Today’s Trials are Tomorrow’s Victories

Romans 8:28-39

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

               We often struggle with why the people of God go through so much suffering and trials.  Some might say it is because they don’t have enough faith or they must have sin in their lives.  I tend to believe that it is often the sweetest and most precious grapes that make the best wine, but in order for them to offer up their vintage taste and sweet fragrance they must first be crushed.  Suffering and trials have been the plight and portion of many a saint.  It is not a new concept.  We struggle with that because we think in our hearts, even if we don’t outwardly say it, “God if you are sovereign then why don’t you deliver the afflicted and the suffering, especially those who are calling out to You?”  The victory of life in the natural and fleshly man is not always living in health, wealth and prosperity.  It is not about what we have in the good times of our life.  The true metal of a godly nature is tested in the fire.  All of our works will be tested in that fire at some point.  Some may be going through that fire right now.  Perhaps you are very weary; the enemy has assaulted your faith and your God.  Your friends may be like those that Job had, only content on you confessing your sins or shortcomings.  It takes a tremendously faithful person to go through the fires that God sometimes allows in our lives.  The real victory is not in whether or not we see our earthly deliverance; it is in how we live our lives in the midst of those trials.  God’s Word says in 1 Peter 1:7-9, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.”  It is not the suffering and trials that God rejoices in, it is the faithfulness of His saints in the midst of it.  That faithfulness and praise in the midst of suffering is the sweet aroma and incense that rises into the heavens.  It is a sweet smelling savor unto the Father’s nostrils.  Nothing can speak louder to God that we love Him for who He is and not just what He can do, than our faithfulness in the midst of our suffering and trials.  

               We know in our hearts that God’s arm is not short that He can not save, but nothing torments and discredits satan more than a Christian who will only honor and praise His God even when satan is twisting his arm behind his back.  What focuses us more on God’s grace and strength than our trials and tribulations?  In those places where we have no further human resources or help in the flesh to lean on, we learn to take hold of the grace of God.  We learn the patience to enter into His rest and know that these earthly vessels of clay and the very life that they we breath are in His hands.   Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand.”  We have offered ourselves up into God’s hand to do as it pleases Him.  Our lives are for His glory and not for our own.  We struggle with the perspective of suffering and trials because we see it from a human standpoint.  Our view is the preservation of the natural life.  God’s view is not in the importance of the outward hull of the seed, but He is looking to the life within.  The threshing floor was a place of separation between wheat and chaff.  The outward man with this body is like the chaff.  The separation is really a claiming of the Christ nature and a revealing of it.  No one has the goods like the one has passed through the fire.   Their testimony is not one borne out of head knowledge; it is a witness of experience.  Before Job went through his trials he knew a lot about God and had a relationship with Him, but it didn’t compare with how he knew God when he went through the fire.  In the conclusion of what Job went through and after his discourse with the Almighty he says this in Job 42:1-6, “Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.””  Many of us know about God, but it is only as we have gone through the fire that we come into a place where we have seen Him.  When we have seen Him, all foolish doubts and questionings cease, and we repent in dust and ashes. 

               God loves us.  We have been called out and set aside for a purpose.  He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son.  His Son learned obedience through the things that He suffered.  If you are in that place of suffering, then God is only proving your faithfulness and your faithfulness is a mockery of the enemy.  He is raising you up in LIFE even when your body only seems to be experiencing death.  Lay hold of the resurrection and the Life within you and live out of Him.  His grace is sufficient, and He will raise you up to the praise of His name.  Hold fast your faith, you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!




Growing Pains

November 29, 2022

Growing Pains

Ephesians 4:15

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:

               It is hard growing up.  When we look back through our childhood and remember all the falls, scrapes, cuts and bruises and all the dumb things we did.  We marvel sometimes that we are still alive.  Then there were all the emotional issues we went through, with the acceptance of others and the mean and unkind things others would say to us or about us.  We were probably guilty of the same things.  Childhood and adolescence were a tuff time, but we always thought about when we would grow up and how different that will be and how we won’t have to put up with all of the unpleasantness anymore.   We find our growing pains are still a part of life and while they may change their dimension they seem to always be there at each stage of life stretching us further than we want to stretched. They are causing us to address and deal with issues we would have been far more content leaving alone.  When we look at our lives in the perspective of life we realize that without pain, without adversity, without the stretching, we would become retarded, inadequate to the task, and unable to progress and mature in all of the areas of our lives.  It is the growing pains that have made us what we are today and what we will be tomorrow. 

