If I have to live this way, just shoot me!
1 Kings 19:4
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I [am] not better than my fathers.

Have you ever felt that way? You came to a point in life, maybe more than once, where life was just too painful, too hopeless and a dark cloud of depression and despondency covered your soul. Maybe it was from physical pain, emotional heartbreak or pressures around you that were just too much to bear. Thoughts of suicide were contemplated and maybe even attempted. Voices were in your head telling you, “just to end it, get it over with. Once you’re dead your pain is over. Besides, who really cares? Everybody will probably be better off without you.” Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? If they do then you have wrestled the enemy of depression and despair. If you have been in this place, don’t feel condemned or weak, even the most spiritual of men have had there bouts with these demons. Our scripture today is speaking of Elijah, the mighty prophet of God and it came just after one of the greatest spiritual victories of that time. He should have felt invincible, but here we find him weak, frightened, fearful, despondent and despairing of his own life. Isn’t it wonderful how God shows us the great spiritual men of the Bible in their weakness as well as there strength? That in itself gives us hope. If they are so spiritual and yet they went through these things, then maybe there is hope for me and you.
Beloved, some of you have endured great pain, suffering, persecution and affliction, beyond what one should have to bear. Even if you have tried to fight the good fight and be faithful, you can grow weary in the battle. Mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion can overcome you until thoughts and reasonings can come in that have no place being in your head. These are like the testing experiences of Christ in the wilderness when He was at His weakest point. The enemy tries to come in for the kill. He would tell us, “God is a lie, that He is not faithful, He has forsaken you, He doesn’t care about you, and there probably isn’t even a God.”
His strategy is to disconnect us from our unity, oneness and identification in Christ, who is our strength and our life, because that is our power. If He can rob Christ from us then what do we have? What strength can we stand in?
Some of you are thinking, “yeah, but if God loves me so much, why would He allow me to have to go through so much pain?” Sometimes it is the deep inner working of pain and suffering in our lives that brings us to terms with areas that we would just as soon keep buried forever. There may be root causes for these pains and afflictions in our lives that can’t be healed and delivered until they are brought into the light and dealt with. If Christ learned obedience through the things He suffered as it tells us in Hebrews 5:8, are we then greater than He?
It is not God’s will that we are in continual suffering and pain, but these are often the tools brought to bear upon us by the enemy, but God turns and uses them to do an inner surgery upon our character and our heart. One thing we have to come to terms with is, “God is faithful all the time”, but you won’t always outwardly see that faithfulness. Quite the contrary, everything in the natural can be speaking and demonstrating against the faithfulness of God. 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us a secret, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.” What does Hebrews 11:1 tell us about faith? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” As hard as it is, our trust can not be placed in the outward circumstances that surround us.
God loves you and is with you even in your weakest, darkest moments. He has not abandoned or forsaken you. What you are living with or going through may be the valley of the shadow of death, but David says, “I will not fear, for thou art with me. Thy rod (authority of the Word) and thy staff (salvation) they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” While the enemy is doing everything in its power to defeat and destroy you God is setting the table of blessing and mercy right in the face of the enemy. You are the anointed of God. He is pouring the anointing of His Spirit and power over you that you may be more than a conqueror through Christ who has loved you and gave Himself for you. See with your spiritual eyes, embrace with all the faith of your spiritual man the love and goodness God has for you, even in the midst of such darkness and despair. Don’t give up, keeping on trusting Him. The race isn’t to the swift and strong, but to the faithful.

Blessings,
#kent

Tired?

March 18, 2014

Tired?


Isaiah 40:31

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

Longsuffering

January 31, 2014

 

Longsuffering


Ephesians 4:1-3

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 

 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

 

Longsuffering, patience, forbearance are all attributes of our heavenly Father and those that are to be a part of our nature and behavior as we walk in the Spirit.  Many of us might have to admit that longsuffering and patience is not one of our stronger areas.  We have goals, agendas, deadlines and most of us are in the rat race of moving a hundred miles an hour through life trying to get as effectively and quickly from one point to the next in the shortest amount of time.  Time is a commodity that is precious to us.  There never seems to be enough of it.  We are usually rushing from the time our feet hit the floor until, exhausted, we fall into bed.  Invariably in our race through life there are the slow pokes, the obstacles, the things that don’t go right, the obstructions to what we have our eyes fixed on as our next destination.  Those are the things that raise our blood pressure, push our buttons and often cause us to get very irritable and impatient. Without realizing it we want everyone to be patient with us when we take our slow sweet time, or impede the procession of life in some way, but we have a hard time dealing with being on the other end.  All of these objectives we have and time crunches we are in make it very hard for us to be patient and longsuffering.  The human element and personalities of others often just drive us up the wall, because they aren’t meeting our expectations.   

We can even see the frustration of God’s heart when He deals with us time after time, after time with areas of our lives and we don’t seem to want to change or lay hold of it.  We read the rebukes of Jesus sometimes, even with the disciples, because what should be plain, they don’t get.  Yet Jesus doesn’t scream and shout, throw up His hands and walk away, He forbears with them.  All of us are aware in dealing with the dynamics of human relationships we can all become frustrated, which can lead to impatience and anger.  Then we end up acting and saying things that latter we feel like a horse’s rear end for having done.  

