Luke 18:18-29

18A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19″Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'” 21″All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” 27Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 28Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” 29″I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”

Hidden Issues of the Heart

We never truly see the fiber and the substance of our being until we are stretched beyond the boundaries of our comfort and norm.  There we see the flaws often hidden from sight.  We can oftentimes see ourselves much like this rich young ruler if we are willing to acknowledge it.  We love and have a zeal for God.  We try to keep His word and commandments.  We feel in our hearts that we truly love God.  We want to serve Him and we hunger and want more of Him.  We acknowledge that we have already done the fundamental requirements.  

“We have done all of these Jesus, what more do I need to do?”  

When Jesus puts His finger on our true heart issues.  He goes where we don’t want Him to go.  He goes to those little sanctuaries and strongholds of self that hold our affections.  It is those areas that often we don’t even realize how much they mean to us until we are asked to give them up.   For the rich young ruler it was his riches and wealth.  It had become what defined who he was and his identity was in his position and wealth rather than in God.  When Jesus touched on His heart issue it made the young man very sorrowful.  The Greek word here conveys that it was sorrow as to cause one’s death, a deep grief and grieving.  Jesus asks him to exchange his riches on earth for the riches of the kingdom of heaven.   He couldn’t bring himself to do what Jesus asked of him.  

Most of us want to continue on and be content with where we are spiritually.  When we begin to really hunger for more of God and ask God for more, then we have to be willing to pay the price.  We have to be willing to deal with our heart issues and the little strongholds of self that we still want to hold on too.  It grieves us to give them up, but we can never give up something, but what He will not give us so much more, if not in this life, then in the life to come.  

When the Lord allows circumstances and people to come into our lives that stretch us out of our comfort zones.  It is there that we begin to often see how shallow our love really is, how easily we are often offended and put out with those who step on our toes and our rights.  What God shows me is that there is far more of me there than I want to acknowledge and lay claim too.  When He stretches me and proves me and sounds the depths of my heart that is when I often find how shallow the waters of His love are in me.  If we want more of God then there is always more of a relinquishment of self.  The way of obtaining and walking in resurrection life is through the cross and through the death of this former man.  We can mentally and spiritually aspire to it, but it has to become substance in our lives.  

There is an old saying that “no one can get your goat, unless you have a goat to be got.”  How many goats are we still hanging onto?   We must not fail the challenge that the rich young ruler had.  The things of this earth are perishing and passing away, but His life is eternal and His riches endure forever.  “What is impossible with men, is possible with God.”  Lord help us to not turn from you, but press into You even when it cost us everything.  Help us to do what seems impossible to us, because with You all things are possible.  

