Running the Race

April 4, 2023

Running the Race

Hebrews 12:1

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

               The race is not to the swift and few, it is to the faithful and true.  The race of life is not a sprint, it is a marathon.  It is ran over the course of a lifetime, over all manner of terrain, weather, and obstacles.  It is a race in which there may be times we grow weary and we want to give up, quit and just be like everyone else.  Somewhere, down in the depths of our soul, there is a strength, a power and a voice that urges us on.  It is that Spirit of Christ within us that compels us to keep running the race even when we are in agony and pain.  There may even be those times when we fall hard and everything around is screaming, “the race is over, you’ve failed, you can’t win now.”  Yet, there is the voice and Spirit of God’s grace that compels us on.  It reminds us that His grace is sufficient and that His blood has covered our failures and shortcomings.  When others have judged us and found us flawed; even when others have disqualified us in their condemnations, the Spirit of the Lord is able to raise us up.  He is able to put us back on our feet and tells us keep on running.  The ones who really lose the race are the one’s who quit, drop out or become the antagonists to those who are still running. 

               We know that this race is our life of faith in Christ Jesus.  The one who is able to run the fastest is the one who is unencumbered.  All he may have is his running shoes, shorts and shirt.  So many of us have not quit the race, but we’ve picked up all of this baggage along the way that has so weighed and slowed us down.  All of these encumbrances are the cares and distractions that take our eyes and attention off of the finish line and even the race it self.  Often sin moves in like a fog, making it difficult for us to even see the course, let alone run on it.  All of the demands of work, family, maintaining a lifestyle, recreation and sports, mortgages and car payments cause us to lose our way and are like balls and chains around our ankles. 

               Hebrew 12:2-6 goes on to say, “2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”  Hebrews 11 has just tutored us on what faith is, “the substance of the things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”  It has encouraged us with example after example of saints who ran before us, not having yet received the promise, they pressed into it with a life of faith and obedience even unto death.  Now we are told how we might persevere to win our race.  It is in fixing our eyes upon Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith.  What we could never accomplish in ourselves, He is able to work within us as we hold fast our faith and confidence in Him and His strength.  Is there going to be opposition, obstacles, resistance, hills to climb and rivers to ford?  Yes.  Are we going to be inclined to grow weary and lose heart in our struggle against sin?   Yes.  Yet in all that we endure, it does not compare with what Christ endured and overcame for us.  He is the Hero of our faith, the Champion upon which we look and fashion our lives in the likeness of.  He ran the course, He endured the gauntlet of temptation, ridicule, judgements, condemnation, persecution, affliction and finally death.  Yet, He held true to the course.  He ran the race with patience, and He ended it by saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” 

               Maybe it is time again for us to take an inventory of our lives and assess what kind of weights and sins we are trying to run with.  Maybe we have become so burdened down that we have quit running.  It is time for us to get rid of our baggage and our sin issues and get back into the race.  You can never finish and win what you do not run.  Remember this race is our destiny and its prize we will realize throughout our eternity.  This is no small thing.  This is the race of life and all our eternity is at stake.  We cannot take it lightly and we cannot afford to drop out or give up.  Summon all of our faith, gird up your loins and continue to run with all of your heart and mind, soul and strength, looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of your faith.




Stir Up the Gift

March 27, 2023

 2 Timothy 1:3-7

3I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Stir up the Gift

               Many of you who take the time to read these little trickles do so because there is something inside you that burns and hungers for more of God.  Many of you have heard God speak to you, or had a word spoken over you or you just have a knowing that God wants to work in your life and use you in some way.  Maybe what you have heard or felt in your heart has lain dormant for the most part and you haven’t really stepped out and stepped up to what God has for you.  Certainly, there is a timing in God when He brings you into the fullness of your calling, but there is always a preparation rather you are aware of it or not. 

