No Worries

February 13, 2017

Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 

28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

No Worries

We have entered into what can be stressful times for many as the unemployment and foreclosure numbers increase with a struggling economy.  Even in good times there can always be reasons for worry and concern.  It is one thing to have someone say don’t worry about it and another when you’re in the midst of the fire.  

I remember when we were first married. The company that I was working for went into bankruptcy and I was laid off of work.  Sharon, in particular was stressing over the loss of the job and the Lord gave this scripture out of Matthew 6 to us.  

What is Jesus saying to us in this scripture?  Is He saying I just need to go through life singing “Que. Sera Sera” whatever will be will be?  He is not telling us to have a careless attitude, but again, not focusing upon the circumstances, but upon His promises and His kingdom.  Isn’t He telling us that if we are walking and living according to His will and purpose that He will see that our needs are met?  We don’t always know what form that will take or even how He will do it, but He does tell us, “Don’t worry”.  God is not one of anxiousness, but of rest.  Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is lean back into the arms and love of Jesus and just rest.  Sometimes our nature is that I have to be doing something to solve this problem, but it is so often with our efforts and intellect that we seek the answers.  God’s ways are often so contrary to our flesh.  While the flesh wants to be doing, God is wanting us to be resting.  It doesn’t mean that we are not knocking, or seeking, or asking, but rest that God will open the doors that He has for you and don’t be anxious about it.  

The apostle Paul speaks a similar word in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Come to the Lord with all of your needs, but come with an attitude of thanksgiving, knowing that your needs are met already in Him.   Don’t allow your circumstances to rob your joy.  The circumstances will pass, but the Word of God and His promises stand forever.  2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God in him [are] yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” 

If you are in anxious times, quiet your soul, walk by the Spirit and enter into the rest of God.  Just fellowship with Him as He begins to give you new direction or meet the needs that are pressing upon you.  He often works in different ways than we might imagine, but then that is what makes Him uniquely God.   What can we lose that God is not able to restore in greater measure and abundance?  Our position and identity in life is not determined by the job or title or credentials that we hold, it should be determined by who we are in Christ.  Standing in the perfect will of God should be the only position that we seek.  In that place we can not fail.  

Blessings,

#kent

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Fear Not

February 10, 2017

Isaiah 41:10

Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 

Fear Not

The Lord reminds us today how many times He has exhorted us through His Word not to fear.  Fear takes place when we see our surroundings from a position of the natural and not a position of faith.  When God exhorts us to “fear not”, He is exhorting us to get our eyes back upon Him who is our strength and our salvation. 

The Psalmist, King David expresses this in Psalms 56:4, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”  David expresses here an important principle to victory in our lives and circumstances, “In God I will praise His Word.”  Exalting God’s Word and promises over our trials and afflictions is the greatest weapon that we have.  Then we are making the declaration of faith by the authority of God’s Word and our trust is in Him.  This has far more power than we often realize.  There are times we might expect immediate results.  That can and does happen, but many more times we have released a dynamic in heaven that goes to work in our declaration of faith according to the Word and the will of God.  That dynamic may work through the natural realm to affect our circumstances according to what we have praised God’s Word for.   It doesn’t mean that God didn’t hear and honor His Word.  Often it is when we look back in our past we can see how God has worked in our life those things we didn’t see any change in at the time.  Never take lightly the authority and the power of God’s Word.  We only live in a free and democratic country today because of it.  

Our fears are often present when our eyes are upon others and what we fear of them, rather than God.  This where it is imperative that we know who we are in Christ and take our stand and authority as believers and witnesses of the MOST HIGH GOD!  In Psalms 118:6, David says, “The LORD [is] on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”  We must realize that our life is hid in Christ, in God (Colossians 3:1-4).  For satan to touch us, he first must go through the Lord to do so.  

