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, “1 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

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Fear

July 16, 2013

Fear

1John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

It has been said that fear is the opposite of faith. How many places does fear have in your life? We recently did an exercise in a Christian business class where we listed ten things we would like to do if we had no fear of failing. Try it, you might be amazed at what you would do if you couldn’t fail. I found I would do things that perhaps I had never really dreamed of before. Being a rather prudent man when it comes to taking risk, I find I evaluate my situation more from the standpoint of seeing my glass half empty rather than half full. I can see all the reasons something can’t work or why it will probably fail. One of my goals is not to be presumptuous, but to step out in bold faith where the Lord is leading and do things out of my box.
How many of us become paralyzed by our fears. Our fear of death, our fear of sickness, our fear of lack of finances, losing our job, our children being hurt or becoming involved in harmful things, someone not continuing to love us and on and on. For many of us, our lives are consumed with fear and the bottom line is, this isn’t faith. Fear has torment and many of us are tormented daily by our anxieties and fears about so many aspects of our lives.
Perfect Love casts out fear. Close your eyes for a moment and picture yourself upon the lap of all mighty heavenly Father. You’re sitting there with your head against His breast and His loving arms surround you. In that place what do you feel? Do you have any fear in that place or do you see yourself just surrounded in the security, peace and the power of His love. It is a place where nothing can touch you unless it goes through the Father first. This is that place of perfect Love. It is a place you can dwell in all of the time. Do you know your position in Christ? Ephesians 2:6 says, “And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:” You see the Word says we are already in that place in Christ. How many of us are being robbed, tormented and have no peace because of fear. Fear is not knowing who you are and where you are in Christ. This kind of fear is not of the Spirit of God, it is Satan’s favorite tool to undermine your faith and confidence in God. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, ” For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God wants us to be free from our fears. For this to happen faith has to operate in the perfect love of the Father. We have that assurance that even when bad things happen to Christian people it is filtered through the Father. Even in our spiritual discipline there is love at work in our lives to bring us deeper into our walk with Him. This is why we must begin to declare the Word of God over our lives into our circumstances. ‘It is not the things that are seen that are real, but the things that are unseen.’ We must cease to just live out of our senses and lay hold of who and what we are in the sight of God. We are no longer just fleshly people; we are spiritual people who must live out of the Spirit of God. That is the real and that is the eternal. If we are going to fear anything, let us fear God in the sense that we take Him at His Word and reverence what He has spoken to us through it. Our fear is an insult to God, because we are telling Him we don’t trust in His perfect Love. Find the peace that is in His perfect Love and the fear will have no place to rear its dark ugly head in the light of God’s glory and grace.
The verse before our key scripture today in 1John 4:17 says, ” Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” Praise God, what a bold and wonderful statement. Take a moment to try and comprehend it. Christ is the example of what we are becoming in this earth and what we are to manifest to our world in Him. Fear is the lie that robs our faith and makes us impotent to carrying out the will and purpose of God in our lives.
Rebuke and bind the spirit of fear off of your life in the powerful name of Jesus. Begin to lay hold of the whole counsel of God and what He says you are and what you have in Him. Come into that place of confidence and assurance in His Perfect Love. Let faith arise in your hearts and live in the realm of faith, not circumstances. ‘You are more than a conqueror through Christ that has loved you.’ You are the child of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords and the God All Mighty what can this world or Satan do to you, or what does it matter?
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)”
“NO FEAR!!!”

Blessings,
kent

Acts 4:36-37
And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, [and] of the country of Cyprus Having land, sold [it], and brought the money, and laid [it] at the apostles’ feet.

Barnabas, Son of Encouragement and Consolation

Barnabas is a rich example of a tremendous man of faith and godliness. Barnabas is one of those ministries that was not at the forefront and limelight, but he was the backbone of those who were. God used Barnabas tremendously in helping Paul to gain acceptance as an apostle and come into the ministry and office that God had for him. Barnabas served as a co-missionary with Paul in the outreach to many of the gentiles. We see him as a very dignified man of wisdom, generosity and encouragement. Barnabas was the type of man and ministry that would see the gift of God in others and bring it out of them. Even when Paul and Barnabas took John Mark with them and he failed the first time; Barnabas didn’t give up on him. He and Paul had strong words and disagreement later on when Barnabas wanted to take him again. It was to the point that they went their separate ways, but Barnabas saw the ministry gift that was inside of John Mark and his ministry was to develop it and bring it out. John Mark goes on to write the gospel of Mark and even Paul later admits that John Mark is of use to him.
Many of us are not ministers that are seen or acknowledged by position, office or gifts of oration. Many of us may not be missionaries, pastor, evangelist, teacher, prophets or apostles, but we may be the means by which others may come into the fullness of their ministry and gifting. Each one of us in the body of Christ is essential for the success and development of others in the body of Christ. It may come through encouraging words, helps, financial support or mentoring. There are many ways that we can make a difference even though what we do is not seen or even acknowledged.
I love Barnabas because he brought out the best in others without seeking attention or recognition for himself. His office and calling was really much higher than many give him credit for. Your office and calling may be much higher than you actually realize. When we allow God to work through us in whatever means He chooses too, we become the instruments and distribution of His blessing. If we always deny that we are anything and are never willing to give ourselves to whatever it is that God would have us to do, we not only rob ourselves, we rob the body of Christ. We deny it the talent and gift that God has given us to give. ‘The greatest in the kingdom of God are the servants of all.’ They are simple people who just offered themselves to God’s service and purpose. Be careful not to neglect the calling and election that you possess. God has fashioned you for a purpose and He will reveal it as you seek Him and serve the body of Christ. People of the lowest stations in life can often be the greatest in the eyes of God. Don’t let who or what you are prevent you from being and doing what God has created you for. It is not about us or our strength or ability. We are simply the emptied glass that God can fill with the water of His life and be given for others to drink. Fulfill your calling and come into the fullness of what He has for you. In the process help others to do the same.

