1 Corinthians 2:4-5
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

The Power of God Holds the Heart

Tassels, tapestry, twine and string,
Articles used to cover and tie life’s things.
What do we use to cover and bind our heart?
Are they articles that only work in part?
Strings for shoes, belts for pants, straps for dresses,
What articles we use to hold together life’s guesses?
Self-sustained are the garments of God’s rest.
He needs no articles of man to maintain His best.

Golden nature, silver redemption, character reveled in gems,
He only needs a life obedient, given and secure in Him.
God is the sinew and tendon that binds each part,
When we find His rest, we will find His heart.

by Kent Stuck

Blesings,
#kent

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Taking Up an Offense

October 15, 2015

Proverbs 18:19
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.

Taking Up an Offense

How many of us today are carrying offenses in our heart towards another. They said something to us, they did something to us, they wronged us in some way and now they are on the black list of our heart to stay. We have all been offended, hurt, disappointed, emotionally wounded and wronged in some way. I guess that is pretty normal behavior in the world, but what about in the identity that God has given us in Christ. In our identity with Him, are we still justified in holding on to these offenses, no matter how justified we reason within ourselves to do so?
Colossians 3: 13 says, ” Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” That is not a request, but a command. Have we never offended or hurt anyone? Are we so unwilling to forgive what we ourselves have been guilty of?
One revelation we all need to get is that we are not of this world and yet we keep thinking like it and acting like it. That is not a renewed mind in Christ, it is being conformed to the world which is an offense to God. When we are unwilling to forgive then we spit in the face of Him who forgave us. That is strong and it should be, because that is how the Lord takes it. He forgave us so much, shouldn’t we be willing to forgive little. Jesus spoke parables about forgiveness and He taught a word concerning it that very few of us are walking in.
Now someone might be thinking, “Will you don’t know what they did to me, I can’t ever forgive them for that.”
Jesus said, ” “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46)
Somehow we can all become self-righteous about things. We can see all of the faults in others. We may be carrying an offense against someone that isn’t even our own. We have taken it up for someone else because they were wronged. We tend to somehow feel that we have been given the right to judge others for their wrongs and are justified in condemning them and holding it against them.
Jesus said, ” “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Romans 2:1-4 also addressed this issue, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” It goes on to say that because of this stubbornness we store up wrath for ourselves, because we are going to be judged by the same standards that we judged others and if we showed no mercy, then we can’t expect to receive mercy.
How can we fully walk in who we are in Christ when we hold offense against a brother or another. God is love. His love and forgiveness has been shed abroad in our hearts as believers. Are we now going to annul what He died for? Listen to what 1 John 2:9-11 has to say about this. “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”
Are people, and even brothers and sisters, going to hurt, disappoint and offend us? You can count on it, but what you do with that offense speaks volumes to how real your identity is in Christ. If you really know Him, you will keep His commands. If you really love Him, you will allow His love to dominate and guide your heart. Your mercy will triumph over judgement and you will be the hot coals of love poured over the offenders head.
I would just like to end this with the exhortation given from Roman12:9-21 about how we are to walk in love toward one another. May the Holy Spirit help us acknowledge, to release and forgive any and all offenses that we have been carrying.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Blessings,
#kent

