1 Corinthians 2:4-5
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

The Power of God Holds the Heart

Tassels, tapestry, twine and string,
Articles used to cover and tie life’s things.
What do we use to cover and bind our heart?
Are they articles that only work in part?
Strings for shoes, belts for pants, straps for dresses,
What articles we use to hold together life’s guesses?
Self-sustained are the garments of God’s rest.
He needs no articles of man to maintain His best.

Golden nature, silver redemption, character reveled in gems,
He only needs a life obedient, given and secure in Him.
God is the sinew and tendon that binds each part,
When we find His rest, we will find His heart.

by Kent Stuck

Blesings,
#kent

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Green Pastures

October 13, 2014

Green Pastures

Psalms 23:2
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

There is a place in the Lord where He is leading us and causing us to rest. It is the green pastures of His rest. There He causes us to lie down as we feed upon His life and truth. There He keeps us safely under His watchful eye.
Some of us are still searching for this green pasture. It seems all we have known is the wilderness, living from blade of grass to blade of grass, thirsting for the waters of life. Our outlook and attitude is usually dim and pessimistic as we trudge on, one foot in front of the other.
It is interesting that the children of Israel were not so unlike a great flock of sheep whom the Lord brought out of Egypt. Often they were so taken by their circumstances and what they saw as their lack, that they failed to recognize, acknowledge and reverence the hand of the Great Shepherd that was over them. When God does not meet our need in the way and time frame of our thinking our first inclination is to begin to murmur and complain. Our minds become filled with the thoughts that God is not faithful. ‘He has led us out here to let us die. We should have never trusted Him. We should have stayed where we were; at least there in Egypt or the world, we knew what we had.’ Perhaps God has you and I in that place today where, like the children of Israel, He is proving what is in our hearts. In Exodus 15, after a mighty deliverance, God led the people of Israel to the waters of Marah. The waters were bitter and the people could not drink. Have we ever tried to trust God through a situation and it seemed that He had led us to a place where we worse off than before and everything seemed to be against us? Instead of His blessing, it may have seemed we had been cursed. Perhaps these are our waters of Marah or bitterness where He is proving what is in our hearts. Exodus 15:25, says, “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.” Can we find the rest of His green pastures even in those times of trial and testing? Can we find the pools of still water in the midst of the turbulent rapids that are swirling around our lives? Do we get anxious and panic? Do we get angry, frustrated and murmur against God, because it appears He has forsaken us and failed us in our time of need. Those are the places where He wants us to find the green pastures of His rest. Calvary provides the only tree that can make the waters sweet again. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Those green pastures speak of His life. That is the substance of what we must feed from? Isn’t it His Word and His Truth?
When we go out to buy a used car won’t we walk around it, look it over real good, kick the tires and test drive it? We are testing it for integrity and service. We want to know that it is reliable and won’t fail us in our time of need and dependency. God often proves our faith the same way. He is not just looking at the paint job and the high gloss wax; He is proving the inward parts. He wants to know the overall integrity and faithfulness of our hearts. Not only does He want to know, but also more importantly we need to know who we are in Him. It is through our travels of faith in Him, He often leads us to these waters of Marah or bitterness, where we are tested, but oh how sweet it is when we finally pass the test. When we hold fast to His Word and His promise through the time of testing and trial and then we see His deliverance and provision. It is in those times that we experience the green pastures of our rest where we have just laid down in Him, where we have snuggled up in His faithful arms and just declared God, you are God in my circumstances. No matter what happens, You change not, You are no less God and You are no less faithful.
Perhaps the green pastures of His rest are there, but with our natural eyes all we are seeing is desolation and wilderness. Faith is what leads us into those green pastures where we lie down beside the still waters, because our rest and our completion are in Him and not in us or the world around us. Psalm 23:3-6 goes on to say, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Our security and our rest are not in this world or in our circumstances, but only in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

Ascending up into the Golden Mount of Life

Life is a gift given by God, an opportunity to discover His purpose and will and a journey to develop, mature and grow in His likeness. Many in this world will never truly understand the meaning of their existence beyond the natural realm of just living life, breathing, surviving; seeking security and happiness that meets or exceeds the needs of their natural person. There are those, who in the course of life, have an encounter with the living God, through Jesus Christ. If they venture on to really know Him, beyond just a religious tradition and into a true personal relationship, then here is where the ascension of a spiritual journey truly begins.

