Don’t Worry

December 30, 2014

Matthew 6:25-23
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Don’t Worry

I remember many years ago in the first year my wife and I were married. I had only been working for a company a short time when I was called into the office and informed that the company was in bankruptcy and they had to lay me off. That was hard news to carry home to my new bride. She was quite concerned about what we would do and how we would make it. I remember taking out my Bible and reading this passage of scripture to her. It was like the assurance that we needed that God saw our need and He would take care of us.
Many in this hour are facing similar circumstances. Times are often hard, jobs are hard to come by and money is tight. Jesus is telling us not to fear the world’s fears. We must learn to live out of an economy that is not of this world. Jesus plainly tells us that it is the unbelievers that run after earthly things and worry about the things of this world. That is the world’s economy. God’s economy is Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” God is our resource when all others fail and even though we might not see Him coming through in the ways we think, if you are trusting Him, He will meet your need. I can tell you that since loosing that job all those years ago, we’ve never gone hungry or slept out on the street. He has been faithful.
Many of us are feeling financial concerns of this hour, but I believe God is wanting His people to learn kingdom economy. We simply put God first and rest in the knowing that He is working all things to the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. I can’t promise you that you won’t be tried and tested or that you won’t experience some losses in the world, but what Father is raising us up into is far greater than the security we long for in this cosmos. We have His eternal security and He hides us under the shadow of His wing. Psalms 91:1-2 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” I encourage you to read the rest of that chapter if you are struggling and need to be built up in your faith.
Psalms 103:13-19 reminds us, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—18with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.”
Remember that by faith and rest in the Father we are partakers of a greater kingdom and higher order than we see physically surrounding us. Let us not put our confidence in the things of this world for they are soon passing away and it is time for us to get our dependence off of them. Philippians 4:4-7 exhorts us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” As the tests come to us in this natural realm it is all the more reason to rejoice and praise Him. That is the expression of faith, whereas anxiousness, worry, murmuring and complaining only tender fear, doubt and unbelief. It is our faith that is accounted unto us as righteousness.
No matter what your circumstance or situation is, keep your eyes on Jesus. Put Him first and trust Him to see you through as you rejoice in Him and praise His name. We are walking in kingdom economy and there is no recession in heaven.

Blessings
#kent

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No Worries

June 5, 2014

Matthew 6:25-34
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

No Worries

We have entered into what can be stressful times for many as the unemployment and foreclosure numbers increase with a struggling economy. Even in good times there can always be reasons for worry and concern. It is one thing to have someone say don’t worry about it and another when you’re in the midst of the fire.
I remember when we were first married. The company that I was working for went into bankruptcy and I was laid off of work. Sharon, in particular was stressing over the loss of the job and the Lord gave this scripture out of Matthew 6 to us.
What is Jesus saying to us in this scripture? Is He saying I just need to go through life singing “Que. Sera Sera” whatever will be will be? He is not telling us to have a careless attitude, but again, not focusing upon the circumstances, but upon His promises and His kingdom. Isn’t He telling us that if we are walking and living according to His will and purpose that He will see that our needs are met? We don’t always know what form that will take or even how He will do it, but He does tell us, “Don’t worry”. God is not one of anxiousness, but of rest. Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is lean back into the arms and love of Jesus and just rest. Sometimes our nature is that I have to be doing something to solve this problem, but it is so often with our efforts and intellect that we seek the answers. God’s ways are often so contrary to our flesh. While the flesh wants to be doing, God is wanting us to be resting. It doesn’t mean that we are not knocking, or seeking, or asking, but rest that God will open the doors that He has for you and don’t be anxious about it.
The apostle Paul speaks a similar word in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Come to the Lord with all of your needs, but come with an attitude of thanksgiving, knowing that your needs are met already in Him. Don’t allow your circumstances to rob your joy. The circumstances will pass, but the Word of God and His promises stand forever. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God in him [are] yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”
If you are in anxious times, quiet your soul, walk by the Spirit and enter into the rest of God. Just fellowship with Him as He begins to give you new direction or meet the needs that are pressing upon you. He often works in different ways than we might imagine, but then that is what makes Him uniquely God. What can we lose that God is not able to restore in greater measure and abundance? Our position and identity in life is not determined by the job or title or credentials that we hold, it should be determined by who we are in Christ. Standing in the perfect will of God should be the only position that we seek. In that place we can not fail.