Fearful and Unbelieving

October 14, 2015

Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Fearful and Unbelieving

I am reminded of a word our pastor spoke recently about how we tend to measure sins by the degree of their sinfulness. We don’t think of telling a little white lie as being the same as murder or stealing. We tend to categorize our sins and even our righteousness. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” At this point we might ask ourselves do I live my life out of faith or fear? While we may tend to judge the ungodly for their sin, look who leads the list of those who are bound for the lake of fire. It doesn’t fall in our neat little prioritized list of sins from greatest to least. Sin is sin, but the greatest failure we can have is not to believe God’s Word and to fear the things of this world more than we fear Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” God is the one who can destroy both soul and body. Satan or man can kill the body with God’s permission, but the only way that he can destroy the soul is by bringing us into that place of fear, doubt and unbelief. When we are drawn out of our place of faith in Christ then sin has place to work. Fear and doubt creep in and they rob our confidence and assurance of who we are in Christ.
The conditions of this world can lead many of us to a place of fear and doubt as we see our economy dissolving before us and our way of life, as we’ve known it, quickly disappearing. If our eyes are on the outward things we will begin to be swayed by fear, doubt and unbelief, but this is an hour our eyes must be fixed upon the Lord as never before. This world is not the believer’s economy and kingdom. We have come into a heavenly kingdom and a kingdom economy. Ephesians 2:4-10 tells us about what God has delivered us out of and what He is bringing us into. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It tells us here that we are not redeemed by our righteousness, but by His grace and ‘God raised us up with Christ and seated us in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus’. Many of us have grown up with the concept that we can’t go to heaven until we die, but right here it tells us that those who are in Christ are already seated there in Him. It is our faith in Christ that maintains and secures this position that we have with Him. Fear and doubt bring us out of the realm of godly thinking and trust in Christ and bring us back down into the corruptibility and fear of this world. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The spirit of fear does not come from the Lord. Our courage, our optimism, our faith in the midst of a fearful world is centered in our faith in Christ. In Him we overcome the world, because the divine Overcomer resides in us. ‘We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.’ In this hour do not let fearfulness, doubt and unbelief grip your heart. You may have been weak in that former man, but that man is dead and you are a new creature in Christ; one that is filled with the Holy Spirit and with power. Unbind the strong man, Christ in you. The way you unbind Him is by your faith and confidence in Him. Fear, doubt and unbelief are what bind up the grace of God from abounding in our lives. Rise up and be loosed from fear, doubt and unbelief by declaring the Word of God over you life and circumstances and then praise Him as if you already have the manifestation of it, because you do, but it may not yet be revealed in this realm.
This is what the Lord was speaking into my spirit this morning and I pass on this exhortation to you oh mighty people of God. “Contend manfully oh mighty men and women of valor. Stand your grand. Hold fast your faith. Be not moved by fear or the trepidation of men. YOU are the testimony to the Almighty of His life made flesh.”

Blessings,
#kent

Gifted to Give

October 13, 2015

Ephesians 4:7-10 (Amplified)
Yet grace (God’s unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift.
8Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.
9[But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth?
10He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).

