The Art of Storytelling

January 14, 2015

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

The Art of Storytelling

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

Blessings,
#kent

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Unity in Diversity

October 20, 2014

Unity in Diversity

Romans 12:16
[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Why is it we struggle so much with our human relationships with other people? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if everyone thought just like us, even if they could just see that the way that we think is the best way to do things? Unfortunately and maybe fortunately, we are quite diverse in how we solve our problems and deal with the issues of life. While that is not so much a problem if we are dealing with just us, it becomes quite a challenge when we are in relationships where we need to be in one accord concerning decisions and policies of how we want to do things. We all have different ideas of how something should be. Often it is not a question of one being right and one being wrong, except perhaps in their own eyes, it is more a matter of being in one accord and reaching a common ground where we can share and come into agreement though we differ in opinion and logic. This is the crux of life, whether it is in business and working relationships, marriage, family, the body of Christ, no matter what the relations, it is often a challenge to come into one mind. How do we find unity in the diversity of our personalities and ways of thinking and viewing things? Well, obviously the world has come up with many ways of dealing with these issues, monarchies, dictatorships, socialism, totalitarianism, democracies and even theocracy.
Perhaps you are struggling in a relationship today. In secular relationships we seek to have the mind of Christ and as Romans 12:18 puts it, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” What about our Christian relationships, our marriages and our families, these areas that we all struggle with daily? Unfortunately we don’t have a much better record at these relationships than the world does, but we should because we have what they don’t have, Christ. If we have committed ourselves to live our lives under the theocracy of God’s will then what our efforts should be focused on is not what my will or my way is or what yours is, but what is the mind of God concerning our decisions. Do we come to the bargaining table with different agendas and different priorities? How do we arrive at peaceable solutions? First, are all parties willing to lay down their rights, agendas and opinions to submit to what God’s will is in a particular area of dissension? Are we willing to approach our differences with respect for one another and our differences of opinion, realizing that we are all made up of strengths and weaknesses? Are we willing to give place to someone else’s gifting or strength in an area? Are we willing to lay these differences at the altar and unselfishly pursue the Lord’s will through praying together and seeking the mind of the Lord? That’s probably not normally our way, but it should be. Are we all honest in our dealings and can we bring our feelings under submission to the Lord? We often want to resolve our differences emotionally which usually only further polarizes us rather than unifying us. Are we willing to come with unselfishness in our hearts and pursue the end that best meets the needs of all concerned? Our God is a God of Peace and He wants us to pursue peaceable means through His love that is within us by being longsuffering, courteous, respectful and giving place to one another.
It comes back to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5).” He became a servant though He was Lord of all and laid down His life for us. We need this mind to be the servant of one another working, living and giving what is best for the benefit of others and not just ourselves. When we get ourselves out of the picture then resolution to our conflicts and differences becomes much easier. Love is about our desire to give and not just to get. The more this love is working in the hearts of all concerned the easier our differences will be resolved and we will find unity in our diversity.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:13-16).”

Blessings,
#kent

God’s Process

October 16, 2014

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father
of lights, with whom is no variation nor shadow of turning.

