When We Call

January 15, 2016

 

Psalms 138:3

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.

When We Call

This morning, I waited for some time before the Lord dropped this scripture in my spirit.  It made me realize that God does hear us, but we don’t always hear His answer right away.   What makes us bold and stouthearted is the confidence in His Word and in Him that is answering us even through we may not audibly hear or physically see the answer right away.  As we wait upon the Lord, we need to do so from the perspective of worship and faith.  

Now let me share with you the two verses preceding verse three.  “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.  I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”  Notice the approach and attitude toward God, as David, the Psalmist, approaches God for his answer.  David first exalts the Lord in praise, secondly he bows and prostrates himself in the attitude, position and spirit of worship.  Then he makes declaration of the Lord’s faithfulness to His Word and to His name.  

Sometimes, in our busy life and Christianity we forget that there is a protocol to our coming before the Lord.  In the light of that protocol that we see here, we might see how rude it could be for us to just pray as we go; telling the Lord all that we are having problems with and all that we need.  Most of the time we are never get quite or still long enough to listen and see if the Lord has anything to say back to us.  Remember the awesome, holy God we pray too.  He is not just a part of our “to do” list and He’s not just a part of our “to do it for us list”  He is worthy of our every day, every moment, highest regard, reverence and praise.  God wants to meet with us and have relationship with us, but let us never get so flippant and complacent that we dishonor Him in the way we approach and seek Him.   

Listen to whom God says He is, to whom God says He will look and to whom He will listen in Isaiah 66:1-2.  “This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.

Where is the house you will build for me?  Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord.

“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”  

You see, the attitude and position of our heart has a great deal to do with how God receives us.  This word “esteem”  means to look, consider, pay attention to.  If we wonder why we seldom or never hear from God, then we might want to consider how we approach and honor Him with our lives, our praise, worship and prayers.  Learn to ascend into His presence.  Remember, when we call upon the Lord, to follow how Psalms 100 gives us  instruction on how to approach our awesome and wonderful Father.  

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Blessings,

#kent

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Isaiah 30:15-18

This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: 

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.” 18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. 

Blessed are all who wait for him! 

“Blessed are all who wait for Him!”

Do not be moved by what you see and hear, but be moved by the Spirit of the Lord.  Many of us are looking to our means of escape and survival in this hour.  We are operating out of the fear of what we see around us and not out of the Spirit and mind of God.  Listen to what the Lord says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”  This is God’s word to us in this hour if we are listening with the ears of the Spirit, but as the Lord says, many will not listen.  Many will grow frightened and anxious and flee on the horses of their own means and devices.  Many will flee when threatened, but those who are left behind, those who are hearing by the Spirit and are not moved by what they see will find their salvation.  There will be the remnant that is like the flagpole on the mountain and the banner on the hill.  They remain as a standard of the faithfulness of God.  Yet God is still gracious to His people and arises to show them compassion.  

The adversities that we face in this natural realm are unsettling to our souls.  We are not unlike Elijah’s servant who beheld the multitude of the armies that surrounded the city where they were.  He didn’t see a way out.  There seemed to be no escape.  2 Kings 6: 15-19 reads, “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. 16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  The same is true in this hour as we face these difficult times.  We cry out what shall we do?  The Lord is saying, ““In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” Let us be the voice of repentance for our nation and the abominations that have come to dwell among us in our society.  Let us be the voice of intercession and prayer that rises to Father.  You are His righteousness in the earth.  He is jealous over you with an everlasting jealousy.  Do not be turned from who you are and what you know of Him.  We serve a God of strength, virtue and justice, but often His justice is not fully executed until the fullness of iniquity has filled the cup.  Hold fast your faithfulness and don’t allow the spirit of fear to grip your hearts.  Fear God only and know that He is your sure foundation and your everlasting salvation.  

Let us in quietness and trust discern the voice of the Holy Spirit and only move as our true Lord and Shepherd leads us.  He has given His angels charge over us and His protection is as a wall of fire around us.  Be still and know that He alone is God. “Blessed are all who wait for Him!”