               Our spiritual life parallels these natural events.  Like in the natural, it is the trials, tribulations and adversities in our lives that stretch our faith and cause us to keep our eyes and dependency upon Christ.  Isaiah 54:16-17 says, “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue [that] shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness [is] of me, saith the LORD.”  The Lord says that He has created the instruments of adversity in our lives, “the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire… and the waster to destroy.”  Why, does God want to torment and hurt his people?  No, He wants to show Himself mighty and strong in those whose hope and confidence is in the Lord.  He goes on to say, “No weapon formed against thee shall prosper” and every tongue that judges you He will condemn.  “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their righteousness is of me.”  The enemy is simply a tool in the hand of God to bring forth and purify His people.  God is making vessels of pure gold out of the raw ore with all of its impurities.  The process is painful as the pure gold is extracted out of the impure ore.  It is crushed, fired, smelted, beaten and formed.  In the end the ore has passed from a piece of rock with only potential worth to a pure, beautiful and costly vessel of pure gold.  It has passed, so to speak, from death to life, from dishonor to honor.  It is easy in this process to feel God is pretty harsh and unfair to us at times, but He sees from the beginning to the end.  He sees us for what we shall be and not what we are at this stage of the process.  We are not going to always understand the hand of God, but like the song says, ‘we can trust His heart.’  We know that the Father’s heart towards us is perfect love and He will do what is necessary in us to work in us His highest, because we know that “nothing can separate us from His love.”  Yes, all through life we will be stretched and experience the growing pains of being conformed to His nature and image. 

               Again, we can look to Jesus as our example.  Hebrews 5:7-10 says, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.”  If Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered, can we expect less?  Will we not walk in His footsteps even to the crosses in our lives that Lord brings us too?  Our joy is not in the death, but in the life that we see by faith beyond it.  We know that to experience the fullness of His life that the death of the old is a necessary part of it.  Don’t grow weary or discouraged in those growing pains because they are what are stretching you and I into divine life and helping us to become partakers of the divine nature.




November 28, 2022


Isaiah 52: 7

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,

who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

               What do we think of when we think of feet?  Do you think of the often smelly, dirty, corned and callused little members at the bottom of your body that carries you through life?  It has been very enlightening, as I’ve taken some time to go through all the scriptures in the Word about feet.  These little, often neglected, members of the body are spoken of quite frequently.  They are definitely members of spiritual, as well as, natural significance.  Our feet, so often neglected and taken for granted, carry us through our whole life.  They have to support the weight and burden of the whole body.  If they don’t work or they slip or stumble, they take the whole body down with them.  Spiritually speaking this is significant as well, because the feet represent our spiritual walk.  There are many aspects to the feet, but let’s look at this one first. 

               We have often heard the term, “to sit at one’s feet”.  Throughout the Word of God it is shown that at the one’s feet that you sit at, is often the one who determines the direction and the way you walk.  The authority that we submit too, the ones we learn from and how that translates into our lives is our definition of “sitting at one’s feet”.  There are many instances where people would fall at another’s feet.  By that act they were showing submission, obedience, asking for mercy, humbling themselves beneath that one’s authority.

In Deuteronomy 33:3, Moses speaks of God, “Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction.”  As a people of God we have at least mentally assented to the authority of God to order our ways.  Deuteronomy 11:22- 25 tells us the significance of walking in His ways. “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him- 23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the western sea.  25 No man will be able to stand against you. The LORD your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.”  We begin to see a principle unfold that our authority and dominion is dependent upon the way we walk and who we follow.  God is saying, ‘if you follow after me and sit at my feet these are the results you can expect to see.’   In Joshua 10 there is an account of a miraculous battle when five Amorite kings moved into position and attacked Israel.  You may remember that this was the battle in which there was such great victory for the Israelites that Joshua prayed that the Sun might stay still in the sky so that he could finish the battle.  In verse 24-26 the kings have been captured and it says,” When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks. 25 Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” 26 Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening. “  This is a type of what the Word of God is instructing us to do with our spiritual enemies and the strongholds of our lives.  We could even see it as being our five senses and living after our natural man.  For it is our flesh that wars against our spirit, but our spirit man must prevail and put to death the flesh.  Through the example of putting their feet upon the necks of these kings we are seeing that our enemies are put under our feet. The condition is that we have to exercise our authority and if we let the flesh live we will have to come back to fight it another day and it will always plague us and be a stumbling block to us as we see it was for Israel.  

