There is a Fountain

April 20, 2018

 

There is a Fountain

 

Proverbs 13:14

The law of the wise [is] a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

 

What are the waters of council and advice that we drink from today?  How are our opinions and values formed or swayed?  We all are constantly surrounded and bombarded by the world’s fountain, but in drinking from that fountain we can quickly become ensnared in its values and philosophies that lead to death.  Where do we go to find our council, our values, our understanding and direction for our lives?  We know as Christians that it is found in the Fountain of Life.  That Life comes through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit and those who are imparting that Word of life to others.

We have to be careful where we drink in our influence and persuasions.  Tainted and corrupt waters will taint our soul and our thinking; thereby our values become perverted.  The Word exhorts us to drink from the fountains of wise council, so that it may deliver us from the snares of death.

Proverbs 14: 27 tells us another aspect of this fountain, “The fear of the LORD [is] a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” Not only do we want to seek out and follow wise council from the Word of God, we want to have a holy, wholesome fear and reverence of God that we would not depart from the wisdom, council and instruction that He gives us.  Our God is not one to be trifled with or tempted and yet we do it all of the time.  How many times through our actions, our words, our attitudes and our values do we disrespect and dishonor the name of the Lord?  We are foolish when we don’t truly fear and reverence Him.  If we are wise we will not lose that fear and respect, for what we sow, we shall also reap.

Proverbs 25:26 tells us, “A righteous man falling down before the wicked [is as] a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring“, How are the waters of your spring today?  What is your life producing, what is the fruit of your lips and are our behaviors and attitudes those that flow from the pure fountain of life, from the Christ?

Guard yourself and the watering holes from which you drink.  We want our fountain to be fed from the Fountain of Life.  There is a Fountain who is Christ, the King.  We want Him to be our supply and the source of our wisdom and influence.  There are fountains all around that contain the snares of death.  Let us be wise in choosing the fountain from which we drink.

Blessings,

#kent

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The High Places

April 19, 2018

 

The High Places

 

2Chronicle 20:23

Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.

 

In Old Testament times post dating Moses we know there was an altar of the Lord that dwelt in a tabernacle and later, through David, came to rest in Jerusalem.  For us, who are New Testament Christians, this altar has become the equivalent of Calvary and the Cross.  It is the central altar around which our faith rests and where we find communion with our fellow believers and the Lord Himself.  It is our place of worship.  It is the place where we committed our hearts and souls to the Lord and ask Him to come into our hearts, cleanse us and be the Lord of our lives.  It is that place as Romans 12:1-2 puts it, “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.”   It is that altar where we consecrate ourselves, our worship, our affections and our commitment, first and foremost to Jesus Christ, our Savior.  He alone is the object of our worship, before whom there should be no other Gods.  For it is written, “thou shalt worship the Lord God and Him only shalt thou serve (Matthew 4:10).”

Once again we are asked to go to the places we would rather leave hidden and obscure from the Holy Spirit’s observation.  Today He comes to us to address the “high places” in our hearts and souls.  These were the places, other than the altar at Jerusalem where the Israelites went to worship.  They were places not designated or ordained of God. They were often places of cultic activity, idol worship and perhaps the places more convenient than the altar at Jerusalem.  What are they for us today?  Could they be the places of inordinate affections: our sports, our play, our work, our lust and sensuality, our harbored attitudes of unforgiveness, our movies, computers, games and any number of things that have come into the high places of our heart.  If we are to prepare our hearts before the Lord as our scripture indicates we must deal with and take down the high places.  These things are not easy to let go of.  Our flesh craves and covets them, but they have become an abomination and have brought a separation between our God and us.  They are the idols in our lives, rather we recognize them as such or not and with them we are breaking covenant with God.   These are often things and areas we just as soon stay ignorant of because it will cause us to face areas of our lives we don’t want to face.  It is really those areas where our flesh makes provision for itself to stay alive and active in us rather than going to the cross.  Are we willing like King Josiah, after hearing the Word of the Lord, to go into the high places of our heart and soul and tear down the idols and affections we have built there?  We must be willing to come honestly and openly before the Holy Spirit and ask Him to show us any unclean way in our heart. Then, as He begins to reveal these things, we have to be obedient to put them away from our lives.  Our flesh will cry out and we will still want to harbor and keep some part of it, but when we do we are leaving seed for it to return and it will.   2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong-holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  What are the high things in our hearts that exalt themselves against God today?  We must, by the Spirit pull down the strongholds and bring every thought into obedience to Christ.  We must guard where our thoughts take us, because they may well be the seed for disobedience, rebellion and idolatry.  We must guard our hearts and keep them tender in the light of God’s grace and truth.

