Balance

November 11, 2019

 

Balance

 

Exodus 34:21

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

 

One thing my wife is always telling me is that I need balance in my life.  Work and the demands of life can often so consume us that pretty soon, that is all we know and do.  It seems a noble pursuit.  We are trying to work for all of the right reasons, but soon those very reasons can become lost in pursuit of prosperity and success.  This seems especially true since I started my own business.  At least before you generally had the weekends off, but now it seems the demands are greater than ever and so it turns into the proverbial “you don’t run your business, your business runs you.”

The Word of God commends diligence and hard work, but it also sets some limitations and balance.  The Lord instituted the Sabbath for the very reason that man should take a break and rest.  I believe it is also a time for us to regain perspective and remember what each day of our lives is about.  Each day should incorporate some Sabbath time when we can get quite before the Lord and have time to worship, pray and acknowledge Him in all of our ways.  Our work is an important and often demanding aspect of our lives, but we must not allow it to become our god or our taskmaster.  It is interesting that the Lord commands that even in the busiest times of the year, during harvest and plowing, that there is still to be that time of rest.  In the Mosaic Law the penalty for not honoring the Sabbath and resting was death.

It is important that we endeavor to maintain a right balance in our lives and make time for the important things, the first of which is the Lord and the second is our families.  I know how hard it is to try and get everything done and to keep up with all of the demands, but if you or I were gone tomorrow would the earth stop or would things cease from going on.  We have but one life upon this earth and we won’t pass this way again.  Let’s make sure to balance our lives so that we don’t fail ourselves and even more importantly the ones that we love and cherish the most.  Cease the day, but don’t allow the day to cease you.  Let us live with the purpose and direction that God intended for us.

Blessings,

#kent

 

What does this New Man Look Like?

 

Colossians 3:9-11

9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

 

We have been talking about what this new man, who we are in Christ, is.  What does this “new man” look like?  Well, we know that this new man who is being renewed in the image of Christ is what we generally term a “Christian” or a “born again believer”.  If you went out on the street or to different parts of the world and took a poll of random people, what do you think they would say a Christian should look like?  No doubt we would get multiple answers and opinions.  Some might say it can only be a certain race people, or only males can be Christians, or only certain religions or denominations can be Christians.  What does the Word say a Christian is?  It says it is a person that “is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”  In other words it is one that looks in their behavior to be like Christ.  It is one who doesn’t think like the world thinks, but is aligning their thoughts, goals and lifestyle with the Word and the will of God.  It plainly says here that there is no outward distinction or discrimination of sex, color, race or creed that defines you as a “new man or person in Christ”.  The transformation is within and is expressed without.  The defining factor is that Christ is all and is in all.  In the Christian’s mind and heart, this should be at the forefront of all of our thinking, all of our plans, all of our goals and in all that we are.  Is Christ everything?  If He is everything in you and I, then what are we going to look like, what are we going to reflect, emulate, and express?  What is going to be our nature and character?  It is Christ, for He is all and in all.  He is what our life is all about.  He should now define who we are.

Now being honest for just a moment, how many of us can say that is totally where we are at in our thinking, in our lifestyles and in our behavior?  What we have to grasp and get a hold of is that Christ wants Christians who are wholly identified with Him.  In other words He is to become our identity.  What does Christian mean?  It means “little Christs”.  In the Old Testament to be one of God’s people you had to be one of the circumcision, that defined you as set apart for God. The New Testament tells us in Philippians 3:3, “3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— ”  Natural circumcision could only apply to males, but spiritual circumcision, which is the removal of our fleshly heart and attitude, giving place to the headship of Christ in our lives, knows no gender, but is applicable to all.  This new garment we are putting on is a spiritual garment that is in the likeness of Him who created us.  That is our purpose and our reason for being.  We are to be the expression of Christ in the earth.  It is Him living through us.  Is that what our world is seeing in the majority of Christianity today?  Do they really see anything that looks much different than them except in name only?  Are they able to see the difference in our behavior, our integrity, our divorce rate or family life?  The truth we face is that most all of us are missing the mark.  Christ really isn’t our all in all, He is only part of our all.  We must all come to the place of prayerfully, honestly, and with a broken and contrite heart defining who we really are.  Maybe we are somewhere between dirty underwear and blue jeans and a clean shirt, but we haven’t fully put off the old man with his former deeds.  There is a tremendous work of transformation that needs to take place in most of us.  God can only work in us, as we are willing to relinquish our will to His.  James says, “a double minded man is unstable in all of his ways.”  How many of us are abiding in that place of only being lukewarm for God?  He is not our everything; He has become our occasional, our “when I feel like it”,  if it is convenient, and when it is acceptable in my circle of friends.  What is Christ to us?  Is He the garment that we put on every morning and wear everyday or has He become something much less?  God has called us and provided for us to be so much more than we have been.  It is time for us to rise up and answer the trumpet that is sounding and calling us back to our faith, our full commitment and confidence in Christ.  He must be our all and who is in all. Christ in us, is our hope of glory.