All of humanity travel down the road and the seasons of life. The broad way, the way most traveled, is tread by those content with this world or ignorant of anything higher. Some actually have the knowledge of a higher, but it proves to be too steep and challenging so they exit off back to the more comfortable and less challenging way of life. Here they will be content to live and do things their way or in just religious way. They still may aspire to knowing and professing a relationship with God, but are regulated by a mixture of flesh and spirit. A path one might term, “lukewarm”, but not a temperature highly favored of God. Yet, there remains the high road, the road less traveled. It is not taken because of its ease or because the fruit of its path is readily seen with the natural eye. It is a path of faith, of commitment, obedience and promise. It is a path that is adventurous, but full of challenges and difficulties, trials and tribulations. It is a path whose way is not always readily discernable and understood. In order to travel this way the affections for self and the more immediately gratifying ways of life must be left behind at the “Cross Road”, where the two paths separate. This high road is a road of promise that must be traveled by faith in the God that called us to it. It is an ascending path to glory, but whose glory is often not much seen until its completion. The ascending path to the Golden Mount is one that will test us, try us and bring us to our end, but for the glory that lies before us we fix our eyes upon the prize of the high calling and hold fast to the Christ in us that has promised to be with us to the end. Upon this ascending path we walk each day through life, finding our way and our strength with the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. As we ascend this path, each day we become less and He becomes more. We find that it is not in our effort and struggle that we ascend, but in our rest in the finished work of the cross. In that place, through trust and obedience, we have confidence as we learn to fellowship and worship in His presence. His Word provides the road map for our journey. As we study and meditate upon it, it provides us with our identity, position and purpose in life that supersedes the life that we live in this body. We find our bodies are the instruments, the vehicles and the temple through which the kingdom of God is planted and dispensed in this earth as we travel this road.

It is not to say that we won’t and don’t have our stumbles and setback along the way. This ascension along this elevated path is not an easy one, but it is a progressive one. It is pathway into the maturity and perfection of Christ and as we know from our childhood, we made our share of mistakes, wrong turns and poor decisions, but that was a part of our maturing process. No one walks this path perfectly, for we don’t walk in our own righteous, but by faith in the righteousness of Him who went before us to show us the way. The further we travel the more we realize that this is not a path of religion, tradition or of works. It is a path of losing ourselves in the identity with Christ. As we travel this path, many may stumble for a time and lose their way. They may lose their vision and their stamina of faith, but if we are truly called of Him then His Spirit, through our spirit keeps wooing us and calling us back to this upward path we first began. As the saying goes, the prize is not to him who starts the race, but to him that finishes.

As the years of life go by and we have run our course, let us have no regrets that we didn’t follow our destiny and calling as we ascended into the Golden Mount of Life. May we not settle for less, even if we haven’t lived our best, we can give God the rest. As long as there is breath, there is hope and if we have been idle or distracted or misdirected, it is never too late to pursue this path that leads home.

Yes, as the years of life go by and we see the end of this life before us, let us lift our eyes with ever more fervent desire and commitment of faith to ascend beyond and above the gates of death and to ascend upward on this path that leads us into the Golden Mount of life.

Blessings,

kent

Trust in the Lord with all your Heart
Proverbs 3:5-8
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

This is the scripture I run too when I am faced with decisions and I don’t know the right answers. All I know is there is safety in God’s will. I also know that His ways are often not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. He sees the beginning and the end of all things. His understanding is infinite and perfect, while mine is so shallow and lacking. The wonderful thing is that even if we don’t have a great mind, if we have enough sense to trust in the Lord and lean not on our understanding, if we make it our practice to put the Lord at the forefront of all that we do, we are so much further ahead than those that are wise in their own eyes. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” That mind of Christ is the Spirit and the Word in us. It rules us and guides us into all righteousness and right decision making. It keeps our eyes and heart from being self-centered and keeps us God-centered.
Often I don’t have an obvious answer to the problem or decision at hand, but I keep listening with my spiritual ears. I weigh the counsel of those around me, which should also be godly. I search the motives of my heart and I ask for God’s divine providence to intervene to close those doors that He would not have me go through and open the ones that He would have me go through. After all, He did promise to direct my paths. I believe that if we follow this scriptural principle we may not do everything perfectly, but God will perfect our ways.
People have often told me, when I make up my mind about something, I am very stubborn about changing my mind or doing it a different way. Of course that is just their perspective. I do know that if I can get that way with people then I can get that way with God. Stubbornness to walk in God’s ways is a good thing, but stubbornness to go my own way is not a pretty attribute. I believe the Bible describes it much like rebellion and the sin of witchcraft, but it is my own manipulation, compromises and devices to get my way. That’s just sin, and there is no getting around it.
The latter part of this promise is that not only will the Lord direct my path, but if I don’t get proud and I turn away from evil, it will be health to me. I take that in both physical and spiritual context. If I can really trust the Lord with all of my heart and I don’t have to try and figure everything out with my wisdom then that is going to bring me into the rest of God. How many know that you tend to be a lot healthier when you are rested? Here is a way for us to take stress out of our lives. In Matthew Jesus says, “seek first the Kingdom of God and all these thing will be added unto you.” His whole message is quit stressing and worrying about stuff. Take care of what is important, your relationship with God, family, others, and the rest will take care of itself. That’s health to your navel and marrow to you bones. Be blessed, rest and let God direct your paths.

Blessings,
kent

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