Agenda for Today

May 1, 2015

Colosians 3:17
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Agenda for Today

Lord, what is on Your agenda today?
Other thoughts invade my mind as I take time to pray.
I try to focus in on what Your will is for me,
But my mind is cluttered by all the mental imagery.

I find my thoughts on these rabbit trails,
Then I catch myself only to feel like I have failed.
Help me Lord, get my soul quiet before Your throne.
Help me give myself, that I may be all Your own.

Lord, what is Your agenda today?
Give me spiritual ears to hear what You have to say.
Order my steps and help me with the choices I make.
Help me loose myself in You and do all for Jesus sake.

Fill my thoughts and be in all I do,
Let my former distracting thoughts, now be thoughts of You.
Focus me in Your will and plan for me.
In all I do, let it be done as unto Thee.

You are the ark and the safety for my heart,
Help me find in You my every portion and needed part.
Be my everything, as You are meeting every need,
Let me live in Christ and humbly follow as You lead.

Kent Stuck

Blessings,
#kent

Jesus Wept

January 13, 2015

John 11:32-40
When Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she dropped down at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
33When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her [also] sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. [He chafed in spirit and sighed and was disturbed.]
34And He said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see.
35Jesus wept.
36The Jews said, See how [tenderly] He loved him! 37But some of them said, Could not He Who opened a blind man’s eyes have prevented this man from dying?
38Now Jesus, again sighing repeatedly and deeply disquieted, approached the tomb. It was a cave (a hole in the rock), and a boulder lay against [the entrance to close] it. 39Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man, exclaimed, But Lord, by this time he [is decaying and] throws off an offensive odor, for he has been dead four days! 40Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?

Jesus Wept

As the Lord dropped this scripture into my heart I came to it trying to understand the heart of Jesus in this moment. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were no doubt some Jesus’ closest and dearest friends. They acknowledged and received Him for who He was as Lord and Christ, but now the revelation of that knowledge is tested through the sickness and death of Lazarus.
“Jesus wept” is the shortest verse in the bible, but it can make a strong statement if we seek to understand the heart of Jesus in this moment. Jesus is not weeping because he is sad for Mary or Martha or because He is mourning the loss of Lazarus. Jesus saw the grief and sobbing in Mary and Martha. Then he hears from Mary in an almost mournful rebuke, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Perhaps Jesus is thinking, “What are you saying Mary, because I didn’t come in your time and in the way that you thought that I should that I failed you?” I believe it was these loved one’s disappointment in Him that grieved Him so. In their grief they were saying, “Jesus, you failed us. You didn’t come through. You didn’t show up in time.” This disappointment communicated through Martha, Mary and even the mourners that were with them greatly disturbed and disquieted the spirit of Jesus. I believe that this truly hurt the heart of the Lord that they had these scruples and doubts about His love and faithfulness to them. There was such a tremendous upheaval in the spirit of Jesus that He groaned and wept. This was a very disturbing moment of Jesus. He already knew that Lazarus, though he had been dead for four days, was a good as alive, but to see the disappointment and the feelings of His failure in the hearts of those who loved Him the most was tremendously hurtful and troubling.
What it shows us is that we have a box of our own human reasoning and understanding. We so often want to put Jesus in that same box. When He doesn’t fit within our boxes we can often become offended with Jesus and feel that He has somehow failed us. In our grief and disappointments we sometimes want to blame Him and hold Him responsible because we feel that He failed us. We often carry those hurts and they create a breach in our faith and trust in the Lord. Sometimes it causes us to turn from Him altogether. We can see here how this grieves the heart of the Holy Spirit. We must learn to trust Him and count Him faithful even in what we don’t know and fully understand. We must know that His love for us is so much greater. If Jesus had showed up sooner and healed Lazarus, He would have still been known as only the healer. This is a time and place where Jesus is going to manifest an even greater dimension of Himself as the resurrection and the life. There is a power in Christ that is even greater than death. Even death has to bow to His power and authority.
When Jesus commands the stone to be rolled away from the tomb, Martha speaks out of her natural thinking as she says, “But Lord, by this time he is decaying and stinking, for he has been dead for four days.” Natural reasoning often speaks out of doubt and unbelief. Jesus replies to her, “Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God.” What a powerful statement this is, to her and to us. When we deny him through unbelief, we are denying ourselves of His manifest glory. The glory of God is beyond our comprehension and so far beyond our limitations.
The Lord would say to us, trust me even when you don’t understand me, even when I haven’t come through the way you thought I should. Do not murmur against me in unbelief and doubt. Trust me, for I will do what I have promised even in ways that you do not understand.