Blessings,

#kent

1 Corinthians 2:4-5

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

 

The Power of God Holds the Heart

 

Tassels, tapestry, twine and string,

Articles used to cover and tie life’s things.

What do we use to cover and bind our heart?

Are they articles that only work in part?

 

 

Strings for shoes, belts for pants, straps for dresses,

What articles we use to hold together life’s guesses?

Self-sustained are the garments of God’s rest.

He needs no articles of man to maintain His best.

 

Golden nature, silver redemption, character reveled in gems,

He only needs a life obedient, given and secure in Him.

God is the sinew and tendon that binds each part,

When we find His rest, we will find His heart.

 

Kent Stuck

Blessings,

#kent

Despair

November 6, 2019

 

Despair

 

2 Corinthians 4:8

[We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;

 

There may be one today who is in a place of despair.  You are so low and you feel so worthless that you despair of life itself.  Desperation is overtaking you and maybe you are even contemplating that the world would be better off without you.  Beloved, despair is the work of the enemy.  Never is it God’s intent to bring you here.  God is not the author of discouragement.  He values you even more than you can value yourself.

“You may say, “even God can’t love me the way I am.”  God has never stopped loving you in spite of the way you are.  Though the world would despise you, God has not forsaken you.  Even in the bondage of deepest and ugliest sin, God’s heart beats for us.  Even when men can’t forgive you, God can.  He loves even the lowest and vilest of sinners, the greatest failures, the nobodies, the forgotten and the rejected.  God didn’t come in Christ Jesus just to call out and save the golden boys and girls.  He came for all, and especially those rejected of the world.  1 Corinthian 1:27-31 says, “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:  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 is calling out to you in your despair today.  Despair is the tool of the devil for self-condemnation in order to destroy the precious gift of life and hope that God has given you.   God is there for us when we turn to Him.  It isn’t by the evidence of our feeling that we determine His presence; it is according to the promise and faithfulness of His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us if we call out and believe on Him.   The Lord wants to instill hope in your life today.  He wants to instill in you confidence that in His eyes you are of great value and worth.  No matter what your life has been or where it has taken you, God can take it and use it for good if you surrender your all to Him.  He is reaching out to you the hand of hope and life today.  He is your lifeline that will keep you from drowning in the miry sea.  Reach out and lay hold of Him.  Lay hold of Christ and the precious promises for life and blessing in His Word.  Jesus died for you as much as anyone else, reach out by faith and receive life from Him today.

Blessings,

#kent

Strongholds

October 25, 2019

Mark 3:23-27

So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.

 

Strongholds

 

There are strongholds that each one of us deals with in our lives.  Some may be stronger than others, but all of us have dealt with areas of our flesh where we are weak and more prone to failure and sin.  Most all of us tend to want to keep these in the secret places of our closets so others won’t see, but often very ugly things reside behind the closed doors of our home and our hearts.  These strongholds have fettered us and kept us in a state of bondage even as Christians for far too long.  It is most often a love-hate relationship.  We hate our sin and yet we love it too much to let go of it.  As a result we struggle with our hypocrisy, often justifying it or rationalizing it so we can live with this bondage that is crippling our wholeness in Christ.  Many of us live with much guilt and condemnation because we truly love the Lord and yet in these areas that may differ with each one of us, we are weak and seem unable to break free.

