Faithfulness

August 29, 2013

Faithfulness

1 Corinthians 4:1-5
1So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

When we received Christ as our savior and embraced the cross, we embraced and committed ourselves to a trust. Through our faith in Christ we promised to be faithful. Even as couples, at the altar of marriage, enter into a covenant with one another, part of that covenant is the commitment to faithfulness and fidelity. Likewise we are in covenant with Christ and one of the primary attributes God desires in His people is faithfulness, unswerving, unconditional and continued commitment to their faith. God is looking for faithful servants that He can commit His kingdom, his power and authority unto. If they do not prove faithful they will abuse, misuse or fail to use what He would entrust to their care. Each one of us in Christ has been given the Holy Spirit. The Word teaches us that He gives us gifts and callings and talents. We may not see ourselves as being anything or having anything, but God has placed something unique and special within each one of us. He wants us to be faithful in whatever it is that He has given to us. Some of us are still learning and searching out what our unique talents and giftings are. They have a way of coming to the surface if you will look for them, because they are all resident in you, because Christ is in you. God is not asking all of us to be a great missionary, evangelist, preacher or teacher. It is not the prominence of what we do; it is the faithfulness that God is looking upon and that we will give account for. It is faithfulness that causes the body of Christ to function and operate in a healthy manner. What is unhealthy is when someone tries to make us be or we try to be something that God didn’t intend that we were. We can get out of God’s placement and we will most likely experience a great deal of frustration and failure if we are. We don’t always get man’s approval or even the approval of our brethren for what God has called us too, but it is important that we please God and not men. Often we can look at others and make judgements about them and their place with God that we have no business making. We can even misjudge ourselves. God is the final judge and before Him we stand justified or condemned. Far too often we try and judge a fruit before it is ripe. God is working in and processing each one of us to be what He has created us to be. Our job and responsibility is to remain faithful to Him through the process.
Faithfulness is often a submission to others who are in authority and even submission as an act of love. There will be times you may be far more qualified than one who is over you and you may find that to be source of trial and irritation, but remember ‘humility is strength under control’. Faithfulness is lifting others up and not putting them down.
A faithful man is a reliable man. One story of faithfulness that impresses me in the Old Testament is the story about Uriah the Hittite. He was the husband of Bathsheba whom David became involved with and impregnated. David, in his effort to cover up his sin brings Uriah back from the battle so that he can get him to have relations again with his wife and then the child can be attributed to him. Uriah, the Hittite is actually named among David’s mighty men, which were like the elite force of David made up of thirty some men. Uriah wasn’t the most prominent of men, but there is an attribute we begin to see in Uriah that we could aspire to be like. He was faithful to David to a fault. Normally this would be a very desirable quality in a soldier, but unfortunately faithfulness was not quite the attribute David was hoping for when he brought Uriah home to his wife. Uriah was more committed to David than he was to his own wife and because of his faithfulness to David and his men he wouldn’t allow himself to even sleep with his wife. He viewed that as a betrayal of his trust while he was still committed to the battle and the other men had to abstain and be separated from their wives. Uriah was such a faithful man that David ended up ordering him into a suicide mission that would take him out of the picture. One cannot help but admire the dedication that Uriah had to David. That is the kind of faithfulness we want to have toward Christ.
So many of us are morally and spiritually loose in our faith. We are tossed to and fro. We are double-minded, trying to be spiritual and yet operating so much out of the flesh. That is not to condemn us; it is to draw attention and awareness to the state of our own faithfulness. How trustworthy and faithful are we to the Lord’s work and the mission we have to live for Him?
The one thing I think we all want to hear when we get to heaven is the Lord saying, “Well done thou good and faithful servant; enter ye into the joy of the Lord.” Are we His faithful servants? Are we responding, as we ought to the high calling of faithfulness that the Lord has placed upon each one of us? It is not for others to judge, but one day God will judge it and what will He find in us?

Blessings,
kent

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From Such Turn Away

August 28, 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, shall 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 judgmental 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

The Nails and Fasteners of the Lord

Ecclesiates 12:110-11
The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and [that which was] written [was] upright, [even] words of truth. The words of the wise [are] as goads, and as nails fastened [by] the masters of assemblies, [which] are given from one shepherd.