Blessings,
#kent

Be Kind to One Another

July 25, 2013

Be Kind to One Another

Ephesians 4:32
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

It occurs to me that simple acts of kindness are perhaps one of the greatest expressions and testimonies of the love of God working through us. Think about the example of marriage for a moment. Two people start out deeply attracted and hopelessly in love with one another. There isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other. What changes? Through time we tend to become more involved with life outside of each other, little irritations and annoyances begin to eat at us, our familiarity with each other begins to give place to disregard and sometimes even contempt for each other. What was so special becomes more and more common and less and less special and appreciated. Soon we begin to give expression to annoyances, irritations and dissatisfactions. In defense and hurt the spouse releases their own barrage of complaints. Little by little, what was so perfect and beautiful can become a battleground of insults, hurts and offenses. The relationship becomes divided; each party withdraws from the other more and more till often the end result is separation and divorce.
One of the givens in life is that even the people you love the most will sometimes offend and fail to meet your expectations and likewise you will do the same to them. The greatest antidote to these shortcomings is love, forgiveness and kindness. Let’s back up for a moment and see what precedes our scripture on kindness. Ephesians 4:24-31 says, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Right here some of us may see our relationships and where they have come too. If we find ourselves here, we are not only grieving that person we are in relationship with but we are also grieving the Holy Spirit. You may say, “but you don’t know how much this person irritates me, failed me and disappointed me.” You may not realize how much you have irritated, failed and disappointed the Holy Spirit. If God dealt with us, as we deserved we would all be toast. The Lord sees beyond our faults, shortcomings and the attributes of irritation and sees our heart. He has determined to love us in spite of ourselves and He operates in our lives for our highest good, not His. If the Lord were only looking out for His interests He would have never laid down His life for the undeserving creatures that we are. In Christ, we must adopt this same mindset, where we are no longer responding and acting from our feelings, but out of the mind and heart of God. This is an attitude in life where we are not easily offended through the hurtful comments and actions of others, where we return good for evil, where we bless those who curse us, give beyond that which others may take from us, go the extra mile and act out of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness. These are the love and actions that the world can’t understand, because it so exceeds the kind of love we find in the world.
Our place to develop and practice this love and kindness of Christ is first in our own homes and relationships. Most of the time the hardest people to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving too are those of our own household. This is most often where we will see the reflection of the true nature that is working in us. Do you like what you see? Is it what you want and hope to be?
As we learn to bring every thought and action under submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit we may find ourselves speaking and acting, not out of what we feel in the natural, but out of what we know to be the mind and love of God. As we plant these seeds of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness, we may find our harvest much richer than we ever imagined. We can’t change the heart and actions of others. They alone are responsible for those. The way we can change them is by first changing us. Perhaps they aren’t really the problem; they are only a symptom of a problem that may have its root in us. Let God have His perfect work of grace in you today. Speak the words of kindness that bring grace to the hearer. Let random acts of kindness fill your day as you bless even those who may not deserve it, even as the Lord has blessed you. Take this to heart concerning your former nature, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Blessings,
kent

Isaiah 55:6-9
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
7Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
9“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

