Colossians 1:27

To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of  the glory of  this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The Experience of a Saint

This was forwarded to me by a dear one in Christ and my spirit bears such witness with it that I wanted to share it with you.  It is somewhat lengthy, but very rich in its wisdom and content.

Reading this ( below ) not only blessed the socks off of me , but brought my focus right back where it belongs, on the Altogether Lovely One . It isn’t about me  or ministry or revelations or experiences. It is all about HIMSELF.

And when at last I got my eyes off my sanctification, and my experience of it, and just placed them on the Christ in me, I found, instead of an experience, the Christ larger than the moment’s need, the Christ that had all that I should ever need who was given to me at once, and for ever! And when I thus saw Him, it was such rest; it was all right, and right for ever. For I had not only what I could hold that little hour, but also in Him, all that I should need the next and the next and so on, until sometimes I get a glimpse of what it will be a million years afterwards, when we shall “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father” (Matt. 13: 43), and have “all the fullness of God.”

And so I thought the healing would be an it too, that the Lord would take me like the old run-down clock, wind me up, and set me going like a machine.

It is not thus at all. I found it was Himself coming in instead and giving me what I needed at the moment. I wanted to have a great stock, so that I could feel rich; a great store laid up for many years, so that I would not be dependent upon Him the next day; but He never gave me such a store. I never had more holiness or healing at one time than I needed for that hour. He said: “My child, you must come to Me for the next breath because I love you so dearly I want you to come all the time. If I gave you a great supply, you would do without Me and would not come to Me so often; now you have to come to Me every second, and lie on My breast every moment.”

He gave me a great fortune, placed thousands and millions at credit, but He gave a cheque-book with this one condition, “You never can draw more than you need at the time.” Every time a cheque was wanted, however, there was the name of Jesus upon it, and so it brought more glory to Him, kept His name before the heavenly world and God was glorified in His Son.

I had to learn to take from Him my spiritual life every second, to breathe Himself in as I breathed, and breathe myself out. So, moment by moment for the spirit, and moment by moment for the body, we must receive.

You say, “Is not that a terrible bondage, to be always on the strain ?” What, on the strain with one you love, your dearest Friend ? Oh, no! It comes so naturally, so spontaneously, so like a fountain, without consciousness, without effort, for true life is always easy, and overflowing.

And now, thank God, I have Him, not only what I have room for, but that which I have not room for, but for which I shall have room, moment by moment, as I go on into the eternity before me. I am like the little bottle in the sea, as full as it will hold. The bottle is in the sea, and the sea is in the bottle; so I am in Christ, and Christ is in me. But, besides that bottleful in the sea, there is a whole ocean beyond; the difference is, that the bottle has to be filled over again, every day, evermore.

Now the question for each of us is not “What think you of Bethshan, and what think you of divine healing?” but “What think you of Christ?”

There came a time when there was a little thing between me and Christ. I express it by a little conversation with a friend who said, “You were healed by faith.” “Oh, no,” I said, “I was healed by Christ.”

What is the difference? There is a great difference. There came a time when even faith seemed to come between me and Jesus. I thought I should have to work up the faith, so I labored to get the faith. At last I thought I had it; that if I put my whole weight upon it, it would hold. I said, when I thought I had got the faith, “Heal me.” I was trusting in myself, in my own heart, in my own faith. I was asking the Lord to do something for me because of something in me, not because of something in Him.

So the Lord allowed the devil to try my faith, and the devil devoured it like a roaring lion, and I found myself so broken down that I did not think I had any faith. God allowed it to be taken away until I felt I had none. And then God seemed to speak to me so sweetly, saying, “Never mind, my child, you have nothing. But I am perfect Power, I am perfect Love, I am Faith, I am your Life, I am the preparation for the blessing, and then I am the Blessing, too. I am all within and all without, and all for ever.”

It is just having “Faith in God” (Mark 11: 22). “And the life I now live in the flesh, I live,” not by faith on the Son of God, but “by the faith of the Son of God” (Gal. 2 20). That is it. It is not your faith. You have no faith in you, any more than you have life or anything else in you. You have nothing but emptiness and vacuity, and you must be just openness and readiness to take Him to do all. You have to take His faith as well as His life and healing, and have simply to say, “I live by the faith of the Son of God.” My faith is not worth anything. If I had to pray for anyone, I would not depend upon my faith at all. I would say, “Here, Lord, am I. If you want me to be the channel of blessing to this one just breathe into me all that I need.” It is simply Christ, Christ alone.

