Desire Wisdom

January 4, 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 to 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, 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 with truth, with is rich in the wisdom and the mind of our God.

Blessings,

#kent

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How Good God Really Is

December 4, 2018

 

How Good God Really Is

 

Psalm 107:1-2

O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

Let the redeemed of the LORD say [so], whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;

 

Sometimes it is easy for us to lose sight of who we are in Christ, that we are His redeemed and He literally has redeemed us from the hand of our enemy.  He has gathered us from every tribe and tongue and from the ends of the earth to set His name and His seal upon us.  We are the redeemed of the Lord purchased with the blood of the Lamb.  When we think back to the time we were sold under the dominion of sin, without hope, without eternal purpose, how empty we were in our souls.  Psalms 107: 4-6 says, “They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he delivered them out of their distresses.”  Even as the Lord’s redeemed, many of us have or are currently experiencing that wilderness place of a solitary way, outside of His perceived presence.  We have been in that place where we have tasted that the Lord is good, but our souls faint in that we hunger and thirst for more of Him.  We seem to have only distress and trials around us.  All we know to do is to cry out for more of Him, more of His grace, more of His power, mercy and deliverance in our lives.

Psalms 107:7-12 says, “And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, [being] bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and [there was] none to help.”  Many of us have known the way of the Lord.  We have known His desire to lead us in a right way. We have tasted of the age to come, of the promises and of the Lord’s goodness toward us, yet many of us have slipped back into the ways of sin and darkness.  We have rebelled with our self-will, desires and personal aspirations.  We’ve felt confined again in that place of bondage that always accompanies sin.  Down in our spirits we burn with hunger and desire for the Lord to descend and take us out of this state where the strongholds of sin have held us.  The Lord often will let us go our own way until one day we wake up out of our stupor of selfishness and find ourselves given over to the those things that Christ died to deliver us out of.

Thankfully, our God hears with compassion the cries of repentance and will bring us again out of our darkness if we will turn to Him with our whole heart.  We come to realize that unless He helps us there are none that can and we would perish in our sin.

Psalms 107:13-20 goes on to say, “Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he saved them out of their distresses.  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men! For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder. Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.

Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.

Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, [and] he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered [them] from their destructions.”

The whole point of this is for us to realize how good God really is.  Even when we have played the fool and have been caught up again in the snare of sin and temptation, when we cry out unto the Lord He is there.  When He should have cast us away He still longs lovingly for us to return.  If we come again with the grief of our sin and the true repentance of a broken spirit, He will again heal us and restore us into fellowship with Himself.  In our trouble and in our distress we can still cry out to our God, for our Redeemer lives and continually lives to make intercession on our behalf.  He will send us His Word that will again lead us back into the paths of righteousness.  He will heal us and deliver us from our destructive ways if we will appropriate the blood of His forgiveness and mercy.

Come and return unto the Lord!  He desires to gather unto Himself His lost sheep.  He desires to heal the wounds inflicted by the enemy and deliver us out of their savage grip.  God loves you with an everlasting love and His love is greater than our sin.  Sin is a waster, a destroyer and a murderer, but Christ is a restorer, a healer, our salvation and great redeemer.  “Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. (Psalms 107:21-22)”

Blessings,

#kent

Foolishness

December 3, 2018

 

Foolishness

 

Ecclesiastes 7:25

25 So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.

          Folly and foolishness is bound up in the heart of all of us. What motivates one man to pursue wisdom and another to pursue folly and foolishness?  What is folly and foolishness?  In this scripture it is defined as the “stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.”   Stupidity isn’t just ignorance or not knowing.  It is knowing what the right choice is and still choosing the wrong one.  None of us have ever been stupid or foolish have we; knowing what is right and choosing to do the wrong thing anyway?  We do it far more than we would like to admit.  What motivates us to sin?  It is foolishness.  Now why are we so stupid?  I guess it is what our stubborn flesh wants to do and the desire to satisfy it is stronger than the desire to be obedient to the mind and will of God. 

