Restoration

August 16, 2017

Jeremiah 31:18-20

“I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined.

Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. 19 After I strayed, I repented;

after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

20 Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.

Restoration

Ephraim, for point of reference, was the younger one of the two sons of Joseph.  Jacob blessed him and his older brother Manasseh and the two were counted as one of the tribes of Israel.  Ephraim, though, he was the younger, Jacob blessed as the older, declaring that in him Israel would be blessed (Genesis 48).  Ephraim is often used as a name synonymous with Israel.  Jeremiah speaks this passage toward the end of Israel’s captivity in Babylon as they look forward to a time of freedom and restoration. 

It is the loving discipline of the Father that prevents us from reaping our own destruction.  If God tears down and destroys, He does it for the purpose of discipline, cleansing and restoration.  God’s discipline deals with the unruliness of our hearts as they stray from Him and forget His precepts and His ways.  It is God’s discipline that leads us to repentance and repentance leads us to restoration of fellowship and relationship lost through our sin and rebellion. 

God dealt very harshly with His nation Israel.  He allowed the destruction of their country, of their city, Jerusalem and even the glorious temple, which Solomon had built.  God will destroy the flesh, so that He may preserve the spirit.  Even in God’s anger, His love runs deep for His people.  We can readily see that in Jeremiah 31: 20 as God says, “Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD.” 

God’s heart is for us even when we have sinned and turned away from Him.  He ever abides faithful, even when we have been faithless.  Hebrews 12:4-12 is such a rich encouragement to us as God’s children that God disciplines us out of His love and not His anger.  “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13″Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”  Many of us are already in a place of discipline or soon will be.  Judgement begins at the house of God.  God is disciplining and judging us so that His house may be in order before He judges the world.  It is our discipline and godly correction that will prepare our hearts and lives for a great ingathering of souls into the kingdom.  We are His sons and as much as Papa loves us, He loves us too much to leave us the way we are.  Let us faint not or feel condemned of the Lord.  God is dealing, exposing and judging us so that our repentance will lead us to a restoration into the fullness of His purpose and plan for our lives.  Father is all about our restoration and not our destruction, but sometimes old things have to be torn down that better things might be built.  If you are undergoing urban renewal in your life then rejoice, for the Father is at work in you to do His good will and pleasure.  You are the son of His love and the product of His restoration and grace.

 

Blessings,

#kent

My Destiny is the Pits

June 22, 2017

Genesis 37:13-24

[One day] Israel said to Joseph, Do not your brothers shepherd my flock at Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them. And he said, Here I am. 14And [Jacob] said to him, Go, I pray you, see whether everything is all right with your brothers and with the flock; then come back and bring me word. So he sent him out of the Hebron Valley, and he came to Shechem. 15And a certain man found him, and behold, he had lost his way and was wandering in the open country. The man asked him, What are you trying to find? 16And he said, I am looking for my brothers. Tell me, I pray you, where they are pasturing our flocks.

17But the man said, [They were here, but] they have gone. I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. 18And when they saw him far off, even before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19And they said one to another, See, here comes this dreamer and master of dreams. 20So come on now, let us kill him and throw his body into some pit; then we will say [to our father], Some wild and ferocious animal has devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams! 21Now Reuben heard it and he delivered him out of their hands by saying, Let us not kill him. 22And Reuben said to them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit or well that is out here in the wilderness and lay no hand on him. He was trying to get Joseph out of their hands in order to rescue him and deliver him again to his father. 23When Joseph had come to his brothers, they stripped him of his [distinctive] long garment which he was wearing; 24Then they took him and cast him into the [well-like] pit which was empty; there was no water in it.

My Destiny is the Pits

Most of us know the story of Joseph who was the favored son of Jacob, but despised by his brothers.  God had his hand on Joseph in a special way and even gave Joseph some dreams that were glimpses into his destiny and calling.

Remember how great it was when we first came to know Christ and experienced the joy of salvation.  Then, as we grew we learned of His exceeding great and precious promises to us in Christ Jesus.  What perhaps wasn’t so real to us at the time was the truth that “if we suffer with Him we shall also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17)”.  Many of us walking this journey of faith and trust in Christ have found and are still finding ourselves in some very difficult places.  Maybe we have even pondered whether God really loves or cares about us.  I believe, like Joseph, the pit we often find ourselves in was really an appointment with destiny.  It may be satan’s attempt to destroy us, but then that was his attempt when he succeeded in crucifying Jesus.  The paradox of our faith is that often the way up is the way down and we often walk through hell in our journey to heaven. 