Now, is your body yielded to Christ for Him thus to dwell and work in you? The Lord Jesus Christ has a body as well as you only it is perfect; it is the body, not of a man, but of the Son of man. Have you considered why He is called the Son of man? The Son of man means that Jesus Christ is the one typical, comprehensive, universal, all-inclusive Man. Jesus is the one man that contains in Himself all that man ought to be all that man needs to have. It is all in Christ. All the fullness of the Godhead and the fullness of a perfect manhood has been embodied in Christ, and He stands now as the summing-up of all that man needs. His spirit is all that your spirit needs, and He just gives us Himself. His body possesses all that your body needs. He has a heart beating with the strength that your heart needs. He has organs and functions redundant with life, not for Himself, but for humanity. He does not need strength for Himself. The energy which enabled Him to rise and ascend from the tomb, above all the forces of nature, was not for Himself. That body belongs to your body. You are a member of His body. Your heart has a right to draw from His heart all that it needs. Your physical life has a right to draw from His physical life its support and strength, and so it is not you, but it is just the precious life of the Son of God. Will you take Him thus today, and then you will not be merely healed, but you will have a new life for all you need, a flood of life that will sweep disease away, and then remain a fountain of life for all your future need. Oh, take Him in His fullness.

It seems to me as if I might just bring you a little talisman today, as if God had given me a little secret for every one here and said to me, “Go and tell them, if they will take it, it will be a talisman of power wherever they go, and it will carry them through difficulty, danger, fear, life, death, eternity.” If I could stand on this platform and say, “I have received from heaven a secret of wealth and success which God will give freely, through my hand, to everybody who will take it,” I am sure you would need a larger hall for the people who would come. But, dear friends, I show you in His Word a truth which is more precious. The Apostle Paul tells us that there is a secret, a great secret which was hidden from ages and from generations (Col. 1: 26), which the world was seeking after in vain, which wise men from the East hoped they might find, and God says it “is now made manifest to his saints”; and Paul went through the world just to tell it to those that were able to receive it; and that simple secret is just this “Christ in you the hope of glory.”

The word “mystery” means secret; this is the great secret. And I tell you today, nay, I can give you, if you will take it from Him, not from me-I can give you a secret which has been to me, oh, so wonderful! Years ago I came to Him burdened with guilt and fear; I tried that simple secret, and it took away all my fear and sin. Years passed on, and I found sin overcoming me and my temptations too strong for me. I came to Him a second time, and He whispered to me, “Christ in you,” and I had victory, rest and blessing.

Then the body broke away in every sort of way. I had always worked hard, and from the age of fourteen I studied and labored and spared no strength. I took charge of a large congregation at the age of twenty-one; I broke down utterly half a dozen times and at my last constitution was worn out. Many times I feared I should drop dead in my pulpit. I could not ascend any height without a sense of suffocation, because of a broken-down heart and exhausted nervous system. I heard of the Lord’s healing, but I struggled against it. I was afraid of it. I had been taught in theological seminaries that the age of the supernatural was past, and I could not go back from my early training. My head was in my way, but at last when I was brought to attend “the funeral of my dogmatics,” as Mr. Schrenck says, “the Lord whispered to me the little secret, ‘Christ in you’; and from that hour I received Him for my body as I had done for my soul. I was made so strong and well that work has been a perfect delight. For years I have spent my summer holiday in the hot city of New York, preaching and working amongst the masses, as I never did before; besides the work of our Home and College and an immense mass of library work and much besides. But the Lord did not merely remove my sufferings. It was more than simple healing. He so gave me Himself that I lost the painful consciousness of physical organs. That is the best of the health He gives. I thank the Lord that He keeps me from all morbid, physical consciousness and a body that is the object of anxious care, and gives a simple life that is a delight and a service for the Master, that is a rest and joy.

