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

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Blessed are the Peacemakers

September 15, 2015

James 3:17-18
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Blessed are the Peacemakers

Romans 14:7 says, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Peacemakers are a kingdom people who sow after the spirit and not after the flesh. Their intent is to reap a spiritual harvest of righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. There are not a lot of peacemakers out here in the body of Christ. Most of us have our own agendas, our own opinions, doctrines of men and will to see things go our way. Therefore our agenda isn’t peace; it is warfare, perhaps not physically, but often verbally and psychologically. We want to manipulate things our way, because that is the way we think they should be. But when you think one way and I think another and when we both think that we are right, are we going to have peace? No, we are both going to strive to establish our own opinion as right.
A peacemaker works out of the wisdom that comes from above. He or she grasps a concept that life isn’t just about the here and now, but what perpetuates into eternity. Their concept isn’t about their way; it is about God’s way. Strife, envy, division and disunity cannot accomplish the purposes of God. That is why the enemy tries to sow them in our midst. We so often speak, move and find our expression out of the emotions of our flesh rather than out of the peace and spirit of the Lord. We need only to look to the Holy Spirit to see the example of the peacemaker. The Holy Spirit is with us to help us, comfort us, teach us, empower us and guide us into peace and righteousness. The Holy Spirit is often referred to as the perfect gentleman. He doesn’t override our will. He doesn’t force us to learn of Him. He won’t force comfort on you if you don’t want it. The Holy Spirit, as awesome and Holy as He is, is not forward in His dealing with us. He will work with us when we are yielded to allow Him to have control, but He doesn’t force His control upon us. Hopefully we are wise enough to realize that we are far better with Him than we are without Him. Yet how many of us keep the Holy Spirit locked in the closet while we continue to do things our way and for our own end? If we are peacemakers we are going to operate like the Holy Spirit. We can’t force peace on those who are bent upon war. Often they must go their own way until they come to the end of themselves, but the mature ones will always be there ready to help, assist, comfort, counsel and move in God on your behalf, but their nature is considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit. They are not judgmental or prejudice in their dealings, but are impartial and sincere. The end and the fruit of what they do is righteousness. They are not in this walk for themselves; they are in it for you and me. If we are one of them, then that is where our heart must be also. One of the definitions of a peacemaker from the Lexicon is this, “of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.” Are we at peace with God and man? Are we at peace with ourselves and with what God has given us? If we are not at peace how can we be a peacemaker? Find your rest in God, the Holy One. When you are at peace with Him and in your relationship with Him, then you are in a position to communicate that peace through your life, words and actions. You will stand in the gap to reconcile men to God and to one another. The body of Christ is in great need of a lot more peacemakers who walk in the Spirit and the love of the Lord. If you want to win your argument and your way by being louder, more aggressive and insistent or through the use of manipulation and subversives, you may win the battle but you will lose the war. In order to get your way you may end up proving yourself to be the enemy of God rather than His friend.
Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” If sonship is what you long for, then learn to be a peacemaker.

Blessings,
#kent

2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Garments of Righteousness

When you came to Christ, you made an exchange. He took your old filthy garments of sin, which He died for on the cross and exchanged, through faith and by His grace, the garment of your sin for the garment of His righteousness. What we could never do or earn to bring us into right standing with God the Father, Christ has done for us through the cross.
There are days when you are going to feel so condemned, so unworthy and so unrighteous. There are days when you feel only failure, defeat and discouragement. Remember it is not about your self-worth, but about your God-worth and what God has called righteous, who are we to call it unrighteous. Our defeat comes when we relinquish to the feelings of self. We are not who the accuser says we are. We are what God says we are “the righteousness of God in Him.” If we want victory, we must get our eyes off of self and on to Him. We must stop living in the cemetery of the old dead man and start living in the sanctuary of the Life-giver. When we set our eyes upon Him, we see what we are and what we are becoming. It is Christ that is now our value and our worth. There is none that can devalue Him. His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness and maintains our right standing in Him.
Here is what the Lord would say to you who are discouraged. Isaiah 61 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. 8 “ForI, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.” 10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”

