The Planting of the Lord

April 11, 2019

 

The Planting of the Lord

 

Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

 

Have you thought about yourself as being a tree planted in the garden and orchard of God, a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord?  Many years ago when we first had moved into our home, I had planted a number of young trees and saplings in a portion of my yard I wanted it to be like a little forest.  As I was looking out the window at it one evening I felt I heard the Spirit of the Lord say, ” Some of those trees you think will live will die and some that look like they will die will live.  If you will faithfully keep your eyes and heart on me and let your roots go down in the good soil of my Word then I will make you like a mighty Oak tree.”  Over the years that has held true, some of the tree grew up mighty and strong, while others wilted and died.  All of those trees were planted in the same ground, but not all of them reacted the same way.

Perhaps some of you today have felt that the tree of your spiritual life has become diseased or is wilting and dying.  Perhaps the winters have been harsh with trials and the summers have only brought drought and dryness to an already wilting faith and life.  Perhaps those around you have been hurt or died and it has brought despondency and sorrow.  There may even be some of you that feel you are already dead or just hanging by a thread of faith.   God’s got a word for you today.  “Though you were dead, yet shall you live.”  God has come to comfort you who mourn and are broken hearted.  He is come to bring you beauty for what you have considered burnt up with nothing but ashes remaining.  He is come to restore in you joy and hope and confidence.  You say, ” how can it be, look at my failures, my sins, my unfaithfulness.”  He says,  ” Look at Me, my son, my daughter, I am the ever Faithful One.  I have planted you to be trees of righteousness, my righteousness, not yours.  Look up, for your Redeemer lives and ever makes intercession on your behalf.  Though you were dead, yet shall you live.”  If you will put your eyes and your heart back on the Lord today and let your roots go down again into the soil of His Word, He will establish you as the mighty Oak of Righteousness, for you are the planting of the Lord.

Blessings,

#kent

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The Horse and the Rider

April 1, 2019

 

The Horse and the Rider

 

Revelations 6:2

And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

 

 

For a great time now satan and his hordes have ridden roughshod over humanity.  They have brought destruction and heartache at every opportunity.  They have robbed and plundered the human spirit.  They defecate their filth and perversion throughout the earth and all of us have been made to wade through it.  Even upon the righteous, the God fearing and the God seeking they vomit condemnation and seek to beat down any hope and faith that they carry.  Through ignorance and darkness they have reigned, causing men to believe the lie.  They have perpetuated and proclaimed the law of sin and death throughout the land.  Mankind has hung its head in shame and by the sweat of their brow they pursue the riches of life, as they know it.

God, in the fullness of times, has brought mankind a deliverer, Christ the Lord.  Though he was despised and rejected of the world, to many He has brought hope, faith and salvation.  Yet the horse and the rider of the enemy continues to ride through the camp of even God’s people causing division, dissention and disillusionment.  Even so, God has a remnant of the faithful.  The faithful press on and press in.  They will not give way to the oppressor and the tyranny of sin.  They have experienced their deliverance and though they may dwell in a land of captivity, there spirits are free and they have raised up their heads toward heaven.  The Lord has exhorted His people in Isaiah  51:6, “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.”  The people of God look for a new day and a new age when former things will pass away and the foe of mankind will meet His end.  Hear what the Lord says in Isaiah 51to His people in this day, “1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD : Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; 2 look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. 3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. 4 “Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. 5 My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. 7 “Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. 8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations.” 9 Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old. Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces, who pierced that monster through? 10 Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over? 11 The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. 12 “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, 13 that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor? 14 The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon,

nor will they lack bread. 15 For I am the LORD your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar—

the LORD Almighty is his name. 16 I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

The spiritual day of battle is at hand.  Prepare your hands for war, a war not after the flesh, but after the spirit.  Put on the whole armor of God that you may stand in the day of battle.  “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer (Revelations 6:2).”  “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a namewritten, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:11-16).”  He’s coming!  He’s coming for His people, in His people and through His people.  He is coming to rule and reign.  He is coming with His army. “And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded.”  Prepare for battle.

