up a judgemental spirit or that you don’t try to restore those who are in error, but if they are unwilling to see their error and turn from it, then have no more fellowship with them. If you continue to associate yourself with them you will be drawn away and corrupted by them. Be vigilant and discerning of those you have fellowship with, that they have true godliness and not just a mere pretense of it.

Blessings,
kent

Deliverance of the Afflicted

Psalms 107:8-15
Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, [being] bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and [there was] none to help. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!

There are many reasons we go through trials, tribulation, sicknesses and afflictions in life. One of the things Jesus told us was that in the world we would have tribulation, but to be of good cheer for He overcame the world. Our trials and afflictions are not the more pleasant part of our life, but they can serve a valuable purpose.
Throughout the Old Testament we see the Israelites often suffering affliction due to sin or disregard for God’s order and way of doing things. There are times we see the Lord being pretty severe and exacting in His requirements Affliction and trials can do one of two things, either it causes us to seek and pursue God harder or we turn away from Him altogether.
What we are looking at here is a principle and reason why God deals with us at times through afflictions and trials. This is not about bringing condemnation on anyone because they are in this place. There are various reasons we go through trails and afflictions, our willfulness and rebellion is one of those. Let each of us search and judge their own heart in regards to what is shared here. One of the things I found in my own walk as I look back at perhaps specific times and circumstances where I went through an affliction that I felt like was a correction from the Lord. It was to deal with me in areas that I was in willful disobedience to Him. It is like the shepherd who has a lamb that keeps wandering off from the flock. Despite many warnings, exhortations and scolding it continues to venture off doing its own thing. The shepherd knows that this lamb, left to its own self-willed ways, is venturing into areas that it can become a victim and prey of the enemy of the beasts that look for weakness and separation in the flock and one they can single out for destruction. So out of loving concern for this lamb the shepherd does a harsh thing, he breaks the little lamb’s leg. Then he binds it up, anoints it and carries that lamb with him in his arms everywhere he goes. In that place of affliction that lamb learns about a place of intimacy and relationship with the Shepherd that it had never known or had before. There it learns the true character and nature of its Shepherd who cares for it, loves it, and personally tends to it during its time of healing.
Haven’t we all gone astray, each of seeking our own will and way in life? Many of us can relate with this little lamb and are perhaps in that place where we are despising God’s way as we pursue our own. In that place of trials and affliction that pain focuses our attention. Hebrews 12:5-8 brings this point of correction home to us as it says, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” I shutter to think where I would be today if the Lord hadn’t loved me enough to discipline and correct me so that He might put my feet back on a right path. Yes, there are times when my Shepherd has had to break my leg because of sin and rebellion, but thank God He loved me enough to do it. God often brings us to that place where our soul is lean and hungry, where we feel the bands of affliction and iron upon us. When we finally are willing to acknowledge our state, our weakness, our desperate need for our Savior and begin to cry out in our affliction, He hears our cry. It is in the place of true repentance He is able to bring us ‘out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!’
Are you in that place of affliction today? The Lord is present, not to condemn you, but to restore you to righteousness. You are His own and He loves you dearly. There are none more precious in His sight. Jesus would leave the other ninety-nine sheep just to find the one that is lost. That affliction may be your call to come home, to find that safe, warm place again in the arms of Jesus who has loved you unto death. ” Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!”

Blessings,
kent

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

What are You Anxious About?

I heard the Lord ask,” What are you anxious about today? What are your fears?”
Take a moment to ask yourself those questions and consider your answers. Most all of us have those issues that want to arise in our heart that cause us concern and consternation. If we allow them to persist they can take us right on over into doubt, fear and unbelief.
Where the Father wants us to abide is in the position of His rest. We first start to find that position by doing what Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” What do we do when we rejoice? We put our eyes upon Jesus, along with the acknowledgement of all of His goodness, provision and faithfulness. We position ourselves in an attitude of continual joy. That is why we joy and joy again. We know that with joy comes the words of praise, worship and adoration that create faith in our hearts. Then we rest in what we don’t have control over because God does, so then just pray about everything and present our petitions before Him, with thanksgiving, knowing that He has the final say in all things.
He has created us to enter into His rest and we can’t abide there if we are anxious and restless. So climb up on Papa’s lap today. Rejoice in Him, His goodness and all of His benefits. Present your concerns to Him in prayer and petition with thankfulness, because you know that He hears you and will work all thing together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His Purpose (Romans 8:28). He will work all things after the council of His will if you just trust Him. Just as a child is not anxious, but trusting that his parents will meet all of his needs; how much more can we trust the Father to care for our needs according to His riches in glory.
Just crawl up on His lap and abide in His rest. He loves you and cares for you.

