The Good Shepherd

July 17, 2015

Psalms 23:1
The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Good Shepherd

The Lord is sufficient for every need that we have. One of the hardest things for us to do at times is to lie down in green pastures when in our perception all there is dead grass. One of the most important things that the Lord wants to teach all of us is to rest in Him. That is hard to process when the natural world around us is falling apart, bills need to be paid, physical afflictions are besetting us. It is hard for us to rest when our children are in rebellion, our spouse is leaving us or that special someone is in critical condition.
God is not in our fears, He is in our faith and faith causes us to rest when everyone else is franticly trying to do something to solve the problem. Some problems are out of our control. They are bigger than we are and there is nothing else we can do except believe and trust in the Lord. We can never put God in a box and say if I just do this, then He will do that. Sometimes He doesn’t rescue us out of our disasters, but He will always be there with us as we go through them. Sometimes God works through miracles and sometimes it is through our hard life experiences. The important place for us to be is in the Shepherds arms. The Psalmist David rested in the profound truth that the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He knew from the experience of being a shepherd that a good shepherd would always act in the best interest of His sheep. Sometimes that meant rescuing them out of trouble and sometimes it might mean breaking their leg, so that they would learn not to stray. Whatever was necessary the shepherd would act out of his love for the sheep. They were an extension of him and his purpose, just as we are an extension of Christ and His purpose.
Today, the good Shepherd is watching over you. If you truly believe and rest in Him, then you shall not want. ‘He is able to meet all of your needs according to His riches in glory.’ “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6

Blessings,
#kent

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Psalms 30:7-12 LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled. 8 I cried out to You, O LORD; And to the LORD I made supplication: 9 “What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? 10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!” 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Attitudes that Nullify or Qualify

There are times we come to some very hard places in our lives. Some of us have lived in those places for a very long time. We have no doubt cried out to God to remove our mountain, whatever form of adversity and trial it may take. I found it interesting that the Psalmist David says here, “Lord, you have made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face and I was troubled.” There is no doubt a lot of us that have been, and maybe still are, in this place. The question is, “have we viewed it as the Lord’s favor?” One thing God often does with us is that He puts us between a rock and a hard place. We find ourselves in such a pit that the only we have to look is up. Our resources dries up. Our strength fails. We are left with two choices: forsake our faith, as we mummer and complain, or encourage ourselves in our God and the power of His might. We see two examples in the Word. We see the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and led into a wilderness where there is no food and water. A great many of them choose to murmur and complain when they find themselves against the mountain of adversity. They want some one to blame for their trials and problems. They focus on death and what they left behind and how bleak the picture is before them. They are always looking at how big the problem is and not at how big their God is. On the other hand, we have someone like David. Here is a man who has seen and experienced the reality of God and yet finds himself seemingly forsaken as King Saul pursues him to take his life. I believe the reason David found such favor before the Lord is because he refused to allow his fears to be the giant that conquered him. He saw himself in God in the sense that he knew God would not deny or forsake Himself. He expresses the fact more than once that he became discouraged in his soul, but in his spirit he would rise up and say, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Forget not all of His benefits.” It is the favor of God that causes our mountain to stand strong. It is not that He may beat us down, it is so that He can build us up. Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Until we develop the eyes of the Spirit our fleshly mentality will keep us just going around and around our mountain. It is with the eyes of faith and by the Spirit that we will, in due season, go through the mountain and that mountain will be cast into the sea. Our mountain is our place of spiritual preparation and the place where God is honing us for a greater purpose. We have two choices: murmur and complain or praise and worship. Which do we think will bring us more quickly into the purposes and plan of God for our lives? Philippians 4:6 reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our problems and our mountains aren’t always going to go away like we might like them too, but we are not alone in the trial. Enter into your God and His mighty promises. He will, in His time, turn your mourning into dancing. He will put off your sackcloth and clothe you with gladness. Encourage your soul today, “How great is our God.” He will never fail us or forsake us. “O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!”

Blessings,

#kent

To the Faithful

May 25, 2015

To the Faithful

Revelations 17:14
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful.