Blessings,

#kent

Even Jesus was Slandered

March 27, 2019

John 8:48

The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”

 

Even Jesus was Slandered

 

Some of us have gotten quite offended because we have been misunderstood or others have taken up an offense against us because we didn’t fit in their belief box.  Here is the truth!  It doesn’t matter what you or I believe if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.  If the religious crowd of that day, who supposedly knew and taught God’s ways, were so willing to slander Jesus, The Way, The Truth and The Life, then should it be any surprise if you are misunderstood or you are slandered for teaching truth.  Truth is only evident in the light of the understanding and belief system that we currently have.  How many of us may now embrace what we once thought was in error, because we have come into a greater understanding and revelation of Truth.  Many were blind to the truth of Jesus in His day, even many of His disciples walked away from Him in John 6:66, because of the truth that He spoke to them.   There are things we are going to hear that will go against traditional teaching and paradigms, but they are substantiated by their alignment with the Word of God and the fruit of righteousness that they should produce.

Should we believe and receive every teaching that comes down the pipe?  Of course not.

1 John 4:1-3 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”  If we are walking in the Spirit then the truth will bear witness with the Word and the Spirit, even if it doesn’t fit in our box of current understanding.  Jesus is taking us from glory to glory as we are being transformed into His image.  In each realm of glory is a deeper dimension and revelation of truth.  If we are not sure about something, we put it on the shelf and pray for the Holy Spirit to give us understanding and discernment concerning it.

Men of God can be mentors, lights and examples to follow in the way of truth, but they are never the foundation upon which you build your house.  They can give you guidance and direction, as well help you to grow into your potential in Christ, but they never take the place of Christ.  Even good men are subject to falling or getting into error, so trust first the Word of God and the Spirit of God whom you must come to know for yourself.  Then if good or great men fall before you it won’t shake or move you in your faith.

As you come into deeper truth and understanding it will be a joy and illumination to your spirit, but don’t be surprised if others don’t embrace it with you and may even turn against you.  Be faithful to what God shows you.  We are accountable for what we know.  Love and pray for those that may slander or malign you.  John 15:24 says, “If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.”  The truth should produce and manifest kingdom results as it did in the life of Jesus.  That is the witness that this is the truth.  Jesus told the believers in John 8:31, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Blessings,

#kent

Still Waters

March 18, 2019

Psalms 23:2

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

 

Still Waters

 

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Cinderella

March 13, 2019

 

Cinderella

 

Romans 10:19

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

 

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Speculating Evil

March 6, 2019

 

Speculating Evil

 

Jeremiah 29:11

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

#kent

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

 

A Life That Makes a Difference

 

When we reflect upon our lives and their meanings, don’t we all want to feel like our life made a difference in the world and had an impact?  Life is not lived to make a void when it is gone, but to make a difference while it is here.  A selfish life is an empty life.  Life is a gift given to us that we may impart into others.  If we miss our purpose, then we have missed our meaning.

The older I get the less I care about what others think of me or how they view me.  My heart is, “God let every day count and let me live it to Your glory by accomplishing Your will.”  I told my brother-in-law the other day at his birthday,  “You know, I feel like I have reached critical mass and I am accelerating into the Son!”  The older we get the more aware we become of the urgency to impact our world and the lives around us.  This is what Jesus intended us to do.

How often in the past have I sat on my light or muffled its sound for fear of offending or not gaining another’s approval?  Do I represent Jesus before men, as I would want Him to represent me before the Father?