               Joshua is such a strong type of our spiritual authority because he learned it at the feet of Moses and by seeing first hand the faithfulness of God.  In Joshua 14:7-9 he briefly shares a testimony of earlier days and its lesson.  “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.”  What is the lesson?  Faith, that is steadfast, has the reward of an inheritance.  That faith is demonstrated through a walk that follows after God wholeheartedly.  Fear on the other hand is the contradiction and arch–nemesis of Faith.  If we follow it, then it will be our undoing and our defeat. 

               Another case for this truth is seen in 1 Samuel 2:6-10, “”The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. 7 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. 8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; upon them he has set the world. 9 He will guard the feet of his saints, but the wicked will be silenced in darkness.

“It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the LORD will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king

and exalt the horn of his anointed.” If we will believe in the Lord and walk in His ways, He will guard our steps and bring us to good success and it isn’t dependent upon our might or ability. 

               We see the spiritual reality of our enemies being put under our feet in Christ.  While satan may have been deluded in that day to think that he had defeated Christ when he nailed him to the cross, he simply sealed the Lord’s victory and dominion.  When the Lord was resurrected, He ascended into heaven, He led captivity captive and gave gift unto men.  He took the keys of dominion and authority back from satan and gave them to the church.  He gave gifts unto men.  He gave spiritual gifts and offices to His church for what reason?  Ephesians 4:12-13 says, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  Christ gave us the power to crush the head of the serpent under our feet.  He did the hard part, He gave His life to redeem us back to God and take those keys of authority.  Now He has sat down as it says in Hebrew 10:12-14, “12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”  Christ, the head has done His part, now it is up to the body to complete and walk out what He started.  We are His body and as such, we are also His feet.  It is not finished until satan is our foot rest and he has been put under the least and lowest member of the body.  1 Corinthians 15:26-26 says, “25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”  The body must experience and lay hold of the fullness that is in the head.  For it is Christ through His body that must exercise full dominion and power to put all things under His feet.  Ephesians 1: 22-23 tells us, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”  It has to be completed in us. God, in Christ, shared our humanity with us, so that we might share His glory with Him.  Hebrews 12:5-13 says it so well, “5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8and put everything under his feet?  In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. 12He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers;

in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.”  13And again, “I will put my trust in him.”   And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”  We are the feet of the Lord and dominion and authority is coming from the head through the body till the feet of Christ are rested fully upon the neck of satan as they were on those Amorite kings in the book of Joshua.  He that makes us holy and we that are made holy by him are of one family and one body.  It is the Lord and trust in Him that gives us strength to walk the path of faith and trust even in perilous and trying times.  It is the Lord who strengthens us and gives us help in the battle to overcome the adversary. David expresses these very thoughts in Psalms 18:31-40, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God besides the LORD ? And who is the Rock except our God? 32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. 33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. 34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. 36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn. 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. 38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. 39 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.”



Called to Obedience

November 25, 2022

Called to Obedience

2 Corinthians 10:5

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

            This morning as I was standing on the patio by the side of our house and I had the privilege of watching an amusing and rare event.  I had heard some noise and had gone out to see what it was.  As I stood there still and watching I began to see what I came to realize was a doe and three fawns.  The little fawns were romping around, playing and having a great time.  As the doe came by within twenty or thirty feet of me I could hear her calling, somewhat like a cow would do, but not as loud.  One of the little fawns came and staid close to her while she continued trying to watch out for and call in the other two.  They seemed pretty much oblivious to her as they continued their chasing one another.  Eventually they moved away from the area and I suppose she continued tying to get their attention and obedience.  She knew far better than they the dangers and pitfalls of not being alert and discerning of your surroundings.  What did they care they were just having a good time. 

            As I was meditating on this I began to think how much this often resembles our attitudes toward obedience to God.  The Holy Sprit is like that doe trying to watch over us, warn us, and call us to the protection of a close relationship with Him.  There are some that listen and stay close, going and doing as the Holy Spirit directs, but a good many of us are like those other two fawns, running, playing and pretty much doing as we please with only slight regard for the doe that is trying to watch out for us and help us to come to full growth.  We simply choose to ignore the potential dangers and pitfalls that we can easily fall into.  And there are always the predators, who like satan, are seeking whom they may devour.  Disobedience and willfulness exposes us to this danger.  Sometimes those who are Christians can find their lives turned upside down by sin that crept in stealthily and with little detection because we had strayed from the Shepherd and were off playing in the fields of our own pleasure or desires. 