          The book of Proverbs spends quite a bit of its content addressing the contrast between wisdom and foolishness.  Wisdom is the pursuit of life and the knowledge and understanding of it.  It opposes foolishness, because wisdom’s direction is grounded in the principles that lead us to understanding and embracing the mind, will and purpose of God.  Proverbs says that “folly is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”  As God’s children and even as adults we want to hold on to a lot of our foolishness.  We can be wise in some areas, but there are other areas we don’t want to let go of folly.  As a result we see the fruit of it in our lives.  It affects our relationships, our finances and taints so much of our life.  Why are we so stupid we won’t let go of it?  Usually it has become a stronghold in us that now rules over us instead of us over it.  These strongholds of foolishness can destroy us if we let them.  We know what is right, but seem helpless to be obedient to the truth in certain areas.  Here again the wisdom of the Lord is our deliverance.  The first act of wisdom is when we acknowledge that these areas are wrong and we no longer want to be a slave to them.  In our repentance we must seek God’s help; for it will not be conquered in our own power.  It is wisdom to seek the help of trusted brothers or sisters who will pray with us, stand with us and hold us accountable.  Our deliverance is when we come out of the darkness and into the light.  In the light, satan is powerless and all his deceitfulness is exposed.  It is in the darkness of our minds and the privacy our own thoughts he works to deceive and entice us to sin and folly. 

          Wisdom is known, not by her knowledge, but by her works.  Many are ever learning, but never able to come to knowledge of the truth.  Wisdom is spiritual and practical application of godly principles.  Foolishness is poor judgment and wrong choices motivated by selfishness.  All of us have a certain amount of foolishness left in us, but what are we pursuing today?  Are we hungry and passionate about laying hold of the mind of Christ which is wisdom in circumstances of life or are we given to folly and just going with the flow?  1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us; For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”  Our foolishness is bound up in the heart of our selfishness, only the cross at work in us will deliver us into the wisdom of the life and mind of God.  Are we willing to release the stupidity of our folly and pursue wisdom at all cost to us? 

            Paul exhorts the Colossians, as well as us in Colossians 2: 1-4, For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and [for] them at Laodicea, and [for] as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.”  Christ is our wisdom and the standard against our folly.  He is the deliverance from our foolish ways as we apply the principles of wisdom He is teaching us daily through our obedience.   Remember, “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise. (Proverbs 12:15)”  Will you seek wisdom today as you pursue to know and do the will of God in every area of your life?

Blessings,

#kent

Under the Shadow of His Wing

November 15, 2018

 

Under the Shadow of His Wing

 

Matthew 23:37

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!

 

Is this not a commentary on our nation today as we have little by little removed God from our schools, our government, our homes and our hearts?  The Lord spoke to Israel back in Deuteronomy 8 among other places.  He made promises to them of His provision and protection if they were faithful to not forsake and turn away from Him.  It grieves many of us as Christians to see the state our nation is in and where it is heading.  I can only think that it is because there are still many who do cry out against the abominations we see in our country and that we know grieves the heart of God, that God has mercifully withheld His judgement thus far .  The events of 9/11 and other nation impacting event are a wake-up call to us to bring us to that place of repentance and call us to return to the Lord with our whole hearts.  Thank God He has mercifully given us a godly leader at this time that is bold to hold up a standard of righteousness in strength.  One who promotes justice and truth and the right to life.  God forbid that we continue on as Israel did to their own destruction.  There is a place of protection in God and we have forsaken it.

