The City of our God

June 23, 2017

The City of our God

Psalms 48:1-3

Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. 3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.

Most of us understand the concept that when we talk about the church we are not just speaking of physical locations made up of sticks and stones and building material.  We know that when God speaks of His church He is speaking of the organism and a body that functions under the headship and authority of Christ.  The city of God and Zion are the same way.  Yes there is a natural Jerusalem and Mount Zion, but it is much more than a physical location; it is a spiritual location.  Many of us have become so earthly minded that we only see Jerusalem in a natural context.  We fail to fully comprehend that this city is comprised of His people and that King Jesus is upon its throne, ruling out of mount Zion.  Mount Zion was in the older part of the natural city of Jerusalem.  It was a citadel, a high place and a fortress.  It included Mount Moriah where the temple was built.  God has used Jerusalem and Zion as a metaphor throughout His word to speak of the spiritual city of His holy habitation. 

Hebrews 11:8-10 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.”  God founded this city of salvation in Abraham.  It was there that God sent Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Genesis 22:2 says, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”   It was Mount Moriah where Solomon built the temple.  “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where [the LORD] appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. (2 Chronicles 3:1)” It was in Jerusalem that God fulfilled His promise of salvation because it became again the place of the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son when Jesus gave His life for our sins.  And finally we see Jerusalem, not the old natural city, but the New Jerusalem which is from above, as being the completion of God’s salvation at Christ’s return.  Revelations 21:2 tells us, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  This is Lord’s church, His Bride, His holy habitation and dwelling.  You and I are a part of that now as Christ indwells us.  The Word speaks to this heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews 12:22-24, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”  This Jerusalem is a spiritual city and assembly whose builder and maker is God.  The natural has been the type and shadow to reveal the real.

Finally we come to a scripture that we have shared many times that so describes the part we play in this city.  1 Peter 2:4-9 says, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”  7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  We, the body of Christ are what constitutes and comprises this New Jerusalem.  Out of this New Jerusalem the Lord will reign and govern the earth.  Truly, “great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness.  Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the Great King!”  (Psalms 48:1)

 

Blessings,

#kent

My Destiny is the Pits

June 22, 2017

Genesis 37:13-24

[One day] Israel said to Joseph, Do not your brothers shepherd my flock at Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them. And he said, Here I am. 14And [Jacob] said to him, Go, I pray you, see whether everything is all right with your brothers and with the flock; then come back and bring me word. So he sent him out of the Hebron Valley, and he came to Shechem. 15And a certain man found him, and behold, he had lost his way and was wandering in the open country. The man asked him, What are you trying to find? 16And he said, I am looking for my brothers. Tell me, I pray you, where they are pasturing our flocks.

17But the man said, [They were here, but] they have gone. I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. 18And when they saw him far off, even before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19And they said one to another, See, here comes this dreamer and master of dreams. 20So come on now, let us kill him and throw his body into some pit; then we will say [to our father], Some wild and ferocious animal has devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams! 21Now Reuben heard it and he delivered him out of their hands by saying, Let us not kill him. 22And Reuben said to them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit or well that is out here in the wilderness and lay no hand on him. He was trying to get Joseph out of their hands in order to rescue him and deliver him again to his father. 23When Joseph had come to his brothers, they stripped him of his [distinctive] long garment which he was wearing; 24Then they took him and cast him into the [well-like] pit which was empty; there was no water in it.

My Destiny is the Pits

Most of us know the story of Joseph who was the favored son of Jacob, but despised by his brothers.  God had his hand on Joseph in a special way and even gave Joseph some dreams that were glimpses into his destiny and calling.

Remember how great it was when we first came to know Christ and experienced the joy of salvation.  Then, as we grew we learned of His exceeding great and precious promises to us in Christ Jesus.  What perhaps wasn’t so real to us at the time was the truth that “if we suffer with Him we shall also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17)”.  Many of us walking this journey of faith and trust in Christ have found and are still finding ourselves in some very difficult places.  Maybe we have even pondered whether God really loves or cares about us.  I believe, like Joseph, the pit we often find ourselves in was really an appointment with destiny.  It may be satan’s attempt to destroy us, but then that was his attempt when he succeeded in crucifying Jesus.  The paradox of our faith is that often the way up is the way down and we often walk through hell in our journey to heaven. 