“God, give us grace and strength to lay it all on the altar of sacrifice and let go of all that would offend You.”

For us to live an uncompromised life we must tear down the high places and deal with the hidden issues of our hearts.  This is what the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, it is to prepare our hearts to be pure, consecrated and in right relationship with our Lord.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Zechariah 4:10

For who hath despised the day of small things?…

 

Small Beginnings can lead to Great Endings

 

There are many of us out here in the sea of humanity that feel obscure, overlooked and of no seemingly great significance.  Perhaps we are a people who have embraced God’s truth.  We have loved Him, sought Him, praised Him and tried to walk in obedience to Him.  Perhaps we are facing discouragement in our life, because as hard as we have tried to be faithful, we still are struggling with feeling small, insignificant and of no great worth.   We seem to have been forgotten back on the far side of the mountain and maybe even God doesn’t seem very near to us.  We’ve been tempted to give up.  “Maybe I’ve missed God.”

I wonder if young David ever felt that way as he was sent out to pasture and care for His father’s sheep.  When Samuel came to anoint one from the house of Jesse as King, it seems David was the last one on anyone’s mind.  This little ruddy runt of a kid, what could he be?  It seemed he had been forgotten and not counted as anything in the eyes of man, but God was looking at hearts.  What is your heart?

The road to rule and reign is often paved with adversity and pain.  David didn’t spend his time on the backside of some forsaken mountain feeling sorry for himself, because he wasn’t appreciated like his brothers were.  He spent that time building a relationship with God.  In those times of loneliness, it was God whom he counted as his friend and companion.  It was God he would minister too in song, psalms and praise.  It was God that he walked with day by day down those lonely mountain paths and back pastures.  As he learned how to shepherd, protect and care for those sheep, God was training him up to care for His flock.

Often in our daily walk with God, we can become weary, beaten down and discouraged.  Often in our eyes we feel like a failure.   The enemy sits on our shoulder whispering the condemnation where we have fallen short, pointing out all our shortcomings and weaknesses.  As he paints this negative picture before us he is saying, “Who do you think you are that you could be anything for God or anybody else?  Look at what a failure you are.”  Sadly we begin to listen to this voice and believe about ourselves what it is saying.  We feel like giving up, “what’s the use, I might as well just go back and live like the rest of the world.”  That is the recipe for defeat and I would dare say that most of us have felt or been in this place at one time or another.  Perhaps some of us are here now.

God’s got a word for us, “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.”  No matter how insignificant you feel, God has a plan for your life.  In ourselves we could never fulfill the plan God has for us, but in union and relationship with Him our mountains will become plains.  Zechariah 4:6 says, “…Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of host.”  God is the one who makes the small things great and the great things small.  God is the one who orders our steps as we walk in His ways.

Isaiah 60: 22 says, “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time.”  We all have to learn to operate and live in God’s time and not our own.  God’s plans rarely operate according to our schedule.   What God is looking for in us is that heart that He saw in David.  He is not looking for the best looking, the strongest or the person of greatest natural abilities.  He is looking for the one who has a heart after Him; who is willing to endure the hardship and disappointments in life and still love Him, praise Him and trust in Him?

