The Pruning

January 19, 2015

The Pruning

John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

The true substance and character of a healthy and fruitful branch is not in the outward, but in the inward. The outward is the glory and the fruit of the inward, but it is not the substance of it.
Why does God want to prune us even when we are fruitful? It is so that we can bear more fruit. Our outward fruitfulness may be already abundant and good, but human nature is such that even when we are spiritually fruitful, pride and complacency can creep in. When God blesses our lives with much increase in whatever dimension that takes place, it isn’t long before that little voice starts saying, ‘look what I have done’. Pruning keeps us focused on the vine and the source of our substance and fruitfulness. It creates renewed dependence upon the vine and strips the glory from the self. It helps us to not just dwell and live upon past experiences, miracles and victories. It serves to stretch us and cause to grow when we would be complacent to remain as we are. Without pruning things tend to grow wild. There may be a lot of growth, but not as much fruit. Pruning then brings focus. It keeps our eyes upon the Spirit and not upon the flesh. It causes us to remember our source of life and fruit so that we boast in the Vine and not in ourselves.
Don’t despise the days of pruning. They are the loving hands of the Father at work in you, His children. Left to itself, a branch may produce leaves, but not fruit and eventually even the leaves will die. The branch then must be cut off and cast out. It becomes a detriment to the health of the vine. Thank God He loves us enough that He doesn’t want that to happen to us and so He cares for us in what often may seem to be severe ways. Those who know Him rest in the passage from Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him and called according to His purpose.” Often we don’t understand the why and wherefore of all that takes place in our lives, but our eyes and our hearts must remain steadfastly upon the Vinedresser. He is working all things for His glory and our good. He will never maliciously harm that which He loves and cares for, but do what is necessary to bring it to its highest and best potential and productivity.
What hinders the process of the pruning and in turn our growth, is our self, our ego and stubbornness to pursue our own interest and do our own will. In addition to this we often get offended at God or others that God uses in the process of our pruning. If it doesn’t make sense to us, then it must not be fair or just. God sees the end of a thing and we tend to get hung up and focused on the process. This is why it is so important to have a vision that sees the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus and not let anything or any circumstance detour us from that vision and that goal. Our ability to run the race is in that One who has called us to it and not in ourselves. Our reliance must always remain on Him and not on us.
Just remember Hebrews 12:7-11, “If] you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” God is training His people up to produce something more than religious flesh. He is preparing a people with the substance and the nature of His Son. So don’t neglect to praise Him even when it hurts. He loves you and He is ever working for your good.

Blessings,
#kent

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God is for You

December 10, 2014

Romans 8:28-39
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, we have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is for You

There are times we go through in life when it seems all of hell comes against us. There are times the enemy wants to condemn and defeat us through accusing voices within and without. There are times circumstances of life overwhelm and flood over us like a tsunami seeking tear away all that we have held sacred and dear to us. There are times that if we lived only by our feelings we would be utterly lost and forsaken. But, God says we are His predestined ones called according to His purpose.
Predestined and purposed for what?
Predestined and purposed to be conformed to the likeness of His Son!
Sonship will allow the world to tear at every fiber of your humanity so that it may reveal your destiny as a son. It causes us to turn from every reliance and dependence upon the world so that we might fully depend on Abba Father. That is why all things are working for our good even in the darkness and seeming discouragement of our life circumstances. Father is saying take heart, I am only allowing it to conform you by faith and steadfast obedience to that which you are called to become.
“I am for you, not against you”, says the Lord.
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.” We have a promise to suffer persecution if we live godly in Christ Jesus. “As Jesus is so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)” We will have our hardships, but Father wants us to know beyond a shadow of doubt those hardship are in no way indicative of His inseparable love for us. There is a principle in God that out of our dying to self and the natural realm, spiritual life is produced and propagated. The more we die to this life the more of Jesus is released into the earth.
Paul describes it this way in 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 be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” Every assault of the enemy and this natural world should only serve to bring forth Jesus. Every time you are wounded physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially; it should only cause you to bleed more of Jesus into every situation, because that is who you are and what you are becoming.
This is why it is so important not to weigh your spirituality or God’s love for you by your circumstances. How can you be an overcomer, unless you have to overcome? God wants us to so get a hold of who we are. He so wants you to have a revelation of your identity in Him, your destiny and purpose in Him. If you have a secure revelation of that and that nothing in hell or earth can steal that from you, then you will overcome the enemy, “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” You will not fear or shrink back from the death in this life, because you have so much of a revelation of the life of Christ that dwells in you. In the understanding of that revelation is the peace of knowing, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If God is so much for you, who can ever be against you?

Blessings,
#kent

Why Should I Drop My Rock?

December 9, 2014

John 8:1-11
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Why Should I Drop My Rock?