Remember that God has created you for a purpose and God will protect and even allow the enemy permission in the areas that will prepare you to fulfill your mission.  Listen to what David told his son Solomon when he passed the torch to him.  1 Chronicles 28:20 says, “And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do [it]: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, [even] my God, [will be] with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.” When we become secure in Christ in our revelation and in our faith in Him, we truly have no need to fear the world.  God has a purpose for our lives.  As we walk in obedience and faith to seek out and fulfill that purpose, we can know that God’s is moving on our behalf.  If God be for us, who can be against us?  

Put away all of your fears today.  Fix your eyes and your heart on Christ.  Fear not what men can do to you and praise God in His Word for it is your power and your authority.  “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ that loved us and gave Himself for us (Romans 8:37).”

Blessings,

#kent

He Abides Faithful

February 9, 2017

2 Timothy 2:11-13

11The saying is sure and worthy of confidence: If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him. 

12If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny and disown and reject Him, He will also deny and disown and reject us. 13If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.

He Abides Faithful

In the innermost recesses of our soul, in the depths of our spirit, resides the Spirit of God in us.  The person that is in Christ knows that this place is their sanctuary, their hope and their redemption.  All of hell may be breaking loose outwardly, but this is your place to come and find peace.  In the inner sanctuary of your soul is where you find the hope, the faith, the love and the presence of God to give you strength for every trial and temptation.  If satan could do one thing to defeat us, it would be to rob us of who we are in Christ.  He wants us to focus on the outward man that is often a mess and so often riddled with failures and shortcomings.  These things do not negate who we are in Christ.  When we reached out with our feeble hands of faith and embraced the salvation that we heard we engaged into a relationship with the Almighty God of heaven and earth, with His Son, Christ Jesus and with His Holy Spirit.  That was the day that our names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and we began our journey no longer as a lost and wandering soul, but as one of God’s redeemed.  There are some of us who have made a pretty big mess in our lives.  Some of us, even after our salvation experience, have committed some horrendous sins.  Because of our failures in life and lack of faithfulness to the Lord we may feel hopeless, cast-off, and as if we have committed the unpardonable sin.  There may be those who feel like, “ how could God ever love someone like me again after all that I did”?  

God’s love, mercy, grace and forgiveness are not measured by human standards.  God alone sets the boundaries upon these attributes of His character.  I believe in the scripture of 1 John 1:8-9,

8If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts]. 9If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. 10If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].”  We can choose to walk away from our faith and our commitment to Christ and forsake our own mercy.  Our sins will reap their consequences.  Even though we were faithless, God still abides faithful and even though our love and commitment fell short, His didn’t.  God has made a way to return to Him, to find forgiveness and restoration if we will confess our sins to Him and ask for His forgiveness.  No one can give us that absolution, but Christ, our high priest and intercessor.  It His precious blood that we have trampled underfoot and yet it is that same blood that washes our filth and sin away.  It is the fountain of hope and life to all that come to it and will turn from their wicked ways.

If you or someone you know have been discouraged, condemned and felt like God could no longer love you or accept you then you have lost sight of how great the love of God is for you.  Jesus left the whole flock of His sheep to go and find the one that was lost.  In Luke 15:4-7 He gives this parable, “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found [it], he layeth [it] on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together [his] friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” He wants to recover you and I today.  He wants to bring you back into the fellowship of His flock, not as one still set on a course of sin and disobedience, but as one who is remorseful and repentant of their sin.  He doesn’t forgive us to justify and give license to our sin, but to allow us a way back if we are willing to repent and turn from it.

In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”  No matter what the enemy has told you or the thoughts of worthlessness he has placed in your head, God still loves you and values you more than you could ever imagine.  Come back to Him, repent and find your peace again in His fellowship.

Blessings,

#kent

Walk the Talk

February 8, 2017

Jeremiah 3:4-14

Have you not just called to me: ‘My Father, my friend from my youth, 5 will you always be angry?  Will your wrath continue forever?’ This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can.” 

6 During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. 8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. 9 Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the LORD. 

11 The LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah. 12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north: ” ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD, I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD. 

