Be still and know that I am God

Psalms 46:10

Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

               One of the most difficult things for us to do in our busy lives with all of its demand is to really be still before the Lord.  Even in our prayer life, don’t we tend to want to say our piece to God and then move on?  Most times we don’t want to take the time just to be still in His presence, to listen for His voice and meditate on His wonder and greatness.    Psalms 4:4 says, “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah”

We tend do with God what many of us are guilty of doing with our loved ones, “I would really like to talk with you about it, but I’ve got to run.  Maybe we can talk later.”  Is that similar to the words that come out of our mouth sometimes?  It is often, really hard for us to be still, but until we do, we often don’t really hear the things we need to hear.  Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “The words of wise [men are] heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.” Even in our human and family relationships, we don’t really hear their hearts until we are willing to take the time to really interact with them and listen to them.  The greatest mysteries, the greatest truths, the revelations we receive are most often heard in the quite and still places.  Those are the places and times when our minds are at rest and peace and we take time just to listen and focus.  We all really need that time every day with our God and with each other to stay in tune and in touch with the ones and the One we really love.  Perhaps one of the reasons we don’t want to sit and be still is because, even subconsciously, we are running away from facing issues or confrontations or unpleasant dealings we really don’t want to deal with.  Maybe the reason those things even exist in the first place is because we don’t take the time on a regular basis to talk, heart to heart, on a human and a God level.  We want the quick fixes of our present society and culture to handle our relational problems, but they don’t.  They still take the investment of our time and our true heart to really deal with them effectively.

               Our lives are incredibly busy and full, but we need to set aside those times every day when we can just be still and know that God is God and be able hear, should He wish to speak to us.  More than likely He is speaking to us, or at least trying to throughout our day, but we aren’t tuned in to see and hear Him working in our lives and circumstances.  The way we get ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart that is tender before the Lord, is to be still and really know that He is God in our lives.  Don’t neglect the valuable time it takes to get quiet and be still before the Lord.

Blessings,

#kent

1 John 1:5-11

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

The Cleansing Power of Christ

               I don’t know about you but I shower every day.  It is not always because I see a lot of dirt on me, but I know that just through the course of daily living and life my body picks up dirt, bacteria and becomes unclean.  If left unaddressed or cleaned, my body will increasingly manifest signs of my uncleanness through odor and appearance; not only will I be aware of my uncleanness, but others will be also.  Just as personal hygiene is important to our natural man, it is also important to our spiritual man.  1 John 1:5-10 speaks to this spiritual hygiene that we as Christians need to walk in daily.  “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”  We notice that there are several conditional statements made here that put a responsibility upon us as believers.  First, we notice that it is only as we walk in the light as He is in the light that we have true fellowship with one another.  We acknowledge and recognize that it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin.  If, we say we have not sinned, it is like saying that we never get dirty or need a bath.  As in the natural so it is in the Spirit. It is the blood of Jesus that cleanses our sins; not our works of righteousness or our denial of wrongdoing.  If we confess our sins, it is the acknowledgement that we need to be continually recognizing and confessing our shortcomings, failures and impurities.  It is in that confession that we continue in the acknowledgement and light that it is only His righteousness that we can abide in by faith and not our own.  Our dependency, our completeness and our purity are dependent upon that fellowship of honesty and integrity before Him.  We know that as we abide in that place, He is not meeting us with condemnation for our failure, but with His love and forgiveness so that we may continue in fellowship and abide in the light and truth.  The enemy always comes to us with condemnation and unworthiness in order to break our fellowship of the Spirit.  The arms of Father are always open to us as we come to Him in humility, contriteness of heart and with the honesty to confess our sins before Him.  The work and office of the High Priest is to reconcile us to God, not to condemn and cast us off.  We know that Jesus is the High Priest of our confession. 

               The operation of God’s cleansing in our lives is the act of his love through Christ.  What He has redeemed, He is now making holy and sanctified for His use.  Ephesians 5:25-27 gives this illustration as a husband for his wife.  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”  He reveals to us here that while it is His blood that cleanses our sin, it is the Word of God that renews us, spot cleans us and irons out the wrinkles of each one of us as we submit to that love relationship with Him. As He has given His life for us so that we might realize in ourselves, all that He wants to be in us, so He asks that we now relinquish our life to Him so that we might enter into all that He has prepared for us.  In that process there is continual cleansing and cleaning that is going on as we are being changed from glory to glory.  2 Corinthians 3:18 explains it, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

               1 John 5:1-11 speaks this to us, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

6This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 

               We are overcomers because of our faith in Christ.  Jesus came by “water”.  Ephesians 5 just explained to us that this washing of water was the Word.  Jesus is the Word.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John1:1)” 

Christ came as the Word to wash us and renew us in the revelation of that Word in us.  He also came as the blood, the blood of the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world for the forgiveness of our sins (Revelations 13:8).  2 Corinthians 3:18 just told us that the Lord is the Spirit, so these three testify as one.