The enemy knows our areas of weakness and vulnerability.  These are his inroads to our soul to hinder us and cripple us in walking in obedience in these areas.  No amount of rules or laws are going to deliver us from these sensual or fleshly indulgences.

Paul says this in Colossians 2:19-13, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  The truth is that Jesus Christ has bound the strong man, disarming his powers and authority.  We now possess in Christ a greater power and authority than that which has bound us.  Verse 10 says ‘you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority.’

So why are we still enslaved by these strongholds of sin and flesh?  God has placed the Spirit of Christ in us to overcome the flesh.  It is easy when someone does everything for you, but it doesn’t help you to grow or to find the strength you need to live in victory.  God has called us to overcome in Christ Jesus.

We plead, “But I have tried and I still fail. I can’t do it.”

That is exactly right, we can’t do it, but we have a power resident within us by which we can.   Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  The key words here for us are “By the Spirit”.   We have an identity in Christ that we must put on in every area of our lives.  We are no longer identified with the weakness, fearfulness and the lust of our flesh.  We are identified with what we possess which Colossians 2:10 says is the ‘fullness in Christ’.

Colossians 3:1-11 exhorts us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” We must know who we are and where we now reside in the Spirit.  We are not an earthly people any longer, we are a kingdom people with the King of Kings setting upon the throne our hearts and souls.

Some of us cry out in our souls and say, “I want to be free, but I can’t.”  Can’t is not a statement of faith, but of fear and unbelief.  “We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.”  Our greatest enemy is the deceptiveness of sin.  We hide our sin in the closet because of our shame.  We don’t want people to think of us less than spiritual; when in truth we are all struggling with the same garbage.  It doesn’t matter how wicked or perverse the thing is that you struggle with, God sees it and He knows.  It is not His will that this stronghold possesses you and rules over you.  The greatest tactic of the enemy is to get you alone with your sin, like you are the only one going through this. You are not alone.  We all struggle in areas of our life.  Our greatest strength and victory is going to come when we bring our sin and struggles into the light and we allow the body of Christ to stand with us, pray with us and offer accountability to us.  James 3:16 tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  The reason we confess our sins to one another is to bring them into the light, which renders the devil powerless.   He can only work in darkness.  In the light we unite with the strength and support of fellow believers who can pray with us, stand with us and help us to be accountable in those areas where we are so prone to temptation.

It is time for all of us to come out of our dysfunctional state of sin and failure.  Let us help one another in coming into the full freedom and deliverance from these strongholds that have so long crippled and hindered us in our walk and full devotion to Christ.  You are not alone in your struggle.  Surround yourself with other solid believers that you can trust and confide in.  You may find that you are able to help them as much as they can help you.   Let us walk in the light as He is in the light.  No more strongholds!

Blessings,

#kent

 

I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do!

 

 

Joshua 1:6-9

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

The word and promise that the Lord gave Joshua so many years ago is as applicable today for us as it was for Him.  The greatest limitations we have are our failure to see and believe God.  “All things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23).”  If we can see it, it is possible.

James 4:1-3 says, “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.”  What we need is a heart, mind and soul that are in alignment and purpose with Him to whom we belong.  In order for us to have good success we have to come out from under the darkness and lies that rob us of the truth and into all of the richness heaven holds for us.  We are still conformed to the world in many ways of our thinking and reasoning.  Our perspective is not often one of praying from the mind of the Spirit and the Word of God.  Aren’t most of us caught up in our agendas rather than the Father’s?   We are living this life, so we still need things to work our way; that is often the perspective from which we pray.

God is going to take us through battles, trials and testings to possess our land.  We can not do it if our reliance is upon the natural man.  That is why we meditate upon the Word day and night, so that we may have the mind of Christ.  That is why the Word of God must not depart from our mouth, because it is our authority of truth that dispels the lies and darkness of the enemy.  The spoken Word of God in our mouths drives the stakes and establishes the boundaries of our faith.  Satan can not dwell in light, so light must flood our souls to dispel the deceitfulness of sin.  We have the spiritual armory of God’s Word and its application to defeat our foes.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