Blessings, 

#kent

A Word from the Lord

November 10, 2015

A Word from the Lord

Romans 13:12

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Leave this day the things of the earthly realm behind you. Look into the dawn of the New Day for from the East arises your salvation and from the West the sun is setting on the former things and the things of this time and place. Open your heart to me and I will fill it. Open your mouth to me and I will fill it. Open your hands to me and I will fill them. I will be your supply and your provision. All of your need is met in me. Lean not upon the arm of the flesh to feed and provide in your day of want. I am your Provider and the supplier of every need. Lean not upon your own understanding, but lean on the council of My Word, for it is the light unto your path and a lamp unto your feet. Take care that you walk in the light of the council of my Word. It is a sword to prove you, to divide and separate soul and spirit. Far too long my people have been a mixture and double-minded in their ways. Let your eye be single and your heart true to the calling that I have given you to walk in My ways and obey My commands, if you do this, then do you love Me. Far too long my people offer up the oblations of praise and worship, but their hearts are far from me. Outwardly they do their homage, but within their heart and their thoughts they entertain wickedness and impurity. I do not judge the outward man, but the inward man, the man of the heart. What value does a beautiful cup or vessel have if it is full of abominations and wickedness? The fire is sent to purify that which I have sanctified. It will burn with unquenchable thirst until there is no more left to feed its desire. Mercy and grace will wet and temper the steel of godliness in my people, lest they be consumed in judgement. My people shall turn to me from the least to the greatest and those that are mine shall gather beneath My wing. There I will shelter them from the storm. It is a time of pruning and separation so that those who would bear fruit may do so more abundantly and those that are dead upon the vine may be cut off and cast into the fire. What a man has sown and what he is now sowing will bear its fruit and he shall eat the fruit thereof either to life or to death. Take care how you plant into your life and into the lives of others. Clay pots hold divine life. Only as they are emptied are they perpetually filled. Stop holding the life till it becomes stagnant and putrified. Pour out that which I place within each one of you. It is only in giving that you truly receive. Release the life. You are not vessels for storage, you are the vessels of daily use to wash the feet of common people and make their way clean and sure. Some of you say, what do I have to give? Give your life, your service, and My love that abides within you. With Me there is never a lack of supply or increase. You are shallow, because your deeds are shallow. Become the vessel that is tipped over and poured out. If you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly. Revelation is coming, but it comes with a price. It must be received with humility and obedience. The revelation of the Most High is revealed in what you live and not in what you know. The revelation of Jesus Christ in you is revealed through a crucified life, laid upon the altar of obedience and service. Today is the day to seek Me and lay all else aside. I am your refuge, your hiding place, your mighty fortress, but you must truly know me to be hid in me. It is no longer about outward actions of religion and godliness, it is a day to know intimately my heart and come into the inner sanctuary of relationship and abiding that is only found in intimacy and relationship. Come quickly, for the days are getting short and times and seasons are at hand. Rouse you up out of your sleep and slumber and come away with me. I speak these things to you, because I love you. Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit is speaking to the Church. It is the day for the Bride to prepare herself and make ready for her Groom. Take heed and act quickly.

Blessings,

#kent

I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do!
Joshua 1:6-9
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The word and promise that the Lord gave Joshua so many years ago is as applicable today for us as it was for Him. The greatest limitations we have are our failure to see and believe God. “All things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23).” If we can see it, it is possible.
James 4:1-3 says, “1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” What we need is a heart, mind and soul that are in alignment and purpose with Him to whom we belong. In order for us to have good success we have to come out from under the darkness and lies that rob us of the truth and into all of the richness heaven holds for us. We are still conformed to the world in many ways of our thinking and reasoning. Our perspective is not often one of praying from the mind of the Spirit and the Word of God. Aren’t most of us caught up in our agendas rather than the Father’s? We are living this life, so we still need things to work our way; that is often the perspective from which we pray.
God is going to take us through battles, trials and testings to possess our land. We can not do it if our reliance is upon the natural man. That is why we meditate upon the Word day and night, so that we may have the mind of Christ. That is why the Word of God must not depart from our mouth, because it is our authority of truth that dispels the lies and darkness of the enemy. The spoken Word of God in our mouths drives the stakes and establishes the boundaries of our faith. Satan can not dwell in light, so light must flood our souls to dispel the deceitfulness of sin. We have the spiritual armory of God’s Word and its application to defeat our foes. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
God has told us, as He told Joshua, that there are great and mighty things that we are to do. There are enemies to conquer and victories to be won. There is a land to possess and promises that need fulfillment. 2 Peter 1: 2-4 makes this bold proclamation, “3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Our God is calling us to be a people of divine nature. We are after the image of our Father; we are called to be the sons of God, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Yet, we ignorantly and constantly cling to the attributes and thinking of this lower nature. It isn’t because God hasn’t provided the means for us or that Christ didn’t die to make it a reality. It is we ourselves, that fail to grasp the vision, the faith and make the commitment to possess the impossible through the power of God that makes all things possible to him that believes. Everything in my life has to come into alignment with God’s Word so that the higher principles and laws of the Kingdom of God may take affect in this natural realm. Your are what the Word of God says you are and you can do what the Word of God says you can do. Do we really believe that and will we fully act upon it?

Blessings,
#kent

How Great is Your Vision

October 22, 2015

Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth.