               Daily, as we abide in Christ, we should be washed and cleansed from sin, as we abide in His Word, walk in the truth and light and confess our sins before Him.  It is in this path that we are overcomers, that we remain unspotted in the world and that we walk in the light as He is in the light.

Blessings,

#kent

The Lord’s Friendship

July 27, 2022

The Lord’s Friendship

John 15:14-15

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

               Jesus says there is a characteristic that goes along with friendship with Him and that is obedience.  Our obedience to the Lord is something we all probably take much too lightly.  We tend to go our merry way through life and regard lightly the many ways and places in our lives that we offend the Holy Spirit and regard lightly the Lord’s will and commandment for our lives.  It becomes an unconscious act on our part, because we get caught up in our busyness and our lives.  We fail to always keep the Lord constantly before us, so that our day, our thoughts, our actions and words are centered around and in Him.  Jesus is more often our afterthought rather than our forethought.  What the Lord is communicating to His disciples is that in order to be in that relationship as a friend of God, rather than just a servant of God, requires obedience and cognizance of His will and His ways in all that we do.  Obedience on our part is an expression of our love and friendship with the Lord.  We are communicating that we value Him above ourselves and the relationship we have with Him is of more value than our personal will and desires.  Jesus speaks in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In this fourteenth chapter of John where Jesus is basically bidding farewell to His disciples before His Passion, He emphasizes this aspect of love, friendship and obedience quite strongly.  “At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me (John 14:20-24).” 

Most all of us want a closer and more intimate relationship with Christ.  We want to hear His voice and experience His manifest presence in our lives.  It is the consecration of desiring Him above all else that brings us to that place.  Would we want to be or abide someplace where we were ignored, put aside, unappreciated and not valued?  Yet, somehow we expect to experience the presence of the Lord when this is often the attitude of our hearts toward Him.  If the Lord is to feel welcome in us and extend His tent over our lives, then we have need of a heart attitude that reflects true love, reverence, respect and obedience to Him.  He needs to know that we are truly His and not our own.  He will not usurp the will He has given us and we can certainly override His will for our lives.  Most of us have learned that when we do this, we rob ourselves of God’s best for us.  Is there anything really better than abiding with Him, experiencing His closeness and abiding in the heartbeat of God?  That is the place we really realize the fullness of joy, contentment and purpose. 

               The Lord wants to be our friend.  He wants to reveal Himself to us in a much more personal way.  Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother.”  Jesus wants to be that friend to us that is closer than a brother, but we must show ourselves friendly through our response and obedience to Him.  Our obedience is the expression of love to our dearest Friend.

Blessings,

#kent

The Sincere Milk of the Word

1 Peter 2:2

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

               Today, those that read this will be at many different places of maturity in their walk with the Lord.  Some may be young in the Lord and some may be Fathers in the faith.  The Lord would take us back to our roots for a moment and remember that we were nurtured and nursed with the sincere milk of the Word in our beginnings.  That “sincere” means guileless, such as in things unmixed, unadulterated and pure.  Hopefully our faith has been built on a foundation of pure, unadulterated doctrine where we have the unshakable truths that are the basis for our growing into maturity.  These are the moorings that anchor our souls to the Rock.  They keep us through the storms of life and they are the cornerstones upon which everything else is built.  Holding on to these truths is like returning to our first love in Christ.  We had best not forget them and move away from them even though we don’t want to remain in that state of milk fed babies of the Word.  Such is the state of many in the church world today who are content with their bottle once or twice a week of regurgitated Word from ministers that never move beyond a salvation type message.  The majority of their congregation know little to nothing about feeding themselves in the Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach and lead them into a deeper understanding and revelation of His truth.   1 John 2:27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”   God never wants us to lose those moorings of the first principles of His Words, but He doesn’t want us to be content just to stay there either.  God is an ever-dynamic river of truth moving and revealing Himself in ever greater truth and dimension.  It doesn’t mean His truth changes, but it does expand and the Holy Spirit is what is imparting that expanding truth to us.  Church history is lined with denominations who got a hold of a truth of God then built a doctrine, church and school around it and remained camped there as the river of God’s truth moved on to reveal more of His unfolding Kingdom.   