God’s Process

In the light of day there is no darkness, but shadows still move away from the direction of the light much the way our hidden sins move away from the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It is when we come into the noon day of His presence that there is no shadow of turning and there all things are exposed to the light. When the light of God is put directly over every area of our life then whatever shadows were there fall beneath you and are no longer projected from you.
A fire will seek to consume everything combustible and the hotter the fire the more completely combustibles are burned. All that is considered of the sinful nature is combustible and subject to the fire. When we pass through the baptism of the fire of Christ’s love He is not rejecting you, but accepting you and promoting you. What His love is burning up may be very grievous to our flesh, but it is purifying us from all the flesh and defilement that has held us back from a deeper walk in His presence. When we don’t understand the process we can become angry, disappointed and offended with God. We don’t fully understand the principle and concept that before a seed can bring forth much fruit it first must fall into the ground and die outwardly so that the life within it can spring forth and bring forth much fruit. If we want to be fruitful there is a process.
It wasn’t in the natural desire of Jesus to suffer what He had to suffer and die like He had to die. He prayed and asked the Father, ‘If there is any way let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.’ When we make our commitment to fully give our lives to Christ, we probably don’t really grasp what that might entail. Father is gracious, He doesn’t confront us with everything at once, but He begins to take us through the process of refinement. He begins to expose those shadow areas in our lives and desires to bring the light of His purification to illuminate them, dispel them and consume them. In a lot of this process we have our will to submit or withdraw from this process. In others we go through experiences that are beyond our control and often through those difficult times we may find God in a greater dimension than what we had previously known Him. Sometimes in the things that we must pass through, they are not just for us, but they are to train us up and make us forerunners for those who must pass through similar circumstances. We then have the experience and the grace of God to speak into their lives from a heart of empathy and understanding just as Jesus was tempted in all areas just as we are.
There are many different types of terrain that we pass over as we journey with Jesus. The truth we must always keep close is that we don’t journey it alone. Even though all others would forsake us, Father never will. In Hebrews 13:5 we are given this exhortation, ” Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
6So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Jesus has never changed His mind toward you. His love for you has never wavered. His faithfulness is always the same and steadfast.
Father is taking us through the process of purification. It is not by our works or efforts, but more by our submission and obedience to Him. We co-labor in the process of purification that is taking place within us. Romans 8:12-17 shares with us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” The power of overcoming is by our partnering with the Spirit of God within us, to put to death the misdeeds of the body. It is not by just our strength, but neither is it by our passivity. We are in the midst of a commitment to Him to allow the DNA of His Spirit to transform us from what has been put to death into what is of His life and godliness. Thereby we are called the Sons of God if we are led by the Spirit of God. You also notice that it is in sharing the suffering of Christ that we also share His glory.
At every juncture, at every turn, at every circumstance and in every encounter may we have the heart to say, “Yes, Lord Jesus, have your way, whatever that entails and whatever that takes me through. I just want to be conformed to You.”

Blessings,
#kent

John 4:1-3
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

The Journey is as Important as the Destination

Here is a scripture that we often read right over and don’t really think about as being significant. There are events that happen in life that cause us to go from destination to destination. Often, especially as men, we become only focused upon the destination and not the journey. As Christians our ultimate destination is heaven and eternal life in Christ Jesus. If that is all that we see then we will miss the importance of the journey that takes us there.
In John 4 it as Jesus is traveling to the destination of Galilee that He passes through Samaria and encounters the woman at the well. That encounter was a life changing moment for this woman and for her entire town. Most all of the miracles and works that Jesus did were while He was on His way from one place to another. It is important for us to not only focus on our destination, but to be open to the Holy Spirit’s work and movement through us as we journey to our destination. The journey is where we grow in experience and exercise of where we are going too. Divine providence often accompanies upon our journeys and it is important that we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit when He brings people into our lives that may just seem an inconvenience and annoyance to us. The Lord has just brought to mind a story I recently read that illustrates this very thing. I believe it is His purpose today to share this with you.

HAIRBRUSH EXPERIENCE OF BETH MOORE AT THE AIRPORT

For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters.

This is one of her experiences:

April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville, waiting to board the plane. I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I’d had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons not the least
of which is your ego.
I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair
hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man. I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I’d just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport… An impersonator maybe? Was a camera on somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let’s admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern,and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.
I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall.I’ve learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing.I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my
spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. ‘Oh, no, God, please,no.’ I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, ‘Don’t make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I’ll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don’t make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!’ There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, ‘Please don’t make me witness to this man. Not now. I’ll do it on the plane.’Then I heard it….’I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.’
The words were so clear, my heart leap into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainier. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, ‘God,as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I’m on this Lord. I’m your girl! You’ve never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man.’
Again as clearly as I’ve ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. ‘That is not what I said,Beth. I don’t want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.’
I looked up at God and quipped, ‘I don’t have a hairbrush. It’s in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?’ God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God’s word: ‘I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.’ (2 Timothy 3:17)
I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, ‘Sir, may I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’
He looked back at me and said, ‘What did you say?’
‘May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?’ To which he responded in volume ten, ‘Little lady, if you expect me to hear you, you’re going to have to talk louder than that’
At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, ‘SIR, MAY I HAVE THE PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?’ At which point every eye in the place darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar than old Mr. Long Locks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat, I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, ‘If you really want to.’
Are you kidding? Of course I didn’t want to. But God didn’t seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, ‘Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don’t have a hairbrush.’
‘I have one in my bag,’ he responded.
I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger’s old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man’s hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don’t do many things well, but must admit I’ve had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I’d done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands,remembering to take my time not to pull. A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man’s hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this soun ds so strange, but I’ve never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I – for that few minutes – felt a portion of the very
love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while.
The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God’s. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant’s. I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knee and said,’Sir, do you know my Jesus?’
He said, ‘Yes, I do’
Well, that figures, I thought.
He explained, ‘I’ve known Him since I married my bride. She
wouldn’t marry me until I got to know the Savior.’ He said, ‘You see, the problem is, I haven’t seen my bride in months. I’ve had open-heart surgery, and she’s been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.’
Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we’re completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand,was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I’ll never forget it.
Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I’d acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.
I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, ‘That old man’s sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?’
I said, ‘Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!’
And we got to share.
I learned something about God that day. He knows if you’re exhausted,you’re hungry, you’re serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you’re hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you’re sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need!
I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way … all because I didn’t want people to think I was strange. God didn’t send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.
John 1:14 ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father,full of grace and truth’
Life shouldn’t be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting,’Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!’