Gifted to Give

Our God is such a giving God. What He has given us in the riches of His grace through Christ Jesus I don’t think any of us have fully assimilated and processed what we have in Him. It is implied here that as Christ ascended back into heaven all of the those gifts, attributes and the anointing that rested upon Him from the Father was distributed throughout His body. No one person was given the whole, but we were all given the parts that by coming together and operating as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, we the many, might become one in Him.
Jesus says in John 14:10-14, “10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Jesus Himself has commissioned through His body a greater works ministry operating out of the power of His name and led by the Holy Spirit. Even as the Father expressed Himself through His Son, He is in turn the expression of the Father through His body that truly believe and dare to step out into this place of faith, having confidence in His promise. We are like children who are learning to swim. At first we are fearful. We thrash at the water. We spit and sputter and often get into a panic. What we have to learn to do is to work with the water and not against it. Slowly we come to find that if we can truly rest then the water will actually support our bodies and we can float. We learn that with minimal effort we can maintain our buoyancy. Eventually we learn to move quickly through the water and the water becomes our friend instead of this body of fluid that we once might have been dreadfully fearful of. This is the way the Holy Spirit is in our lives. The more familiar we become with Him the more at home we feel in His presence and operating out of His directive.
Jesus not only imparted unto us gifts, but also He took those strong men, those oppressive spirits that once held us captive and He led them into captivity. The door of your prison is unlocked. All you have to do is have the faith to open it and walk out. There is nothing that can hold you or separate you from the love of God. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. Christ gave us the richest gift that any man could ask for. He gave us Himself. He literally imparted Himself to us. What we see in a foretaste and measure is to become the whole and likeness of Him. Right now it is all of us working in the unity of the faith and operating by faith in the giftings that He has imparted into each one of us. If you don’t know what your calling and giftings are, begin to operate within a body that has body ministry and you will most likely find your gifts coming to the surface. In so many assemblies the body has been dumbed down to think and believe that it is only the missionaries, teachers, ministers or pastors that are ordained to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. This is contrary to what this passage in Ephesians speaks about. Their responsibility is to bring the rest of the body into their purpose and calling in Christ Jesus and to allow the giftings of Christ to abound to the edification and the building up of the body. Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
This brings us to the “why” of what Christ has imparted the gifts and the riches of His grace toward us for. He gives to us so that we in turn might give to others. This is the law and economy of His kingdom. He doesn’t give to us to hold on to what He gives us, but to in turn impart it into others. His giftings are so that we might be givers, blessings and the increase of the Lord upon the lives of those around us, both Christian and non-Christian alike. We are the pipeline, the conduits and the sprinkler heads of God’s grace and goodness that we wants to dispense to mankind through so many avenues and in so many ways. We have been blessed to be the blessing of Abraham and through us all of the nations will be blessed in the knowledge and the goodness of God.
You have a gift and a talent. You may not see in yourself any good thing, but God sees it, because He put it there. Learn to work with the water of His Holy Spirit so that by the Spirit it may become manifest and minister the blessing He has imparted into you. You have been gifted to give.

Blessings,
#kent

Unto You, I Bring My Life

October 12, 2015

Psalms 55:22
Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Unto You, I Bring My Life

The ways of the Lord are steadfast. He is not moved by every wind of circumstance as men are. His perspective is high above all and sees all and knows all. Why would we not want to put our confidence in Him who is all and in all. Life can weigh heavy upon us at times and seem even an insurmountable weight, but the Word says we don’t have to bear the weight of that burden, because our God has broad and strong shoulders. He will undertake for us and sustain us. For where we are weak, He is strong. Where we would fail, He overcomes. He is the overcomer in us, showing us His strength even in the midst of our adversity and suffering.
When you have a wash cloth full of water and you want to use it to wipe the counter what do you have to do first? You have to wring out the excess water, so you twist it tightly in you hands as the excess water pours out. That is similar to what God must to do in us to make us usable to wash and clean others. He has to wring out the self and selfishness, so all that remains is selflessness in service of others and we are usable in His hands. If He used us the way we were, we would no doubt make more of a mess than we cleaned up. Too much water. Too much self. God is breaking us only to establish us in Him who is immovable and unbreakable. He shall sustain us.
Psalm 25:1-5 in the Amplified version puts it so beautifully this way:
“UNTO YOU, O Lord, do I bring my life.
2O my God, I trust, lean on, rely on, and am confident in You. Let me not be put to shame or [my hope in You] be disappointed; let not my enemies triumph over me.
3Yes, let none who trust and wait hopefully and look for You be put to shame or be disappointed; let them be ashamed who forsake the right or deal treacherously without cause.
4Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.
5Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long.
It is in our God we wait expectantly and faithfully. We know that He is has our life in His hands and that all things are working together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose ( Romans 8:28). Even when we don’t see our answers in the time and the way we expect to see them, God is still God. He works all things after the counsel of His will and not ours. Even though we may think we know how to run God’s business better, trust me, we don’t.
I am reminded of the New Testament equivalent of this scripture in Philippians 4:6-7 (Amplified) it says this, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. 7And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Is everything in life going to go the way we planned and hoped? Probably not. Life has its bumps and turns, some more severe than others, but Christ is the vehicle that helps us negotiate all the roads that life takes us down. He is our peace, protection and provision. He will see us through and work His great salvation in us if we hold fast our confidence and do not grow weary in well doing. The pathway to Sonship is a disciplined path. It will often take us where we would not go and cause us to do what we would not do. Transformation is like that. It will turn you inside out as it makes a new creature of you.
Cast your burden and your anxieties upon the Lord. He is our peace, our confidence, our safety, our provision and our answer to every trial that is set before us. “Unto YOU, O Lord, do I bring my life.”

