Trust

January 29, 2020

 

Trust

 

Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.   In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

 

Trust is the sense of confidence in that which we don’t fully know and understand.  In everyday life we put our trust in many things and never give it a second thought.  We trust our utilities will work, our car will take us where we want to go, an elevator will take us to the highest floor of a building and numerous other examples where trust is an everyday occurrence of our lives.  While we trust in so many things that man has made and even in the works of our own hands, we so often shrink back from trusting God?

I found it interesting that as I looked over the scriptures on trust, in a number of them it referred to God as a buckler, a shield, a mighty fortress.  “But [it is] good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. (Psalms 73:28)”  “I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psalms 91:2)”  “O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he [is] their help and their shield. (Psalms 115:9)” The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower. (Psalms 18:2)”  “[As for] God, his way [is] perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he [is] a buckler to all those that trust in him. (Psalms 18:30)” We begin to get a picture of how great our God is to defend those who trust Him.  Trust is simply the exercise of faith.  Faith is described in Ephesians 6:16 as a part of the believers armor designed for his defense, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”

Some of us get the idea that because we are Christians and God loves us, He should just make our life bliss and take away all of our trials and troubles.  Some of us get discouraged when we begin to try and really walk in the things of God and find ourselves spiritually assaulted and so many natural things seem to start to come against us.  Our mighty God does not want to raise up a bunch of wimpy whiney children.  He is raising up a company and army of saints that have their hands trained in spiritual warfare, who know how to put on and apply their spiritual armor.  One of the foundational keys to overcoming and victory is “trust in God”.  It often takes a lot of repetitious exercise to train us not to trust in ourselves or in the arm of the flesh, but to trust in God.  Psalms118:8 instructs us, “[It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”  Fear and unbelief are the natural enemies of faith and trust.  What makes trust hard for us is the fact that it causes us to step out of the comfort zone of having control and being safe in what we know, what we can see naturally and understand.  When we step out in full faith and confidence in God, it is often like jumping off a cliff. It is like a bird falling from the nest with untried and unproven wings.  That bird will never know to what heights he can soar until he first begins to flap and prove those wings that they will bear him up and not allow him to crash.  Deuteronomy 32:11-13 gives us a picture of this concerning the people of God, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:  [So] the LORD alone did lead him, and [there was] no strange god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.”

Our Father is taking us to places and heights we have not been before.  In order to go there we must trust Him.  Often that requires us to lay aside the security of our natural man as we partake of the adventure of faith.  Those who truly live in faith are never bored with life because they are on the cutting edge of what God is unfolding new and fresh in their lives everyday.  Trust is the challenge to overcome our fears, reservations and phobia.  It is God’s frontier and we are called of Him to come in and possess the land.  “Trust in God” is what pleases Him and moves His hand on our behalf.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The Sweet Fragrance of His Beloved

 

Song of Songs 5:1

I am come into my garden, my sister, [my] spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved

 

Recently I had the privilege of photographing a Praise and Worship session that is held once a week during the noon hour.  It is a time when saints gather for no other reason than to just praise and worship their Redeemer.  People come from all different denominations and background and from great distances just for this one sweet hour a week.  While I normally attend as a participant, this day I was in the place of the observer and I think I caught a glimpse of what Jesus must see.  These people don’t come to show off their spirituality.  There is no pretence, pride or thought about themselves.  They are there solely for Jesus, to glorify, honor and magnify Him.  You know that many of them are no doubt going through trials and hurts in their lives, but these outward things only press upon them to bring out the fragrance of love, dependence, and surrender as they lift up their hearts before the Lord.