As God builds His spiritual house, which we are, as the body of Christ, what holds it all together? What are the fasteners and the nails that assemble and hold fast this structure of God’s Spirit and doing? The “words of the wise,” as Solomon refers to here in Ecclesiates are the words of truth. Truth, hammered in by the carpenters and builders in God’s house, is what holds all that we stand upon together, truth given by the one Shepherd and guardian of our souls, Christ Jesus. If God wasn’t True then all that we base our faith and hope in would be a lie and would mean nothing. It is because we believe God’s Word when it says in Hebrews 6:17-18, “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability (fixed, unalterable) of his counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:” It is because of this unalterable Truth that our faith and confidence remains in tact as we walk the walk of faith. We know that our Lord is a sure foundation that cannot be moved as it says in Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”
Our God uses the same nails and fasteners to hold together His temple, which we are, as He did to assemble all of creation. In John 1:1-4 it declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” Christ is that eternal Word of Truth through whom are all things is made and who holds together all things by His Truth. The Word establishes that it is Christ, who is the “way, the truth and the life,” that establishes and upholds all things together by the power of His Word. Hebrews 1:3-4 says, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
When Christ Jesus, who establishes and upholds all truth, was nailed on that cross at Calvary it was as if God was placing the final nail that would seal salvation and the Truth that would complete His eternal plan for all of creation. It is our faith in Christ and the Truth of all that He is and all that He has accomplished on our behalf that fastens us permanently to Him, to His promised inheritance and to His very heart. We must truly reverence the truth and the promises which our God has so graciously given us, for it is declared in Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;”
If we truly believe the Truth of God’s Word, not just parts of it, but all of it, then let us fear the Lord and walk in the righteousness of it. It is eternal life to us. It is what forever fastens and nails us to the heart and life of God.

Blessings,
kent

Leap of Faith

August 26, 2013

Leap of Faith

Acts 3:4-8
And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted [him] up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength
And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
The context of our scripture today comes from the account of the lame man that sat daily by the temple in Jerusalem at the gate “Beautiful” begging for alms. This had been his routine for years. All through the New Testament we see examples of people that had accepted their infirmities until one day they have an LCE (Life Changing Event) happen in their lives. It does something so miraculous that their lives are never the same again. Have you had an LCE in your life yet? Has God figuratively reached down into your life and circumstance and raised you up and set you on your feet? Some of us will say “yes,” others may say “no, nothing really extraordinary has happened to me.” I would hope we could all say that concerning our salvation and our coming into relationship with Christ, for nothing can change your life like having Christ come into it and having our lives filled with the Holy Spirit. Even at that many of us have grown complacent. Perhaps we have been enduring long time afflictions, sicknesses, or other trials of the body, mind, and spirit. Perhaps we, like this man, have grown accustomed to looking to man to meet those needs in us. Day after day we cry out in our state of weakness, begging of men not our deliverance, but our subsistence. We have grown so accustomed to the natural, that we no longer consider the supernatural.
I believe God wants to do a supernatural work in many of us. That won’t happen while we are still content with the natural things. It is going to take us hearing the Word of the Lord with spiritual ears out of the inner man and fixing our eyes in faith on the Lord whom is Lord of all. Do you believe that God is not only able, but it is His desire to lift you out of your lameness and restore you unto wholeness? We must be willing to reach up and embrace His hand in faith, so that He can lift us upright. We must be willing to step out into that which is the unknown for us. The leap of faith that embraces a Word made flesh, a revelation Word that becomes substance and life in us. We may be the vessel and instrument, like Peter and John, through whom the Lord would impart His power and grace. Do we believe that God wants to be glorified through our lives? Then we must act in accord with His will and purpose. God is great and wants to do great and marvelous things in and through our lives.
Today, don’t limit what God can do for you or through you. You have the bomb of the Holy Spirit within you. In Him there are no limitations, all things are possible to him that believes. Fix your eyes on Him today and allow Him to bring you into that Life Changing Event. Take that leap of faith.