Blessings,
#kent

Body Ministry

February 27, 2015

1 Corinthians 12:25 –26
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Body Ministry

Yesterday, I began to have some gout flare up in the ball of my foot, above my right toe. It causes swelling, inflammation and pain that can become quite severe. It is a little affliction, not any greater than many others endure, but I felt like through it the Lord was ministering to me this morning about the body. I noticed how my own body reacted to the pain in this member. My hands would gently message it and my other leg and foot would take upon itself more of the weight when I walked. My mind was thinking about what I needed to do to get rid of it. My body was cognizant and responsive to the pain in one of my members. Each one did what it could to lessen or relieve that pain or minister to it.
I began to think, are we in tune with the body of Christ like our own bodies are with their members. In this scripture and those that precede it, the apostle Paul goes through quite a discourse explaining how the body is many members and yet one spirit. These many are made one and function as one through the unity of the Holy Spirit.
As I was meditating this morning on this truth I was thinking about how many times we, for instance, attend the funeral of a friend and we offer our condolences and then we often remark with the platitude, “if there is any thing that I can do, call me.” I think that is more for our benefit than theirs. We feel like somehow we have reached out and made ourselves available for their need, when in reality we have excused ourselves from really meeting any needs. Wouldn’t it be far more effective if we looked around and saw a particular need that we could do that would really minister to them in this time and then with their permission do it? That would effectively be ministering to the need in the body and this particular member.
I know that with myself it is far too easy to get caught up in my life, my agenda and all that I need to do and really miss the ministry and responsibility I have in meeting the needs of the body; rather that would be in my family or in others. I can become desensitized and unaware of the hurt in others and what I could do to minister to that need at that time. This is where we all need to stay in tune and sensitive to the Holy Spirit, because we function and minister to one another through His power and anointing. It may not be miraculous, but is often practical and necessary. Often the miracle begins to take place after we have ministered and went our way. We are not there in those circumstances to get the glory, but to minister the love of Christ and bring Him the glory.
The second part of body ministry is that even as we fill up one another’s needs, strengthening, providing and empowering each other, we, in turn are the servants of the world. A healthy body of Christ is God’s ministry and gift to the world. We are there individually and corporately to minister to the needs of others. We are willing to give ourselves, even as Jesus did on a daily basis to minister in whatever circumstances the Father placed Him in. Let us be sensitive and responsive to the needs around us.
The key to body ministry is that we all function out of the Spirit and by the Spirit. That Spirit is love and love always is thinking and moving on the behalf of others. The Holy Spirit mobilizes us as one man, for one purpose, to fulfill the will and expression of the Father. The expression of the Father is love and love meets the needs in one another.

Blessings,
#kent

Walk with Me

October 31, 2014

Philippians 3:14
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Walk with Me

Walk with me a little while
Comfort my troubled heart with your smile.
It is in your presence I experience love and grace.
I need your perspective as I run this race.

I covet your fellowship in the early dawn,
As I come to you in prayer and feel your holy bond.
It is your strength I covet in this challenging hour,
It is in identity with your life that I find my power.

The grade is getting steep as we travel on.
The way is more narrow and straight than where I’ve gone.
Those I once called friends now scorn my path.
Because I don’t hold the world’s views I incur their wrath.

So it must be as I look up and see the cross before,
I still believe that you alone are the only door,
That leads to life and the Father I seek.
You are the good shepherd that leads your sheep.

Help me Lord to be all that I must,
Forsaking the world, its vanity and lust.
Setting my eye on the prize that is before,
I press on to the high calling of Christ Jesus my Lord.

Walk with me a little while,
Comfort my troubled heart with your smile.
If so be that I suffer for You I will be glorified with You,
My peace and rest is in You, oh Lord, faithful and true.
Kent Stuck

Blessings!

A Time for every Purpose under Heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1
To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Our lives are made up of many seasons and one thing about life is that it never stays the same and time never stands still. Life is a dynamic that is always in motion, interacting with the lives around it. The one constant that we have is God’s Word and it doesn’t change, but it does contain wisdom and direction for our lives in whatever season and time we find ourselves in. There are times we feel like we have control over some of the things in our lives and others when we seem to have no control at all. But again, the one constant that we have is the Lord in our lives, who never leaves us or forsakes and is with us in good times and in the bad. He is the One through and with whom we travel every season of our life and desire to find His purpose. It is not always easy to know what God’s purpose is at times in our lives. We don’t always understand His hand, why He does or doesn’t do things the way we have prayed or hoped. We can only trust His heart, because we know that all of His ways are right and just and that His nature is love.
It is important that, just as God is with us in every season and purpose of our lives, we are there for one another, sharing each other’s life experiences and encouraging one another through the process. Sometimes we are the salt God has prepared to place in the wound of ones that are hurting. Sometimes we are there to share in the excitement and joy of a precious moment or happening. What God is working in each of us is that we are a people for all seasons, equipped and furnished unto every good work. Our preparation is through our own life experiences and learning to walk with the Lord through each one. Galatians 6:9-10 tells us, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” A lot of things come in there own good time which often isn’t as soon as we think it ought to be. The Lord exhorts us to just keep on in well doing towards others and especially our brethren and eventually we will see that we will reap what we sow.
As we move through the changing times and seasons of our lives learn to rest in the Lord in whatever place you are in, don’t get anxious or upset, but look to the Lord to teach you in that place. Ask Him what He wants to work in you. Trust Him and be faithful in both the hard and the easy places, in the good times and the bad. Don’t grow discouraged, defeated or weary in your well doing for the Lord is our portion and our blessing and as the Word says, “in due season we will reap, if we faint not.” Let us be there for one another encouraging and helping one another, sharing our life experiences together. For there is a time and a season for every purpose under heaven and the Lord is a part of them all. Let us trust and walk with Him through each one.