Blessings,
#kent

The City of our God

October 9, 2015

The City of our God

Psalms 48:1-3
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.

Most of us understand the concept that when we talk about the church we are not just speaking of physical locations made up of sticks and stones and building material. We know that when God speaks of His church He is speaking of the organism and a body that functions under the headship and authority of Christ. The city of God and Zion are the same way. Yes there is a natural Jerusalem and Mount Zion, but it is much more than a physical location; it is a spiritual location. Many of us have become so earthly minded that we only see Jerusalem in a natural context. We fail to fully comprehend that this city is comprised of His people and that King Jesus is upon its throne, ruling out of mount Zion. Mount Zion was in the older part of the natural city of Jerusalem. It was a citadel, a high place and a fortress. It included Mount Moriah where the temple was built. God has used Jerusalem and Zion as a metaphor throughout His word to speak of the spiritual city of His holy habitation.
Hebrews 11:8-10 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.” God founded this city of salvation in Abraham. It was there that God sent Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Genesis 22:2 says, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” It was Mount Moriah where Solomon built the temple. “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where [the LORD] appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. (2 Chronicles 3:1)” It was in Jerusalem that God fulfilled His promise of salvation because it became again the place of the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son when Jesus gave His life for our sins. And finally we see Jerusalem, not the old natural city, but the New Jerusalem which is from above, as being the completion of God’s salvation at Christ’s return. Revelations 21:2 tells us, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” This is Lord’s church, His Bride, His holy habitation and dwelling. You and I are a part of that now as Christ indwells us. The Word speaks to this heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews 12:22-24, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” This Jerusalem is a spiritual city and assembly whose builder and maker is God. The natural has been the type and shadow to reveal the real.
Finally we come to a scripture that we have shared many times that so describes the part we play in this city. 1 Peter 2:4-9 says, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” We, the body of Christ are what constitutes and comprises this New Jerusalem. Out of this New Jerusalem the Lord will reign and govern the earth. Truly, “great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the Great King!” (Psalms 48:1)

blessings,
#kent

Appreciation

October 8, 2015

Appreciation

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.

One thing that is common in both God and man is that everybody likes to be appreciated. We will go to great lengths sometimes for others if they have a grateful heart and are appreciative of our efforts. It is important that we always appreciate the Lord. It is this appreciation that keeps us mindful of Him and all of His wonderful attributes and the blessings we so richly enjoy from Him. It is a dangerous thing for us to develop an ungrateful spirit. That spirit shuts us off from people and causes us to only be caught up with ourselves.
We see that thankfulness and appreciation to the Lord are basic steps of etiquette to entering into His presence and fellowship. Psalms 100:4 tells us, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.” We can never appreciate the Lord too much and that heart of thankfulness and praise should be resident in us continually. Appreciation gives value to the one receiving it and it is an act of humility and respectfulness on the part of the one delivering it.
The lack of appreciation has far different results. As many in the world were caught up in sin, it caused their hearts to become hardened toward God, as it can ours. What was the result of their ungratefulness and lack of appreciation to the glorious God and Creator who authored our lives and gave us life? Romans 1:18-32 gives the account of man’s ungratefulness and what results. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
Our ungratefulness and lack of appreciation causes a perverted and arrogant way of thinking and leads us to God’s wrath and judgement. On the other hand, a truly grateful, thankful and appreciative heart can lead us into God’s very presence and the fullness of joy. What does God command us to do? Love Him with all of our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves. That means we truly need to appreciate the Lord and appreciate those that God places in our lives. We might be amazed at the difference we would have in our relationships if we really became sensitive and attentive to appreciating those around us. We all want to feel that the things we do are worthwhile and that we are valued. We all want to be appreciated, even God.