Then, again, I had a poor sort of a mind, heavy and cumbrous, that did not think or work quickly. I wanted to write and speak for Christ and to have a ready memory, so as to have the little knowledge I had gained always under command. I went to Christ about it, and asked if He had anything for me in this way. He replied, “Yes, my child, I am made unto you Wisdom.” I was always making mistakes, which I regretted, and then thinking I would not make them again; but when He said that He would be my wisdom, that we may have the mind of Christ, that He could cast down imaginations and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, that He could make the brain and head right, then I took Him for all that. And since then I have been kept free from this mental disability, and work has been rest. I used to write two sermons a week, and it took me three days to complete one. But now, in connection with my literary work, I have numberless pages of matter to write constantly besides the conduct of very many meetings a week, and all is delightfully easy to me. The Lord has helped me mentally, and I know He is the Saviour of our mind as well as our spirit.

Well, then, I had an irresolute will. I asked, ‘ Cannot you be a will to me?” He said, “Yes, my child, it is God who worketh in you to will and to do.” Then He made me to learn how and when to be firm, and how and when to yield. Many people have a decided will, but they do not know how to hold on just at the proper moment. So, too, I came to Him for power for His work and all the resources for His service, and He has not failed me.

And so I would say, if this precious little secret of “Christ in you,” will help you, you may have it. May you make better use of it than I! I feel I have only begun to learn how well it works. Take it and go on working it out, through time and eternity-Christ for all, grace for grace, from strength to strength, from glory to glory, from this time forth and even for evermore.

HIMSELF

by A. B. Simpson

Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord;

Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.

Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;

Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.

Once ’twas painful trying, Now ’tis perfect trust;

Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.

Once ’twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;

Once ’twas constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.

Once ’twas busy planning, Now ’tis trustful prayer;

Once ’twas anxious caring, Now He has the care.

Once ’twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;

Once ’twas constant asking, Now ’tis ceaseless praise.

Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;

Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me.

Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One;

Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.

Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine;

Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.

Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;

And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the veil.

Unless Holy Spirit nudges me , I probably won’t be sending out “little letters” for a while and only to those who have responded in some way . I know there are those whose mailboxes are already clogged with unwanted stuff.

I’m always glad to receive a word from any of my brothers and sisters and shall try to give a personal reply ASAP.

Loving Him because He first loved me ,

and loving you in Him ,

Pat

Gussie

blessings,

#kent

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John 10:28

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.

In the Father’s Hand

The little boy put his hand in Father’s hand and clutched tightly.  The Father held firmly and lovingly the hand of the little boy as they walked through the streets of the city.  The little boy was in awe as he craned his neck to see the top of the tall buildings.  He was fascinated by all of the sights, sounds and all of the individual dramas that seemed to be taking place all around.  He felt the security and the safety of the Father’s hand as he inhaled all of the senses of that were rising out of the city streets where they walked.  They walked through some of the department stores with the variety of their wares displayed.  They stopped and ate at a local deli where the owner was very friendly and had great food.  They waited to cross the busy streets full of living machinery, moving, honking and pressing to reach their destination.  They saw men dressed very sharply in suit and tie and they saw men in rags, sitting and begging on the street corners; what a strangely diverse world.  It was so massive and grand and yet it seemed in control as long as the little boy held on to His Father’s hand. 

The visits to the city became more frequent as the Father always had a purpose for going and He would always encounter and speak with new and different people.  The one thing that didn’t change is that the little boy always held firmly to his Father’s hand.  The more they visited the city the more the little boy grew comfortable with his surroundings. He felt less intimidated and awestruck and now he was more curious.  As his Father would be talking to others he began straining and pulling on his Father’s grip to see some new thing or want to explore some new place. 