Blessings,
#kent

Rest

April 11, 2013

Hebrews 4:1-5
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith, 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

Rest

What does it mean to rest? When we are truly resting are we still worrying and laboring with our mind and body? Resting is entering into another state of being than when our body and mind are active and working. Resting is a state in which the mind and body are being turned off and labor has ceased. Many of us have experienced insomnia where we tried to rest, but we can’t get our minds to shut off and sleep eludes us. Instead of rest we find restlessness and are wrestling to find sleep.
When God talks to us about entering into His rest what is He telling us we should do? Are we to just sit down where we are and expect God to do everything and provide everything for us? Is that rest? No, God is talking about a state where we turn off the natural mind that is filled with its desires, concerns and worries. He is talking about a state of obedience and trust in Him where we see the finished work of Christ and the Cross. We rest in all that it represents to us and all that has been and is being accomplished through it. Most of us are pretty aware that we can’t earn our way into heaven through our own goodness and righteousness, but in many ways we haven’t learned the place of rest that is in Christ Jesus. As long as the natural mind is always actively seeing and reacting to the circumstances around it, it remains in a state of insomnia and restlessness, never able to fully find its peace. In order for the message of the rest of God to have any value and substance to us it has to be combined with one key ingredient and that is faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” God never created us to be gods unto ourselves; He created us in His image to be the expression of who He is, of His nature and his character. He created us to abide in harmony and fellowship with Him. We can never find that place without faith. If we truly have faith then it will result in obedience out of love. The more we intimately know God, the more we will grow in trust, obedience and love. The more we intimately know God in and through Christ Jesus the more identified we will become with His life and the finished work of the cross.
The reality check is this; we live in a natural world, filled with many godless people and we have to function in an economy that is not spiritual and filled with greed and selfishness. That must mean I have to really struggle to be godly and fight the devil. I need to condemn sin and every sinner I see so that I am not like the world. Isn’t that how many of us see our calling and our faith? It is a war, it is a struggle and I have to try harder to do better and to fight sin?
Have you ever seen a person trying to swim in water when they didn’t know how to swim? There is no lack of activity. They violently thrash and kick just to keep their heads above the water and not drown, but that isn’t swimming, that is just trying to survive. When we learned how to swim we had to learn to work with the water and not against it. We had to lose our fear and learn that if we would trust the water we could actually float without a struggle. Learning to swim is an exercise in learning to trust. The rest of God is the same way. We can’t rest with all of our thrashing and work to overcome sin and live righteous. What God is teaching us is that rest is a matter of trust. Christ has overcome, He has paid the price for sin and He has conquered sin and death. Why are we trying to accomplish what He has accomplished for us from the beginning? Our rest is learning to rest in and appropriate what Christ has already done by full association and reliance upon Him. It doesn’t mean we cease living and functioning in this world; it means that now we function in identification and trust in His life. We no longer live out of our goodness or our ability, but His. “Christ in me” is my hope of glory; my flesh can never accomplish that for me, no matter how hard it tries. The rest is the trust to let Christ be in me, to have expression and to have full dominion over me.
Rest, like swimming, is something that we practice. We learn not to fight God in our ignorance, but rather work with Him, as one with Him. Hebrews 4:12-13 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
As we begin our rest in God, yielding and trusting the Holy Spirit. As we read and meditate upon God’s word to intimately know the One we are to be like; then that Word, quickened by God’s spirit, will begin its spiritual surgery within us exposing what is of Him and what is of the flesh. He exposes our true motives and intents. He will show us that a lot of what is religious and looks outwardly good is just spiritualized flesh, but it is not Spirit. Rather than us thrashing the water and trying to change ourselves from the outside in, in the rest of God we will find Him changing us from the inside out. He will sanctify us, spirit, soul and body. The transformation that takes place in us through the rest of God is one in which we cease to struggle and strive with Him and we simply, through faith and trust, come into compliance with what He is revealing to us. It is a process of shutting our eyes to the circumstances and the fears, concerns and the sin that surrounds us. Instead we are opening our consciousness to the Spirit and the Word as together they guide and support our rest. In the process we sometimes inhale a little water and we start to spit and sputter. We immediately want to forget our position of rest and go back to trashing and struggling, but we begin to learn that it is only counter productive to our rest, so we have to let down and again rest our head upon the breast of Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

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