               A lot of us rather timidly hold back, because we lack the confidence to think that God really could or would really use us.  Often, we tend to focus on our weaknesses and listen to the voices of doubt and condemnation that tells us God really can’t use us, because we have too many sins or failures or we have a past.  The blood of Jesus washes our past away, along with all our sins and failures.  This is the day that God is speaking to many of you to begin to really step up and step out into the calling that He has prepared for you.  That doesn’t mean you radically change your life, but this word is to stir up your gift and say to you as Paul did to Timothy, begin to exercise what God has put within you.  Begin to step out, even in small ways, to exercise the gift and the calling that is upon your life.  God will meet you there as you step out in faith.  Don’t be discouraged if initially you flounder and stumble.  Even though you were destined to walk upright on two legs it was a process of learning how.  Begin to step out and if you fall, get back up and try again and again, but keep your eyes on the Lord and keep walking toward Him and what He is calling you into.  Put away your doubts and your fears because those don’t come from the Spirit of the Lord.  He is giving you the spirit of power, of love, of soundness of mind and discipline.  As you stir up and exercise that gift you will see it grow stronger and stronger.  You will begin to experience the Lord’s anointing in it as you trust Him and exercise it in faith.  Now is the time to stir up your gift and walk in your calling.  You have had your time that you called your own, now it is time to go where He will lead you and give yourself fully to His service.  If you deny your gift, you are no different than the steward who took the talent His master gave him and hid it in the dirt or in your humanity.  Begin to invest the talent that God has given you and give the increase and the glory back to Him.  Listen to what God is speaking to your heart today.



God’s Ways

November 17, 2022

Isaiah 66:2

Has not my hand made all these things,

       and so they came into being?”

       declares the LORD.

       “This is the one I esteem:

       he who is humble and contrite in spirit,

       and trembles at my word.”

God’s Ways

The hand of the Lord moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to display.

We often don’t understand why He moves to bring about what He may.

His wisdom is so far above the wisdom of the of this earthen man,

But be assured He is working all things according to His master plan.

Faith is the confidence to believe what you don’t fully understand or know.

It operates in the principle that where you plant believing, it will surely grow.

It is not a recipe, but truth we lay hold of with a witness in our heart.

Where we operate out of the love of God, we know His Spirit will impart.

Father doesn’t always operate out of our wisdom, mind or will,

But He is still the voice that speaks to the storm and tells it to be still.

He doesn’t always rescue us from every struggle, hurt and trial,

But His grace is sufficient working in us to help go that extra mile.

Hold fast to the One who loves you far beyond this earthen life.

Take the hand of Him who walks with you through all the struggles and the strife

Even when God’s hand moves to allow you in tribulation and pain to take part.

When you don’t understand the hand of God, know that you can trust His heart.