It was like walking through the Lord’s Garden where the Spirit of the Lord was.  It has to be so precious to Him when His saints gather for no other reason than relationship with Him and a corporate expression of worship.   There must be such a sweet fragrance and incense that arises from that place to the nostrils of the Almighty.   How our Lord must be moved to love as He sees the heart of the Bride for Him.  When you behold the faces, the expressions, the postures, uplifted hands and the bowed down hearts, you see the true spirit of worship.  It is the release of our spirits unto Him, unashamedly and without pretense or guile.  It is a pure and holy thing.  It is a garden that the Lord can walk in and partake of the sweetness and goodness thereof.  There He can gather the myrrh and the spices.  There He can see the living sacrifices of lives that love Him wholly and completely.  There He can partake of the spiritual fruit, honeycomb with His honey and can drink of the wine of communion with His Beloved as He has relationship with Her.  There, true communion is experienced, as the many pieces become one loaf, one body and expression.  There the sweet wine of His blood is remembered and experienced as that blood is reverenced and so appreciated by the partakers and participants in that place.  Truly it is a garden set apart for the Lord’s honor as His presence is invited into His temple.

True saints of God are so hungry for this place and experience in their spiritual lives.  We enter into it on a personal level, but when a body of like-minded and hearted people can come together for that one purpose of expressing a pure corporate love back to Him you have a precious thing that is rare in the earth.  People come there from literally all nations and countries of the world, because they are so hungry to come into a pure expression of worship where they are one in spirit and purpose and there is no other agenda than lifting up the matchless name of Jesus.  This is the atmosphere where God can birth something out of Spirit and Truth.  This has to be a delight and sweet fragrance to Him.  So much of our religious experience is about putting our eyes on men, about us being entertained and inspired.  It is more about us than about Him.  What happens when the worship leader is yielded to the Holy Spirit and as the Spirit of God increases in that place, he decreases so that the Lord has sole possession of that gathering?  Oh, how we have needed this kind of worship experience for so long and this type of experience needs to fill our land and the whole world.  This is the garden where the Lord hears the love song of the Bride as she lifts up her lovesick voice to Him and expresses her deep passion and groaning within her spirit for Him.  This is the Song of Songs and the love story between our Lord and His beloved Bride.

Blessings,

#kent

Effects of Corruption

September 17, 2019

 

Effects of Corruption

 

Galatians 6:8

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

 

In this day and age many of us deal with computers.  They are a great tool and instrument of help anda  blessing to our lives as long as they are working properly.  When something starts to go south they can become a tremendous source of frustration.  Sometimes we experience a corruption in our software and it may start as a minor glitch, but it rarely gets better on its own and left to itself it could eventually affect and shutdown our whole system.

The effects of sin work much the same way in us.  When we give place to areas of sin in our lives it is often minor at first, but the more we feed it, the hungrier it gets.  Little by little it leads us down a path of greater and greater corruption.  It is like a cancer that may manifest in one area of our body.  Left unattended it can grow and spread till it can affect other areas of the body as well.  It can overtake us to point that we begin to lose moral compass and control over its direction.  Often times, the Holy Spirit will deal with us about it and even send others into our life to exhort us and warn us of our corruption.  The corruption of sin can again rule over us if it is given place and allowed to have dominion.  That sin will eventually manifest itself to the point that it can be spiritually life threatening and totally destructive to our lives.  That which we sought to hide in the corner may be suddenly shouted from housetops and we can find ourselves publicly naked and humiliated.  Those that once admired us may now despise us because of the reproach our corruption has brought upon us.  All that we had spent years building in reputation and integrity can be destroyed in a moment.  It is vitally important that we judge ourselves, lest we be judged.  Whom the Lord loves He chastens.

If we find corruption in our lives, our remedy is repentance, changing our mind and going the other direction.  This isn’t always easy because of the stronghold that sin can have upon us.  We may well need to humble ourselves and go to other mature members of the body of Christ to help us in these areas of bondage and corruption.  Freedom from corruption will first begin to come with our decision and commitment to get free from it.  We may need some help and deliverance, but we still have the power of Christ within to enable us to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.  Perhaps there is corruption at work in many of us that we need to deal with, confess, and get deliverance from, that we might live a life of liberty and freedom in Christ.

Blessings,

#kent

Joy Cometh in the Morning

September 13, 2019

 

Joy Cometh in the Morning

 

Psalms 30:5

For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.