               I have set under teaching where the man talked about having personal revelation of the Spirit that was not always consistent with the Word of God.  That is false teaching.  God will never give revelation that is in contradiction to His written Word.  He gave us that Word so that we wouldn’t be moved by every wind of doctrine.  Just as a flower grows from a bulb by means of a sprout, then it adds a bud and the bud finally blossom into a beautiful flower unfolding the potential that was in that bulb.  God’s word is growing up in us constantly unfolding new dimensions of truth that are challenging us and taking us to greater depths in our walk and experience with Him. 

               The Lord has given us the sincere milk of the Word; the principle tenants of our faith to become rooted and established Him.  Hebrews 5:12 speaks of the balance when it says, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”  It also says the reason we are still on milk is that we are dull of hearing.  Prayer, meditation and study of the Word will allow the Holy Spirit opportunity to begin to speak into our hearts more of the meat and substance of His Word.  We will develop a spiritual ear to hear as we are attentive and obedient to what He is showing us.  God is not just running a nursery school for children that never want to grow up.  He is maturing us into His sons, his royal priesthood to set creation free in its due season.

Romans 8:19 says that, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”  Jesus is the prototype and first fruits of what God is bringing His people into.  He is not doing that with infants, but with mature saints of God.  Let us grow up continually in the grace and knowledge of Him.

Blessings,

#kent

Flames of Fire

July 25, 2022

Flames of Fire

Psalms 104:4

Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

               “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:13-14).” 

You and I are the salt of the earth and the flames of God’s fire who are raised up to ignite the world on fire with the gospel and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Your greatest power is in your love and humility.  The love of God in you is the window through which the world around you sees God.  Their perceptions are formed by the lives of those who claim to be His vessels and His people. 

               Have you ever gone to someplace that was totally secular and was just faithful to the testimony of who you are in Christ?  Have you ever began to share the simple love of God and His goodness in your life to have your listeners begin to weep and cry as the Holy Spirit begins to convict and gently deal with their hearts in love.  You carry a flame in you that is dangerous to the powers of darkness.  You have the power to start fires of repentance and salvation that the devil can’t put out.  It is not because you are standing on a street corner with your Bible and commanding people to repent.  It is because you are faithful to living and being the Word of God in your daily life.  You are a minister of the Most High!  You are a flame of fire to ignite another man’s spirit and all you have to do is be the expression of His love.  The power of a servant of God is greater than the mastery and power of a king.  What king can preside over the power of the King of Kings in you?  Yes, there is a time and this has been the season for the powers of darkness to have their dominion.  The close of that season is growing close at hand and the powers of darkness will grow more fervent in their activity as the panic of their demise sets in.  What you and I must become rested in, is who we are in Christ.  The authority of that identification is paramount to our maintaining victory and dominion over darkness, not only outwardly, but also the darkness that seeks to have place in us. 

               Remember when we used to sing that little song, “This Little Light of Mine”?  The little song must be a living reality in us.  If Christ is hidden in us and veiled to the world, then we are hiding life and hope and keeping it selfishly to ourselves.   You are God’s flame of fire and what is more is that He has given His angels as spirits to assist us in our mission and purpose to share the good news and to live lives that glorify and exemplify the Christ in us.  Not only that, but the Holy Spirit is the fire of God within your torch.  He just must be held up for men to see.  What does Jesus say, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.”  

               Is God stirring up the cinders and blowing upon the fire in your life?  Begin to serve up the fire of God through the love in your words, in your actions and deeds.  Become the servant of love that you are in Him.  Let us lay aside our pride and self-serving ways.  The first thing that fire in us has to do burn is all that stands in opposition and anti-Christ to the Christ in us.  The fire must deal with our wrong attitudes, our selfish ambitions and all that denies glory to the One who is worthy upon the throne.  Our lives must become enthroned in Him.     

               Jesus says in Matthew 5:13-16, “”You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14″You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” 

               Are there places and ways that we can bring more salt and life into the earth?  We aren’t even aware many times as Christians of how the world around us is observing our life, our attitude and our faith.  They are looking for something real and genuine, but they won’t be drawn to a cheap imitation or fake.  They are looking for the real and they may be the very ones that are testing you to see if you have it or not.  If we don’t even believe in who we are in Christ, then how can others believe in who He wants to be in them?  James deals with this area in the lack of what we consider faith in James 2:18-24, “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”

               Let us become the fire of God in the earth, not in judgement, but in love.  As the world looks at our lives may they behold the loving face of God in Christ and be drawn to Him through the fire that burns in you.   Jesus says, “they will know you by your love.” Allow His Love to burn brightly in you, for you His minister and His flame of fire.