Kent Stuck



Dare We Trust Him

October 17, 2022

Dare We Trust Him

Psalms 9:10

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

               Often, we talk about faith and trust as if they were just clichés of our religion rather than the substance and foundation of it.  When we are faced with circumstances beyond our reasoning and abilities, we are often forced to step out in these words that we talked a lot about, but haven’t really had to experience in practice.  Yes, we took a step of faith when we received Christ into our hearts and that may have been a big step for many of us.  There are times in our lives when we come to circumstances and crisis where we can no longer just talk the talk.  We have to walk the walk.  As we step out into those unknown and yet to be explored dimensions of faith, often fear will start to grip our hearts and our mind begins to race with all of these “what ifs”.   What we have learned is that fear is the greatest enemy of faith.  The Lord says, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:9).”  It is in our hour of need that we are seeking out Jesus.  We know that He alone has the power and the abilities to do what no man can do.  He is our only hope and we are desperately trying to get His attention and have Him hurry and meet our need.  Then perhaps we get the devastating news that it is too late.  “No sense in bothering Jesus anymore, it’s beyond Him now.”  These are the words that maybe you have heard in your life and circumstances.  These are the words that were spoken to the ruler of the synagogue, Jairus, as he was desperately trying to get Jesus to come to his house and touch his daughter who was dying.  Can you imagine how his heart sank as he was brought the message that it was too late, his daughter was dead?  He may have been thinking, “if only that woman with the issue of blood hadn’t distracted him, if only He had hurried a little faster and acted a little more quickly.”  One thing most of us come to know about God is that He seldom gets in a hurry.  Our panic doesn’t usually move Him any faster.  You can almost hear the cynicism from the messenger that came with the news of his daughter’s death, “While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s [house certain] which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? (Mark 5:35)” What was the response of Jesus to this news?  “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe (Mark 5:36).”  Let your faith take the place of your fear.  Don’t embrace the evil report; embrace your faith in your God.  The Lord seldom moves and does exactly what we think He should, in the time frame that we think He should do it.  That’s because He is God and we are not.  That doesn’t mean we don’t try to coerce, manipulate and put God in our box.  The truth is He just doesn’t fit.  Our God is as diverse in His ways as He is faithful and while we may think that He has waited too long or failed us in our crisis, it may be that we just don’t understand the timing and the ways of God.  Jesus is telling us the same thing today that He told Jairus,  “Be not afraid, only believe.”  His Word is the “light unto our feet and the lamp unto our pathway (Psalms 119:105).”  We dare to trust God because we know that His Word is true and that He cannot lie.  Hebrews 6:17-18 says, “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath: That by two immutable (unchangable) things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.”  Christ is that Hope that has gone on before us and entered into that which is within the veil.  Where He has gone He has called us to follow and the only way to follow is by the full assurance of faith. 

               There is a song whose words I’ve quoted before and now share from memory so please forgive me if they are not perfect, but this is pretty close.  “God is too great to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind, so when you don’t know His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, Trust His Heart.”  Our faith is about trusting in One who is greater and far more infinite than we are and the One who has loved us with an everlasting love.  We won’t always comprehend and understand His ways at the time, but He tells us to do one thing, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.”



Faith That Separates Us unto God

Hebrews 11:24-29

24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

               There is something in most of us that causes us to shrink back from the rejected, the unacceptable or unpopular ones of our society.  We may even have a compassion for them, but we don’t want to be identified with them because by association we fear the same rejection, ridicule and reproach they are suffering.  Our inclination is to be among the acceptable, the popular and well regarded of people.  We have seen this type of social behavior from the time we were little children all the way through into adulthood.  Think how Jesus’ life might have been different had He not chose to associate with sinners and tax collectors, if he would have just hob-knobbed and got in good with the upper religious class of His day.  Perhaps life would have not turned out so harsh for Him and perhaps we would still be perishing in our sins because we would have had no Redeemer of all of mankind.  If our Lord had been a respecter of persons, where would that have left many of us?

               In this passage in Hebrews 11 we view an example of an individual whose whole life was a diadem of faith.  Often, we associate Moses with the law and legalism, but his life was an Old Testament parallel of Christ.  Moses, even like Christ, had it all, authority, power, riches, might and dominion concerning earthly kingdoms.   Even like Christ he chose to be identified with the slaves and downcast people of God rather ‘than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.’  It says, “accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.”  Egypt was a representation of the world and all that it has to offer us.  Many of us spend our whole lives trying to gain what Moses already had and gave up. 

               Moses was a man of vision.  If we have no vision then we will only pursue that which is directly in front of us.  Faith gives us vision to see with the mind and heart of God in order that we may pursue that which is eternal, but which is often ludicrous to natural minded men.  When by faith we begin to gain a God perspective of our world, our values and our goals change.  We begin losing our fear of what men think, what is popular or what will get us into the right social circles.  All of that becomes shallow, empty and hollow in the light of God’s vision.  By faith, we too, can begin accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.  The world is caught up in the lie that life is all about our personal success and us, when nothing could be further from the real truth.  Moses truly discovered life when he discovered a relationship with All Mighty God.  The world could have never given him, what he gained and experienced in God, but it personally cost him everything.  He bore the reproach of men, even the people of God, but the favor of the hand of God rested upon him.  He knew a relationship and friendship with God, that most men can only dream of, but Christ has made it possible for each of us through the Cross. 

