Who areYou Seeking?

May 15, 2015

Who areYou Seeking?

2 Chronicles 26:3-5
Sixteen years old [was] Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also [was] Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.

What is our business plan for life? The goal that most of us have is to have a life that contains prosperity and blessing. We want a life where we have safety and security and where we have sufficiency of earthly goods to sustain and meet our needs. Most of us enjoy a lot of these basic needs of life, but the question is do you want God to make you prosper? Uzziah found the secret, “He sought the Lord.” The key to our prosperity and success is in following this same principle.
We can go to a lot of sources and get council from many directions, but there is none that can exceed the counsel that we can receive from the Lord. Usually our greatest source of counsel and wisdom is our own opinion and thinking. We may even experience some success and prosperity from our self-reliance, but self-reliance will not bring us into the prosperity and blessing of eternal life that only a relationship with our Lord can provide.
Proverbs is a book that is filled with exhortation to seek wisdom, understanding and wise counsel. It tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all of that. If we truly want to prosper in the things that really matter in life then we had better follow Uzziah’s example. The one thing that the Word shows us and teaches us is that many men started off well with their faith and reliance in God, but as God prospered them they became full of themselves and they forgot the Lord. We must learn from their mistakes. The race is not to him who starts it, but to him who finishes it and stays the course.
In the wilderness when the Israelites were lead out of captivity they followed the cloud of the Lord. They had to learn that they didn’t move till it moved rather that was every day or not for months at a time. We need a relationship where we are in tune with the Lord’s moving in our lives. Often we would grow impatient and run ahead of Him.
Who are we seeking in our lives today? What are we pursuing to be successful? There are many things we can learn and understand in the world, but our true prosperity and blessing comes from the Lord for He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. It is the wisdom of the Lord and His counsel that we must covet and pursue. When our eyes and hearts are fixed on Him, He will cause our ways to prosper.

Blessings,
#kent

A Measure of Faith

January 30, 2014

 

A Measure of Faith


Romans 12:3

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith


This experience we call being a Christian and partaking of God’s salvation through Christ has one key element that we all have to start with, and that is faith.  It starts with faith to believe upon Christ and receive that which we cannot see into our hearts.   We start our walk with God and we enter into His saving grace because we heard a Word and by that Word we believed in our heart and acted upon it by praying a sinner’s prayer, asking Christ into our hearts.  For all of us to have taken this first step into a Christian walk we had to have a measure of faith.  The Word says here in Romans 12:3 that, “God has dealt every man the measure of faith.”  Now this faith will be common in many ways to the faith of other believers, but it will also develop its own personality because each of us has been given different gifts and abilities by the Holy Spirit.  All of us grow and function out of the faith that works through our lives.  As we begin to grow in faith and act out of faith we learn a reliance not on ourselves and our abilities, but upon God’s ability to channel Himself through these earthly vessels as we yield and trust Him to do so.  

Jesus, in His ministry and walk upon this earth, told us that He didn’t do His own will, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me (John 5:30).”  Even Jesus is demonstrating through His earthly ministry that His life is functioning not in self-will or purpose but as an extension of the Father to do His will and speak His Words into the earth.  In Christ we see the full measure of faith in operation as the Godhead is channeled through His life through the full surrender of His will to the Father.   In the wilderness the account of Matthew 4:3-4 says the tempter came to Jesus and told Him He could turn these stones into bread, but Jesus knew that His life was not about what He could do, that would have only given place to pride and self-reliance.  Instead, He said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” He is communicating a profound revelation that my life is not about me; it is about the Father.  His Word is life, substance and reality.  At that moment, that statement didn’t make Jesus any less hungry, but Jesus knew and expressed that the spiritual realities of God’s Word superseded the natural realities of His hunger and present physical condition.  Throughout the trial Jesus faced, in a place of great physical exhaustion, His focus was on the Father and His strength and confidence was in the Word.  

