Still Waters

March 18, 2019

Psalms 23:2

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters…

 

Still Waters

 

Isn’t God good to show us that He is a place of peace and rest, safety and provision, direction and purpose.  We don’t often find those still waters in the world around us.  It is always full of activity, striving, trying, taking, wanting, worry and anxiety, but when we get in Jesus, our good Shepherd, He brings us into the place of His rest.  He causes us to lie down in green pastures of His Word and promises.  He leads us beside the still waters of His Spirit and life.

What a contrast with the world at large.  Isaiah 57:20-21 describes it, “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

The wicked are always contending with God and so they never find the place of rest, of green pastures and still waters.  Where they will observe them is in you.  It is because you are in relationship with Jesus and have His peace, provision and safety for your life that you become the reality and picture of what they have strove so hard for, but have never found.

Still waters run deep.  It is often those that are of a meek and contrite heart that carry the well-springs of living waters.  I spoke a while back about how the woman at the well in John 4 came to know Jesus as the source of “Living Water”, but after she had drank of Him then she went into her village and she became that wellspring of living water as she gave out the message of Jesus and all the village came out to see Him.  Still waters is that place of walking in the rest of God by the Spirit and no longer striving after the flesh.  It is still and quiet so that it can hear His voice and it is deep because it carries His presence and Spirit.  It doesn’t gain dominion by striving with man, but by simply being the expression of God through what has been experienced in Him as we have laid down in the those green pastures of His life and pleasure and we have drank of the still waters of His Spirit life.  It is an amazing concept that sheep could lead wolves, but the sheep have no fear because they are secure in their Shepherd.  Even if they must give up their life they do so with the assurance of who they are in Him.

Psalms 46:10 exhorts us, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The still waters speak to the calmness and the serenity of our spirit as we know that God is God.  I don’t have to understand everything that He is doing.  I don’t have to know how He is going to do it.  I don’t even have to know when He is going to do it.  All I need to know is that He has led me to lie down in His green pastures and leads me beside the still waters where I don’t have to be afraid, fearful or anxious.  I can simply rest in Him because I know that His banner over me is Love.

Blessings,

#kent

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Changing Directions from Death to Life

 

Romans 5:17

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

 

Christ came to change the direction of our lives and from the moment that we came to the decision to receive Christ into our heart our lives were translated from darkness into light and from death to life.  Outwardly or in our conscious mind things might not have seemed that different, much like when a woman first becomes pregnant she probably isn’t even aware of the life that has just started within her.

We were born into a realm and place of death.  Romans 5:12-14 tells us, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.”  Just as the sin of one man brought all of humanity into this realm of death, the obedient act of righteousness in Jesus Christ has brought back to us an entrance into the realm of life.  These are spiritual principles that work in our lives as we give place to them and as we respond either to life or death.  Romans 8:1-4 identifies these two laws or principles under which all men live, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”  Through faith in Christ we have stepped into a realm of life that should be changing our life and thinking.  Many of us live in the delusion that true spiritual transformation and divine life doesn’t begin till we leave this body and go to heaven.  We continually need to be reminded and aware that heavenly life begins when the Spirit of Christ comes in.  How we experience that quality of life depends a great deal on our faith and vision to recognize who we are in Christ and begin to lay hold upon that as we walk in these principles of life.  We may still inhabit a body of death, but Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”  That speaks to me that the law of life can effect even my natural body.  While the Word says that I am to die to the passions of the flesh, God calls us to live unto him using our bodies as instruments of righteousness and no longer of sin.  We can read all of these words and mentally agree with them, but they never really get past our minds and into our spirits.  In order for me to truly live in the law of life that is in Christ Jesus, I have to change the way that I think, no longer reasoning as the world thinks, but bringing my thoughts and thinking into conformity with the mind of God.  Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.“  If we want to dwell in the principles of life then we have to change the direction of our thinking and begin to conform it to what God’s word tells us.  In every place that we find it contrary we are to bring it into conformity through the way that we speak, not just looking to the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen.  The realm of life is not a sight and sense realm; it is a realm that operates out of faith in the Word of God.