            The Word teaches here in this 2 Corinthians 10 passage, that safety and prevention begin within our own minds.  The seed of sin is most often in a thought.  The thought given place will grow until eventually it will become a word or an action.  It is just as James 1:13-15 says it, “13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”  Just as ignoring the doe could kill those disobedient fawns, so our disobedience can kill us.  For us to grow up into the fullness of what Christ has purposed for us requires that we come under the reigns of obedience.  The Lord simply states that this is the act of love toward Him, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  Our growth and maturity in Christ demands our attention to obedience.  That is where we learn His voice and learn to be like Him.  That is where we learn to discern the thought and intents of our own hearts and cast down the desires, imaginations and temptations that will lead into that place of vulnerability and failure.  It all starts with our minds and the attitude of our hearts.  Do we have a heart for obedience or are we bent on self-will? 



The Favor and Blessing of God

November 24, 2022

The Favor and Blessing of God

Deuteronomy 11:26-28

Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;

A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known

               God says, the people of faith and obedience are a blessed people.  Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ.”  We are blessed in Christ with “all spiritual blessing.”  These are the richest kind of blessings; our salvation, forgiveness of sin, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, His gifts and anointing, our relationship, friendship and fellowship with Heavenly Father, our privilege to share in sonship and kingdom ministry, our inheritance in Christ, to name a few.  Do we really take the time to count our blessings and name them one by one as the old hymn goes?  If we really did that, we would be there for some time; for God’s benefits are so many and we take so many of them for granted.  We are a favored people, but are we really partaking of the full blessing that God has for us?  One of the pitfalls of blessing is it that we are prone to become prideful and think that somehow our goodness or abilities have earned us these blessings.  Our eyes begin to wander off God and onto us.  We become self-indulgent and self-serving and forget why we are blessed.  ” When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest [when] thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein]; And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; … And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth.  But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day.  And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish (Deuteronomy 8:11-14, 17-19).”  The same principles hold true today; it is in fear and obedience to the Lord that we are blessed.   Psalm 68:19 is typical of many scriptures that reminds us to bless Him who is our blessing, “Blessed [be] the Lord, [who] daily loadeth us [with benefits, even] the God of our salvation. Selah.”  This is the reason our praise and worship of God is so important.  It keeps us in right perspective and in an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude as we constantly acknowledge and bless the God who is our blessing.   As the Lord daily loads us with benefits and blessings should we not in turn and load upon the Lord our thankfulness, praise and adoration for all that He is and all that He does in our lives? 

               Someone may say, “boy, it sure doesn’t seem like I am blessed, all I ever have is problems, heartache and pain.”  You know, David had a great solution for that same malady in his life.  He might express his hurt and pain to the Lord, but then he would turn around and begin to acknowledge the Lord in all his ways, with praise, worship and thankfulness would he bless the Lord.  He knew his victory would never come out of self-pity, murmuring and complaining.  His deliverance was in the place of faith and exalting God as His source to meet all of His needs.  The book of Psalms begins in 1:1 with this statement, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”   Basically, he is saying there is a lot of negative and wrong ways of thinking out there in the world, don’t be a part of it!  Otherwise, you will become cynical, critical, and judgmental.  You will turn away from God and perish.  Rather do as verse 2 exhorts, “But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”  God’s Word and our faith in it and the One who gave it to us will deliver us out of our hardships in due time.  Don’t let your heart become hardened in the hard places, but rather fall upon the Rock and let your spirit be broken, humble and contrite before the Lord, for the Lord says,  “…but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word (Isaiah 66:2).”   Often it is in those difficult place of discipline, correction or just trials and testings that God is working an even greater blessing than we can comprehend at the time.  Job experienced such a time in His life, but Job 1:22 says, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”  Job didn’t understand why he was going through such tribulation, but He did trust God through it and latter it says that God blessed his latter end more than his former. 

We are a blessed people, blessed by a Blessed God and loving Heavenly Father.  We are blessed to be a blessing, both to return blessing to our Heavenly Father who has so richly blessed us and to be a blessing in the lives of others.  As we sow, thus shall we reap.  As we are so richly blessed, let us be a blessing to both God and man. 