On Papa’s Lap

Where can I go when the spirit of fear surrounds me?
What do I do when my circumstances overwhelm me?
I crawl up on Papa’s lap, safe from all threats of harm.
There, in love He holds me, enveloped in His arms.
There I know what touches me is only for my good.
There I have confidence that I can stand the ground He stood.
In the unity of God’s love I feel our hearts beat as one.
Whenever fear and doubt attack me, to Papa’s lap I come.
Kent Stuck

Blessings,
Kent

Hebrews 4:14-16
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Jesus Understands Your Humanity

The wonderful thing about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is that He doesn’t ask of us what He hasn’t been willing to walk out Himself as a man. He emptied Himself of glory so that might experience and walk in the weaknesses and the infirmities of our flesh. He knows what pain feels like. He knows what it is to have passions and longings for another person. He knows what it is to be rejected, ridiculed and be mocked. He knows what it feels like to be tempted and feel the urgings of the natural man. In every area Jesus was tried and tested so that He might thoroughly understand and identify with our infirmities and weaknesses.
Now that He has come back into His glory, who could be a better high priest to represent us before the Father. He who was tempted in every way and yet without sin. He knows perfectly both the God side and the human side of every thing that we face. Jesus doesn’t justify or condone our sin because we have been weak or have failed, but He does understand and sympathize with the struggles that we deal with. He stands as our high priest, not to condemn, but to reconcile us to the Father and His righteousness. His own righteous blood is what prevails as our righteousness when we confess our sin and turn our hearts toward Him. We have confidence before God because we are in Christ and His blood is reckoned unto as righteousness. Just as He once came to identify with us in our weakness, now He is bringing us to identify with Him in His strength, so that by that strength we might overcome and prevail.
Are you struggling in areas of your life today? Are you struggling with your trials, your temptations, your relationships or your own worth? Perhaps you’re dealing with strong feelings of condemnation and unworthiness because of the failures in your life. Jesus isn’t seeing you as a failure. His heart is tender toward you and His arms are open for you. The enemy uses our sin and shortcomings to convince us that God could never love us or accept us the way that we are, but that is the lie of the enemy. Jesus says, “ Come to me all of your who weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Jesus is the merciful and compassionate One. He will give you grace and help you in your time of need, but you have to invite Him in. You have to open the door of your heart and come to Him just as you are. He is that master physician who is able to heal the wounded and broken hearted. He is the great psychiatrist who is able to minister to the mental torments and anguish you experience. It is by faith in who this Jesus is that you invite Him in and relinquish to Him your every struggle, failure, heartache, torment and sin. He is able to bring you rest and peace like none other and He is able to restore unto you the boldness to approach the throne of His grace with confidence and assurance. He is our great high priest and He loves us even where we are. His desire is to restore us to wholeness and righteousness in Him, so that we may know this ministry of His priesthood whereby we can have compassion and mercy on others as we lead them to Christ so that they may find mercy and grace in their time of need.

Blessings,
kent

Truth

April 23, 2013

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Truth

The viability of Christianity today is not in its words, but in its actions. If there is nothing that the world sees in us that is much different than them, except for perhaps a self-righteous attitude, then why should they want what you say you have? There is a religious view today, to love everybody, except everyone where they are at, follow your heart, just be who you are, love everyone, except everything as okay.
God loves us in spite of where we are, that doesn’t mean that He compromises His truth so we won’t be offended and He can be politically correct. Truth stands, not matter how much egg and mud are thrown against it. It doesn’t change, just because of what we believe. Truth was truth long before we ever came into this world and it will remain truth even after this world passes away. Truth does not bend itself to us, it calls to us to align ourselves with it. Either we embrace the truth and walk in it or reap the consequences of our rejection of it.
Really, it is amazing that we have this concept that God should always bend to our will, our wants, our request and all that we name and claim. First of all, God already gives even the unjust and sinners far more than they deserve. His mercy and grace rains down upon us all, but we sometimes forget our place. God is God, Creator, Sovereign Lord of All. His is the dominion and authority over all, but we have the idea that if things don’t always work out right in our lives, it is God’s fault. Yet. if we teach our children right from wrong and model right living before them, then they go out and violate the principles that we as parents taught them, are the parents to blame when consequences come? Often it is through the adversities, trials, and unfairness we find in life that God’s principles of truth become a reality in our lives.
We operate out of a very finite and limited understanding of life, the world and the things that happen in life. We see our world through a peep hole and yet we treat God like we could have done things so much better than Him. How arrogant and naive we are. God sees the end from the beginning. The Word says that even His foolishness exceeds the wisdom of men. We have to be aware that God’s ways are so much higher and we won’t always comprehend or understand His ways. Life may sometimes be terribly unfair and bad things do happen to good people, but that in no way negates or lessens the goodness and faithfulness of the Father. Even as children, we may have felt our parents were harsh or unfair, but we didn’t have the maturity and wisdom to see what they could, because of where they had been. If they were harsh, most often it was in an effort to correct you so that you wouldn’t have to experience a greater pain.
God’s truth is the standard by which we are to live by. That truth magnifies God’s love and forgiveness, but it does not justify and excuse sin. It does not compromise itself with darkness, but rather dispels the darkness, for it is the equivalent of light. Jesus tells us to walk in the light, even as He is in the light, not so we can condemn those in the world, but so that we can light their way to Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