Blessings,
#kent

The Brokenhearted

April 15, 2014

The Brokenhearted
Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;

Luke 4 says that Jesus read this passage in the synagogue one day and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Jesus came to fix, heal and bind up the broken man and woman, spiritually, emotionally and physically. He cares as much about our state of being today as He did then and His ministry is still the same. The difference is that now He uses His many-membered body, gifted and anointed of the Holy Spirit to administer these graces. Now what Jesus came to fulfill in this passage is being fulfilled in us. We can only minister these gifts because we have been the recipients of them. We have experienced God’s love and grace shed abroad in our hearts. We have experienced His comfort and His help in our time of need or brokenness. We have experienced His deliverance in our lives from the sin and strongholds that have bound us. Paul says in Romans 15:8, “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed.” Paul didn’t just minister words; He ministered from His life experiences.
There are times in each of our lives when we are brokenhearted. It could be through the loss of a loved one or because a loved one betrayed us or disappointed us. It could be because of any number of disappointments or hurts we experience in life. When these times come upon us we are crushed emotionally; our insides literally hurt and agonize in the emotional pain we feel. It is not unlike a severe physical injury in that, initially it is an open wound and sore that causes us great pain. Just as we are very protective of an area of body that has been wounded we are often very protective of the emotional areas of our lives where we have been wounded and hurt as well. This is where time is often our friend, because wounds, emotional or physical, take time to heal. Unless God does something out of the ordinary, our healing is usually a process of time that restores us to health. The important thing to remember is that in that process the Lord is at work binding up and ministering to our need. It can often be in so many unseen ways, little signs that He gives us, special blessings, words of love and encouragement from others, the special memories we cherish and cling too. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted. Sometimes it is our broken heart that leads us to repentance in areas and causes us to return to the Lord. The Lord is in the business of healing and fixing broken people. As His people that should be our purpose as well. As this prophecy in Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus, so it must be fulfilled in us who are His expression and members in this earth. We are the vessels through whom He often flows in His ministry to humanity. More times than not the reason we are able to minister is because we have had to walk that road ourselves. We have had to personally experience the Lord’s presence in our own situations. As we have experienced the Lord’s grace to us we are then able to empathize and share that grace with others. Many times what we experience even in our pain and suffering is not so much for us as it is for others. Jesus suffered much to bring us so great a salvation. We in turn well may share in those sufferings if we are to be the instruments of His grace and mercy. The Lord makes us walk the walk, before we can talk the talk. But our ministry is so much more powerful when we are ministering out of personal experience and not just theological ideas.
If you are experiencing brokenness in your life this day be encouraged that God can take your pain and use it for someone else’s healing. The precious part is that it heals us as well, it makes us stronger and better equipped in our spiritual lives because of what we have had to walk through. Be encouraged, the Lord is there in your pain working a deeper work of His grace and mercy.

