Spiritual Mountain Climbing

Isaiah 40:9
You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”

In Hebrews 11:8-10 it says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.” As we have began our journey of faith we have started our spiritual climb up the mountain of God, at first the path may have seemed gentle and very pleasant. As we travel on we find there are very difficult and perilous places that we must pass through as we continue our assent. Continually the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are urging us on, but as we journey up the mountain we notice that many have turned off of the trail at various points. They have even put up dwellings and have set up house keeping on these lower realms of the mountain. At times we may have asked the question, “ Lord, haven’t I gone far enough? This seems like a pleasant enough place, can’t I just stay here?” But the Spirit of the Lord would say to us, “ to obtain My best, you must press into My highest.” It came to me that though these ones had chosen a pleasant and easy place to abide rather than press on up the mountain, they had left themselves very vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. They had no real cover or protection when they came under attack. So we press on, not knowing exactly what to expect or even the fullness of what we are pressing into. What we do have are the promises of God and we know that the more that we press up into the heights of this mountain, the more real and realized these promises will become.
There are times on our journey we become weary, discouraged and even scared. There are times that we experience the blessings of mountain lakes, streams and meadows and there are times we are inching our way along jagged rocks and perilous ledges. The thing that must continue to burn in our hearts is that the Lord is ever calling us upward.
In Revelations 4:1 the Spirit speaks to John on the Isle of Patmos where he was exiled, “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” Every day there stands before us a door opened that speaks “Come up here.” It is the call of God upon our lives to continue pressing onward and upward into Him. We know that only in pressing onward and upward into Him that we will discover our destiny and calling in Him. Only by continuing our climb will we realize that He is the power and endurance in us to abide, to survive and to accomplish what He has designed our lives to accomplish. In those times when our body wants to give up, when our soul is discouraged, it is the Spirit of the Son that rallies within us and that reminds us that He has called us unto Himself. Where He has called us He has also gone before us and made a way for us. We are reminded that this journey and this climb are not in our ability, but it is in His ability through us as we press on in faith, believing that He is mighty within us. We are a called out people, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. We are the overcomers of God set apart for the glory of His Name, but we must keep climbing and keep pressing onward, upward and inward. As we climb we are developing agility, wisdom, faith and strength. Even when we slip upon the path, we sense the unseen hand of His grace laying hold of us and helping us back up into the way.
Sometimes we sit for a moment to catch our breath and regain our strength, but we never want our eye distracted from following that path that continues upward. We know that at every bend and over every precipice we may catch a greater revelation of His glory and find new truth revealed. Everyday is an adventure, a challenge and a steadfast commitment to follow on to Know Him in a greater and higher way. He is saying to the weak and the lame, “Therefore, 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.” Take courage you saints of God as you ascend the mountain and be renewed in the spirit of your faith and place confidence in the high calling you have in Christ Jesus. “You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our “God is a consuming fire.””(Hebrew 12:18-29).
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

Blessings,
#kent

Do not Tempt the Lord

October 2, 2014

Do not Tempt the Lord

Matthew 4:7
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

What does it mean to tempt the Lord? In the Old Testament usage the implication is that men tempt God when they exhibit distrust in a manner as if they wanted to try whether God is not justly distrusted. Also by unrighteous or wicked conduct to test God’s justice and patience. They are in affect challenging Him to prove His perfection.
In the passage of Matthew 4:7 we see Jesus in the wilderness is being tempted of the devil. In the preceding verses, 4 and 5 we see the temptation, “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” The devil is trying to get Jesus to prove He is God’s Son by testing Him supernaturally to see if the Father will save Him. He even uses scripture to back it up.
There is a flag of caution to us as believers that we don’t find ourselves tempting God and trying to make Him prove Himself through presumptuous acts of faith. Jesus never did miracles because He was challenged to do so. Though there was not a question that the power was resident in Him, He acted and lived in complete submission to the will and mind of the Father. Because we have the promises of God’s Word and the authority of the name of Jesus, doesn’t mean we can go call fire down out of heaven or do whatever our heart fancies. We, like Jesus, must operate under the mind and will of the Spirit of God. When we are operating out of our flesh, especially concerning the things of God, are we not putting God to the test and tempting Him?
Acts 5 gives us the story of Ananias and Sapphira, early church Christians who sold there possessions for a certain price and then conspired to lie about it in order to hold back some of the possession for themselves. Now the possession was there’s to give or keep, but where they tempted God was when, instead of being forthright with what they were doing they conspired to lie to the disciples. What they failed to consider is that these disciples were the ambassadors of the Most High God, so their lie was not to men but to God. As a result we see a very stern and sobering demonstration of God’s judgement upon them, in that they both dropped dead when confronted with their sin. Peter makes the statement to Sapphira just before God’s judgement comes upon her, “Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband [are] at the door, and shall carry thee out.” Do we ever plot to do our own thing contrary or with disregard to the mind and will of God? Are we tempting God not to deal with us for disobedience?
In the Old Testament we read a number of accounts especially with the Israelites going through the wilderness with Moses where they tempted God through there discontentment, murmuring, lust and failure to trust the Lord. 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 gives a very good summation of this for our exhortation, “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as [were] some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Let us guard our hearts and our walk today that we don’t find ourselves in that place of tempting God. Let us, like Christ, submit our wills, our desires, our faith and actions, to the will and direction of the Holy Spirit so that we walk in a way that is honorable, respectful, and obedient to His holiness. We desire His blessings and not His discipline, so let us soberly consider that we tempt not the Lord.