There are those of you who read this, not because you lack understanding of the ways of God, not because you don’t know Him intimately and personally, but because you are the faithful of the Lord. You have learned to feed upon His Spirit Life wherever you find it, because that is the pasture and the feeding place of your souls. Those whom the Lord finds faithful in His kingdom, He does not regard lightly, but they are His delight and joy. There are those of you who have walked with the Lord for many years. Many of you have had your stumbles and falls along the way of life, but you stand here today faithful to Him because He has always been faithful to you.
Those of you who continue to be faithful to read these little Trickles; it is a testimony that there is something deeper, richer that yearns and hungers after the heart of God. Today the word of the Lord is to you faithful. God sees your heart; He has proven you through waters of adversity and the fires of affliction. You know that He will never leave or forsake you; He knows you will not forsake Him. You are the faithful. Many are “called” it says, but not many are chosen. The chosen are those who abide in the vine. They are not there for a season and then whither away; they are there season after season, after season. They are the fruitful branches of the vine, drawing their life from the root and vine of Christ and producing the precious fruit of His Holy Spirit. You are often the unseen ones, unnoticed and most often unappreciated by the world, but when you enter into prayer, heaven and earth can be moved by the words of your heart, for you pray not your will, but the will of the Father.
Psalm 31:23 says this about the faithful, “Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.” Again, Psalms101: 6 speaks to the faithful, “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” It is the faithful who are the sheep of His right hand, who walk with Him in obedience and humility, who esteem His ways above their own.
Even the faithful can grow faint, weary and discouraged for their walk is often not an easy one. They daily must fight the good fight and wage the spiritual warfare to overcome the adversary of their soul. Most often they not only contend for themselves, but also are faithful to stand in the gap and intercede for the saints, the needs of those who are upon their heart and often for those weaker and less faithful.
Faithful ones, here is the Lord’s word to you. Ephesians 1:1 says these promises are to the faithful of God. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” You faithful ones know who you are in Christ because you have read the promises and they have become more than words on a page, they have become substance and life. You are investing your lives into living in the reality of the truth of who you are “in Christ”. The rest of us want to look to these faithful ones as our examples of godliness and righteous living. They are the living testimonies of God and His faithfulness and they can teach what it is to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. These are those whom the Lord covets and is jealous over. These are the hidden diadems of His crown jewels.
Continue on you faithful ones; continue to shine as the morning sun in your life in Christ. Continue to be the living testimony and example before us, that those of us less mature and experienced might see and grasp what it is to walk in faithfulness and in truth. Continue on, you blessed of the Lord, for great is your reward. “His lord said unto him, Well done, [thou] good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)

Blessings,
#kent

Thankfulness

October 21, 2014

Thankfulness

Psalms 100:4
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.

Why is there power in the words, “Thank You,” or in the words that express thankfulness and thanksgiving? If these are words from the heart then they convey the attitude of deep appreciation and gratitude. We have discussed in the past about praise and worship, but where do these come from if it is not from an attitude of thanksgiving. Thankfulness is a gate, it is an entrance, and it is a condition of heart that makes us ready to really appreciate and express that appreciation to our Lord. It is like the precursor to praise and worship as well as being a part of it. Are we going to praise and worship what we don’t appreciate and aren’t thankful for?
It is important that thankfulness is a constant attitude of our heart. Psalms 30:4 says, “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Psalms 18:49 reiterates with, ” Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” The Psalms are alive with scripture that exhorts us to be thankful:
Psalms 75:1 Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, [unto thee] do we give thanks: for [that] thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
Psalms 79:13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
Psalms 92:1 [[A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day.]] [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
Psalms 97:12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Psalms 105:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Psalms 106:1 Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
Psalms 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, [and] to triumph in thy praise.
Psalms 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
These are among a few of so many that extol thankfulness to the Lord.
Jesus even demonstrates the importance and attitude of thankfulness, when He broke bread when feeding the multitude. Even at the Last Supper He gave thanks as He broke the bread that represented His body that was soon to be broken and offered in the sacrifice of His life at Calvary.
Our giving thanks at meal times is a constant reminder to us of where our blessings and supply comes from and who we depend upon to provide our needs, as well as the expression of appreciation to Him who has so graciously provided it.
The New Testament exhorts us as well in the area of Thanksgiving:
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
1 Thessalonians 5:13 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
When we give thanks in all things aren’t we acknowledging that God is sovereign upon His throne and in control of all that touches our lives? Aren’t we declaring His faithfulness regardless of circumstances and conditions? Isn’t our thankfulness an acclamation of His Lordship?
Hebrews 23:15 continues this thought, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.” 1 Timothy 2:1 continues the theme of how our thankfulness ties into our praise, worship, ministry and intercession before the Lord, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;”
The relevance, significance and importance of thanksgiving is not just an earthly principle, it is a heavenly one as well that continues on through eternity, precious to the heart of God. Revelations 11:16-17 speaks, “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”
On the other side Romans 1:21-25 speaks of the ungodly and unrighteous who knowing about God fail to have a thankful heart, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Ungratefulness leads to a hardened and perverse heart. It is the fools gate and entrance to wrath and judgement. That lack of thanksgiving can take us out of the right perception and acknowledgement of who and what our God is in relationship with our lives.
As we acknowledge our God today and each day let us do it with a heart that is thankful and appreciative of the matchless grace and abundance He has worked in us. Sometimes we get focused so much on the adversity and the negative in our lives we loose sight of who still sits on the throne and is in charge of all that affects us. While we are not thankful for the evil that befalls us we are forever thankful for our God that brings us through our adversities and is perfecting us in the process. Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Blessings,
#kent

