Blessing and a Curse

May 20, 2015

Deuteronomy 11:1,26-28
Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always.
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse- 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

Blessing and a Curse

Love is obedience to those things we might not other wise choose. Love is, yes Lord, not my will, but thine be done. The Lord set before us two laws and principles, blessing and cursing. The Word reveals here that blessing is the fruit of obedience and the curse is the fruit of disobedience and unfaithfulness to God. What are we pursuing and what are we incurring today?
The prophet Haggai speaks this from the Lord in Haggai 1:2-11, “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the LORD’s house to be built.’ ”
3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.”” Does our blessing not come because we are too busy in pursuit of building our own house, success, dreams and ambitions while the Lord’s house lies in ruins within us. The Lord says, “Take a look, how’s that working out for you as you pursue your things and neglect mine? Doesn’t seem to be much blessing in it does there?”
The Word of the Lord comes again through Haggai in Haggai 2:15-19, “” ‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on —consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.
” ‘From this day on I will bless you.’ ” The Lord is giving the call to our hearts and lives because the foundation of the apostles and the prophets has been laid and Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone, has been set. Now is the time to come build His temple both corporately and individually. Now is the time for us to turn from our ways to His. In our own ways, pursuing our own interest we have only experienced lack and coming up short. If we will set our hearts to His work in obedience and faithfulness, we will experience His blessing. Let us prove God’s Word to know the blessing of obedience by casting off the curse of our own selfishness and self-will.

Blessings,
#kent

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Offenses

December 23, 2014

Proverbs 18:19
An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

Offenses

Did you ever wonder why the body of Christ is so often offended with one another. Think about what is at the heart of most of our division within the body. It is offenses. Out of these offenses we do exactly as Proverbs 18:19 says, we become more unyielding than a fortified city and we become close minded. What is at the heart of these issue if it is not our pride and our determination to be right.
Our pastor once shared something to the effect that religion is the need to be right, but true Christianity is the need to pursue righteousness. Why do you think many that heard Jesus, in particular the religious crowd, were offended with much of what Jesus had to say? Jesus trampled on their pride because He spoke the truth about what was in their heart. He revealed God in a way that didn’t fit within all of their traditional perimeters.
What we have to understand about offense is it usually reveals a heart condition in us. Peter swore up and down to Jesus that though everyone else might be offended in Him, he would never be offended. What resulted as Peter was confronted with being one of Jesus’ disciples was his denial. It was the testing that revealed his heart condition that he was blind too until that moment of testing came. There are many things in life we are going to want to be offended about and we may feel totally justified in doing so, but remember offenses are but a test to reveal what is really in our heart.
I love a statement our pastor recently ministered, “Offenses are simply opportunities turned inside out.” They test where our faith is, where our love is and where heart is for others and for God. When we can pass these tests of offenses then we can move on to the next level in our walk with Christ. Discipleship is not just calling yourself a Christian, it the learning of how to walk out your faith and not be offended. It is the love that can forgive your accusers, those that curse, malign, abuse, deceive and defraud you. It is walking as Jesus walked, without offense, even when He had every right to be offended.
When we can walk without offense. When can release and forgive our offenders, then we have moved past pride and the need to be right, to find true love, humility and righteousness of the God kind.

Blessings,
#kent

Until the Day Dawns

June 17, 2014

2 Peter 1:19
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Until the Day Dawns

Often when I see the sunrise in the morning I am reminded of this scripture. It speaks to us about how the prophetic word, the Word of God, is the light that shines in the dark place. The dark place is all that is around us. We live and walk among darkness. The earth still abides under the curse and travails for its day of release. The Word of God is the torch that gives us light in the night. It shows us the way, it dispels the darkness and it is what indwells us to make us light bearers. Peter speaks here to the validity of God’s Word as being the dispensation of the God and not of man. Holy men were simply the instruments to pen the Words that were given through the unction of the Holy Spirit. These words are the light and the life that lead us into the kingdom and the will of the Father. Peter exhorts us that we would do well to heed these words for they are a light shining in the darkness to all that heed them.
Peter also alludes to a new day that is dawning. It is a day when the Morning Star, the Christ, rises in our hearts, then that Word will become manifest and alive within us as Christ fully transforms us into His image and likeness. That which we have known in part we will know in completion.
There will come many in sheep’s clothing that will seek to malign, pervert and misuse the Word of God. They will be the cause of why the Word of God is blasphemed, mocked and ridiculed among many. These are false prophets that would seek to undermine the truth and deny the Lordship of Christ. You will know them because of the truth that abides in you through the Word and you will discern the fruit of their unrighteousness. From such turn away and expose them with the truth of God.