14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

Walk the Talk

An oriental pastor once told his people, “You people are all talky-talky and no walky-walky.”  I fear this is where many of us may truly find ourselves today.  We call out and pray to God.  We go to church and even read and study the Word, but are our lives producing the fruit of His righteousness and life?  This is where Israel and Judah were when this word came to Jeremiah the prophet.  We maintain our appearance of spirituality and due diligence, but at the same time we are playing the harlot with the things of the world.  Our affections and desires are still toward the earthly things and so we really have a duality of heart.  Yes we believe in God and have embraced Christ, but are there still “His time” and “my time”?  We talk the talk of the spiritual man around our brothers and sisters in Christ, but our imaginations and affections are often somewhere else on this world.  We have to ask ourselves, where is our heart and what is the purpose of our lives?  Have we compartmentalized God into our religious box, but then we have another compartment for us to still live in and partake of worldliness that caters to the affections and desires of our flesh?  This is what the Lord views as our spiritual adultery and unfaithfulness.  Sin always has its judgements and consequences if we continue it, but if we have ears to hear and a heart to receive God comes to us beforehand and speaks the message of mercy that He spoke to Israel and Judah, “” ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD, I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD. 14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”

God is calling His people out of the world in this hour.  He is calling us to repent and turn back to Him with all of our hearts, minds, soul and strength.  He desires a people of uncompromising commitment to His purpose and His will.  He has and is raising up shepherds in this hour after His heart and that are attuned to His purpose who will lead us into knowledge and understanding.  It begins with our repentance and our return unto Him with our whole heart.  What is the true basis of our spiritual life?  Is it in our talk or in our walk? 

Blesssings,

#kent

A Heart of Lust

February 7, 2017

Psalms 78:18-42

18And they tempted God in their hearts by asking for food according to their [selfish] desire and appetite. 

19Yes, they spoke against God; they said, Can God furnish [the food for] a table in the wilderness? 

20Behold, He did smite the rock so that waters gushed out and the streams overflowed; but can He give bread also? Can He provide flesh for His people? 21Therefore, when the Lord heard, He was [full of] wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob, His anger mounted up against Israel, 22Because in God they believed not [they relied not on Him, they adhered not to Him], and they trusted not in His salvation (His power to save). 23Yet He commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven; 24And He rained down upon them manna to eat and gave them heaven’s grain. 25Everyone ate the bread of the mighty [man ate angels’ food]; God sent them meat in abundance. 26He let forth the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by His power He guided the south wind. 27He rained flesh also upon them like the dust, and winged birds [quails] like the sand of the seas. 28And He let [the birds] fall in the midst of their camp, round about their tents. 29So they ate and were well filled; He gave them what they craved and lusted after. 31The wrath of God came upon them and slew the strongest and sturdiest of them and smote down Israel’s chosen youth. 32In spite of all this, they sinned still more, for they believed not in (relied not on and adhered not to Him for) His wondrous works. 33Therefore their days He consumed like a breath [in emptiness, falsity, and futility] and their years in terror and sudden haste. 34When He slew [some of] them, [the remainder] inquired after Him diligently, and they repented and sincerely sought God [for a time]. 35And they [earnestly] remembered that God was their Rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer. 36Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouths and lied to Him with their tongues. 37For their hearts were not right or sincere with Him, neither were they faithful and steadfast to His covenant. 38But He, full of [merciful] compassion, forgave their iniquity and destroyed them not; yes, many a time He turned His anger away and did not stir up all His wrath and indignation. 39For He [earnestly] remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that goes and does not return. 40How often they defied and rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! 41And time and again they turned back and tempted God, provoking and incensing the Holy One of Israel. 42They remembered not [seriously the miracles of the working of] His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy.

