The Passion of Our Hearts

Psalms 86:12
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.

As Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, we come from many different backgrounds and influences in our lives. We’ve even congregated and gravitated to groups or denominations that most reinforce our particular view, opinion and understanding of God and scripture. The primary problem we find with this is that it tends to separate us into different camps and we get caught up in internal squabbling over our sacred dogma or opinion. It seems to me that in this hour the Spirit of God is working in His body to tear down these walls of division. He is still “one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:5-6).” While it is fine for us all to have our own opinions about scripture, there are certain foundational truths we should all embrace and be in agreement about. What the Spirit of God wants to speak to us about is that our faith is not just about what we think or just us, it is about Him and what He thinks. The Word and Christ teaches us that the most important commandment is that, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. “ This is the foundation upon which all of the law and the prophets hinge and rest upon. If we miss this we are building upon sand. We all know the adage, “Divided we fall, united we stand”. This is why it is so important that unity be restored back into the body of Christ. Psalm 133:1 reminds us, “Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!” When part of my body starts conflicting and fighting with other parts I get sick and I can no longer function to my potential. God desires for us to lay down our pet peeves and doctrines and start becoming one with the rest of the body of Christ concerning what God’s will and purpose is for us in this hour. We must learn to build each other up and not tear each other down.
Isn’t it funny how when we meet someone and discover that they are a Christian, the first thing we want to ask them is, “where do you go to church”? We are more concerned about seeing what brand or mark of religion they have on them than seeing if the mark of Jesus is in them. We are all at so many different stages in our walk with God and most of us would agree that have been Christians for some time, that our views and ways of seeing and understanding things has changed over time. We may not have even accepted ourselves for the way we are now if we were judging ourselves by what we use to think and believe.
The thing that should be driving our lives is not our religion or denomination, but our passion for Christ and our love for Him. God sees men after the heart, not their denomination or belief system. What do you love the most? What is your deepest passion and desire? That is where Christ must be at the forefront or we are missing it. Our love and compassion for others should be a close second. Let us focus on what is important to God’s heart and not just our intellectual satisfaction. When we love and are able to lay hold of the truth, the truth will set us free from our wrong opinions. Often we think it is our duty to set everyone straight on how to believe. We need to quit stepping on the Holy Spirit’s toes and let Him do His job. Our responsibility is to judge our own hearts and make sure that we are walking in faith and obedience to Him. If we are all impassioned with Christ that will be our bond of fellowship and communion with one another and with Christ. Allow God’s law to be written upon the tablet of your mind and heart. “The letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life ( 2 Corinthians 3:6).” God’s Word will guide us and His Spirit will give us peace. Be at peace with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Love them where they are at and if you have a greater revelation or insight then speak it through the way you live your life and in your actions. Above all things, be passionate in your love and pursuit of Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

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Tired?

March 18, 2014

Tired?


Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. 


There are times on our journey through life that we just get tired.  We get emotionally, physically and spiritually weary; in those times our excitement and exuberance wanes.  Our desire ceases in its passion and we just want to turn away, escape and turn off all the demands and challenges that are present in our life.  

Perhaps you’re tired of fighting the battles in your life.  You know you need to get up and go, but your body is saying, “no, just let me sleep,” or your mind and emotions are saying, “I just can’t deal with it any longer.”  

Our lives have many demands, pressures and expectations placed upon them.  Some of them are of our own choosing and many just goes with the territory.  Without the proper rest, these issues and trials of life will tend to burn us out.  Maybe some of you are feeling that way even as you read this.  In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”  Sometimes we think, “how can this be, when it is all of this trying to live right and do right that has gotten me to this place of exhaustion.”  Maybe we are trying to be everything to everybody and we just feel spent.  I think women in particular experience this because of all the emotional and physical demands they carry with family, career, household and a social life.  

Most of us know that a lot is often riding on our being able to keep up the pace and perform our duties.  Even though we feel the strain and exhaustion we keep on pushing.  Where is our rest?

Do you ever find that even if you could rest, you can’t?  Your mind is always racing with all of the things that need to be done.  It is like juggling, you are afraid that if you rest from your concentration you will start dropping the balls and your world will fall apart.  In our drive for success we often create our own mousetraps that keep us running.  But the issue is you need rest!  