Blessings,
kent

Do not Tempt the Lord

August 23, 2013

Do not Tempt the Lord

Matthew 4:7
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
What does it mean to tempt the Lord? In the Old Testament usage the implication is that men tempt God when they exhibit distrust in a manner as if they wanted to try and see whether God is not justly distrusted. Also by unrighteous or wicked conduct to test God’s justice and patience. They are in affect challenging Him to prove His perfection.
In the passage of Matthew 4:7 we see Jesus in the wilderness is being tempted of the devil. In the preceding verses, 4 and 5 we see the temptation, “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” The devil is trying to get Jesus to prove He is God’s Son by testing Him supernaturally to see if the Father will save Him. He even uses scripture to back it up.
There is a flag of caution to us as believers that we don’t find ourselves tempting God and trying to make Him prove Himself through presumptuous acts of faith. Jesus never did miracles because He was challenged to do so. Though there was not a question that the power was resident in Him, He acted and lived in complete submission to the will and mind of the Father. Because we have the promises of God’s Word and the authority of the name of Jesus, doesn’t mean we can go call fire down out of heaven or do whatever our heart fancies. We, like Jesus, must operate under the mind and will of the Spirit of God. When we are operating out of our flesh, especially concerning the things of God, are we not putting God to the test and tempting Him?
Acts 5 gives us the story of Ananias and Sapphira, early church Christians who sold there possessions for a certain price and then conspired to lie about it in order to hold back some of the possession for themselves. Now the possession was there’s to give or keep, but where they tempted God was when, instead of being forthright with what they were doing they conspired to lie to the disciples. What they failed to consider is that these disciples were the ambassadors of the Most High God, so their lie was not to men but to God. As a result we see a very stern and sobering demonstration of God’s judgement upon them, in that they both dropped dead when confronted with their sin. Peter makes the statement to Sapphira just before God’s judgement comes upon her, “Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband [are] at the door, and shall carry thee out.” Do we ever plot do our own thing contrary or with disregard to the mind and will of God? Are we tempting God not to deal with us for disobedience?
In the Old Testament we read a number of accounts especially with the Israelites going through the wilderness with Moses where they tempted God through there discontentment, murmuring, lust and failure to trust the Lord. 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 gives a very good summation of this for our exhortation, “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as [were] some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Let us guard our hearts and our walk today that we don’t find ourselves in that place of tempting God. Let us, like Christ, submit our wills, our desires, our faith and actions, to the will and direction of the Holy Spirit so that we walk in a way that is honorable, respectful, and obedient to His holiness. We desire His blessings and not His discipline, so let us soberly consider that we tempt not the Lord.

Blessings,
kent

Apples of Gold

August 22, 2013

Apples of Gold
Proverbs 25:11
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Throughout our lives we’ve all come to know and experience how cutting, hurtful and harmful words can be that are spoken in a way that is mocking, cruel or unkind. Words are like a two edged sword, on one edge is life and on the other is death and the flat sides are neutral. As Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” We have these tremendous weapons in our mouths and often we so carelessly use them and abuse them or we fail to use them in a positive way at all.
It is wonderful to think about the power we have to edify and build up another through the power of our words. When we look to speak the best about people then we will see the best in them. Sometimes we all need words spoken to us that are hard for us to hear, but they are truth. The words of a true friend are not always going to make us feel good, but hopefully they will help us to be better people and reveal to us things we need to know about ourselves that we are blind too. Proverb27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” In other words, we don’t just speak the words that make us feel good, but we speak the words that help one another grow, the words that challenge us and exhort us.
God’s Word has many passages that give us great hope and purpose. It can greatly edify us and build us up. God’s Word can also cut us to the bone and reveal the ugliness of our sin and wrong motives. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” God’s Word goes to the heart of the matter. If correction is needed, it will correct us and chastise us and if edification is needed, it will build us up and set our feet upon a right path. While hard words are difficult for many of us to hear, we will hear them and receive them more readily if we know that the person’s heart is pure who is speaking those words. If we know the motive for speaking hard things to us is love, then we are more apt to receive those words into our heart in order that they might produce life and betterment in us.
Proverbs 25:11, today’s passage, paints for us a picture that right words, spoken in season, can create rich and beautiful things. If we are walking in the love and spirit of Christ then our words should be moved and spoken out of a right spirit and a contrite heart. In other words, when we are speaking right words into someone’s life we are doing it in love and without spiritual pride or haughtiness on our part. We all need ones that will speak both blessing and correction into our lives, in love. Those are our true friends. Those are the ones that know how to speak out of the nature of God and in the spirit of redemption and mercy. Their words are ‘the apples of gold set in pictures of silver.’
How will we use the sword that God has put in our mouths? Will it produce apples of gold or a bloody mess? Let us choose our words wisely and pray that the Spirit of God directs what, where, when and how we speak. Remember the power of death and life is in your tongue, both for you and for others. Ask God to put a watch before your mouth that you may speak out of both wisdom and love.