A Heart of Lust

The account we read here in Psalms 78 is an example of the lust that tends to work in all of us.  Often we only think of lust in a sexual sense and there is certainly that aspect of it, but it is much broader than that.  It was a quality and aspect of humanity that kept the children of Israel in the wilderness, it continually provoked the wrath of God and it remembered not all His benefits because it becomes so focused on its own.  Lust defined is the selfish and self -indulgent desires and appetites of our flesh.  Many of us are still controlled, to a large extent, by an attitude and mindset of lust.  Our focus is so often on what pleases us and what we want, rather than on what is pleasing to our Lord.  Even in our prayers, we are crying out to God to give us meat, give us what we want rather than being content with the provision of God’s hand.  Human nature is usually to always want what it can’t or shouldn’t have.  There are times when God will allow us to have the lust of our hearts.  He will give us what we think we must have.  What we find is that the fulfillment of our desires soon becomes a curse.  What we thought was going to fulfill and satisfy us leaves us empty and lean of soul.  It brings with it consequences that we didn’t anticipate.  Verse 33 of Psalms 78 says, “33Therefore their days He consumed like a breath [in emptiness, falsity, and futility] and their years in terror and sudden haste.”  This is the fruit of our lust.  It is enmity with God and so it brings death to us and not life.  It is the antithesis of faith and trust in God’s goodness, sovereignty and provision.

1 John 2:15-17 tells us this, “15Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]–these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. 17And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.”  We want our lust to be for those things of the Spirit that pertain to life and godliness.  Our desire is for a deeper and more intimate relationship with our Lord that we might know and experience the fullness of His life and blessing upon us.  We must learn from our former examples that the lust of the flesh breeds death, but walking in the Spirit produces life and the attributes of a godly character.  

Blessings,

#kent

Believing, Doing and Being

February 6, 2017

1 John 5:1-5

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 

Believing, Doing and Being

Our relationship with God begins with our believing and embracing Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah and the Son of God.  This is the first step in God’s economy and kingdom of entering in and receiving divine life, eternal life and not just physical breath and life.  In a relationship where you come to love a person, the first expression of that love would probably be the acknowledgement of those feelings, the belief that you really do love this person and the verbal expression of that love through the confession of your lips.  So it is with Christ.  We come to know, receive and love Him, because He has first loved us.  God not only told us that He loved us in Christ Jesus, He showed us that He did by doing.  He puts the actions behind His words that gave creditability and substantiated His love for us.  He now tells us that everyone who loves the Father loves His Son as well.  The way that we know that we love God is that we obey His commands.  We become not only believers of the Word and the commands of God, but doers that practice a godly lifestyle and live in the light of His Word.  So we then become not only believers, but also doers.  Our actions speak of our love for God, who we are and what we are becoming.  He has also placed His Spirit within our hearts that bears witness that we are the children of God.

Lastly, through our faith and our actions we come into the being of what God has called us too.  In our earthly lives we often identify ourselves by our occupation.  I am a plumber, or an attorney or a banker, or a housewife.  Our identification becomes synonymous with what we do.  In Christ, what we do is live out of faith in His life and obedience to His word.  Our faith and doing becomes our being.  We are Christ beings, not just human beings.  Our identity is now one with who we are in Christ.  We never confuse that with saying that we take the place of His headship and position, but even God’s word declares that we are heirs and joint-heirs with Christ.  Romans 8:15-18 declares, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  We have been called with the calling of Christ, to share His sufferings and to also share His glory.  So many of us continue on in this life still identified with this life and who we are in this world.  God wants us to get the revelation of “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.  It is who you are in Christ and who you are continuing to become and develop into.  You are identified with Christ and it is a process of your coming into His likeness.  2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”  

What started as your faith in believing, became your action in doing and your action in doing is now become your being.  “In Christ” is who you are.  Let us be identified with Him and live accordingly in His life.  This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith and that victory resides in us.  You are an overcomer and a conqueror because of your faith and identification with the life of God that resides in you.  It is what you believe, it is what you do and it is who you are in your being. 

