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

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In Our Darkest Hour

January 16, 2015

Acts 16:16-29
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
19When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

In Our Darkest Hour

As we endeavor to walk the walk of faith we come to experience and realize that God doesn’t just rescue us out of every bad circumstance and trial. The experience Paul and Silas have here is a case and point. God had something more far reaching than an immediate rescue or even the avoidance of a very unpleasant experience for His servants. Like them, there are times when our reasoning might be “God, I am doing your will and I am in your service, why are you allowing these things to happen to me? Why didn’t you come through when I called upon You?”
Remember the words of Jesus in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” If Jesus, the Son of God, had to endure the cross, despising the shame, then know that there can and will be dark and difficult times when we follow in His footsteps. The question then isn’t really are we going to experience trials and tribulations, those are almost a given. The question is how do we respond when we are in the midst of these dark times? Will we blame God for failing us? Will we give up and forsake the faith or will we do what Paul and Silas did in there greatest and darkest hour of despair. They were praying, praising and singing hymns unto the Lord. If you want to talk about a time when they might have had zero incentive to praise God this could have been it. They have been wrongfully accused, convicted, beaten within an inch of their lives, thrown into the inner, darkest dungeon and put into chains. Everything in the natural declared that they were defeated and God hadn’t saved them. Just stick a fork in them cause they are done.
These are men that no longer walk by their feelings and emotions. These are men that have entrusted themselves into the hands of God whether for life or for death. Their faith and commitment have superseded their circumstances. This is where we have to be in our walk and in our faith in this hour. In our darkest hour we cannot be murmuring and complaining about how God failed us. God is God and does all things according to His time and purpose which may be in direct contradiction to ours. So what do we do in these times? We worship Him. It doesn’t matter what happens upon the earth or how bad it gets, God is still on the throne. He is still sovereign over the affairs of men. Evil men may prevail for a time, but in the end they must answer to the Almighty.
Job 13: 15 says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” This must become the motto and battle cry of God’s people. We are His in life and in death. We are His in health and in sickness. We are His in prosperity and poverty. We are His in freedom and in prison. We are His in justice and injustice. In all our ways and with all of our hearts we must be His.
We see God showing up in the darkest hour in the midst of praise and worship. He shows Himself strong and sovereign even in a naturally impossible situation. Through this travail and sorrow, salvation and life are brought forth to the glory of God. We are pregnant with His life and often the bringing forth of that life comes with much travail and sorrow, but joy comes in the morning. Light triumphs over the darkness and life over death. There is no greater honor we can have than to lay down our lives for Christ’s sake. Many saints have not been rescued as Paul and Silas were this night and eventually they, also, came to a time when they gave their lives for the gospel. The martyrs are the color guard of heaven. They carry the standard of His righteousness and the banner of His love. They are His elite elect and faithful ones, because they loved not their lives even unto death.
Many of us are in dark times or will be in the near future. They may or may not be life threatening, but they won’t be easy. In these times we must enter into His rest. We must resign to the truth that our greatest victory is found not in self-effort, but through prayer, praise and worship. In Daniel 3 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s idol they faced sure death for not complying, but this was their response, “16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” This is the abandonment of faith into the hands of God. This is something that everything in the natural cries out against, but for the ones who know their God this is the place of our peace.

Blessinsg,
#kent

Acceptable Sacrifice

January 16, 2013

Genesis 4:1-7
Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.” 2Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Acceptable Sacrifice

Your external efforts to please God will never do,
He has already given the sacrifice that is acceptable for you.
Christ has paid the price and is the acceptable sacrifice.
Faith in Him alone can save you and give you eternal life.
Christ in you, now lives through you, to do the works above.
Not outwardly, but inwardly are you transformed into His love.
Kent Stuck