The Favor of the Lord

June 10, 2014

Psalms 67:1
God be merciful unto us, and bless us; [and] cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

The Favor of the Lord

Did you know you are the object of the Lord’s favor and blessing today? Today as Father looks upon you He says, “Because you are my blessing in the earth, so shall I bless you.” Yes, you are blessed and highly favored of God. You are His child and He relishes in the very thought of you. You haven’t escaped His attention even for one minute.
You may have thought He didn’t care, or He didn’t hear you when you prayed or He couldn’t possibly love you with all of the adversity you are going through or the places you know you’ve failed. What you may forget is that because Christ is in you, He walks with you through every adversity and trial you face. Again, you may have lost sight of who you in Christ, because you have become so identified with the trials that are pressing in upon you.
May I remind you of another character in the Bible that was blessed and highly favored of God. Job 1:6-12 records this dialogue between God and satan, ” One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.”
May I propose to you that satan has no power or authority over you unless he be given permission by the Father. Remember Colossians 3:1-3, it tells you where he has positioned you. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” For satan to get to you he has to get through God and Christ, because that is where you are hidden. May I also suggest that while satan may think he has power and control God uses him as a smith and an instrument to perfect His saints and bring them into the authority of who they are and destined to be in Christ. He is simply an instrument to bring us into our destiny. Without a battle there can be no victory, without and adversary there can be no overcomer. Strength and power are developed out of opposition and resistance. God allows certain things to touch our lives for our ultimate good and triumph, not because He is mean of vindictive.
What does Romans 8:28-30 say? “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Believe me, when Job went through his trial he wasn’t experiencing what seemed to him to be the warm and fuzzy side of God, but God through those trials was transitioning him into a place of priesthood and double portion ministry and living.
Don’t despair because you are in the place of trial and testing. It only speaks to the fact that you are highly favored and blessed of God. “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? (Hebrews 12:4-7)” Be encouraged beloved and highly favored of the Father.

Blessings,
#kent

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Romans 8:28-39

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

We often struggle with why the people of God go through so much suffering and trials.  Some might say it is because they don’t have enough faith or they must have sin in their lives.  I tend to believe that it is often the sweetest and most precious grapes that make the best wine, but in order for them to offer up their vintage taste and sweet fragrance they must first be crushed.  Suffering and trials have been the plight and portion of many a saint.  It is not a new concept.  We struggle with that because we think in our hearts, even if we don’t outwardly say it, “God if you are sovereign then why don’t you deliver the afflicted and the suffering, especially those who are calling out to You?”  The victory of life in the natural and fleshly man is not always living in health, wealth and prosperity.  It is not about what we have in the good times of our life.  The true metal of a godly nature is tested in the fire.  All of our works will be tested in that fire at some point.  Some may be going through that fire right now.  Perhaps you are very weary; the enemy has assaulted your faith and your God.  Your friends may be like those that Job had, only content on you confessing your sins or shortcomings.  It takes a tremendously faithful person to go through the fires that God sometimes allows in our lives.  The real victory is not in whether or not we see our earthly deliverance; it is in how we live our lives in the midst of those trials.  God’s Word says in 1 Peter 1:7-9, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.”  It is not the suffering and trials that God rejoices in, it is the faithfulness of His saints in the midst of it.  That faithfulness and praise in the midst of suffering is the sweet aroma and incense that rises into the heavens.  It is a sweet smelling savor unto the Father’s nostrils.  Nothing can speak louder to God that we love Him for who He is and not just what He can do, than our faithfulness in the midst of our suffering and trials.   

