Joy Unspeakable

November 11, 2015

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

Joy Unspeakable

Isn’t it amazingly awesome that this Truth, Jesus, that we possess, through faith, can bring such continual and inexpressible joy in your hearts, in spite of your circumstances? You know what protects and shelters that inexpressible joy? Our faith.
What God has promised and has given us is shielded through faith until it is fully revealed and made manifest. That is not dependent upon our lifetime or life lived upon the earth. We are eternally secure through faith and all that we are promised is secure as well.
This is why we can rejoice, even in the midst of all of our trials and tribulations upon the earth. These only come to enhance and intensify the flavor and aroma of our faith. While the enemy would use them to destroy us, as we trust in Jesus, we wax stronger. Our faith is strengthened as in our weakness we find His strength. In our losses, He is our greater provision. In our suffering He remains our hope and comfort.
Jesus is our joy unspeakable. Though we haven’t seen Him, yet, we so intensely and fervently love Him, because we know Him after the Spirit and not after the flesh. That faith fans the flames of our relationship and bond with Him. Our faith brings us through the fires of our trials and tribulations. It is proved genuine and refined by the fires it has passed through. Instead of discouragement and defeat we continue to stand, abounding in the joy of the Lord. Because we believe and because we can experience the power of the inner relationship we have, we are comforted and find our assurance.
Circumstances do not dictate our relationship with God. God is still the Lord of our circumstances, no matter how grim they may be. We don’t look at the doom and gloom of the world around us and get caught up in its terror, because we know the One who has written history and the future. He is the same One that is the author and the finisher of our faith. So today we will be encouraged! We will be exceedingly joyful, because our God reigns in the heavens, in the earth and most importantly to us, in our hearts!
If we are enduring trials and tribulations today, may those pains and pressures only drive us to worship and praise God more intensely. May they drive us deeper and more intimately into Him, who is that hiding place of our safety and our victory. The trials and tribulation of this life should only embed us deeper into our Papa. There, that shield of faith and confidence in Him shields us from the enemies’ darts and arrows. Papa covers us with the shadow of His wing, for He is our refuge and our fortress.
Let not doubt and fear overtake you. Remember your God, all of His mighty works and all of His unspeakable benefits. We are His children. What can man do to us, but drive us deeper into His presence? Let us remember and praise Him with unspeakable and resounding joy. Our God is the salvation of our souls and the Redeemer of all who call upon His name. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!!
Blessings,
#kent

Hebrews12:1-3
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

I remember when I was a young boy I spent a great deal of time on my grandparent’s farm. When I was probably a young teen my grandpa had taught me how to drive. It had first started with learning to drive a tractor and then he taught me how to drive “Little Red”. It was an old, red, 1949 step side Chevy pickup. Being out in the country we could get away with driving before we had a driver’s license. I remember one day I happened to be by myself driving down the country road and my attention was diverted onto some pheasants that were feeding out in the field. As I was watching those pheasants my attention suddenly came back to my driving. I looked up and found myself driving in the ditch instead of the road. Fortunately was able to steer back up on the road and get back on course.
I was thinking how typical this is of our walk with the Lord. We can be going along pretty good, but then something else catches our attention and pulls us off of our walk and relationship with the Lord. It may not have even been anything bad or sinful, but it was a distraction. Suddenly one day we come to our senses, look up and find that we are driving in the ditch. While we were looking away we got off course and we got off the road that we were on.
We have all learned through our experience as drivers how important it is to keep our focus when we are driving. Even a few moments of distraction or inattention could result in an accident. Hebrews 12:1-3 is our exhortation to keep our eyes on the road, fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. The journey that we are on is not for just a day or even a week; it is a lifetime of commitment and walking with Jesus. There are plenty of things out there that want grab our attention and cause us to get off course from the road we are traveling. I am sure it has happened to most of us and you may find that you are driving in the ditch at this time in your life.
The Lord is graciously calling for us to get back on course with Him today. We can not expect to win the prize and finish the race if we quit or stay off course. There are many reasons that we get off course in our spiritual walk, but if we will fix our eyes on Jesus He will help to us to complete the race that we have begun. It is not about our ability or our goodness; it is about our commitment and obedience to His faithfulness. It says that He is the author and the finisher of our faith. He is writing the book on your life. I don’t know about you, but I would like every page of that book to be about Him.
Is it always easy to walk this walk and hold fast our faith? No, sometimes we get discouraged, tired or distracted and we want to give up or let it go. Then we have to ask ourselves what did Jesus have to give up so that I could run this race and be found complete in Him. He despised the shame and endured the cross. He endured the opposition of sinful men. If He was willing to do that for me then can I do less when I meet with adversity, hardship, weariness or the distractions of this life? We have to fix our eyes back on Jesus and stay in the race and yes, the Lord does need you. He didn’t give His life to lose you; He gave it to save you. He didn’t ask us to do it alone or even in our own strength. He has promised to be here with us, even when we feel the burn in our legs from the race. It is easier to win a race when you have something to focus on. Look down at the end of the course. There are all of those that have gone before us cheering us on and saying, “Come on, keep running, you can do it.” There we also see Jesus with His open arms of love and assurance waiting to embrace us.
Today let us get our focus back on the race. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author and the finisher of our faith. Keep your eyes on the road.

