Honor and Respect

January 31, 2020

1 Peter 2:17

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

 

Honor and Respect

 

One of the areas our society that has greatly deteriorated is this value of honor and respect.  When we lose that value and principle of honor and respect then the structure and foundation of godliness and righteousness deteriorates.   It starts first in our honor and respect of God our Creator, Lord and King.  When we fail to bestow upon our God the honor that is due then all honor and respect beneath Him begins to fall away.  Where honor and respect fail to be present, abuse, slander, oppression and discrimination are quick to fill the void.

A Pharisee questioned Jesus about the greatest commandment in Mark 12:28-32.  “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

32“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.””

How does this scripture pertain to honor and respect?

One of the primary attributes of true agape’ type love is that it greatly honors and respects the object of its love.  Why did Jesus have honor?

Jesus tells the Pharisees in John 8:54, ” Jesus answered, If I honor myself, my honor is nothing: it is my Father that honors me; of whom ye say, that he is your God.”  Men have honor because they were made a little lower than the angels and they were made in the likeness and image of God.  Because each person was created in the likeness of God and has an eternal spirit, they also have a purpose and destiny bestowed upon them from creation.  God told Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5, ““Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.””  So we see that God knows each of us before we were formed in the womb what our destiny is.  Because we are His creation and meant for His expression and relationship, honor and respect should be given to all men, even as our opening scripture 1 Peter 2:17 says.

Our first commandment is to love and honor God.   Then God gives us the commandment in Exodus 20:12,” “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.”  For God to make this one of His top ten commandments means that He considers the honor and respect of parents to be of utmost importance.  These are the people that birthed you, raised you and laid down their lives for you.  They are worthy of the greatest honor and respect.  It is never a pretty sight to see a child who dishonors and disrespects their parents.

When Jesus gives the greatest commandments of love for God, He tells us to first love God, but then the second is ‘to love your neighbor as yourself’.  In order to love your neighbor properly you first must love and have a proper paradigm of yourself.  Now there are many people that have no idea how to love others because they don’t first love and respect themselves.  We must realize that we are God’s creation and though we have fallen from our estate with God and are sinful creatures God has honored us in His love by giving Jesus, His only begotten Son, to die and bear the judgement of sin on our behalf.  If we simply appropriate what He has already done for us by repentance, faith and acceptance then we can experience restoration back to who God created us to be.  Now our life has been refurbished by the love of God and He loves and accepts us no matter what our past has been.  We are a new creation in Him.  God has created us to be His temple and habitation.  Because God has loved, honored and respected us, we must have that same love, honor and respect for others; seeing in them what God saw in us, which is that we are worth His love and honor.  If God loves, honors and respects us, should we do any less in the way we treat and view others.  He loved us even when we were still His enemies and in that state Jesus came and gave His life for us.

God wants us to recognize and embrace the value of our worth to Him and in so doing extend that same honor and respect to others.  It is not dependent upon their viewpoints, philosophies, politics, race or religion.  God’s love through us should supercede all those things.

We, as the body of Christ must by our own practice and obedience, become the expression of true honor and respect for others, not matter what their relationship is to us.  It doesn’t mean that we necessarily embrace or agree with their values or behavior, but we see them through the filter of the love and blood of Christ and in that place we count them of honor and worth to God.  Our respect starts with our honoring the Father, then our parents, ourselves, our spouse and children, our brethren and our neighbors.  The Word says our spiritual leaders are worth double honor.   God is love and one of the greatest expressions of that love is the honor and respect with which we treat others and one another.

Blessings,

#kent

Yielded to Whom?

January 30, 2020

 

Yielded to Whom?

 

Romans 6:12-14

 

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

 

Imagine when you receive Christ as your Savior and the Holy Spirit comes to abide in you.  Before that, you are in this chaotic marketplace of humanity.  It is loud with its music.  There are voices all around you calling you and enticing you to come and partake of their merchandise, while they make all of their promises of how it will fulfill you and satisfy your needs and wants.  Come buy this desire, buy this experience, if you only have this then you will have peace and contentment.  Many of us have spent a good deal of our lives in that marketplace of worldliness and ungodliness.  We have partaken of many of it wares and merchandise, but always we came up lacking, always there was this same emptiness inside.  What brought happiness and pleasure for the moment was always fleeting and temporal, never eternal and continual.