Under the hierarchy of God there is an order of authority and leadership.  When each one is in submission to their respective head and leadership there is a divine order of protection and blessing.  When that order is forsaken through disobedience, rebellion, self-will and sin, the umbrella of God’s blessing and protection has been stepped out of.  The shield of faith has been dropped and we have made ourselves vulnerable to the mortal wounds of our adversary.  We see this breakdown in God’s order all around us from the individual, to family, to church, to government, to God Himself.  God founded this nation to be a type of New Israel.  He divinely fashioned and established it.  He has blessed it to become the greatest nation on the earth, but we are going the way of our forefathers, natural Israel.  God, through the Holy Spirit is speaking to His Church and to His nation to be gathered in the unity of the faith under the shadow and protection of the wings of our God.  In that place of obedience nothing touches us but what it first has to go through our God, but in our state of rebellion and disobedience we remove the hedge of His protection.

I remember a precious friend and saint of God many years ago was given a vision when her children were still young and in the household.  She saw a horrible and hideous beast around her house checking every door and window, looking for some way in to get to her children.  The Lord showed her that as long as her children remained in submission and obedience to their parents they were protected, but if they refused and chose to go out from the house they removed themselves from the hedge and umbrella of protection and were prey for that beast.   What we sometimes forget and take for granted is that when we get out of order and remove ourselves from God’s protection, then we not only make ourselves vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy, but also those that are under our authority and responsibility.

The Lord is calling us back to His heart today, to repent and come quickly back under the shadow of His wing.  Let us return to Him with our whole hearts and stand in the place of intercession for the hearts of so many that have grown cold and callused against the Lord.  We can only expect that in the last days the division and the line between light and darkness will become more pronounced and distinct.  This is a day for spiritual battle and we must prepare our hearts and spirits for it.

Blessings,

#kent

In Times of Discouragement

October 29, 2018

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

But 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.

13It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore 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.

 

In Times of Discouragement

 

As believers we all face those times of discouragement, testing and trial where in the natural we would want to give up, give in and walk away from our faith.  Perhaps none faced more assault in the spiritual arena than did Paul.

How did he make it through?

It was because he knew his identity in Christ that he was able to endure all the assaults of darkness and the daily trials of life.  He knew the “all surpassing power” that didn’t come from self, but from “Christ in him.”  He had a revelation that being identified with Christ is not just about the blessing, but drinking from the same cup that He drank from.  The cup of suffering.

I had a glimpse of revelation the other day as I was listening to the passage of James and John’s mother asking if her sons could set upon each side of the throne of Jesus. Jesus replied in Matthew 20:22-23 with this statement, “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

“We can,” they answered.

23Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

Jesus’ disciples, like most of us, have the perception that serving Christ is all about the glory.

When Jesus said, “now am I a glorified” in between where he stood and the glory was the cross.  Romans 8:17-18 Paul declares, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  The suffering, the death and the cross are all elements that precede the glory.

Jesus finishes this passage in Matthew by saying, “and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Our faith in Christ is not first about getting, but about giving.  It is not about us being served, but about us becoming the servants of Christ in serving others.  It is in the death of our carnal and mortal man that the life of Christ is released, which we carry.  Paul realized that the troubles, the trials, the distress, the hardship, the death to self are merely the bridge that leads to the surpassing glory of our inheritance in Christ.

When we read this passage in Corinthians most of us have no idea or comprehension of that kind of suffering and sacrifice.  We are so easily discouraged by someone who has offended us or some trial that we pass through.  Men like Paul virtually lived in the place of trial and hardship and they did so because of who they were in Christ and who Christ was in them.  They did so because in the pouring out of their life, others were able to receive the gospel and live.  They truly were living sacrifices poured out to the glory of Jesus.  They didn’t live for the momentary blessings  and substance of this world like so many of us do. They were willing to be totally spent in life and  substance for the kingdom of God because they saw a greater eternal weight of glory before them that so outweighs these momentary earthly afflictions.

Paul says, “So 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.”

If Paul heard what our complaints are and where our discouragement comes from he would probably laugh and tell us we need to suck it up.  We need to get over ourselves and realize it is not about us, it is about Christ in us and the kingdom that we serve.  We have been so pampered in our faith and theology that we know very little about what it is to drink from the cup of suffering and yet this is a very real part of our faith.