Are we experiencing all that we should be in our spiritual walk with Christ?  Are we laying hold of and living out of the principles of life in Christ Jesus or do we just mentally acknowledge it while we continue on living our natural lives.  If we want to see and lay hold of LIFE we have to live out of the life principles of God’s word, bring ourselves in agreement and alignment with it.  Is there a dimension of life that we are not fully experiencing because we have a mindset that is still geared and operating out of the realm of sin and death?  Perhaps we really need to be conscious of the need for us to change the direction of our thinking and to conform ourselves to the mind and will of Christ.  That change comes through the meditation and practice of His Word.  It comes as we yield ourselves in prayer and in deed to be the instruments of righteousness that He has called us to be.  Let’s be aware of who we are in Him and what mindset that we are operating out of so that we might enter into, possess and experience God’s life to the fullest, even now in this earth.

Blessings,

#kent

 

 

Discontentment of the Soul

 

Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

How many of us like to have fun?  We love what entertains us and provides us with external stimuli that excites our senses and appetites.  Sometimes we think and we do what is in our natural desires to do.  If we are “in Christ” we begin to feel convictions from His Spirit within us.  We might ask, “Why doesn’t God want me to have a good time?”  God does want us to a have a good time in the things that pertain to life and godliness.  There is no joy on earth that is greater than the joy of the Lord and truly experiencing His awesome presence.  Our joy comes from our relationship, but our relationship often becomes stale and unexciting.

We can liken it to many of our marriages.  We married that person because at one time they were fun to be with.  They were exciting and they were everything that we desired and wanted.  What happens as we go down the road of life and the honeymoon is over?  What happened to those feelings we used to have and the passion we felt?  Hopefully it is still there, but for many it fades as the demands of life take over.  Our weaknesses surface and seem to be glaring blights to our partner who once never even noticed or seemed to care about the faults, perhaps now that is all that they see or all that we see in them.

Our relationship with God can be a burden to us as well when our hearts are drawn to the glitter and the romance of the world.  We, as people, tend to get into ruts and routines with our religion and our relationships.  In that place we start growing often discontent, disconnected and disinterested in that one which we once loved and cherished.  That can happen to us spiritually as well as in our natural relationships.

It is said that ‘one thing is certain and that is nothing ever stays the same.”  Many of us have had those time when we had wonderful experiences and feelings and somehow we were under the illusion that this would go on into happily ever after and nothing would change.  “Boy, did we buy into the lie on that one.”  We have found that things do change, circumstances, feeling, attitudes, desires, priorities and a number of other variables have come in to change the dynamics of our relationship with God and with our spouse.  Even God doesn’t always meet our expectations.

What do we do when we find ourselves struggling in our relationship with God or with our spouse?  Funny how there is often a correlation between those two relationships.

Life and long term relationships are not about an experience or a feeling that we once had, they are a journey.  On a journey the terrain and surroundings are always changing.  The climate is changing.  Those changes are sometimes good and sometimes bad, but never the less they are changes.  The important part of a journey is that we aren’t aimlessly wandering the countryside, looking for the best place, the best climate or just the good times.  It is important in a journey that we have a fixed destination and a course that we are following to get there.  A lot of things will happen between where we started and where we end up, but it is important that our commitment is to our destination and that everything else becomes secondary to where we are headed.  There will be many other paths to follow in life that will lead us away from our destination and occasionally we take a wrong turn and get off on these, but what do we do when we are traveling on a trip and take a wrong turn?  When we discover it and acknowledge it we repent and turn around so that we can get back to the road that will lead us to our destination.

We are going to face some hard times both in our marriages and in our relationship with God, that is part of the journey, but we can’t quit, we have come too far.  We must make the adjustments in our hearts and attitudes to find joy even in those hard places.  Often our failing relationships are the result of our own hardened heart.  We would like to blame the other, but restoration begins with us.  It is ourselves that we are wholly responsible and accountable for.  Our reward doesn’t come from how well we were able to conform someone else to our will or God’s will, but on how well we were able to offer our will as a living sacrifice to the Lord.  He is our destination and our joy and contentment come in fulfilling the calling He has placed upon our lives.   We can’t be moved by the natural man, that’s a wrong road, we must move according the direction of God’s Word and how the Holy Spirit makes that personal and alive to each one of us.