Then, one day, we heard about this Jesus, who was the Son of God.  We heard He could take away all of our sin and bring us into a right relationship with God the Father.  As we listened about this Jesus, it was different than all of the other religions we heard about before where it was up to our goodness and works to get us to heaven.  This Jesus said He did it all for us, not only did he take away our sins and give His life for all our bad, but in its place He gave us all His good.  All we had to do was believe on Him and ask Him to now come in and be the Lord and King of our hearts.  We felt this tugging and drawing in our hearts.  Something in us was saying, “this is right, this is true, I need to do this.”  Yet, there was a part of you that wanted hold back.  It was saying you don’t want to do this, then you will be obligated to live for this Jesus and you won’t be able to buy and sell in the marketplace of humanity like you did before.  There is a lot of good merchandise out there; are you sure you want to give all of that up?  Yet something greater rises up in you, that is greater that the reasoning of your natural mind.  Something in you says, “I need this, this is what I have really been looking for all of my life in all of these other things that never fulfilled their promise to satisfy and give me the peace and contentment I’ve been searching for so long. ”

Suddenly you make the decision and you step forward, by faith, embracing and receiving into your heart this new Savior.  It is like you stepped out of this marketplace of the world and into this sphere, this dimension, this place where the peace and love of God filled the room of your soul.  Suddenly this tremendous weight of sin and condemnation was lifted off of you, your heart and life felt clean and pure again.  You thought, I will never leave this place, this is what I have been looking and searching for.   While the brightness of that experience fills the room it is like the walls or the sides of that tent are somewhat transparent and outside of it you are aware that the former world and marketplace exist.  Over time, as you again are forced to walk and live around the marketplace, its spirit and influences begin to return with their enticing voices seeking to lure you again into its dominion and darkness.

Here is where you can lose sight of who you are and what you have become.  The Lord shows you that you were never just your own.  You were always a slave and a servant; the big difference was who your master was.  When you came through that door of salvation you, by faith, placed your self-life of sin upon that Cross with Jesus.  When it died you traded the master of sin and death for the master of righteousness and life.  Perhaps you, like most of us, are hearing voices from the grave of your old man as he may be trying to resurrect himself in your life.  On one thing you must be clear.  The life of Christ is one that is built upon His Word with absolute faith that He is true.  The sense realm of the natural man will always perceive this outer world as real.  The reality of who you are in Christ is said here in Romans 6:22-23, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Blessings,

#kent

Trust

January 29, 2020

 

Trust

 

Proverbs 3:5-8

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

 

Trust is the sense of confidence in that which we don’t fully know and understand.  In everyday life we put our trust in many things and never give it a second thought.  We trust our utilities will work, our car will take us where we want to go, an elevator will take us to the highest floor of a building and numerous other examples where trust is an everyday occurrence of our lives.  While we trust in so many things that man has made and even in the works of our own hands, we so often shrink back from trusting God?

I found it interesting that as I looked over the scriptures on trust, in a number of them it referred to God as a buckler, a shield, a mighty fortress.  “But [it is] good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. (Psalms 73:28)”  “I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psalms 91:2)”  “O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he [is] their help and their shield. (Psalms 115:9)” The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower. (Psalms 18:2)”  “[As for] God, his way [is] perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he [is] a buckler to all those that trust in him. (Psalms 18:30)” We begin to get a picture of how great our God is to defend those who trust Him.  Trust is simply the exercise of faith.  Faith is described in Ephesians 6:16 as a part of the believers armor designed for his defense, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”

Some of us get the idea that because we are Christians and God loves us, He should just make our life bliss and take away all of our trials and troubles.  Some of us get discouraged when we begin to try and really walk in the things of God and find ourselves spiritually assaulted and so many natural things seem to start to come against us.  Our mighty God does not want to raise up a bunch of wimpy whiney children.  He is raising up a company and army of saints that have their hands trained in spiritual warfare, who know how to put on and apply their spiritual armor.  One of the foundational keys to overcoming and victory is “trust in God”.  It often takes a lot of repetitious exercise to train us not to trust in ourselves or in the arm of the flesh, but to trust in God.  Psalms118:8 instructs us, “[It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”  Fear and unbelief are the natural enemies of faith and trust.  What makes trust hard for us is the fact that it causes us to step out of the comfort zone of having control and being safe in what we know, what we can see naturally and understand.  When we step out in full faith and confidence in God, it is often like jumping off a cliff. It is like a bird falling from the nest with untried and unproven wings.  That bird will never know to what heights he can soar until he first begins to flap and prove those wings that they will bear him up and not allow him to crash.  Deuteronomy 32:11-13 gives us a picture of this concerning the people of God, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:  [So] the LORD alone did lead him, and [there was] no strange god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.”