               Today God’s call upon our lives is not to pursue the world or the things of the world, but to pursue Him and seek first the kingdom of God with all of our heart.  Jesus tells us in John 15:18-25, “18“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

That badge of rejection and shame in the world is a badge of honor in the kingdom of God, for it declares that we love and care more of the praise and approval of God than we do of men. 

               Faith has the vision to bear the reproach and separation with the world that it might be identified with Christ and His eternal kingdom.  Our faith must not be one duplicity, but singleness of heart and purpose.  He bought us with the price of His blood.  We are no longer our own, but His.  Draw near in full assurance of faith, despising the shame and looking unto the ‘recompense of reward’ even as Moses.



Life and Death

August 23, 2022

Life and Death

Deuteronomy 30:19

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

               In the midst of the Garden of Eden were two trees that stood out from all the other trees in the Garden.  In the fruit of these two trees were contained the two great laws and principles of heaven and earth which are life and death.  Genesis 2:9 says, “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”  Later, as God creates and sets man in the Garden, He gives only one simple instruction and rule to the man.  “Genesis 2:15-17 says, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”  This is the first introduction of the concept of death.  How could Adam even grasp what the principle of death was when he had never seen what it looked like?  Now there were no restrictions on the tree of life, Adam and Eve had full access to partake of that tree and its fruit.   While abiding in the Garden in obedience to God and partaking of the fruit of the tree of life, Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect bliss and communion with God.  There was no shame or evil; because of yet it had not found its way into God’s creation. As long as Adam and Eve were willing to choose only life they lived out of the life, abundance and supply that God gave them.  Death was not a part of this realm. 

               This tree of the knowledge of good and evil, why was it in the Garden if it would produce death?  The tree alone didn’t produce the death, it was the partaking of it’s fruit that caused them to surely die.  Why?  Because it was a Pandora’s box that once opened could never be shut except by the hand and the will of God.  It opened the door to man making choices outside of the will and purpose of God.  But free choice is a gift that God gave to man and all of man’s choices really boiled down to these two basic principles, life and death.   

               When this Pandora’s box of the knowledge of good and evil was opened through the tempters temptation and the choice of Adam and Eve to partake of it; man fell that day from his heavenly state of life and peace in perfect harmony and communion with God.  Sin was conceived and mankind would never be the same until the time of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21).  While Adam and Eve didn’t die an immediate death, the spirit of death was put into motion through sin and began its work of death and corruption.  Within that fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the greatest enemy of mankind was given place, the spirit of death.  Once the spirit of death was unleashed through man’s disobedience, it was the power of the devil to destroy life with death.  We have only to look around us, starting with our own bodies to see the effects of death at work still.  Sin and corruption is all around us touching and tainting everything it touches. 

               God, in His great love, gave man a choice to choose life or death.  Because we all have made choices that were contrary to life and the righteousness of God, we have all sinned and fell short of His glory and His highest for us.  Then man wants to blame God for all the wickedness, sin and suffering in the world and call Him unloving because of the mess we have made.  The state of our world is the fruit of our choices, not God’s.  God has never encouraged us to do anything else but to choose life.

               Christ Jesus is God’s gift of life back to us.  Christ is the tree of life to us again.  He has come to reconcile His creation back to Himself.  Hebrew 2:14 says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” That reconciliation and restoration to life can never come through our self-effort to obtain it.  We find that it is only found in the grace and mercy of God revealed through Jesus Christ His Son.  He alone stands as the door that leads us back to paradise and right standing with God.  Only as we enter through that door by faith in Christ does His righteous blood sacrificed as Calvary make atonement for our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness in the sight of God.  Romans 8:1-4 declares to us, “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  The knowledge of what is good is a noble thing, but it is not in the ability of man to live up to God’s righteous standards by his own strength.  It is only in our union with Christ and the Spirit of His Life, that we again return to the principles of life.  Only as we submit our hearts in obedience to walk in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, He has imparted to us who believe, do we have the ability to lay hold of the paradise lost and our communion again with Father God.  Christ has conquered death, but He is raising up a body that will follow in His example, for He has set down at the right hand of God, “From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool (Hebrews 10:13).”  “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”




February 24, 2022


Jeremiah 17:14

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou [art] my praise.

