Appeasing or Pleasing

July 30, 2015

Appeasing or Pleasing

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
I think that I may not be so different than many others who earnestly love God, want to have an intimate relationship with Him, but are often tempted to make compromises to please the flesh rather than to please God. I was meditating this morning on how much appease and please sound alike only they are different. If we examine our hearts we will probably find that there are many times we actually try to appease the Lord, rather than please Him.
“So what’s the difference?” you might ask.
I’m glad you asked that question. The dictionary defines appease as, “To pacify or attempt to pacify (an enemy) by granting concessions, often at the expense of principle.”
Now we don’t think of God as our enemy, but He is the enemy of our flesh and when we are trying to appease God that is usually where we are operating from. Romans 8:5-8 tells us, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” When we get out of faith and into the flesh then we begin operating out of a mindset that wants to appease God rather than please Him. We want God to wink at our sin and to let us slide. We want the favor and blessing of God, but on our terms. Maybe we start to bargain with God. “God, if you will just let me do that, or have this or grant me that, then I’ll do this.” Maybe we give more and try to do good things. Usually we are not only trying to appease God, but our conscience as well. It is not that we want to forsake God or not serve Him and believe in Him anymore. It is not that we want to displease Him, it is just that we want our way more than we want His way. What we don’t want to acknowledge and submit too is, that it is always our ways that lead us away from His. It is our ways that separate and break fellowship with Him and it is our ways, the natural mind, that hinders us from God’s highest and His best for us.
Like King Saul of the Old Testament we become headstrong about doing things our way rather than God’s way. Listen as Saul attempts to appease God rather than please Him. 1 Samuel 15:13-26 says, “When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD’s instructions.”
14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”
15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”
16 “Stop!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
“Tell me,” Saul replied.
17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.’ 19 Why did you not obey the LORD ? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD?”
20 “But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”
22 But Samuel replied:
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD.”
26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!”
Whenever we compromise what God has instructed by doing it our way rather than His, we only are deceiving ourselves and leading ourselves to heartache and misery. Hebrews 10:5-10 says in contrast, “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; 6with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. 7Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, O God.’ ” 8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Father is now asking the same of us. He doesn’t any longer want our burnt offering and sacrifices, our concessions and appeasement. He wants our lives, our obedience and our faith to trust and walk with Him wherever it is that He chooses to lead us. We can no longer seek to appease our Lord; we must walk in the faith and obedience that pleases Him.
“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of [this] life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4)

Blessings,
#kent

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Losing my Head

June 24, 2015

Losing my Head

Philippians 4:12-13
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

As I was praying this morning my thoughts went back to my childhood where I spent a great deal of time with my grandparents on their farm in Oklahoma. I remember times when my grandmother would get a chicken that she was going to prepare for a meal. She would put its head under a metal bar, step on it and pull its head off. I’m sorry if that is a little gruesome and graphic for some. The thing that was coming to me is that after the chicken’s head was removed I saw them do things that I never saw them do in everyday life. They might just flop around, but I saw some of them fly distances that I had never seen a chicken fly before. How could they do that without a head? I know, involuntary reflexes and such. The thing that struck me is that if they could do that in death, why did they never do it in life? The only time a chicken would leave the ground normally is if it was being pursued and took flight out of fear.
I believe what the Lord was showing me is that our greatest limitation is between our two ears. We grow up saying, doing and being what everyone else around us does. Think of the disciples. Here were twelve very ordinary men. I imagine not all of them were the sharpest pencils in the drawer, but they all did one thing, they left all to follow this man Jesus. As they followed, communed and lived with this man they observed someone who was not like all of the other chickens in the hen house. They observed someone who thought differently, acted differently and did things they had never imagined anyone could do. It was a process over time where the normal way they used to view their world changed. They begin to see and understand their world from a heavenly and kingdom perspective rather than an earthly one. After the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus they received power from on High when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. Now Jesus was physically gone. They had lost their earthly head and a new mentality had to kick in. The mind of Christ had now come within them for them to carry on the work of the Kingdom with power and authority. They began to speak under the anointing of the Spirit and would see thousands respond and come to Christ. They had miracles happening as they extended their wings in faith. In some cases people were even raised from the dead. These ordinary men were doing exploits that rattled the religious order of the barnyard. The religious leadership thought that they had rid the hen house of this One that upset the natural order of things. He was obviously out of the pecking order. Now there were more of these people doing the same kind of things while proclaiming this Jesus as the Christ and the Messiah, not only in word, but also with signs and wonders.
What we have to realize is that when we accepted Christ as our Savior we became identified with His death on that cross. In effect, out head got pulled off. We are no longer like every other chicken in the barnyard. The great news is that we didn’t just lose our head, we put on the headship of Christ in the process. We lost our mind that we might have His. Like the disciples before us we have began a process of changed thinking. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” It goes on to say ‘don’t think of yourselves more highly than you ought.’ It is never this earthen vessel that is great; it is what fills it.
What fills you my friend is what gives you the power and abilities to do what you have never done before. It gives you the ability to rise to heights that in the natural mind you never thought possible.
There are wings of faith in God’s Word that must be stretched and exercised. We have had them all along; we just have never really used them. God has given us the ability to be extraordinary people and maybe not in the way the world views as extraordinary. We have the power within us now to be different, something more. That more may not be as the world views greatness, but it will be seen in the power of an obedient life yielded to Christ and available for His power to manifest through in the ways that please Him and further His Kingdom. Have you lost your head and put on His?