Blessings,
#kent

The Peace that Passes Understanding

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

There is a place in the secret garden of God’s presence in us where we find of a refuge of His peace. It’s a peace that we find only when we have found that place of full confidence and rest in the Father and all that He says He is and all that He has provided for us. Philippians 4:3 exhorts us to “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” The joy of the Lord is what brings us into peace. The joy of the Lord is what dispels the dark clouds of doubt, fear and unbelief. The joy of the Lord is what instills in us confidence, assurance and yes, “peace”. When the enemy, or circumstances, or other people can rob our peace, then they can defeat our faith. Faith stands strong in the midst of peace. Our peace is often quickly shattered because it is vulnerable to conditions and emotions that surround us. Our peace can quickly turn to insecurity, doubt and fear, but not God’s peace.
A great example of this personal peace and God’s peace is seen in Jesus as He wages that great spiritual battle within for God’s comfort and peace. We see the tremendous anguish of soul that beset Jesus as He is faced with the greatest, most terrible and horrifying task ever required of an individual. He is staring in the face of insurmountable suffering, pain and anguish physically. But beyond that suffering He is looking at the darkness of becoming sin and bearing the sin for every inhabitant of the human race, all of this from Him who knew no sin. Worst of all, He is looking at a period where the Father Himself must turn away and separate His presence. I doubt that few of us could even begin to imagine or grasp the tremendous weight and burden that was upon the Lord at that time. It is no wonder that He sweat great drops of blood as He struggled with what He was facing. Everything in His mortal man must have been crying out, “NO, Anything but this.” Yet He was not a man given to the outward man and the dictates of His own will, He was and ever would be completely and totally sold out to the will and purpose of the Father. Through that spiritual battle that took place there in the garden where Jesus went to pray, Jesus found that peace that passes all understanding. It was that peace, that complete rest in Father’s will and purpose that enabled Him to face and go the way of the cross when everything within His natural man wanted to turn away. That is the kind of Peace that I believe Jesus left us when He told His disciples in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” There is a peace that Christ has left us in this world. It is a legacy of His salvation and impartation of His great love. It is a peace unlike the world’s peace that is fleeting and temporal. It is a peace that cements us to the heart of God and the assurance that His presence abides with us always. It is the assurance and comfort that Romans 8:31-39 speaks to us, “31What can we say about all these things? Since God is for us, who can be against us?
32God did not keep His own Son for Himself but gave Him for us all. Then with His Son, will He not give us all things?
33Who can say anything against the people God has chosen? It is God Who says they are right with Himself.
34Who then can say we are guilty? It was Christ Jesus Who died. He was raised from the dead. He is on the right side of God praying to Him for us.
35Who can keep us away from the love of Christ? Can trouble or problems? Can suffering wrong from others or no food? Can it be because of no clothes or because of danger or war?
36The Holy Writings say, ‘Because of belonging to Jesus, we are in danger of being killed all day long. We are thought of as sheep that are ready to be killed.’ (Psalm 44:22)
37But we have power over all these things through Jesus Who loves us so much.
38For I know that nothing can keep us from the love of God. Death cannot! Life cannot! Angels cannot! Leaders cannot! Any other power cannot! Hard things now or in the future cannot!
39The world above or the world below cannot! Any other living thing cannot keep us away from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.
We have the peace that our lives are hid in Him and nothing in heaven or earth can rob that from us who believe in Him. Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Some of you are there in that garden today, like Jesus, struggling with tremendous tribulation and trials. The Father wants you to find this place of peace that passes all understanding where you will find your rest in Him. You can rejoice, even in the midst of the fire, because your heart has the assurance that Jesus Christ is the Lord of your situation. It doesn’t matter if you understand how; it only matters that “HE IS”. Your life is hid in Him and whether in life or death He is the peace that passes understanding.

Blessings,
#kent

 

When God is Silent and Understanding Fails

(Part 1) 


Job 23:8-17

8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. 13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. 16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. 17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.”

 

I ask God’s wisdom and counsel today in what we share.  There are times in our lives when we know and trust God with our heart, but we question Him with our mind, intellect and understanding.  We try and reason how God is, who God is and how He should act and work in our lives.  Life’s circumstances and trials can sometimes be very crushing and cruel.  They leave us in the wake of disasters that our natural reasoning struggles to understand and comprehend in the light of what we know about God.  The question is often asked and disputed, “If you are a loving and just God, how could you let this happen?”  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Many depart from their faith through the course of life, because God has disappointed them and failed to live up their expectations.  Sometimes when we are desperate for answers or a Word, God is silent.   