When we are going through our momentary trials and feeling a little discouraged, let’s just look back at Jesus, Paul, the apostles and saints and what they endured and gave up.  Let us remember who we are in Christ and who He is in us that we  may be willing to face whatever is before us with our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.  Let us be encouraged by the lives of the saints that went before us and willingly gave so much at such a great price.  They did not lose heart, how much less should we?

Blessings,

#kent

In Times of Discouragement

October 11, 2018

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

But 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.

13It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore 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.

 

In Times of Discouragement

 

As believers we all face those times of discouragement, testing and trial where in the natural we would want to give up, give in and walk away from our faith.  Perhaps none faced more assault in the spiritual arena than did Paul.

How did he make it through?

It was because he knew his identity in Christ that he was able to endure all the assaults of darkness and the daily trials of life.  He knew the “all surpassing power” that didn’t come from self, but from “Christ in him.”  He had a revelation of that being identified with Christ is not just about the blessing, but drinking from the same cup that He drank from.  The cup of suffering.

I had a glimpse of revelation the other day as I was listening to the passage of James and John’s mother asking if her sons could set upon each side of the throne of Jesus. Jesus replied in Matthew 20:22-23 with this statement, “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

“We can,” they answered.

23Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

Jesus’ disciples, like most of us, have the perception that serving Christ is all about the glory.

When Jesus said, “now am I a glorified” in between where he stood and the glory was the cross.  Romans 8:17-18 Paul declares, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  The suffering, the death and the cross are all elements that precede the glory.

Jesus finishes this passage in Matthew by saying, “and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Our faith in Christ is not first about getting, but about giving.  It is not about us being served, but about us becoming the servants of Christ in serving others.  It is in the death of our carnal and mortal man that the life of Christ is released, which we carry.  Paul realized that the troubles, the trials, the distress, the hardship, the death to self are merely the bridge that leads to the surpassing glory of our inheritance in Christ.

When we read this passage in Corinthians most of us have no idea or comprehension of that kind of suffering and sacrifice.  We are so easily discouraged by someone who has offended us or some trial that we pass through.  Men like Paul virtually lived in the place of trial and hardship and they did so because of who they were in Christ and who Christ was in them.  They did so because in the pouring out of their life, others were able to receive the gospel and live.  They truly were living sacrifices poured out to the glory of Jesus.  They didn’t live for the momentary blessings and substance of this world like so many of us do. They were willing to be totally spent in life and substance for the kingdom of God because they saw a greater eternal weight of glory before them that so outweighs these momentary earthly afflictions.

Paul says, “So 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.”

If Paul heard what our complaints are and where our discouragement comes from he would probably laugh and tell us we need to suck it up.  We need to get over ourselves and realize it is not about us, it is about Christ in us and the kingdom that we serve.  We have been so pampered in our faith and theology that we know very little about what it is to drink from the cup of suffering and yet this is a very real part of our faith.

When we are going through our momentary trials and feeling a little discouraged, let’s just look back at Jesus, Paul, the apostles and saints and what they endured and gave up.  Let us remember who we are in Christ and who He is in us that we may be willing to face whatever is before us with our eyes fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.  Let us be encouraged by the lives of the saints that went before us and willingly gave so much at such a great price.  They did not lose heart, how much less should we?

Blessings,

#kent

Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee [is] mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

 

How Will You Weather the Storm?

 

Psalms 94:22 declares, “But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.”

Psalms 91:1-2 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalms 20:7 resounds, ” Some [trust] in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”

Where then is our place of safety and assurance in this day and age?  It is the same place that David found it when he fled Saul who pursued him to take his life.  David went from hero to number one most wanted in his country.  He was alone. The only ones that would associate with him were criminals, debtors, malcontents and the outcast of society.