Blessings,
#kent

What God does to us or for us?

Job 42:1-6
Then Job replied to the LORD : 2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

How many of us have gone through times in our lives when we have experienced such pain, sorrow or disappointment at circumstances that have come upon us or happened to us? We question, “God where are you, where were you and why did you let this happen to me”? There are those of us who have gotten angry, offended and hurt because we felt that the Lord let us down and He didn’t meet our expectations in the ways that we thought He should have. Perhaps God would ask us, as He did Job, ‘Who is this that obscures council without knowledge?’ God is the Magnificent One that created the Universe, the earth and all of the mysteries and wonders contained therein. Would we be so bold as to compare our wisdom and understanding with His? If what God says in Romans 8:28 is true, “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,” then we must believe that God is working for our good. Jesus never makes the promise to deliver us from tribulation. In fact, He says just the opposite, “…In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). To the natural mind, life often isn’t fair and it doesn’t always make sense. It is in these times that we must rely upon our faith to bridge the gap between our understanding and God’s plan. Often what we thought was the enemy coming against us, in retrospect, we see the hand of God was working through what seemed to be a negative circumstance to bring us into God’s plan and higher will for our lives. It serves to stretch us and takes us to places we would never go on our own.
Let us not be so foolish as to attempt to pass judgement upon God for allowing things to happen to us. His ways are so much higher than our ways and His thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts. Job thought He had a pretty good handle on understanding God till His world and theology got turned upside down. The one thing that Job never lost was faith and trust in the Lord. I think that with many of us it will be as it was with Job when he said, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” When we really come into the revelation and presence of God and all that He is we will repent that we ever questioned, doubted or spoke negative of Him.
God is not doing things to us; He is doing things for us. Our understanding may not comprehend it, but our trust has to receive it and know that God’s nature is to work in our behalf. Even when that means we are crushed in the process, it is because He does love us and sees the end from the beginning. We see in terms of time and earthly values. God sees in eternity and kingdom values. God values you. Even when you don’t understand His hand, trust His heart. God is for you, trust Him and rest in His wisdom, love and counsel.

