Count it all Joy

December 8, 2014

James 1:2-4
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. 3Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (Amplified)

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (Message)

Count it all Joy

I don’t know about you but I think most of us think about joy and gladness coming with blessing, prosperity, good health and divine favor. So when the Word comes and says count it all joy, a sheer gift, when trials and temptations come upon you, that goes against the grain of most our thinking and paradigms. Why should I be glad about that? That is exactly what I have been praying to get out of.
As much as we all love the good times and the blessings of this life most of us know by now that it isn’t in these places that we grow spiritually. In fact it is in these places that we usually grow complacent and our heart generally moves away from God and onto ourselves. It becomes about us and not Him. The joy of the trials, temptations and tribulations is that it exposes our weakness, but reveals His strength. It forces us into that place of dependence and trust in Him to do in us and through us what we could not produce in ourselves. The “sheer gift” of our trials is the working of the divine nature in us, because we are compelled into a place where we must walk by faith and not by sight.
Does it seem joyful at the time we are going through it? Probably not, until we see God show up. When he shows up in the midst of our weakness, our failures and our struggles then we so appreciate who He is in us and what we are not in ourselves. These trials and testing are the boot camp of our faith. They strengthen our resolve. They train us for war. They teach us how to endure with patience under pressure and hardship. They reveal to us our true nature and where we are at with our walk in Father. When we see where we truly are then we can see where we truly need to be. As we start moving in the direction of godliness and dependence we are being exercised and finding more and more that Father is our strength and provision in these difficult circumstances. The circumstances of life are not our enemy; they are simply the tools to exercise and increase our faith and maturity. The old saying goes we can never have a testimony unless we have first had a test. God wants to show His faithfulness to us. We will never experience His rest until we come to the place where we realize that our self-efforts and abilities can never measure up to produce what only God Himself can produce in us and through us as we yield fully and unconditionally to Him.
I am of the firm conviction that many of us in the body of Christ are going through great financial hardship in this time so that we may learn the rest and faithfulness of Father. It is pressing us into a place of maturing in areas where we may have always had plenty. We have grown up with our dependence upon the economy of this world and now God is weaning us off of that bottle and beginning to feed us the meat of a kingdom economy that operates out of faith and not works. Most of us are out here crying, “Give us back our bottle Father”. The earthly things are passing away and Father wouldn’t be showing us His love if He left us in that desolate place. Rejoice in Him, because He loves you so much He is teaching you a higher way and we have to relinquish the old to embrace the new. While we may be struggling now, we will be those who help others who are struggling when this world economy fails. Your struggles today are God’s answer to someone else’s struggles tomorrow. Because of your testimony to the faithfulness of God and the principles that He has taught you someone else is lifted up to where you are. God brings us into maturity not for our benefit. Maturity means you are moving from selfish to selfless. You are the giver and not the taker. You are the example and not the follower.
Precious people of God, get down and get happy because all of the various trials and temptations are here to perfect your faith, teach you endurance, mature and develop you into your destiny and purpose. Rejoice, for these are the tools that bring forth the Christ in you!

Blessings,
#kent

Fearful and Unbelieving

April 25, 2014

Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Fearful and Unbelieving

I am reminded of a word our pastor spoke recently about how we tend to measure sins by the degree of their sinfulness. We don’t think of telling a little white lie as being the same as murder or stealing. We tend to categorize our sins and even our righteousness. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” At this point we might ask ourselves do I live my life out of faith or fear? While we may tend to judge the ungodly for their sin look who leads the list of those who are bound for the lake of fire. It doesn’t fall in our neat little prioritized list of sins from greatest to least. Sin is sin, but the greatest failure we can have is not to believe God’s Word and to fear the things of this world more than we fear Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” God is the one who can destroy both soul and body. Satan or man can kill the body with God’s permission, but the only way that he can destroy the soul is by bringing us into that place of fear, doubt and unbelief. When we are drawn out of our place of faith in Christ then sin has place to work. Fear and doubt creep in and they rob our confidence and assurance of who we are in Christ.
The conditions of this world can lead many of us to a place of fear and doubt as we see our economy dissolving before us and our way of life, as we’ve known it, quickly disappearing. If our eyes are on the outward things we will begin to be swayed by fear, doubt and unbelief, but this is an hour our eyes must be fixed upon the Lord as never before. This world is not the believer’s economy and kingdom. We have come into a heavenly kingdom and a kingdom economy. Ephesians 2:4-10 tells us about what God has delivered us out of and what He is bringing us into. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It tells us here that we are not redeemed by our righteousness, but by His grace and ‘God raised us up with Christ and seated us in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus’. Many of us have grown up with the concept that we can’t go to heaven until we die, but right here it tells us that those who are in Christ are already seated there in Him. It is our faith in Christ that maintains and secures this position that we have with Him. Fear and doubt bring us out of the realm of godly thinking and trust in Christ and bring us back down into the corruptibility and fear of this world. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The spirit of fear does not come from the Lord. Our courage, our optimism, our faith in the midst of a fearful world is centered in our faith in Christ. In Him we overcome the world, because the divine Overcomer resides in us. ‘We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.’ In this hour do not let fearfulness, doubt and unbelief grip your heart. You may have been weak in that former man, but that man is dead and you are a new creature in Christ; one that is filled with the Holy Spirit and with power. Unbind the strong man, Christ in you. The way you unbind Him is by your faith and confidence in Him. Fear, doubt and unbelief are what bind up the grace of God from abounding in our lives. Rise up and be loosed from fear, doubt and unbelief by declaring the Word of God over you life and circumstances and then praise Him as if you already have the manifestation of it, because you do, but it may not yet be revealed in this realm.
This is what the Lord was speaking into my spirit this morning and I pass on this exhortation to you oh mighty people of God. “Contend manfully oh mighty men of valor. Stand your grand. Hold fast your faith. Be not moved by fear or the trepidation of men. YOU are the testimony to the Almighty of His life made flesh.”

Blessings,
#kent

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