Joseph, just happened to run into a man that was in the fields where his brothers were suppose to be as he was searching for them and this man just happened to have overheard his brothers saying where they were going.  Joseph’s whole journey that day was the road that would lead him to rule and reign, but between here and there existed a dark and hard path to follow.  It was the road of preparation, the trying of his faith.  When Joseph did come to where his brother’s were camped they plotted against him and even planned to kill him.  Remember the scripture that says, ‘your enemies will be those of your own household?’  Many of us have experienced betrayal, hurt, rebellion and have been forsaken by those of our own family.  They seized Joseph and threw him into a dry well or pit.  Have we ever found ourselves in dry and waterless places, faced with adversity, trials and tribulations and it seems as if God and the Holy Spirit are no where around?  We may not think that we are even going to make it.  Surely this is the end of us; what hope is left? 

Imagine how Joseph felt and the thoughts that went through his head as his brothers spoke of killing him and refused to take him out of the pit?  The fear, the sorrow, the betrayal and the separation he felt not only from his brothers, but more importantly from his father who he may never see again.  His bright future is suddenly turned to darkness and despair. 

If you are finding yourself in the pit today, don’t be discouraged and don’t despair, you may just be finding your destiny.  If we learn one thing from Joseph’s life it is that matter how dark it gets and how far away from God it seems, don’t give up, don’t give in and don’t forsake your faith and trust in God.  God has not forsaken you, but He is there with you every step of the way.  James 1:3-4 exhorts us, “Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Patiently trust God even in the pits of your life because He is active in you performing the will and do of His good pleasure to bring you into your inheritance.  1 Peter 1:3-9 sums all of this up quite well, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

 

Blessings,

#kent

The Future Spoken

June 20, 2017

John 14:28-30

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

      “Come now; let us leave.”

The Future Spoken

Jesus is speaking to His disciples and us as well a prophetic word.  So much is contained in those few words, “I am going away and I am coming back to you.”   The whole of our faith is summarized here: death, burial, resurrection, ascension, return of Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit to indwell us and the return of Christ in manifest glory.  Christ has told us all that would happen and for two thousand years we have been seeing the manifestation of what He has said. 

Amos 3:7 says, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”  Jesus was Messiah, prophet, priest and king.  He operates fully in all of those offices, because is the source and progenitor of those offices.  Even today we can know the mind and will of God through what is being spoken in our spirits by His Spirit and Word, and what is being confirmed to us through His prophets in this hour.  Sometimes the body of Christ gets in fear because of all that they see coming upon the earth in this hour.  Let me tell you that you don’t have to fear the flames when you know the architect of the fire.  Satan may wreak havoc, but Father is still in control. especially where it concerns His saints.  While He may allow the flames to touch our lives, it will only be to burn the dross and the attachments we still have to the things of this world.  Father is moving us into a new economy, a kingdom economy, that doesn’t operate and look like what we have grown up in and formerly operated out of.  The world’s economy is passing away.  If you hold to that economy your provision will pass with it.  The kingdom economy is El Shaddai, God Almighty and Jehovah Jieh, “The Lord will Provide”.  Just as the Lord provided the ram for Abraham as he moved in faith and obedience to God, our God will provide for us as we cease from our labor and worry to rest in His loving care.  Will provisions always come in our designated deadlines and in the ways we imagine they should come? Probably not.  Don’t be surprised when God doesn’t fit into your box and paradigm.  His ways aren’t our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  As the heavens are higher than the earth so are His thoughts and ways higher than ours.  Sometimes the loss of the things we thought God should have provided for us may bring in us into a greater gain and trust.  God never takes something from us, but what He gives us something better in return. 

Many of God’s people are in a hard place in this hour.  While you think it is hard now it will be nothing compared to what is to come.   That is not to bring you into fear, but to cause you to rejoice that God loves you enough to prepare you in your faith so that in that hour you can stand and operate in His provision and not that of the world’s.  God is telling us to get our eyes off of the world as our provision.  If your provision and trust is in the world then you will perish with the world.  You are a kingdom people and are we not to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?”  God’s people are the avenue of His kingdom entry into the world.  Just as judgement first comes to the house of God, so blessing and provision will then come through the house of God. 