Revelations 22:14, “Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”  Blessed be the name of the Lord!



Out of a Thankful Heart

November 23, 2022

Out of a Thankful Heart

Romans 1:21

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

               Have you ever given and done things for someone to bless them, only to have them either ignore and take for granted what you had made a special effort or sacrifice to do for them or even worse, have them complain because it somehow didn’t suit their liking?  Remember the hurt and disappointment you felt, the lack of appreciation and insult it was to you?  How often has this been our attitude towards the Lord?  We may mutter an occasional thank you in prayer or in blessing our meal and often that is more out of habit than a sincere appreciation for what we truly have.  It is important that we take a minute to consider the true importance of thankfulness to the Lord and realize the implications of the lack of it.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In ever thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Our giving thanks isn’t something we should do on a whim.  It is the will of God concerning you and me.  Just the words “give thanks” occurs some thirty-nine times throughout the Bible, not to mention all of the other phrases of thankfulness.  Maybe this is something that we have taken rather lightly and we need to take a harder look at. 

               Is God an egotist that he requires our thankfulness?  It is not about God’s ego.  It is about His worthiness and the tribute of praise, worship and thankfulness due to His name as the Lord, Savior and Creator of all.  But even beyond that there are reasons we need to praise Him for our own sake.  As our key passage points out, there is something that happens to us when we fail to acknowledge all that God is and does and cease to be thankful.  It causes us to become vain in our imaginations, we start to become puffed up and guess who soon becomes the god upon the throne of our hearts?  Our foolish hearts do become darkened because they begin to acknowledge only self and our abilities rather than God’s.  

               There is a passage from Moses’ exhortation to the Israelites as they were about to come into the promise land that I think is very applicable to the people of God in any generation.  Deuteronomy 8:10-20 says, “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.  Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest [when] thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt [therein];

 And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, [wherein were] fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where [there was] no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;

 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”  God knows our hearts and how full of ourselves we can become.  If for no other reason, it is important that we keep God in perspective in our lives through thankfulness and praise.  We must always remember and acknowledge before Him that He is the source and provision for every good thing.  Not unlike the Israelites of the wilderness, we are much more prone to murmur and complain about all God hasn’t done for us, or how we think He has failed us and what He should have done that He didn’t do for us.  Are we idiots to make such accusations against our God?  What right or business do we, His created, have to tell Him how and what things should be done?  How arrogant and presumptuous on our parts, to correct or rebuke God.  This is truly when our hearts become darkened because we have gotten God out of perspective through our hardened attitude and lack of true thankfulness. 

                              There are not a lot of things we can really give back to God, but thankfulness is one of them.  Let us take the time to really count our blessings, regardless of our circumstances, and truly offer thanksgiving from a grateful heart.  Let us be thankful not only for the things which we see already manifested, but even the more for the things we don’t yet see which we lay hold of by faith.  Thankfulness is truly an expression of faith that opens the doors and brings the answers to our prayers. 

” So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations (Psalm 79:18).”



Pass On

November 22, 2022

Ecclesiates 12:5b-7

…For man goes to his eternal home,

And the mourners go about the streets.

6 Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,

Or the golden bowl is broken,

Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,

Or the wheel broken at the well.

7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,

And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

                              Pass On

Our earthly lives are like the leaves of fall,

In their spring they stood strong and tall,

They’ve changed color as the season passed,

But the difference they made is what will last.

They brought life and joy to those around,

Now their voice is but a distant sound,

Yet their memories etched their mark.

Those memories we now hold in our heart.

Our tears water the ground where the body lay,

But their spirit is released into another day.

No more pain and sorrow in this body now,

No more fields in this earth to plow.

No longer will they come to us in this earthly plain,

We pray that what we count as loss they will find as gain.

Their memories and their love live on for us to share,

Find your comfort now in our Father’s mercy and care.

Kent Stuck



Until Christ be Formed in You

November 21, 2022

Galatians 4:19

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.