Blessings,

#kent

Cinderella

March 13, 2019

 

Cinderella

 

Romans 10:19

But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by [them that are] no people, [and] by a foolish nation I will anger you.

 

The story of Cinderella has long been a favorite among the fairytale classics.  Through the years we have seen many movies and takes upon this theme of the poor beautiful girl held captive and slave to the tyrant stepmother and stepsisters.  She represents for us the underdog, the one that doesn’t have a chance in life, the one that, by the world’s standards, will never amount to anything in this life.  She is trapped in an environment that affords her no opportunities for success or hope to shine in a world where she is clothed in rags, covered by the dirt and cinders she is forced to clean.  She represents for us a “rags to riches” story where our heroine is finally set free from her evil captors and oppressors and is clothed with the beauty for which she was created.  We see her being sought out by the prince who is in love with her, desires to marry her and have her reign beside him in his kingdom.

While this is but a fairytale story, it is interesting to think how in many ways it parallels our hope in Christ.   Look for instance at how the Lord chose Israel.  Deuteronomy 4:20 says, “But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, [even] out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as [ye are] this day.” In Deuteronomy 7:7-God speaks His heart for His people, “The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.”  Even the apostle Paul brings forth this point with those who are called unto Christ.   Did the Lord look for the wisest, the most noble, the most beautiful and the most successful people in the world?  1Corinthians 1:26-31 tells us, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”  God has chosen those Cinderellas which 1 Peter 2:10 says, “Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”  The King of Kings has sought us out and redeemed us out of our state of poverty and sin to betroth us to Himself that we should rule and reign in His righteousness, by His almighty power.  He has cleansed us with His blood, clothed us with righteousness and given us His own name.  That is why we Cinderellas have reason to sing and praise our King.  “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Revelations 5:9).”  Even as Cinderella was found, rescued and was married by her prince and they lived happily ever after, we also can have that happy ending.  “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son (Revelations 21:3-7).” Cinderella, be lifted up in your countenance and put your hope in the Lord.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Seed of Heavenly Life

 

Matthew 13:37-38

He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];

 

This parable of Jesus concerning seed is a principle that runs through the Word of God.  Here, He plainly says what the good seed is, that it is the children of the kingdom.  In John 12:23-26 Jesus teaches His disciples this principle about seed as He is preparing for the cross.  “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour” The principle of seed is that it lives to die to bring forth life more abundantly and in an increase that it could never see if it only lives to its self.  Jesus tells us we are the good seed and that when good seed loses its natural life it gains life eternal.

1 Corinthians 15 teaches us some more along these lines.  It deals a great deal with the principles of life, death and resurrection.  In this limited commentary we would glean just a point or two from it.  The first point is this; death isn’t often a pleasant process.  We can see throughout the New Testament and throughout the Word of God that men and women of God often suffered hardships, persecutions and trials as they walked out their faith.  Many even gave their natural lives for their faith.  Paul makes the statement in 1Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”  Why did Paul make this statement?  He was a seed planted in the ground who was dying, literally pouring out His life, for the lives of others.  He makes another statement in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” The reason for dying and the reason for resurrection are so that death gives place to life, weakness gives place to God’s strength and corruptible gives way to that which is incorruptible.

1Corinthians 15:42-49 goes on to make this point, “So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.  Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”

We are God’s seed that He is planting in the field of this world.  The end is that it works the life of Christ in others as we are poured out unto Him.  In the process of our dying or being poured out, there is a transformation that is taking place from the earthly to the heavenly.  While we see only now in part, Christ shall complete that process when corruption puts on incorruption, when death is swallowed up in life and when we fully bear the image of the heavenly, the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we are experiencing the death today, be of good courage, it is giving place to His life.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s People Feeders

March 11, 2019

 

God’s People Feeders

 

Mark 16:15

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

 

 

We have these bird feeders in our backyard and it is always interesting to see the habits of the birds as the different ones will come and feed out of them regularly.  You begin to recognize those ones who are there daily and it becomes a way of life and a daily supply that feeds them.  It occurred to me that we are like those feeders to the world and even the other saints around us.  The Master comes and fills us with His life and seed as we abide in our place in Him.  We become the sowers and the people feeders of God’s life to the world around us.  Some of us are mobile and travel carrying that seed to many places.  Some of us are stationary, but we are constant and reliable sources that the people, who God has placed in our lives, can come and feed from.