God has told us, as He told Joshua, that there are great and mighty things that we are to do.  There are enemies to conquer and victories to be won.  There is a land to possess and promises that need fulfillment.  2 Peter 1: 2-4 makes this bold proclamation, “3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  Our God is calling us to be a people of divine nature.  We are after the image of our Father; we are called to be the sons of God, a royal priesthood and a holy nation.  Yet, we ignorantly and constantly cling to the attributes and thinking of this lower nature.  It isn’t because God hasn’t provided the means for us or that Christ didn’t die to make it a reality.  It is we ourselves, that fail to grasp the vision, the faith and make the commitment to possess the impossible through the power of God that makes all things possible to him that believes.  Everything in my life has to come into alignment with God’s Word so that the higher principles and laws of the Kingdom of God may take affect in this natural realm.  You are what the Word of God says you are and you can do what the Word of God says you can do.  Do we really believe that and will we fully act upon it?

Blessings,

#kent

God has Plans for You

October 23, 2019

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

God has Plans for You

 

Father did not create you and I for our glory, but for His.  He set us each one in the earth with a purpose and destiny.  He also set us here with a free will to create a future and destiny for our purpose or to see the higher purpose of our being in Him.  Whose destiny are we seeking today, our own, or that which He has purposed for us?  In Christ we are blessed even through tribulation and can be rich even in outward poverty.  We are not what the world sees, we are what the Father has envisioned and purposed us to be.  In the process of bringing us into the riches of His glory we are not going to find ourselves always shiny and pretty, but the Father is processing us for some far better thing than what even we can see at this point in our lives.  2 Timothy 2: 20 says, “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”  God has a noble and holy work for each one of us if we choose to turn away from sin and press into His highest.

What is your purpose in Him?  What vessel for His glory does He desire you to be?  Let us not be content to just be earthenware of common use, but to be the gold and silver of His nature and redemption.  Let us be all that He has created us to be in Him unto His glory and for His praise.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Unchangeable Promise

October 22, 2019

Hebrews 6:13-20 (Amplified)

For when God made [His] promise to Abraham, He swore by Himself, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, 14Saying, Blessing I certainly will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.

15And so it was that he [Abraham], having waited long and endured patiently, realized and obtained [in the birth of Isaac as a pledge of what was to come] what God had promised him. 16Men indeed swear by a greater [than themselves], and with them in all disputes the oath taken for confirmation is final [ending strife]. 17Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath. 18This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us, we who have fled [to Him] for refuge might have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before [us]. 19[Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it–a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, 20Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.

 

 

God’s Unchangeable Promise

 

Perhaps few passages in the Word speak more powerfully of God’s faithfulness and commitment to keeping His Word and promises than does this passage.  Here we are given the example of the father of our faith, Abraham, and how God promised that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  All of God’s promises have their season of fulfillment and in our terms that may be a short time or it could be a very long time.  God’s promises are sure, but in between the promise and the fulfillment faith must stand in the gap.  Hebrews 11:1-2 says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.”  God says that Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness because it believed and stood upon what it could not see and what may have seemed incomprehensible to the natural man.  It wasn’t until way past that time of natural fulfillment that God gave Abraham His promised seed Issac; “the pledge of what was to come.”

In the fullness of time God brought forth another promised seed in Christ Jesus who brought forth the promise of God’s great salvation.  He was the fulfillment of that which Issac was a type in that He was the seed of promise and the beginning of the blessing that should follow.  What we have seen in Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people and to mankind of His love, salvation and ultimate restoration of all things back to the Father.  Just as Issac was not the completion of the promise, but the beginning of it, so the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus was not the completion of God’s plan of salvation, but only the beginning, the firstfruits and forerunner.  “Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek.”  Now if Jesus isn’t the only runner, but the forerunner or front runner, then it is evident that others must follow.  God gave us, as believers in Christ, His full assurance in that He gave unto us the Holy Spirit as the earnest and down payment on that inheritance that stands before us.  1 Corinthians 1: 21-22 states, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Again in Ephesians 1:13-14 we are told, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” God has sealed His promise in us, not only with His Word which cannot fail, but with His own Holy Spirit He establishes us as His own and the partakers of the divine nature through the great and precious promises He has given us (2 Peter 1:3-4).