Blessings,
#kent

 

The Death that Defiles Us


Haggai 2: 10-19

10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’ ”

The priests answered, “No.”

13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?” “Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”

14 Then Haggai said, ” ‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

15 ” ‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on —consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,’ declares the LORD. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.

” ‘From this day on I will bless you.’ ”


The Book of Haggai is written during a time when a remnant of Israel has returned from their Babylonian captivity.  They have returned to a devastated Jerusalem and a former glorious temple of Solomon that now lies in ruin.  The Spirit of the Lord is stirring up the people through the prophet Haggai to come together and rebuild the temple.  Up till this time every one has pretty much been to themselves and only concerned with their own welfare and building back their own houses.

Our scripture today may not make a lot of sense to a lot of us, but I felt compelled to share a few spiritual truths from it.  This analogy that the Lord is giving is about those things which sanctify and those things which defile.  First He is saying that just because a priest has sanctified meat or meat that had been offered on the altar and it touches some other food or drink does that mean this other substance becomes sanctified.  For instance, spiritually speaking, you carry around in you the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.  For He has said, “ except you eat of my flesh and drink of my blood you have not life in you.”  Therefore by faith we are partakers of God’s holy sacrifice, Jesus, and as such carry Him in our spiritual garments.  Does that mean that every life that we touch becomes sanctified and redeemed because we have touched them?  No, they have to come into a personal relationship with Christ by faith and partake of the Christ for themselves. It doesn’t just rub off of us onto someone else.

The same is not true concerning the contact with a dead body.  Anyone touching a dead body became defiled by it.  Then Haggai reminds the people that before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple when anyone came to a heap of twenty measures there were only ten and whenever they went to the wine vat to draw fifty measures there was only twenty.  How many times have we came to lay hold of the life and substance of Christ and His Spirit and we have come up short?  We haven’t found the fullness and the substance that we needed.  How many times have we experienced want, or need or adversity instead of blessing?  “You did not turn to Me, declares the Lord.”  The law of sin and death around us has defiled us.  So many of us are still trying to live out of that life or else we are allowing it to touch and contaminate us.  We are in Christ, but Christ has not been fully formed in us.  This is why we must come together in the unity of the body of Christ to rebuild the true temple and tabernacle of God whom we are.  Too long we have been contented to abide in our “ceiled houses” our own denominations, doctrines and religious houses, ideologies and thinking.  God is calling us to come out of the defilement of flesh and spirit and come together to build His house.  What we see in the world today has little to do with His true house.  What we see is a fragmented bunch of religious people, many of whom are into it for their own profit and gain.  The world is seeing people that call themselves by the name of Christ and yet they are dishonest, unreliable, backbiting, slanderous and many other things that shouldn’t even be named among us. We have become a mockery of His holiness.  We are a defiled people.  We are defiled by the world and defiled by a dead religion still operating under the principles of sin and death, rather than life and peace in Christ Jesus.  Where is Christ really seen and glorified in all of this?  His true temple lies in ruin, but He is calling forth a people to build it again.  He tells us that when we put His house first there will be blessing.  Where you haven’t seen fruit before you will begin to see fruit as the Lord is lifted up and His house is built.  How is the house of God built?  Christ has to be formed in us.  He has to be not only our habitation, but also our expression in this life.  It is not just about believing in Jesus; the faith has to become substance and Christ wants to be the substance of your life and of His entire house.  The Spirit of God will build the house as we come together in the unity of the Spirit and the love of Christ to join hands and hearts and be ONE in Him.  Christ is not divided; He is ONE Man, ONE Lord, ONE Spirit and ONE Baptism.   If we will separate ourselves from the defilement of this world, from religion and dead works, if we will consecrate ourselves to His work, we will see blessings in areas that we have never seen them before.  He has called us to build HIS HOUSE!