 

Where is your life spiritually today?  Would you characterize it as nighttime or daytime?  Most all of us, who have been walking in Christ for a time, know that we go through seasons in a spiritual sense.  There are times we go through such close intimate times with our Lord and sense His presence and love in such a wonderful way and then there are those nighttime experiences.  It may come as a result of allowing sin to come into our lives.  It may be the result of God’s chastening or dealings in our lives.  It may be through persecution or tribulation.   Whatever the reason it is nighttime experience, one in which we fail to sense God’s presence in our soul.  Our prayers may seem hollow and of none effect.  These are times when spiritually we cry out for God, perhaps it is in these times we really begin to seek God’s help, His presence, His deliverance through a trial or tribulation we are facing.  There are times our lives can feel pretty bleak.  Our circumstances are overtaking us.  Where is God?

King David experienced this nighttime ordeal before He became King.  Psalm 30:7-9 says, ”

LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, [and] I was troubled. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.  What profit [is there] in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.”  Perhaps you and I have prayed prayers similar to this.  One thing that is so admirable about David and I think a spiritual key to us overcoming in these dark times is that David, no matter how low, remembered the goodness and the faithfulness of GodHe continually brought God’s promises and His benefits before the Lord in his prayers and psalms.   And he never ceased to praise and thank God even in those dark times.  He was quite honest with God about what he was going through and the emotions that wanted to overtake him, but he always brought his thoughts and focus back to a place of faith in the faithfulness of God.  We may go through some long nights that may go for years, but learn those principles that David learned.  They will sustain you in those times. David even says an interesting thing in this passage, he says, ” by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face.”  Have you ever thought of your mountain as favor from God?  Remember that what God is allowing in your life is designed to press you into Him.  He wants us to learn and trust Him for who He is, not what He can do for us.  This is the place of maturing faith where the rubber meets the road.  God has to become very real to us or we give up and turn away.  God is processing us through the hardships of our life.   “The trial of your faith is much more precious than Gold” (1 Peter 1:7a)

In this scripture David says “joy does come in the morning”, our trials, darkness and seeming separation from God won’t last forever.  He is faithful to bring us through if we faithfully hold fast to Him.  David’s next expression after talking of how severe the trial says, “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”

If you are in your night season, don’t be discouraged, have hope, God has not forsaken you.  He is proving you and bringing you into whom you really are in Him.  Stand the test, stay the course, for joy comes in the morning

Blessings,

#kent

The Place of Loss

September 9, 2019

Job 1:20-22

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

 

 

The Place of Loss

 

 

A very real and painful part of life is sometimes losing the things we have most loved.   Loss has many faces.  It can be a loved one, a marriage, a child, a job, a dream, health, possessions or a loss of an identity in who we thought we were or what we thought we had.  Loss has many faces, but when it touches those areas in our heart that are most dear, it is most painful.

As Christians we are certainly not immune from the experience of loss.  We know how we view loss, but how does God view lose and why does He allow it to touch our lives. Often the losses in our lives, though painful, are necessary to make way for the new chapters that are yet to be written and the purposes that are yet to be fulfilled.

We are line of sight people operating primarily out of what we can see immediately before us.  We don’t have the wisdom and council of God to see the end from the beginning and know why things had to happen as they did.  In our shallow minds and the infancy of our understanding we often become angry and disillusioned with God.  We begin to believe the enemy’s lies that He is against us and not for us.  We begin to believe that perhaps our faith is a sham and we have just become the laughing stock of all who look upon our lives.  Perhaps all we can see is failure, disappointment and loss.

What do you think Job saw when all that he loved and cared for was taken from him in a day and then even his own body was brought into immense suffering.  Here is a man that didn’t have the Word of God to go too or the revelation of Christ to lean on and yet when he lost everything he fell to the ground and worshipped.  “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”  Can we and have we done the same in our loss?  Is our loss of greater value to us than our relationship with Father?

No, we don’t understand.  Job didn’t understand, but understanding isn’t essential to maintaining our faith.  In fact, it is in the times that we least understand that we must have the greatest faith.