Blessings,

#kent

That He may Speak to You

August 21, 2015

2 Corinthians 3:18 (Amplified)
And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

That He may Speak to You

I feel like the Lord has an exercise for us to do today.
Go to the mirror. Look past the outward man that confronts you and into your spirit. Wait upon the Lord. Give yourself time to wait. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you there the things concerning you. Discern His Spirit, for He will not come to you in condemnation, but He may speak into you correction. Give yourself time to behold the man or woman of God that you are becoming. Again, don’t judge it by the outward or out of your opinions of yourself. Listen for the still small voice of His Holy Spirit to minister and speak to you there. He will speak to you the truth. Allow Him to reflect back to you who you truly are. You will know because it will line up with His Word.
If you feel led please write and share what you found in obeying this spiritual exercise.

Blessings,
#kent

Why We Hate to Wait

August 3, 2015

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Why We Hate to Wait

Life is moving at incredible speeds most of the time. We live in a world where we have schedules to keep, deadlines to meet and goals to attain. We don’t have time to waste and so we get very impatient when we have to wait. In spite of that, much of our time is relegated to waiting. We wait in traffic, or for the bus, for the family to get ready to go, to speak to an appointment or in a grocery line. We wait at the doctor’s office, when we have to see a person to get a matter of business taken care of, for our car to get repaired, and for something to start or something to finish. We are always wanting to go a hundred miles and hour, but we are always impeded by that frustrating person in front of us. Don’t you just hate to wait? For all of the waiting that we do, patience and longsuffering isn’t often one of our strongest virtues. Instead it tends to gender more stress and emotional issues.
Now we turn to the spiritual side of our life and here is God telling us we need to wait upon Him, but we don’t have time to wait because we have a life to live and an incredible amount of demands and tasks to get accomplished. We feel like we need to be running, not waiting. Why do we have to wait God?
Since I have been writing this paper, it has taught me more about waiting upon the Lord. Everyday that I write, I have to come to Him and ask Him about what to write and then wait upon Him for the direction. Many times He may give me something right away, sometimes I have to wait a good period of time and occasionally nothing comes at all. Now I can charge ahead and just decide for myself what I will write and I have probably have done that on occasion whether I was aware of it or not, but I know that life comes from the daily bread that the Father gives. Each day I want to approach Him with, “Give me this day, my daily bread.” Spiritually I need for the Father to provide that spiritual food rather it comes through His written Word, a personal word or a word given through an outside source, I need to hear from Him. That means I have to shut up and start listening rather than just talking. We all know that we need to pray and talk to God, but do we all know that we also need to be still and listen. We expect that God should always listen to us, but do we take the time to listen to Him? Now I will be honest with you. There are times I have prayed about matters over a period of time and listened, but I didn’t hear much directly from the Lord. Those are times when as I proceed I place those matters in His hands and ask Him to direct the outcome and His will to be done. There are times when we should have enough of the Word and spiritual principles within us that God expects us to step forward and operate out of His life within us in different situations, but that doesn’t negate the need for us to wait upon the Lord.
If you and I were servants in a house and our lives were to wait upon the master of the house what would we need to do? Our sole responsibility is to wait upon him. Now that doesn’t mean that we just pull up a chair and sit down, it means that we operate in a manner that ministers and meets our master’s needs and not our own. His priorities are our priorities and when He does speak to us, we respond with prompt obedience. Now wouldn’t it be out of place for us to take our agenda to the master and say here is what I’ve got going today, can you help me out? You see many of us get our roles reversed, we are trying to run God rather than serve Him. Waiting is an exercise in putting God’s agenda first in our lives.
We are like batteries. If we are constantly putting out, but never taking in, we will exhaust ourselves and burn out. Waiting upon the Lord is like spiritually recharging one’s self. It causes us to slow down and focus on the things that pertain to life and godliness. It is a time when God renews our strength and empowers us with His life to do His will. If we are living life out of our strength and effort we are like a firecracker that goes pop and we’re done. Nothing lasting was accomplished but a brief noise, but in Christ we are like a slow burning candle giving off the scent of His life and character. It may not seem like we are anything or anyone of great significance, but when we operate out of the Spirit by waiting upon the Lord our life will have meaning and impact. It will make a difference in our world and isn’t that what we really want our lives to be about. Don’t hate to wait upon the Lord, look forward to it. It is your time to be renewed in His life and strength

Blessings,
#kent

Come with Me

June 23, 2015

Song of Solomon 2:10-13
My lover spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.
11 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”