Think about Sunday morning, you’re trying to get ready and get to church on time, but somebody is in slow mode.  You hate walking in after things have already started, but its looking like you are going to be late again.  Frustration is building, you continue to ask if they are about ready, the other person begins to get irritated with your irritation and impatience, words start to be exchanged and before you know it war has broken out.  The trip to church is an exchange of angry words, frustrations and by the time you arrive, you at your spiritual best.  

The enemy is at work to always rob our peace and rest in Christ.  Sometimes our longsuffering is brought about through a lot of prayer and tongue biting.  The flesh, emotions and feelings are often hard to contain and maintain.  Isn’t it wonderful that we get so many opportunities to practice?  Most all of us struggle in these areas, but we must always be reminded that our position is that of the servant and putting others before ourselves.  It is often these surface issues of impatience that cause us to miss the deeper needs of people and how God would have us to minister to them.  We always have to remind ourselves that God’s business is our priority and not our own.  Sometimes I think God puts obstacles in our way to force us to slow down.  I’m convicted that I don’t want to become and be like God’s people of old, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them (Matthew 13:15).”  Where would you and I be today without the longsuffering of our Father?  We wouldn’t even exist.    

Sometimes the one I get most impatient with is myself, for all the stupid mistakes I make and all of the things I forget, but then, if it does nothing else, it should serve to give me patience and longsuffering with others; being as forbearing with them as I must be with myself.  As the Australian’s say, “ No worries mate.”  Let’s slow done and be aware of how God wants to move in us and though us, even in those often frustrating times and events that touch our lives.  We are learning to be His expression and that can only come through longsuffering and patience.

 
Blessings,
kent

Peace

August 20, 2013

Peace

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

We live in a world of constant pressures, turmoil, fears, and deadlines. It is always something pressing in on us whether it is conflicts, or bad feelings with some people around us, or financial pressures, life impacting decisions we must make, or any number of circumstances that want to rob our peace. Did you ever notice how many times in the Word of God, Peace is used? Our God is a God of Peace and He wants to give us His peace. Does that mean that all is calm around us and our life glides merrily along like we were floating down a lazy river? That is not likely. Jesus says in John 14:27, ” Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ” Again in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Jesus is saying that all of hell might be coming down around you, but in Him you can experience peace. It is not the world’s peace, but His peace that comes to us through the Holy Spirit. Like God’s other promises to us we lay hold of this peace by faith, by learning to trust and rest in God’s ability to order our lives as we yield ourselves to Him.
This morning, as I write this I feel the outward pressures to make decisions that can greatly impact our lives. Our greatest guidance probably won’t come by hearing a voice out of heaven, it will probably come more from how the Lord orders events and the peace He gives us as we trust Him to make the right decisions. It is important that the Lord’s will and purpose is at the forefront of the decisions and choices that we make. It is important that His peace and love fills our hearts in our dealings with others that may be in conflict with us. It is important that the circumstances and pressures this life brings to bear, would not rule us, but that we are ruled by the peace of God in our hearts. “He is our Peace, that hath broken down every wall.”
Today let us enter into His presence, not with worry or stress, but with confidence and thanksgiving for what He has done and what He will do. Let us find the rest of the Lord through our faith and confidence in Him and the promises of His Word and let His peace rule and reign in our hearts.

Blessings,
kent

Affectionately Loving One Another
Romans 12:10
[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Did you ever notice that the people that you end up neglecting and abusing the most are usually the ones you say that you love the most? They are most often your family, close friends, or even your brothers and sisters in Christ. The ironic thing is that we often give preference to the ones or the things that are putting the more demands and abuses on our lives, but in the scheme of things are less in importance. Somehow we just expect those we love and prefer to understand when we put them last on our agenda or speak or treat them harshly. Perhaps many of you, like myself, find your lives out of balance with your priorities and preferences. In a society in which we find ourselves running like crazy in a thousand different directions, with people and pressures pressing in on us on every side, when something has to give it is usually our family. That can apply to both our immediate families as well as the family of God. Isn’t it strange that we are doing all of these things that in our minds we consider for the benefit of our families and yet they are often suffering as a result of them? What’s wrong that picture?
I speak this first for my own benefit and then for the benefit of anyone else who thinks it may apply to them. I find I get an agenda set in my mind and I’m not real tolerant of interruptions to that agenda. Some of you, like myself, may find that you have created walls of hurt and wounded the ones closest to you. You have communicated to them so many times through your actions and words that they aren’t as important or as valuable as so many other things in your life. My feeling is that this is a major problem with a good many of our families and relationships. We all need to get our priorities in order. God and his people are often at the forefront of our offense list. It is not usually something we do intentionally and often quite subtly these neglects and abuses creep in to undermine our most precious relationships and destroy one of the most valuable commodities we possess, our families, friends and brethren. We often put up our pretty fronts around others, but the loved ones so often see a whole different face and attitude.
Those closest to us rub us the hardest. We would most like to blame them for being the problem with us, but in reality if we didn’t already have a problem then a lot of what they did wouldn’t irritate us so. Like the old saying goes, “You can’t get a person’s goat unless they have a goat to be got.”
The unconditional love of God prefers the other above themselves. It displays that preference by being affectionate. The connotation of our theme verse is to be tenderly reciprocating love and caring in a relational way as with a parent and child or husband and wife. It is preferring the other above yourself. Please join with me in making it our goal to set the priorities of our relationships and commitments straight. Let our God be at the forefront of all that we do, then our family, our relationships with each other, then those outside and then us. Let’s make it our first priority to invest in the eternal things and then the temporal.

Blessings,
kent

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