Blessings,
#kent

Drawing Near

October 6, 2015

James 4:7-10
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Drawing Near

James gives us a strong admonition here reminding us prior to these scriptures that our friendship with the world is enmity and rebellion against Him. His Spirit is jealous over us as His possession. It is His will and desire that we honor Him with the fidelity and faithfulness of our hearts. If we wonder why we are in such a state of disconnect with our God this may well be why. A sanctified people are a separated people. We are disassociating with the world, its standards and its ways as we consecrate ourselves to the Lord’s service and His purpose.
James now admonishes; do you want to get back into right relationship with your Lord? Do you want to know His fellowship and closeness again? It first starts with submission. Until we are willing to submit our self-life to Him we are going to be double-minded and adulterous in our thinking and doing. First, we must submit ourselves through repentance and consecration of our lives and wills to Him.
We should know up front that if we have been allowing the devil access into our lives then just because we change our minds and hearts doesn’t mean he easily gives us up or leaves us alone. Temptation will come which brings us to Jame’s second admonition, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, He resisted the devil by speaking the Word, “It is written…”. Our power to resist the devil is never in our reasoning or rationalizing with him. He knows how too artfully twist the Word to pervert it to his own ends. Resist the devil by standing on the truth and declaring it over your life and circumstances. As an example, do you know that Romans 8:37 declares, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” This word, “more than conquerors” in the Greek is hü-per-nē-kä’-ō. This word indicates no small win, but a great, pre-imminent and surpassing victory. This word indicates you just kicked the stuffing out of your adversary. It wasn’t even close. Your victory in Christ is so superior, overwhelming, and indisputably complete. In your resistance of the devil come into complete identification with the Victorious One and stand on your complete victory through Him who is completely and utterly victorious over all the powers of sin and the devil.
Thirdly, “come near to God and He will come near to you.” This passage is all about the restoration of that fellowship and unity that has been broken because we have been double-minded, trying to please ourselves and please God also. It is like dating another while you are married to your wife or husband. Your spouse is jealous over you because you have entered into a covenant with him or her, promising to forsake all others. If you want right relationship, you have to be single in your love and affection for that spouse. We are espoused to Christ and our covenant, sealed in the blood of Jesus and the earnest of His Spirit, is with Him.
Fourth, purify your hearts and wash your hands. Separate yourself from all impurity of spirit, soul and flesh. Renew your mind through the washing of the water of the Word and put away from you all impure and unholy things. The hands speak of our works and doings. When we wash our hands we are separating and cleansing them from the works of iniquity. We are choosing rightly and doing the works of righteousness.
Fifth is the change in the attitude of our heart. In verses 9-10 we are reading about a true attitude of repentance, not just in our heads, but in the inner depths of our heart. This is a deep cleansing act of repentance where we become very grieved over our sin and rebellion. We have a true revelation of how we have called ourselves Christian, but have been anti-Christ in our behavior and compromise. This is an attitude much like Peter had after he realized he had just denied and forsaken his Lord. Because of the repentance of his heart and his willingness to humble himself the Lord forgave and restored Peter. He will do the same for us if we will get our hearts right before Him.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, but recognize, acknowledge and do what is required so that you may have a right relationship with your Lord again. God is in the business of restoration, so no matter how far you have wandered or how much condemnation you may feel, Jesus wants to restore you to right fellowship and relationship with Him again. Just honestly, completely and without reservation give back to Him your whole heart, mind and soul. His blood will wash you. His Word will renew your mind and His Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth if you will turn your back on all of the past darkness. He loves you with a complete and unconditional love. He abides faithful, even when we are faithless. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you!

Blessings,
#kent

Rejected

October 5, 2015

Isaiah 53:3
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Rejected

Rejection is an attribute that many of us must bear as a privilege of the Cross and all that it represents. In John 15:18 Jesus tells us, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.” We are quite likely to face this rejection if we haven’t already, in this road of Christ that we are traveling. Especially the closer that we walk with Him and the more that we become like Him. Rejection is one of the bitter herbs of the Passover Lamb that we must partake of as we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood.
When you are walking in the Spirit and doing the works of the Father don’t be discouraged when you are rejected. You are not the one that is being rejected, but it is the Holy Spirit that they resist and revile. We do not walk this road to be a receiver the praise and accolades of men. We walk it to be well pleasing and obedient to our Father who has called us out of darkness to walk in His marvelous light. The deceitfulness of sin will always reject that light, because it exposes the darkness. John 3: 19-21 tells us plainly, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.””
Do not fear rejection because it is part of the journey; rather let that rejection encourage you that you are walking in the light as He is in the light.
Some of us face rejection for other reasons than spiritual ones. You also need to be encouraged in the Lord. Sometimes our rejection comes through no real fault of our own and for others it may come as a result of our own actions or sins. Here is what the Lord says in Psalms 51:7, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” It really matters not what man thinks of us. What is important is where we are at in our relationship with the Lord. He is the one that we don’t want to be rejected by. He tells us that if we will get our heart attitude right before Him in contrition, brokeness and repentance that He will not despise or reject us. It doesn’t matter what your sin has been, how perverse or horrendous, if you will come to Him with a broken and contrite heart in true repentance God’s love is great enough to forgive those sins and Christ’s blood is powerful enough to wash that sin away and cast it as far as the east is from the west.
Whatever area we may be facing rejection, know that it is the Lord we must be right with and that we must fear. Matthew 10:28 exhorts us, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Only God can do that.
Be not concerned with the rejection that is from men, but be right with the Lord in that place of rejection.

Blessings,
#kent

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