Joseph, just happened to run into a man that was in the fields where his brothers were suppose to be as he was searching for them and this man just happened to have overheard his brothers saying where they were going.  Joseph’s whole journey that day was the road that would lead him to rule and reign, but between here and there existed a dark and hard path to follow.  It was the road of preparation, the trying of his faith.  When Joseph did come to where his brother’s were camped they plotted against him and even planned to kill him.  Remember the scripture that says, ‘your enemies will be those of your own household?’  Many of us have experienced betrayal, hurt, rebellion and have been forsaken by those of our own family.  They seized Joseph and threw him into a dry well or pit.  Have we ever found ourselves in dry and waterless places, faced with adversity, trials and tribulations and it seems as if God and the Holy Spirit are no where around?  We may not think that we are even going to make it.  Surely this is the end of us; what hope is left? 

Imagine how Joseph felt and the thoughts that went through his head as his brothers spoke of killing him and refused to take him out of the pit?  The fear, the sorrow, the betrayal and the separation he felt not only from his brothers, but more importantly from his father who he may never see again.  His bright future is suddenly turned to darkness and despair. 

If you are finding yourself in the pit today, don’t be discouraged and don’t despair, you may just be finding your destiny.  If we learn one thing from Joseph’s life it is that matter how dark it gets and how far away from God it seems, don’t give up, don’t give in and don’t forsake your faith and trust in God.  God has not forsaken you, but He is there with you every step of the way.  James 1:3-4 exhorts us, “Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Patiently trust God even in the pits of your life because He is active in you performing the will and do of His good pleasure to bring you into your inheritance.  1 Peter 1:3-9 sums all of this up quite well, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Power of Touch

June 19, 2017

 

The Power of Touch

Luke 6:19

And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed [them] all.

What is contained in this sense we call touch?  We could make the argument that it was touch that actually caused mankind to die.  In Genesis 3:3 God told Adam and Eve, “’You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” Touch is a powerful thing both in a positive and negative sense.  Through the power of touch we can communicate life and death, healing and wounding, love and hate.  Touch is a sense that both gives and receives.  Touch also carries with it the connotation of how we affect others and how they affect us.  So we can actually touch or be touched without ever physically contacting another person. 

God knows the power of touch and because of that He set boundaries on the things we should not touch.  In these situations, to reach out and touch what God had prohibited could result in death, or in being unclean.  God has commanded us not to touch the things that would result in defilement and negative consequences.  Because of the nature and freewill of man, we have not always obeyed the Lord concerning these things and now we live with death and the consequences of our sin, disobedience and defilement. 

Christ had a ministry of touch.  He first touched this world when He created it through the spoken Word of the Father.  Still nothing has touched humanity more profoundly and eternally than when Christ came forth in the earth in Jesus.  This was like God’s personal loving touch upon the face of all flesh.  In Jesus we saw the manifest nature and purpose of God come among us.  We came to know and understand God in a more personal way than perhaps we ever had.  As Jesus began His ministry we saw Him healing and changing lives by the touch of His hand, but then we saw a little afflicted woman who said to herself, “if I can just touch the hem of His garment I know I will be healed.”  So it was that she reached out in faith and touched His garment she was healed.  After that people weren’t waiting for Jesus to just touch them, they were seeking the opportunity to touch Jesus for their need.  There are many people today that want to touch Jesus in a real and personal way. 

When God gave the commandment in the Garden not to touch or eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, disobedience to that command brought death into all of humanity.  When Jesus lived out the obedience to the Father, the sin of humanity nailed Him to an old rugged cross on Calvary.  That old rugged cross has become to mankind the tree of life and restoration back to relationship with our God.  If we desire life, salvation, healing and restoration we need to first come and first partake of that tree of life at Calvary, touching and laying hold of Christ in faith. 

Colossians 2 tells us that if we have come to Calvary we have also died to the rudiments and elements of this world.  We are no longer bound by the ordinances of taste not, touch not, handle not which all are to perish with the using after the commandments and doctrines of men.  We have now been touched and infected with His very Life.  Disease spreads to destroy and bring death, but the Life of Christ grows and spreads within us to bring life out of death.  In that embrace with Calvary we have touched heaven.  With our one hand touching heaven the Lord has told us to reach back with the other hand and touch earth.  Become the touch of Christ to those the Lord places within your life.  Be the channel and the hand of the Almighty to touch and communicate God’s love and grace to the world you live and exist in.  You are like the hem of the Lord’s garment, as people begin to see the power and love of Christ issuing from your life they will seek you as point of contact to help them receive what they need from the Lord.  Never underestimate the power of touch.  God wants to touch lives through you every day.  Are we a willing and supple hand, willing to stretch forth and offer life to all that we are with?  Touch someone’s life today with the power of the endless life that dwells within you.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Love that Binds

