Deuteronomy 8:1-5
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

First the Test, then the Blessing

As a people of God we can often relate with the children of Israel out in the wilderness. Most all of us have experienced our share of trials and tribulation and some of us more than others. While we pray and trust God, sometimes we may be tempted to murmur, if not out loud, then in our minds. When we pray we expect God to just listen up and get that prayer answered. So why doesn’t it always work that way? Why do we sometimes have to wait and endure so long to see our answer?
One of the first things we have to remember here is who is the parent and who is the child. Who is training whom? There are many instances in our present day society that it is evident that the child is in charge and not the parents. When the child demands the parents obey promptly to keep that spoiled child happy and content. God wants to bless us, but He doesn’t want to spoil us. He is not the great celestial Santa Clause that some like to imagine and even believe that He is. God is the Father and He is not just any Father. He is the awesome creator God and Father. The first thing we must learn, to operate in alignment with His kingdom, is that we are not in charge, He is! That seems an obvious statement, but it is one that we often seem to forget in practical living.
James 4: 3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Our Father is not raising his children to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, so when we ask we are often tested to see what is truly in our hearts. It is not so much for God’s benefit as for ours, so that we can really see our true motives.
What leaps out to me as I read this passage in Deuteronomy 8 is “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna. What came first the test or the provision? It has to be obvious even to the unbeliever that well over a million people could not have survived out in a wilderness without a supernatural provision. It is apparent in this scripture that when they received the manna and the provision it wasn’t always in accordance with their timetable and expectations. As a result, many of them would begin to grumble, murmur and complain. While I am sure none of us reading this have ever been guilty of doing that, it is enlightening to know that in God’s economy, provision and blessing works on His time table and not ours. Why do we need faith if we never have to believe in hope for the expectation of its manifestation?
Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” We love to rejoice in the goodness and blessing of God. We love to rejoice in the salvation we have in Christ and the forgiveness of our sins. We should, these are glorious, but then look what it says we should also rejoice in. Suffering! Why should we have to endure suffering? Didn’t Jesus do all of that? No, He was our example of suffering and what it works in us. Suffering is a training tool to teach us obedience along with the attributes of obedience which are patience, perseverance, character and hope in what does not disappoint us.
Hebrews 5:7-10 says of Jesus, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” God is calling those that can here this to this same high priesthood in Christ Jesus, but to walk in the priestly calling we must be willing to walk where Jesus walked and suffer like He suffered. This identification with His life will bring the ultimate blessing, but first we must walk through the ultimate test. Do not despair if you are in this hard place of testing and suffering, use it to learn the perseverance, patience, character and hope that you need to press into His highest and inherit the blessing. “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. (Luke 6:40)”

Blessings,
#kent

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Welcome to Enter In

June 4, 2014

Welcome to Enter In
John 10:9
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Have you ever had an experience in life where there was something you were going to get around to doing or a place you were going to go sometime and then suddenly the opportunity was gone or unavailable? Most all of us have missed opportunities in our lives where we took for granted what we had good intentions of taking advantage of and then it was suddenly gone or unavailable. Often it wasn’t till it was gone that it was impressed upon us what we had missed and sometimes it was with great sadness and regret that we missed out. We take so much for granted in our lives. We just assume that life will go on tomorrow the same as it did today. We assume that our loved ones or friends or neighbors will be alive and well. We often assume that we will have further opportunities to make relationships right or share Christ with a friend or neighbor, or visit that person who is sick, lonely or in prison. The reality is none of us have assurance of what tomorrow will bring or who will be here to share it with us, or if we will even be here.
The most important reality we can come to is that Christ came, sacrificed His life for our sin and extended His arms to welcome us into the kingdom of God through placing our faith and trust in Him. While many of us have accepted His invitation there are those who may be riding the coattails of religion or other Christians, but have never made a personal commitment of their lives to Christ. It may be that they have a mental agreement of who Christ was and what He has done, but they have never made the commitment of their lives to Him in faith, asking Him into their hearts to be the Lord of their lives. They take for granted that there will always be time for that or perhaps they just haven’t really taken the time to consider that their life really isn’t where it needs to be in relationship with God.
In Luke 13:13-28 Jesus gives a rather sobering account that might really touch at the heart of many of us who take our relationship with Christ for granted. “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all [ye] workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you [yourselves] thrust out.” Here Jesus is describing the type of scenario that we have been talking about. We may have attended church or have been around Christians or even thought of ourselves as being one because we ascribe philosophically and mentally with a Christian point of view as well as being a relatively good person. Just because I can bark like a dog doesn’t make me one. Jesus says a man must be born again. That event takes place when a person takes an action of faith and asks Jesus Christ to enter into their heart, forgive their sins and be the Lord and Savior of their lives. Jesus is standing before us today with open arms, saying, “Welcome, enter into the joy of my salvation.” That door will not always be open. Jesus says one day it will be shut. What you took for granted or procrastinated on will no longer be available and with deepest regret and despair you may find yourself on the outside knocking to come in, but it is too late.
The Lord is exhorting each of us today to take stock of our lives. What relationships are we neglecting and taking for granted? Foremost, what is our relationship with Jesus Christ today? Do we have the peace and confidence of our salvation or do we need to get things right with Him? What relationships are wounded and broken that we need to take the initiative to heal? What relationships are we neglecting and taking for granted? If those relationships were suddenly gone out of our lives would we have the peace that we enjoyed and made the most of them while they were there? Throughout our lives doors open and shut. We need to do all that we can that if and when they go shut we are not living with regret or that no man’s blood is upon our hands because we didn’t extend the love and gift of salvation. Enter in while the opportunity prevails.

Blessings
#kent

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