               There is a time and season for all things under heaven.  Ecclessiastes 3:1,3 tells us, “To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up.”  Our lives are a series of seasons, some of those seasons bring perceived goodness and blessing to our lives, while others we don’t relish or necessarily enjoy and yet all of it is a part of this life, even the dying. We know that we don’t always have a lot of control over the seasons that affect our lives, anymore than we have control over winter, summer, fall or spring.  Through the cycle of life and seasons God has worked all things to bring balance and we see that even winter isn’t the absence of life, it is simply life in hibernation, in waiting for its season and time to bring forth.  Through each season, our circumstances can bring to pass inner workings in our lives that couldn’t be brought forth or worked in us in other ways.  It brings us to the perspective that whether in life or death, He lives and we who are in Christ live in Him.  That is where we live and move and have our being.  When our hearts and spiritual eyes are fixed on Him then what we see, or what man tells us or what natural circumstances dictate to us, does not move us.  Our God is the Lord of the seasons of our lives and just like there is a time for every purpose under heaven there is a time when God alone is God.  He moves as God in our circumstances and trials.  It may be in a moment and it may be in the course of years, but God is the Lord of our seasons. 

               We have the sovereignty of God’s Word concerning healing.  Deuteronomy 32:9 says, “See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand.”  God is the Lord of our seasons, but He also promises provision.  Jeremiah 30:17 says, “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, [saying], This [is] Zion, whom no man seeketh after.”  Sometimes there is affliction that moves us to right relationship with God.  God is not sadistic, simply wishing to see us suffer.  Suffering has spiritual medicinal powers to move us often to where we need to be in relationship with Him and His purpose.  Even Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered.   He had to willingly come to that place where He was totally surrendered to the Father’s will and not His own.  Ultimately God is moving us in the direction of restoration and wholeness, but the path to getting there may be with suffering.  At the waters of Marah (bitterness) Exodus 15:25-26 says of Moses, “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, [which] when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I [am] the LORD that healeth thee.”  God has showed us a tree in this day and we know it is the cross of Calvary.  Because that tree knew the bitterness of suffering and death, when it is cast into the bitter waters of our life’s circumstances it brings sweetness, healing and restoration, but we must guard our hearts that we fall not into the snare of murmuring and complaint while we await our deliverance.

We believe in healing, because the Word of God has promised it to us.  Psalm 103:2-4 encourages us, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”  1 Peter 2:24 speaks to us that life giving promise, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”  Christ provided it, we must possess it and God must manifest it, but the promise is ours.  James 5:16 exhorts us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Sometimes there can be things in our lives that hinder us from receiving the manifestation of the promise such as sin or unforgiveness.  We must search our hearts to be sure there are no such unconfessed and unresolved encumbrances.   “By His stripes we are healed” for He is the Lord our God “who healeth all our diseases.”  He has healing in His wings for you today.  Make His Word your standard, the continual confession of your lips and the faith that fills your heart.