Our Father is taking us to places and heights we have not been before.  In order to go there we must trust Him.  Often that requires us to lay aside the security of our natural man as we partake of the adventure of faith.  Those who truly live in faith are never bored with life because they are on the cutting edge of what God is unfolding new and fresh in their lives everyday.  Trust is the challenge to overcome our fears, reservations and phobia.  It is God’s frontier and we are called of Him to come in and possess the land.  “Trust in God” is what pleases Him and moves His hand on our behalf.

Blessings,

#kent

Sorrow

January 28, 2020

Matthew 28:20

… and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

Sorrow

 

Laughter in the time of sorrow helps lift the pain.

Strength comes from sorrow to continue on again.

Heart is a muscle that aches in both love and grief.

Time and the Spirit of comfort slowly brings relief.

 

Lo, I am with you always and I always care.

Rest your faith upon My Word and you will find me there.

I comfort the broken heart and catch their every tear.

My arms of Love surround them and take away their fear.

 

Sorrow touches every someone at some point and time.

It is when we lose the people we love the most we find,

How important they are and how much more time we should have spent,

Loving them, appreciating and letting them know how much they meant.

 

May it teach us to not take for granted those we love.

We never know at what moment they may be called above.

Let us love and give at every opportunity that gives rise.

And have the comfort of no regrets when death may claim our lives.

 

Kent Stuck

Blessings,

#kent

The Choice of Forgiveness

January 27, 2020

The Choice of Forgiveness

 

Mat 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

 

Mat 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

 

The spirit of love and unity is like the wall of a fortress.  When relationships are in harmony and working through their differences in love and unselfishness, there is a strength and peace of God that abides in that place.  When offence comes through someone, and it will, how we deal with it is critical to maintaining that wall that keeps out the enemy and helps maintain the peace and community we have in right relationships.  Obviously if the enemy can tear down the walls of love and unity he can storm the fortress and destroy the community.  Therefore forgiveness is so critical.  Perhaps no one thing separates us more from one another and our relationship with the Father as unforgiveness.  It is a cancer, that if left untreated, will undermine and destroy not only our natural relationships but our spiritual life as well.

Jesus taught, ” Mar 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mar 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

The Father has forgiven us more than we could ever hope for or expect if we have but come to Him,

confessed our sins and ask for His forgiveness.  If He is willing to forgive us of so great a debt, then

He expects no less of us, His children, in our forgiveness of others.  When Jesus tells us if a man takes

your coat, give him your cloak also or if he strike you on the one cheek turn to him the other.  Are

not these the principles of forgiveness that go far beyond the world’s standards.  They are principles

that say love is greater than another man’s offense and forgiveness can have no limitations whenever

there is true repentance.  When there is an offense between us and another it places a barrier in our

fellowship and relationship with the Father.  That is why Jesus exhorts us, “Luk 17:3 Take heed to

yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.  Luk 17:4 And if

he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. ”

Is it any wonder the fruit of the Spirit, manifest themselves in our selfless giving and dealings with others.  Life is going to contain many offenses.  What will we do with them?  Will we let them destroy our relationships and bring division with God and man or will we learn the higher way of love and forgiveness to maintain a fortress of unity?

Blessings,

#kent

Temptation

January 24, 2020

 

Temptation

Matthew 4:1

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

 

Temptation is an issue that we all deal with on a continual basis.  We are all tempted to go against God’s Word and principles.  It is with this issue that we spend a good deal of time, energy and prayer to overcome, especially if those temptations are ones that we tend to yield too on a far too frequent basis.  We should all know that the temptation itself is not sin, but it is what we do with it that allows it to become sin or not.  There are two primary sources of temptation. The first we see in the scripture above where we are tempted of the devil.  We see, often not soon enough, how with subtlety he works his way into our mind to draw us into disobedience to God.  Sometimes it is through another person that has also yielded their members to the tempter.