We live in a natural world where we are constantly assaulted with trials and tribulations.  Whether they are physical, financial, emotional, family, work or any number of other things, problems are a part of our lives.  We have an enemy whose sole purpose is to rob, steal, kill and destroy.  Our faith is at the top of his hit list.  Our reality, as children of God, must be based foremost on the Word of God.  The enemy’s strategy is to divert our attention from what God’s Word says to what our circumstances and natural reality is telling us.  Jesus didn’t deny that He was hungry, but the basis of His obedience and trust was based on the Word of God, not his hunger.  We have to exercise our faith to exalt God’s Word above our circumstances and natural realities.  2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith, not by sight.”  Spiritual reality is first to the spiritually minded, natural reality is second and subject to the first.  If ‘faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,’ as Romans 10:17 declares, then God’s Word is what we listen too, His promises are what we rely on, His Word is our declaration and profession over the obstacles in our lives that we face.  Our hope and confidence in that Word stands in the gap, our profession of His Truth and our praise in the midst of our battle, release the forces of heaven till faith has its manifestation in the natural.  Ephesians 6:10-13 tells us, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  

As we exercise the measure of faith that God has given each one of us we will see His faithfulness, but it will not come without it stretching us from where we are to where He wants to take us.  Fix your eyes upon Jesus, set your heart upon His Word and rest upon His Promises.  That measure of faith will grow as you mature and exercise that daily and constant trust in Him. 

 
Blessings,
kent

The Snare of Pride

December 11, 2013

The Snare of Pride


Psalms 10:4

In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.


Pride is a stronghold that stands in opposition to God.  It is centered in self and self-reliance.  The prideful person is most often blind to their arrogance and is often blindsided by their own self-righteousness.  A good case and point are the Jews in John 8:31-46.  “31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

33They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 

34Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.” 

39“Abraham is our father,” they answered. 

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. 40As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41You are doing the things your own father does.” 

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” 

42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” 

Pride will blind us to sin and who we really are.  Just as these Jews protested that they had always been free and that their father was Abraham, Jesus spoke to them the sobering reality that they were sinners and slaves to sin.  If we are righteous, then we will first hear the words of Jesus, we will acknowledge our sin and repent of it and then we will walk and live in obedience to God’s Word.  Pride will cause our ears to be deaf to hear the spiritual truth that will bring conviction.  John 8:43 says, “…Because you are unable to hear what I say.”  It will often even protest its religious alliance to God, but its fruits of true righteousness and obedience are barren.  It is interesting in this passage that it says Jesus was talking to the Jews that believed and yet they were the ones ready to kill Him.  As believers we too can have pride in our hearts that we aren’t even aware of.  We can have spiritual pride as well as natural pride.  It can be the root and gateway to sin in our lives.  Pride will always justify itself and never want to acknowledge itself for what it is, rebellion against God.  When God says, “to this man will I look, even to him that is of a humble and contrite heart,” he is looking for the man that is emptied of pride, self-reliance and self-righteousness.  He is looking for the man who only has eyes for the Lord and is totally and completely reliant upon the Lord for all that He is. His willing obedience and submission to the Word of God and his love for the Lord verifies his true humility and trust.  He is not trying to live a life outside of God, but totally in God. 

What place is pride playing in our hearts?  Are we harboring sin, are we self-reliant and self-directed?  Have we truly yielded every area of our lives in obedience to His Lordship?  Have we gone to the other extreme where we perceive ourselves as being more righteous and spiritual than others are?   Have we unknowingly and unwittingly been caught up in the snare of pride?

 

Blessings,

kent

The Folly of Pride

November 13, 2012

Deuteronomy 8:10-20
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
*19If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