Greetings,
#kent

Who areYou Seeking?

May 15, 2015

Who areYou Seeking?

2 Chronicles 26:3-5
Sixteen years old [was] Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also [was] Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.

What is our business plan for life? The goal that most of us have is to have a life that contains prosperity and blessing. We want a life where we have safety and security and where we have sufficiency of earthly goods to sustain and meet our needs. Most of us enjoy a lot of these basic needs of life, but the question is do you want God to make you prosper? Uzziah found the secret, “He sought the Lord.” The key to our prosperity and success is in following this same principle.
We can go to a lot of sources and get council from many directions, but there is none that can exceed the counsel that we can receive from the Lord. Usually our greatest source of counsel and wisdom is our own opinion and thinking. We may even experience some success and prosperity from our self-reliance, but self-reliance will not bring us into the prosperity and blessing of eternal life that only a relationship with our Lord can provide.
Proverbs is a book that is filled with exhortation to seek wisdom, understanding and wise counsel. It tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all of that. If we truly want to prosper in the things that really matter in life then we had better follow Uzziah’s example. The one thing that the Word shows us and teaches us is that many men started off well with their faith and reliance in God, but as God prospered them they became full of themselves and they forgot the Lord. We must learn from their mistakes. The race is not to him who starts it, but to him who finishes it and stays the course.
In the wilderness when the Israelites were lead out of captivity they followed the cloud of the Lord. They had to learn that they didn’t move till it moved rather that was every day or not for months at a time. We need a relationship where we are in tune with the Lord’s moving in our lives. Often we would grow impatient and run ahead of Him.
Who are we seeking in our lives today? What are we pursuing to be successful? There are many things we can learn and understand in the world, but our true prosperity and blessing comes from the Lord for He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. It is the wisdom of the Lord and His counsel that we must covet and pursue. When our eyes and hearts are fixed on Him, He will cause our ways to prosper.

Blessings,
#kent

In God’s Time

April 13, 2015

Acts 12:25, 13:5, 13
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled [their] ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
13From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.