How Great is Your Vision

Our natural circumstances and surroundings often dictate what we can see and believe for. If our circumstances are less than perfect it can affect the way we feel and then our feelings dictate what we perceive our world to be. Before long we may find ourselves murmuring, complaining and doubting. We can become despondent, cynical and critical. Through these we open the door to fear, because fear is the absence of faith. For many of us, it is time that we get our head out of the sand and look up. If your perspective is always looking down or just seeing what you don’t have then you will always see life from a negative point of view. The one thing that God has given mankind is hope. It is faith to believe in the things that we don’t yet see. This is a day to increase your vision beyond what you can see. You can’t have what you can’t see, but if you can see it, then all things are possible to him that believes. These are the words of Jesus, not me. There is a vision of the natural man that sees only through natural eyes, in real time, the world around him. We also have another set of eyes. It is our mind’s eye. It is what we can see beyond ourselves and the current state of affairs. This is why it is so important to be constant in reading and studying God’s Word, because it gives us the mind of Christ and gives to us a heavenly hope and vision. Romans 10: 17 says, “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” I would be in the greatest place of despair if I really believed that all I had to hope in was myself. I know my frailties and how weak I am, but my hope is not in me, it is in the One that I have placed my faith and trust in. I marvel at where He has brought me, what He has done for me and given me. I really can’t glory in that, because I know in my heart where it came from. The glory can only go to God. Our pastor shared that once when he had prayed to God and asked if he could have something or if it was possible, the Lord spoke to him and said, “Can you see it? If you can see it you can have it.” Most often our greatest limitation is our natural mind and thinking. God’s Word shows us that with the life of the Spirit in us we have the energy and the dynamite of God to carry out His will and purpose. The Word says in Romans 8:31-32, “…If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” You see it doesn’t matter what we go through or what circumstances that we find ourselves in, our hope is not in ourselves, it is in Him. Even in those darkest of hours, His presence is with you rather you can feel it or not. You know that because His promises say so and God is not a man that He should lie. So the question today is how great is your vision? How far can you see with the eyes of faith? Start embracing that vision through your praise and worship to God. Give thanks for what you have yet to see with your natural eyes. We always speak of great men as being men of vision. Obviously their vision was not limited to the natural realm. They could see something beyond what was currently present and they set themselves on the course to achieve and walk into it. They didn’t let the naysayers or doubt, unbelief or failures dissuade them, but they kept pressing into that vision till they realized faith becoming substance. How great is your vision? “If you can see it, then you can have it.”

Blessings,

#kent

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

Taking Up an Offense

October 15, 2015

Proverbs 18:19
An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.

Taking Up an Offense

How many of us today are carrying offenses in our heart towards another. They said something to us, they did something to us, they wronged us in some way and now they are on the black list of our heart to stay. We have all been offended, hurt, disappointed, emotionally wounded and wronged in some way. I guess that is pretty normal behavior in the world, but what about in the identity that God has given us in Christ. In our identity with Him, are we still justified in holding on to these offenses, no matter how justified we reason within ourselves to do so?
Colossians 3: 13 says, ” Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” That is not a request, but a command. Have we never offended or hurt anyone? Are we so unwilling to forgive what we ourselves have been guilty of?
One revelation we all need to get is that we are not of this world and yet we keep thinking like it and acting like it. That is not a renewed mind in Christ, it is being conformed to the world which is an offense to God. When we are unwilling to forgive then we spit in the face of Him who forgave us. That is strong and it should be, because that is how the Lord takes it. He forgave us so much, shouldn’t we be willing to forgive little. Jesus spoke parables about forgiveness and He taught a word concerning it that very few of us are walking in.
Now someone might be thinking, “Will you don’t know what they did to me, I can’t ever forgive them for that.”
Jesus said, ” “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46)
Somehow we can all become self-righteous about things. We can see all of the faults in others. We may be carrying an offense against someone that isn’t even our own. We have taken it up for someone else because they were wronged. We tend to somehow feel that we have been given the right to judge others for their wrongs and are justified in condemning them and holding it against them.
Jesus said, ” “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Romans 2:1-4 also addressed this issue, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” It goes on to say that because of this stubbornness we store up wrath for ourselves, because we are going to be judged by the same standards that we judged others and if we showed no mercy, then we can’t expect to receive mercy.
How can we fully walk in who we are in Christ when we hold offense against a brother or another. God is love. His love and forgiveness has been shed abroad in our hearts as believers. Are we now going to annul what He died for? Listen to what 1 John 2:9-11 has to say about this. “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”
Are people, and even brothers and sisters, going to hurt, disappoint and offend us? You can count on it, but what you do with that offense speaks volumes to how real your identity is in Christ. If you really know Him, you will keep His commands. If you really love Him, you will allow His love to dominate and guide your heart. Your mercy will triumph over judgement and you will be the hot coals of love poured over the offenders head.
I would just like to end this with the exhortation given from Roman12:9-21 about how we are to walk in love toward one another. May the Holy Spirit help us acknowledge, to release and forgive any and all offenses that we have been carrying.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Blessings,
#kent

The Spirit of a Jackass

September 14, 2015

Jeremiah 14:6
“Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights and pant like jackals; their eyesight fails for lack of pasture.”