We know in our hearts that God’s arm is not short that He can not save, but nothing torments and discredits satan more than a Christian who will only honor and praise His God even when satan is twisting his arm behind his back.  What focuses us more on God’s grace and strength than our trials and tribulations?  In those places where we have no further human resources or help in the flesh to lean on, we learn to take hold of the grace of God.  We learn the patience to enter into His rest and know that these earthly vessels of clay and the very life that they we breath are in His hands.   Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand.” We have offered ourselves up into God’s hand to do as it pleases Him.  Our lives are for His glory and not for our own.  We struggle with the perspective of suffering and trials because we see it from a human standpoint.  Our view is the preservation of the natural life.  God’s view is not in the importance of the outward haul of the seed, but He is looking to the life within.  The threshing floor was a place of separation between wheat and chaff.  The outward man with this body is like the chaff.  The separation is really a claiming of the Christ nature and a revealing of it.  No one has the goods like the one has passed through the fire.   Their testimony is not one borne out of head knowledge; it is a witness of experience.  Before Job went through his trials he knew a lot about God and had a relationship with Him, but it didn’t compare with how he knew God when he went through the fire.  In the conclusion of what Job went through and after his discourse with the Almighty he says this in Job 42:1-6, “Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.””  Many of us know about God, but it is only as we have gone through the fire that we come into a place where we have seen Him.  When we have seen Him, all foolish doubts and questionings cease and we repent in dust and ashes.  

God loves us.  We have been called out and set aside for a purpose.  He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son.  His Son learned obedience through the things that He suffered.  If you are in that place of suffering then God is only proving your faithfulness and your faithfulness is a mockery of the enemy.  He is raising you up in LIFE even when your body only seems to be experiencing death.  Lay hold of the resurrection and the Life within you and live out of Him.  His grace is sufficient and He will raise you up to the praise of His name.  Hold fast your faith, you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!

 

Blessings,

#Kent

 

The Pothole of Self Pity

February 28, 2014

 

The Pothole of Self Pity


Jonah 4:1-4

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.  And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, [was] not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou [art] a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for [it is] better for me to die than to live.  Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? 


In the Word of God perhaps Jonah serves as kind of the poster child of self-pity.  He had to go where he didn’t want to go, preach to a people he didn’t want to preach too, and then see God’s mercy toward them when they repented, that he didn’t want to see.  He made no bones that he had an attitude concerning the matter.  So he is just telling the Lord to end his life, it’s not worth living any more.

While it is easy for the reader to see how wrong Jonah’s attitude was, he didn’t see it and most of the time we don’t really see it in us either.  

I really think the enemy tries to feed our minds with thoughts of how unfair life is to us and how we so often are mistreated, abused, neglected or unappreciated.  That is not to say that there is never any substance to these feelings, for often there are valid reasons we feel this way.  What we must guard against is the subtly of the enemy and our own self, as we tend to get our eyes on us and all of our woes.  

The Lord gave me a good revelation of this in myself recently.  Request were always being made of me to do this or that which was okay, but then I began to feel that they really never seemed interested in caring and responding to my needs.  Now the thing about self-pity is that it’s like a good stew, the longer it simmers the better it gets, the more justified we feel and the more unfair life seems.  So finally it all came out and the other person had to sit and listen to all of my “woe is me”.  The truth is they probably had feelings of being neglected or taken advantage of just like I did.  Afterwards I began to get a revelation of the pothole of self-pity I had stepped into.  Here is all of this talk about how we need to lay our lives down and walk in love and all of sudden I look up and see this big old stain of selfishness in me.  Sometimes we get these wake-up calls about how shallow our love really is.  I realized that whenever I am turning inward and caring more about me than about others, I am going to be discontent and unhappy, because my needs and expectations will seldom be really met by others.  I need to be leaving those feelings with the Father, because He is the one who completes me and fulfills me.  The truth is, I am probably often going to be a disappointment to others in meeting their wants and needs just as they are in meeting mine.  How many times do needs and expectations not get met because we are living selfishly, upset about what we don’t have while we fail to consider if we are really meeting the needs in others.  This introspection usually just leads to greater and greater polarization.  That is why the Word is always exhorting us to get our eyes off ourselves and on to the needs of others.  The less place that we give to self, the less place it has to feel sorry for itself.  