What an assurance to our faith that Jesus never fails, that God’s Word is established in eternity and can not be moved.  In Hebrews 1:1-3 it says of Jesus, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

Because all of creation and the universe is held in place by the power of God’s Word, which is Christ, then it is reasonable to conclude that it is as likely that all of creation will come apart as it is to conclude that God will not keep His word and promises.  “This was so that, by two unchangeable things [His promise and His oath] in which it is impossible for God ever to prove false or deceive us.”   What a powerful statement that should place unshakable faith and confidence in every believer that they can count on the God that they serve and worship.  Now we can understand why the rock of our foundation is Christ Jesus which can not be moved and against whom the gates of hell cannot prevail.

Colossians 3:1-3 reminds us of where we are in the midst of these great and wondrous promises, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”  So great is God’s faithfulness, so unchangeable His ways and promises.  We are a people who are clothed in the great and precious promises of God.  As we hold fast in our faith we, like Abraham, will reap if we faint not and our faith will be accounted unto us as righteousness.  Christ is the forerunner who is bringing many sons into glory, into His likeness and into an everlasting priesthood to the praise of His glory and the fulfillment of His unchangeable promises.

Blessings,

#kent

The “Be” Attitudes

October 18, 2019

Matthew 5:1-11

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:

3″Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11″Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

The “Be” Attitudes

 

” Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Why would I want to be poor in spirit?  When I become rich in my own eyes I become prideful. I am no longer in a place of need, a place of seeking, openness, wanting and searching.  Psalms 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”  Psalms 34:18 says, “The LORD [is] nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”  The poor in spirit is a condition of heart that is receptive and desiring of the richness of God’s presence and will in their lives.

 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Mourning is a yearning, hurting and grieving of all that is not conformed to the will and the purpose of the Father.  It is the state of a repentant and contrite heart.  It is always crying out for Abba Father.  It is always travailing until Christ be formed and brought to birth in fullness.  It is the mourning of the death that still operates through sin and all that is in our lives that is less than Him.

 

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

The meek shall inherit the earth, because their strength is not outward, it is inward.  It is the strength of Christ under the control of the Holy Spirit.  It is a strength that is not flaunted or boasted of.  It is a strength that is, because He is.  It gives place to others, it submits to authority, it exalts others above itself and it gives honor where honor is due.  It is often not recognized as strength by natural standards but is the greatest strength by divine standards.

 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we do not pray for mere physical substance.  We are praying for Christ to fill us, for He is the bread of life and we must partake of His flesh and His blood daily if we are to have His Spirit life living and operating through us.  Jesus told His disciples in John 4:34, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work.”  That needs to become our place of hunger and the fulfillment of that hunger is operating in the will and purpose of the Father.  Those who hunger and thirst for this righteousness will be filled.

 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Mercy is the heart of God.  James 2:12 exhorts us, “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!”  Romans 2:1-4 reminds us, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?”  If you desire mercy, show yourself merciful, forgiving others as God through Christ gave mercy unto you.

 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

What makes us pure in heart but the cleansing blood of Jesus?  As all sinful and impure motives are cleansed away our lives we should have no motive or agenda other than the receiving and the expression of His life in us.  His love is pure and when it fully captures our hearts it makes all things pure in us.  1 Peter 1:22 says, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently.”  In His love and purity we see Him.

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

Peacemakers are a restoration people.  They restore breached and broken walls and relationships.  They bring reconciliation where division has been present.  They help restore man back into a right relationship with his God and Savior. The sons of God reconcile a lost creation back to its God.  They walk by the Spirit to accomplish the work of the Spirit.

 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 

Those who suffer for righteousness sake see a glory and hope beyond this natural man.  The natural man will not suffer long for that which is spiritually discerned, but the spiritual man who knows the hope that is before him is willing to pay the ultimate price even as Christ paid it for him.  Romans 8:17-18 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  Jesus says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  In the world we will have suffering and tribulation, but nothing can separate us from the love of God and we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  No matter what the cost, our life is His

 

These “be” attitudes are the make-up of kingdom people who have the vision of a spiritual kingdom and walk.  They won’t make sense to the natural world, because they are not the attributes of the natural, but of the spiritual man.  These are the foundation stones upon which we must live and build our daily lives as we are being transformed into His image from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).  Let these attitudes so be in us as they were exemplified in Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

Strength out of Weakness

October 17, 2019

 