June 16, 2017

Ephesians 4:1-6

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Love that Binds

Unity in a family, a marriage or in the body of Christ is found when we are all operating out of a communication of love.  People are unique and we will always have our differences from one another.  That is the way our good Lord created us to be.  In our differences He poured into us the bonding and the glue of His love so that we are able to patiently bear the irregularities of all those people that God didn’t make just like me.  Love is never really exercised and grown unless it is stretched and challenged.  People will certainly do that to you.  I personally found that just keeping to yourself and doing your own thing makes it easier to love people, but that is a long distance love.  God’s love is most often up close and personal.  It is often a decision rather than a feeling.  Whatever our relationships with people God knows we are going to have our differences.  Obviously, outside of Christ, we are much different than God.  In fact, He says before we were saved we were His enemies.  Romans 8:7 says, “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”  What reconciled us to God was first His love for us, not our love for Him.  This is a key example that we forget in so many of our relationships.  We are most often reactionary, returning kind for kind and love for love or even hate for hate.  God does not just react to our rejection of His love.  If He did the human race would have been extinct long ago.  His love is deliberate and it has purpose.  His love is to gather you in His arms and impart Himself into you. 

That bring us to where God is bringing each of us in our expression of love.  If we are loving out of our human condition and our feelings of love, then our love will always be conditional and full of limitations.  God has called us to live out of His love which is unconditional and loves the unlovely as much as the lovely.   Living a life worthy of the calling is living life out of the foundation of love.  Who is love?  We know that God is love so if we are to love as He loved we can only do that as we submit to His love to reign in our hearts and find expression through our hands. 

The apostle Paul exhorts us here to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  He is not saying it is always easy, but in order to do it you have to lose your importance and your impatience.  Humility has been defined as “strength under control”.  That strength and humility of love learns to prefer others above itself.  It becomes more aware, concerned and active in meeting another’s needs than it does its own.  Love makes every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  We soon learn through life’s experiences that even among other Christian not all are willing or wanting to reciprocate your love for them.  Most of us are aware that even in our own selves we often are acting out of our flesh or giving place to an ungodly spiritual influence or spirit.  When that is present we can be quite confrontational, unfriendly and irreconcilable.  When we encounter that reaction towards us from others, even if they are our brothers or sisters, we have to see it with spiritual eyes of love and discernment, not getting caught up in the spirit of division that is at work.  Often times we end up taking some punches we don’t deserve and in love we learn to turn the other check.  It is not about us being right or winning an argument.  It is about the love of God triumphing even in an ugly situation.  Many of us get caught up in our emotions and feelings and if that soulish part of us is not being tempered by the Spirit we will get off into the flesh and certainly will not be known by our love in those moments. 

The stream of God Spirit takes a lot of rough jagged rocks in the river bed and rubs them together until over time they become smooth stones.  That is what we are becoming those smooth stones, but the process is brought about by agitation, irritations, irregularities and confrontations.   It is  the Love of God that is the fluid that heals, blends, forgives and ultimately loves through us in the unity of one Spirit. Perfection takes a good deal of practice.  God has put us with one another to learn to practice His love.  God’s love should be what binds us together until we work out our differences and that may just be loving and accepting the other for where they are at.  God has us all on different rows and we at different places in our walk with Him.  Above all let the love of Christ prevail in our relationships.  If the world is ever to know us by our love, then they first have to see it in action in though our lives and behavior towards one another.

 

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Spirit that Sets Men Free

Mark 5:1-20

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”

9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Here is the account of a man so possessed of unclean spirits that he was no longer his own.  It is obvious from the story that the man didn’t have the goods or the means to contain or control this unclean spirit.  They had tried to chain him and control him, but no man could control or tame Him.  He had become no more than a puppet controlled and tormented by the spirits that inhabited him.  How he must have longed for deliverance and no doubt cried out to God for it.  One day the prayers and the cries of that captive spirit were answered.  Jesus showed up at his front door among the tombs and the dead things.   This man lived in death and death surrounded him.  I believe it was the spirit in the man that ran to worship Jesus.  Here was the deliverer who could deliver him from his tormented state.  I believe the unclean spirits would have ran from Jesus, but here at last was the answer he had cried out for.  Does it not seem strange that Jesus just happened to pick this destination to go to this day?  Was it not the tormented cries of the man’s heart that brought Him there?  This man was the extreme case of demonic possession, a man filled with an army of demons.  One word spoken by Jesus brought these unclean spirits to their knees.  His presence brought them to cry out, for His very presence was their torment and caused them to quake with fear. 