We often think or say, “Will, if the Lord had given me a better husband or wife, or better children, or a nicer neighbor or better Christian friends, or different relatives, I wouldn’t feel and act the way I do.  Do we ever consider that may be exactly why we have these people in our lives?  In a perfect world you will never be stretched and grow beyond where you are at.  Only opposing forces cause us to reach further, try harder, and exert more energy to overcome our opposition.  We say, “Well, that person just brings out the worst in me.”  Praise God, how would you and I ever know what was in us if we didn’t have people that revealed our true heart.  It is the irregular people in our lives that give us the opportunity to exercise and practice our Christian values.  Instead of seeing the irregular people in our lives as our problem, maybe we need to view them like our spiritual gymnasium where we can workout, exercise and practice our Christian love, values and the nature that God wants to work in us.  It is only when I see and acknowledge my sin and weakness that I can repent of it and seek the Lord’s help in overcoming it.  There is no one that can help us become more conformed to the image of Christ than our enemy.  If Jesus would have had no Judas or religious leaders to betray and falsely accuse Him, there would have been no Calvary and we would not have the salvation we are now partakers of.  Our adversity can serve to bring us up into godliness as we meet it with the Spirit and attitude of Christ.  If we have a selfish or self-centered attitude, then like Jonah we are going to become angry and bitter as we justify and feel sorry for ourselves.  

Watch out for that pothole of self-pity.  It is one you can really twist your ankle on and cripple your walk.  Do all things as unto the Lord and for His glory and honor, counting it all joy that in your service you first serve Him. “Let all your things be done with Love (1 Corinthians 16:14).”

 
Blessings,
kent

The Story of a Cripple

February 25, 2014

The Story of a Cripple


Isaiah 30:20-21

And [though] the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. 


A little girl sits staring out her window.  Her thoughts and dreams take her on journeys that her legs never can.  Struck by a drunken driver while riding her bicycle she no longer knows the pleasures of running and playing with her friends the way she used too.  At first, it didn’t seem real and she thought that surely she would get better and be able to walk again, but she never has. Then she became very angry with this person who had hit her on her bike, she hated them and wanted them to die.  This person had robbed her of a normal life, of friendships and had forever handicapped her from being like everyone else.  

Elsa was just eight years old when it happened.  After her body had recovered as much as it was going too, she would spend hours looking out her large second story bedroom window.  Below in the street and yards she would watch the kids play.  Often she would be saddened and angry as she set there, a captive of her circumstances.  Eventually she began to look beyond the neighborhood into the nearby fields and forest that surrounded the area.  She began to observe nature, the seasons, the birds and the little animals.  She began to see that just like humans, animals, birds and even the trees sometimes experienced tragedies, but adjustments were made and life went on.  

One day when she looked out, the field was on fire and it was quickly moving toward the forest.  She hurriedly dialed 911 and reported the fire.  She observed as the fire fighters arrived quickly upon the scene and as they battled the blaze, doing all that they could to contain its damage.  It went on for some time and the fire had reached the forest, burning a good area of it, before they finally got it under control and put it out.  Elsa was saddened as the landscape had been forever changed and she felt it would never be as beautiful or the same again as she looked out over the charred trees and burnt ground.  As the seasons changed she was amazed the next spring when the grass was actually greener in the burnt area than any place else.  Elsa observed that over time the burnt area filled back in with growth and animals started coming back into the new growth and shrubs.  In many ways it was even more beautiful and lush than before.  The Lord began to speak to her heart and she began to make the connection that bitterness and unforgiveness only will leave your heart barren and unproductive.  It poisons the ground.  Elsa began to here the voice of God telling her and showing her that she was like that burnt ground.  Wonderful things could still happen in her life.  Yes, it might be different than most, but perhaps even more beautiful in some ways because she had a perspective that others didn’t have.  She began to pray and release the anger, bitterness and offense she had so long held inside.  She prayed for the person that crippled her and asked God to make them whole as well.  Elsa came out of her room and began to become involved with life and people again.  She accepted that circumstances beyond her control had forever changed her, but perhaps it could be for the better and not for the worse.  As she began to embrace life, relationships and people again, she felt her life enriched somehow.  She missed being normal; walking and running like others, but she saw opportunities to help people in ways she never had before.  She realized that, like that that burnt field, God was restoring her to be an even better person than she had been before.  She realized her right attitude and God perspective made her grass a little greener than a lot of those around her.  She found herself walking no longer with the natural legs that she was born with, but with legs of faith, trust and dependency upon God to now direct her life in the way and the plan that He had for her.  Now instead of feeling robbed of life, she felt enriched with new meaning and purpose that her new life had found.  Instead of the burnt field of bitterness, hate and unforgiveness she found herself flourishing in the greenery and new life of her relationship with the Lord and with people.  She was learning what it is to be a new creation in Christ Jesus, that even in adversity there is blessing and holding on to offenses is more crippling than physical handicaps.  