Until Christ be Formed in You

               This morning as I was praying for my children, I found myself daydreaming.  I was picturing myself as a feeble old man on his deathbed.  I was speaking with my son as I had him put his hand in mine.  I was asking him about his relationship with the Lord.  I realized that one of the most important things in my life is that my children are in right relationship with Christ spiritually.  Our kids used to always ask us what we wanted for a birthday or holiday and we would almost invariably tell them we just wanted them to be right with the Lord, make right decisions and live good lives.  Anyway, as I held my son’s hand, I was telling him that even though I appeared to him as old and feeble, I was still the same dad that raised him and loved him through the good times and the bad.  I told him that even though I wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the drawer the one thing I did know and believe with all my heart was the reality of Christ and His love for us.  The greatest disappointment in my life would be to come to find out that while I went to heaven one of my children went to hell.  Even though each person makes their own decision concerning their salvation and relationship with Christ, if my children missed it, I would feel the crushing blow of failure in the one thing that was most important to me.  

               I think Paul had this same kind of fatherly feelings when he spoke this scripture about his travail for his children in Christ.  Rather we are speaking of natural children or spiritual children, those that we lead into Christ become, or should become, the burden and the intercession of our heart.  The greatest heartbreak to us is to see their faith become shipwrecked or steered off course by wrong doctrine and teaching. 

               Even when we see our children make wrong decisions and choices, we know that us being the voice of condemnation, is probably only going to drive them further away.  I think we are like the prodigal son’s father who goes to the window every day and looks out hoping and waiting to see his son return.  Every day he is lifting them up before the Lord in prayer and everyday he is in travail until Christ be formed in them.  We pray that the life we live before them will be the greatest testimony and witness to the reality and faithfulness of Christ. 

               I think above all else I, like Paul, desire to see Christ formed in my children.  In Malachi 2 the Lord says that he has made the husband and wife one that they might bring forth a godly seed.  That is the purpose of marriage and union.  That is that our purpose in the natural and in our union with Christ, that becomes our purpose in the spirit.  That is my desire and I believe that is the desire of God’s heart, that we bring forth a godly seed to His glory and honor. 



Without Love

November 18, 2022

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Without Love

               You know, it is a great and wonderful thing to have spiritual gifts and abilities.  They can aid us in our relationship with the Lord and the edification of others.  It is wonderful to have the prophetic gift, to have insight and revelation of the mysteries of God.  It is a blessing to have knowledge in Christ and to operate in great faith even in that knowledge.  It is a noble thing to be a humanitarian and philanthropist to help the poor and needy of the world.  What greater gift could you give than to surrender your own life in sacrifice for your faith and convictions?  If we are missing the one key thing, then everything else is meaningless. 

               Love and not just any love, but agape’ love, God’s love is the foundation upon which all else must rest and be supported by.  Without God’s true love in the person and Spirit of Christ Jesus abiding in us, all we have is religion without true substance.  If we have all things, know all things and can do all things, but it is not motivated and moved out of the love of God, then it is vanity and self-works. 

               It is good that Paul goes on here to better define the qualities of this love, because then we see that it goes so much deeper and richer than physical love or even brotherly love.  God is love and what is described in verses 4-8 is a description of His character and the nature that He wants to work in us.  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.” Our maturity in our faith is not measured by what we know, what we can do or in how much we can give.  It measured by the amount of God’s agape love that is manifested in and through our lives.  When all else has passed away this love will remain.  It is eternal, it is priceless, and it is God.  We cannot be without this love because it is what brings us into all that He is.



God’s Ways

November 17, 2022

Isaiah 66:2

Has not my hand made all these things,

       and so they came into being?”

       declares the LORD.

       “This is the one I esteem:

       he who is humble and contrite in spirit,

       and trembles at my word.”

God’s Ways

The hand of the Lord moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to display.

We often don’t understand why He moves to bring about what He may.

His wisdom is so far above the wisdom of the of this earthen man,

But be assured He is working all things according to His master plan.

Faith is the confidence to believe what you don’t fully understand or know.

It operates in the principle that where you plant believing, it will surely grow.

It is not a recipe, but truth we lay hold of with a witness in our heart.

Where we operate out of the love of God, we know His Spirit will impart.

Father doesn’t always operate out of our wisdom, mind or will,

But He is still the voice that speaks to the storm and tells it to be still.

He doesn’t always rescue us from every struggle, hurt and trial,

But His grace is sufficient working in us to help go that extra mile.

Hold fast to the One who loves you far beyond this earthen life.

Take the hand of Him who walks with you through all the struggles and the strife

Even when God’s hand moves to allow you in tribulation and pain to take part.

When you don’t understand the hand of God, know that you can trust His heart.

Kent Stuck



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