A Day with the Lord

August 17, 2018

A Day with the Lord

 

1 Corinthians 1:9

God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

 

 

The sun strikes the peaks with pinkish hue,

As I rise to start my day with You.

Soft, back lit clouds streak across the eastern sky,

As the day dawns and You are nigh.

 

With sleepy eyes I step out into the newborn day,

With praise and worship, I begin to pray.

Lord You are faithful, good and so kind,

You are the treasure I seek and the wisdom I find.

 

In the fresh clean morning air,

I step out and sense You are there.

A dove coos nearby as Holy Spirit says I’m here.

A fragrant breeze passes saying God is near.

 

Outward signs remind me of our inward chat,

A dialogue where we can talk about this and that,

Where God listens intently as I pray,

And I so want to hear what He has to say.

 

Often it is quiet when I listen for Him

With patience in prayer, I seek Him again.

He doesn’t always respond like I think He should

But often He speaks in other ways than man normally would.

 

Sometimes it is in the day that He is speaking to me,

Even through my wife, a friend or someone I meet.

I must learn to listen and see with spiritual ears and eyes,

Or I’ll miss what He is saying as my life goes whizzing by.

 

God often speaks when we’ve ceased to pray,

He talks to us often in such little ways.

He gives us opportunities to respond in His love,

He allows those tests to see what our hearts are made of.

 

No, He doesn’t speak audibly to me,

But He is speaking in ways that are setting me free.

He is not constantly condemning my sin,

But He is teaching me the liberty of the righteousness in Him.

 

Let us always start our day with prayer and praise,

Let us bask in His love, rising above earthly haze.

Let us learn to carefully listen and look for Him.

Walking in the Spirit, is knowing our dearest Friend.

Kent Stuck

 

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Fatherless

August 16, 2018

Psalms 68:5

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, [is] God in his holy habitation.

 

The Fatherless

 

A father is a strength and provider for his children.  He loves them; he corrects them and mentors them.  He is the model that a young child looks too and should want to aspire to be like.  He offers the leadership, guidance and should be the spiritual head of his home.  Fathers are an important part of a child’s development and life.

We have an epidemic of fatherless children in America.  Besides the multiple children that are without a father due to death or divorce, a recent study suggest that 37% of births in America occur outside of marriage, with somewhere in the neighborhood of ten million single moms.  That is a lot of fatherless children.  It is not just the moms that struggle, often times it is the children as well.

I have a daughter who is a single mom. She does the best she can with balancing working to provide for her children and spending the time with them as a mother.  Her oldest son a very bright and precious young man, but he has acted out in defiance and anger at school and other places.  Part of his reasoning for this is that he resents not having a father to be there for him.  He sees other children with fathers and feels jealousy, hurt and resentment that he has been robbed of having a father’s presence.  I’m sure what he is experiencing is not so uncommon among many fatherless children.  As precious and nurturing as a mother is, they need that male counterpart as well.  They need grandpas and uncles and other males that can help fill in that role in the absence of a father.  They also need to come to know the Lord as the Father who has a special love for them and who is always there to be a Father to them.  We need our young and older people in America, and all over, to value the sanctity and the institution of marriage.  With our sexual freedoms have come the consequences of mothers who are trying to fulfill the role of both mother and father.  Thank God they have the courage to do that.  Many children have never had the privilege of birth, because there was an easier way out.  We have young men whose foremost thought might be their gratification, but lack the personal responsibility and commitment that a sexual relationship should bring with it.  We must, as the church, bring back the message of abstinence until marriage.  Our lack of it is creating a wide spectrum of social problems because we live in a society that is accepting of living outside of God’s plan.  We may have the presumed freedom to do that, but we often don’t realize how great the consequences can be, for ourselves and for others.  Our fatherless children are among those that are paying the price.

The fatherless need a father, to draw upon their strength and security.  We, who are in the position, need to bring that father’s love and instruct those fatherless children in who their real heavenly Father is and how He wants to be a Father to them.  It is we, as the family and the Church, which must make the difference in the lives and opportunities of our fatherless children.

