In the Residence of His Being

November 25, 2016

Hebrews 4:3

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

   “So I declared on oath in my anger,

   ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world.”

In the Residence of His Being

“Let your hearts be not troubled.  Believe in God, Believe also in me (John 14:1).”  Burdens are carried when we are in unrest and worry.  

I was reading over in Hebrews 4:3 this morning, “And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world.”  It was striking me how God’s work is a finished work from beginning to end.  The only way we can be at peace and rest in that finished work is when we are in alignment with it.  God knows our beginning and our end.  Nothing we can do will surprise Him or catch Him unawares.  Our lives and future are still a mystery and an unknown to us, but not to Him.  His work is finished and He knows how every detail is going to work out.  The question we have is, “do we have enough confidence and faith in God to trust Him as we relinquish our lives and will into His hands?”

Peace is not just a state of being but a Person of residence.  The peace and rest of God are found, not in a state of being, but in the person of Christ in us.  The circumstances around us and the human interactions that we are caught up in, so often want to dislodge us from that place and person of peace.  It must of been disconcerting to those who sought to find fault with Jesus, so they would seek to provoke Him or trap Him, but they couldn’t dislodge Him from His peace.  Jesus had the discernment to see the motives of their heart, but more than that He had the residence of the Father abiding in Him.  He didn’t leave that place.  He didn’t see His world just as it appeared before Him in the natural realm, but He saw it through the love and purpose of God.  He discerned the spiritual activity and spirits that were present always scheming how they might kill, steal, destroy and discredit the name of Jesus.  Even with their scheming and devices, their was apparent victory for them when they moved in Judas to betray Him and through the Jewish leaders and Romans to scourge, torture and crucify Him.  What the enemy didn’t see was the finished work of the Father.  What the enemy meant for evil the Father had purposed for good.  That is a principle that we need to remember in our own lives in the trials and tribulations that we go through.  The enemy may be trying to destroy you, but Roman 8:28-31 declares, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”  

You see, God is in control of your life.  He has your destiny in His hands.  If you want the perfect will of God for you, then just trust Him for it and obey His Word.  It is only when we quit fighting the water that we learn to swim in it and allow it to carry us rather than drown us.  When we fight God through selfishness, doubt, fear, unbelief and disobedience, we nullify the very things that are in place to carry us into His peace and rest.  Let us not resist Him as the children of disobedience, but rest in the arms of His purpose and love for us.  Philippians 1:6 reassures us,”Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ.” 

Blessings,

#kent

 

Joy is a Spiritual fruit, Happiness is a Choice

 

1 Timothy 6:6

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

              

               Isaiah 12:3 says, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”  The thing I have experienced through my life is that when I am walking the closest in fellowship and relationship with the Lord is when I experience the greatest joy in life.  Since joy is a spiritual attribute and fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23, it only makes sense that as we walk in the Spirit and feed off of the fullness and goodness of God we are going to experience the joy and contentment of the Lord.  The thing about the joy of the Lord is that it isn’t dependent up the circumstances around us.  There can be great storms raging in our lives, but yet joy and peace can remain in our hearts when our eyes are fixed on Christ and upon the promises of His Word.  When we walk in the Spirit we see things and life from a God perspective.  If it pleases the Lord, it pleases us.  It is no longer about all of my needs and my wants being fulfilled.  This is where a lot of people confuse joy and happiness.  If happiness is reliant upon our feelings then it is going to be an elusive experience.  It will be here one minute and gone the next.  Why, because our feelings are up and down.  It rides the roller coaster of our emotions.  The feelings of happiness are circumstantial.  They are based again a lot on self: self-contentment, self-fulfillment, self-gratification, but not on self-control. 