Come with Me

Even as in the natural the winter is passing and spring is coming the life and glory of God is springing forth within its people. It is a time for dead things to be pruned away so that the life of Christ within us might flourish and bring forth in fruitfulness.
The Lover of our souls is whispering in our spirits, “Come with me.” He is stirring within us a renewed love and passion of Him. He is calling us up unto Him and into His presence. His voice is tender and sweet, but still a whisper. If we have the volume turned up to loud in our outward lives we could easily miss hearing Him. He is speaking to those whose hearts are tender and who are pursuing Him. Many will miss it and continue on with life as usual, but He is whispering to those who are listening and to those that can hear He speaks, “Come with Me.”
This is a beautiful time of fruitfulness in the Lord if we are walking with Him and if we are discerning His voice. The Lord is ushering in His kingdom through a kingdom people, many of which are hidden and unknown to the world or even Christianity at large. They are the precious ones that He has hidden unto Himself. Those that He has been training up and revealing Himself too.
Our Lover speaks in verse 14 and says, “My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” In this hour the Lover of our souls is calling forth His dove, His spirit-filled ones who have been hidden. It is the hour when they will show their face and be revealed to the world. Their voice is sweet with the truths that the Holy Spirit has revealed and planted in them and their countenance is lovely with the glory and presence of the Lord.
In verse 15 the Lord speaks to us what we must do. “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” It is those little things that you must deal with. It is the little tormentors that spoil our fruitfulness that keeps us focused upon the outward and concerned about the natural. It is those little foxes that push our buttons and causes us to respond out of the flesh rather than walking in the Spirit. It is those little foxes that are like the weight and sins that so easily beset us and hinder us in our high calling in Christ Jesus. We have to catch those little foxes so that they can be laid aside to no longer rob and hinder our fruitfulness in righteousness. Hebrews 12:1-2 exhorts us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” What is it that hinders us from coming with Him if it is not the entanglement and encumbrances of this world? We must rid ourselves of the little foxes.
Are we listening and can we hear? It is springtime and the Lord is stirring up and bringing forth new life. Listen to what He is speaking into your spirit. Listen as He calls you forth unto Him. He is pruning the dead things and the foxes that spoil our vine so that the things that pertain to life and godliness might flourish and be fruitful. Let him who has ears hear, even as the disciples heard the call of the Lord when He said leave what you are doing and come with me. Very few really hear and even fewer are willing to let go of their life and respond to His. Those that can hear and have their ear tuned to the Spirit, He is speaking, “Come with Me.” He is calling unto Himself His kingdom people.

Blessings,
#kent

The Seductress

April 24, 2015

The Seductress

Proverbs 7
1 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your kinsman; 5 they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words. 6 At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. 7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. 8 He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house 9 at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. 10 Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. 11 (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) 13 She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said: 14 “I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! 16 I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! 19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. 20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” 21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. 22 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose 23 till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life. 24 Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.

It is said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We, as human beings, are the sum of our strengths and our weaknesses. What truly makes our chain stronger is the power of the Spirit of Christ within us.
Proverbs 7 starts out by a father exhorting his son to keep the commandments, the Word of God within him. He emphasizes that by saying, don’t just listen to the Word, but make it part and substance of your being. Let that Word influence the works of your hands and write them on the tablets of your heart till they become who you are. Make God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding as your sister and near relative.
Why do I need to do that? “They will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words.”
This passage is not just about sexual seduction; it is more about spiritual seduction. Most all of us are familiar with the passage in 1 Peter 5:8 which says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” This is that same spirit that is at work to entice our souls away from Christ. It looks for our vulnerabilities, our weaknesses, and those areas of foolishness that we have yet to fully submit and bring into the obedience of Christ. They may have been subdued, lurking in the darkness of our soul. We haven’t wanted others to be aware of them and many times we ourselves are in denial that they exist, but they are there, looking and craving for the opportunity of expression and release. We often wrestle and struggle with these areas in our lives, but there will be a time and place of weakness in our lives that we will give place to them. We may not even see the immediate consequences of our actions, but this seductive spirit feeds upon the dust, the humanity and the lust of our souls. Once we begin to give place to this spirit it is like a spark and flame, it is never satisfied, but rather desires and hungers for more. It will drive us into the deeper clutches of sin and darkness. As we give more and more place to this seduction and the passion of our soul it is as the story of this young man and the harlot. We have become the fool and foolishness leads us down the road to ruin and destruction.
Many of us know or have known someone who was walking with Christ and then, as an animal caught in a trap, they became caught up in sin and their life departed more and more away from the path of righteousness. This harlot and seductress had laid hold upon them, seduced them with the lie and began leading them down the pathway to hell, while all the time exciting the passions of the flesh and promising temporal, empty riches of this world’s goods and pleasures.
It is possible as we read this, that this foolish young man could be us. Many of us know that, except for the grace of God, it would be us. This is why God’s Word must be the standard and the anchor upon which we found our life, our morality and our principles for living. When we depart from God’s precepts we exit onto a road that departs from the High Way of Holiness. That exit leads us away from the pathway to Life.
We have this illustration to let us know that the only thing that stands between this foolish young man and us, is following God’s Word through a maintained and intimate relationship with Him. Any of us could follow in his footsteps at any time, if we fail to continually guard our heart and keep it in the way of God’s Word and righteousness. Worldly enticements are always before us and they will touch the areas of weakness in our lives. This is where Christ and His Word shore up and fortify the breeches in the wall of our city. We must stand with the armor of God, ready to defend the citadel of our heart from the intrusion of the enemy. That enemy will always entice us with peace and safety while a dagger is concealed beneath their coat.
Be wise in the Word; discern the craftiness and the deceitfulness of your enemy. Know that it is the spirit of death that is wooing you into its arms. This spirit may have a beautiful face and enticing breasts, but within her grasp is the bosom of spiritual death and destruction.
A brother emailed me a scripture yesterday that fits very well here, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)”