Blessings,

#kent

Romans 9:10-13

10Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger. “13Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

 

“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

 

The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:42-50, “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. 50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Within us we house two nations, two beings and one calling.  Just as Rebekah carried twins within her womb, Esau and Jacob, the Lord spoke that “the older will serve the younger.  Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”   We see here that the calling and election of God was upon the younger even before they were born.

2 Corinthians 15 sheds some further insight on one dimension of this truth.  Here, Paul speaks to the two aspects of our person.  We, much like Rebekah’s womb are comprised of these two entities.  They are flesh and spirit.  We are comprised of both natural, corruptible, perishable and spiritual, imperishable and incorruptible.  There are two Adams from which we have been comprised the first Adam (Esau, flesh, natural) which became a living being and the last Adam (Jacob, spirit, Christ), a life-giving spirit.  The first man is of the dust of the earth and the second man from heaven.  The first Adam of the flesh despised the birthright of God, but the last Adam has obtained the birthright and that birthright is to be the sons of God with all the rights and privileges that are inherent in that birthright.

The calling and election of God in us is for Jacob, for that incorruptible man of spirit, which is now indwelled and inhabited by the Spirit of Christ through faith in Christ Jesus.  We who are in Christ have forsaken and died to the firstborn Adam and Esau and we have embraced the new man (Jacob, Christ) in the man of the spirit.  It is in this identity with Jacob, who is later named Israel, that we are growing up into Christ in all things.  Genesis 32:28 says, “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”  This is now our legacy in Christ Jesus.  In Him we have prevailed and overcome and as a prince we have power with God.  We are Jacob in the process of becoming Israel.   The calling and election for those who believe and receive is sure in Christ Jesus.  While we have born the image of the Esau and while we have struggled and contrived to obtain the birthright in that Jacob mentality, it was always ours, not through works or efforts, but through His grace.  How do we know that we are of Jacob and have received this election, calling and birthright?  1 John 2:5 says, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

It is that same principle that Christ spoke of in Luke 17:34-36, “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” 1 Corinthians 15:49-50 says, “49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. 50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”  The one shall be taken and the other left.  Old things have passed away, behold all things become new.

Esau is passing away and Jacob is coming forth as the Israel of God.

Blessings,

#kent

Poor in Spirit

August 14, 2018

 

Poor in Spirit

 

Matthew 5:3

Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

               There is a parable that Jesus gave about a young man who thought he was very rich.  He demanded his inheritance from his father and then set out to enjoy all that wealth.  We find it wasn’t a long time before he had spent up all of his money on wild living and when all was gone, so were his so called friends.  In the days to follow the young man came to a startling revelation.  He was no longer rich, there was no longer security, there was no longer a family, or even daily provision.  He was forced to take a job caring for pigs, just to share corn husks and trash food that was fed to them. 

               Many of us go through life and as long as our outward needs are met and things are going well we may never come to a revelation of how poor we truly are.  It is usually when we come to the end of ourselves, our resources and feel the gnawing of hunger and emptiness in our soul that we make the discovery of how poor we really are.  It is in the acknowledgement of this state that we are in a position to do something about it.  Like the story of the Prodigal Son, we realize we are feeding on cornhusk and the emptiness of this natural life.  Meanwhile our spiritual man is wretched, blind and naked.  Even as Christians we can be so caught up in playing church and pretending religion that we think we have it all and yet that isn’t the way God perceives us at all.   Religion may be among the things we acknowledge in our lives or a liturgy and practice we perform out of duty to God, but it isn’t our passion, our desire and our greatest need.  We may be out of position with God altogether and not even realize it because we are going through the motions of life and spirituality.      

               How would we evaluate our relationship with Christ today?  Would it be hot, lukewarm or cold?  Many of us would have to admit that we are somewhere in the area of lukewarm. 

“What’s wrong with lukewarm?  That’s good enough isn’t it?”

That is not a good place to be, for the Word makes it quite clear that God doesn’t enjoy the taste of lukewarm.  Revelations 3:15-19 may be the Lord’s personal rebuke and exhortation to us if we are in this state.  “I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! 16So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! 17For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. 19Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].”   Our outward perceptions of ourselves are not always accurate and true.  Many of us want to live out of a surface relationship with God like we do with many of our friends.  You know how you meet an acquaintance on the street and you say, “Hi, how are you doing?”