Have you ever been in that place where you thought you had a good relationship with God where you were blessed, you were trying to be faithful and then it happened?  That bird feeder had been constantly standing.  It has a heavy base and the feeders are suspended from the top of a pole with metal branch hooks extending out from the top.  We’ve never had a problem with it until the morning when apparently a strong gust of wind had blown it over.  It is kind of like what happens to us when we are cruising along life’s highway and suddenly we get waylaid.  Some trial or misfortune hits us out of no where like a Mac truck running a stop sign.  We suddenly find ourselves lying on the ground, the wind totally knocked out of our sails and wondering what happened?  Why did this happen to us?  We were trying to do what we were suppose too, we were trying to be faithful?  God this doesn’t seem fair.  It just doesn’t make sense.

When I went out to pick up the birdfeeder, in the fall, a great deal of the birdseed had spilled out on the ground.  I salvaged what I could, set the bird feeder upright again and refilled it.  What has been interesting is that lately the birds aren’t as prone to fly up to the birdfeeder as they are to feed off of the seed that was spilled out on the ground.  You know Jesus said in John 12:32,  “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.”  The world is still feeding off of the spilled blood of Calvary.  It made me realize that what may seem devastating to us, sometimes is the unleashing of God’s life and power in a greater dimension and power than what we had known before, especially in our strength and good standing.  For us it is totally humbling, we are undone and we are spilled out.  Along with that pouring out and breaking in our lives, God’s Word and His life are spilled out as well and it becomes a feeding place that others can relate with and gain strength and nourishment from.  Perhaps we’ve been singing and praying, “let the fire fall,” but when that baptism of fire comes, we’re not sure we like what it is burning.  Sometimes when God breaks our pot we feel like life is over as we have known it and perhaps it is.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t going to turn and work in a new dimension and new way to bring forth something even more glorious and rewarding in your life than what you had known before.

The key is to always remain the people feeder.  Giving forth the life and blessing of God in whatever dimension He has given you to do it.  Like we always say, “it is not about us, it is all about Him.”  When the wind knocks us over, God will pick us up again.  Just stay faithful to His call and His purpose in your life, but know that He can change your direction at any given moment.  When we are poured out through the trials of life that is where people truly see the substance of what is in us.  Those are the times our lives become naked, our lives become an open book and the reality of who we really are will be seen.   We want to make sure that what they see is what we saw in Jesus on the Cross; a life fully consecrated to the Father and His glory.  We must become and remain in those places where others can come and feed upon the life of God in us, whether we are standing or have been blown over.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Problem between Our Ears

 

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he…

 

Self- perception is based on many things.  It comes from our experiences, our relationships and the input we receive from the world around us.  What we believe about ourselves is not always true, but it is true to us, because that is the reality that we see in our own mind.  What makes a young lady that is bulimic and anorexic to the point that she is skin and bones, continue to believe in her own mind, that she is still fat.  It is not a reality issue; it is a perception issue.  As a photographer I have people come in quite often that are very critical of themselves in their images.  They will pick out perceived flaw that no one else would see.  So often our perceptions are formed by the input we get back from the world around us.  We are using that to evaluate if we are acceptable, or smart, or pretty, or successful.  Our dependency upon the world around us to shape our self-perception and values is often what cripples us.  Those we are looking too in shaping our perception are often flawed in their own perceptions so our premise for evaluating our worth based on the input of others is like building a house on sand.  Add to this the condemnation, accusations and the lies of satan, we can get pretty messed up.  The Word tells us that’ faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God’ (Romans 10:17).  The way we form a well-rounded perception of ourselves is through the Word of God.  If you are going to believe what somebody says about you, then believe what God says about you, because He doesn’t lie.

There are a lot of us that are carrying a lot of baggage around with us that is tearing us up and it is destroying our relationships with the people that we care about and that we really love.  Sometimes we don’t even understand why we act and respond the way that we do.  This is where the Lord wants to set us free.  Often it is a lot of these misperceptions that we have formed from past negative experiences that we are using to evaluate our relationships now.  Because of the pain, hurt, abuse or disappointment of past relationships and experiences we allow fear to come in and tell us that our current relationships are going to happen the same way. We become convinced that we are going to get hurt, so we transfer that past negative experience into our present one and start responding defensively to protect ourselves from perceived hurt.  Often we can end up sabotaging a meaningful relationship and even marriage, because of these past experiences that we are bringing into the present.