In God’s Time

Many a young person has been caught up in the zeal of the Lord and desired to go into ministry. One thing that many don’t realize at first is that to be a true minister of God is it is not man or education that truly prepares you. Certainly God can and does us these in the process, but what any of us who desire to be in the service of the Lord must realize is God’s order and not man’s. It is really God who raises up a man or woman for His work. It is He who trains them through most often humble beginnings. It is He that anoints them for their calling and it is He that test their hearts before He sets them in a place of authority and ministry. For many of you who are excited to serve God, we are not always ready when we think we are. Such is the case with John Mark.
John Mark was the son of Mary and we first hear about him when Peter is locked in jail in Jerusalem. Herod had pretty much chalked Peter in to be the next martyr after having put to death James. We read the account of the angel coming into the prison and setting Peter free. Peter then goes to the house of Mary. Acts 12:12 says, “And when he had considered [the thing], he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.” We gather from this introduction that Mark had some strong Christian influences and roots. He gets his first shot at getting on the big name ministry team of Paul and Barnabas, and so we see him embarking on his first missionary trip in Acts 12: 25. Then over in Acts 13:5 it affirms that John is there with them as an apprentice and helper, but by verse 13 we see John leaving them and returning to Jerusalem. What happened? The word doesn’t give us much in the way of details, but it becomes obvious in Acts 15:37-40 that Paul was not impressed by Mark and wanted no more part in his going with them again. Apparently Mark wasn’t as ready and able as He thought. Maybe he couldn’t take it and went home, but Barnabas was one that did see the potential and continued to believe in Mark even after he apparently failed the first journey. Later we see that Paul has softened his position concerning Mark in 2 Timothy 4:11 when he remarks, “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”
The message we can learn from Mark’s life is that ministry and service to God comes through a preparation of God. Sometimes we may fail to meet our own expectations or the expectation of those we are working with. Fortunately Mark didn’t just quit and fortunately he had men who still believed in Him and helped him to come into his place of ministry and service. Mark was also known to be Mark the Evangelist and later wrote one of the first gospels, the gospel of Mark, thought to have been largely narrated and influenced by Peter.
When we look over the lives of many of God’s great people we see them coming up against times of apparent failure, shortcoming, trials and tribulation. What we come to realize is that this is really God’s school of preparation. We may know that God has anointed us and given us a passion in some area of ministry, but what we have to be careful of is that we allow Him to establish and place us in that ministry in His time and His way. That often means that we may feel passed over, put aside or not really valued. All of the time it is searching our true heart and motives, to see if there would be any unclean, impure or selfish motive on our part. When we can truly be okay with whatever and whenever the Lord wants to use us, then we are getting much closer to being where He wants us. Love always wants God’s best first and our best last.
Moses was 80 when he started his ministry. David was anointed as young teen, but didn’t become king until he was 30. The word tells us not to despise the day of small things. It is in those days that our hearts and lives are being prepared for greater ministry. We must first prove ourselves faithful in the little before we can be faithful over much. Don’t be discouraged if your life and ministry isn’t where you want it to be. Remember God is in control, not you and not man.

Blessings,
#kent

1 John 2:8-11
Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.

What is keeping You in the Dark?

Many of us wonder why we are struggling with so many issues in our lives and in our relationships. I believe the Lord is speaking to us to go and clean out the closets of our past, because they are defiling and polluting our present and our future.
Many of us have hurts and wounds, perhaps from those that we loved and trusted, that we are still carrying into today’s life and experience. Hate, resentments, unforgiveness and bitterness are all walls that shut out the light of God’s love and truth to our soul. Think about when you have gotten angry with someone and you ran into your room, shut and locked the door. Symbolically, as well as literally you were shutting off your soul and your love to them. You were putting them out into darkness and cutting yourself off from them. In most cases, we eventually open up the door, get over our anger or hurt, reconcile with the person and restore the relationship. There are still a lot of cases we have not done this. The door is still shut in our hearts. Hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness still remains, keeping us in the darkness. These elements shut out the light of God’s love and forgiveness.
There may be very good reasons you have not reconciled with certain individuals and there may be very good reasons that you shouldn’t be physically around them any longer, but what we carry from our past can destroy our future.
There is a tremendous amount of emotional healing that needs to take place in the body of Christ. We can’t always control how we feel toward another, but we can begin to release forgiveness in faith toward them. When Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That act of forgiveness on the part of Jesus opened the door for the light of God to come in and reconcile the very ones that crucified Christ back to Him. Our unforgiveness can hold both ourselves and the ones we refuse to forgive in spiritual bondage. In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says it this way, “”In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”
Are you struggling today in your relationships with God and man? Maybe we need to take some time and find out if there are past issues that haven’t been dealt with and forgiven. If you want to walk in the light of God you need to go back and deal with the issues that may be keeping you in darkness. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that you are still holding on too and haven’t released to Him. As you repent, ask God to forgive those you may have not truly forgiven. Release forgiveness to all of those who have offended you and come into the light and the true fellowship of Christ. Don’t allow your past to be an anchor that hinders your glorious future in Christ.
“Father forgive us as we forgive those who have sinned and trespassed against us. Amen”

Blessings,
#kent

Temporal or Eternal

December 5, 2013

 

Temporal or Eternal

 

Matthew 6:19-21

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

 