Think about what Jesus said concerning the meaning and direction of our life in Mark 8:34-38, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Doesn’t this say that Jesus wants our lights to shine with a passion?  It doesn’t mean we have to be fanatically strange, but then if we are so like Jesus we are going to tend to stick out like a light in a dark place and that’s okay.  There are those who are drawn to the light and then there are those who will recoil back into the darkness.  We are not here to be conformed to the darkness but to dispel it with the light and truth that dwells within us.  Jesus said as much with the way He lived His life as He did with His words.  It is not about meeting a quota and witnessing to so many people, it is about being a witness through the way you live your life and how you lay it down for others.  Some of us feel condemned because we don’t always know what to say or how to say it.  The fact that you take the time to care about someone you don’t know or who can’t benefit you, speaks to the One in you.  The fact that you would just take the time to tell someone how special they are and that God wants them to know that He really loves and cares about them.  We have made it more about pitching religion and getting someone to pray the sinner’s prayer than about really loving and caring about them in the way that Jesus would.  I have found that when people don’t feel like you have an agenda when you approach them in a sincere and loving way, more times than not they are open to that.  They want to know that God really does see them, care about them and love them.  It can be a real blessing even to have a loving stranger offer to pray for you or meet a need.  So many people out there may be smiling on the outside, but they are crying on the inside.  They need and want answers, not just religion and dogma shoved down their throats.  They want to see the reality of it exemplified in the lives of God’s people.  So often they watch those who say they know Christ, but then become disappointed and disillusioned, because they see God’s people acting and being like everyone else.  There is such power in love to bring light into people’s lives, but it has to be the real deal.  People are fed up with the fake and the insincere.  When we can bring the genuine light of Christ into people’s lives, many will respond to it, but it takes more of us that truly look like Him in the way we live our lives and the love that we carry that so exceeds our own.

Man, in his unregenerate state, is a “self-lover”.  It is always about him.  That man or woman that really is a disciple of Jesus has come to that point where they are willing to lay down their lives so that may become “life givers”, rather than “life takers”.   As Jesus said, ‘If we gain the whole world and lose our soul, its worth is as dust falling through our fingers at the end of life.’  We are left empty, desolate and void, even though we may have thought that we had everything.  Now we face eternity as the poorest among men.  The richest are those who spent all to let their light so shine in a way that it brought others to Christ and imparted His goodness into them.  They may have had nothing in this world, but they face eternity with money in the bank of heaven, a smile on their face and rejoicing in their hearts.  They have gained the fullness of life while lighting the way for others to see.  They are a city set upon a hill that cannot be hidden.  They have lived a life that made a difference.

Blessings,

#kent

Desire Wisdom

January 30, 2019

Desire Wisdom

 

Proverbs 2:1-11

1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom

and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

 

Among the things that we covet, desire and pursue in the earth, is wisdom one of the primary things?  Proverbs 8:11 says, “For wisdom [is] better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”  Proverbs 16:16 says, “How much better [is it] to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”  Godly wisdom is a much neglected thing and yet just the word “wisdom” is used some 234 times throughout the Word of God, so one might get the impression it is a more important aspect in God’s eyes than many of us realize.  It is far too exhaustive to cover thoroughly in this brief study, but let’s just let God’s Word instruct us in this area today.

First, what is wisdom?  Ecclesiastes 2:26 says, “For [God] giveth to a man that [is] good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to [him that is] good before God. This also [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.”  James 3:17 tells us, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”  It is godly guiding principles of life that helps one to produce the fruit of godliness in their life and walk.

How does one obtain it?  Job 28:28, Proverb 1:7 and Proverbs 9:10 pretty closely agree and bear witness to each other that, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy (to depart from evil) [is] understanding.” It says that fools will despise wisdom and instruction.  So, if you be among the wise, “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding;(Proverbs 2:2) For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth [cometh] knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: [he is] a buckler to them that walk uprightly (Proverbs2:6-7).”