The second source of temptation is the lust, craving and desires of our own hearts and minds.  James 4:1 says, ” From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members.” Are we not in a constant battle to bring this body and its related attitudes, feelings, and desires under subjection and obedience to the lordship of Christ?  This is our constant dealing with temptation.   Roman 7:22-25 and the passage prior to it discusses the battle we struggle within our bodies against sin:  “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.   O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”   Haven’t we all cried out, on probably more than one occasion, “O wretched man that I am? Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”  Many of us hate the sin that is in us.  And all of us have areas of weakness in us that are more prone to yielding to temptation than others.  But, then Paul in the next sentence declares the answer to our cry; “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Notice he doesn’t say, praise God, I’ll try harder next time.  If you could overcome that sin and temptation, wouldn’t you have already done it?  One of our biggest sources of failure is reliance upon our own strength to fix the problem.  The fix is in Christ not in us.  But you say “I prayed and it didn’t help.”

Some of us have become so guilt ridden and condemned by our sin that we have given up and said “it is no use, I can’t change and God can’t possibly love me like this.”  GOD DOES STILL LOVE YOU AND HE HASN’T GIVEN UP ON YOU!  This is why you need a Savior, because you are unable of yourself to change yourself.  The change and deliverance we seek comes from us working in concert and cooperation with the Holy Spirit.

In Romans 8 Paul starts out by saying, “There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus.  Our faith in Christ has brought us into Him.  In Christ is where we now reside and live out our lives by the Spirit, not in the flesh.  Does that mean it’s okay to sin since there is no more condemnation.  No, it is telling us that our mind and heart are no longer set on the former attitudes and desires for sin.  We are “in Christ”, so our heart is to please Him.  It is not “I’ve got to do this and this and not do that.”  It is by setting my eyes and my heart on Christ.  “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” Galatians 2:20.  Paul says there are two spiritual laws at work here.  “For the law of the Spirit of Life has set me free from the law of sin and death.” We who are in Christ now live by a higher law, “the law of the Spirit of Life.”   In this law it is not in our self-efforts we overcome temptation, it as we walk in the Spirit (the higher law) that we put to death the deeds of the flesh.  “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”  Overcoming the flesh is then turning inward to the Spirit of God, into Christ, allowing the Spirit of God to have His expression through us as He becomes everything to us.  We are exchanging our old nature for His divine nature.  We are transformed as we renew our minds to line up with the Word of God in our thinking and walk in the revelation of who we are in Christ.  If the monster of temptation is not fed he starves and withers away, but if we continue to feed him, he always cries out for more.

Blessings,

#kent

The Spirit of Mourning

January 17, 2020

 

The Spirit of Mourning

 

Matthew 5:3-12

Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth

Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

When we as the people of God approach the presence of God in prayer there is an attitude that we should bring with us.  This attitude works in and out of the prayer closet, but it is an attitude that Jesus lays out for those of us that receivs the blessing o f God.  These are the “BE” Attitudes.  It is a condition of the heart that is in right standing or coming into right relationship with the Lord.  There is an attitude of heart that prepares us for God’s presence and working in our lives.

We have talked about how we enter into the presence of God with the attitude of praise, worship, rejoicing and thanksgiving.  Yet here Jesus is saying, “Blessed are they that mourn: they shall be comforted.”  This is a specific area that the Lord wants to deal with today.  Why do we mourn, lament, wail and are sorrowful?   For many of us, we come by this naturally through the brokeness and disappointments of life.  There is no doubt that there are those who are reading this today who are inwardly grieving and broken.  The hurts of this present world and life’s circumstance are heavy upon your heart and you have come with this attitude of mourning before the Lord.  Central in the heart of Jesus and the ministry of Christ to His people, was the broken-hearted.  Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound.”  It is interesting that the ministry of the Christ was addressed to many of the attitudes, which are addressed here in Matthew 5.   Jesus is very compassionate and is there to put His arms around those whose spirits have been broken and mourn in the natural sense.