One day, near Christmas, they were in the city and the stores were alive with animated characters and displays of lights and toys.  As they were walking down the street they passed the most beautiful display with automated cars and video games that you could play and all of the things that he desired to have and play with.  As they passed he kept looking back, longing to go back to watch and play.  Suddenly without warning, he broke his grip with his Father’s hand and he began running back through the crowd to the place that they had passed.  He heard his Father calling out for him, but his heart was set upon a mission and that was to get back to the toy store that they had passed a ways back.  Suddenly, he forgot all of the caution and the warnings that His Father had given to him.  His heart was fixed on one thing; he had to get back to that toy store.  As he ran back, he heard the voice of His Father become more and more faint as he became lost in the crowd of shoppers.  Finally he arrived at his destination and with joy and delight he played with the interactive games and looked at all of the displays.  After he had finally had his fill, he began to look around at where he was and what he should do now.  He began to think about the warning and exhortation that his Father had given him, “Never let go of My hand.”  He had disobeyed, because he had become more caught up with the world around him than the relationship and the obedience he had with his Father.  Now he suddenly found himself alone, lost and with no one to look after him.  How would he eat, where would he sleep, who would watch out for him?  Suddenly the toys had little appeal as fear began to grip his heart and he began to grasp the gravity of his situation.  What if somebody wanted to hurt him or kidnap him, what would he do? 

He went over to a bench in the mall and as he set there he began to cry and repent that he had ever let go of his Father’s hand.  That grip held him in relationship with the one who was his protector, his provider and the one that truly loved and cared for Him.  He had thrown that foolishly away to pursue that which caught his eye.  Where he had once held such a reverential awe and respect for his Father, he had on a whim, abandoned Him to pursue the attractions of the world around him.  Now he sat there lost, alone, hungry and scared.  As he held his head in his hands, he cried and said out loud “Father, I have been so bad and so stupid to run away from you.  Please forgive me.  Please come find me.  I am so sorry I let go of your hand.”  After crying and repenting for sometime he finally opened his eyes only to see this large figure before him.  As he saw his legs and followed his form upward, his eyes met with the kindest and most wonderfully loving eyes in all of the world. It was His Father.  With great joy he leapt into the embrace of His arms and repeatedly sobbed how sorry he was.  Their reunion was wonderful as his Father forgave him.   The little boy wondered at himself that he could have taken for granted all that He had with his Father to run after such temporary pleasures and delight.

Later, he asked His Father how he found him.  His Father said that he had been observing him the whole time from the crowds.  He said, I would never leave you or forsake you, but you had to come to that place where you realized what it would be like without me.  Only then would you be willing to obey me and never again let go of my hand.

Blessings,

#kent

Psalms 71:1-6

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. 3 Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men. 5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. 6 From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.

What Value do we put on Life?

It is God who has given each one of us the breath of life.  He has known us from the foundations of the world and each one is precious in His eyes.  It is God who gives life and unto Him that life returns.  It is He that imparts to us a soul that we may comprehend, know and lay hold of Him.  How it must grieve the heart of God when a people can put themselves in the place of God deciding if a unborn child has the right to live and presumptuously thinking that we have the right to take that life that God has given.  When did God impart to us the right to decide who would have a quality of life worth living or that it could be done away with if it were not convenient to us?  We live in a nation that has legally given us this right to deny any rights to our unborn.  I can tell you that there are many grieving women out there that bought into this lie and have felt the horrible impact of what they have done. They have felt the shame and condemnation of their actions and live with that every day.  Morally, they know within their hearts, that what they have done is wrong, regardless of what our laws allow and now so many live, struggling to forgive themselves and no doubt struggling with the truth that God can forgive them for what they have done.  If you are one of those women, then know that God’s grace and forgiveness can extend to our deepest sin and there is no stain that His blood cannot cleanse if we seek Him in repentance and ask for that forgiveness.  Often it is not God’s forgiveness we struggle with as much as it is forgiving ourselves.  God would not have you continue to carry this burden of guilt, but through that experience may you become His greatest advocate for life and the instrument that can help others from making this same mistake. 