               Here is an example many of us can relate with: Why do I have an unhappy marriage?  He or she doesn’t meet my needs.  They only think about themselves.  They don’t care if I am happy or fulfilled.  They don’t provide enough.  They don’t give enough.  They don’t do enough.  What is the central theme you hear in all of these phrases?  You don’t make me happy and what makes you happy for a short time is going to change to feelings of unhappiness and discontentment the moment your expectations aren’t met.  Happiness has to be a choice that you make that isn’t dependent upon what someone else does or doesn’t do.  I read this morning where marriages are more successful with people who go into marriage as already happy people rather than those who go into marriage looking for happiness.  Don’t put the responsibility for your happiness upon someone else.  That is your responsibility.  Otherwise you are always going to be disappointed and hurt.  People can never give you what only God can give you and that is joy and contentment. 

               Our verse today is so powerful because it is short but it says so much, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  It simply says we have made a decision that God is enough.  What ever He supplies and provides in my life is enough.  That may be much or that may be little, but as long as I have God that is enough.  The apostle Paul made the statement in Philippians 4:11-13, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Paul didn’t have his eyes on people to meet his needs.  Many of the churches didn’t help him financially or support him.  He could have gotten bitter or angry or upset with them, but he didn’t.  They weren’t his source and his supply, God was.  He had learned to be content with whatever God brought into his life because he had this revelation; “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Who is your strength today?  Who is your supply?  Who is your joy and contentment?  Maybe anger, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness have come in to make you so miserable because you have been looking to others to meet your needs and they have disappointed you. Let us learn what Paul did, that the Lord is enough.  We can make the decision that we are going to be happy because God is enough rather in much or little, rather we are abased or abound, rather we are full or we are hungry.   In order to experience the fullness of joy in our salvation we must take our eyes off of us and let Christ become the focus of why we live.  We live to serve not to be served.  We live to give and not to take.  We live that in all things we may please Him who has given us life.  “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”  Experience the joy of your salvation by walking in the Spirit and make the choice to be happy because of the One that resides within you.

Blessings,

#kent

Resting in His Arms

December 11, 2015

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 

for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Resting in His Arms

Establish my way from slipping in the path.

I have known your love and will not fear Your wrath,

My fear of You is a reverent and awe-filled heart

And from your Ways, give me grace to not depart.

In life the seas and the tempest will rise,

But the storms of life will not be my demise,

For my Redeemer lives within my boat.

He is resting there in the hull beneath my coat.

Death may raise its cruel and ugly head,

But I choose to rest in my master’s bed.

Why should I fear when He has given me His rest?

Though He proves me; He sustains me through every test.

Fear, doubt, and unbelief used to have me down,

In my life I wore defeat and on my face a frown.

Oh wretched man, who would deliver me.

Thank God, through Christ, He set me free.

Now I rest in my Saviors Arms, 

Safe from all guilt, fear and harm.

In His yoke I have found His strength.

He carried my burden when I was weak.

I used to struggle because I always failed,

But with Him that old identity was nailed,

to the Cross upon which I found my rest,

When the old man passed, I found His best.

In His gentle, humble heart He restores my soul,

I no longer have to  fear, for He is now in control.

I rest in the arms of His love and grace,

I crawl up on Papa’s lap and just behold His face.

Kent Stuck

Blessings ~

Call to Worship

November 16, 2015

Psalms 95:1-11
1O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
3For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
8Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Call to Worship

Do you want to be blessed today? If so come with me before the King of Kings, let us sing unto the Lord our God and Maker. Let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! Let us exalt Him, praise and magnify His Holy Name. If you want to experience joy then get glad about Jesus. Think upon all His wondrous works throughout the ages and then think upon all the things that He has personally done in your life. We are the products of His loving grace and mercy. No one should know the joy of the Lord like we do. “Oh come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our God and Maker. For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His Hand.” Can we truly comprehend what that means and how privileged we are to be His? Could we ever acknowledge and thank Him enough for the riches of His love toward us? When we come into His presence with joy and thanksgiving how can we be anything but happy and blessed. The deeper we enter into worship the richer His presence and joy becomes. Let us not neglect so great a privilege as we have to be His worshippers and the magnifiers of His great and Holy Name. For all things are through Him, by Him and for Him. We are created for Him, to be His children, to delight in our Papa God. He delights in you and so greatly loves you. When we honor Him in our praise, our worship and our thanksgiving, then we have the privilege of blessing His heart, for He delights in our love for Him.
It is somewhat strange that this Psalm would end on such a somber note, but it is a warning to us of how quickly our hearts can become hardened and we can lose sight of our great and illustrious King. Even though we know Him for who He is, we can, and still do, err in our hearts. It says “and they have not known His ways.” Let us walk carefully lest we also forget our God, tempt Him, grieve Him and provoke His wrath.
When we acknowledge Him day by day. When we spend the time to be with Him in the Word, prayer, praise and worship. When we center our world and lives on Him, then we come to know Him, delight in Him and know the peace that passes understanding. In this place we enter into the place of His rest, for we cease from our works and all that we are about. Our purpose is to be about the Father’s business, expressing that through our everyday lives and duties. Let every expression that we are be an act of worship and praise unto Him. We are a privileged generation of kings and priest that our God has ordained to magnify His Holiness. Unto Him be all praise forever and ever! Amen