Just as Jesus loved the Father and did exactly what He said, so we must come into kingdom alignment with all that the Word is speaking into us.  Until there is an alignment and shift of our paradigm to line up with His we will not know the obedience and faith of Abraham or the Lord as our Jehovah Jireh. 

We are hearing a trumpet that is telling us as Matthew 24:15-18 says, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak.”  We will not be able to turn back to the resources we have formerly known in this world.  If we are not sitting under teaching that is growing us up into the maturity of who we are in Christ then it will be as Matthew 24:19-20 says, “How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.”  Our failure to mature in Christ will be our downfall along with those in ministry who have not matured their children.  You don’t want to start this journey with a winter barrenness of faith  or a day when you are resting rather than in readiness. 

Hear the Word of the Lord to prepare your hearts.  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).”  When we come into the ark of His safety and provision we need not fear the storm before us, but at the same time don’t be ignorant and complacent about what is coming.  Know Him and prepare your hearts in Him.  Know the secret place and the shadow of the Almighty.  Find your place under the covering of His wings.

Jesus finally said, ” Come now; let us leave.”  It is time to leave the world and our worldly thinking behind.  He is bringing us out of that old place of thinking and doing and bringing us into the new.  Are we ready to go with Him?

 

blessings,

#kent

Love that Binds

June 16, 2017

Ephesians 4:1-6

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Love that Binds

Unity in a family, a marriage or in the body of Christ is found when we are all operating out of a communication of love.  People are unique and we will always have our differences from one another.  That is the way our good Lord created us to be.  In our differences He poured into us the bonding and the glue of His love so that we are able to patiently bear the irregularities of all those people that God didn’t make just like me.  Love is never really exercised and grown unless it is stretched and challenged.  People will certainly do that to you.  I personally found that just keeping to yourself and doing your own thing makes it easier to love people, but that is a long distance love.  God’s love is most often up close and personal.  It is often a decision rather than a feeling.  Whatever our relationships with people God knows we are going to have our differences.  Obviously, outside of Christ, we are much different than God.  In fact, He says before we were saved we were His enemies.  Romans 8:7 says, “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”  What reconciled us to God was first His love for us, not our love for Him.  This is a key example that we forget in so many of our relationships.  We are most often reactionary, returning kind for kind and love for love or even hate for hate.  God does not just react to our rejection of His love.  If He did the human race would have been extinct long ago.  His love is deliberate and it has purpose.  His love is to gather you in His arms and impart Himself into you. 

That bring us to where God is bringing each of us in our expression of love.  If we are loving out of our human condition and our feelings of love, then our love will always be conditional and full of limitations.  God has called us to live out of His love which is unconditional and loves the unlovely as much as the lovely.   Living a life worthy of the calling is living life out of the foundation of love.  Who is love?  We know that God is love so if we are to love as He loved we can only do that as we submit to His love to reign in our hearts and find expression through our hands. 

The apostle Paul exhorts us here to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  He is not saying it is always easy, but in order to do it you have to lose your importance and your impatience.  Humility has been defined as “strength under control”.  That strength and humility of love learns to prefer others above itself.  It becomes more aware, concerned and active in meeting another’s needs than it does its own.  Love makes every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  We soon learn through life’s experiences that even among other Christian not all are willing or wanting to reciprocate your love for them.  Most of us are aware that even in our own selves we often are acting out of our flesh or giving place to an ungodly spiritual influence or spirit.  When that is present we can be quite confrontational, unfriendly and irreconcilable.  When we encounter that reaction towards us from others, even if they are our brothers or sisters, we have to see it with spiritual eyes of love and discernment, not getting caught up in the spirit of division that is at work.  Often times we end up taking some punches we don’t deserve and in love we learn to turn the other check.  It is not about us being right or winning an argument.  It is about the love of God triumphing even in an ugly situation.  Many of us get caught up in our emotions and feelings and if that soulish part of us is not being tempered by the Spirit we will get off into the flesh and certainly will not be known by our love in those moments. 