We may never be anything that the world esteems as success and that is okay, but what are we in God’s eyes.  He is the one that counts.  We labor not for the things that perish, but for the things that are eternal.  Don’t give up.  Don’t become discouraged.  Fix your eyes on Him who is able to make your small beginnings have a great ending.

Blessings,

#kent

April 5, 2018

1 Peter 1:3-9

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

 

Scenario of Two Lives

 

There was once a man that lived up in the mountains at the top a steep spire that was very difficult to reach.  Up there he lived alone raising his gardens and small livestock, capturing his water from the frequent  rainfalls.  There he lived isolated from the world and separated unto God, studying his bible and praying daily.  There he endeavored to live his life without sin wholly unto God.

There lived another man who was part of a large family and had many children of his own.  He lived in a crowded city that was full people, commerce and neighbors pressing in on every side.  His means were meager as he struggled to feed and provide for his family.  There were many conflicts surrounding him.  There were many difficulties that beset him.  There were many people continually putting demands upon him and expecting from him.  He also was a godly man, given to God and spending time with the Father in the brief moments he had to himself.  In his life he wrestled with many trials, temptations, persecution and needs that never touched the first man.  Daily he would repent of his sins and failures of living for God, but he would also remind himself of all that Christ was to him, had done for him and was doing in him.  Daily he reminded himself that his righteousness was that of Christ and not his own, that the blood of Jesus covered Him and the Spirit of Christ indwelt Him.  Daily, amidst all of the trials and demands upon his life he endeavored to live in the love of Christ and to share that love with others.

In the end which man accomplished the greater holiness and was most effective for the kingdom of God?  Which man had been perfected more into his image and likeness?

Having that vertical relationship with God is undeniably important.  It is where we draw from the source and the well of His life and strength, but if we never have the horizontal stretching through our relationship with humanity then we can only selfishly accumulate to ourselves, but never give out that which the Holy Spirit is imparting into us.  We can never know the growth we gain through the stretching that we go through in our relationships and the trials of this world.

Through Jesus, we see both the vertical relationship of communion and oneness with the Father and the willingness to be poured out for others that He might release that love into humanity, eventually giving the ultimate sacrifice of His physical life, not for Himself, but for us.  It is all of the trials of our faith that make us much more precious than gold.  Don’t be discouraged by all of life’s problems, demands and woes; this is the place where your faith is exercised, matures and grows.  This is the place where you have the opportunity to live out the things you say that you believe.  If you have your failures, as we all do, know that you are not condemned, but you have an advocate and intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ, The Righteous.  As we confess our sins and failures He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  That overcomer lives in you, because Christ is in you.  As we continue to daily identify with Him, we also learn to walk in an overcoming life.  We, like Jesus, learn obedience through the things that we suffer (Hebrews 5:8).

Count it all joy in the race that is set before you.  Run to win and win by faithfully walking in what the Father has called you to be, the continual expression of Him.  He has enabled us by the Spirit of His power and strength to be more than conquerors through Christ that loved us and gave His life for us.

Blessings,

#kent

 

Failures that don’t end in Defeat

 

Micah 7:7-10

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. 8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. 9 Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the LORD’s wrath, until he pleads my case and establishes my right. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. 10 Then my enemy will see it and will be covered with shame, she who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will see her downfall; even now she will be trampled underfoot like mire in the streets.

 

 

We have all known times of failure in our life and most of us have experienced the Lord’s rod of correction.  There are times when we have stubbornly pursued our own interests and pleasures to only find bitterness and sorrow at the end of what we thought we had to have.  Our sin has consequences and many of us can testify of the great pain and suffering we have had to endure because of our foolish disobedience.

In those moments of failure, when the house that we have built upon the sand is washed away, we may stand in utter shame and humiliation that we have come to this point in our lives.  We may almost think the world and the ones that we loved would be better off without us.  We have had to fully confront our iniquity and the failure which has resulted from it.  How can we even face God or the ones who loved and respected us?   We see failure written all over us, what do we have to live for and have to offer now?