Blessings,
#kent

Gifted to Give

October 13, 2015

Ephesians 4:7-10 (Amplified)
Yet grace (God’s unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift.
8Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.
9[But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth?
10He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).

Gifted to Give

Our God is such a giving God. What He has given us in the riches of His grace through Christ Jesus I don’t think any of us have fully assimilated and processed what we have in Him. It is implied here that as Christ ascended back into heaven all of the those gifts, attributes and the anointing that rested upon Him from the Father was distributed throughout His body. No one person was given the whole, but we were all given the parts that by coming together and operating as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, we the many, might become one in Him.
Jesus says in John 14:10-14, “10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Jesus Himself has commissioned through His body a greater works ministry operating out of the power of His name and led by the Holy Spirit. Even as the Father expressed Himself through His Son, He is in turn the expression of the Father through His body that truly believe and dare to step out into this place of faith, having confidence in His promise. We are like children who are learning to swim. At first we are fearful. We thrash at the water. We spit and sputter and often get into a panic. What we have to learn to do is to work with the water and not against it. Slowly we come to find that if we can truly rest then the water will actually support our bodies and we can float. We learn that with minimal effort we can maintain our buoyancy. Eventually we learn to move quickly through the water and the water becomes our friend instead of this body of fluid that we once might have been dreadfully fearful of. This is the way the Holy Spirit is in our lives. The more familiar we become with Him the more at home we feel in His presence and operating out of His directive.
Jesus not only imparted unto us gifts, but also He took those strong men, those oppressive spirits that once held us captive and He led them into captivity. The door of your prison is unlocked. All you have to do is have the faith to open it and walk out. There is nothing that can hold you or separate you from the love of God. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. Christ gave us the richest gift that any man could ask for. He gave us Himself. He literally imparted Himself to us. What we see in a foretaste and measure is to become the whole and likeness of Him. Right now it is all of us working in the unity of the faith and operating by faith in the giftings that He has imparted into each one of us. If you don’t know what your calling and giftings are, begin to operate within a body that has body ministry and you will most likely find your gifts coming to the surface. In so many assemblies the body has been dumbed down to think and believe that it is only the missionaries, teachers, ministers or pastors that are ordained to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. This is contrary to what this passage in Ephesians speaks about. Their responsibility is to bring the rest of the body into their purpose and calling in Christ Jesus and to allow the giftings of Christ to abound to the edification and the building up of the body. Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
This brings us to the “why” of what Christ has imparted the gifts and the riches of His grace toward us for. He gives to us so that we in turn might give to others. This is the law and economy of His kingdom. He doesn’t give to us to hold on to what He gives us, but to in turn impart it into others. His giftings are so that we might be givers, blessings and the increase of the Lord upon the lives of those around us, both Christian and non-Christian alike. We are the pipeline, the conduits and the sprinkler heads of God’s grace and goodness that we wants to dispense to mankind through so many avenues and in so many ways. We have been blessed to be the blessing of Abraham and through us all of the nations will be blessed in the knowledge and the goodness of God.
You have a gift and a talent. You may not see in yourself any good thing, but God sees it, because He put it there. Learn to work with the water of His Holy Spirit so that by the Spirit it may become manifest and minister the blessing He has imparted into you. You have been gifted to give.