The stream of God Spirit takes a lot of rough jagged rocks in the river bed and rubs them together until over time they become smooth stones.  That is what we are becoming those smooth stones, but the process is brought about by agitation, irritations, irregularities and confrontations.   It is  the Love of God that is the fluid that heals, blends, forgives and ultimately loves through us in the unity of one Spirit. Perfection takes a good deal of practice.  God has put us with one another to learn to practice His love.  God’s love should be what binds us together until we work out our differences and that may just be loving and accepting the other for where they are at.  God has us all on different rows and we at different places in our walk with Him.  Above all let the love of Christ prevail in our relationships.  If the world is ever to know us by our love, then they first have to see it in action in though our lives and behavior towards one another.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Returning to Our First Love

Revelations 2:4-5

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.

Love is a many splendored thing, but it can also be a place of vulnerability, heartache and disappointment.  So much depends on the care, attentiveness and tenderness with which we handle the most precious of gifts, one another’s hearts and their love. 

That first found love between two lovers those years back, it seemed so rich.  You loved one another’s presence and you didn’t want to be apart.  Your desire for one another was so strong and you bathed in the love that you had for one another.  Oh, that first love, how rich and full and sweet it was. 

Little by little small offenses began to enter in.  Sometimes unkind remarks were made that wounded your spouse’s soul, neglect, lack of communication, demands of life; so many things can tear at the foundations of your love. 

We begin to take for granted that first love, as we become more familiar with the other.  Those little things that we didn’t notice or didn’t seem to bother us now become a source of irritation and conflict.  Our hearts that were so warm and open begin to close as we often, without even knowing why, transform from that loving unity, to opponents and foes.  Little by little we can shut down in our emotions and our love to the point we forgot why we even liked this person, let alone loved them. 

We can often wander and drift away from our first love for Christ the same way.  Instead of being continually awed and thankful for all that Christ has done and continues to do for us, He becomes common, just another element of our lives and not the substance of them.  How blind we all can become to the hardness that can come over our hearts with regards to the ones we love and what we have held so dear.  Many of us have lost that which we once cherished more than life itself.

What has changed?  Is it them or is it us?  Maybe it is like our environment.  We love the beauty of the water and streams, the woods and forest, the mountains, oceans and wildlife, but if we have them before us every day we may take them for granted and lessen in our once great appreciation of them.  Somewhere in there our motives for gain, for what benefits us and for what we think will better our lives out weighs our appreciation for the other.  At the environment’s expense, we begin to deplete our forest, tear up our mountains, pollute our waters and destroy what we once held so dear.  It is the same thing that we do to our marriages and our relationships. 

We lose sight that our spouse is our teammate that we are dependent upon one another to make life easier and sweeter.  Yet we are so blind at how the enemy of our soul comes into to kill, steal and destroy what was the most precious thing in our lives.  Our unity is destroyed and our marriages turn from bliss to ashes.  Isn’t it because we have bought into the lie?  When one of us in our marriage loses we both lose.  There are no winners and losers, because we are a team. A house divided against itself cannot stand. 

The older my wife and I grow together, the more dependent we are on each other to remember things, to help each other, and to be the strength in the other’s weakness.  On the other hand there is the temptation to find more fault with the other’s shortcomings, especially when they have chided you for yours.  We have to realize that we are a team. We need each other more than ever.  Love cannot become a selfish thing that only looks out for itself. If it has and is becoming that then it has left the boundaries and definition of love.  The nature of love is to serve, to give and bless another.  Love always exalts the other above itself.

Perhaps it is time for many of us to remember and to return to our first love both in our physical and spiritual relationships.  It is time to give the precious gifts of our humility, our forgiveness and our first love.  It is time to make a safe place where we can come together, not to find fault or blame, but to find reconciliation and healing for our hearts and our relationships.  Isn’t this what God wants for us?  I believe He will help in this endeavor if we call upon Him and His love to fill our hearts.  Let us cherish and once again hold with such tenderness and sanctity the gift of one another’s heart and love.  In the same way let us recommit to our first love for Christ and find the first passion that so consumed our soul.

Blessings,

#kent

The Antidote for Fear

May 30, 2017

 

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

The Antidote for Fear

We live and walk in a world consumed by doubt and fears.  Unfortunately it touches many who are believers as well as the world.  It is important that if fear and doubt are a struggle that you have that you will be encouraged and exhorted by this word. 