Joseph didn’t understand when he was given dreams and visions of God of greatness and then his own brothers sold him into slavery where things went from bad to worse and he ultimately ends up in prison through false accusations.  Now if someone had a right to be bitter, it was probably him.  All he had tried to do is be a man of integrity and faithful to His God and look where it got him.  Yet when we get to end of the story we see how God turned what was intended for evil into what was good; fulfilling a divine purpose through Joseph’s loss.  Often in our lives our losses are not what they seem and they are not about God being against us, punishing us or forsaking us.  It is often our losses that are the preparation for what God wants to bring us into.  Before He can reveal the greater He often must take away a lesser.

This is to encourage you today if you are in that place of loss and disappointment.  Your plans and dreams may be shattered, but the dreams and purposes that God has for you are not.  If you trust Him, lean upon and give your losses to Him; He can take your losses and make them the place of your ministry. your victory and your purpose in God’s kingdom.  Pain often paves the road for a path that we would have never traveled on our own and a vision that we could have never fulfilled without it.  No matter what your loss, never lose your faith and confidence in God.  He is for you and not against you.

“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. ”  Jeremiah 29:11

Blessings,

#kent

Matthew 24:35

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

 

Trivial words fade quickly from the hearing,

as does the familiarity of life from our memory.

When that which is trivial and familiar is passed away,

is there the substance of faith and reality to take its place?

When all that is known, becomes unknown,

and the life we’ve known comes tumbling down,

is our foundation strong to build again upon

those things which can not be moved, eternally sound?

Heaven and earth will pass away,

but God’s Word will always remain.

He is the confidence that anchors our hope,

when all else is stripped from its context and frame.

 

When Life gets Turned Upside-down

 

There can come a time in our life, and it may have already occurred in yours, when either naturally of supernaturally our world, as we know it, falls apart.  All that was familiar and comfortable becomes unhinged and discomfited.  We may lose our career, a loved one passes, we are bankrupted, our children run away or get in trouble; there are multitude of ways our life can get turned upside down.  While those transitions in life are rarely desirable, they may put to the test all that we have lived and believed.  All of sudden all the beliefs that we had neatly folded in our box become dumped out and the very fabric of all that we called faith is tested.  In those moments of turmoil we may be desperately trying to find God in the midst and thick of it.

“How could He let this happen?”  “Why?” ” Where are you God?”

It is probably much the way Job felt when satan was allowed to touch his life in almost every area.  If we live in our natural mind and reasoning, then all we can see and comprehend are our natural circumstances.  We may have grown so accustomed to the blessings of God that we thought we were immune to the trials of life, but God never promised us a life without trials.  Satan’s purpose through the trials might be to kill, steal and destroy.  Most of all, he wants you to doubt God’s love and faithfulness, so that you would turn from God and count Him unfaithful.  He wants to steal your identity in Christ.

We have to ask ourselves, in the story we see of Job, what was God heart and His ultimate purpose in allowing such calamity, pain and devastation in Job’s life?  In the end it gave Job a greater revelation of God in His holiness and majesty.  In the end, because Job retained his integrity and faith, God promoted him to a place of priesthood where he was interceding and making sacrifice for his accusers and fault-finders and he was brought into a double portion of all that he formerly had, as great as that already was.

Father isn’t out to make us fail or to make our lives miserable, but out of pain is often birthed a greater blessing that can bring us up higher into Him.  We won’t always understand its purpose at the time and it may feel like God has totally abandoned and forsaken us, but He is causing us flex our faith, not our intellect or natural abilities.  He is causing us to trust Him in what we can’t see.  Our response should be to bless the Lord in those times, not to curse Him and turn away.  Even Job, without the Word of God to draw upon, had a revelation of this truth in his heart.

Job 1:21-22 says that after Job heard of all that had come upon his property and family, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

Will that be our response if and when our world is turned upside down?  These will be the times when the true metal of our faith will be tested.  It may be so bad, we don’t think it could be any worse and then it gets worse and it continues to get worse, but God never ceases to be God or to sit upon the throne.  If we truly know Him, He will be the anchor in the storm that keeps us from running aground on the rocks of circumstances and unbelief.  He is still there in the boat with us as we are weathering our storm and it may seem He is asleep in the hull of the boat and oblivious to all that is happening around us.  We may be crying out, “Lord, don’t you care that we perish?”.