The greatest handicap in our life is not that we are born into adversity, it is that we would not know adversity, weakness or trial.  Some of the most challenged people are the greatest people of character and strength.  Like the psalmist David, in above scripture, adversity makes us cry out for God, it is the travail that births His presence and strength into our weakness and failure.  It is in what we can not be that we can find that He is.  It is through adversity that we become overcomers.  Usually we are praying, “God, deliver me out of my adversity,” but that would only defeat its perfect work in you.  Rather we should pray, “God, be my strength and enablement to go through this adversity and prevail through You.”  We so often have what might be termed a rapture mentality that looks for God to catch us up and deliver us from all tribulation.  The greater truth is to already be entering into the ark of His safety and life that He might preserve you and keep you through all tribulation.  David didn’t see God there when he was fleeing for his life from Saul, but His prayers and faith in God covered him and preserved him in safety.  God was there in the midst of David’s praise and supplications.  He was all that David asked that he would be.  It was through this adversity in David’s life that God was training him up to rule and reign.  It was in this adversity that God was training David that his reliance should never be upon himself, but always upon his God.  It was through this adversity that David could know that his strength, his wisdom and his ability was the presence of God’s anointing upon his life.  God’s favor rested upon David because he did know that and did trust in his God.  Even so, David also knew a time in his life of great failure and sin when he committed adultery, lied and had Bathseba’s husband put to death.  He had to live with the consequences of those actions, but I believe he also found God’s forgiveness and mercy through his repentance for his sin. 

We are all cracked pots, fragile, weak and subject to breaking.  That is why we must put ourselves totally into the Potter’s hands that He may shape and mold and be the glue that fills those cracks of our weakness and failure.

Respect the life that God has given rather it is unborn, old and frail, or lowly and unimportant in appearance.  God is the author of it all and to Him it is all, precious.   Our function is to be a light and serve His creation in the love of Christ.  We are His hands and fingers that holds, cares for and loves all His creatures, both small and great.

Blessings,

#kent

How much does Your Sin Cost Me?

James 4:1-6

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?[a] 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

We know that Jesus paid the price for our sin and the spiritual, eternal consequences they reap.  We know that through faith and calling upon the name of Jesus we can partake of the free gift of His great salvation and goodness.  We know also that through the power of His life that comes to reside within us we can overcome the strongholds and the power of the sin that has operated in our lives.  We also know that even though Jesus paid the price, sin still operates in our world and unfortunately it still operates in us as believers where we give it place.  Sin has natural consequences as well as spiritual ones.  As we survey our world we have no trouble seeing the devastating effects of sin that touches every life on this planet.  While God is merciful to forgive our sins, that sin still produces consequences.  It produces its fruit of destruction and death.  The sad thing about sin, whether it is ours or someone else’s, it doesn’t just cost us, it cost all who are touched by it.  Sin is like a rock thrown into a pond, it produces a big splash where it lands, but it also produces ripples that go out in all directions.  This begs the question, how much will your sin cost me and how much will my sin cost you? 

People ask the question, “How could a loving God allow war, hunger, sickness, disease, poverty and crime?”  I guess it could be said, because He loved us enough to give humanity a free will to make choices whether they were for Him or against Him.  The state of our world is the fruit of many poor choices where man chose sin over God.  God has loved us so much, that in spite of all those wrong choices and in spite of the ones we continue to make we have a way back to Him; back to His righteousness and perfect plan.  Meanwhile, as long we continue in this present evil age of man’s doing the consequences of sin will follow us. 

What does that mean to us on a personal level?  What happens for instance when a person allows alcohol or drug addiction to get a hold of their lives.  The hook is often innocent enough, but the underlying consequences are horrific.  How many of our lives have been affected by these.  A person lusts so much after these strongholds that they will cheat, steal, lie, con and they will become all the things that they once hated and detested in others.  They will beat the wife they say they love, they will abuse their precious children, they rob from their family to feed and satisfy their addiction and even though they hate themselves for it they can’t stop their destructive course.  They go on to beg, borrow, steal, and con their friends, family and loved ones, because of their lack.  They will loose their jobs, their reputation, their self-respect, their dignity and integrity until they either get help or completely destroy all that they had loved and held dear.  They will cost those closest to them untold grief, heartache, pain in many ways: financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and every other way.  That ripple will continue to radiate out and affect others even beyond their personal relationships.  How many thousands and millions of dollars does it cost a society because of crime and sin.  People are victimized and hurt continually because of someone else’s sin. 

How much does divorce, unfaithful and broken relationships cost, not only financially, but in terms of suffering, heartbreak, anger, unwillingness to forgive and shattered lives and hearts.  That is something nearly everyone has been touched by since it effects about half of our marriages today; all of it the result of our sin and selfishness.  How much will your sin cost me?  It doesn’t just cost you, it cost everyone around you.  If sin has a stronghold on you, get help!  As painful and humiliating as that may be, it is nothing compared to what your sin will reap.  Remember God loves you.  He is for you and not against you, but He will not make your choices for you.  Only you and I can make right choices.  Let us humble ourselves and return to Him, that we may receive His grace before it cost us all more that we want to pay.