I don’t pretend to be a psychiatrist, but the thing that is going to set us free is when we recognize that our values and perceptions are often warped.  We need a plumb line so that we can establish values and perception that are based on truth and not on a lie.  It is the Word of God that is that plumb line for us.  We have to align ourselves with what God thinks of us and what His values are for us.  Many of us need to really ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and reveal where our values are distorted and wrong.  Sometimes we need to look back at our past to honestly evaluate where certain values and feelings about things were formed.  As the Holy Spirit reveals these things then we can give those issues and perceptions to Him and ask for the Lord’s healing and change in those areas.

You see, it is not the outward that is really you.  We can outwardly act many different ways.  The true man is as he thinks he is in his heart.  Heart change comes from a heart relationship with the Lord.  He wants to make you and your relationships whole and healthy.  He wants to give right perspective and the perception of who He says you are.  He probably has a much higher opinion of you than you have of yourself.  He values you and He wants you to be able value yourself based on what He is and is becoming within you.  Allow Him the place and open up your heart so that He can come in and begin to heal you and make you whole again.  Feed on what God has to say to you through His Word rather than what others say to you or about you.  Start responding to what the Word says rather than to feelings and emotions that surface in certain situations.  He can give us the balance we need in our lives and He alone can fix that problem we have between our ears.

Blessings,

#kent

Live unto Life

March 7, 2019

 

Live unto Life

 

1 Samuel 25:29

Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the LORD has done for my master every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel,

 

There are basically two types of life, natural or soul life and spiritual life.  We know that the clock is ticking on the natural life and much sooner than we might like to think the sand will run out and this natural or soul life will expire.  For those of us who have had God’s grace shed abroad in our hearts and have come into a relationship with the ever living Father and His son Christ Jesus, we live for the spirit life that is eternal.  What we often struggle to keep focused on is that when we have come into this spirit life, we are living to higher principles and purpose.  We have grasped the concept that this present natural life is our stepping stone into the eternal.  What we accomplish and the decisions we make in this natural man, chart our course for eternity and the spirit life that we are stepping into.  But it is difficult to always keep our focus on the things above when we live and walk in the things beneath.

Our scripture today is from the story of when David was being pursued by Saul.  He was highly insulted by a man named Nabal and was on his way with a band of men to slay every male in Nabal’s household when he is intercepted by an intercessor.  Now the name Nabal means fool and this man lived up to his name, but he had a beautiful wife named Abigail who was also very wise.  She gathers up large quantities of food and wine and goes out to meet David and his men before they arrive.  When she meets him and in the discourse of the conversation she makes the statement out of 1 Samuel 25:29 and basically prophesies to him of who he is in relationship to the Lord and what God will do for him.  She reminds him that his life is’ bound securely in the bundle of the living.’  She reminds him that none can prevail against him because that is so with God’s anointing upon him, and she reminds him that even his enemies will be slung away from him as a rock in a sling.  You see, David, in his anger and in the heat of passion had determined to avenge himself against this man Nabal and all of the innocent men that may have been associated with his household.  He has lost his focus and is acting out of his flesh.  How often has that happen to us?  In the course of life an event or an occurrence will totally grab our attention away from who we are in Christ and we pursue it out of the flesh.  Even as God allowed or sent Abigail to check David and warn him, how often has God sent someone, or in some way tried to check our wrong actions by warning us, turning us away and trying to remind of us of who we are in Christ.  Sometimes God will even close doors or allow circumstances to try and turn our wrong course.  If we are wise we come to our senses and discern the warning and correct our wrong course of action.  Unfortunately, we are often prone to be headstrong and determined to go our own way or do our own thing.  Think about all of the men and women in prison.  At some point in their life they probably had warnings and indications that they were headed in a wrong way and to continue would result in consequences, but they chose to ignore those warnings and continued in a path that led to the consequences of their incarceration.  How have their wrong decisions and choices negatively impacted many people’s lives?  We hope that we can all learn to be quick to recognize and repent when we start down these dark trails.  We must always return to our focus, which is not this life, but the spirit life.  It is not just the life to come, it is the life we are entering into now as we live by faith and walk by the Spirit.  We want our lives to every day count toward eternity.  We want our lives, like David’s, to be ‘bound securely in the bundle of the living.’  We want to be bound unto the Lord in the fulfilling of His purpose and calling in our lives.  Are we walking and living in His higher purpose for us today?  The Lord did not create us simply to live unto ourselves.  We have a divine destiny and it can only be realized as we walk and pursue that spiritual life.  Even if we have made a mess of it up to this point, it is not too late for us to change our course.  God still wants to make something good, meaningful and beautiful out of our lives if we will let Him.  If we set our eyes and hearts upon the eternal, upon His Spirit life, then we will begin to walk in the dimension of the spirit even while we are living in the natural.