Blessings,
#kent

Matthew 17:1-13
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
10The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
11Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

The Pattern of a Transfigured Life

Many are seeing this spiritual day that we are in as the seventh day or the day of the Lord. This is the day of both fearful and great things. It is no coincidence that the author states here in Matthew 17 that after six days Jesus took with Him his inner circle of Peter, James and John and led them up into a high mountain by themselves. This was a special time when Christ was transfigured before them and they saw Him in all His splendor and glory. This could well be seen as a first fruits unveiling of the Christ. In this glorious moment we see two other figures appear with Him, Moses and Elijah. These two speak to what Christ is, was and shall be, the fulfillment of the Law and the manifestation of the Spirit of God. They were like two witnesses of Christ, the Word and Spirit. Then the Father Himself speaks; the final and ultimate witness that, ” This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
We get a context of the feast of Tabernacles by what Peter is inspired to ask Jesus, offering to build three booths or shelters, much as was used during the Feast of Tabernacles when the children of Israel were called to remembrance of their sojourning days when they lived in tents and temporary dwellings. “While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Peter was thinking after the natural dwellings or shelter, but immediately God sheltered them in His cloud of glory and he gave witness of His Son.
The Lord is bringing His elect up into the mountain or the high places of the Spirit to reveal Himself in a way we haven’t known before. It is a picture of the glory that is hidden in His people. 2 Corinthians 4:7 says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” In verses 16-18 Paul goes on to tell us, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” What the disciples were seeing was the eternal glory that awaits the believer in Christ. We are in effect already those tabernacles or dwellings that house the Christ and all that He is as seen in Jesus, Moses and Elijah. We are seeing all of the facets of what He represents to us, the fullness and completeness of Him in Word and Spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 really further defines this very truth of not who we are, but what we are looking into by faith, “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
The Lord is giving us an insight into our heavenly dwelling that we have in Christ and into a transfigured or transformed man who has metamorphosed into his spirit man. Remember that Jesus is the prototype and the pattern for us. What He showed us of Himself, He is bringing us into. Jesus later goes on to reveal that the Elijah that was to come had come in John the Baptist. This day and this hour we stand again in this time of a John the Baptist or Elijah ministry where the voice of God’s Spirit is going out through His people to ‘make straight the way of the Lord. Repent and get your hearts right before Him, for the King is coming and His kingdom with Him’. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 tells of this day of the Lord, “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”
When we have this understanding of the Christ that is yearning to be revealed through us we know our time is short and our calling is great. It is a time for us to put the daily routines of life aside and press into God’s purpose through us in this hour. It is not in our efforts or righteousness, but in learning the REST of who we are in Christ. It is all about releasing the spirit man that is in us and following in obedience to the Spirit that is leading us into His fullness.

Blessings,
#kent

Entering into His Rest

September 18, 2015

Hebrews 4: 1-11
1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”
6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
Entering into His Rest