Have you ever meditated on why God favored Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s? Here are just a few insights.
First of all man was created on the 6th day, the same day as the beast of the field. What separated man and beast?
Genesis 1:26-27 says, “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” In Genesis 2:7 it says, “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
We see that man, not animals, was made in the image of God and in His likeness for the purpose of having dominion over the earth and His creation. We also see that, unlike the beast and other animals, God breathed His own breath, the breath of life, into man. Because in John 4, Jesus tells us that God is Spirit, we can conclude that it wasn’t just an outward appearance that made Adam in the image of God, it was the spirit formed within him that gave him the capacity and ability to be in the image and likeness of God and through that spirit, being conformed to the likeness of God, he would have dominion over the earth.
Man was created then in a place between God and beast, heaven and earth. In that place he was given a choice, a free will to choose which nature he would live out of; that which was formed from the earth or that which was breathed in Him by the breath of God, the Spirit. In the original state of Adam we have a picture of what it was like to live out of the Spirit and in communion and right relationship with God. After the fall we see the genealogy of fallen man, beginning with Cain and Abel. In those two brothers we see the beginning of these two natures beginning to manifest.
We posed the question earlier, “Why did God favor Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s?” There are types and shadow here that that give us those answers. Cain’s sacrifice came from the earth and were the efforts of his own works and hands. How many people try to please God with their works and efforts to do good only to find that this is not what is acceptable to God.
Hebrews 9:22 tells us, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Cain’s sacrifice was not a redemptive sacrifice offered in faith. There was no shedding of blood and so it was unacceptable to the Father.
Abel, took the first fruits of his flock. He followed godly principles for an acceptable offering. He shed their blood by sacrificing them in faith. He brought God his first and his best, not his common and ordinary. He offered the fat of these upon the altar, which speaks to those non-essential indulgences of our flesh and that which is in excess to our need, along with the abundance and excess that we can offer back to God. His heart and his pursuit was to please God in faith and obedience.
Cain’s offering was not accepted of God and Cain’s reaction revealed the true nature of his heart. God gives us a choice to choose what is good and acceptable, because our other choice leaves sin crouching at our door and if we open the door to it as Cain did, it can only lead to sin and death.
Life confronts us with two natures and two paths. One leads to life and peace and the other to sin and death. One is lived out of own efforts and choices and the other is lived out of righteousness, obedience and faith through the power of the Spirit of God which we invite, through choice, to live in us and through us. Even if we have made the wrong choice and headed down the wrong path, God would still tells us, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” We are given the opportunity to repent and turn from our wicked ways, but if not, sin is crouching at the door.
We know the outcome, that Cain slew Abel. The flesh will always persecute the Spirit and even as they crucified Jesus, His blood cries out with forgiveness and not vengeance, with mercy that is greater than justice. His desire is to redeem us all back to Him. He beseeches us to choose the life of the Spirit that He originally breathed into us and in that choice we will know Life.

Blessings,
kent

Your Treasure

January 4, 2013

Matthew 6:19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Your Treasure

The true joy in life is not in what you possess, but in Who you possess. The true blessings in life are not in storing up possessions, but in sharing the treasure of Who you possess within. If Christ is the treasure of your storehouse then the depth of your being is determined by where you live from. The more you share out of the treasure and storehouse of who you are in Christ, the more incorruptible treasure that is added to your account. What you value most, is what your heart pursues.
As human beings living in this world we are often short-sighted and short-circuited into believing that the pursuit of earthly gain equals security, joy, happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction and all of those emotions that we believe we will find at the end of our rainbow. In reality, what we find, is that this is as much of a myth as the pot of gold.
When you check out at the grocery store and you see all of the tabloids. There are stories of the rich and famous, but I don’t read or see stories about their joy and deep fulfillment. These are the people that are where most of us think we would want to be, but without Christ it is all empty vanity. In so many ways, you who have Christ, are so much richer than any of them. You can find in Christ all of the things the world is pursuing by natural means. The wonderful thing is that it is not through all of our works, efforts and scheming. It is not even through our goodness, talents or abilities. It is all about faith and resting in the arms of Him who desires to give it all to you. I have found a truth in my life that the more I put Him first, the less I lack. I found that He is my sufficiency, my provision, my healer, my Redeemer and the greatest friend I could ever imagine. I don’t get up and pray early in the morning because I have too, I do it because I love hanging out with Jesus and being in His presence. I love sharing my heart with Him and asking Him to share His heart with me. I love the things He shows me and the words He gives to me as I just trust Him. I can never brag about what I have, my abilities, my belongings, my gifting, my writings, because it isn’t mine to brag about. All that I have, I owe to Him. He is my treasure and life is so rich because He is in the center of it. When we truly find Christ and our relationship with Him, then we understand we don’t have to value what the world values, because our treasure is so much richer, rewarding and fulfilling.
What the world doesn’t so often see is what Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” God doesn’t promise us an easy life, but a life that often crushes the grapes of our natal man to produce the sweet wine of His life. That crushes the petals of our rose, to release the fragrance of His life within us.
In Christ we are not given to the natural affections and desires of this world, we have been transformed to dwell in the heavenly realms and part of that is allowing the natural to be touched so that the heavenly can be released. Let us never lose sight of who we are, where we are and where our true treasure is; for through your life and mine are released into the earth the treasures of heaven. The world is a richer place because we are in it and Christ is in us.

Blessings,
kent

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