Just remember if you perish, Christ perishes with you, because He is in you.  In those times, can you still remember who you are, “IN CHRIST”?   Circumstances can change, but God’s word doesn’t change and Jesus doesn’t  change.  He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  You are anchored to eternity in Him.  Even if your outward man would perish, you have a building, a tabernacle made by God, eternal in the heavens.

What we must have as saints of God, is an immovable faith and trust that can not be shaken by heaven or hell.  A faith so grounded in Christ that even when our mind can’t wrap itself around it and our reason fails us, our faith remains steadfast and firm.  Either God is who He says He is or we have believed in vain.

There may be or come times in our life when nothing makes sense.  That is when faith in God’s Word is your anchor.  We may be in total disorientation and vertigo, but just as a pilot in darkness and storm must rely upon his instruments to give him bearing and orientation, so we must do with the Word of God.  We can’t trust our senses, our feelings or even our intellect; to do so could prove fatal.  God’s Word must remain the anchor of our soul, because we know that even though all else would pass away, God’s Word remains and He is ever faithful.

Blessings,

#kent

Blessing and Cursing

July 1, 2019

 

Blessing and Cursing

 

Deuteronomy 30:19

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

 

This scripture in Deuteronomy brings to light that as life is the opposite of death, so it is blessing and cursing.  The Lord is also teaching us that it is the choice of life that brings blessing and the choice of death that brings cursing.  In Deuteronomy 30:16-18 the Lord further qualifies this principle of life and death, blessing and cursing; “In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, [and that] ye shall not prolong [your] days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.”

Our God is calling us to Life today.  He is calling us back to a sanctified and committed walk with Him.  Even in the light of world events, we are beginning to see a greater distinction of light and dark, good and evil, godly values and worldly values.  The grays are fading into black and white and God is calling us to the place of no more compromise.  Our nation is in peril because we have become tolerant and complacent with sin, not only in our nation and its values, but foremost in our own lives.  Our nation is reflecting the values of our own hearts.  We, as a nation who has said our trust is in the Lord, have stopped honoring, reverencing and fearing Him in the way that is due His awesome name.  We like Aaron’s son’s, Nadab and Abihu, have been offering up strange fire in our sacrifice of worship to God.  We worship and serve God our way and not His way.  We count as common and ordinary that which is Holy and to be feared.  God is a wonderful and loving God who desires to bless us and bring us into the fullness of His blessing and inheritance for us, but we must never allow ourselves, as we already have, to become careless and sloppy about who our God is.  He is not a God that will wink at our sin and continue to allow us to go our own way.  Whenever we get careless and fail to truly fear, reverence and adore our awesome Lord and Father, judgements are soon to follow for we are making a choice for cursing and not blessings, we are choosing death and not life.  God says in the scripture in Deuteronomy, “But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear”.  Are you and I truly hearing the voice of the Spirit of God in this hour?

Joshua put a challenge before the children of Israel in Joshua 24:15, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  Our God is not honored by, nor will He continue to tolerate our religious, fleshly worship and way of life.  We have made His name a reproach, because the world so often sees in us, less of what they perceive God to be, and more of what they see in those of the world.  What we see in the general embodiment of Christianity is not the heart of God, but a strange fire of sin, self, flesh and Spirit, an unholy mixture.  God wants to visit us again with His glory and His presence, but if He does in the state that we are in, we will die.  Judgement will come swiftly upon us.  His presence must manifest itself in a sanctified and holy place that has been consecrated unto Him alone.  God is not interested in our religious trappings; He is interested in believers who want an intimate relationship with Him and are willing to pay the price to obtain it.  In the Song of Solomon there were virgins without number, but there was only one Beloved, only one bride with whom He would be intimate and lover.