Let us summarize with 2 Peter 2:1-3, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Blessings,

#kent

Speculating Evil

March 6, 2019

 

Speculating Evil

 

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

 

 

How many wrong concepts of God do we have in our mind and thinking?  Who is God to you?  Is He an angry God with a big stick, ready to bash you when you sin or fall short?  Is He one you feel is out to bring misery to your life and is only interested in your suffering?  Is He one who is looking forward to send all sinners to hell and save a few lucky souls?  Or, is He the all-loving and passive God who knows all men are good at heart and doing the best they can?  “Surely He wouldn’t allow anyone to go to hell, if there even is a hell.”  The truth is you will find many concepts, opinions and speculations about God.  It is always His Word, the Holy Spirit and the example of Christ that best reveals the nature and truth about the character of God.  Here in Jeremiah, for example, it tells us what and how God thinks of us.  He thinks thoughts of peace.  His desire toward all men,              according to 2 Peter 3:9 is, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  While this is God’s will, He has given us a will also that He has chosen not to violate.  Is it God who sends us to hell or our own choices?  Hell is a place prepared for satan and his following.  It is not God’s will or intent that we follow him there.  He has in fact loved us so much that He was willing to give the supreme sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ as the acceptable sacrifice for our sins.  Through faith in Him we might be delivered out of a life bound for hell and have eternal life with the Father.  If God wanted you to go to hell He wouldn’t have made such a great sacrifice of love.  What other deity would suffer and die a cruel and horrible death for those who most often despise Him, reject Him and forsake Him?  Our God’s intent is not evil against us.  The expected end that God wants to give us is salvation and eternal life.  He is continually calling out and inviting all who will to come into His house and partake of His salvation for them through Jesus Christ His Son.

How we respond to God’s calling and offer of eternal life is up to us.  That is a choice that we make for ourselves.  There is an evil one, satan, who knows his latter end and is determined to work the opposite, the antitheses, to take us with him to that place we call hell.  We try to take this lightly, not think about it or dismiss it as already taking place on earth or for a period of time after we die.  Believe the Word of God when it lets us know that no one wants to experience hell.

God has a greater plan for your life.  While we experience the adversity of living in a sin filled world, through that adversity we are being trained up to be overcomers of the world, of sin and all that pertains to it.  Revelations 12:9-11 says, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”  Beloved, God’s destiny for the believer is victory.  Because we no longer love that old life of selfishness and sin and are willing to die to it, our God is replacing it with His divine nature, character and life.  Yes, we will face resistance, adversity and trials, but in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ who has loved us.  God will rule and reign through a people after His own heart and nature, in the process there is much dross and impurity to burn out of us so that we can be that pure expression of His love.

God is the Father who loves us with a Daddy’s heart.  He loves every one of us in spite of our vilest sin.  Jesus paid the price for every one of them.  Today he is calling everyone outside of Him.  His desire for you is peace and not evil, but it is your response, your choice, your trust in Christ and in the blood He shed to cleanse you of your sin, that is the gateway to your salvation and eternal life.  Today, if you feel that tugging and longing in your heart, ask Him to come in and forgive your sins.  Ask him to be the Lord of your life.  That simple prayer and act of faith is all that is required for you to pass from death to Life.  From there you will begin to walk the walk of faith as you grow in Him.

