2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Things are not as they Appear

All around me it grieves my heart to see so many people even the family of God struggling financially, out or work or underemployed. Especially when I see that they are faithful men and women of God. They are not lazy or looking for a free ride, they are just struggling in their finances and often in other areas as well. While this is a difficult time for many it is causing us as a people of God to get our eyes back upon Him as our supply. It is bringing us into a greater inner reliance upon the body of Christ to come together to meet one another’s needs. I believe this is a God thing. It is often in our poverty that we obtain the greatest wisdom to handle wealth. I believe a breakthrough is coming and wealth is coming upon the body of Christ, but we are in a training period. This is where we learn that wealth and blessing aren’t just about our needs and wants, it is about learning stewardship to administrate what God gives us for the benefit of others.
Quite frankly, there may be many out there that feels, as Paul, like they also are wasting away. That outward wasting is to bring an inward renewing of your faith and trust in the limitless supply of all that our God is.
“So if God loves me why isn’t He sharing the wealth?”
He is imparting a greater wealth of learning to operate and lay hold of His life and substance in present sufferings and trials. Remember the children in Daniel that were thrown into fire heated seven times hotter. Because they knew who they were in their God and entrusted themselves to His faithfulness rather than bow the knee to idolatry they had to go through this fire. While the fire consumed the strong men that threw them in and burned off only the ropes that bound them, the flames did not harm them or even leave the smell of its presence upon them. The furnace of affliction is for our purification that God may bring us forth as fine gold in the likeness of His image and nature. Don’t allow yourselves to fear the fiery afflictions that you face, ‘for these light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’ See in the fire the One who stands among them, like unto the Son of Man. Your life is hid in Christ and the only things the fire can touch are the corruptible things that perish with the using.
God is replacing our natural eyes with spiritual eyes and our fears with faith, as we look not at things, which are seen after the natural man, but the unseen things, which are eternal. With this kind of faith vision it is like night vision goggles that allow us to see in the darkness what the natural eyes cannot see. Faith vision is the same way; it sees the Word of God as the reality in the darkness. Take heart and know that God is training you up for greater things. Right now He is causing you to know your heart and where your affections are. Are they upon the things of this world or are they upon Him. God can’t entrust His glory and power to a people that are not of His heart. Even now He is separating out unto Himself those who are His. Faint not in the day of trial, but see beyond to the glory that He is bringing you into and to the victory and blessing that are yours in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

Skating on Thin Ice

May 1, 2014

Skating on Thin Ice

Matthew 25:10-13
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
29-30
For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
41-46
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Our texts from Matthew 25 present us with three parables given by Jesus that illustrate wise and faithful servants with subsequent rewards and foolish and slothful servants who reap the closed door to God’s presence and His judgement of displeasure. There are many that loosely wear the name of Christian. There are many who attend church and acknowledge the name of Christ, but if we all stood before Him in judgement today how many of us would truly be considered His? The passage in Matthew 7:13-23 instructs us, “13″Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ The scriptures speaks something very specific to us that many tend to ignore. Many of us have a philosophy that we can have religion, that we can have works and that we can generally believe upon the name of Jesus and that insures us of heaven. I fail to see that premise supported in these scriptures. There is a connection necessary for us to be “in Christ”. The connection we have in Christ is not just one made in a moment of repentance when we came to the altar; that should have been the beginning of a continuing, ongoing and deepening relationship that leads us into the heart of God and establishes us as part of the vine, yielding the fruit of the Spirit. Our salvation is not contingent upon how religious we are, what church we go too, what denomination we do or don’t belong too or how good our works are. Salvation is union with the One who hung upon that cross for you and I and gave His life so that we might have eternal life. For many, the definition of salvation has become very loose and general, but in these scriptures and many like them we find an exacting Lord, who expects faithfulness, obedience, commitment and fruitfulness. That fruit has no value or worth if it is produced outside of the vine; it is the fruit of the vine that produces life and lasting value.
Jesus says specifically in Matthew 7:13, “”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Religion is a wide road that may lead us in pursuit of God, but does not lead us into life and relationship with Him. That small gate and narrow road is not the one traveled by the masses or even the church in general; it is traveled by those in pursuit of Him. Where are we at on life’s road? Do we just possess religion, a belief system or even spiritual gifts? None of those in themselves make us His. He is looking for the ones who bear the fruit of His life within them, who are faithful with what He entrust them with, who are watching and preparing for Him and those who are ministering the life to others that they themselves possess. Do we really know Him and are we in relationship with Him or are we skating on the thin ice of a mindset that just says, “sure I believe in Christ” but aren’t really living what we think we believe. Our beliefs have to become your realities.

Blessings,
#kent

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