The Word teaches us that when God lead the people of Israel out of Egypt they wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they tested, quarreled and doubted the Lord even after all that He had done and shown them. What’s more, Hebrews 4 tells us that even after Joshua led the people through the river Jordan and into the Promise Land they still never truly entered into the Sabbath rest even though they had instituted the Sabbath.
The Sabbath first came into being after God had brought forth creation in six days and it says in Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” It is God’s desire that we now enter into the rest of the Lord. We are told that those who went before us didn’t enter into this rest because of disobedience. That Sabbath rest is a holy place and it is not found in the realm of natural doing and thinking. It is entered into not by the will of the flesh or the will of a man but by the Spirit through faith. We must first believe that He is. We must receive that He is the completion of all things in our lives and in our spiritual transformation. Many of us are still striving within our means and abilities to please God and curry His favor. His favor is already ours in Christ. Christ is the Holy rest that we are to enter into. He has finished the work. He has imparted His righteousness and salvation to us, now it is ours to rest in it. If we are still working to earn His favor, if are still living under condemnation and sin, if we still think that somehow we must get good enough for Him to receive us then we have missed the rest of God. The rest of God, His holy Sabbath, is when we cease and He begins. The rest of God is the relinquishment of our self and our self-efforts. It is that place where God is our all in all. We walk by faith and not by sight. We see our world through the promises and the heart of the Father. Our obedience and submission is to walk in the light of that Truth.
We will be challenged and tested even as Israel of old was, but will we murmur and complain? Will we rebel and be dissuaded from Him by our natural circumstances? Will we forget our covenant with Him, stray from Him and enter back into that place He died to deliver us out of? If disobedience causes us to fall away from the rest then it only seems logical that trust and obedience are the attributes that lead us into that rest.
We are called not to make the same mistakes as our predecessors. God has again led us into the Promise Land of Christ Jesus so that we might enter into His rest, ceasing from our efforts as we embrace all that He is and all that He has already done. As we enter into that rest the Holy Spirit will be at work in us discerning and showing us our true hearts and motives. He doesn’t do this to condemn us, but to show us the obstacles that are standing in the way of our rest. As we are willing to relinquish these things to Him then His rest will continue to fill our lives. We have a High Priest in Christ who has walked before us and experienced our weaknesses and our temptation. He is interceding on our behalf. Because we are now in Christ through our faith and trust in Him we can come boldly before the throne of grace and experience that rest that is now ours in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

When the Spirit Draws

August 5, 2015

When the Spirit Draws

John 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Why God has chosen to partner with man I’m not sure I know. We so often seem to make a mess of things. We can be so unlike Jesus in what we so often communicate to others and yet, somehow God can use these imperfect efforts to draw men to Himself. He has chosen us to be the mouthpiece and the instrument to communicate to others His love and salvation. God doesn’t want us to wait until we are the perfect vessel to communicate who He is. He is looking for the willing vessels that will just step up on the stage of life and simply share what Christ is to them. I ran across a little story that kind of illustrates this message and I would like to share it with you.

DON’T QUIT — JUST KEEP PLAYING!!

I heard a great story the other day about a mom who wanted to encourage he little boy to keep practicing the piano, so she took him to hear the great Paderewski. They sat near the front, and the boy was fascinated by the big grand piano at the center of the stage. While his mother was talking to a friend nearby, she failed to notice that her son had slipped away. As the house lights dimmed, and the spotlight hit the piano, she gasped as she saw her son on the piano bench, playing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Before she could get to him, the famous concert pianist quickly walked over to the keyboard and sat down beside the boy. “Don’t quit–keep playing!” he whispered. Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part, and with his right arm he reached around the other side, encircling the child, and added a running arpeggio. Together the old master and the child brought the crowd to its feet.
NO MATTER HOW ILL EQUIPPED YOU MAY FEEL TODAY, THE MASTER HAS A WORD FOR YOU: “DON’T QUIT–KEEP PLAYING!” NO MATTER WHAT YOU’RE DOING TODAY — RAISING THOSE CHILDREN, RUNNING THAT BUSINESS, OR JUST TRYING TO BE A BETTER PERSON –WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE DOING THAT’S GOOD AND RIGHT, DON’T QUIT–KEEP PLAYING!!! BE ASSURED THAT HE WILL ADD WHATEVER IS NEEDED TO TURN YOUR EFFORTS INTO A MASTERPIECE!!!
When Jesus is lifted up He will draw all men to Himself. It is not in our ability, but it is the Spirit of the Master within that inspires life into our simple efforts.

Blessings,
#kent

The Good Shepherd

July 17, 2015

Psalms 23:1
The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Good Shepherd