Blessings,
kent

The Love of God through Us

December 18, 2012

1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

The Love of God through Us

I would imagine that most of us know John 3:16 by heart. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is interesting to note the parallel between 1 John 3:16 and John 3:16. Both of them deal with the laying down of one’s life. Now, in 1 John it is telling us that even as Jesus did that for us, we now ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
Why?
Because this is what love is and this is how love acts. Romans 5:6-8 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He didn’t just talk about His love for us, He showed it to us in one of the greatest examples and expressions of love a being could ever give, the life of His only begotten son for the life of another. Christ willingly became that sacrifice for our sin. Why? Because of love.
If this same love now indwells us through Christ in us, then it follows that it will demonstrate itself in its willingness to be poured out and to lay down it’s life for others. Self will be poured out in selflessness as it seeks to meet the needs in others.
1 John 3:17-20 further defines itself this way, ” If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”
We know that we belong to the truth by the love that is expressed through our actions toward others. God is not just a God of words; He is a God of actions and His actions define His nature, which is love. True Christians are not defined by what they say, but by what they do, because we are becoming like our Daddy. This same Spirit of love now resides in us and it is in the giving of our lives that we define ourselves in Him.

Blessings,
kent

Papa God

November 27, 2012

Papa God

You need not despair when Papa God is there,
It is not outward form, but Spirit that you share.
He is the God of all comfort come into this place,
The God of consolation to comfort you in His grace.

Do not fear, Papa God is here,
His love surrounds you and He is always near.
Though your enemies rise to pursue,
He resides and prevails within you.

He will never leave you, nor forsake you.
If you but trust Him in all you do.
You are more than a conqueror through the Life within.
His grace is sufficient to overcome every foe and sin.

Be of good courage, for Papa God prevails.
He is always with you and His love will never fail.
He will be the Sonshine when darkened clouds roll in.
Trust Him who is your peace, your life, your forever friend.
Kent Stuck

Blessings

God of All Comfort

November 26, 2012

2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

God of All Comfort

Perhaps we have heard it said that what we endure and go through is not for just for ourselves, but it is to equip us to minister life, blessing and comfort to others in their distress and tribulation. It is one thing to preach and teach something out of head knowledge, but when you have already passed through the fires that someone else is currently in, then the weight of your ministry and comfort increases dramatically, because experience outweighs knowledge. It is from our experience that we have gained the knowledge of God’s comfort, strength and sufficiency that was there for us in our time of need.
If Jesus, the Son of God, was made perfect through the things that He suffered, then it tells me that a part of God’s working grace in and through me will come through suffering. There are many different kinds of suffering and each one of them is able to reveal and bring forth God’s grace in that situation. The comfort and strength we find in our tribulations is a supernatural one, because it is an attribute of Papa; that He is a God, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.
The apostle Paul makes the statement, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” Suffering is a topic that much of the Christian community likes to side-step, because it is much more positive to talk about blessings and prosperity, but we do an injustice to the body of Christ if we neglect this part of the Christian walk. Paul says that he shares in the sufferings of Christ. We know that Jesus suffered as much or more than any other man. What is suffering, but our weakest, most painful and vulnerable moments. It is when we are hurting and our weakness is most evident. Those are the times we can find our God to be our greatest comfort and strength. Those are the times we lean most heavily upon His mercies to give us the endurance to overcome, persevere and find our ultimate victory in Him. It is out of these desperate places that we glean the consolation we can minister to others as they face these same hardships. When I see what you have gone through and how God has been faithful to you, then my faith and hope are increased, for what He has done for others, He can do for me.
What is an overcomer, but one that has walked through tribulation and suffering, in the strength of the Lord. In that weakened dreadful state, we often feel like anything but an overcomer, but it is in that place that we reach the deepest to lay hold of the revelation of Christ in us, the hope of glory. We are brought to the painful awareness of how utterly weak and frail we are in the natural, but in that place we find a strength, a comfort and confidence that is not our own. It is birthed out of the divine life that resides within. It is God that gives us the ability and strength to continue on when everything within us wants to give up.
We may be crying out, “To what end Lord must I continue to suffer and endure?”
He replies, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in you, so your consolation also abounds by Christ toward others.” You are prepared to be the instrument of encouragement, hope, faith and salvation to those who follow in like manner of sufferings.”
Paul, like Jesus, was a man quite acquainted with tribulation and suffering, but he makes the statement in Romans 8:15-18, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Jesus said, “Now am I glorified.” What preceded that glorification was an immense and intense suffering.
1 Peter 4:12 bears witness in that it says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
We have often been made to feel condemned, less spiritual or worthy it we are going through trails and sufferings, like real Christians shouldn’t have to endure such things. If that be true, then I guess Christ and the early Christians weren’t very spiritual or we are neglecting a component that is inherent in our faith, that of suffering, tribulation and trials.
It is these very components that seals and solidifies our faith; that takes it from words and concepts to faith in action. Faith will never be proven real until it is tested. When we found God’s faithfulness in the midst of our testing then we likewise have the ministry of mercy, consolation and comfort to encourage other through their moments of tribulation and trials. It is in passing through the fire that we walk into the glory.

Blessings,
kent

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