What made David so exceptional was that he personally knew God and he knew who he was in God. His faith and trust were not in his strength; neither his abilities or any other natural resource.  His faith and trust were only in God.  Many people are scrambling today, because they see a bleak future.  Some are storing guns, food, water and gold.  Some are building underground bunkers to live in.  Is that where our true protection and security is?

It is not the godly that trust in their strength, their power, riches and arrogance.  It is the wicked.  Psalms 52:5-9 declares their outcome. “Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin: He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living.       Selah

6The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at him, saying, 7“Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!”

8But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

9I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good.

I will praise you in the presence of your saints.”

If you are looking for protection, security and provision then look at God’s Word and you will see it is only complete in Him.  Earthly gold may be a good thing to have, but listen to how Revelations 3:17-19 exhorts us as His body, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”  Today Christ is at our door, not just wanting to bring us salvation, but intimacy and relationship where we don’t just know about Him, but we know Him.  The more we know Him the more all around us becomes about Him.

Jesus spoke a parable in Matthew 7:24-27 that is a kingdom principle.   “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”  The key is not in just what we know, but in what we put into practice.

Revelation without realization, is like intent without action; it is like the knowing without the doing.  It is like faith without works.  Many of us know a great deal of the Word, many of us have a set under its teaching a great deal of our lives.  The wise man is the one who implants it into His life and actions.  The foolish man is the one who listens and hears, but doesn’t make it substance.  Which house remained in the day of the storm?  For God to be your fortress He has to be the reality and the realization of your life, without the reality of that truth how will you weather the storm?

Blessings,

#kent

 

 

Shadow of Death Standing in the Window

 

Proverbs 7

1Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions. 2Do what I say and you’ll live well.

My teaching is as precious as your eyesight–guard it! 3Write it out on the back of your hands; etch it on the chambers of your heart. 4Talk to Wisdom as to a sister. Treat Insight as your companion. 5They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress– that smooth-talking, honey–tongued Seductress. 6As I stood at the window of my house looking out through the shutters, 7Watching the mindless crowd stroll by, I spotted a young man without any sense 8Arriving at the corner of the street where she lived, then turning up the path to her house. 9It was dusk, the evening coming on, the darkness thickening into night. 10Just then, a woman met him– she’d been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him. 11Brazen and brash she was, restless and roaming, never at home, 12Walking the streets, loitering in the mall, hanging out at every corner in town.

13She threw her arms around him and kissed him, boldly took his arm and said, 14″I’ve got all the makings for a feast– today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid, 15So now I’ve come to find you, hoping to catch sight of your face–and here you are! 16I’ve spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed, colorful imported linens. 17My bed is aromatic with spices and exotic fragrances. 18Come, let’s make love all night, spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking! 19-20My husband’s not home; he’s away on business, and he won’t be back for a month.” 21Soon she has him eating out of her hand, bewitched by her honeyed speech.

22Before you know it, he’s trotting behind her, like a calf led to the butcher shop, Like a stag lured into ambush 23and then shot with an arrow, Like a bird flying into a net not knowing that its flying life is over. 24So, friends, listen to me, take these words of mine most seriously. 25Don’t fool around with a woman like that; don’t even stroll through her neighborhood. 26Countless victims come under her spell; she’s the death of many a poor man. 27She runs a halfway house to hell, fits you out with a shroud and a coffin.

 

How many of us have taken our eyes off of the Lord to look over and see a beautiful silhouette standing in the window.  Our eyes are drawn to her and our heart desires to know her.  We are enticed by our senses to go with her.  Her name is sin and temptation and her ways lead to death and destruction.  She is the shadow of death, standing in the window, clothed in seductive beauty, she calls out to us.  She flirts with us and strokes our ego.  With sweet wine in one hand, she entices us to drink with her, while behind her back she holds a dagger of pain, destruction and death.