In the Midst of the Fiery Furnace

Daniel 3:21-25
Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their [other] garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnaceTherefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O kingHe answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Our account today is out of the book of Daniel. Again, this is a familiar story to many of us, but for those not familiar I will give a brief summation of the story to bring us up to the point we want to address today. I would encourage you to read this account out of Daniel 3 in Bible if you are not familiar with it.
The setting takes place in Babylon. The children of Israel have been taken captive and some of the choice young men of Israel have been brought into King Nebuchadnezzar’s court and trained up to serve the King. The chief and most prominent of these men is Daniel who doesn’t happen to be a part of this particular account. However, three other men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, godly men that Daniel has appointed with the King’s authority to rule over the affairs of Babylon, are the key players of this true drama. The King erects a huge golden image, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide (roughly ninety feet tall by nine feet wide). One might note the usage of six as the number of man used in the dimensions of this image. The King then has a dedication in which he invites all of the officials of his kingdom to come to. At the sound of the instruments all of these officials are ordered to bow down and worship this image with the consequences being that if anyone doesn’t comply they will be cast into the fiery furnace. Now, after this dedication, certain Chaldeans, officials of that country, came the King and brought to his attention that these Hebrews didn’t bow down as he instructed. I’m sure there was no, jealousy, covetousness or malice on their part toward the Hebrews. They were no doubt just doing their civic duty. At any rate this enraged the King who had the three Hebrews brought before him. He asked them if this account was true and then he offered them a second chance to fall down and worship the image with the consequences being the fiery furnace if they refused. It is a great testimony and example to us in how the three Hebrews replied,” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we [are] not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be [so], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver [us] out of thine hand, O king But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Hebrew 3:16-18). They knew God could deliver them, although they did not have a sure word that He would, they never the less had already resolved their stand in this matter, they would not bow down to false gods even at the cost of death. Well, this sent the king into a full-blown temper tantrum. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal and his strongest men to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, into the furnace. Note that seven is a divine number of God throughout scripture and well may indicate a divine judgement and purification in this case. The furnace is so hot that the heat consumes the mightiest of the men as they throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound in all of their garments and hats, into the furnace. As the king is able to look into the furnace, his account is as follows: ” Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Christ?).” The account of the story finishes by saying he called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to come out of the furnace. ” Then] Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed [be] the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon. ”
We have laid this foundation to say this, Hebrew 12:28-29, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God [is] a consuming fire.” As we look and see what God did for these Hebrew men, we can see what He wants to do for all of His faithful servants. The only thing that the fire can really touch is the bonds of the flesh that have bound us. If we are walking with Christ in us, the judgements and trials that befall us are doing but one thing, they are burning up the areas in our life that bring us into the bondage of the flesh. 1 Corinthians 3:11-16 tells us this, ” For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? ” One day our lives will stand in the fiery furnace of God judgement and our works will be tested by His fire. The exhortation is that God is not trying to destroy us, but He does want to burn up all the areas in our lives that hold us in bondage. He wants to set us free to truly walk with Christ even through the trials of life. So if you are going through the fire today let that be your encouragement, that all that is really being touched are the areas of our flesh while our spirit is being purified and refined. All of us are building on the foundation of Christ, but how we build and what we produce through our lives will have to stand the test of God’s fire. Revelations 3:18 gives us this exhortation, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” That gold is the pure things of the Spirit that have been worked in us through our trials and testings. ‘ We learn obedience through the things we suffer.’ So hold fast in the place of the fire for in it is where we purchase the gold of His divine nature and Spirit within us. Let us build our lives with the things of the Spirit so they may stand in the day when they are revealed by the fire.