There is another reason for mourning and it deals with our spiritual condition.  When we come to a real revelation of ourselves in the light of God’s holiness and calling we can truly be undone.  Some of us have never really come to that place where we have fully comprehended our state of wretchedness and depravity outside of God and His righteousness.  If we have then we know what it is to mourn spiritually.  Many of us know the element of grieving that we carry daily because of our sin and failures in fully walking in uprightness and purity.  We know what it is to be poor in spirit, because we realize how utterly bankrupt we are in ourselves.  Until we have a true revelation of this in our spirits, we will continue on, thinking somehow there is some good or righteousness in us outside of Christ.  A revelation of the true state of our heart and being will make way for the Holy Spirit to really perform His daily work of grace in us.  As we despair of all that is of ourselves and cling and long for the Lord to move and work in all of the areas of our lives that are not subject to His Lordship.  Many of as Christians may have once experienced this, but now we have grown complacent in our lifestyles that cater so much to our flesh and natural man.  Jesus gives us warning in Luke 6:24-26, “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”  It is imperative that our heart remains in a right and prostrate attitude toward the Lord.  When we cease to fear and reverence Him, when we become lifted up in ourselves, then we set ourselves on a course of separation rather than reconciliation toward the Lord.  Again James 4:4-10 exhorts us, “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.”  7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Today the Lord is concerned with our posture and attitude towards Him.  It is hard for all of us who live in these prosperous times and in the country that we do, not to be caught up in a lot of its ways.  The Lord is clear that we will mourn either in a spirit of repentance or in judgement.  This is a day we must get right within our hearts towards the Lord.  It is a day to mourn over the place we are missing and failing our Lord in our commitment and lives for Him.  It is a day to draw near to Him in brokeness, contriteness of heart and mourning of our sin.  “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.”

Blessings,

#kent

The Power of God’s Word

January 16, 2020

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

 

The Power of God’s Word

 

We most often readily receive and act upon medical advice and legal advice.  We follow the recommendations of our insurance, legal and financial advisors.  We even follow a lot of the advice given to us through media, television, print and the internet.  Often, we are an open funnel to receive and act upon advice from many sources.  Don’t we often follow the opinions and advice of our friends and associates?  In all the answers that we seek in life, how much is God a part of our direction and decision making?

Now I am not saying that we can’t get good advice from other sources, but our first source, our first trust and desire for direction, answers and solutions should come from our seeking God through His Word.  Most of the answers to life’s questions can be found there.  We are all caught up in a world of convenience and quick solutions to our problems.  They are often like fast foods to our souls; they lack real substance and nutrition.  What we so often forget is that we are a people that can operate out of a higher realm and authority than does the rest of the world.  We can more readily understand the spiritual implications and powers that are at work in many of the situations that surround us.

Our first line of defense, our first resource and first confidence should be faith in God’s Word and the accessing and unlocking of that power through prayer.  God has given us resources in Him that exceed any that we can find on earth, yet, so often, we turn to Him as our last option, rather than our first or to bail us out of what our actions outside of Him, yielded.  We need to stir up our faith to step out upon the promises of God, to trust Him, rely upon Him and in all of our ways acknowledge Him so that He can direct our paths.

Spiritual warfare is often not easy and it doesn’t come without opposition, but it will lead us to victory and freedom in Christ that we will never access through a dependence that is upon the world and its resources.  When we truly allow God to go before us, He is able to unlock and open doors that we could never open.  He is able to open to us blessings that we would have never received.  There are untold resources in heaven at your disposal, but it takes an active faith and trust in God’s Word to lay hold upon them.

Perhaps you are living in bondage to strongholds in your life.  The only way that you will truly experience freedom is through Christ and the power of His Word.  Dare to lay hold of the promises and apply them daily to your life.  Often the answers and solutions come to those who wait upon the Lord.  There are things taking place as we pray and believe God, that we don’t even know about.  Don’t give up, if God has given you a word, continue to stand upon it.  In His time all things come to pass.  Meanwhile fight the good fight of your faith.  Know that your strength and your power are in your God.  Lean not on your own understanding or upon your own strength.  Find that power and that life that resides within you and live out of Christ.  He is the Word and the power in your life.

In Him you have spiritual authority, power and victory.

hough we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Blessings,

#kent

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

 

2 Timothy 4:14-18

Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge.  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

                How many of us have been living life on a pretty even keel.  We are getting along pretty well in our social relationships with people, living, what we feel, is a relatively good Christian life and testimony and then it happens.  Some one comes into your life that train wrecks you emotionally and possibly in many other ways as well.  Quite possibly they have come to you under the guise of another Christian Brother or Sister who loves the Lord.  Maybe, initially you have sat and had great fellowship with them.  They have won your friendship, trust and confidence and then it happens.  At first, some things start not adding up, there are seeming misunderstandings or miscommunications.   Eventually it becomes evident that they are lying to you.  They have been manipulating and using you as long as they could for their own gain or cause.  Perhaps they are slandering you, spreading vicious rumors and trying to destroy your reputation.  This is especially true if you are trying to expose them for who they are.  What is worse is that they are still below the radar of most of their other associations, so most still perceive them as this wonderful spiritual person.  Whether they are still perceived as spiritual or not you find yourself duped and taken advantage of.   When you confront them they are always full of false promises of restitution and reconciliation or in total denial, turning it back on you as having the problem.  What do you do with someone like that? 