The only one that God wants us to fear is Him.  When we truly reverence and stand in total awe of who He is then we realize He ultimately has the say and judgement over our life and spirit.   Others may be able to afflict and kill the body, but God determines our eternal destiny.  

When I find myself in fear and doubt, I find that I am not standing and walking fully in faith.  Faith in God’s Word assures me that God is Love.  His love is able to keep me, not matter what circumstances surround me or those I love.  In Romans 8:28 I am given the assurance that, “all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”  Even when I am faced with tribulation, persecution, afflictions and death, I need not fear.

Why?

Because God’s perfect love drives out all fear.  In Psalms 118:6, the Psalmist declares, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”  We have the assurance that as we have received by faith, Christ as our Savior and Lord, He lives in us and we live in Him.  He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  All else, spirit or flesh, is under His dominion.  If we are in Him then anything that touches us must come through Him.  

Our fears come when we lose sight of the identity that we have in Jesus Christ.  When we fully grasp and lay hold of the promises and truth of God’s Word, fear has no grip upon us.  

Why?

Because we are God’s children who abide in the Love of God.  His perfect love casts out fear.  Our lives are His.  Is there any so great as to pluck us out of the hand of God?  

“But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”  If we fear judgement and punishment then we lack the assurance that we have been fully washed and cleansed in the blood of Jesus.  We don’t fully understand that we are fully justified in Christ, meaning it is just as if we never sinned.  When we abide in the Righteous One, then we abide in the full assurance of His salvation.  In that salvation is the revelation of God’s holy and insurmountable love for us.  For us to live in fear, means that we have taken our eyes off of who He is in us and put them upon the circumstances that surround us. 

When Stephen was about to be stoned by the frenzied mob of the religious, he didn’t fear what they could do to him.  He only saw Jesus and had set his eyes on things above.  When we, like him, see Jesus setting a the right hand of the Father, then there is no room for fear because Ephesians 2:6-10 assures us, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

When we know who we are, where our position is and what our purpose is then what can man do to us.  Our life is hid in Him and He is sovereign over all of the affairs of men.  When we get a revelation of this we will better understand the perfect love of God and that God has designed that we should be made perfect in that love.  “Perfect love drives out fear.”

Blessings,

#lemt

Foundation for Faith

May 22, 2017

Foundation for Faith

Psalms 18:2

The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower. 

We find in life that often we are a self-filling prophecy.  We become and are shaped in the image of whom we think and believe that we are.  Maybe we started out in our lives doubtful, fearful, with a lack of confidence and very little faith in ourselves that we could do much of anything or be anything.  As long as we hold on to that mindset and it is coming through in our outward demeanor, do you think we will see much success in our lives?  If we don’t believe in ourselves, then how could we expect others to believe in us?  What if, on the other hand, we dare to believe all that God says about us and dare to believe all that He said He would be for us?  Now we have a foundation for success.  As we believe and then act upon that premise by faith and those beliefs, will our life change?  

King David was a man who is a prime example of one who spoke, sang and wrote what God was to His life.  Even in the deepest valleys of his life he dared not trust his soul, but rather He spoke out of His spirit and ministered to His soul the truths and the realities of God’s Word.  He was constantly meditating, and reminding Himself of the goodness of God, His faithfulness, His power, His salvation and all of the attributes and benefits of God and His nature.  This is what makes the Psalms so powerful.  They are Spirit anointed sonnets and songs of who God is and why life is worth the living because He is in it.  David would recite the Word of God and encourage His soul.  His faith would then lay hold of the truth that He spoke and begin to act upon it.  

Many of us see ourselves as weak, untalented, insignificant people.  That may be you and I outside of Christ, but what can we be in Christ?  Are there any limitations to what God can do in and through us, except in our own mind and thinking?   The foundation of faith is wrapping our mind and heart around God’s Word, assimilating it into our hearts and speaking into our doubtful and fearful souls.  It is so often good just to pray the Psalms, reading and speaking them to God as if they were your own.  It will inspire faith in your heart and courage to your soul as it did for David.  

Who is the Lord and what is that to me?  When we answer that question we find the foundation for our faith.  Upon that foundation we can build a successful life, for our confidence is in Him who is able to do abundantly more than we can even ask or think.  

What is the foundation of your life today?   Is it the Rock or is it the sand?

Blessings,

#kent

Psalms 71:1-6

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. 3 Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. 4 Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men. 5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. 6 From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.