The Spirit of a Jackass

Oh that men would praise Him rather than sing mournful hymns and songs. Oh that men of the cloth would have restored to them spiritual vision and insight. The religious man perishes and is made like dry bones. He pursues God only with his mind and intellect while his heart is far from Him. He has not the faith to embrace and hold the things of God because he stands upon the barren heights of man’s religion and tradition. It is what he has been handed down from his fathers and it is what he has learned to embrace. Now, as a wild donkey, he stands upon the barren and desolate heights of religious intellect and the traditions of his fathers to find he like the jackal is looking for some dead thing to feed upon. His spiritual eyesight fails to see that God is so much more than the cathedrals of theology and learning. He is not only the God of the past, but of the here and now. He doesn’t know how to find and relate with God in his own present tense. His soul is lean though his head is full of knowledge. He dwells in the land of famine and feeds upon the fodder of human reasoning. He has a form of godliness, but denies the power thereof. Thus, he finds no pasture and rest for his soul, but wrestles with fears, doubts and unbelief. The product of this man is found across the landscape of religion. They have their structures, their forms, their incantation, ceremonies and holy words, but their lives are devoid of the life giving power of true relationship and fellowship with Father God. There God is kept in their holy box instead of being a living fire in their hearts.
Though the truth is spoken to them they can not hear. They will not receive for they are like the wild donkeys, stubborn and set in their ways. They, in fact, resent and despise those who live in and speak the truth, for they are the heretics of their religious box. The religion and their tradition have become their idol and indeed it is the religion and form that they worship and not God.
Jeremiah 14:10 says, “This is what the LORD says about this people: “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” The strongholds of religion will fall. Their religious walls have only served to hide the hypocrisy and sin of those who inhabit them. The Lord Almighty has judged the form and tradition of religion, because like the law of Moses it has become an instrument of death and not life, it has only condemned with judgement and fear instead of giving life, liberty and freedom. God does not dwell in edifices and structures of men, but in the living stones of His peoples lives and hearts. “Unless the Lord build the house they that labor, labor in vain.” The Lord will establish His house. 1 Peter 2:4-10 speaks the mind of God concerning His house, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” This is God’s temple and this is His house that He has built through the hands of His Son, Jesus Christ.
God is calling His true people out of the former traditions and forms of men into the relationship with Him whereby you may cry “Abba Father”, Papa God. Our God is a God of relationship not of form and dead letter. He is desiring to bring you into the fellowship of His family and communion with His Holy Spirit. That relationship is not one of ceremony but of knowing Him in the intimacy of your heart and life through Christ. Wild Donkeys will not hear this word for they are stubborn and stiff-necked, determined in their own way even when it leaves them in famine and desolation, but those who have spiritual ears will hear and come out from among her to find that true and living church which isn’t in an organization, but is a living, functioning organism of His life, love and fellowship. This is the word of the Lord to His people this day.
Blessings,
#kent