                These types of people are probably much like those Paul describes in 1Timothy 3, when he talks about those who come having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was (1 Timothy 3:1-9).” 

What is disturbing is the emotional and spiritual destruction they leave in their wake.  They often come defrauding honest people, deceiving, manipulating and betraying those who have embraced them in Christian love and fellowship.  They often bring division and strife, as they turn brother against brother and sow the seeds of discord.  Sometimes you would wonder if even they realize that they are the instrument of satan rather than the instrument of God. 

                The Word tells us that there will be those wolves in sheep’s clothing that will come among and try and destroy and undermine the work of God.  We must guard our hearts, for their greatest strength is gained when they get us into the flesh, operating out of emotion and feelings, rather than out of the spirit.  If we are able to rather stand in the Lord, entering into the fortress of prayer and lifting up a spiritual standard against this spirit, in time it will be broken.  When we become frustrated, angry and discouraged, we tend to want to fall back upon the arm of the flesh to fight our battles.  What did Moses do when Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses?  Jannes and Jambres were thought to be the Pharaoh’s Egyptian sorcerers and magicians.  It is interesting that Jambres name means, poverty, bitter and a rebel.  What Moses did was let the Lord be His authority and vindicate his position.  God will vindicate the righteous, but it may not be before there is great persecution.  Again our lesson is to be discerning of men, stand our ground based on the Word of God and through prayer and confidence in God and allow God to go before us in battle, so that we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Blessings,

#kent

Chasing After the Wind

January 14, 2020

 

Chasing After the Wind

 

Ecclesiastes 2:11

But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

 

Solomon, the wisest and richest of kings wrote this book of Ecclesiastes.  He was a man who said that he had it all, tried it all and none of the things of earth or the pursuits of pleasure and accomplishment were really worthwhile.  They were like, “chasing the wind.”

What are we chasing in our lives?  We allow so many things to consume our lives, our time, our efforts and affections, but what eternal value do they possess?  What will become of them when our lives are spent and we are gone?  In Mark 10:21 Jesus says to the rich young ruler, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”

This man went away sad and unfulfilled because his possessions possessed him, he didn’t possess them.  How many things in our lives possess us?  Jesus offered the rich young ruler the one thing in life that would fulfill and complete him, but he couldn’t release the natural things for the spiritual.  Jesus was letting him know and in so doing letting us know as well,  if you want to pursue something more than the vanity of this life and all that it possesses there is only one way to store up treasure in heaven, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).”  Jesus makes it plain to us that wherever our affections are, our values are placed, our importance lies, that’s where our hearts will be as well.  Jesus is giving the same challenge to us as he gave to the rich young ruler, “take up your cross and follow me.”  We process this with our minds, but not our hearts.  We don’t want to, because it means we, like the rich young ruler, we have to deal with our issues, possessions and things we don’t want to let go of, even though they are robbing us of eternal treasure.  That young man was no different than many of us.  He was a good kid.  He loved God and lived a righteous life and no doubt attended synagogue regularly.  He thought he really wanted Jesus till he had to count the cost.  It would cost him everything.  While salvation is free, discipleship will cost you everything.  The irony is that in losing everything this life has to offer you gain the riches of eternal heavenly treasure that has value long after your natural possessions have vanished.  We don’t want to make the same mistake the rich young ruler did and become offended at the gospel.

Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  If we are really sold out to Christ then we are willing to surrender all our earthly goods, talents and treasures to follow Christ.  That doesn’t mean we all literally go cash in, give it all away to the poor and take a vow of poverty, but we do need to come to that place in our hearts.  If the Lords says sell it all and give it away, we are ready and willing.  Often, we can tell what things mean to us by how tightly we hold on to them.  We need to embrace the cross and lightly hold the things of this life for even this is the wisdom of Solomon.  At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon says this of all that he has learned of life, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”

Blessings,

#kent

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