The Lord is sufficient for every need that we have. One of the hardest things for us to do at times is to lie down in green pastures when in our perception all there is dead grass. One of the most important things that the Lord wants to teach all of us is to rest in Him. That is hard to process when the natural world around us is falling apart, bills need to be paid, physical afflictions are besetting us. It is hard for us to rest when our children are in rebellion, our spouse is leaving us or that special someone is in critical condition.
God is not in our fears, He is in our faith and faith causes us to rest when everyone else is franticly trying to do something to solve the problem. Some problems are out of our control. They are bigger than we are and there is nothing else we can do except believe and trust in the Lord. We can never put God in a box and say if I just do this, then He will do that. Sometimes He doesn’t rescue us out of our disasters, but He will always be there with us as we go through them. Sometimes God works through miracles and sometimes it is through our hard life experiences. The important place for us to be is in the Shepherds arms. The Psalmist David rested in the profound truth that the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He knew from the experience of being a shepherd that a good shepherd would always act in the best interest of His sheep. Sometimes that meant rescuing them out of trouble and sometimes it might mean breaking their leg, so that they would learn not to stray. Whatever was necessary the shepherd would act out of his love for the sheep. They were an extension of him and his purpose, just as we are an extension of Christ and His purpose.
Today, the good Shepherd is watching over you. If you truly believe and rest in Him, then you shall not want. ‘He is able to meet all of your needs according to His riches in glory.’ “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6

Blessings,
#kent

God Outside Your Box

June 8, 2015

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God Outside Your Box

Don’t we all tend to like to make nice tidy boxes that we can nicely put God within the realms of our understanding, summations and definitions. Wouldn’t we all feel so much more in control if we knew that in this situation God was going to do this and in that one He would do that, but we are in God’s box, He is not in ours. Despite all of our theologies we cannot harness God. He defies our test tubes and analysis. Yes, there are things that we do know about Him. We do know that He is love, justice and holiness. We see so many of His attributes revealed in His Word and know that these wonderful attributes are what He acts out of. We know His Word is that which we can depend upon and which He will fulfill. Even though He is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can never limit Him to our understanding or fully grasp what there is to know about Him. If our God has limitations it is only because He has placed them upon Himself for our benefit and out of love for us.
Isn’t it ironic that God has given us a free will? Through that free will we have rebelled and sinned against Him. We have often denied Him, forsaken Him and tried Him. Yet when we see the hurt, destruction and death that our sin brings upon the earth we want to turn and blame God for allowing this to happen. We say He is not doing anything about it and yet He has already done it through His Son Jesus Christ. He has made a way, but it is still our choice and choosing that leads us out of the path of sin and destruction. Even though we are Christians and have made the choice for Him it doesn’t negate the effects that this sin-laden world can have on our lives. We can still experience its calamities and trudges just like everyone else, because in this body we are still part of this fallen race.
While in this body we still experience the limitations of our humanity, but what is different about us is that within our spirits we also experience an unlimited God. We often struggle with the fact that God doesn’t seem to act in our behalf the way we often think that He should have or that we prayed that He would. Does that make God in effectual or does it just mean that God is working in ways that we don’t understand and fully comprehend? Is God truly indifferent to our needs and cries or is there something of a higher order at work beyond what we see, feel and experience? How many times have we looked back in our experience or that of others to see that the tragedy, failure or the calamity that we felt God failed us in was the very thing that shaped our lives? It may have been the very thing that led us into the destiny and calling of what He had called us to be? This is why we mustn’t judge God prematurely when we don’t think things are happening according to our understanding and our ways. Often God is at work outside of the box of our understanding moving in ways that are infinitely higher than our immediate cognizance. What God asks of us is that we trust Him. Even when we don’t understand His hand we must trust His heart. God is working all things after the counsel of His divine will and purpose. Life will have its tragic and painful moments. Know that God is not insensitive to those places of our deepest hurts, but those are sometimes the birthplaces of our greatest miracles and triumphs. It is not necessary that we always understand what God is doing or why He does or does not move in the way that we pray. We must not make the mistake of trying to limit God to our understanding. He sees far beyond all that we could ask or think.
We often wrestle with why bad things happen to good or innocent people. Often it has do to the principles that operate in a world where sin has been sown. Just as God rains upon the just and the unjust, so sin and tragedy happen to both as well. What we are learning is that we don’t live according to the principles of this world, but in our spirit and out of our spirit we are living according to principles of the kingdom of God and His dominion. In that place we trust in His Lordship and His sovereignty, not always according to our understanding, but according to our faith. Can you still trust God even when you don’t understand and He doesn’t fit within your box?

Blessings,
#kent

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