Colossians 3:18-19
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

The Road back to Love and Intimacy

Remember when your romance was as sweet as honey and the love of your life could do no wrong. You adored them, idolized them and wanted to spend every moment together. Many of us, looking back at those younger years, ask ourselves, “what happened to that first love?” We still may love each other, but many couples struggle with the “feelings of love” that are missing. The romance has died way down and now you may find that instead of really loving and cherishing that wonderful man or woman you are struggling to get along with them. The man may feel like the wife is always nagging him, he can never do enough or anything right, she doesn’t respect and honor him. The woman may feel like the husband has become an insensitive jerk that never communicates or works through the problems, he doesn’t meet her needs. Over the years and the cycles of good and bad times, we can accumulate a lot of baggage. If I ask you if you love your husband or your wife, you would quite likely reply, “will of course I do,” but neither one of you may be experiencing the love from one another that you feel and know should be there. We may say we hold no unforgiveness toward one another, but in reality both parties bear scars, wounds, unresolved conflicts and issues that linger in the subconscious ready to rear their ugly heads at the right moment, opportunity or provocation. We find that we fail to often treat each other with the love, dignity and respect that both parties are due in a marriage.
Fifty percent of our marriages fail due to these kind of issues, but how many more are struggling and hurting? We need to return to that place of intimacy and closeness that we once shared, but we can’t until we are able let down the walls we’ve built up and are willing to let go of all the offenses, hurts and bitterness that we carry.
When the Word says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord,” that submission might be just creating a safe place where your husband can share with you. It needs to be a place where you aren’t venting your anger, frustration, criticism and unhappiness, no matter how justified you may feel with those feelings. If you want your husband to communicate and be sensitive to your needs, you have to create an atmosphere of submission where you really want to see, feel and understand his heart. That can be a hard place for a man. He may not be in touch with his feelings the way you are, so be gentle and be patient and above all, be kind.
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Husbands can be very confrontational, critical and harsh, but many repress their feelings and emotions. They retreat into that shell of seeming insensitivity and non-communication. Many times it is a response of self-preservation. Often the harder the wife tries to break through that seeming insensitivity with harsh or critical words the more the husband withdrawals. If you want the turtle to stick his head out of the shell you have to stop beating on the shell and make him feel that when he sticks his head out it won’t get bit off. Husbands can hold a lot of things in their hearts that they may not even be fully aware of. Their means of retaliation may be more passive or subtle, but it may be coming from a bitterness that has built up in their hearts against their wives. They, on the other hand, need to really listen to the heart of their wives and make those needs their goals to fulfill. They need to make them feel secure in your love for them and remember them often in the little gifts, the things you do and say. Marriage is a teaching ground for unconditional love and service. It is where we should both be learning to lay down our lives for the other. Love is not always about feeling, but about commitment, covenant and a decision to love your spouse unconditionally even when they don’t derserve it.
Maybe we need to come together as a couple where we can agree that the love of Christ is going to rule and dictate our behavior and response to one another. We need to hold one another, not sexually, but intimately, while we confess our sins, our hurts and failures to one another. We need to truly commit to a willingness to really forgive and hear the other person’s heart. We need an uninterrupted time of reconciliation where we can write down and commit to one another some realistic goals where we will begin to address some of our deepest issues. Keep it simple and not more than we can realistically deal with at one time. Start with just three things each. Then let’s make a date for our next intimate time we can meet with the same right heart and attitude, in the love of Christ to see how we are doing. Again, we need to keep it safe and non-confrontational. This is a team project and we can’t succeed if we only have our own agenda and interest at heart. We can’t expect to mend and restore a broken down barn in a day or even a week, it will take time to restore, just as it took time to deteriorate. We can change the cycle and the direction of our marriages if we will both commit to it and stay with it. We will begin to see our true intimacy and love begin to come alive in our feelings and the way we treat one another. God wants to see our marriages strong and alive with His love. There is a lot of truth to the addage that ‘the family that prays together, stays together’. It is hard to be right with each other when we are not right with God. If we are committed to Christ, then we must also be committed to one another, for we are one flesh. Together let’s build the road back to true love and intimacy like we had in our first love.

Blessings,
#kent

Love is not Always Easy

August 27, 2015

Ephesians 4:1-3
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Love is not Always Easy