Blessings,

#kent

When Fear comes Knocking

February 3, 2017

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and spoke, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you from his hand; 30 nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, “The LORD will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”’ 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” 33 Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’” 

When Fear comes Knocking

As we read this passage of scripture today that took place during the reign of Hezekiah, we see him faced with the greatest challenge and threat to his kingdom that he had ever known.  The king of Assyria, which typifies satan, sent his messenger of fear, Rabshakeh, to attack the faith and trust of the people of Judah and Hezekiah had in the Lord and replace it with fear of the natural.  They were facing the greatest force and enemy of their day. Assyria was undefeated and it had taken every nation that it entered into, including Israel.  Now Hezekiah is faced with the decision to either give in or trust the Lord.  Everything in the natural is saying give it up, you don’t stand a chance.  You don’t hold a candle to this giant that now stands before you.  What Rabshakeh said was true, no other nation or gods had been able to withstand them.  Where Rabshakeh and the king of Assyria failed was in counting the Lord God as like unto the gods of wood and stone.  

There are times when we are faced with similar circumstances in our lives.  We face giants and situations that are far greater than we are in the natural.  They blaspheme or mock our God and expect that we should bow to them.  Our very lives or livelihood may be at stake.  What will we do?  Will we bow in fear to the enemies’ demands or will we throw ourselves before the Lord and plead our case before Him as Hezekiah did?  

It is often in our weakness that God’s strength and power are manifest.  If fear is able to undermine and rob our faith then we will not see the salvation of our God.  If we dare to stand firm in Him then we will see His salvation work, even though it may not be immediate.  There are areas in life that we have to walk by faith, humbly and fearfully before the Lord, so that we are not reliant upon our strength or ability, but we wholly lean on Jesus name.  The enemy will kick up dust, he’ll rant and rave and do all that he can to strike fear and unbelief in our hearts, but it is our faith in the All Powerful One that prevails.  Through prayer and faith we hide ourselves under the shadow of the great Jehovah.  We know that when He goes out to battle on our behalf then we cannot fail or be defeated.  We are more than conquerors through Christ who has loved us.  

In 2 Kings 19:5 we hear what the Lord says through Isaiah, His prophet concerning these blasphemous threats. “So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah.  And Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.  Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”’””  God is still saying to us, “ Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard.”  We must know our Lord today as Hezekiah and the people came to know Him then.  He is a mighty Fortress and Deliverer.  He will take up the cause of the righteous and in His time and His way that enemy will be defeated.  When fear comes knocking, don’t be afraid, only trust and obey. 

Blessings,

#kent

Friendships

February 2, 2017

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Friendships

Through life many seasons come and go,

In that time many people we get to know.

Through our hearts and lives relationships pass.

Many will fade, but others will last.

Rather we know them for a moment, a season or more,

No matter how long they may be here for.

May their lives be richer for having crossed our path.

May we have spoken words of life that last.

Kent Stuck

When we think back through our lives at all of the people that we’ve known, some we knew as casual acquaintances and others we may have been very close too.  As we go through those seasons of life and all of the demographics that change, we see most of those people and know them only for a period of time.  Some we will reunite with and many we never will.  When we stop to think about the brevity of life then it impacts us how short it is and how important it is never to take our opportunities in our relationships for granted.  Just as we have no assurance of tomorrow; we have no assurance that a relationship or friend will be there tomorrow.   

One of the things that I get bored with quite quickly is just small talk.  A certain amount of it is necessary and useful, but so much of our relationships are spent talking about things that don’t really matter or have any eternal value.  As believers we want our conversations to be seasoned with the words of life, hope and the things that are eternal.  We understand that not all of our friends or acquaintances are at that place, but with Holy Spirit discernment and direction we should endeavor to flavor our conversations with those things that speak to the eternal and the lasting.  Our life and our actions are the testimony to who we are and what we represent.  Some may be turned off by that, but others will be drawn to us because of it.  We are not in this world to please people and by the same token we are not here to recklessly offend them either.  I believe God wants us to be sensitive to where people are at in their journey through life and endeavor to meet them where they are at, in love, not just mindful of where we at.  Relationships are not just about us.  They are about our opportunities to communicate Christ, in His various attributes, to others in a way that they can hear and receive.  