Jesus is telling us that He has not come to heap more on to our already overflowing plate, but He has come to give our life perspective, meaning and purpose.  Maybe we think we already have all of that, but when we look at all that we do in the light of eternity and what it really means to the sum of our life, how much of it is still as meaningful?  

When we come into the rest that Jesus has for us we find that place where we are not carrying the entire burden of life.  The issues and trials of life we now share with our Savior.  Our reliance is now shifted from our ability to His ability and strength in us.  The Lord doesn’t require of us what He has not provided the resources to do.  Our scripture from Isaiah says, “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”  That waiting is the hope and expectation we have in God, in His Word and promises.  Our strength, our rest, our renewal is in laying hold of the life of Christ in us.  The Word says, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.”  The Lord is my place of rest and strength.  When I’m tired and weary, when my natural man doesn’t feel it can keep going on, it is like that story of “Footprints in the Sand”, the Lord has not deserted us, but as we come into His rest we find that He is carrying us.  When we are tired we need to crawl up on our Daddy God’s lap and just rest.  Let Him have all your burdens, all your cares, worries and pressures.  The Lord is your rest and in Him you will find the encouragement, the hope and strength you need to carry on.  

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

Strife

November 22, 2013

Strife

1 Corinthians 3:3
for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

Isn’t it unfortunate that this statement so often defines us as we try to walk and live spiritual lives? Strife comes into to pollute so many of our relationships, both spiritual and natural. Really it is the outward manifestation of an inward condition. James 3: 14 and 16 in the King James version speaks of strife with this: “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth… “For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.“ The Amplified version identifies more of the root causes of this strife, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth… For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” Verses 17-18 of the Amplified version goes on to say, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” We all know what it is like to be around a contentious person that is trying to provoke strife. It is often difficult to ignore and continually walk away from because it is continually antagonizing and provoking you. Strife is described in Galatians 5:20 as an attribute of the flesh, but it is one that has a hard time existing by itself. It needs someone to partner with. It needs an adversary and someone to contend with. It loves company and to get others caught up in the fray.
What are strife’s root causes? James has already identified bitterness, envy, selfishness and self-seeking. Proverbs 15:8 says, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Proverbs 16:28 says, “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:14 tells us, “The beginning of trouble is like letting out water. So stop arguing before fighting breaks out.” Have you ever noticed how strife can result in a diarrhea of the mouth? We get started and before we know it, all kinds of putrid things are spewing out, which usually only serves to bring the same vile venom out of the other’s mouth.
We know that the perpetrator of this strife is demonic in nature and spirit, and yet we so easily fall into the snare that serves to only hurt, divide separate us. Disunity and strife strikes at the heart of family, fellowship and community. It has destroyed families, marriages, churches, and nations. It is at the root of our wars. In spite of its immensely destructive power we continually allow ourselves to be manipulated by it. Perhaps it is destroying the relationship you have with the person or persons you started out loving. It can only be stopped as we realize and acknowledge within ourselves the weakness and the flesh that is giving place to this deceptive destroyer. It needs our flesh to feed off of to even exist. The more we can enter into Christ and walk by the Spirit, the less power and influence it can have. It needs our ego, our pride, our selfishness, our jealousy and envy. It needs our anger, meddling, gossiping, and tattling to fan its flames.
Philippians 2:2-4 says this, “2Then give me true joy by thinking the same thoughts. Keep having the same love. Be as one in thoughts and actions. 3Nothing should be done because of pride or thinking about yourself. Think of other people as more important than yourself. 4Do not always be thinking about your own plans only. Be happy to know what other people are doing.” Strife has very little to build on when our motives are based in unselfish love toward one another. If we all have this mind to live for and bless one another, then the flesh has little place because our selfishness and pride aren’t in the way. Love the person that is so intent on striving against you. Return good for evil, compliment for insult and be of a gentle and quiet spirit. It is a spiritual battle waged through human agents. See it for what it is and let the weapons of your warfare not be natural, but mighty through the Spirit to the tearing down of strongholds.
Moses lost his entrance into the promise land because he responded out of the flesh to the strife of the people at the waters of Meribah in the wilderness. Responding to strife in the flesh will always cause us to lose by robbing us of the higher way. Let love rule in your hearts, mercy and peace in your actions and willingness to count others above yourself in your thinking.
“Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).