From Fear to Faith

January 10, 2022

From Fear to Faith

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

            After being away a good part of the day, that night we brought a couple of our grandkids home with us to spend the night.  Before I had finished getting everything out of the car, the wife was telling me the back door was unlocked and open.  She said she was sure that she had locked it.  On the way into the house I grabbed a trusty little aluminum bat and went into to secure the perimeter.  As the grandkids followed we walked all through the house and did a search to make sure no one was there.  Everything was in tact and nothing was disturbed so it appeared to be just an oversight on our part that the door was open.  As the grandkids followed me talking. I could hear the apprehension and a degree of fearfulness in their voices as they wanted us to set the alarm.  Now these grandkids are about six and nine years old.  As we got them ready to put to bed I began to talk with them about fear and the author of fear.  I explained about the One who is our life and security, the One who has His hand upon our lives and all that touches us can only be by His permission.  We talked about “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world”; how we are “more than conquerors through Christ that loved us” and how God has “not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  As I began to speak these things to them, faith began to rise in their hearts as they began to remember and realize that even though they were just children, Someone, much greater, resided in them and watched over them.  I began to recount Bible stories of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, of Hezekiah when great armies came up against Jerusalem and the Lord told Him to send the praise team and worshippers out first.  I asked them how they would like to go out in the frontlines of battle with just a tambourine or a horn or just their voice.  We talked about how that praise and worship of faith and obedience released God to discomfit and utterly destroy those great armies so that by the time they reached them all there was to do was gather the spoil they left behind.  We talked about the story of Paul and Silas, beaten for their faith and thrown into dark dirty jail, their hands in chains as they began to sing hymns and songs unto the Lord.  Through that praise and worship, in the midst of such discouraging circumstances, God sent an earthquake that opened the cells and freed everybody, but nobody escaped.  As the distraught jailer thought everyone had fled he drew his sword to kill himself, Paul stopped him and assured him all of them were there.  We saw how what had seemed to be a day of utter defeat and failure had been turned by God to result in the salvation of this jailer and his household. 

            The kids wanted to hear more and more stories, but finally I said it is time for us to go to bed.  Now there was no more fear or apprehension as we turned in.  It was as the scripture says in Romans 10:17, So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Are you fearful today about some circumstance in your life?  Don’t look at how great the problem or the circumstances are, rather look to the Word of God and see how great your God is.  Look at all the times He delivered His people, because they put their faith and trust in Him.  Don’t look to how great the name is of the disease or burden that you bear, look to the Name above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God ( Philippians 2:9-11).  Our God can take us from fear to faith as we read and meditate upon His Word; remembering how great and mighty our God is, how He loved us and gave himself for us and how if we fear anything let us fear the Lord and trust Him.

The Psalmist David says it so well in Psalms 56:11, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.”



Though He Slay Me

January 3, 2022

Though He Slay Me

Job 13:15

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

            This is for those who are walking through the dark places of the shadow of death, of testing and trials.  Many have good intentions of encouraging us or helping us understand that place, but how can they unless they are where you are and face the fears and the terrors that you face.  The two things that you have, that you are holding on too with all your strength, are your physical life and your faith in the eternal life.  When death, hell and the grave rise up to daily confront us, then all the foundations of faith in God are shaken as it attacks in its pain and fears to separate us, condemn us and crush that hope within.  It can bring us to even despair of this physical life, until all we want to do is give up, let go of it and sleep. 

            Know this; you are not in this place to fail and be defeated, but to triumph through the Resurrection Life within you.  “For the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you! Romans 8:11 declares to us, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”  Wrap your arms of faith and hope around the promises of God and refuse to let go.  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day.”  The outward man isn’t our strength, it isn’t our hope and it is but the container of the Life out of which we live.  Our life is so much more than even physical life.  Job had a revelation of this.  He knew that as long as he maintained his integrity and hope in God, then even the grave itself could not defeat or rob him.  It was only if he gave up on God and turned his back on the faith that the enemy could triumph.  This is the hope resident in you that is greater than life itself, because it lives beyond this present physical life.  Fear and death may try and wrest it from your hand, but whatever else happens let us all go to the grave with our faith and hope in God intact.  Meanwhile fight the good fight.  Don’t allow condemnation to come in through thoughts or other individuals, for God isn’t here to condemn you.  If you have been washed in the blood of the Lamb then no accuser has grounds to tell you that you are worthless or deserving of what you are enduring.  Your life is hid with Christ in God.  The devil and hell itself will have to come through God to get to you.  You are His.  He redeemed you with the precious price of His blood and you are forever precious in His sight, for you are His possession. 