Our blessing is His Life.  When we possess our Father’s heart and He fully possesses us we will not be turned away to other gods.  We will pursue His life and presence with all that is within us.  We will be His sanctuary, His priesthood and His beloved.  It is time for us to make the choice of life or death, blessing or cursing.  If we continue lukewarm and double-minded He will spew us out of His mouth. We must prepare the way of the Lord for He is coming to a bride as it says in Ephesians 5:27, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  Today is our day to repent and return unto Him with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength.  He is worthy.

Blessings,

#kent

 

The God of all Comfort

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

 

We don’t always have explanations for the things we go through in life.  God does not always move in the realm of our time or our way of thinking.  We obviously would pray ourselves out of every trying and suffering circumstance, but God doesn’t always remove those hardships and the unpleasantries of life from us.  It is reassuring when we look at Paul and the apostles lives to see that though none probably walked closer and nearer to God than they did, they were not immune to hardship and suffering.  Yet here in this passage Paul speaks of our God and Father as being the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Yet the God of all comfort spared not His own Son.  Hebrew 5:7-9 tells us, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Even God’s own Son offered up strong prayers to be delivered from death and yet He had to go through it.  It tells us that even Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered “being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.”  So, is God sadistic?  Does He enjoy seeing people suffer?  You know, Adam and Eve didn’t have any trouble obeying and living sinless lives as long as there was no temptation or trials.  The difference is, where they failed in that they had never known hardship or suffering, Christ, the last Adam, overcame through death and suffering.  Trials and hardships are a part of our lives, but they aren’t there because God is mean and sadistic.  The fact is, that there are many times we wouldn’t be able to survive them if it weren’t for His comfort and grace.  Opposition is the element that forces us into a place of strength.  When we face oppositions that are beyond our strength, it forces us into someone stronger than we are.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul tells us what the Lord spoke to Him in that place.  “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.”  It is in our weakness that we find our true strength, which is our God.  Our natural inclination is to want to be delivered and get out of the place of hardship, suffering and pain, but in that place is often the greatest work of transformation in our lives.  As we experience death outwardly, it forces us into life inwardly.  We begin to trust and rely upon God in ways we never would have otherwise.  And God is not insensitive to your pain.  He indwells you, so He is sharing your sufferings, your trials and your hardships.  His Word and the Life of His Spirit are there to comfort and encourage you.  Likewise others who have traveled this road come along side of you and identify with you, encouraging you in the place where you are.  What is being worked in us through our suffering and hardships is working in us the nature of comfort and compassion that we could not have had if we never walked that way.  With our suffering, God gives us comfort and reassurance.  We know that we are His; that He purchased us with a great price of suffering.  We have been privileged to share in that suffering as well as in the blessing, so that we also might learn obedience through the things we suffer and might be made perfect as Christ perfects us.

No precious vessel of honor becomes that way instantly or naturally.  There is a process that takes it from a place of rough raw materials, through crushing, purification and separations, to tooling, hammering crafting and polishing, till finally from the Master’s hand immerges the prize of such intense dealings and pain.  Is God preparing you as His mantle piece today?  See through the suffering into His heart of compassion and love, for whom the Lord loves He chastens.  Know that He is there with us in those hard places and He shares in our hurts, disappointments, sorrows and sicknesses.  See through the darkness of the hardships of this life into the light of His eternal love and comfort.  He has not left you or forsaken you, but is mighty in you to bring you through to victory.

Blessings,

#kent

A Little can do a Lot

April 29, 2019

John 6:5-12

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9″Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

 

A Little can do a Lot

 

Most all of us, I am sure, are familiar with this story of the little boy whose five loaves and two fishes, fed over five thousand people.  What would have been a staggering task, logistically and monetarily, was taken care of by a little boy’s willingness and a mighty God’s faithfulness.  The message I hear pressing on my heart today in this message is that if we are willing to unselfishly give the little that we have, God is willing to increase it to give back the abundance of what we need.