Our scripture today is one of hope and encouragement to the person who feels like a failure. In this scripture we have a nation of God that failed Him and had to suffer the reproach and the discipline of His correction.  The one thing we have to know about our God is though He will discipline us; He will never stop loving us.  He has a tender heart for the one who is truly repentant and will set their heart upon Him again.  After all, that is what discipline is for, to show us the error of our ways and bring us back to righteousness.  No matter how low we go, God never stops loving us, but a man without hope or faith is dead.  Without hope there is no way but down.  Hope causes us to look up into the loving eyes and heart of our Heavenly Father and say; “Can you still use this broken pot?”  It is our hope and faith in the Lord that believes that though we sit in darkness the Lord will be our light.  Christ will plead our cause and will be our advocate.  He will lift me again out of my place of darkness and bring me back into the light of His salvation.  All those who cursed me and judged me will be put to shame for though I was defeated I don’t have to fail.  The Lord is our victory and He is our good success.  When we were willing, through repentance, to relinquish the failure that we were; God begins to form a new man fashioned in the form of victory and uprightness.  He is a man that rises out of the ashes of failure to find victory and purpose again in His God.

Only God can take our failures and defeats and turn them for good.  When our enemies thought they had nailed our coffin shut, then God will raise us up to their shame.  You can trust that it won’t be in our time, it will be in His time.  No matter how bad we mess up and no matter how bad we fail God, our loved ones and even ourselves, all hope is not lost if we will put our eyes back on Jesus.  His love and forgiveness can reach into the deepest hell and depravity and set the captive free.    No one else and no other God can do that but Him.  Our failures don’t have to end in defeat, in fact they may be what bring us to our ultimate victory in Christ and our enemies will be put to shame before us. God can still brings us back into the light of His salvation and grace.  ‘As long as there is life, there is hope.’

Blessings,

#kent

Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding;

6in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

7Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

8This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

 

 

Distracted, but not Dissuaded

 

 

Have you ever had those time when you were trying to pray or have quite time with Papa and your mind was continually inundated and distracted with other thoughts that you kept trying to put away, but they kept coming back?  It is like you couldn’t focus on prayer or the word, because of these mental imaginations and thoughts that were like magnets pulling your attention in another direction.  Sometime it is brought on by an emotional turmoil or conflict I am having with some person or situation.  I find that this will happen occasionally and sense I seem to have very little control over it. That being the case, I might as well take whatever it is that my mind is distracted with and just give it to the Lord.  He said in all of your ways acknowledge him, so whether my thoughts are spiritually inspired or not, still, all that I am is His.  What can I do, but simply say, “Father, I am sorry for all of this mental distraction, but since I am yours, I give it all to you. Lord, only your Spirit within me can help me to do as 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us to do. “For 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.”  The primary thing is that I don’t want my thoughts and desires to be opposed to those of the Lord, so I am going to bring Him right into my mental barrage and say, “God here is what I am dealing with, help me get it in alignment with You, Your will and Your purpose.  Help me to cast down and overcome all that is not of Your Spirit and Your will.”   Satan loves to assault our minds and then turn and condemn us for the very thoughts he perpetrated upon us.  These are not my thoughts till I give them ownership by embracing and entertaining them.  Even if I find myself having done that I can repent and ask the blood of Jesus to wash me.  We must refuse to be robbed by the enemies’ condemnation any more.  I am not going to allow myself to be separated from my identity in Christ.  When the enemy attacks me with distracting thoughts or temptation, he is assaulting and attacking the Christ in me as well, because my life is hid in Him.

Satan is always out to Shanghai our identity and our faith in God.  So I will continually remind myself of who I am in Christ and remember that my purpose is for His glory and not my own.