The law of sin and death apprehends us in our sin. The accuser comes before the Lord proclaiming our sin and demanding just retribution. “The Law says” and condemnation follows.
There we are, lying in the dust, naked and ashamed, fearing what may soon follow. We can’t justify ourselves. Our sin has found us out and Jesus has every right to say, “do what the law says and stone the sinner,” but He doesn’t. He stoops there, almost oblivious to the crowd, the railing accusation, the demands for justice and in that place of rest and peace He just writes with His finger in the dirt. Perhaps He is listing all the sins of the accusers.
Finally, Jesus speaks one sentence so amazing, profound and convicting that it shuts the mouth of every accuser and a disperses the angry and blood thirsty mob.
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The law of sin and death has to bow to the law of the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. If that were us lying there naked, ashamed and in sin, awaiting the rocks and stones to fly and pelt the life out of us, what would it mean to us to be justified by Jesus. He didn’t justify the sin, but He justified the sinner, making it as though she had never done it. Jesus was without sin. He had every right to condemn and judge her. He could have thrown that first stone and yet He chose to throw mercy and forgiveness upon her instead of judgement.
How many times could Jesus have cast me out and cast me off, because of my sin? Instead He has always chosen to forgive me and exhorts me to not live in that place of sin any longer. Are we any different than this woman? Are our sins so much more righteous than hers? Does God really measure sins or are they all a falling short of Him and His highest for us?
I believe that this was a life changing moment for this woman when the kindness of God led her to repentance and change. I believe she saw in Jesus, someone who could do for her what she could not do for herself. She found forgiveness in Him, who looked not upon her shame and failure, but rather saw her value even in her sinful state.
When we read this, we should realize that is exactly what God did for me. He took my sin away, He exonerated me, forgave me and justified me; just as if I had never done it. In the light of that grace, what justification would I have to judge and condemn another? Knowing the debt that Christ paid for me, who am I to hold another accountable for the little debt they may owe me, or the sin they may have perpetrated against me? If God could forgive me so much, why, as His child, am I willing to forgive so little?
Again, Jesus would say to you and me, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
How many of us have failed to drop our rocks and stones of offense and unforgiveness against others? “Father forgive me my trespasses and sins, as I forgive others.”

Blessings,
#kent

The Person I Most Want to Be

November 21, 2014

Romans 8:1-4
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

The Person I Most Want to Be

When I see the person of Jesus, I see the person
I would most like to be. I don’t see His life as just
an idea, but by faith, His Spirit living inside of me.
So life becomes an alignment of the desires of the
former person I used to be, to aligning my mind, will
and emotion to that person of Christ in me.

Because the One I aspire too is not dead, but living,
His Spirit is love, power and truth that keeps on giving.
As I die to me and give place to Him, my darkness turns to light.
It is not in the power of self I change, but by His resurrection might.

Kent Stuck

Blessings,
#kent

Treasure of Your Heart

November 18, 2014

Luke 6:45
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Treasure of Your Heart

Where is your heart today? Wherever it is that your words are speaking from, is speaking to the abundance of what is in your heart. Do you know that most of us wear masks? We want to present a persona of how we want others to perceive us. The way we see through the mask in others is by sitting down with them and having a casual conversation about the things that are important to them. In that unguarded conversation you will get a window into their heart. You may see things in them that they don’t even see in themselves. When we wear our masks the one we often most deceive is ourselves. Our words are the expressions of our heart and even the lack of words can communicate the closed and guarded places of a person’s heart.
What do psychiatrist do? They have you come in, lie on the couch and tell them what is on your heart. They know that your words, your communication, your emotion in communicating are all a window into your soul, that helps them see what we often don’t understand.
What are your treasures? What really means the most to you in life? We may say one thing, but what consumes our passions, our time, our energy and our thinking may be something completely different. When we really begin to see this, we may even realize we are not who we thought we were, said we were or even believed we were.
What is in the content of your words, is it worry or rest? Is it fear, doubt and unbelief or faith and trust? Is it murmuring and complaining or is it thankfulness and praise? Is it negative and fault finding or is it edifying and speaking to the good? Really listen to your own words and conversation. Are you speaking life or are you speaking death? Are you building up or are you tearing down? Is it the kingdom of God you are living out of or the kingdom of this world?
Why are words so important? It is because they are the avenues that speak into and out of our life. Our communication is the data highway to our heart and soul. It will carry either good, bad or a mixture of the two. What we are taking in has a lot to do with what is going to go out.
Again I ask you, “Where is your treasure?”
“Where treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If you want to evaluate your treasure listen to your communication. It easy for us to try and judge others, but God is telling us today to listen to your words, find out what your treasure really is and what you are operating out of. If you want it to be life, then it has to be the output of His Word and Truth. Your treasure and value must come from the relationship that you have with the Father through Jesus Christ His Son. Every principle that works in the earth, whether it is “Christian” or not comes out of what lines up with the word of God.
Listen to yourself today. What is truly the treasure of your heart?

Blessings,
#kent

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