“Oh, I’m fine.  How are you?”

“I am doing well, thank you. Good talking to you.  Have a nice day” 

That about sums up the depth many of us may have with God.  God isn’t real interested in surface relationships.  He is a God of intimacy and depth.  He wants to know and deal with the true and deepest issues of our heart and life, but we are always going around saying, “I’m fine, you’re fine, everything is fine.”  We are living a lie.  We are not acknowledging our true state before Him and He can’t meet us at our point of real need until we are willing to acknowledge how poor in spirit we truly are. 

In Isaiah 66:1-2, God tells us, “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

2For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”  It is only the person that acknowledges how truly broken, wretched, blind and naked they are that is open and ready to allow God to meet their need.  Like the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father is ever looking for the return of His son, longing for him and never ceasing to love him.  He can do nothing for him until the son gets a revelation of his true state of being where he is disconnected and out of fellowship with the Father; that is us.  Only in the revelation of spiritual poverty can we acknowledge our need and know that it is only in intimate relationship with the Father God that our spirits are made rich and prosper. 

               What is the condition of our spirit today?

Blessings,

#kent

The Seductress

August 13, 2018

 

The Seductress

 

Proverbs 7

1 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your kinsman; 5 they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words. 6 At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. 7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. 8 He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house 9 at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. 10 Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. 11 (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home;

12 now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) 13 She took hold of him and kissed him

and with a brazen face she said: 14 “I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! 16 I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! 19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. 20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” 21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. 22 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose 23 till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life. 24 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.

 

It is said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  We, as human beings, are the sum of our strengths and our weaknesses.  What truly makes our chain stronger is the power of the Spirit of Christ within us.

Proverbs 7 starts out by a father exhorting his son to keep the commandments, the Word of God within him.  He emphasizes that by saying, don’t just listen to the Word, but make it part and substance of your being.  Let that Word influence the works of your hands and write them on the tablets of your heart till they become who you are.  Make God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding as your sister and near relative.

Why do I need to do that?  “They will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words.”

This passage is not just about sexual seduction; it is more about spiritual seduction.  Most all of us are familiar with the passage in 1 Peter 5:8 which says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” This is that same spirit that is at work to entice our souls away from Christ.  It looks for our vulnerabilities, our weaknesses, and those areas of foolishness that we have yet to fully submit and bring into the obedience of Christ.  They may have been subdued, lurking in the darkness of our soul.  We haven’t wanted others to be aware of them and many times we ourselves are in denial that they exist, but they are there, looking and craving for the opportunity of expression and release.  We often wrestle and struggle with these areas in our lives, but there will be a time and place of weakness in our lives that we will give place to them.  We may not even see the immediate consequences of our actions, but this seductive spirit feeds upon the dust, the humanity and the lust of our souls.  Once we begin to give place to this spirit it is like a spark and flame, it is never satisfied, but rather desires and hungers for more. It will drive us into the deeper clutches of sin and darkness.  As we give more and more place to this seduction and the passion of our soul it is as the story of this young man and the harlot.  We have become the fool and foolishness leads us down the road to ruin and destruction.

Many of us know or have known someone who was walking with Christ and then, as an animal caught in a trap, they became caught up in sin and their life departed more and more away from the path of righteousness.  This harlot and seductress had laid hold upon them, seduced them with the lie and began leading them down the pathway to hell, while all the time exciting the passions of the flesh and promising temporal, empty riches of this world’s goods and pleasures.

It is possible as we read this, that this foolish young man could be us.  Many of us know that, except for the grace of God, it would be us.  This is why God’s Word must be the standard and the anchor upon which we found our life, our morality and our principles for living.  When we depart from God’s precepts we exit onto a road that departs from the High Way of Holiness. That exit leads us away from the pathway to Life.

We have this illustration to let us know that the only thing that stands between this foolish young man and us, is following God’s Word through a maintained and intimate relationship with Him.  Any of us could follow in his footsteps at any time, if we fail to continually guard our heart and keep it in the way of God’s Word and righteousness.  Worldly enticements are always before us and they will touch the areas of weakness in our lives.  This is where Christ and His Word shore up and fortify the breeches in the wall of our city.  We must stand with the armor of God, ready to defend the citadel of our heart from the intrusion of the enemy.  That enemy will always entice us with peace and safety while a dagger is concealed beneath their coat.