Blessings,
kent

Let God be the Judge

April 19, 2013

Romans 2:1
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Let God be the Judge

Each one of us has a past, a history and record of sin for which God has every right to condemn and judge us for. When most all of us look back over the history of our lives we see things we did that were terribly wrong. In many cases some of those things were never found out or exposed and we escaped what could have been very severe consequences. Now if we had continued down that path, our sin would have eventually caught up with us and we would have paid the price, but somehow, God in His mercy, gave us grace. He is still giving us grace, not because we deserve it, but because He is a God of mercy and grace. Even in those we would write off as reprobate and hopeless, God can still do a miracle of His grace. Who would have thought Saul of Tarsus would have been one of the greatest Christian evangelist and apostles of all time. Before his conversion, most Christians of that day would have never thought it possible, but God is a God of the impossible.
At best, we judge out of our limited understanding and conditional love. We all have our prejudices and imperfect views of the world. We are not qualified to be the judge and jury of others sins or wrong-doings because we ourselves are just as guilty of our own sins. Even if they were done against us or the ones we love, those acts, heinous as they may be, must be relinquished, by our hearts, back to God who judges righteously. He sees it all and knows the hearts and motives of each of us. He alone is qualified to be our judge. He doesn’t justify our sins, but often gives us far more mercy than we deserve. That is why He wants us to have the heart of His Son towards sinners. He wants us to learn to extend to the same mercy and forgiveness that He extended to us. He tells us that vengeance is His and He will repay. The heart of a son of God is to see the lost saved and the sinful restored to right relationship with the Father. “It is the kindness of God that leads you to repentance (Romans 2:4).”
Trust God to be the judge of all those who have hurt you or done you wrong. If you carry those offences in your heart you will never have peace. Hate, anger, revenge, unforgiveness, no matter how we justify it, will not only tear you apart, but all those around you, as well. That spirit is a destroyer and a divider. Why should you pay that price for another’s sin when you can place it back in the hands of the Righteous Judge and know that He will take care of it, rather its the way you want it or not. When we carry unforgiveness, we are saying we don’t trust you Father. We are unwilling to allow Jesus to provide the same forgiveness for another that He so mercifully extended to us.
Regain your peace and lay all your unforgiveness and feelings that you have been carrying at the altar. In exchange pick up the gift of His love, grace and forgiveness so that you might be set free of all of that bondage. Free to love even your enemies, even as God in Christ, has loved you.

Blessings,
kent

Treasure Unearthed

April 18, 2013

2 Corinthians 4:7-12
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Treasure Unearthed

I want you to imagine today the there is this large earthen clay statue of a man and it has been revealed to you that within this earthen clay man is a treasure of untold wealth, power and blessing. You can’t see it because it is hidden in this earthen covering of clay. If you are told you can have that treasure, but all you have to do is reveal it what would you do? Chances are that no matter how lovely the statue is outwardly, you no longer see or are concerned for the outward sculpture. You are intent upon reaching the treasure within. So you go to work on this statue with all of the tools that are at you disposal. You are using picks, shovels, sledge hammers, chisel and whatever else that will give you access to this treasure. While you are intently uncovering the treasure within, what is happening to this clay statue without? It is being put to death, destroyed and decimated. Yet what you discover is that the more the red earth is peeled away from the statue the more a new substance is revealed to take its place. It is a substance of life that cannot be destroyed and contrary to destruction it actually gives life to those who come in contact with it. All of your efforts to unveil and to remove the earthen outer man have left his clay flowing off of him like streams of water. What you have discovered is a new creation man under that earthen exterior that is only revealed more and more as it is attacked and put to death, not so much by those who are intent upon the treasure, but by those who are intent upon discrediting and destroying the treasure. The more others seek to kill and destroy it the more life that is revealed from it. After awhile the clay statue has been changed in its form. The treasure has been unearthed and it is the life of God, the Christ within that is the treasure that is now revealed. While death worked in the outer man of this clay vessel, the life of God was being revealed through the forces that were brought against it. Outwardly the old was dying, but the inner man was coming forth in life.
Such is the case in our own lives. We often see all of the forces of destruction and opposition in our lives as negative things. They bring to us much pain, anxiety, frustration and hurt, but each one of them causes us to reach into the resources of the treasure that we all contain in Christ. It causes us to draw from His strength, His healing, His forgiveness, His provision, His protection and His supply.
Paul goes on this passage in Corinthians 4:16-18 to say, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” What is within us is rock solid and it cannot be destroyed. Though outwardly we are perishing, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Our heart and our eyes are not fixed upon that which temporal and soon fading away. It is fixed upon the eternal, unmovable, unchangeable, unshakable, faithfulness and life of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Blessings,
kent