When God Doesn’t Seem to Come Through

Most all of us that have been believers for some time have experienced times when we prayed or believed for things that ended with a “no” from God. We were under the impressions that if we just prayed in faith everything would go our way. Many have given up on their faith and turned away because they felt God disappointed them and let them down. They may have succumb to a sickness or disease, lost a romance or marriage, lost a loved one or experienced financial ruin. No matter what the tragedy was to you, you felt God let you down. Isn’t God faithful?
We need to be clear that God’s faithfulness doesn’t hinge on our circumstances and perception of answered prayer. We see through the tunnel vision of such finite understanding. We see only our perspective and we feel that should be God’s perspective as well. Like the scripture says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God is not a puppet or celestial Santa Claus. It doesn’t mean that every time we ask or pray we get what we want. He is the Creator and operates out of His wisdom and not ours. Do we love and trust God for who He is and who we believe Him to be or is our faith and love conditional upon God’s performance to us? Is God’s love and faithfulness to you conditional upon your goodness and faithfulness or does He love you unconditionally? Why are we so conditional of our love and commitment to God when His is unconditional towards us? Usually, it is because we are reacting out of the emotional pain of a loss or disappointment. “God’s in charge, let’s blame Him.” Many times we don’t stop to even consider if our lives were lining up with all of God’s principles and ways. Even if they were let’s look for a moment at the example of Job.
Job was a righteous man in God’s eyes. He was abundantly and supernaturally blessed. That coincided with the belief of the day that if you walked upright and in favor with God you would experience good things in your life. Then God steps out of Job and his friends paradigm box and does something totally contrary to their way of thinking. He allows satan to come in and lets everything to go south for Job. His friends were convinced Job must have some sin in his life because that is what their perspective had taught them. In the end when God reveals His ways and grandeur to Job, Job is undone and sees even his righteousness in the light of such a majestic God is but filthy rags. God took away all that Job had to put something greater back in His hand. Sometimes, even in our lives, God has to destroy our old box of thinking so that He can increase and expand us into His.
Let me give you a “Reader’s Digest” version of a personal story that illustrates this. I took Sharon, my wife, out house shopping one day and it must have been under the unction of the Holy Spirit, because it is certainly not in my nature to house shop. I took her across town and we went through this newly custom built home that was beautiful in a lovely area of town at the base of the mountains. It was only five hundred thousand, which in our budget might as well have been five million, but you know, we began to believe that what we couldn’t do, God could. God seemed to be adding fuel to the fire of our faith by providing outside encouragement and confirmation from various sources until we became fully confident that this was the house that God wanted to give us. We continued standing in faith until one day the house sold. The rug just go pulled out from under our faith. Sharon even had us to go up to the new owners and ask how long they intended on being there, because she was still seeing it as hers. Needless to say my enthusiasm for house hunting was gone. Had God let us down?
Over the next year or two the Lord directed Sharon to plant a seed and she did it totally in obedience to what she felt God was directing her to do not because she necessarily believed in the way it was being done. Some months later we were gifted with thirty thousand dollars that allowed us to pay off our current house and have no debts. A little more time goes by and we’re driving home from a delivery when Sharon spots a house that again seems way out of our league and I am not even wanting to go there. So she arranges to go look at it and I won’t even go with her. Perhaps I am still nursing that disappointment. She is so impressed that she gets me to go and look.
Now before all of this house hunting I had told Sharon to write a list of everything she would want in a house. She did, and this house had everyone of those things. It was perfect for my photography business and was really better suited to our needs and wants than the original house we had believed for. We put a bid on it and two other parties were also interested, but we got the house and it is where we live today. We have loved it and have not ceased to thank God for His goodness since. You see, God said no to the lesser to give us the better. He truly is able to give us abundantly more than we can ask or think. Our perspective and earthly understanding didn’t allow us to see God’s highest for us at the time, but that faith we had for the first house positioned us for the better.
1 Peter 1:3-9 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
It is not the blessings and all the “yes” answers to prayer that builds our faith. It is what our faith is made of through the fires of trials and testing that make it much more precious than gold. Does our faith stand the fire of trials, disappointments, losses, persecution and failed expectations? Are we going to still trust God when He doesn’t fit in the box of our understanding and reasoning? Like Job, God is bringing us up into something higher that far supercedes any loss in the earthly realm. If we are only naturally minded then we won’t comprehend that. We will only see our immediate circumstances and judge God based on that.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I always remember the verse to a song that says, “when you don’t understand His hand, trust His heart.” God is love and you are the object of that love. If your faith has been shaken, then know that it is to grow you stronger and even more faithful. Even through every trial Father remains with you, for you and will only allow it to burn up the things that hinder you from coming up higher into Him. Like Andre Crouch used to sing, “Through it all, through it all, I’ve learned trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God. Through it all, through it all I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.” Don’t give up, don’t give in, keep your faith, continue to trust in Him!

Blessings,
kent

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