Strength out of Weakness

 

2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 

Remember when you were a teenager and you knew everything and mom and dad didn’t have a clue about anything?  In your mind they may have seemed pretty dumb and were just a hindrance to the cool lifestyle you were trying to lead.  A few more years down the road, after you had grown up a little and had to experience life more on your own, you may have begun to think those people may have known a little more than I gave them credit for.  Then, after you were married and had kids of your own, you realized what you had put your parents through and may have been thankful that they had the patience and fortitude to allow you to grow into adulthood.  From that perspective of maturity, when you thought you were invincible and you had the world by the tail, you look back and see how weak and foolish you really were.  You took for granted the support system that was in place holding you up and allowing you to try your wings.  It is usually after a few good crashes that reality starts to set in.

We are often not so much different in our Christian perspective.  We like to see ourselves as having great spiritual wisdom and insight, having faith that can raise the dead and heal the sick and have the devil by the tail with our foot on his neck.  Much like when we were teenagers we sometimes forget the foundation of all that we have.  We get this idea that it is because we are something special and God is lucky to have us on His side.  Then, somewhere along the road we run into a reality check or two that make us rethink who and what we are.  A lot of us think maybe there must be something wrong with God.  We have to discover the truth that God isn’t great in us because of our strengths, talents and abilities; He is great in us because we are weak.

Our scripture today is about what the Lord spoke to Paul in his infirmity.  Here is a man to whom God has imparted spiritual wisdom, power, and the gospel too.  He has been placed in the office of an apostle.  He has been entrusted with writing over half of the New Testament and he can’t even heal or deliver himself.  Did he miss God somewhere?  Is he out of His will?  Is it because of his sin?  Why won’t God answer his prayer and allow him to walk in perfect health, prosperity and blessing?  Could it be because only God could be glorified out of weakness and Paul could then never boast or be tempted to boast in his ability?  His strength was when his only ability or power to boast was in Christ.  He had all kinds of credentials and credibility from a religious standpoint.  He was like a doctor of theology and had the genealogy to go with it.  In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul lets us know that he can match credentials and even persecution with the best of those who came as ministers of light only to deceive and lead others away from Christ.  Now if Paul was God’s right hand man why did he have to go through all those beatings, those persecutions, hunger, shipwrecks, stoning, and infirmities?  He says in 2 Corinthians 11: 29-30, “Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not, If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”  Why was Paul focused on his weakness and not on his strength?  It was because his weakness was his strength.  In his weakness he couldn’t identify with his ability, but only the strength and ability of Christ in him.  As he was laid upon the altar then it was only God’s life that issued out of him to raise and bring others up.  In his death in daily living, others found life, encouragement, hope, faith, strength and power.  He was never sitting up on a pedestal telling everyone to look and listen to him, because he was the oracle and God’s man of the hour.  In 2 Corinthians 4:6-12 Paul gives us further insight into this revelation, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ 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 works in us, but life in you.”

It is evident, that with some, Paul seemed to receive little respect because they were so quickly drawn away to those who wanted to put them again under bondage.  Paul’s greatness was in the One he allowed to live through him.  When Paul wasn’t anything, then Christ could be everything.

Hebrews 11:34 talks about the men and women of faith when it says, “Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”  We have to get a revelation that if we are really going to do anything and be anything for God, it is not going to come out of us, it is going to come out of Christ in us.

Grapes have to be crushed for sweet wine to be made. Gethsemane means “olive press” and until the skin is broken and the pressure applied the oil won’t come forth.  Often this is true of the anointing we have in Christ.   A diamond is a chunk of coal under great pressure.  Pure Gold is excavated and crushed ore that is then refined in the fire and shaped by the goldsmith’s hammer.

If you are that person that may think of themselves as passed over by God because you seem to only reap suffering, pain and hardship; you may be the real gems of God’s garden.  The ones that He wants to perfect His strength in, through your weakness.  You have already come to the place where you know that God’s grace alone is sufficient in your weakness, but through your weakness we will see the manifestation of His strength.  Be encouraged and be strong, God hasn’t begun a good work in you that He cannot perfect or finish.  Hold fast in your faithfulness and He will prove Himself faithful and mighty through you.

Blessings,

#kent

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