What Value do we put on Life?

It is God who has given each one of us the breath of life.  He has known us from the foundations of the world and each one is precious in His eyes.  It is God who gives life and unto Him that life returns.  It is He that imparts to us a soul that we may comprehend, know and lay hold of Him.  How it must grieve the heart of God when a people can put themselves in the place of God deciding if a unborn child has the right to live and presumptuously thinking that we have the right to take that life that God has given.  When did God impart to us the right to decide who would have a quality of life worth living or that it could be done away with if it were not convenient to us?  We live in a nation that has legally given us this right to deny any rights to our unborn.  I can tell you that there are many grieving women out there that bought into this lie and have felt the horrible impact of what they have done. They have felt the shame and condemnation of their actions and live with that every day.  Morally, they know within their hearts, that what they have done is wrong, regardless of what our laws allow and now so many live, struggling to forgive themselves and no doubt struggling with the truth that God can forgive them for what they have done.  If you are one of those women, then know that God’s grace and forgiveness can extend to our deepest sin and there is no stain that His blood cannot cleanse if we seek Him in repentance and ask for that forgiveness.  Often it is not God’s forgiveness we struggle with as much as it is forgiving ourselves.  God would not have you continue to carry this burden of guilt, but through that experience may you become His greatest advocate for life and the instrument that can help others from making this same mistake. 

The greatest handicap in our life is not that we are born into adversity, it is that we would not know adversity, weakness or trial.  Some of the most challenged people are the greatest people of character and strength.  Like the psalmist David, in above scripture, adversity makes us cry out for God, it is the travail that births His presence and strength into our weakness and failure.  It is in what we can not be that we can find that He is.  It is through adversity that we become overcomers.  Usually we are praying, “God, deliver me out of my adversity,” but that would only defeat its perfect work in you.  Rather we should pray, “God, be my strength and enablement to go through this adversity and prevail through You.”  We so often have what might be termed a rapture mentality that looks for God to catch us up and deliver us from all tribulation.  The greater truth is to already be entering into the ark of His safety and life that He might preserve you and keep you through all tribulation.  David didn’t see God there when he was fleeing for his life from Saul, but His prayers and faith in God covered him and preserved him in safety.  God was there in the midst of David’s praise and supplications.  He was all that David asked that he would be.  It was through this adversity in David’s life that God was training him up to rule and reign.  It was in this adversity that God was training David that his reliance should never be upon himself, but always upon his God.  It was through this adversity that David could know that his strength, his wisdom and his ability was the presence of God’s anointing upon his life.  God’s favor rested upon David because he did know that and did trust in his God.  Even so, David also knew a time in his life of great failure and sin when he committed adultery, lied and had Bathseba’s husband put to death.  He had to live with the consequences of those actions, but I believe he also found God’s forgiveness and mercy through his repentance for his sin. 

We are all cracked pots, fragile, weak and subject to breaking.  That is why we must put ourselves totally into the Potter’s hands that He may shape and mold and be the glue that fills those cracks of our weakness and failure.

Respect the life that God has given rather it is unborn, old and frail, or lowly and unimportant in appearance.  God is the author of it all and to Him it is all, precious.   Our function is to be a light and serve His creation in the love of Christ.  We are His hands and fingers that holds, cares for and loves all His creatures, both small and great.

Blessings,

#kent

Acting Upon His Word

April 28, 2017

Matthew 14:22-30

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance[a] from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28″Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29″Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Acting Upon His Word

Part of coming to know Jesus is learning His voice and then acting in obedience to it.  There are a lot of times in our Christian walk that we may think we hear the voice of God or others may tell us what they hear from God for us, but is that really God speaking to us?   Such was the case this dark and stormy night when this figure, like a ghost appeared walking on the water.  Jesus never comes to give us fear, but fear often accompanies what is foreign and unnatural to us.  Certainly someone walking across the water is not something they saw on a daily basis.  When we walk with Jesus He sometimes takes us into unfamiliar places.  They are places that can be frightening to us, because we have no precedent on how to act or respond to those places.  Maybe the only reason we are there in the first place is because He told to go there.   Now that we are there the wind is blowing and we are being buffeted by waves.  Trials and tribulation may face us at every turn.  In the back of our mind we may be thinking, “Where is Jesus?  Why did He send me out in this mess and then abandon me?” 