We aren’t immune from the assaults of the enemy, distracting thoughts, temptations and interruptions.  Neither do we have to allow these to be grounds of condemnation and feeling spiritually inadequate.  We just never cease to acknowledge Father in all of our ways, to continually worship our God and magnify Him in all that we do.  No matter how distracted or insistent the thoughts are, keep your heart on Jesus, keep your praise on Him and ask Holy Spirit to give you the victory and peace.  As Romans 8:27-29 says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  I will continually acknowledge Him until my paths are made straight!

Blessings,

#kent

A Heavenly Perspective

March 1, 2018

A Heavenly Perspective

 

Colossians 3:15-17

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

 

Today is a day to be glad, rejoice in life and embrace your life with hope.  We are a blessed people.  Some would say, “if you saw my condition you wouldn’t think I was very blessed.”  I can certainly appreciate all that life throws at us sometimes.  Outward circumstances can get incredibly harsh, cruel and difficult to bear.  The apostle Paul says this, in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  For most of us, our biggest stumbling block is that we are always focusing on what is seen, rather than what is not seen.  We tend to base our life, our success, our happiness and our worth on what we see as reality in the natural world around us.  What the Word is teaching us is, if that is the case, you are living out of a wrong perspective and viewpoint.  Colossians 3 gives us some perspective in where our mindset and viewpoint of life must now come from.   “1Since, 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.”  If we are living in discouragement and defeat it most likely has to do with the perspective of our minds and our hearts.  This present life can offer some crushing blows and some real discouragement, but when we begin to understand that if we are in Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father, then nothing can really touch our life without first going through the Father.  If these things are allowed to touch our lives then it is our opportunity and privilege to know that as we keep our eyes upon Him, He is giving us the grace to walk through whatever it is.  Often times, we come to the point where there is really nothing more that we can do outwardly.  The Words tells, “Having done all, stand.”  Stand in the faith that the Lord is God and He is upon the throne of our lives working all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.   Perhaps the Lord allows us to go through some of these things so that we can begin to practice living out of the mind of Christ, rather than the mind of our flesh.  The mind of Christ will look with the eyes of faith, resting in the Lord to work all things out according to His will and purpose.  It will rejoice in hope and confidence in the God of its salvation.  The mind of the flesh will be agitated, fearful, and full of worry, anger, frustration and doubt and discouragement.

Many of the saints of old went through great times of trials and testing.  It was their faith and confidence in the Almighty that sustained them and brought them through.  Most of us would rather avoid and run away from our problems, but that is not where growth is or that which builds our faith. Like the song by Andre Crouch goes, “if I never had a problem, I would never know that God could solve them. I’d never know what faith in His Word can do.”

Don’t allow your countenance to fall today.  Look up and make the decision to have joy in your life in spite of any circumstances that may be pressing on you.  God will see you through.

Blessings,

#kent

The Loving Hand of Correction

February 26, 2018

The Loving Hand of Correction

Hebrew 12:5-8

 

5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.  6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  8 )  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

 

Most of us would rather run away from discipline and correction.  Especially when things are going well the last thing we want is someone to rock our boat, especially heavenly Father.  Every motive and action of God is birthed in love, for He is love.  For God to leave us to our own devices and ways would not be very loving on His part since we are His children and His responsibility is to raise us as such.  While many of us say we love God we can be just as stubborn and rebellious about spiritual things as we can about natural things.  Out of God’s great love for us, because we are His children, He corrects and disciplines us in many different ways.  Even though that goes against the grain of our flesh, what is the greatest hindrance to our spiritual walk if it is not the old natural ways of living and thinking?  The trials and tribulations that touch our lives are exercising our true faith, spiritual obedience and substance.  I find I can think I’m pretty a good egg until the Lord allows me to tested in an area and what comes out of me or how I respond is often a pretty good indicator that a definite work of grace and correction is needed in that area of my life.  Unfortunately for most of us God has to keep taking us around and around some of the mountains in our life, because we still can’t seem to get it right.  How often have we read about the Israelites of the Old Testament and shook our heads at the fact we saw a continual cycle of rebellion and disobedience to God, His warnings and exhortation to turn from sin, their continued path of disobedience, God’s rod of discipline and correction, the repentance and turning again to God.  Then it would start all over again.  1 Corinthians 10: 11 says, “Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”  Here we have 20/20 hindsight, but do we make any better choices and demonstrate a greater measure of obedience and submission to the Lord than our Israelite predecessors?