Blessings,
#kent

2 Kings 18:28-35

Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out with a loud voice in Hebrew, and spoke, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he shall not be able to deliver you from his hand; 30 nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, “The LORD will surely deliver us; this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”’ 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” 33 Has any of the gods of the nations at all delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivah? Indeed, have they delivered Samaria from my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem from my hand?’” 


When Fear comes Knocking


As we read this passage of scripture today that took place during the reign of Hezekiah, we see him faced with the greatest challenge and threat to his kingdom that he had ever known.  The king of Assyria, which typifies satan, sent his messenger of fear, Rabshakeh, to attack the faith and trust the people of Judah and Hezekiah had in the Lord and replace it with fear of the natural. They were facing the greatest force and enemy of their day. Assyria was undefeated and it had taken every nation that it entered into, including Israel.  Now Hezekiah is faced with the decision to either give in or trust the Lord.  Everything in the natural is saying give it up, you don’t stand a chance.  You don’t hold a candle to this giant that now stands before you.  What Rabshakeh said was true, no other nation or gods had been able withstand them.  Where Rabshakeh and the king of Assyria failed was in counting the Lord God as like unto the gods of wood and stone.  

There are times when we are faced with similar circumstances in our lives.  We face giants and situations that are far greater than we are in the natural.  They blaspheme or mock our God and expect that we should bow to them.  Our very lives or livelihood may be at stake.  What will we do?  Will we bow in fear to the enemies’ demands or will we throw ourselves before the Lord and plead our case before Him as Hezekiah did?  

It is often in our weakness that God’s strength and power are manifest.  If fear is able to undermine and rob our faith then we will not see the salvation of our God.  If we dare to stand firm in Him then we will see His salvation work, even though it may not be immediate.  There are areas in life that we have to walk by faith, humbly and fearfully before the Lord, so that we are not reliant upon our strength or ability, but we wholly lean on Jesus name.  The enemy will kick up dust, he’ll rant and rave and do all that he can to strike fear and unbelief in our hearts, but it is our faith in the All Powerful One that prevails.  Through prayer and faith we hide ourselves under the shadow of the great Jehovah.  We know that when He goes out to battle on our behalf then we cannot fail or be defeated.  We are more than conquerors through Christ who has loved us.  

In 2 Kings 19:5 we hear what the Lord says through Isaiah, His prophet concerning these blasphemous threats. “So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah.  And Isaiah said to them, “Thus you shall say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me.  Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”’””  God is still saying to us, “ Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard.” We must know our Lord today as Hezekiah and the people came to know Him then.  He is a mighty Fortress and Deliverer.  He will take up the cause of the righteous and in His time and His way that enemy will be defeated.  When fear comes knocking, don’t be afraid, only trust and obey. 

 
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

Provoking to Good Works

January 29, 2013

Provoking to Good Works

Hebrews 10:23-24
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:

Our faith in Christ is such a precious thing. It is what opens salvation’s door to the riches and treasures of abundant and eternal life. Faith is not a one-time exercise, but it is the exercising of our faith that grows us to walk into all that God has promised us. By faith are we are justified and by faith we please God. Our faith is much more precious than gold, not only to us, but to God as well. He wants that faith nurtured and grown in the same way we would raise a child through the various stages of life. As a parent we would protect them and seek to insure their right and safe development.
God is jealous over us. He fervently loves us, but he knows our frame. We often get on our exercise programs and we are all psyched up about losing weight and getting stronger. A short time goes by and we fizzle out and go back to our old habits. We can treat our faith and commitment to God the same way. Life may bring its trials and tragedies or even persecutions against us until one day we find ourselves weary and laying down the good fight of our confession. Perhaps this fits many of us; we are so caught up in life, making a living, the demands of a career, raising a family and the cares of life that God slips quietly into the background of our lives. If this is where we are at then we are out of the will of God and what He wants for us. I know this because I have found myself in these places and must guard carefully not to return there. God is sounding a trumpet in our hearts and in our land. It is a call to action. He is calling us out of those places where our faith has fainted and grown weak. We can turn a deaf ear and continue on our way or we can listen to what the Spirit is speaking in our heart and know that God is serious about us and where we are in our walk with Him. Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Hebrews 12:3 “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. ”
Romans 13:11 “And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed. ”
Our God wants to provoke our faith to action and good works. We have to awake out of our complacency and realize our faith is not just another compartment of our lives, it is our life. It is what we are about and what we need to be living for. Everything in us should centered around our faith.
The Lord brought something to mind that I hadn’t thought about before. Growing up and even now, at times, I am a provoker. Without even realizing what I am doing I can begin pushing someone’s buttons and get them upset. Now that is not an admirable quality and one that has caused others and myself a lot of grief over the years. But if it can be used in a negative sense why can’t it be used in a positive sense. This scripture in Hebrews 10 is telling us that God wants us to be provokers. Perhaps that is why the Lord has had me start writing these little words each day to first provoke my own faith and then in turn to provoke the faith of others who may read these. This is a calling we all have, not just to stir up our own faith, but to stir up one another. Even as Paul was provoking and stirring up Timothy in 1Timothy 1:7-9, “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”
It is a time we must get stoked, provoked and begin to stir up our faith and not ours only, but the faith of one another to love and good works. It is not a hype, it is a life.

Blessings,
kent

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