Blessings,
#kent

Persevere to Pursue Holiness

Hebrews 10:19-25
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Here in Hebrews we are again being exhorted and encouraged to draw near to God. We are not being told to draw near hoping that we’re good enough or hoping that God will accept us. He already has accepted us in Christ and if we are to draw near and have boldness to enter into the Holiest, we must do so based not on identifying with our former selves, but based upon who we are in Christ Jesus. It is His blood that has cleansed us, purified us and given us acceptance before Him. When the Father looks upon us now He sees us in Christ and receives us as such.
One thing the tone of this scripture brings to us is that we do not enter in by the attitude of “I wish I may, I wish I might”. The scripture is saying to us gird yourself up in the confidence of who you are in Christ, with a true heart, in fullness of faith. We know that the blood of Jesus has dealt with the sin issue that separated us from God. We know that His Word is renewing our mind and thinking, washing our bodies with the water of the Word. But do we have a true heart? One that is truly set, fixed and will settle for nothing less than His manifest presence? The Lord is telling us that we have everything we need to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. That Holiest is where the light of His glory is present over the cherubim. It is that place in his Holy presence we meet with Father, Almighty. While we have access and provision to come here, it is not a place for the weak and faint of heart and faith. They will not see this place. We are talking about a place and dimension at the mountaintop. Most will not enter in because the path is not well traveled. It takes the passionate person that will persevere in faith, boldness and confidence. God is looking for a people that are wholly sold out to Him, where He alone is the object of the their passion and desire. A people who covet nothing less than His manifest presence and life. They don’t want to settle for just living in Israel. They don’t want to settle anymore for just living in Jerusalem. They have their have their eye single and steadfast upon Mount Zion, where the King reigns. They have been promised through this Word an audience with His Majesty and they will not be detoured by anything until they have come into His presence. They will make whatever spiritual preparations required, but they have determined that they will not be denied His promise. Most of us get discouraged and distracted along the way and we give up on our highest pursuit. The whole reason we meet together and have church where two or more are gathered in His name is so that He might be in our midst and so that we might stir one another up in our passion to pursue Jesus into the Holiest. We have to keep one another focused on our life purpose, which is to know Him and manifest His nature in these mortal bodies.
Hebrews 12:1-4 goes on to exhort us after we have just left the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. It tells us, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Whatever it requires of us, we want to be God-chasers, passionately intent on entering into that place where He has made a way. This is our quest to enter into the prize of His glory and presence. On the journey we will find ourselves changed and transformed, for the closer we get to Him, the more His consuming fire burns away all that is perishable within us. The closer we get the more in His likeness we become. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Summon up your faith in all boldness and with a true heart and all of your might, pursue the Lover of our souls into the Holiest.

Blessings,
#kent

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