 

Blessings,

kent

I Shall Not Be Moved

October 16, 2013

I Shall Not Be Moved

Psalms 62:2&6

He only [is] my rock and my salvation: [he is] my defence; I shall not be moved.

When any of us go to build a house or a structure the fundamental issue is to build it on a solid foundation. We not only have to consider the foundation itself, but also the soil conditions of where that foundation is setting. If the soil is expansive it could swell and crack our foundation and our structure. If it is unstable and not solid, it could settle and do the same thing. If the soil is to sandy or shifting, again our house is at risk, so the foundation has as much to do with the soil conditions as it does the footing our structure is built upon.

Spiritually we must use much of the same logic when we make the decision about how to build our lives. We want our lives to be secure and stable. We want our belief system to be solid and basically unchanging. We know that as we mature in Christ and in our understanding that many things will change in the way we think and view things, but there are certain principles and fundamental truths that should not change. They are our foundation. The stability of our whole house rest upon our foundation. We are not moved, because our foundation is not moved. When our house was built that foundation became the fundamental part of our house. It is not separate, but is a key component of the house.

The Word teaches us that Christ is the Rock, the spiritual cornerstone of his temple, which we are. The reason we will not be moved is because of who He is, an unmovable, unchanging Lord and God who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). When our lives are rooted and grounded in Christ then we become a very stable people because we know whom we are, where come from and where we are going. We have purpose and direction in our lives. We know we have resources that the world does not have, because our strength comes from the Lord. David, in Psalms 62 in verses 7 and 8, goes on to say, “In God [is] my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, [and] my refuge, [is] in God. Trust in him at all times; [ye] people, pour out your heart before him: God [is] a refuge for us. Selah.” David had come to know, as we must, that life can be very unstable and undependable, but God is not. Our stability and security is in Him who is our strength and our refuge.

Many of us are prone to compromise concerning our faith and the values we get from God’s Word. If we continue down this path without correcting our course and getting back on spiritual track then our house starts to lean and deteriorate. It is not because our foundation is bad, but because we have left it and started building on unstable ground that is sure to bring us to a disastrous and destructive end. Where are you building your house and your life today? Is it built on the uncertainty and instability of the world or have you made the stand that, “I shall not be moved”. Is your confidence, faith and reliance solely upon the Lord and His strength, life and faithfulness as your foundation? We know there is not a problem with Christ the foundation, so if something is moving, shifting, settling, falling, check what your foundation is. Jesus gave us the parable in Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” It is not what we hear and know that makes for a sure foundation, it is what we “do with what we hear and know” that determines if we stand or if we fall.

Blessings,

kent

The Old Locked Gate

October 8, 2013

The Old Locked Gate

Romans 13:12
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Our old habits and ways are hard to break,
We have best intentions of changing our ways,
But the pathway out runs into an old locked gate.
The gate of our old self bids us stay.

We keep praying, “God change me, deliver me from sin”,
But it has been done and the keys are in our hands.
The keys are the authority, the faith and the Christ within.
When we fall down, by His strength we arise and stand.

His grace is sufficient for all our needs,
When trials overtake us, it is His strength we lean upon.
When our hearts and lives are broken we fall on bended knee,
We cry out in darkness till morning’s light brings a new song.

He is ever working in us in ways we don’t even see.
Our adversity is often the answer to the prayer we prayed,
It is causing us to press into Jesus and find Him in our need.
His Calvary unlocks our gate and causes our past to fade.

Replacing old habits and ways are often very hard,
But we must put in their place the lessons from above,
It is standing steadfast in faith and remaining on our guard.
It is remaining one with Him and being the expression of His love.

Blessings,
kent

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