Blessings,

#kent

House Cleaning

July 22, 2022

House Cleaning

2 Corinthians 7:1

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Folded up and put away,

Is the laundry that I did today,

Dusted shelves and cleaned the room,

My house is clean I assume.

What is this in these hidden spots?

It’s dirt and lent that I never caught.

Hidden away and out of view,

I’m finding filth I never knew.

Furniture moved and closets cleaned,

I’m finding dirt that I had never seen.

I was so proud of my clean house,

Moving things, I even found a mouse.

How can things look so clean on the outside?

I guess it’s the hidden places that dirt can hide.

It is when circumstance rearranges my room.

That’s when I see how badly that I need a broom.

Holy Spirit come and search my house.

Clean my clothing and press my blouse.

Jesus wash with your blood, my filth away,

Thoroughly cleanse me, Lord I pray.

You brought to light what was hidden from view,

You revealed in me things that I never knew.

 Now help me do a deep and thorough clean,

So that without spot or wrinkle I may be seen.

Kent Stuck

Blessings,

#kent

Ears to Hear

July 21, 2022

Ears to Hear

Matthew 11:15

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear

               There are not a lot of people around that don’t have physically hearing ears.  So why did Jesus so often quote this phrase?  The eyes, the ears and the hearts that he sought in men were not their natural ones, but their spiritual ones.  A lot of people have rejected Jesus for generations, because He didn’t make sense to them intellectually.  They didn’t have spiritual ears. 

               God spoke through Ezekiel to the people of Israel in Ezekiel 12:2, “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of the house of the rebellious, who have eyes to see and see not, who have ears to hear and hear not, for they are a rebellious house. Spiritual senses must be attuned to hear spiritual things.  Our spiritual sight and hearing are directly connected to the condition of our spiritual heart.  If we are hardened in matters of the heart, our spiritual hearing and sight will be impaired as well.  Many of us know how to listen with our ears, but we don’t know how to listen with our hearts.  Often words sound like one thing, but that is not the heart.  We often may wonder why we don’t hear from God when in fact He may be speaking to us all the time.  It is a rare thing to hear God’s audible voice from heaven, but He can speak to us in so many other ways.  He speaks through His Word, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit within our hearts, through circumstances, through others, through examples of others that we have and a number of ways.  Yet often we don’t hear the Lord speaking, because we are listening with our intellect rather than our heart.  That doesn’t mean that we only hear God through our emotions, because they are from the soul and can deceive us.  We have to get in touch with our spirits, our inner man, that inner voice that is speaking the mind, will and heart of God.   In John 8:47 Jesus  says,  “He that is of God will hear the words of God.”

               I remember times when the kids were growing up and they were constantly asking questions, “Can we do this or can we do that and so and so did this.”  As parents you know how emotionally draining children can be.  There were a lot of times that I just zoned them out.  I basically just shut them off.  They could be standing there saying, dad, dad, dad!  I had just shut them off mentally.  That was my way of coping, but at the same time I had shut off my involvement in their lives, as obnoxious as that could sometimes be.  I quit hearing them; my heart was hardened in that area.  We do the same thing to God.  Many times, like my children, we don’t really want to hear God.  He is speaking things to us that we don’t want to deal with.  Quite honestly, we like our way.  We like to do what we enjoy and when we enjoy it.  If that is not lining up with God’s plan, guess who we tend to ignore?  We end up shutting God out of our hearts.  When we close our hearts to God, we don’t just shut out a person, we shut out the love of God to our hearts and consequently the flow of His Spirit and love through us.  That ends up impacting not only our spiritual relationship, but our natural ones as well.  Many of us have done this same thing with our marriages and we are wondering why we don’t feel in love with that person anymore? Our heart connection is the key to our hearing and seeing.  If you want to really hear your wife, stop listening to just her words and listen to her heart.  Sometimes what we hear as just nagging, are pleas from their heart, saying “help me, appreciate me, care about me, communicate with me, love me.  I have needs that are desperately needing to be met.”

               If we want to hear again what God is speaking through His Spirit we have to open our hearts to Him.  We may be going through all the right religious protocol and yet totally missing Him.  Our relationship first must be a matter of the heart, before it has meaning though our works.  Our works must be the outflow of our heart relationship with Father; so many times we have gotten it backwards and try to use our works to find relationship. 