Blessings,

#kent

Unruly Thoughts

May 10, 2017

2 Corinthians 10:5

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Unruly Thoughts

Flittering mind and wandering thoughts,

Where do I get some of these thoughts that I got?

Imaginations and daydreams catch me away,

Foreign thinking creeps in even when I pray.

Help me cast down these imaginations contrary to You,

Fill my heart with right thinking, thoughts pure and true.

Distractions are like flies buzzing all around,

They draw our attention with their annoying sounds.

Lord quiet me in the spirit of my mind,

There, the tranquility of Your Word, let me find.

Please, let no unclean thought or thing enter in,

Keep my thoughts from impurity and sin.

Let this mind be in me that is in You,

Blood washed and Spirit renewed,

Spirit elevate my thinking to be from above,

Purpose in my heart those thoughts birthed in love.

The mind of Christ is the mind I desire,

That I might deliver my thinking from the muck and the mire.

Help me when I walk in the midst of the world,

That ungodly thoughts and words are not unfurled.

Renew my mind and be the meditation of my heart,

Search me Holy Spirit and cleanse every part. 

Lord, set my mind on things above,

Catch my thoughts up on the wings of Your dove.

Deliver me from this flittering little mind that wanders.

Upon Your Word and all Your precepts may I ponder.

Keep my heart and mind in this dusty world that I trod,

‘May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart,

Be acceptable unto You, Oh God.’

Kent Stuck

Life’s Journey

May 9, 2017

Life’s Journey

2 Timothy 1:7-9

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Life is a journey in which we can always move forward, but we can never go back.  Life is about experience, about good and bad choices and about where it is leading us and where we are going.  Life holds many things for us throughout the journey, some bitter and some sweet, some joys and some sorrows. 

When we look back upon the life that we have led thus far, we have to ask, ‘is it going in the direction of where I want to end my race and do I still have the goal and finish line in my sights’?  We must pity the one who wanders aimlessly through life with no purpose, meaning or direction.  In as much as the Spirit of the Lord is allowed to move through us we want to give that direction, purpose and reason for living that we have in Christ to others along the way.  It is important that we don’t live in the past, but that we simply use our past to make necessary corrections to our present and future course in life. 

In Philippians 3:12-16 the apostle Paul gives us this perspective, “12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” 

Our lives have a purpose and it is imperative that we always strive to live in the center of the will of God and the purpose He has given to our lives.  Most of us don’t yet see ourselves where we want to be, but it is important that we walk in the light and truth that we have obtained and what we do know.  As we are faithful in the little, God will make us faithful in the much. 

Hold fast your faith and run the race with patience and the purpose for which God has created you.  At the end of the journey we won’t have done everything right or always made the correct decisions and choices, but we want to know that when we found ourselves off of the path we had the humility and repentance to return and to continue persevering in our faith and calling.  In order to live our journey without a lot of regret, we must keep our eye fixed upon where our journey is leading us and why we are traveling this road of life.  With vision, we have purpose and with purpose we journey to our destination till one day in the fullness of His life and likeness we will stand.  The wonderful thing is that we do not journey alone, but He has given us the Comforter and the Companion of our spirit.  We must keep our hand in His so that He may lead us in the way of the journey that leads us home and to His highest.

Blessings,

#kent

Jeremiah 14:7-10

Although our sins testify against us, O LORD, do something for the sake of your name. For our backsliding is great; we have sinned against you. 8 O Hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress, why are you like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who stays only a night? 9 Why are you like a man taken by surprise,

like a warrior powerless to save? You are among us, O LORD, and we bear your name; do not forsake us!

10 This is what the LORD says about this people: “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.”

Judgement in the House

Why does the Lord not hear us when we call?  Why does His ears seem deaf when we cry out in our distress?  How many times has the Holy Spirit tried to speak into our hearts, but we ignored Him, tuned Him out and went about our own ways?