Blessings,
#kent

Stop, Look and Listen

April 3, 2015

John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

Stop, Look and Listen

Take just a moment to stop, close your eyes and listen to your life. Do you know how desensitized we become to the noises that are all around us? We can do the same thing with the people around us. We become so focused on life, routines and demands that we don’t take the time to stop and really listen to life and the people around us. We hear and respond on a superficial level, but what we need is to step back and watch our life for a moment as an outside observer or as that proverbial fly on the wall? What do we observe and hear there that we don’t really process in every day life? What are the kids really saying, what are their attitudes, their hearts and their greatest needs? What about our spouse, so much of our responses to one another have become cliché and the same way we continue to deal with the same old issues? What we need is a fresh perspective, a new and different point of view. I often wondered if we just video taped our lives for a day or two and watched them if we would see things in ourselves that we are totally oblivious too. We would probably be able to see how we really are to live with. Being immersed in our family and daily life it is often hard for us to really be objective of ourselves and our relationship with others. Sometimes it takes a traumatic event in our lives to really shock us into taking a long hard look at who we are, what we are and how our lives impact others in either a positive or negative sense. Usually one of the best mirrors that we have is our spouse, because they see us as we really are, they live with us and they can often see things in us much better than we can see them ourselves. Of course what happens when they talk to us about these things? We get defensive, we start trying to divert the responsibility, accountability and our shortcomings by identifying there’s or finding excuses for ourselves.
In order for God to change who I am I first have to acknowledge who I am, where I am weak and where I fail. This is our sensitive and vulnerable side and it is an area that we are not willing to easily open up. When we do open ourselves up to scrutiny and examination we want to be able to trust those that we share our true heart and selves with. We all have our darker sides, our ugly sides and weak sides. We generally try and hide these from public view and we tend to want to ignore them ourselves, but they are there none the less. We need a loving spouse or those that really love us and care about us to be able to put our heart in their hands to tenderly show us who we are. Often we live in denial of who we really are in areas of our life. Darkness, ignorance, denial are only areas where corruption grows. It is in the light that things are brought into the open, acknowledged for what they are and dealt with in the light of God’s word and truth. The thing we must be so careful of is that we are not the ones to set in judgement of another. Luke 6: 37 tells us, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” We are all sinners, capable of every vile thing outside of the grace and righteousness of Christ that indwells us.
Close your eyes, take time to really listen and reflect on your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you those areas where He wants you to yield to Him. He does it a little at a time. I am convinced if the Holy Spirit ever really showed us all that was in us in the light of His holiness we would be so devastated and hopeless we might never recover. God often has to take us through hard things to really show what is in our hearts, how much easier if we can come to Him with the willingness to be corrected, transformed and changed. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” As we draw near to God, we will come to Him not in our goodness or righteousness, but with humility, brokenness and repentance. In this heart attitude is where He will meet with us to lovingly correct us, deal with us and heal us. When we comprehend His compassion and love for us even in our state of ugliness and sin, it should work in us a true heart of compassion and caring for others and mercy should triumph over judgement. Take time listen. Ask the Holy Spirit to open up you spiritual eyes and ears to really hear and observe by the Spirit how He see the these things pertaining to your life. John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”

Blessings,
#kent

Deuteronomy 8:1-5
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. 2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.