The book of Job has long been a source of comfort and strength to those of us who find ourselves in these places in life.  It is not uncommon for any of us at times in our lives to have these hard questions, because God does not always respond to us the way we think that He should.  About the time we think we have God all figured out and put in the box of our finite understanding, He blows the lid off of our box and defies our understanding.  God has defined Himself by certain characteristics and attributes, but His thoughts and ways are so beyond ours that they are unable to be corralled by human or conventional wisdom.  Some of you who are reading this now have struggled in your faith and perhaps have faltered because you couldn’t grasp why something happened as it did.  You prayed and you felt God didn’t answer.  You tried to walk in faith and you didn’t feel that God came through.  You may have trusted God and you felt He let you down or cried out to Him and it seemed He wasn’t there.  We may have said in our hearts, God, are you really real?  If You are who You say you are, then where are You, why have You abandoned me in my hour of need?  In times past we were so sure of His reality and we had experienced His presence, the joy of salvation and the precious power of the Holy Spirit.  Now our world has turned upside down and God seems nowhere to be found.  In the discourse of Job 29:1-6, “Job continued his discourse: 2 “How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, 3 when his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness! 4 Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, 5 when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, 6 when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.”  Has that ever been the cry of our heart from the hardship and trials we have experienced?  Many of us, like Job, have searched for the answers that could bring comfort, consolation and satisfy our dejected soul.  In these times and through these monumental trials, what is our heart attitude toward God?  Can we still maintain our trust in God’s integrity and righteousness, or will we forsake and curse our God and turn away from our faith?  When the fires of hell are brought to bear upon our faith, when we can no longer with the natural eye behold the evidence of God, but only see the devastation of the enemy in our midst through death, sickness, poverty or affliction can we maintain our integrity and faith toward God?  Sometimes the fire of God will try and test our hearts in the ways that blessings and answered prayers never will.  It is easy to love and serve God when all is well, when we are prospering, healthy, wealthy and wise.  It is easy when we worship and sense God’s presence, favor and blessing, but what about when all of that is withdrawn?  Can you still trust Him and hold fast to Him?

 

Blessings,

kent

Bridge over Troubled Waters

November 27, 2013

Bridge over Troubled Waters

John 14:1
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Our hearts are often burdened and troubled with many things, our children, our marriage, our loved ones, our finances, our health and the list goes on. Jesus tells us this is a part of this earthly life. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)” It is true to the selfless nature of Christ that in the last hours before His apprehension and subsequent crucifixion Jesus is not trying to find comfort for Himself, He is instead comforting and reassuring His disciples, preparing them for what is to come. In our lives we will come to these crossroads of great tribulation when our world will get turned upside down. It will be hard to make sense out of the devastation that we feel and heartache we may incur, but Jesus wants us to know that He has not forsaken us in these times. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to be our comforter, our peace, our reassurance that God has not left us or forsaken us. Our Father doesn’t rescue us from all of the tragedies of life. We are destined to walk through them and the consequences that sin has had in the earth. The peace we have is that our Christ lives in us. He is the source and the resource of our ability to walk through the fires and trials of life and not have the smell of smoke upon us. Invariably our first inclination is to begin reasoning and fighting in the power of our flesh, but our salvation is not in us, it is in Him. It is entering into the rest of our God and knowing ‘He is working all things to the good of them that love Him and that are called according to His purpose.’ Our peace comes only as we enter into that place of faith and trust. We know that we serve a great God, who is sovereign over all the earth and the affairs of men and while God doesn’t always change the course of history or events for our particular circumstances, that doesn’t mean He isn’t at work in them. We get so nervous when we are not in the driver’s seat, but God is well able to guide and direct our situation far better than we are. When Job was met with the tremendous tragedies that took his children, his wealth and his health, was he effected emotionally? You bet that he was What made the difference with Job is that he knew life was not about the things of this earth, it was about his relationship with the Father. Job 1:20-22,”20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. [c] The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” How different from so many today who face trials only to blame God and turn away from him because He let these bad things happen to seemingly good people. Even as the second set of trials were laid upon Job with the afflictions of his flesh, his response bore out his rest and full relinquishment of his life to God. Job 2:7-10, “7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”
Our peace in the midst of our tribulation comes from not being devastated by what is happening without, but by turning within. It is by worshipping our God in the midst of trials, by placing ourselves fully within His hands to perform whatever it is He would work out through what we may only see as evil. He is our ark of safety, our fortress, our high tower, our shield and buckler. The Overcomer dwells within us. He has conquered death and the grave; He ever lives to make intercession our behalf. If our eyes and our heart are upon Him, then we are already looking at our victory regardless of what is happening without.
Is your heart troubled today? We have become anxious about many things. Perhaps we are angry with others because they are not doing something to help us. Martha was upset with Mary, her sister, because she was setting at the feet of Jesus feeding off of His words, rather than helping with the natural food preparation. Complaining to Jesus, He tells her, ““Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” Instead of being anxious, we also need to choose the one thing that is needed, which is feeding off of the Word of God and sitting in His presence. If you need that peace today, you will find it there in His presence as you rest in Him. He is that bridge over troubled waters.

blessings,
kent

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