Such is the One that abides in you and I.  When it is the Christ in us that speaks forth an anointed word, then hell and the devil are helpless to stop it.  Jesus showed even a measure of mercy to the unclean spirits by allowing them to go into the swine. 

Jesus brought hope, deliverance and salvation into a man’s life and situation where a moment before there had only been despair.  He is still doing that today and often times, those of us with surrendered hearts and the sensitivity to hear His voice might be the channels He would use to touch some life and bring the miracle that they so desperately need and are crying out for.  Where would He take your life today and how would He use you to bring the spirits of men together with the Spirit of God?  Jesus came to set the captive free.  It is His Spirit that He desires to unite us too and all others must be cast out.  He wants to give us back a right mind, even the mind of Christ.  He wants us to take the good news of what He has done for us and share it with others.  Go forth and bring to others the deliverance of His salvation and the good tidings of peace and joy.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Walk with Me

June 5, 2017

Philippians 3:14

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Walk with Me

Walk with me a little while

Comfort my troubled heart with your smile.

It is in your presence I experience love and grace.

I need your perspective as I run this race.

I covet your fellowship in the early dawn,

As I come to you in prayer and feel your holy bond.

It is your strength I covet in this challenging hour,

It is in identity with your life that I find my power.

The grade is getting steep as we travel on.

The way is more narrow and straight than where I’ve gone.

Those I once called friends now scorn my path.

Because I don’t hold the world’s views I incur their wrath.

So it must be as I look up and see the cross before,

I still believe that you alone are the only door,

That leads to life and the Father I seek.

You are the good shepherd that leads your sheep.

Help me Lord to be all that I must,

Forsaking the world, its vanity and lust.

Setting my eye on the prize that is before,

I press on to the high calling of Christ Jesus my Lord.

Walk with me a little while,

Comfort my troubled heart with your smile.

If so be that I suffer for You I will be glorified with You,

My peace and rest are in You, oh Lord, my faithful and true.

Kent Stuck

Blessings,

#kent

The Antidote for Fear

May 30, 2017

 

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

The Antidote for Fear

We live and walk in a world consumed by doubt and fears.  Unfortunately it touches many who are believers as well as the world.  It is important that if fear and doubt are a struggle that you have that you will be encouraged and exhorted by this word. 

The only one that God wants us to fear is Him.  When we truly reverence and stand in total awe of who He is then we realize He ultimately has the say and judgement over our life and spirit.   Others may be able to afflict and kill the body, but God determines our eternal destiny.  

When I find myself in fear and doubt, I find that I am not standing and walking fully in faith.  Faith in God’s Word assures me that God is Love.  His love is able to keep me, not matter what circumstances surround me or those I love.  In Romans 8:28 I am given the assurance that, “all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”  Even when I am faced with tribulation, persecution, afflictions and death, I need not fear.

Why?

Because God’s perfect love drives out all fear.  In Psalms 118:6, the Psalmist declares, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”  We have the assurance that as we have received by faith, Christ as our Savior and Lord, He lives in us and we live in Him.  He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  All else, spirit or flesh, is under His dominion.  If we are in Him then anything that touches us must come through Him.  

Our fears come when we lose sight of the identity that we have in Jesus Christ.  When we fully grasp and lay hold of the promises and truth of God’s Word, fear has no grip upon us.  

Why?

Because we are God’s children who abide in the Love of God.  His perfect love casts out fear.  Our lives are His.  Is there any so great as to pluck us out of the hand of God?  

“But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”  If we fear judgement and punishment then we lack the assurance that we have been fully washed and cleansed in the blood of Jesus.  We don’t fully understand that we are fully justified in Christ, meaning it is just as if we never sinned.  When we abide in the Righteous One, then we abide in the full assurance of His salvation.  In that salvation is the revelation of God’s holy and insurmountable love for us.  For us to live in fear, means that we have taken our eyes off of who He is in us and put them upon the circumstances that surround us. 

When Stephen was about to be stoned by the frenzied mob of the religious, he didn’t fear what they could do to him.  He only saw Jesus and had set his eyes on things above.  When we, like him, see Jesus setting a the right hand of the Father, then there is no room for fear because Ephesians 2:6-10 assures us, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

When we know who we are, where our position is and what our purpose is then what can man do to us.  Our life is hid in Him and He is sovereign over all of the affairs of men.  When we get a revelation of this we will better understand the perfect love of God and that God has designed that we should be made perfect in that love.  “Perfect love drives out fear.”