This evening, I opened an email and one of my friends sent me something I had received a few years ago. It was sculptures made in the sand at a beach. One of the pictures was of Christ and his twelve disciples…another was Jesus on the cross and the last one was the face of Jesus. I found myself asking Jeannie, “Can you imagine spending all that time on making something that will just fade away or be destroyed by the next day?” I no more said those words when the thought came to me that’s precisely what we do everyday. We work hard in this world for money, to buy things that are temporal…those things that fade away and can be destroyed… instead of working for those things that are eternal. Why do we do this? Is it because this world has blinders on our eyes? It would have us going in every direction but on the straight and narrow road, which leads to life.  Jesus says in Matthew 16:26, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”  Why can’t we understand and keep in mind how temporal this life is? I heard a preacher say once, “Everything we are doing now, will make a difference in our position for all eternity.” I’m sure I didn’t quote it just right, but the meaning is there. And if this is true, then why do we waste so much time? Are we building our house on a firm foundation? Or are we building on sand; and when the winds of adversity blow, what we’ve been built on, will it sink and fade away? My prayer is that each one of us would take a long hard look at our lives and the way we live, and ask ourselves what exactly our lives are about. Are we living for Christ and His destiny for our lives? Or are we living apart from Him, doing our own thing and living our lives the way we please?

Blessings, 

Sharon

 

Not Our Way, but His

November 26, 2013

Not Our Way, but His

John 11:1-5
Now a certain [man] was sick, [named] Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was [that] Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard [that], he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

We all have preconceived notions about how we think things should work out in our lives especially in regards to our prayer requests and petitions before the Lord. In this story is a great example of how Jesus doesn’t operate the way rational and conventional thinking would dictate that He should have. It wasn’t even consistent with how He normally operated. Here we see three siblings who were the closer friends of Jesus and whom it says He, “loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” The sense and the meaning of the word “loved” here means that he had goodwill toward them, that they were preferred of Him and that He would wish well to them with regard to their welfare. Now if He felt that way about them why does it go on to say that when He heard about Lazarus’ sickness He continued on where He was at for two more days rather than immediately rushing back to take care of Lazarus. Now by human standards we may have judged these actions to be highly insensitive, uncaring and unloving. Certainly Mary and Martha may have struggled with such thoughts and feelings, especially after Lazarus ends up dying.
When you and I consider some of the things we have been praying for and the petitions we have made before the Lord; have we ever had the feeling that He was just ignoring us or that He didn’t really care? No matter how hard we prayed and petitioned the throne of God, no matter how much faith we tried to have to believe, it didn’t turn out the way we thought it should have. In fact sometimes we may feel that the more we pray or walk in the will of God the harder things get. Why? Doesn’t God love us? Doesn’t He care what we are going through?
Jesus loved Lazarus and His sisters, just like He loves you. He cared about them very much and perhaps it was as hard for Jesus to restrain Himself from immediately addressing their situation as it was for the sisters. The point that is being made here is that there are times when God is working a greater thing than what is evident to us on the surface. There are those times when we look back at a situation that we wanted God to immediately deal with and He didn’t and we begin to get a revelation why. Because God worked the way He did, so much more was worked through the situation than ever could have been, had it been immediately resolved. God is invested into us for the long haul. We see the immediate, the needs here and now, but He sees the answers and resolutions through the eyes of eternity and His higher purpose and good. Because our viewpoints are from two totally different realms and perspectives, is it any wonder that God doesn’t often operate the way we think He should? We can always rest in the promise we have in Romans 8:28,
“And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, even to them that are called according to His purpose.”
You see with Lazarus, his sickness was not about death, which to us seems to be the ultimate finality, it was about the “glory of God”. Christ needed to be revealed in an even greater aspect than a healer. It was time for certain ones, especially his more intimate friends, to get a revelation of Him as the “Resurrection and the Life”, not just in the last day at Christ’s coming, but here and now. By the time Jesus reached Lazarus he had been dead and in the tomb for four days. The natural mind tells us that is a pretty hopeless situation.
Some of us find ourselves in, or perhaps are going through some of those seemingly hopeless situations where by all natural appearances God didn’t come through. What we forget and find hard to grasp is that sometimes God allows us to come to the end of something in order to bring us into a new beginning. There may be those times when it is more than just a “God fix it”, it has to die to bring us into a greater dimension of life.
If you have a situation that looks hopeless then give it totally into the hands of the God of hope. When Martha came to Jesus, she said, “if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. And even now I know that whatsoever You ask of God, God will give You.” Maybe God hasn’t shown up because something or someone has to die. In the economy of God, it is death that often gives place to new and a greater dimension of life. Jesus then told Martha, “Your brother will rise again… I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whoever lives and believes on me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whoever lives and believes on me shall never die. Do you believe this?” We then know that Jesus did go to the tomb and called Lazarus forth and his life was raised up.
Some of you are sitting in the ashes of despair and despondency thinking God has given up on you. No, He loves you too much to allow you to continue as you are. There is the day of your breakthrough when He will speak the Word and call you forth in the newness of life in Him. There will be a resurrection day in your life if you hold steadfast and believe. This is a day to come forth in the newness and the power of His resurrection life.