The Folly of Pride

Moses is giving us a key principle that we don’t want to forget in the light our victories, blessings, prosperity and success. All through the Old Testament we saw the people of God continually failing to keep this principle which ultimately led them to the consequences God promised them if they did in verses 19 and 20.
We are not so unlike the Israelites. Most of us have grown up with prosperity and blessing. We may not acknowledge ourselves as being rich, but in comparison to about 80 to 90 percent of the rest of the world we are considered rich and very prosperous.
Whether it is what we have inherited or the successes that we have gained through life, pride is an ever subtle enemy that we need to be mindful of. It is same subtle sin that attracted Eve in the garden, because it takes our eyes off of God and puts it upon ourselves. The things we used pray and ask God for, we now take credit for having accomplished. Suddenly and surely God is swept to the side as we step into our limousine of self glory, admiring all that “we have done and accomplished.” Now that we have arrived, we are in control and what may have started in humility is now lost in arrogance. God is lost in the background of our self-glorifying shadow.
Often our greatest danger is not in the midst of our battles, it is when we have arrived at success, having obtained our goal. Suddenly our defenses lower, our prayer and faith drop off, we’re on top of the mountain and we think we are invincible. When in truth, we are now most vulnerable, because God will no longer support and sustain us in that prideful attitude of arrogance. How quickly we can forget that without God we are nothing but weakness, frailty, poverty and failure.
Some of us have fought other kind of battles, like addictions, character flaws, poor choices and so on. We might ask the alcoholic, “Why do you still go to AA meetings since you have quit drinking and have been sober?” It because they recognize the inclination to drink and know that if they don’t remain vigilant, in a moment of weakness they can so quickly return to that cesspool of misery. That is why we must ever maintain our vigilant relationship, praise and reliance upon Father, no matter how greatly He blesses or how successful we are. If you don’t believe me ask some of the tele-evangelist of the 80’s or many a great man of God who fell into sin.
Our protection and our covering is in our abiding relationship with Jesus that doesn’t compartmentalize our life into different areas, but it all belongs to Him. We ever walk in humility and utter reliance and faith in Christ. When we step out of the identity of who we are in Christ Jesus then we become vulnerable to identity theft and the enemy is always looking for opportunity to rob it from us. His mission is to bring us down and to do so, all he has to do bring separation between us and our Lord.
Most of are quite familiar with the testing, trials and tribulations of life, but know that satan still works on the other end; in our success, triumphs and victories. That is where we are most vulnerable to folly of pride.

Blessings,
kent

Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

The Stumbling Block of Pride

Pride has been the foundation stone and building block of every rebellion against the Almighty. From the rebellion of satan forward it has been the seed that has exalted itself against God and boasted in its own self. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil and much of evil derives its strength, power and presence from the pride and arrogance of self. One of the dangers of being gifted and blessed with special attributes and abilities is how easy it is to get caught in this ugly snare of pride.
I wonder how many men have approached God, but have heard nothing and received nothing because of the unrepented pride that was in their hearts. If we think that we can approach God on our terms and expect Him to respond to us then we are not only prideful, but foolish as well. How many of us have had children or seen children who approached their parents in this manner? Instead of humbling themselves in obedience and respect to their parents they came with the attitude of usurping their authority and leadership in the home. A wise parent wouldn’t give place to this kind of arrogance and manipulation on the part of child and certainly God won’t meet with us on those terms. We are to come to God on His terms, not our own. His terms are humility, a broken, contrite and repentant heart. This is the attitude of heart that God will respond too. When we are willing to take off this garment of selfishness and lay it down at the altar, then we are in a place where He can meet with us and clothe us with Himself and His vesture of righteousness. Pride is a major stumbling block to those who would desire to know God. Pride focuses our attention away from the Lord and onto us. Thus it robs us of His resources while making us dependent upon the weakness of our own strength and ablility. Many feel they are sufficient within themselves and indeed, in this world, may do well for themselves, but their faith and hope are built upon sand. Sand is a shifting and unstable foundation that will eventually give way to failure. We see Jesus as the rock of our foundation, steadfast and unmovable. He is what anchors us to the Almighty and brings us through every adversity and trial.
Sometimes we are tempted to envy the wicked, because it may seem they are enjoying the entire blessing of this life while we have inherited all of the struggles. Psalms 73 addresses these very feelings and perceptions. “1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure.2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone .3 For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. 5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklaceand clothe themselves with cruelty. 7 These fat cats have everythingtheir hearts could ever wish for! 8 They scoff and speak only evil;in their pride they seek to crush others. 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. 11 “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” 12 Look at these wicked people—enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. 13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long;every morning brings me pain. 15 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! 17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. 18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. 19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. 20 When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning. 21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.22 I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 27 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”
Even when God blesses us and gives good success, we must be very mindful of this crafty evil called pride. It can as easily wear a spiritual face, as it can a natural one. Pride builds us up in a false sense of security. It makes us believe we are something rather than giving the glory and the honor to the Lord who has blessed us. God is the author of every good and perfect gift, be sure that the honor and praise always returns to Him. Pride is the balloon that lifts you to ruin. Humility is branch that hangs low, laden with the fruit of God’s Spirit and life. The mountains will be brought low, but the valleys will be lifted up and the meek shall inherit the earth. If you want to find Him, lose yourself and lay down your pride.

Blessings,
kent

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