Blessings,
kent

Faithfulness in Marriage

August 21, 2013

Faithfulness in Marriage

Malachai 2:14-16
You cry out, “Why has the LORD abandoned us?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made to each other on your wedding day when you were young. But you have been disloyal to her, though she remained your faithful companion, the wife of your marriage vows.
Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “It is as cruel as putting on a victim’s bloodstained coat,” says the LORD Almighty. “So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife.”
Our hearts are not different than those that have gone before us. They are still deceitfully wicked and perverse. Unless guarded and kept under the Lordship of Christ and led by the Spirit they will lead us in the ways contrary to His will. We live in a day when the divorce rate is somewhere around fifty percent. One out of two marriages end in divorce. What is even more sad is that it isn’t a whole lot better even among the Christian community. What is this telling us about the condition of our hearts? In Matthew 19:8 Jesus says, “He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”
From today’s passage we can readily see that this isn’t the will of God and what His attitude about divorce is. The enemy is doing a masterful job of destroying our homes, families and marriages. The moral fabric of our society is deteriorating before our very eyes, as we become more complacent and accepting of it. So many of us end up playing right into this destruction and we wonder why God isn’t blessing us and answering our prayers. Could it be that we have become too self-centered rather than God centered? Probably the only ones who will continue reading this if it is an issue in their lives are those who really care more about God’s will than their own. None of us like to be confronted with our sins. We, like the world, want to run from the light. The difference is that we are children of the light and if we are really Christ’s then our spirit won’t let us run away even when we are in error. We have a conviction to return to what is right and repent of what is wrong.
Our biggest temptation today is self-isolation. We become too absorbed in what we want to do, what is important to us and what meets our needs and wants. As a result we isolate ourselves from the demands and needs of those around us, especially our spouses. Life begins to slowly and subtly take us in different directions and begins to place a wedge in our relationships. I can be perfectly content going my own way and doing my own thing, but when I got married and committed to that woman my life, love and loyalty, I gave up being just about myself. It is the two of us that make up one person and while we are individuals with differences we are one flesh both of us living for the good and well being of the other and not just ourselves. I know how oblivious I can become to the needs of my wife because I get so caught up in what I need to do and what is important to me. I have to remember that my top priority next to God is my wife. When I forget that I begin to unwittingly open myself up to a breakdown in our relationship. Just as I must cultivate and spend quality time in my relationship with the Lord, I can do no less with my spouse.
What I am learning is that our spiritual relationship is directly related to our natural relationship with our spouse. When there is disharmony and dissension in the natural, it hinders the spiritual dimension of our relationship with the Lord. As 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” We have to remember that we are not in this by ourselves, we are together in union with Christ. We need that unity to maintain right relationship spiritually. This is another reason we as husbands and wives must commit to keeping our hearts in an attitude of submission before the Lord and to one another, willing to pray together and share our hearts together without fear of reprisals. We will all have our difficult times, but if our hearts and attitudes remain right we can resolve them.
If we are finding ourselves in the place in our lives where the storms of divorce are brewing, start by submitting your hearts to the Lord and His will. It is only in being right with Him that we can be right with each other. Love has to be the conquering force to all obstacles and we know that His love is greater than ourselves. Let His love reign in your hearts and relationships always and let us submit ourselves to one another in the spirit of that love.

Blessings,
kent

Peace

August 20, 2013

Peace

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

We live in a world of constant pressures, turmoil, fears, and deadlines. It is always something pressing in on us whether it is conflicts, or bad feelings with some people around us, or financial pressures, life impacting decisions we must make, or any number of circumstances that want to rob our peace. Did you ever notice how many times in the Word of God, Peace is used? Our God is a God of Peace and He wants to give us His peace. Does that mean that all is calm around us and our life glides merrily along like we were floating down a lazy river? That is not likely. Jesus says in John 14:27, ” Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ” Again 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.” Jesus is saying that all of hell might be coming down around you, but in Him you can experience peace. It is not the world’s peace, but His peace that comes to us through the Holy Spirit. Like God’s other promises to us we lay hold of this peace by faith, by learning to trust and rest in God’s ability to order our lives as we yield ourselves to Him.
This morning, as I write this I feel the outward pressures to make decisions that can greatly impact our lives. Our greatest guidance probably won’t come by hearing a voice out of heaven, it will probably come more from how the Lord orders events and the peace He gives us as we trust Him to make the right decisions. It is important that the Lord’s will and purpose is at the forefront of the decisions and choices that we make. It is important that His peace and love fills our hearts in our dealings with others that may be in conflict with us. It is important that the circumstances and pressures this life brings to bear, would not rule us, but that we are ruled by the peace of God in our hearts. “He is our Peace, that hath broken down every wall.”
Today let us enter into His presence, not with worry or stress, but with confidence and thanksgiving for what He has done and what He will do. Let us find the rest of the Lord through our faith and confidence in Him and the promises of His Word and let His peace rule and reign in our hearts.