Be wise in the Word; discern the craftiness and the deceitfulness of your enemy.  Know that it is the spirit of death that is wooing you into its arms.  This spirit may have a beautiful face and enticing breasts, but within her grasp is the bosom of spiritual death and destruction.

A brother emailed me a scripture yesterday that fits very well here, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)”

Blessings,

#kent

 

Practical Application for a Holy Life

 

Colossians 3: 1-3

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your  life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

 

The first thing we need as Christians is a revelation of who we are in Christ.  In Christ, the former man with it natural affections has passed away and we are putting on a new man renewed in thought, purpose and deed; reflecting and producing the image of Christ.  Colossians 3 is a great application for who we are and what we are becoming, as well as what we need to be doing to get there.

We start out by realizing positionally where we are at, “raised with Christ” who is seated at the right hand of God.  We are in Christ who is seated at the right hand of God.  We aren’t going to find many positions higher than that.  We, who are in that position, have come to a new mindset different from the one we formerly carried.  We must be a heavenly-minded people whose affections are on things above and not on things below, who walk after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh.  Many of us are still holding on to that old unrenewed mind and earthly affections.  It is bringing us down and robbing us of who we are and what we have “in Christ”.   It is only as we behold Him that the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

Colossians 3 is an instructional in the practical ways we are to become heavenly-minded and have a renewed mind.  The first thing that it instructs us to do is often the hardest for us to put into practical application.  Verses 5-11 instruct us, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming, 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”  Do you happen to recognize any of these attributes still lingering around your life?   The hardest thing to put to death is our flesh.  It has an instinct for survival and it will do anything, compromise anyway, promise to be good, it just doesn’t want to die; yet it must.  We can see the value of keeping Christ and the Word of God constantly in front of us, so that we have a mirror of who we are in Christ and we don’t loose vision of where we are going and what our purpose now is.  These little daily devotionals are just one more means I pray the Holy Spirit uses to continually prompt and exhort us in His ways and not our former nature.  We tend to want to turn away and ignore the things that put a finger on our sin and our reluctance to yield certain areas of our lives to Christ.  We all have our little weaknesses, our idols, and those things that our flesh covets and doesn’t want to give up.  Yet, if we are unwilling, then we are living in rebellion and disobedience to Christ, we are not being true to who we are “in Christ”, thus we deny His best and His highest for us.

These scriptures tell us what we must take off, but what about what we must put on.  God never takes anything away but what He doesn’t give us something better to replace it with.  Verses 12-17 instruct us, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” God is in affect telling us to be clothed now with His nature, which is the holy apparel that is consistent with heavenly citizenship.  The world around us must see something unique, different and special about the people who bear the name of Christ.  If we are no different than the world, then we haven’t really changed identity or clothing.  We are still living in the same old unredeemed man.  Its not all about us going to church, or just talking about Jesus, or telling the world they are sinners bound for hell unless they repent; it is about a lifestyle and behavior that exemplifies who and what we are in Christ.  That speaks so much more loudly than words.  Give me a person that truly lives Christ before me and that will more quickly move me to change than all of the words and arguments they could give.  When you put on Christ you don’t just put on different behavior, you put on a holy presence.  It is a presence that exudes the love and power of the Spirit that you are of.  God now has place and platform to glorify Himself through you.

Colossians 3 concludes by these instructions to the households of believers and the reminder that at the end of this natural life there is a reward and an inheritance.  A reminder that it is Christ we serve and that if we choose to do wrong, that wrong bears its consequences without respect of persons.   Verses 18-24 instruct us, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”

Thus we have simply laid out for us the guide for living the practical Christ centered life that is consistent with whom we now are.  Daily we present our bodies a living sacrifice and daily we renew our minds in Christ.  We apply these practical instructions with the help and power of the Holy Spirit, that in all things we might be conformed to His life and live consistent with the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.