            Rest in Him.  You are weary in the battle.  Your strength is gone.  So, rest in Him who is your strength; rest in Him who is your life.  Enter into the Christ within; make your abiding and fellowship there.  The Lord wants to lift you above your circumstances today and invite you into the garden of His presence and life.  There you will find rest and refreshment; hope and faith.  There you will rise up to be more than a conquer through Christ who has loved you, for there is nothing that can separate you from His love.  He is your refuge, your high tower, your shield and buckler.  It is the Lion of Judah that has come forth in His holy raiment to fight your battles and triumph through you.  Though the outward man is frail and weak, let the inward  man wax stronger and stronger through faith, having your eyes fixed on Him who is your life and the reason you live and move and have your being.  Everything else is a name whether it is cancer, disease, poverty, afflictions, sickness, infirmities, trial, persecutions or tribulations, but there is a name above every name and HIS NAME IS JESUS!  He is your hope! Your hope is not in man, medicines, finances, or in the technological abilities and provisions of this world; it is still only and forever in Jesus. 

            Rest your life upon His breast. Let go of all your fears and concerns.  Christ is your rest.  He is your life and your victory remains your hope in Him.



Matthew  14:22-32

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28″Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29″Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Faith Beyond the Normal

               Most of us are probably familiar with this passage of scripture where Jesus comes to His disciples walking on the water.  For them this is a pretty paranormal event that brings them into a state of fear, because they assume they are seeing a ghost.  Jesus reassures them and calls to them, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  There are times in our lives when Jesus may come to us or make His presence known in ways that are unfamiliar to us.  This can be disconcerting for our natural man until we come into the peace that it is He and not another spirit. 

               We see Peter responding to this event in a rather unusual way.  We don’t hear of any of the other eleven disciples calling to Jesus to allow them to come to Him on the stormy waters.  But Peter represents a company of people that know Jesus well enough that they are willing to trust Him.  They are willing to step out and go where no man has gone before, because their eyes are upon the Savior.  Their faith and confidence are complete in Him. 

               We see Peter calling out to the master, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”  Just a note here, Peter was not so presumptuous that He bailed out of the boat without the Lord’s permission and assurance that he could.  Jesus replies back to him, “Come.”  We see a demonstration of great faith working in Peter as he crawls over the side of the boat and onto the water.  He is doing great.  He is actually walking on the water as he comes with his eyes upon Jesus.  Then he makes the error that so many of us make; he takes his eyes and attention off of Jesus and starts to look at the wind and the storm.  At this point he has just made a paradigm shift from walking in the Spirit to walking in the natural.  When he comes out of that place of faith he immediately begins sinking into the water.  Then he cries out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!”  None of us should fault Peter for what just happened, because most all of us have done the same thing.  We have a word of the Lord or a promise that He has given us.  We step out and start walking in that word and promise, but then when the storm kicks up and adversity comes we take our eyes off of Jesus and start looking at the surrounding circumstances.  Doubt and fear again find entrance.   Like Peter, the Lord asks, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  You were walking in the miracle power of the promise by faith, but then you let doubt come in.  It gives us an insight into how destructive doubt, fear and unbelief can be to our faith and our ability to walk in the fullness of what He wants to do through us. 

               It is imperative that we are being trained in this hour to hear and respond only to the voice of the Master.  There are many voices and some of them sound quite reasonable and good, but are they the Master’s voice.  We must learn in this hour to live, move and have our being in Him.  Seek that place where you know when you hear His voice.  Be obedient and do not waiver from that, which He has spoken to you, but set your eyes upon Him and be not moved by the storm all around you.  Dare to step out beyond the boundaries of the faith you have known, but do it at the permission and instruction of the Lord.  If He has spoken, He will not fail you and yes, He will even be there to raise you up if you fail.  Be like Peter, dare to step out in your faith and go where no man has gone before, just  remember, don’t take your eyes off of Jesus. 



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