Why is it so important?  Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” Proverbs 15:33 tells us, “The fear of the LORD [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility.”  It is so important, because learning wisdom is learning the way of the Lord.  It is our instruction and way of salvation.  It is the path that leads to life.   Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy the truth, and sell [it] not; [also] wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”  I think this is a key verse to understanding a couple of passages in the New Testament.  If we think about this wisdom as like the oil of godly understanding, of principled living, of the knowledge which leads us into relationship and intimacy with Him, then we might get a little insight into Matthew 25:1-13.  The parable about the ten virgins, five who were wise and five who were foolish.  We just learned that the foolish are those who despise wisdom.  The reason they despise wisdom is because wisdom demands great reverence and respect for God, as well as obedience.  The foolish want to go their own way, be complacent and do their own thing.  Proverbs 15:21 says, “Folly [is] joy to [him that is] destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly” Can any of us see that folly in ourselves?  They were all virgins.  They were all looking for Christ’s coming, but we see two different conditions of the heart, one acceptable and one not.   Wisdom is not something you have in a moment of time, it something that you cultivate, grow and mature into.  Wisdom is revealed to those that love her, seek after, cherish and respect her.  She is a relational creature and one you must grow in relationship with.   Proverbs 19:8 says, “He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.”  Ecclesiastes 2:13 says, “Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.”

Isaiah 33:6 tells us, “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, [and] strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD [is] his treasure”  “My son, attend unto my wisdom, [and] bow thine ear to my understanding (Proverbs 5:1).”  Perhaps through these many passages and exhortations of wisdom we are given even more a sense and gravity to the exhortation of Revelations 3:15, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot.  So because thou are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and the miserable and poor and blind and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayes become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest cloth thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.   As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.”  This is the exhortation to the foolish virgin to go get and buy wisdom before it is too late.

Let us pursue wisdom whereby our lamps are filled with oil and we are not filled with a false sense of security and riches; but of a truth, we are rich in the wisdom and the mind of our God.

Blessings,

#kent

The Heavens of Desolation

January 25, 2019

 

The Heavens of Desolation

 

Habakkuk 3:17-19

17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD , I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

 

What becomes of our faith and confidence in God in the midst of our trials, testings, and perhaps desolation, even when we have sought to put our faith in God?  Has He failed us, is His arm short that He cannot save us?  Has He forgotten us, forsaken us or cast us aside?  As I read this passage in Habakkuk this morning I was moved by the attitude of the prophet in the midst of his desolation.  Here He is saying if all else collapses, if everything around me fails to produce and if I lose all that I have; “yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”  One of the biggest hurdles we have, to get over, is that natural circumstances really have nothing to do with God and His faithfulness.  We most often want to use our circumstances as a barometer and thermometer of how close we are to God, by how much we are blessed and how well things are going.  What do we do then with those desolate times, when circumstances would indicate that God has forsaken us?  All the natural indicators around us would tell us God isn’t with you in your desolation.  Was God in Job’s desolation?  Was He in Joseph’s desolation in Egypt?  Was He in David’s desolation as Saul sought and hunted him like an animal to take his life?  Was God in Christ Jesus’ desolation at Gethsemane and the Cross?  Even Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

We have no problem thanking God and recognizing Him in our blessings and when life is good.  What do we do when the times come that try our souls, test our faith and our head is filled with voices of God’s unfaithfulness?  It is the winepress and the crushing of the grapes that determines the true nature of the wine.  These are the times and the places we must, like the prophet Habakkuk, know how to walk upon the high places and in the heavenlies when calamities befall us.  We must come to know heaven even in the times of desolation and despair.  Much of the Psalms were written in this very place.   In them we can hear each one of our own cries to God, as at the same time we are reminding ourselves of God’s great salvation.  In them we can see the encouragement that can be derived and the faith that can be stirred up, by remembering our God and His mighty acts.  We remember that He said He would never leave us or forsake us.  Psalm 73:23 says,” Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”  Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19-20, “19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We must not ever let the circumstances around us dictate the presence of God in our lives.  Our feelings are not the best indicators of our spirituality.   Our spirit man within us, that in-Christed-One within us, is the anchor of our souls.  It is from the wells of His life within us that we draw forth the living waters in the days of drought. It is the living Word and manna that we eat in the days of our wilderness and hunger.  Matthew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”  This is why Habakkuk could sing, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation The LORD God [is] my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ [feet], and he will make me to walk upon mine high places…” Only the people of God can truly know the place of heaven in such times.  Only they can know the joy of the their God and rejoice in His salvation when calamity fills the earth around them.  Our circumstances are not our God.  Our God is the Lord of our circumstances no matter what they may proclaim to the contrary.