Blessings,

#lemt

Setting your Mind

May 23, 2017

Setting your Mind

Colossians 3:2

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Once there was a little girl who at young age was taken to piano concert at Carnegie Hall where she listened and watched in awe as the master pianist brought the keys alive and made music like she had never heard before.  As she went home the music continued to play in her head and as she closed her eyes she could visualize it all over again.  That day marked a turning point in the direction and the purpose for which that little girl lived.  The next day she announced to her parents that she had decided to be a concert pianist.  Her parents listened with a patient, encouraging and yet skeptical ear.  A lot of kids are impressed with something for a while, but then they grow bored or tired of it and move on to the next thing that impresses them.  This was not the case with this little girl.  She convinced her parents to get her a used piano and give her music lessons.  It became apparent early on that she was passionate in her pursuit and committed to her practice.  Day after day they would see her, without being told or prodded, spend her spare time practicing.  Even when she was not at the piano she was going through the notes in her mind, thinking upon how to better perfect a piece. That day at the concert she had made a commitment and promise to herself that she would one-day play in Carnegie Hall and in other great places around the world.  She held fast to that promise and commitment.  Through much diligence, hard work and practice she began to excel in her music ability and proficiency.  As she grew older she never wavered from her dream.  Along the way she experienced some hurts and setbacks, but it was the disappointments that drove her the harder to be the better.  Finally came the day when her dream was realized and she began to be invited to play at greater and greater venues as her fame and reputation grew.  Then one day, she realized her greatest dream of all when she was invited to play at Carnegie Hall.  No doubt her tenacity, desire and faith inspired other children that they also could strive and position their lives for greatness.

When we read through the Bible and as we commit our lives to Christ may we be inspired as we behold the hand of the Master and His handiwork, as we read the words of Jesus and behold His life.  He is our inspiration and our call to commit all that we are unto Him and begin to practice His presence.  Our goal in Christ will never be obtained through looking at our inability, our sin or our failure.  We set our eyes upon Jesus and commit our hearts to Him knowing that as He has come to live in us, He is also able to live through us in greater and greater ways, as we are able to give over who we were, into what He is.  Like the little girl, everyday means practice.  Every day we learn to walk closer to Jesus and more in tune with the Holy Spirit as we practice being in His presence and living out of His life.  He is the foremost on our minds; He is the motivation and the inspiration behind all that we do.  To be like Him, to be conformed to His image and nature, to give our all for Him as He gave His all for us, that is our dream and that is why we set our affections upon things above and not on things of earth.

Blessings,

#kent

Foundation for Faith

May 22, 2017

Foundation for Faith

Psalms 18:2

The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower. 

We find in life that often we are a self-filling prophecy.  We become and are shaped in the image of whom we think and believe that we are.  Maybe we started out in our lives doubtful, fearful, with a lack of confidence and very little faith in ourselves that we could do much of anything or be anything.  As long as we hold on to that mindset and it is coming through in our outward demeanor, do you think we will see much success in our lives?  If we don’t believe in ourselves, then how could we expect others to believe in us?  What if, on the other hand, we dare to believe all that God says about us and dare to believe all that He said He would be for us?  Now we have a foundation for success.  As we believe and then act upon that premise by faith and those beliefs, will our life change?  

King David was a man who is a prime example of one who spoke, sang and wrote what God was to His life.  Even in the deepest valleys of his life he dared not trust his soul, but rather He spoke out of His spirit and ministered to His soul the truths and the realities of God’s Word.  He was constantly meditating, and reminding Himself of the goodness of God, His faithfulness, His power, His salvation and all of the attributes and benefits of God and His nature.  This is what makes the Psalms so powerful.  They are Spirit anointed sonnets and songs of who God is and why life is worth the living because He is in it.  David would recite the Word of God and encourage His soul.  His faith would then lay hold of the truth that He spoke and begin to act upon it.  

Many of us see ourselves as weak, untalented, insignificant people.  That may be you and I outside of Christ, but what can we be in Christ?  Are there any limitations to what God can do in and through us, except in our own mind and thinking?   The foundation of faith is wrapping our mind and heart around God’s Word, assimilating it into our hearts and speaking into our doubtful and fearful souls.  It is so often good just to pray the Psalms, reading and speaking them to God as if they were your own.  It will inspire faith in your heart and courage to your soul as it did for David.  

Who is the Lord and what is that to me?  When we answer that question we find the foundation for our faith.  Upon that foundation we can build a successful life, for our confidence is in Him who is able to do abundantly more than we can even ask or think.  

What is the foundation of your life today?   Is it the Rock or is it the sand?

Blessings,

#kent

How much does Your Sin Cost Me?

James 4:1-6

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

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