Blessings,
kent

Good out of Evil, Life out of Death

Genesis 50:16
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.

Most of us know the story of Joseph, how as a young man his brothers despised him because he was daddy’s favorite, he was a dreamer who seemed to think of himself as superior to everyone else. He was daddy’s informant about what was going on among the other ten sons. One day as they saw him coming it was in their heart to kill him, but instead they had opportunity so they sold him into slavery which led him to Egypt. The sons represented Joseph as dead to their father by taking his coat, tearing it and covering it with lamb’s blood and saying that they found it. This caused tremendous grief and heartbreak for Jacob for years to come. Joseph, after being sold into slavery, gained favor with his master for a time as the Lord blessed him, but then was thrown into prison after being falsely accused of rape when he fled the temptation of his master’s wife’s seduction. Even in Pharaoh’s prison he gained favor and possessed the gift of interrupting dreams. He once interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer. Both of the dreams came to pass. After more years in prison Pharaoh had a disturbing dream that only Joseph was able to accurately interpret. This then brought him into a place of rulership and authority as he was given the responsibility for preparing and preserving Egypt and the surrounding nations during a time of great famine. Long story short Joseph’s brothers come for grain and Joseph has his opportunity to deal with his brothers. What would you and I do in that circumstance? Even the law said “an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth.” He could kill them, throw them into prison, or torture them; they were in his power.
The point the Holy Spirit wants to bring to us is that life may deal to all of us at one time or another some very devastating blows. It can come in many forms, abuse physically, mentally, sexually, betrayal in a marriage, the crippling effects of an accident or disease, the list could go on and on. When our lives have been devastated by some traumatic event how are we going to respond? Will anger, bitterness or unforgiveness consume us? Will we blame and forsake God? Will we seek revenge and hurt for the ones who have hurt us? What will we do with the evil and the death that has befallen us?
A while back I related a story of how I inadvertently used weed and grass killer on my grass thinking it was only a weed killer. Large yellow areas developed all over my lawn and it looked like I had destroyed it. Now, a couple of months later, after watering, rain and a little fertilizer the lawn is green again. Yes, there are still small areas throughout the lawn that were killed, but little by little they are filling back in. What’s my point? I thought of how this was much like these traumatic events that touch our lives. Time, the love and mercy of God are great healers and restorers to the hurts and wounds in our lives. When we would lose hope in the natural, when we would become so discouraged and think all is lost, we can’t discount the power and love of God. Only He can take what others meant for evil and use it for good. Only He can take what would work death and destruction and turn it to work life. “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
… Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed (Hebrews 12:5, 11-13).” Some of life’s most traumatic moments can lead to life changing events that work eternal changes in us. What we would never choose for ourselves can prune us and make us more fruitful than we would have ever been without them. If you are at that place in your life, don’t let a root of bitterness and unforgiveness come up that would rob the deeper work God can work in you through some of these painful things. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled. Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears (Hebrew 12:15-17).” God is at work in our lives in ways we can’t even see or know. The enemy is also at work to destroy and undo us, but God is so able to frustrate his destructive work by turning it for our good and redemption. Not only for us, but also for those He places in our path to minister those life experiences too. ” But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive. (Genesis 50:16).”
” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? (Romans 8:28-31).”