               If we ever want to come out of the wilderness and inherit the promises of God, we must reconnect our hearts with Father.  Deuteronomy 29:4 says, “Yet the LORD hath not given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”  A rebellious heart will keep us the prisoners of our circumstances, it will keep us in the rut of failure and it will leave our hearts lean and malnourished.  

               When the Holy Spirit spoke through John, in Revelation 3, He repeatedly said at the end of each exhortation, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”  Let us have the spiritual ears to hear what He is speaking to our hearts in this day, this hour and this minute.  Let us listen and obey.  Let us reestablish that heart connection that has become callused and cold.  In order to hear Him in this hour we must have that right heart condition.

Blessings,

#kent

The Obligation and the Reward

Luke 17:7-10

7Will any man of you who has a servant plowing or tending sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, Come at once and take your place at the table? 8Will he not instead tell him, Get my supper ready and gird yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; then afterward you yourself shall eat and drink?

9Is he grateful and does he praise the servant because he did what he was ordered to do? 10Even so on your part, when you have done everything that was assigned and commanded you, say, We are unworthy servants [possessing no merit, for we have not gone beyond our obligation]; we have [merely] done what was our duty to do.

Many of us think that if we keep God’s Word, give our ten percent tithe, go to church and are good people great is our reward in heaven.  In reality, we are only fulfilling our obligation and duty to keep God’s Word and live in obedience to the Lord.  A lot of us try to do what is expected of us as Christians, but then that is where we stop, because now it’s my turn to take care of my needs, my wants and my desires.  So much of our Christian lives are committed to just doing our duty to God. This is a good thing and certainly something we should be faithful in fulfilling, but will we receive the praise of God and be rewarded for simply doing what is expected of us as His servants and children? 

Often, we have a mentality that as long as we make heaven that’s all I care about.  That isn’t the mentality of the Lord.  The nature of God goes beyond was expected and what is required.  The rewards that Jesus brings with Him at His coming aren’t to those who just meet the requirements, but to those who went beyond their duty and obligation.  What are we living, doing and giving beyond what the Lord has required of us? 

Listen to Paul’s revelation of this concept for his life in 1 Corinthians 9:13-19.  “13Do you not know that those men who are employed in the services of the temple get their food from the temple? And that those who tend the altar share with the altar [in the offerings brought]? 14[On the same principle] the Lord directed that those who publish the good news (the Gospel) should live (get their maintenance) by the Gospel. 15But I have not made use of any of these privileges, nor am I writing this [to suggest] that any such provision be made for me [now]. For it would be better for me to die than to have anyone make void and deprive me of my [ground for] glorifying [in this matter]. 16For if I [merely] preach the Gospel, that gives me no reason to boast, for I feel compelled of necessity to do it. Woe is me if I do not preach the glad tidings (the Gospel)! 17For if I do this work of my own free will, then I have my pay (my reward); but if it is not of my own will, but is done reluctantly and under compulsion, I am [still] entrusted with a [sacred] trusteeship and commission. 18What then is the [actual] reward that I get? Just this: that in my preaching the good news (the Gospel), I may offer it [absolutely] free of expense [to anybody], not taking advantage of my rights and privileges [as a preacher] of the Gospel. 19For although I am free in every way from anyone’s control, I have made myself a bond servant to everyone, so that I might gain the more [for Christ].”

The Lord has required of us certain things, but the reward of the Lord and that, which endures into eternity, is that which we give beyond our obligation and requirement.  Listen once more to what Jesus tells us about what is required and how we would exceed that as servants of Christ.  Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

39But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too. 40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt (tunic), let him have your coat also. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two [miles]. 42Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] from you. 43You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; 44But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike]. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47And if you greet only your brethren, what more than others are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles (the heathen) do that? 48You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

               The reward of the Lord is to those who go beyond their obligation and exceed expectations.  It is in the sacrifice and the going beyond what is required.  Are we living in obligation or are we living unto our reward?

Blessings,

#kent

Single Eye, Single Mind

July 19, 2022

Single Eye, Single Mind

Luke 11:34-35

The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when [thine eye] is evil, thy body also [is] full of darkness.