A part of the calling that we have as Christians in Christ Jesus is to walk in love. If we are going only by emotions, there will be a lot of times that we won’t feel love. We may feel everything but love. The first thing we have to realize is that while love may carry with it emotions and strong feelings, the emotions and feelings aren’t the love. Love is a decision of your heart. True love is a commitment in the good times and the bad, in the sweet and the bitter, for the better or for the worse. Therefore love is not always about how we feel. God first loved us when we were sinners, estranged and in rebellion to Him. His love wasn’t in response to our love; it was in spite of the fact that we didn’t love Him. God has chosen to love us and His actions toward us were deliberate and not just responsive to us based on what we could give back. This is the love that Christ has placed in our hearts because He is in us. We are to choose to act out of love, not to just love others when they love us or love the people that are nice and pleasant, or that we have feelings for. Love is often a hard choice. It is often not easy to love certain people. It is our calling, in as much as is possible, to be a peace with all men and to live and act out of the attitude of love. Love needs to be what powers us, motivates and drives us in the will of God. When we begin to think upon the vastness and the magnitude of God and how insignificant and minute we are in comparison, it just blows us away that He even would acknowledge us, let alone give His only Son to die for us. How can we truly comprehend that kind of love? Yet everything God is and does is motivated out of love, because God is love. That same force, that is God’s source and power, now indwells us. It must be what drives and motivates us to love God with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and strength. It is also what empowers us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
We know how hard it is even within our own marriages to always love our spouse. They can be so irritating, inconsiderate, unappreciative, stubborn, insensitive, lazy and any number of other adjectives and nouns. In the beginning we were moved by great emotions and feelings, but after the honeymoon was over that perfect person can turn into one our greatest trials in life. What we forget is that love is still a choice. We start responding to our spouse like we did in the beginning, out of feelings and emotions; only this time they are negative instead of positive. Our love and hate are a response of our flesh and soul and not a choice of our spirit. Love doesn’t react because someone is pushing our buttons; it is a choice based on our commitment, vow and promise. It doesn’t return insult for insult, hurt for hurt, cursing for cursing. It chooses to act and respond out of the nature of Christ. It also must be willing to accept valid criticism, correction and look at what can best meet the other person’s needs. We are all unique and different individuals and none of us were made or designed to fit perfectly within someone else’s box. There are a lot of times we don’t even like who we are, so how is someone else always going to please us? This is where the lowliness, gentleness, forbearance, longsuffering and the fruit of the Spirit enter in. This is the place where we get to practice living the nature of Christ.
The root of most ended marriages is selfishness of one or more of the individuals. Love is not selfish, it is self-sacrificing and it takes both parties giving and compromising to create the best environment to be able to live in enjoyment and in peace with one another. It is always work and most of the time it is not easy. It is only successful through the commitment of both parties and their choice and commitment to love the other. The same principle holds true in our relationships with others. It is God’s love that must possess you; our love always falls short. Love is not always easy, but it is always God.

Blessings,
#kent

When I am Weak

August 20, 2015

When I am Weak

Psalms 6:2
Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I [am] weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

Show me Thy ways and I will aspire to walk in them,
Impart unto me Your strength that I might carry them out,
Give me Your heart that I can have like passion and commitment,
Take my will that Yours may be done.

Father, we often faint in the heat of the day,
Our eye dims and our desires begin to stray.
Please take my hand and lift me up,
I keep wanting to sink in this miry clay.

Life can be good, but it is also hard,
It is not always easy to keep up my guard.
Often I grow discouraged with myself,
I want give up on my spiritual health.

Like a diet gone bad,
Sometimes I just want to give in to sin.
“Ah, what’s the use?
I’ve already blown it again.”

Yet the cross compels me not to give up,
It can’t be in vain that Christ drank from that cup.
I can not give place in my weakness to sin.
Would I drive those nails in His loving hands again?

Lord, I cry out in my weakness to You,
Help me not my old ways to pursue.
They never brought me peace or joy before,
Help me, oh Lord, not to open again that door.

You know my frame, that it is weak,
But my eyes are on you, and it is You that I seek.
Let it be no longer I that lives,
Help me lay all on the altar to freely give.

For my death, You give me Life.
For my heartache, you give me Peace.
For my sin, You give me Righteousness.
For my failure, You give me Salvation.

Your Word have I hid in my heart,
That I might not sin against Thee.
It mirrors Your Love and Grace,
When my eye grows dim and I fail to see.

Keep my feet in that narrow path,
I want to know Grace, not judgement and wrath.
Grace that takes me to a higher standard than law,
Grace that restores me in those times I fall.

Lord, You are my everything,
Without You I really have nothing.
Help me when I grow frail and weak,
May it be Your Life within me and Your words that I speak.
Kent Stuck

Blessings
#kent

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