Those who have trusted God for their salvation are at the heart of God’s love.  Even Jesus is our example, for it says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered (Hebrew 5:8).” Let us not take the discipline of the Lord as a sign of His displeasure or anger toward us.  Though our discipline is not pleasant while we are going through it the Lord does it for our profit and good.  The end result is that it works the peaceable fruits of righteousness in us when we have been exercised by it.  Like the loving Father that He is, He is not allowing us to grow up spiritually being the self-willed, self- serving children we would be inclined to be, but the children that are being conformed to image of the Father by His loving hand and correction.

Let’s thank God He loves us the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way.

Blessings,

#kent

The God of all Comfort

February 16, 2018

 

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

The Call to Prayer

January 12, 2018

 

The Call to Prayer

 

1 Timothy 2:1-4

I urge, then, first of all, that request, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-

For kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceable and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

 

How important is our prayer life?  Can we ever know to what extent the events of life are impacted through our prayer or lack of it?   Paul starts out this passage to Timothy saying the first order of business in our worship is prayer.  Obviously request, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving does make a tremendous difference in God’s economy for it is the means by which God channels His intervention and direction in human affairs.  It can affect every aspect of our lives from those who are in authority over us to our health and finances.  Faith is what moves the heart and hand of God.  Our prayer life communicates that faith into the spiritual realm and is a primary catalyst that activates change.  As people of God, we learn that our dependence is not in ourselves, or our government or our economy.  It is in GOD WE TRUST.  Our founders and forefathers of the United States knew how important this principle was when this country was established against tremendous natural odds.  We live in the country we do today as result of a supernatural God doing supernatural things.  We are losing our country to factions that want to tear out the very cornerstone and foundation of our country, our beliefs and reliance upon God.  This spiritual attack is against the very life and heartbeat of our nation.  How we need a standard of prayer to be raised up.  I speak of myself, as well as many of us when I say we have become lethargic and have fallen asleep at the wheel of our spiritual responsibilities to pray, not just for our personal lives and what directly affects us, but for our nation, our leaders, the body of Christ and the lost.  We have become so financially and materially focused that we have lost sight of our spiritual responsibility for the direction of our nation.  Many of us have disengaged from the privilege and responsibility we have as American to participate in our government to decide the direction we go.  If we are Spirit led people then we need to be spiritually led how to vote and take part in the type of government we have.  God’s holds His people responsible for setting the course of a nation.  We can not be complacent when it comes to prayer.  It must be our passion.

I believe the only reason God has withheld judgement from this nation as long as He has is because of the prayers and faithfulness of His saints.  To our shame, so many of us are riding the coattails of the few faithful ones.  A wave of prayer, intercession, request and thanksgiving needs to rise on behalf of this nation.  Let this stand as a call to arms for all of us to commit ourselves to prayer and fasting for the condition of our nation and God’s direction in the decisions and course of our government and in particular our judicial system at this time.  Our God is faithful and He does hear the cry of His people.  We must engage in the battle going on in the spirit for our nation.  Darkness has gained a foothold that is tearing at the very fabric of our life and morality.  Prayer is our weapon to fight this spiritual battle.  If we desert the battle we desert our heritage and our future.  As so many brave Americans have laid down their physical lives and well-being for this nation we must engage the enemy with no less commitment in the spiritual arena.  Our nation and our lives hang in the balance.

Blessings,

#kent

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