If your circumstances and desolation are bringing you down today, come rejoice in the Lord, come up into the heavenlies with the spirit of praise, worship and remembrance of His wonderful acts.  Let faith arise in your hearts.  The Lord is your strength and He will cause you to stand.

Blessings,

#kent

The Struggles with Sin

January 23, 2019

 

The Struggles with Sin

 

John 8:32-34

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: [but] the Son abideth ever.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

 

Sin is a word that means to fall short or miss the mark.  Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  This is where the grace of God has come in, through Christ, to stand in the place of our shortcomings and be our righteousness through faith in Him and the blood that He shed for our sin.

Let me use perhaps a crude example to illustrate a point.  Many of us may not play golf, but probably all of us know the object of the game is to get the little white ball in 18 different little cups by hitting it with various golf clubs in the least number of strokes possible.  Now there have been and are now some extraordinary golfers that could play this better than most anyone else, but I’ve never heard of a golfer who has ever played 18 holes and made all of them on the first stroke.  Even the best of them miss the mark. The fact is, it is humanly impossible to make each hole in only one hit.  What if one day there was a golfer, who did it, he played the ultimate game and did what no man had ever done?  What if he then said, “Everyone that will golf with me and play the game my way even when he misses a stroke it will not be counted against Him.”  Suddenly there is a possibility that we can play a perfect game as long as we remain in the perfect golfer.  The truth is many are more concerned about playing there own game there own way no matter how many strokes it takes them.  These are the servants of sin or missing the mark.  If they were abiding in this master golfer then their strokes would be forgiven and not be counted against them, but because they want to do it their way then their strokes will count against them.  They will be judged and scored accordingly.

A servant of sin is one determined to live life in his own abilities, in his own way and for his own end.  While he may acknowledge the master golfer, he is still determined to play the game his way.  This is the way sin is in our lives.  Christ came to set us free from sin.  We have all played the game of life our own way.  Some of us better than others, but all of us are falling short.  The only way to play the perfect game is to be in the perfect golfer.   We are being made perfect in Christ, not because we never fail or fall short, but because Christ is our righteousness by faith.  When the Father looks upon us He see His Son who is perfect and the fulfillment of righteousness.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” We are complete in Him.  If we say that we are in Him, but still want to play our own game, by our own rules then aren’t we living a lie?

All of us have struggles with sin.  We all have areas in our lives where we are weak and prone to fall into sin more than others do.  We are pretty good at pointing the finger at the weaknesses and sins of others that we deem worse than our own.  The greatest sin for any of us is an unsubmitted heart to the Father through our trust in the Son.  If we are weak in an area and are overcome by our sin, often we will try to justify it by saying God made us this way, or I can’t help the way I am.  We latch hold of the victim mentality that says it is someone else’s fault.  When we take this position we negate what Jesus said, “.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  When we come to Christ sometimes we are completely delivered from the strongholds in our lives, but more often than not we must learn to overcome and conquer these areas by the strength and life of the Lord in us.  We may spend a good deal of our lives struggling in these areas.  What we find is that our greatest deliverance is losing our lives in His.  When Christ becomes our foremost love and passion, when He becomes more and more, these other passions become less and less.  For anything to have life, it must be fed whether it is the life of God in us or the demons of our weaknesses and sins.  What we feed grows, what we starve dies.  If you are struggling with an area of sin in your life, your victory is not in your strength and ability, your victory is in your identification with His life and relinquishment of your will and desires to His.  An exchange must be in progress, old life for new, death to self that gives place to life in the Spirit.  The reality of our faith is not always seen immediately in the outward realm, it is first at work and reality in our spirit and in our heart before it becomes a reality in the natural realm of our being.  Romans 6:4-7, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

Blessings,

#kent

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