God is so longsuffering with us, patient and kind.  He often does not reward us according to what we deserve.  There comes a time when He will be ignored no longer, nor will He forever tolerate our sinful ways and rebellious hearts.  Finally the judgement of God is come and justice is served.  We are now bewildered by why God won’t hear our prayers, deliver us and meet our needs. 

Whether we comprehend it or not, all of God’s ways are just and true.  Even in the severity and judgement of the All Mighty it is tempered in His love.  When we fail to correct our course, we get so far off of course that God has to make a severe course adjustment.  For many of us that is enduring a significant life-changing event.  1 Corinthians 11:31 exhorts us, “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.”  Judgement of God for us is not His condemnation, but His correction, so that we will not be condemned with the wickedness of the world.   

Often we are comparing ourselves with the world and we are making judgements upon the lost and those outside the body of Christ, but God wants us to be concerned about judging our own house.  We do not live by the standards of the world, but by the standards of God’s Word.  That standard should not be a law that robs from us in it’s restraints, but rather brings us into the light of the blessing we have as we walk by the Spirit and not after the flesh.  God is not trying to rob us from joy in this life, but is giving us vision and comprehension to lay hold of the love, joy and peace of His kingdom while we still abide upon this earth.   God holds us to higher standard because He is our righteousness and we are to be the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  So then judgement begins first with us, discerning and searching our heart for any unclean way.  It comes from repentance and a turning away from our sins by His grace and the power of His life in us.  Now if unrighteousness and sin is blatantly taking place before us and we are aware of it, we, as the body of Christ, have a responsibility to judge, correct and discipline for it.  Otherwise defilement spreads to the rest of the body.  1 Corinthians 5:12 says, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.””  Judgement is to maintain purity and righteousness within the body.  God’s corrections humble us and remind us of whom we are without Him. 

King Hezekiah was a righteous king who loved and served the Lord, but he was stricken in feet with boils even unto death.   Isaiah, the prophet came to him and told him he was going to die.  Isaiah 38:2-3 says, “Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 3 “Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

4 Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.”  “The prayers of a righteous man availeth much.”  In an excerpt from the writings of Hezekiah after his illness and recovery he writes, “I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove.

My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!”

But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.

I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul.

Lord, by such things men live; and my spirit finds life in them too.

You restored me to health and let me live.

Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.

In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.”

God became more real and personal in Hezekiah’s affliction and eventual healing than He probably had been in any other time in his life.  When we have been disciplined, corrected and restored by the hand of Lord, it works a humility and reverential fear of the Lord we don’t soon forget. 

If we experience God’s correction it is a good thing that restores us in righteousness. It is not pleasant, but painful at the time; yet it works the peaceable fruits of righteousness.  Much of our pain and estrangement from God can be avoided as we judge, discern and align our hearts in obedience to His will and His Word.  It is better to judge ourselves than to be judged. 

Blessings,

#kent

Ephesians 3:10-13

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

The Confidence of the Believer

“Faith builds confidence and where confidence falters failure ensues.”  These are the words that came up in my spirit this morning.  Hebrews 10:35 says, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.”  Your confidence is synonymous with your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.   Hebrews 3:14 tells us, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.”  Our faith in Christ builds our confidence to believe Him and His Word in all of the areas of our life.  1 John 5:14 informs us, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”  Our confidence is in Creator Father God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  He is a covenant God and a promise keeper.  ‘God is not a man that He should lie.’

The one thing I have observed as I have grown in years is that we live in the age of microwave mentality.  We expect everything instantly, with no fuss and no muss.  I see a lot of young people getting married and their expectations are that they should have everything their parents have worked years for, right now.  This mindset is often reflected in the realm of our faith.  When we pray, we expect that within three minutes the timer will ding and our prayers will be answered.  When we find that God isn’t instant oatmeal we start to wane in our faith and our confidence begins to fall.  What I have experienced personally is that God may act immediately, but more times than not, it is the prayer of faith and the confident hope in that prayer that sets events in motion to accomplish that for which we have prayed and believed God for.  There are prayers that I have prayed that I didn’t see answers to, till years down the road.   God works all things after the council of His will, not mine.  Many prayers fall short of their answer because of the very principle that the Lord gave me this morning.  We hold fast the faith for so long and after awhile we get discouraged and give up instead of rejoicing and continuing to praise Him.  Remember Hebrew 3:14, ““For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.”   The promises of God are not obtained by the weak and the fainthearted, they are obtained by the violent and passionate people of faith who refuse to be denied, that take the kingdom by force.  They get a revelation of the promise of God in their heart and they no longer look at the things which are seen, but they behold that which is unseen and yet more real than fact.  They have laid hold of truth and they refuse to let it go, no matter what the facts may dictate. 