Blessings,
kent

Rest

April 11, 2013

Hebrews 4:1-5
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith, 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

Rest

What does it mean to rest? When we are truly resting are we still worrying and laboring with our mind and body? Resting is entering into another state of being than when our body and mind are active and working. Resting is a state in which the mind and body are being turned off and labor has ceased. Many of us have experienced insomnia where we tried to rest, but we can’t get our minds to shut off and sleep eludes us. Instead of rest we find restlessness and are wrestling to find sleep.
When God talks to us about entering into His rest what is He telling us we should do? Are we to just sit down where we are and expect God to do everything and provide everything for us? Is that rest? No, God is talking about a state where we turn off the natural mind that is filled with its desires, concerns and worries. He is talking about a state of obedience and trust in Him where we see the finished work of Christ and the Cross. We rest in all that it represents to us and all that has been and is being accomplished through it. Most of us are pretty aware that we can’t earn our way into heaven through our own goodness and righteousness, but in many ways we haven’t learned the place of rest that is in Christ Jesus. As long as the natural mind is always actively seeing and reacting to the circumstances around it, it remains in a state of insomnia and restlessness, never able to fully find its peace. In order for the message of the rest of God to have any value and substance to us it has to be combined with one key ingredient and that is faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” God never created us to be gods unto ourselves; He created us in His image to be the expression of who He is, of His nature and his character. He created us to abide in harmony and fellowship with Him. We can never find that place without faith. If we truly have faith then it will result in obedience out of love. The more we intimately know God, the more we will grow in trust, obedience and love. The more we intimately know God in and through Christ Jesus the more identified we will become with His life and the finished work of the cross.
The reality check is this; we live in a natural world, filled with many godless people and we have to function in an economy that is not spiritual and filled with greed and selfishness. That must mean I have to really struggle to be godly and fight the devil. I need to condemn sin and every sinner I see so that I am not like the world. Isn’t that how many of us see our calling and our faith? It is a war, it is a struggle and I have to try harder to do better and to fight sin?
Have you ever seen a person trying to swim in water when they didn’t know how to swim? There is no lack of activity. They violently thrash and kick just to keep their heads above the water and not drown, but that isn’t swimming, that is just trying to survive. When we learned how to swim we had to learn to work with the water and not against it. We had to lose our fear and learn that if we would trust the water we could actually float without a struggle. Learning to swim is an exercise in learning to trust. The rest of God is the same way. We can’t rest with all of our thrashing and work to overcome sin and live righteous. What God is teaching us is that rest is a matter of trust. Christ has overcome, He has paid the price for sin and He has conquered sin and death. Why are we trying to accomplish what He has accomplished for us from the beginning? Our rest is learning to rest in and appropriate what Christ has already done by full association and reliance upon Him. It doesn’t mean we cease living and functioning in this world; it means that now we function in identification and trust in His life. We no longer live out of our goodness or our ability, but His. “Christ in me” is my hope of glory; my flesh can never accomplish that for me, no matter how hard it tries. The rest is the trust to let Christ be in me, to have expression and to have full dominion over me.
Rest, like swimming, is something that we practice. We learn not to fight God in our ignorance, but rather work with Him, as one with Him. Hebrews 4:12-13 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
As we begin our rest in God, yielding and trusting the Holy Spirit. As we read and meditate upon God’s word to intimately know the One we are to be like; then that Word, quickened by God’s spirit, will begin its spiritual surgery within us exposing what is of Him and what is of the flesh. He exposes our true motives and intents. He will show us that a lot of what is religious and looks outwardly good is just spiritualized flesh, but it is not Spirit. Rather than us thrashing the water and trying to change ourselves from the outside in, in the rest of God we will find Him changing us from the inside out. He will sanctify us, spirit, soul and body. The transformation that takes place in us through the rest of God is one in which we cease to struggle and strive with Him and we simply, through faith and trust, come into compliance with what He is revealing to us. It is a process of shutting our eyes to the circumstances and the fears, concerns and the sin that surrounds us. Instead we are opening our consciousness to the Spirit and the Word as together they guide and support our rest. In the process we sometimes inhale a little water and we start to spit and sputter. We immediately want to forget our position of rest and go back to trashing and struggling, but we begin to learn that it is only counter productive to our rest, so we have to let down and again rest our head upon the breast of Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

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