Blessings,
kent

Day and Night

August 19, 2013

Day and Night

Psalms 42:8
[Yet] the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song [shall be] with me, [and] my prayer unto the God of my life.

We have talked about the seasons of God in our lives and how there are time when we sense the presence of God so strongly in our lives and the times when the Lord seems so silent and distant.
Day and night are the same analogies, I believe, David is writing about here. In the daytime we experience the blessings of God’s presence, love, direction and provision. These are wonderful times that we partake of the richness of His fellowship and He is so near to our hearts. These are times of growing, enrichment in the truth of God and sitting at the feet of Jesus. It is easy in these times to become complacent and take for granted that things will always be this way. What we fail to realize is that the day is preparation for the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 says, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” While we are the children of the light and the day it doesn’t mean we won’t have to walk through the dark places and the nighttime of our soul. When we cease to experience the light of His presence and the sweet bounty of His fellowship that we had experienced in our daytime. As surely as there is day, there is night. There are times when evil surrounds and darkness overshadows us. In these times we are inclined to say where did you go God, why have you forsaken me? He hasn’t forsaken us, but it is a time to draw out of the storehouse of the spiritual blessing He has placed in our lives. It is a time for His truth to get from our head down into our heart and it is time to hold on to the song He has placed in our heart. He is still the ‘light unto our feet and the lamp unto our path.’ He will still ‘never leave or forsake us’, but there are those times when we must encourage our soul as David did. Remembering the goodness and the benefits of the Lord, His faithfulness and our hope that is ever anchored in Him. Maturity causes us to be stretched in uncomfortable ways, but it is the valleys that will bring us to the next mountain that will be higher than the one before. The night will eventually give place to day. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (2 Peter 1:19).”

Blessings,
kent

Trust in the Lord with all your Heart
Proverbs 3:5-8
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

This is the scripture I run too when I am faced with decisions and I don’t know the right answers. All I know is there is safety in God’s will. I also know that His ways are often not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. He sees the beginning and the end of all things. His understanding is infinite and perfect, while mine is so shallow and lacking. The wonderful thing is that even if we don’t have a great mind, if we have enough sense to trust in the Lord and lean not on our understanding, if we make it our practice to put the Lord at the forefront of all that we do, we are so much further ahead than those that are wise in their own eyes. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” That mind of Christ is the Spirit and the Word in us. It rules us and guides us into all righteousness and right decision making. It keeps our eyes and heart from being self-centered and keeps us God-centered.
Often I don’t have an obvious answer to the problem or decision at hand, but I keep listening with my spiritual ears. I weigh the counsel of those around me, which should also be godly. I search the motives of my heart and I ask for God’s divine providence to intervene to close those doors that He would not have me go through and open the ones that He would have me go through. After all, He did promise to direct my paths. I believe that if we follow this scriptural principle we may not do everything perfectly, but God will perfect our ways.
People have often told me, when I make up my mind about something, I am very stubborn about changing my mind or doing it a different way. Of course that is just their perspective. I do know that if I can get that way with people then I can get that way with God. Stubbornness to walk in God’s ways is a good thing, but stubbornness to go my own way is not a pretty attribute. I believe the Bible describes it much like rebellion and the sin of witchcraft, but it is my own manipulation, compromises and devices to get my way. That’s just sin, and there is no getting around it.
The latter part of this promise is that not only will the Lord direct my path, but if I don’t get proud and I turn away from evil, it will be health to me. I take that in both physical and spiritual context. If I can really trust the Lord with all of my heart and I don’t have to try and figure everything out with my wisdom then that is going to bring me into the rest of God. How many know that you tend to be a lot healthier when you are rested? Here is a way for us to take stress out of our lives. In Matthew Jesus says, “seek first the Kingdom of God and all these thing will be added unto you.” His whole message is quit stressing and worrying about stuff. Take care of what is important, your relationship with God, family, others, and the rest will take care of itself. That’s health to your navel and marrow to you bones. Be blessed, rest and let God direct your paths.

Blessings,
kent

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