7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” 9(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:7-13)

 

Blessings,

kent

Let’s stretch Ourselves

October 24, 2013

Let’s stretch Ourselves

Luke 6:27-36
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Jesus tells us to do some things here that are pretty contrary to a lot of our human nature. I would venture to say, that in all of us, we probably aren’t fully walking in what Jesus is telling us to do in this passage. Let’s arm our selves with these instructions that the Lord has given us and as we go out each day let’s endeavor to stretch ourselves, step out of our comfort zone and the way that we have always done it. Let’s step out of our character and into His. Let’s do something radically kind and generous. Let’s endeavor to be a blessing to all that we meet, especially those that are irregular people in our lives that we struggle to even tolerate, let alone like them. Put on the mind of Christ today as you look out and see your world. See it through His eyes and His love. What would Jesus do? How can I get out of my thinking and into His? Bless someone in a spontaneous and unexpected way. Forgive that person who has offended and hurt you. Refuse to retaliate when others abuse you, treat you wrongly or speak unkindly to you. Return blessing for evil, love for hate and kindness for unkindness.
Let’s dare to be different today. Let’s dare to let the Lord stretch us and use us in new and uncommon ways. That means we have to step out of the character of who we have been and into the character of who Christ is and wants to be within us and through us. Go out and assault your world with random acts of kindness. Take the time to tell others how special they are and what a difference their life makes to you. Edify those around you. Be thankful that you get to go to work and that you have a job. Let everyday be another great day, because Christ is living in you and through you.
Dare to let go of the things that you hold onto so tightly. Rest in the Lord that he is your provision and your supply. As 2 Corinthians 8:15 says, “As it is written, He that [had gathered] much had nothing over; and he that [had gathered] little had no lack.” There are untapped resources within us waiting to be released, as we are willing to stretch into the Lord’s principles and commandments. How many times have we read this passage and others like it, but how much of it is actively working in our lives and everyday behavior. What Jesus speaks here is not often seen in natural behavior. Jesus wants to stretch us out of what we have been that is like everyone else and stretch into what He is. If He has commanded us to do these things then He has provided the resources for us to do it. Are you willing to stretch today?

Blessings,
kent

Curse for Blessing

August 9, 2013

Curse for Blessing

Galatians 3:13-14
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The Lord Jesus Christ became a curse for us that in turn we might be the recipients of a blessing. Verse 14 tells us that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. In Genesis 22:17-18 God pronounces blessing upon Abraham when He says, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which [is] upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Abraham received this promise when, in obedience to God, He was about to offer up his only son. That act was symbolic of God offering His only begotten Son as our sin sacrifice. That sacrifice carried with it the end of a curse and the beginning of a blessing. Jesus became a curse for us in taking the curse of the law against sin and in turn released the blessing of Abraham not only on the Jews but also on the Gentiles.
Galatians 3:16 goes on to say, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” If Christ was indeed the “seed” spoken of to Abraham then we can easily see where God’s promise of blessing is upon Christ and all that are in Him. For all that are born again in Christ Jesus are the seed of Abraham by faith in Abraham’s seed which was Christ Jesus. That promise declares that his seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. Are we not more than conquerors through Christ that loved us and gave Himself for us (Romans 8:37)? Is He not greater within us than He that is in the world (1John 4:4)? The fact that we are blessed through Abraham not only means that satan is defeated and we possess his gate through Christ our Lord. It also means that in so doing we have the privilege of in turn becoming a blessing to the nations as we share our faith and bring others into that covenant relationship with Christ. It is a perpetual blessing that flows through Christ and through His body. It is much as Paul brings out in Romans 5:19, ” For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” As Abraham was obedient to be willing to offer his son and as Jesus was obedient as God’s Son to the cross, that act of obedience was our deliverance from the curse of one man’s act of disobedience that brought all of humanity under the curse.
The other part of the promise given in Galatians 3:14 is that “we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” It is the fulfillment of the promise to give us the Holy Spirit that empowers us to receive and complete the rest of Abraham’s promise, that in him and his “Seed”, Christ Jesus, all of the nations would be blessed. The Holy Spirit we have received through faith in Christ is our empowerment and provision to go forth and do the works that Christ did and fulfill the Great Commission that Christ gave the Church, which is to go forth into all of the world and declare the Gospel.
We are the recipients of a great and wonderful blessing today. It is a blessing that is still seeing its completion through us by our faith in Christ. As we are partakers of such a great inheritance and blessing in Christ Jesus, let us become the fulfillment of that blessing through overcoming lives that bring the light of Christ and His blessing to the world in which we live.