First the Test, then the Blessing

As a people of God we can often relate with the children of Israel out in the wilderness. Most all of us have experienced our share of trials and tribulation and some of us more than others. While we pray and trust God, sometimes we may be tempted to murmur, if not out loud, then in our minds. When we pray we expect God to just listen up and get that prayer answered. So why doesn’t it always work that way? Why do we sometimes have to wait and endure so long to see our answer?
One of the first things we have to remember here is who is the parent and who is the child. Who is training whom? There are many instances in our present day society that it is evident that the child is in charge and not the parents. When the child demands the parents obey promptly to keep that spoiled child happy and content. God wants to bless us, but He doesn’t want to spoil us. He is not the great celestial Santa Clause that some like to imagine and even believe that He is. God is the Father and He is not just any Father. He is the awesome creator God and Father. The first thing we must learn, to operate in alignment with His kingdom, is that we are not in charge, He is! That seems an obvious statement, but it is one that we often seem to forget in practical living.
James 4: 3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Our Father is not raising his children to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, so when we ask we are often tested to see what is truly in our hearts. It is not so much for God’s benefit as for ours, so that we can really see our true motives.
What leaps out to me as I read this passage in Deuteronomy 8 is “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna. What came first the test or the provision? It has to be obvious even to the unbeliever that well over a million people could not have survived out in a wilderness without a supernatural provision. It is apparent in this scripture that when they received the manna and the provision it wasn’t always in accordance with their timetable and expectations. As a result, many of them would begin to grumble, murmur and complain. While I am sure none of us reading this have ever been guilty of doing that, it is enlightening to know that in God’s economy, provision and blessing works on His time table and not ours. Why do we need faith if we never have to believe in hope for the expectation of its manifestation?
Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” We love to rejoice in the goodness and blessing of God. We love to rejoice in the salvation we have in Christ and the forgiveness of our sins. We should, these are glorious, but then look what it says we should also rejoice in. Suffering! Why should we have to endure suffering? Didn’t Jesus do all of that? No, He was our example of suffering and what it works in us. Suffering is a training tool to teach us obedience along with the attributes of obedience which are patience, perseverance, character and hope in what does not disappoint us.
Hebrews 5:7-10 says of Jesus, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” God is calling those that can here this to this same high priesthood in Christ Jesus, but to walk in the priestly calling we must be willing to walk where Jesus walked and suffer like He suffered. This identification with His life will bring the ultimate blessing, but first we must walk through the ultimate test. Do not despair if you are in this hard place of testing and suffering, use it to learn the perseverance, patience, character and hope that you need to press into His highest and inherit the blessing. “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. (Luke 6:40)”