Such can be the indiscretions of our life, when we become distracted from the faithful lover of our soul and enticed by the desires of our flesh into areas that can become our ruin and the hurt of many around us.  It is faithful obedience to God’s Word and instruction that warns us.  It is that intimate continual relationship that keeps our eyes only on Him.  We can all play the fool and we know the hurt and destruction that yielding to temptation can bring, yet, too often, we allow our flesh, our passion and desire to overrule the truth we know in our heart.  Just as love is often blind, we allow ourselves to become blind and stop our ears to reason and truth.  Maybe the Lord is speaking to some hearts today that we are heading down this path of sin.  He wants us to see this woman for what she is, an instrument of death and spiritual destruction.  Maybe this is your last warning before it is too late and you make that destructive choice in your life that will destroy you and your family.  God wants to break the spell of bewitchment and turns us back into the way of life.   See the silhouette in the window for the shadow of death that she is and turn back from the fire of her destruction.  Repent and turn back to the Lord.

Blessings,

#kent

Joy Cometh in the Morning

September 14, 2018

 

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

They that Wait upon the Lord

September 13, 2018

They that Wait upon the Lord

 

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

 

What does it mean for us to wait upon the Lord?  The concordance says this phrase means to look for, hope, expect, to wait, linger or look eagerly for.  Those that have grown mature and rich in the Lord can tell you they have done so with much waiting upon the Lord.  As we wait for the Lord it is done with a heart of desire, expectation, longing, pursuing through prayer, worship, praise, thanksgiving and studying and searching of God’s Word.  They have invested their lives to know Him on a more intimate basis, so they know His voice and are full of the treasures of His truth.  The Lord most often doesn’t come to us on our timetable.  He can often seem illusive and distant, slow to answer by our estimation.  Do you suppose God is searching our hearts in this to find out how determined and in love with Him we truly are?

The society we live in wants everything instantly.  We don’t have time to wait.  Our lives are busy with many demands as we are pulled in so many directions.  It is so difficult for us to make that time just for the Lord.  I believe God sees the demands that are upon us and is not insensitive to commitments we must respond to.  But what about all the hours of leisure time we spend in watching television or our own pursuits.  We don’t think so much about waiting upon God then.

Jesus gives us some very interesting parables in Matthew 24 and 25 in the light of waiting upon the Lord and looking for His coming.  In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about the ten virgins who took their lamps.   Five took oil (But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.) and five didn’t.  They all slumbered and slept.  There is time for resting and sleeping for all of us.  The difference comes in the preparation of the five wise.  Matthew 25:5-13, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, [Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”   We are the lamps of the Lord.  Our lives must be able to illuminate our world through the Spirit and Life that is within us.  If we have not taken the time to wait upon the Lord in the many ways that we build an intimate relationship with Him we’ve missed what it is to get oil for our lamps.  Many may sit in church every Sunday and hear the Word of God, but if it is just a head thing and not a heart thing where that Word gets down into our hearts and transforms us as we apply it, we’ve missed it.  The waiting on the Lord through spiritual acts of pursuit is what gives us the oil for our vessels.  It is in those times that the Holy Spirit comes to quicken God’s Word to our heart and make Himself known in ways we don’t always see outwardly.  The Lord reveals in this passage that He came for the ones who knew Him.  They may have all been virgins or Christians, but if the Lord says, “I never knew you” then you have never come into that place of intimacy that goes beyond a surface knowledge and relationship and into a covenant relationship.  That place where you share His Life, where He becomes the source, strength and dependence of your life.

Waiting upon the Lord is working and living in concert with the Holy Spirit.  If we are not waiting then we are either running ahead of the Lord or we are distracted to other things.  To wait upon the Lord is spend time in the Lord’s presence coming to know Him in the secret place.  It is a place we renew our strength and indeed find strength and abilities that rise above our natural ones.  Let’s find the wisdom of waiting on the Lord.  It is an eternally rewarding experience.

Blessings,

#kent

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