Blessings,
kent

Friend or Foe

November 7, 2013

Friend or Foe

Matthew 16:13-28
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15″But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ,] the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Most of us would agree that Jesus’ disciple Peter was a friend of the Lord. He really did love the Lord and while a little rough around the edges Peter had some great qualities about him. I think most of us would say that we are a friend of the Lord’s, that we love Him and like Peter, we have committed our lives to follow after Him.
It is an interesting passage that we read today because first we see Jesus asking the question about who men think that He is. We see Peter chime in, with spirit of revelation, that Jesus is the Christ. Peter is called blessed and commended of the Lord. The Lord gives him the keys of the kingdom and the power to bind and loose in heaven and earth. Peter must have been feeling pretty good about himself about then like maybe he was just one up on the others cause he had the goods. He had the revelation of the Christ.
We then see a quick turn of events where Jesus reveals the purpose and plan of his life to suffer and die in Jerusalem at the hand of the elders, chief priest and teachers. Peter, perhaps a little full of himself, begins to rebuke the Lord and let Him know that we are never going to let this happen. Suddenly we see a friend turned foe as the Lord rebukes Peter and says, “Get thee behind me satan.” That must have really taken the wind out of Peter’s sails. Jesus goes on to explain the definition of discipleship and the exchange of life that must take place which means the death of the self life to experience the resurrection of God’s life.
I think that we are not so unlike Peter. We have a true zeal and love for the Lord. We have a revelation and understanding of many things, but we become the enemy of the cross because we want to preserve our life when we need to lose it and reckon it dead. We want to hold on to the natural things of this world rather than to die to them that we may possess the treasures of the kingdom. We are like a baby that would rather hold on to a rock than exchange it for a silver rattle. We are much like Peter, spiritual on one hand and unwilling to embrace the cross on the other. What if Peter had had his way? He thought his intentions were noble and good. He wasn’t going to let Jesus have to go to the cross. Often we view the death that the Lord is leading us into as the worse thing for us, because we see the price of suffering and sacrifice. What we fail to see by faith, is what is on the other side of that death, it is abundant and eternal, resurrection life with great reward. We may be traveling that road to Calvary today and satan may be working through agents and people that mean well, but they don’t comprehend the way we must go and why we must go there. We must be careful that we don’t allow others to turn us from our call to discipleship and the cross or that we don’t become a stumbling block to others to keep them from walking that way as well. In order to fully realize who we are we have to die to what we were. It takes two hands to embrace discipleship. We have reached out in faith with one, but we have to release our world and the things we have held dear to take hold of the Lord with the other. The things of this world keep pulling us down into death while the Lord is pulling us up into life, but it takes both hands laying hold of His for us to be pulled up into the fullness of His life.

Blessings,
kent

A Fish Story

October 14, 2013

John 21: 1-6
1Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias, It happened this way: 2Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3″I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

A Fish Story

How often we struggle so hard to produce so little, but one word from the Lord, acted upon in obedience, can produce beyond our expectations.
When I was a young married man and Sharon was pregnant with our first son, we lived next to a lake in a park in the middle of town. I had been working construction as a laborer, it was the middle of winter, there wasn’t much work so I spent about our last $10 on a fishing license and decided to fish for our dinner. All morning long I sat out in the cold with not even a nibble. Around noon, Sharon came out to see how I was doing and of course I didn’t have a good report to give her. I had been fishing and praying all morning that the Lord would help me catch something and I had received nothing. She asked if she could try for a little bit, so she fished for about a half an hour and sure enough, she caught a little trout. Well, I have to say I was a little frustrated with the Lord, because here I had been fishing all morning with not even so much as a nibble and then she comes out and in a short time she has already caught something. After that I, I started fishing again and a short time later I felt a little tug and then a pretty good hit. I did everything you shouldn’t do. I jerked on that line to set the hook and I felt it go slack. “Oh no, I lost him” I thought, as I reeled in the slack line. Then, there he was again. I was reeling in like crazy and as I got this fish up next to the bank the hook came out of his mouth, the line went flying back up into the trees behind me and I am out there kicking this fish up onto the bank. It was quite a sight. What I caught was about an 18-inch walleye pike. The funny thing is how the Lord allowed me to catch it. When I looked at my hook, I had been fishing with salmon eggs and a little bitty perch was on the hook. The pike had gone for the perch and had never really been hooked himself. Normally a pike can cut right through your line with their razor sharp teeth, but through these unusual circumstances that Lord had answered my prayer and gave me a fish that fed about four or five people that night. There was never a doubt in my mind that it was the Lord that gave me that fish in a miraculous way.
The Lord often doesn’t work so differently in many other areas of our lives. We go out and do our thing and ask God to bless it. I think often the Lord sees us out there blindly flailing around in what we call faith and He has pity on us. God uses these little simple moments in our lives to teach us deeper principles. He taught me that faith doesn’t have a lot of substance unless it is tried and tested. He taught me that I should not be jealous or envious of others when it seemed I was bypassed and another was blessed. He taught me, that indeed He was my provider and He did care about my needs. We often don’t get a lot of results in our own efforts, but obeying one word from the Lord can more than fill our boat.
Don’t become discouraged if you have believed, for what seems a long time, with little results. Rest in the faithfulness of the Lord that He will move in His time and to His glory. Don’t mummer or complain, just keep praising Him and trusting in Him. Keep listening for His word and then act upon it, even when it doesn’t make sense to your natural mind. The Lord is nearer than you think and He knows your heart and your need. Trust that you will catch your fish when God’s time is right.

Blessings,
kent

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