Blessings,
#kent

The Art of Storytelling

January 14, 2015

Psalms 34:11
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

The Art of Storytelling

Many of us experience the difficulty of relating with our children and grandchildren. They live in a high tech world of video games and fast paced television. To them we may seem pretty boring and out of touch. Even so, I think children still have the same need to be able to be taught and nurtured by us. Often we are perceived as just the yellers and disciplinarians. Yet part of the role of an adult parent or grandparent is the role of a teacher. God has given us a good number more years to experience life first hand through both success and failures. We tend to forget the wealth of experience that we possess. Used in the right way, this can be one of the greatest avenues for us to relate and teach our children the positive lessons of life. It is our way to make real to them the reality of God and how He personally works in our lives.
God exhorted the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” It is a parent’s responsibility to pass on the laws, principles and precepts of God’s Word to their children. Many of us have been very guilty of ignoring this responsibility or feel like we have met our obligation by giving our kids religious videos and taking them to Sunday school. That is all well and good, but God has given us the responsibility to instruct our children. Maybe we don’t feel qualified or we think that just entails us sitting them down while we read scripture to them. No, the Word of God has to become alive to them through us. We have to convey to them spiritual reality.
Our grandchildren love all the things that other kids love, but I find that they are fascinated to sit and listen as we tell them the stories of how God has worked in our lives. We can share with them our victories and our failures. When they understand how God has worked for us and in us then they can mentally handle God in the flesh. It becomes reality to them and it makes the stories of God’s Word more of a reality to them as well. It is amazing to see the hunger in our grandchildren as they ask to hear story after story. The neat thing is that as you are telling them the stories you can teach God’s Word to them in a meaningful and interesting way.
We may not think we have much to share, but maybe we need to take some time to really meditate back through our lives and think about all of the times God has been there for us. As we think about it, most all of us have experiences where we have seen God’s hand in our lives, His blessing, His protection and His provision. We may find that encourages and stirs up our faith as we remember and reflect on all of God’s goodness in our lives. Be faithful to teach your children and instruct them in the ways of the Lord. They need it because it is what gives them a sense of identity and purpose for their own lives. There is perhaps no more effective way than through the art of storytelling. It is the way that cultures have passed their values and their heritage on to the younger generations throughout history. We don’t want to lose this art in our high tech world. Take the time to share your stories and do it often. It is the way that we instill godly character, values and knowledge about who God is, what He is and what He wants to be to them.

Blessings,
#kent

Our Father, Guardian and Instructor

Proverbs 13:1
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.

Why is it that God’s people should read and study the Word of God? Why is it that they should listen and read from Spirit Anointed men and women? Why are prayer and meditation so important?
As God has given us earthly parents that for a short time to teach and correct us, Our heavenly Father is continually our guardian, instructor and corrector. Hebrews 12:10 tells us, “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” Isn’t that our goal and destiny as people of God, to share in God’s holiness and nature? Isn’t this our new nature as we have been born again by the Spirit? As the wife and I read through the book of Proverbs we can’t help but be impressed with this message, ‘God will give us wisdom and life defining principles that will give us good success, long life and immortality. The condition is that we must take heed to listen and follow in these principles and ways of life. We all know that we have areas of weakness, failure and folly in our lives. We need correction, for without it we will perish. This is what distinguishes the wise from the foolish and the righteous from the wicked, the righteous and wise son will heed, receive and embrace correction and rebuke. He will not be offended by it because he knows that it is working life and godliness in him. Proverbs 9:8 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” Now none of us are overly fond of correction, because it generally hurts our ego or our flesh. Many of the trials that we endure are a form of correction, not because we are bad, but because God is exercising us in faith and in application of the principles and tenants of His Word. How do we get good at anything? Isn’t it by much repetition and practice? We are in God’s boot camp and His training ground for developing and exercising righteousness and right living. How are we going to know the right responses and ways to handle our trials and the circumstances that life throws at us if we don’t study the manual and listen to instruction? This is why we want a close walk and relationship with the Lord so that we can hear and discern the Holy Spirit’s voice. He is our personal teacher and life coach. He will teach us through our everyday life experiences if we are tuned in and listening to Him. Most of us are so busy blasting through life our own way we rarely give time or attention to even inquire or listen for the Holy Spirit. I wonder why we struggle so?
The wisest and richest man in the earth wrote Proverbs. Much of what is shared in Proverbs is a contrast between wise and foolish, simple and knowledgeable, righteous and wicked and life and death. We are continually instructed on right response and behavior and wrong response and behavior. It makes plain to us the consequences of our response and choices.
If any of us have had rebellious or disobedient children then we can relate with what the Lord puts up with in us. Somehow they can’t receive the fact that you are telling them things and limiting them from things that will result in their hurt. They perceive it as you being overbearing, unfair and just out of touch. As a result they choose to go down the hurtful path that results in pain and suffering for all. Many of us are certainly no different when it comes to obeying God’s Word.
We want to challenge you to read a chapter of Proverbs every day for a least two years and see if it doesn’t change your life, your finances and your situation as you begin to put these principles and proverbs into practice. There are thirty chapters, one for each day of the month. What Sharon and I are doing is reading a new chapter and then we reread the chapter we read the day before to reinforce it. God’s Word will change us if we will not only read it and hear it, but seek to give it application in our daily lives and circumstances. This is what develops holiness in the fear of God. This is what gives us faith and life and hope in every situation. Take the challenge and prove God’s Word. His promises and His Word will not come back void, they will work positive changes in your life. God is a good God, a wonderful and loving Parent and One that is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Blessings,
#kent

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