Part of the training of our discipleship walk is learning to exercise faith and trust even when we see no evidence of Jesus.  Just because the disciples didn’t see Jesus doesn’t mean that He didn’t see them and wasn’t aware of there apprehension and fears.  Often we may be out there on a wing and a prayer, but we can be certain that even if we don’t see Jesus He sees us. 

How did Peter know this ghostly person was really Jesus?  He sounded like Jesus and He said He was Jesus.  What we see in Peter is one who is willing to step out in faith and confirm the Word of the Lord.  Most of us would just as soon take His word for it and stay in the safety of our boat.  You have to commend Peter for His faith and boldness.  When the Lord said “Come”, Peter didn’t hesitate to jump out of the boat and onto the water.  Because he heard Jesus, he tested the Word and then he acted upon it, he suddenly finds himself walking in a supernatural place.  As long as he keeps his eyes upon Jesus he is doing just fine, but when the natural mind suddenly kicks in, he feels the wind and water of the waves is slapping against his face.  Suddenly reason supersedes his faith and he sinks down in the water.  How many times does our natural reasoning and logic rob us of divine appointments and supernatural happenings? 

This is where many of us are at with our identification with Christ.  It is easy for us to say we are identified with Him until we are really tested in it.  It is in the testing that we are going to either regard and give heed to our circumstances or we are going to launch out in obedience to His Word , despite the circumstances, keeping our eyes upon Jesus.  It is our faith that stands as His reality to us.  We don’t have a physical form to look or hold on too, but Jesus is no less real and present for us than He was to His disciples. 

It is as 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us, ” 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.”  In our identification with Christ our hearts and faith are fixed on the eternal.  We know who we are because we know to whom we belong.  We are willing to jump out of the boat of natural protection and safety if the Lord so commands us to come.  We know that His arms are there to catch us and lift us up even if we waiver in our faith and we falter in our walk.  Jesus is stretching our faith and He is wanting us to trust Him in the unknown places.  He is leading us from ordinary faith to extreme faith.  Are you willing to allow Him to stretch you?  Are you willing to jump out of the safety of your boat?  What is He speaking into your heart today?  Dare to be like Peter and go where no man had gone before.  Dare to confirm His Word through extreme faith. 

blessings,

#kent

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28 

Tragedy Comes Knocking

      My oldest son just lost his wife.  She was still fairly young and what appeared to be in good health, when she died suddenly of a heart attack.  His wife was the love of his life and best friend. They had grown incredibly close over the past 6 months. Now, suddenly, with no warning, she’s gone.  

None of us are immune to the tragedies in life, but how we handle them and grow from them is tremendously important.  Usually, the first thing we try to do is blame ourselves for something we should or could have done to change the outcome.  Then many us want to blame God.  After all, He is sovereign.  Why did He let this happen.  Sometimes we are angry with God and we want to abandon whatever faith we had, because in our ignorance we believe it is His fault.  None of us have the wisdom or insight to always know and see how God moves and why things happen, but faith is really the definition of trusting what you don’t fully understand. 

When I arrived at my son’s the next morning he was totally broken, devastated and in shock. His heart was broken and his pain was deep.  As the day and time progressed on, he would go to his room, fall on his knees and say, “ God, I just need your strength.  Help me!”

        He would get up and every time after He leaned into God, God would meet him with a person or answer that met his need.  He would just shake his head and say, “Really God, did You just do that?”

God’s finger prints were all over this tragic time in the way He ministered personally to the needs. Healing and restoration of relationships that had been broken for years began to take place and in the midst of our darkness we saw God’s light, HIs love, His comfort and faithfulness. 

Later, in the week, we had a meeting with His pastor and my son shared his testimony of how God had prepared and given them time together before this tragic event.  It was truly powerful and moving.   Finally, the pastor leaned into Sean and asked him if he could pray for him.  I was amused by son’s answer.  He said, “You might want me to pray for you.  God and I are pretty tight right now.”  

Nothing can take away the pain, when we lose a loved one or tragedy strikes, but what a testimony to the power of leaning into God when these times and events touch our lives.  He is there to comfort and strengthen those who call upon Him, lean on Him and trust in His name. 

        God truly can work and bring good things out of bad situations, if we have the faith to continue to trust Him. 

Blessings,

#Kent

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