How many times are we robbed because our vision of faith isn’t great enough to see past the fear of not having enough?  What if the little boy would have refused to give up his meal for fear that he would go hungry, after all, his mom had made it for him, not for everyone else.  Are we willing to put in the Master’s hands what is just provision enough for us?  Are we willing to not only trust Him for our own needs, but the needs of others met through us?  Those are questions we might all like to answer yes, but in reality, when it comes down to it, we are reluctant to let go of what is in our hand.

Five is the number of grace and the bread represents Christ, who is the bread of life.  It is His grace that is sufficient for all of our needs according to His riches in glory.   Two is the number of witness and fish are those which carry provision.  The great fish carried Jonah to Nineveh  and the fish had in its mouth the money to pay the tax for Peter and Jesus.  The fish bear witness that Christ is our provision to do impossible things in impossible ways.  Our eyes have to be opened and our faith vision increased to see what God can do through our apparent little if we are faithful to give it to Him.

This is where we will learn kingdom economy and kingdom living as we are the supply for one another’s needs.  As we meet the needs in others we will see our needs met.  Let us have the faith of this little boy to trust God with our five little loaves and two little fishes.  It is not in seeking the miracles, it is in the relationship that we have with the Person of miracles.  Let us have the faith to put our lunch in His hands.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Forgiveness begins with Yourself

 

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

The Word speaks often to the area of forgiveness and the necessity of forgiving others that we in turn may be forgiven.  That it is imperative that we release and forgive others, but for some the most difficult area of forgiveness is with one’s self.  There may be things in your past that you feel such condemnation and guilt about that you can’t even believe that God could or would or should forgive you.  Constantly it may eat at you and feed upon your self-worth until you may have convinced yourself that God could never love someone like you.

What you are believing is a lie of the devil to enslave you to condemnation.  Every time you have tried to reach out to God that sin or sins have come up in your face to make you feel ashamed and unworthy.  It is time for you to recognize the lie for what it is.  It is not God who is condemning you, it is the Lord that wants to heal you, release you and forgive you.

We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, but the blood sacrifice of Jesus upon that cross was so powerful and so great and so righteous that it is powerful enough to forgive even the vilest of sin.  God came in Christ to deliver you and me out of that stronghold of death and to offer us life in its place.

Jesus dealt with several situations in which sinful people were brought to Him.  The law demanded condemnation, but what did Jesus say His purpose was in coming to earth?  John 3:17-18 says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  The one thing that can keep us from being forgiven is a lack of faith and trust that Jesus has and will forgive you.  It is the condemnation of the accuser that seeks to rob us of our faith and reliance in Christ to forgive us our sins if we are faithful to confess them and ask for His forgiveness.  When we fail to accept and believe that we are forgiven we are in affect calling the Lord a liar.  We are grieving the Holy Spirit.  If then Christ has forgiven our sins and they are under His blood, then we must accept that we are washed from it and forgive ourselves as He has forgiven us.  We all live with regrets and we all have things we would do differently if we had them to do over, but we don’t.  We all need the love and grace of God, because without His love and forgiveness we would have no hope.  It is our faith in the finished work of Christ that gives us the confidence to embrace salvation, forgiveness and release from all our past sins and failures.

A sinful woman once came into the house of Simon the Pharisee and wept as she washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.  She anointed Him with the most precious and fragrant ointment that money could buy.  She, through her actions, communicated to Jesus her deepest love, thanks and appreciation for what He had done in her life.  The account in Luke 7:39-48 goes on to say, “39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41″Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The fact that Jesus has forgiven us of much should only make us love Him more.

Jesus loves you more than words can describe.  He has seen your broken heart and the torment you have experienced over your mistakes.  Take these offences and release them to Him right now in faith believing that His blood has washed them from you and you are forgiven.  Now tell Him that you accept His forgiveness and you release yourself from this condemnation and sin, even as He has released you.  What did he say to the woman caught in adultery after all of her accusers had left?  “Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11″No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10-11)

Jesus doesn’t condone or justify our sin, but His mercy and grace will forgive us.  Receive the richness of His love and forgiveness today.  Most importantly, forgive yourself.

Blessings,

#kent

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