Blessings,

#kent

Sheep or Goat

August 9, 2018

 

Sheep or Goat

 

Matthew 25:32-46

“All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them [the people] from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats; 33And He will cause the sheep to stand at His right hand, but the goats at His left. 34Then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me, 36I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care, I was in prison and you came to see Me. 37Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink? 38And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You? 39And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? 40And the King will reply to them, Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least [in the estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it for Me. 41Then He will say to those at His left hand, Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! 42For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me with help and ministering care. 44Then they also [in their turn] will answer, Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You? 45And He will reply to them, Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least [in the estimation of men] of these, you failed to do it for Me, 46Then they will go away into eternal punishment, but those who are just and upright and in right standing with God into eternal life.”

 

Every day we either minister or fail to serve Christ.  For so many of us, we find ourselves so involved and caught up in what we are doing that we totally miss our mission and calling.  We miss and fail to take the time and invest our resources into others.  Many of us have built up a wall of resistance against those who cross our paths with needs.  Even if we are giving, there are so many people, organizations and causes constantly asking for money and finances for something that we tend to get hardened to the “giving” as a whole.  After all we have our own family to take care and worry about.  While I would agree that there are more causes and people demanding from us than what most of us have resources to meet, are we still staying in tune with the Holy Spirit?  Are we in relationship with Christ where we can move and give ourselves as He leads and impresses us rather than as everyone expects and demands from us?

When we look at the life of Jesus what impresses us about His giving?  Did He raise great sums of money to put in the temple treasury?  Did He get involved with every charitable organization or fundraiser?  The first thing He did is He tuned into the Father and what the Father’s will for Him was and then He carried it out in action.  He gave out of the well of His life and truth.

In John 6 we find that there are those that followed Jesus after He had fed the multitude, because they saw Him as a free meal ticket.  They try and guilt Jesus into giving to them by using scriptural coercion.  In John 6:30-35 we read this dialogue, “Our forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as the Scripture says, He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.32Jesus then said to them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Moses did not give you the Bread from heaven [what Moses gave you was not the Bread from heaven], but it is My Father Who gives you the true heavenly Bread. 33For the Bread of God is He Who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world. 34Then they said to Him, Lord, give us this bread always (all the time)! 35Jesus replied, I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst any more (at any time)…. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will and purpose but to do the will and purpose of Him Who sent Me.”  The true gifts and service that we offer will be from a heart that is one with the Father’s and that lives out of an attitude of giving and service.  When we live to serve, love and give to those around us then we live to serve and minister to Jesus.  It will be in the random acts of kindness, the times we help those who couldn’t help themselves and in the times when we gave even when others didn’t deserve it.  It is in a life that is lived for others and not just for self.  It is in taking the time and having the heart for others even when our own life is so demanding.  A sheep has a nature of a servant and was born to be a blessing.  A goat may go through the motions, but their heart is not in it.  They will never see the needs in others, because they are always blinded by their own.

Blessings,

#kent

Isaiah 30:21

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

 

This is the Way, Walk Ye in  it

 

Day by day we walk with ears and heart open, straining that we might hear that still small voice that speaks unto us the mind and the will of God.   As we abide and spend time in His Word we listen as the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts, convicting us, teaching us, exhorting us and imparting unto us wisdom and understanding in the revelation and knowledge of Him.  Each morning we come to Him and we humbly say, “Father, give me this day my daily bread.”  We know so well that we can not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

What does God speak to us about walking in Him and His ways?   Deuteronomy 5:33 gives us a commandment with a promise. “Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and [that it may be] well with you, and [that] ye may prolong [your] days in the land which ye shall possess.”  We are still possessing that land today.  It is the land of promise and inheritance that we have in Christ Jesus.  It is a land filled with the life, the nature and the character of God.  It is His kingdom come in the earthen man to fill us with the glory and the knowledge of God.  Each day we walk this land, exploring the scenery and the landscape as we listen, watch and obey the still small voice within us.  Some days we walk or stumble in dusk and darkness as we stray from the light of His Word and truth and look back to that from which we came.  The Lord exhorts us, ‘don’t look back to Egypt and the world from which you came, for you were no one and I have made you my own.  I have called you out of darkness into My marvelous light and life.  Here you will find abundant life if You will abide in Me.’