2 Corinthians 1:18-22 says, “But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  God’s promises are yes, but we are the ones that give the amen.  Our amen is the agreement and the confidence in the yes of God.

If you count yourself in Christ today then be confident in what He has spoken to you through His Word.  Quit listening to the enemy.  Quit looking at your circumstances.  You are a child of God.  You are a joint-heir with the King of Kings.  Take hold of who you are and what you have in Christ Jesus and with tenacity and perseverance let nothing take it from you.  Let nothing in this world shake the confidence of who you are in Christ.  You are always more than a conqueror.  Again I bring to your remembrance Romans 8:28-39, “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.

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  1 John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

Blessings,

#kent

Hebrews 7: 14-17

For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

   

The Power of an Endless Life

We have a high priest, one whose priesthood stems not from the natural, the traditional or that of the Law.  Our high priest comes from the lineage of an indestructible and endless life.  Our high priest is the descendent and Son of the Almighty. 

We first hear about this Melchizedek priest in Genesis  14:18-20 when He comes to Abram after his victory in battle: “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”  Here we see this mysterious priest appearing of whom it is said that He was “priest of God Most High”.  Isn’t interesting that He appears bringing the bread and wine the elements of communion and covenant?  He is not only a priest, but also a king and a priest, the king of Salem, which is “peace”.  In Isaiah 9:6 we read the description of this King Priest, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” 

This priesthood is far above that priesthood that was established on earth through Levi, whose father Abraham paid tithes to this priest Melchizedek.  The earthly priesthood was not able to bring anything into perfection, but simply served as a type and shadow of this greater priesthood that was to come in Christ Jesus.  Earthly priests were weak, faulted and subject to death, but our High Priest Jesus is a priest after the power of an endless life and “Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them. [Here is] the High Priest [perfectly adapted] to our needs, as was fitting–holy, blameless, unstained by sin, separated from sinners, and exalted higher than the heavens. (Hebrews 7:25-26 Amplified)”  Amen.

Now I would remind you again of what 1Peter 1:4-10 says of us as His believers, “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.”  If we then are this holy and royal priesthood, are we not after this same order of Melchizedek priesthood?  If we are then what Revelations 5: 4 says concerning us, “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” what is the rank and calling of our priesthood if it is not after the order of our High Priest and King Jesus?  It is He that has given and imparted into us this power of an endless life that we might rule and reign in the likeness of Himself and after the order of Melchizedek.   Let us so live in the pursuit and faith of the high and holy calling that He has given unto us through the power of an endless life.

Blessings,

#kent

May 3, 2017

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The Beautiful Face of Death

The subtlety of the serpent is to hide the sting of death behind the strong desire that is created in our hearts.  The deception is that it will give us pleasure and fulfillment without consequences.  Temptation is a kin to delusion.  It creates a false sense that the moment is all that matters.  It skews our vision and intoxicates our reason so that we will dismiss the truth to embrace the lie.  It often twists the truth and charades piety to give validity to our temptation.  It comes speaking to us softly, enticingly, stirring our imagination and enhancing our desire.  Our desire will then give way to sin which ultimately results in death.  James 1:13-15 says it plainly, “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  None of us, not even Jesus was beyond the place of temptation.   The place of temptation is the place of decision to obey the truth or embrace the lie.  Temptation is like Potiphar’s wife who tempted Joseph to have relations with her.  It is better to flee with loss than to fall into the clutches of death. 

We need only look back at the bones and strewn remains of once great men who gave way to temptation.   She will promise to love you only to pierce you through and mock you as you die.  She is deceitfully beautiful, but it is as Proverbs 7:23-27 puts it, “Now then, my sons, listen to me;

pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths.

26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.”

Blessings,

#kent

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