 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

               We hear it said, “the eye is the window of the soul.”  Jesus is saying something similar in this passage.  The soul is made up of the mind, will and emotions.  The eye really represents the input to what we are feeding into our soul.  Someone could be physically blind and actually have more light in their body than someone who has all of their faculties.  In John 9:39-41 Jesus has a conversation with the Pharisees after healing a blind man and remarks to them,”…For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And [some] of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” Our spiritual sight comes by way of the Spirit of God.  The Holy Spirit is what quickens the Word of the Lord to us and makes it light and life.  We become accountable for the knowledge and light that we have. With what Jesus is saying to the Pharisees it is plain to see that just because they had the knowledge of the Word of God they didn’t necessarily have enlightenment and understanding.  How many are deceived today because they think if they know something about God, that saves them or puts them in right position spiritually?  Jesus is saying to the Pharisees, if you were ignorant of the Word of God that would be one thing, but because you think you know the truth and because of your knowledge, your sin remains.  Knowing the truth is not necessarily living in the truth.

               If there is one thing that I’ve seen through the years, “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (1Corinthians 8:1).”  We can have a great command of the Bible and great revelation knowledge, but it is not in what we know, it is in what we are walking in and putting into practice in our lives.  Faith in action according to knowledge and working through love is what produces life and light. 

               Jesus is speaking to His disciples concerning spiritual sight in Matthew 13:10-17, “And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

               For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed [are] your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous [men] have desired to see [those things] which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear [those things] which ye hear, and have not heard [them].” 

               In order for us to have light it must come to us through the eyes of spiritual insight.  That brings with it not just knowledge and legalism, which is the state we see the religious people of Jesus’ day in, but it comes through the Word that is quickened by the Holy Spirit who gives life and understanding to our knowledge.  Rather than a head thing, it becomes a heart thing.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” The law simply written on pages and administered by men void of its spirit becomes legalism, condemnation and death.  The law written upon our hearts by a life changing Spirit becomes to us and those around us, life, liberty and light.

Jesus likens our light as unto a candle set upon a lampstand.  If we have a candle only, like the Word without the Spirit, we have no light.  If we have a flame with no candle we may well have a fire out of control.  But if we have a candle lit with a flame we have a union that creates balance and produces light.  We are the lampstands that are to carry that light with singleness of purpose.  Our purpose is to be the outshining of His light and the truth of His Word through lives that are lived in the luminance of the light which He brings to us who of a single eye and a single mind.

Blessings,

#kent

Skating on Thin Ice

July 18, 2022

Skating on Thin Ice

Matthew 25:10-13

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

29-30

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

41-46

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

            Our texts from Matthew 25 presents us with three parables given by Jesus that illustrate wise and faithful servants with subsequent rewards and foolish and slothful servants who reap the closed door to God’s presence and His judgement of displeasure. There are many that loosely wear the name of Christian.  There are many who attend church and acknowledge the name of Christ, but if we all stood before Him in judgement today how many of us would truly be considered His?  The passage in Matthew 7:13-23 instructs us, “13″Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “The scriptures speaks something very specific to us that many tend to ignore.  Many of us have a philosophy that we can have religion, that we can have works and that we can generally believe upon the name of Jesus and that insures us of heaven.  I fail to see that premise supported in these scriptures.  There is a connection necessary for us to be “in Christ”.  The connection we have in Christ is not just one made in a moment of repentance when we came to the altar; that should have been the beginning of a continuing, ongoing and deepening relationship that leads us into the heart of God and establishes us as part of the vine, yielding the fruit of the Spirit.  Our salvation is not contingent upon how religious we are, what church we go too, what denomination we do or don’t belong too or how good our works are.  Salvation is union with the One who hung upon that cross for you and I. He gave His life so that we might have eternal life.  For many, the definition of salvation has become very loose and general, but in these scriptures and many like them we find an exacting Lord, who expects faithfulness, obedience, commitment and fruitfulness.  That fruit has no value or worth if it is produced outside of the vine; it is the fruit of the vine that produces life and lasting value. 

               Jesus says specifically in Matthew 7:13, “”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Religion is a wide road that may lead us in pursuit of God, but does not lead us into life and relationship with Him.  That small gate and narrow road is not the one traveled by the masses or even the church in general; it is traveled by those in pursuit of Him.  Where are we at on life’s road?  Do we just possess religion, a belief system or even spiritual gifts?  None of those in themselves make us His.  He is looking for the ones who bear the fruit of His life within them, who are faithful with what He entrusts them with, who are watching and preparing for Him and those who are ministering that life to others that they themselves possess.  Do we really know Him and are we in relationship with Him or are we skating on the thin ice of a mindset that just says, “sure I believe in Christ” but aren’t really living what we think we believe.  Our beliefs must become our realities.

Blessings,

#kent

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