The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:22,  “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”  Paul’s sole purpose in relating and befriending people was to stain their lives with the blood and the love of Christ, but he used wisdom as to how he could relate with them. So many times Christians have an arrogance, self-righteous and condescending attitude that is demeaning to others that are not like them.  That is not the Spirit of Christ, that is a religious spirit.  Christ came down and was planted under the earth that He might get under us and lift us up to where He is.  ‘He didn’t come to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him, might have life.’  We are to be like him.  He didn’t aspire to gain the approval of the righteous and the religious, he aspired to relate with people where they were at in their lives.  

May God grant  us the wisdom to have the heart of Jesus and Paul that people would know that when they have been with us, they have been in the presence of Jesus, because Christ is so much a part of who we are in our love and our demeanor.  May their lives be richer for having crossed our path.  May we have spoken words of life that last.

Blessings,

#kent

In Pursuit of Peace

February 1, 2017

In Pursuit of Peace

Romans 8:6

For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace

What is the commodity, the attribute and the treasure that one most desires in the world?  Some might say wealth, or fame, or power, or beauty, but what is anything if you don’t have peace and the joy it brings to even enjoy anything else.  We only need to look as far as Hollywood and the sports world to see examples of people who, outwardly seem to have everything.  They have the wealth, the influence and affluence, the beauty and the looks and yet, we set and watch their tragic lives unfold.  How can you have so much and be so miserable?  It is because you are missing the most important ingredient, PEACE.   What is peace?  Isn’t it the state of tranquility, exemption from havoc, war, trouble and the threat to our security?  Isn’t it harmony, serenity, security, concord, safety, lack of fear, contentment, felicity and prosperity?  If we possess real peace, then we are the most fulfilled people in the world.  

What brings us this peace and how do we possess it?  Well, we know it is not in the world; even Jesus says, “in the world you will have tribulation.”  How can we know and possess peace in the midst of tribulation?  Let’s look a few examples and insights the Word gives us in this regard.  John 14:27 tells us, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Again, in John 16:33 Jesus tells us, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Jesus gives us the keys; peace is not found in the world, but only in Him.  He is the King of Salem, the Prince of Peace and our peace is found in His kingdom that resides within us who have embraced it by faith.  Like the world at large our personal worlds are rocked by calamities, conflicts, turmoil and unrest, so how can we possess peace in the midst of all these contradictory elements that are touching our lives.  It is called rest.  We are rested in the loving arms of the Savior, the Holy Spirit is the atmosphere of peace that covers us and we know that He has our life in His hands.  We acknowledge Him in all our ways and we seek His direction for our paths, but beyond what we can physically do in the harmony and peace of His Spirit, we must learn to rest.  That rest is not dependent upon our understanding or approval, it is dependent upon our faith to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Romans 5:1-2 tells us, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This why the good news of Jesus Christ is called the gospel of Peace, because Jesus Christ and relationship with Him is the Peace that inwardly we are all desiring and seeking.  It is a quality of the Kingdom of God, for Romans 14:17 tells us, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  

Why don’t more Christians have peace?  Isn’t it because we get our eyes and our hearts focused on the outward things?  We begin to view our peace as the world does, in the things that we possess and the circumstances that surround us, but real peace doesn’t have anything to do with the outward things; it is fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  It is not even about the natural preservation of our life, it is only about being in the center of His will and purpose, because in that place we know there is a peace that the world cannot understand or grasp.  Everything else is secondary and flows out of the peace that we bear as we abide in the Vine.   

Do you have peace with yourself today, peace with God and toward others?  If not, then we need to find entrance into the peace that is ours in Christ Jesus.  What is standing in your way?  What is robbing your peace?  It is not in running away or getting rid of all your problems; it is finding the peace of Christ in the midst of tribulation and trials.  Remember God is always in control even when we aren’t.  “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:33)”

Blessings,

#kent

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