The Hidden Things

April 17, 2013

The Hidden Things

1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Blessed is the person who is open and honest with every aspect of their lives. They don’t scheme to conceal in dark hidden places of their hearts, their sin. They simply are what they are, for better or for worse, their life is an open book. It’s not that they are better than anyone else or have any less struggles with sin and self, but they don’t try to hide it behind a facade of religion or spirituality that builds an appearance of one thing, but the motives and deeds of the heart are something else. I believe God honors the person who is open and honest with their lives. The fact that they are willing to put everything out in the open, without hypocrisy, even when it is less than flattering or pretty, keeps them in a place of accountability before God and man. It keeps them from falling into the hidden sins of the heart. They may be more vulnerable to criticisms and the judgements of others, but I believe God honors the honesty and willingness to expose themselves even in their weakness. This is where God wants to bring more of us.
Unfortunately, many of us have our secret lives, our sins, our little dark closets of impurity where we harbor and feed our hidden passions, desires, lusts, addictions and fleshpots. It is not that we all don’t struggle with these things in different areas of our lives, but it is when we shroud them in darkness and hide them from the light that they become dangerous to us and others. In this mindset we compartmentalize our lives into the spiritual and non-spiritual. We begin to rationalize and justify our sin. A very evident example of this is seen a our former president who appeared one way in his public life, but was something else in his private life. The example and warning for us that practice like things is that one day the light is going to come in and expose our sin. We could all see the shame, embarrassment, and tremendous hurt and pain the former president’s sin brought. It not only hurt and soiled this man’s reputation, but also the office and the country it represented. What would the hidden sins of our hearts do to our lives if they were fully exposed today? The light will expose them one day and we will be found out in our shame. The Lord once spoke to me that if we would keep everything out in the light, darkness would have no place to work in us. Is there anything in our lives today that we would be ashamed for others to see? How many Christian ministries and testimonies have been destroyed by hidden sins that the Lord exposed? The Lord showed me that our weakness and propensities toward areas of sin are like beasts. They start off small and cute, but the more we feed them, the bigger and the uglier they grow, until they are beyond our control.
Hidden sin is especially a concern for those who carry the responsibility of others either as parents, ministry or a place of leadership. When we have these areas in our lives we can be removing the umbrella and hedge of spiritual protection that we should be providing through our lives that are in right relationship and purity before God. We could be facing many trials with children, finances, sickness, or other afflictions, because we have opened the door to the enemy through our sin.
This word this morning, is a warning and exhortation from the Lord to deal with these areas of our heart. We can turn a deaf ear as we have in the past or we can heed the loving exhortation and warning of the Lord before it is too late for us to repent and turn from our sin. For the day will come that it will be exposed and we will face the full consequences of what ever it is that we are hiding. The Word says ‘our sin will find us out.’ Let us remember how many times Israel refused to hear and hardened their hearts against the prophets that were sent to warn them to turn away from their sin and the judgements that ensued, because they refused to listen and obey. Believe me, God has been dealing with my own heart in these areas. What you will find is that as you are willing to acknowledge your sin and repent, putting that sin away from you, you will experience a liberation and freedom. You will experience a renewed confidence in your relationship with the Lord. You will be removing the roadblocks to your spiritual blessings and most importantly you will be set free to live the life and ministry that God has called you too. Make yourself accountable to others so that you keep your life in the light. Sometimes these things are bigger than we are and we need the help of others. Go to someone that you can trust and that has the spiritual maturity to help you get free. A true brother or sister in the Lord won’t judge you or condemn you; they will want to help you to be restored, because they know that you could be them. Many times there are groups formed for just such a purpose. We want to restore and help one another in love, so that we can all operate in the unity and oneness of the faith, ministering to one another in the love of Christ. Let us truthfully examine and judge ourselves today, that we be not judged. Let us deal with the hidden sins of our heart.

Blessings,
kent

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