Jeremiah 7:23 says, “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”  We are the sheep of His pasture and the children of His calling.  In Matthew 18:33 Jesus speaks, “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  As trusting, relying and obedient children we must trust and daily rely upon the Father to lead us in the way of righteousness.  Each day as we trust and give our hearts to Him anew in faith He will lead us step by step into our destiny and calling.  Often that is not a direct route, but He may take us by the way of the wilderness so that He might teach us, prepare us, season us and establish us, before He ever really uses us.  Many of us tend to faint in the heat.  We begin to murmur and complain.  Far too often we can allow fear, doubt and unbelief to fill our hearts.  When we do, we grieve the heart of God.  It is not important that we understand why God does what He does, it is only important that we remember what Romans 8:28-30 teaches us.  “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.” The call of God is upon you and I to walk with Him day by day in all His ways, for He is leading us in the pathways of life.

2 John 1:6 says, “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.”  The proof of our love is that we embrace the commandments of God, His truth, His principles and His ways and that we walk in them day by day.  Our spiritual life and health are dependent upon the way we walk.  Are we walking the High Way of Holiness or have we diverted to the low road of death and destruction.

God is holding out to us His word of Life and saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”  It is not an easy walk and it is not always what our flesh would want to choose, but it is the way of life and we don’t have to walk it alone.  We have the Holy Spirit, God’s own voice and presence, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”

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? 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

The Mountain of the Lord

August 3, 2018

 

The Mountain of the Lord

Isaiah 2:2-5

In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains;

it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. 3 Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways,

so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. 5 Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

 

When we read scriptures like Isaiah 2 and many places throughout Isaiah and other books that give reference to the mountain of the Lord.  In the times of Moses we saw the mountain of the Lord, Mount Sinai, as being a physical place with fire, smoke and earthquakes.  We saw portrayed a place that was so holy that man or beast could not approach it without the permission of God.  It was a place of fear and trembling for men.  Later, as we move through history and Word of God, we see reference to the mountain of Jerusalem and Zion.  Micah 4:1-2 for instance tells us, “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”  Here we see the exalted mountain of God that is open and inviting.  We know that the love of God and the blood of Jesus have made it this way.  We see it exalted established over every other high place.

What is a mountain?  Isn’t it a high place?  When we look at mountains from a spiritual perspective we can see that mountains can be every high and exalted things that stand in the pride and exaltation of men’s hearts and minds.  When we read in 2 Corinthian 10:3-6, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” What we are talking about are mountains, strongholds and imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.  We know that these mountains can and do exist in us.  First of all the mountain of the Lord must be exalted and established within our own hearts.  Only as the Lord is that only high and exalted One in our lives, can we then become the elements of His mountain and Holy hill.  We are His Jerusalem, His Zion, and His Holy Mountain because He has taken up residence and is established within the hearts of His people.  Ezekiel 20:40 says, “For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them. There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy sacrifices.”  This speaks of spiritual Israel, which we are as the redeemed of the Lord and our sacrifices are the sacrifices of praise and obedience as we slay the beast of our selfishness and offer ourselves upon the altar as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable before the Lord.  There we will offer to Him our highest praise, our humblest obedience, submission and gratitude.  There He alone will be exalted and lifted up in our minds, our hearts and in our actions.   As the body of Christ is brought into the spirit of unity and truth, then many people will be drawn to go up to this holy mountain where Christ alone sets upon the throne.  There, the dispensation of His righteousness, knowledge and understanding will flow out through His people as they dispense the Word, the Law, the peace and righteousness of God unto all who come.  Wherever there are other mountains and man is exalted in pride and unrighteousness, those mountains will be leveled and removed.  As Psalm 97:5 says, “The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth.” Isaiah 11:9 says, “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”  God’s people are the mountain in which Christ alone is exalted and upon which He reigns in Zion.  We are Jerusalem and His holy temple.  We are the instruments of His righteousness and vessels of His judgement and mercy.  We must level every mountain of opposition and pride within our own lives so, that the mountain of God is established within our own spirits and lives and that nothing in us stands in pride or opposition to Him.  Judgement begins in the house of God.

Blessings,

#kent

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