If you have speculated that God’s intent for you was evil, its not, that is the enemies plan, not His. He wants to give you Life; reach out by faith and receive His gift to you.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Does the Lord come up Short?

 

Numbers 11:23

The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

 

 

Have you ever believed God for something and just felt so sure that He was going to fulfill a promise to you and then it didn’t come to pass as you thought it would.   You sit there thinking where did I miss it?  I was so sure I was hearing from God.

As I was sitting here meditating on what to write this morning my eyes fell upon the above scripture which I had printed out and clipped to my office organizer as a reminder of a promise that I had believed for.

We had lived in the same home for about twenty-seven years and although our house was adequate and our kids were raised, it still seemed crowded with our businesses.  The stairs were becoming somewhat of a problem with the wife’s health and the fact was, Sharon especially, was ready for a change.  I had just retired and was struggling with a new business that was costing me more than it was making.

Being the conservative person that I am, it was hard to rationalize trying to buy a bigger house at this point in life, let alone knowing how we would pay for it.  One day though I was stirred to faith and I set down with the newspaper and just looked at some homes.  One in particular rather struck me and so I shocked Sharon one day by saying let’s just go look at some houses.  The particular house that had struck my fancy was a new home, beautifully built and Sharon really liked it as well.  The only small glitch was that it cost about $500,000 dollars, but what is that to God, right?  Now there was no way in the natural I could see clear to have this house, but we began to pray and believe God.  Somehow that faith really began to take hold in both of us and God just seemed to keep giving us little confirmations along the way.  We would go out there and pray about it, over it and dream about it.  We would just praise God and thank Him for it.  Our faith was strong as we spoke as if we already had it, even when we could not see the means for it.  At that time no miracles came to pass and one day it sold, only we weren’t the buyers.  We couldn’t believe it.  I would look over at that verse that I had clipped there and say, “God, didn’t you tell me that Your hand was not short to bring your word to pass?  We even went by that house sometime after the other occupants were living there. We were even so bold as to go up and ask them if they liked the house and if they were planning on staying there?  Perhaps God just had them house sitting for us for a while, but the daughter that we spoke too assured us that they were happy with the house and planned on staying there.

We gave up on the idea of the house and decided we would probably just remain stuck where we lived and make the best of it.

A little later down the road we were blessed with a wonderful gift.  My parents, who are so precious and giving, received some income from an investment they had made some years prior.  They passed some of that blessing on to us by giving us enough to finish paying off our home that we were currently living in.  Now we were pretty much debt free.  That is a great feeling.

It was probably about six months to a year later that we were driving home from a delivery for Sharon’s business and she spotted a “for sale” sign on a beautiful home. I had remember admiring it on occasion when we had passed by it, thinking what a great view they must have of the city.  Being the woman of action that she is, Sharon called our good friend in real estate to see if we could look at the home.  I don’t believe I was with them the first time they went through it but she came home loving it.  It had a beautiful yard, and an incredible view. The house would provide us with the room and the distinction we needed for our businesses and it didn’t have all the stairs that Sharon would have to go up and down all of the time.  It had so much of all that she had desired in a home.  When I saw it, I liked it as well, but it was a pretty substantial investment.  We put our home on the market and when we were about to put our offer in, two other parties were about to put there offers in as well, but then withdrew them till they knew if the homeowners would accept our offer.  We came to an agreement and purchased the home before we had sold our other one.  At least it was paid off and even though we had some expenses such as utilities and such, we didn’t have another house payment.  This one was about twice what our other house payment had been.  We moved in around the middle of December and that winter was rough.  My business was dead and we had a lot of expenses, but God was so faithful to see us through.

A little over a year later, the Lord had increased our business and we have so enjoyed this home.  It is so much more than we had ever imagined, and we know, without a doubt, that it has been though God’s provision.  We have come to realize that this house is so much better for us, in many respects, than the first house would have been.

I had Sharon write a list previously of all the things she would like to have in her ideal houses.  Wouldn’t you know this house had every one of those.  God had His time, but He came in a different door than what we were looking at.  He so often does.  We can never put God in our box or limit Him to our understanding.  He is so much greater.  Everyday we thank Him for what only He could supply and do. “And the Lord said to us, “Is the Lord’s hand waxed short?  Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.”  God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think.

Blessings,

#kent

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