Blessings,
kent

God’s Love

March 27, 2013

2 Corinthians 4:7-12
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

God’s Love

God’s love will take you further than you want to go,
Cost you more than you thought you could give.
It keeps you sometimes longer than you want to stay,
Causes you to live and act contrary to logic of man,
Contrary to what you may actually think or feel.
It causes you to love those who hate you,
Pray for those who selfishly use you,
Bless those who curse you and speak ill of you.
Forgive those who disappoint and hurt you,
Go the extra mile and give more than is required.
It will cause you to see the best in people, not the worst.
It will cause you to see past people’s faults to see their need.
It will cause you to endure with longsuffering and self-control.
It will cause you to live with abandon to random acts of kindness.
It will give you patience to endure the pain and stay the course.
It will cause you to die that you may truly live,
Because the love of “Christ in you” is the life you give.
Kent Stuck

Blessings,
kent

Have You Been Evil Spoken of?

Matthew 12:3
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh

Many of us, as Christians, have experienced the hurt and pain of having our good be evil spoken of or having had lies told about us to slander our character. People have taken our words that we have spoken out of a pure heart and twisted them to malign our testimony. Truly it is said, “that the power of death and life are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).” Perhaps there is no greater force on earth than words. Words can be a powerful force for either life or death. Perhaps one of the greatest weapons satan has ever formed against righteousness is twisted, crafty and perverted words. With words Adam and Eve accepted the cunning lie and deception of satan that brought all of humanity into the bondage of sin. Other than physically slaying someone there is nothing more powerful and destructive to the human spirit and soul than hurtful words.
As we look back over the course of the history of the Bible and God’s people we can see example after example where the enemy came in through those yielded to him and sought to use words to undermine and destroy the work of God. What are some of the fruit of the flesh? Galatians 5:20-21 says, “idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God (NLT).” So many find their expression through words. What is even more alarming and sad is that not only does the world want to speak evil of us it is often those whom we have considered our brothers and sisters in Christ that stab us in the back and tear us down before others. Psalms 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up [his] heel against me.” Who can hurt us more than family or a dear friend? As you read through the Psalms you will see this hurt and the unjust evil done toward David a prevalent theme. A key we find here is that he was dealing first with it in his prayer closet. Moses was nearly stoned and rebelled against on many occasions through the slanderous words that stirred up the people against him. The New Testament holds many accounts through which Christians were beaten, plundered and killed because of evil words spoken against them. Then we have our greatest example, our Lord Jesus, who through the unjust words and judgements of men was condemned, beaten and crucified. That is why Jesus calls the Jewish leaders in our key text a “generation of vipers”. If there is poison in the heart, there will be poison in the tongue and out of an evil heart men will speak evil things. I believe there is a general principle that the more power, wealth or influence you possess the more subject you may be to these attacks, as many of them arise out of envy, selfish ambition and jealousy, but it can happen to any of us.
What do I do when someone has crushed my heart with hurt and disappointment, as well as seeking to ruin my reputation before men? Psalm 41:11-13, “By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever. Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.” In Matthew 5:44-45 Jesus declares, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” I guess it can be said that this sort of thing goes with the territory. Our greatest defense is prayer where we can share our heart and our hurt with the Father, forgiveness of those who have hurt you and the love of God toward even your enemies. Our greatest danger is to fall into like tactics of gossip, slander and other devices, we could well feel justified in using if we are in the flesh. Just maintain your integrity. Bring everything into the light and full disclosure, if you are wrong or at fault in any way, confess it and repent of it. Give no place to the devil by hiding anything in the darkness. That is where he does his best work. Be careful about trying to justify yourself, which is our natural tendency. Weigh what you say and do before the Lord and be led of the Spirit before you speak concerning these issues.
This is a spiritual thing and we can all easily get caught up in the snare of gossiping, backbiting and storytelling. Avoid conversation and fellowship with those who are critical and faultfinding. Let your tongue speak good and blessing for the Word says we are “to speak evil of no man” (Titus 3:2).
God is our vindication and our justification. Don’t take the hurtful wounding words and divisiveness into your spirit. Give it to the Lord. Your life and your testimony will speak for itself. Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Blessings,
kent

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