Blessins,
#Kent

A Time for every Purpose under Heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1
To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Our lives are made up of many seasons and one thing about life is that it never stays the same and time never stands still. Life is a dynamic that is always in motion, interacting with the lives around it. The one constant that we have is God’s Word and it doesn’t change, but it does contain wisdom and direction for our lives in whatever season and time we find ourselves in. There are times we feel like we have control over some of the things in our lives and others when we seem to have no control at all. But again, the one constant that we have is the Lord in our lives, who never leaves us or forsakes and is with us in good times and in the bad. He is the One through and with whom we travel every season of our life and desire to find His purpose. It is not always easy to know what God’s purpose is at times in our lives. We don’t always understand His hand, why He does or doesn’t do things the way we have prayed or hoped. We can only trust His heart, because we know that all of His ways are right and just and that His nature is love.
It is important that, just as God is with us in every season and purpose of our lives, we are there for one another, sharing each other’s life experiences and encouraging one another through the process. Sometimes we are the salt God has prepared to place in the wound of ones that are hurting. Sometimes we are there to share in the excitement and joy of a precious moment or happening. What God is working in each of us is that we are a people for all seasons, equipped and furnished unto every good work. Our preparation is through our own life experiences and learning to walk with the Lord through each one. Galatians 6:9-10 tells us, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” A lot of things come in there own good time which often isn’t as soon as we think it ought to be. The Lord exhorts us to just keep on in well doing towards others and especially our brethren and eventually we will see that we will reap what we sow.
As we move through the changing times and seasons of our lives learn to rest in the Lord in whatever place you are in, don’t get anxious or upset, but look to the Lord to teach you in that place. Ask Him what He wants to work in you. Trust Him and be faithful in both the hard and the easy places, in the good times and the bad. Don’t grow discouraged, defeated or weary in your well doing for the Lord is our portion and our blessing and as the Word says, “in due season we will reap, if we faint not.” Let us be there for one another encouraging and helping one another, sharing our life experiences together. For there is a time and a season for every purpose under heaven and the Lord is a part of them all. Let us trust and walk with Him through each one.

Blessings,
#kent

When We Doubt

February 12, 2014

When We Doubt

 

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.


When We Doubt


There is a thief the comes to steal,

The identity he says that is not real.

He brings with him doubt, fear and unbelief,

He comes to rob my faith because he is a thief.


What if all my faith is in vain?

Then I can hold on to all my guilt and shame.

What if this message of the cross is just a lie?

Then wretched and most miserable of men am I.


Let me return to the sin and death from which I came,

Let me forsake life and hope if God’s Word is just a game.

Let me return to when my heart was perverted and my walk was lame,

If all roads lead to God, then Jesus why did you come to die in vain?


The Jews passed down the account of all the works that God had done.

They did this so they would not forget all the battles by Him they won.

Take some time to recount all of your blessings, one by one.

You will be find yourself amazed at what the Lord has done.


Intellects want to rob your faith through philosophical clatter,

But what you know in your heart is really what does matter.

What you know to be real in your heart, let no man steal,

Christ in you, redeemed by the blood, that is what is real.


Satan and man can throw up all kinds of smoke and mirrors,

But in the end it is the power of Christ that removes all doubt and fears.

If you embrace the lie it is to your shame,

You’ve been stripped of the truth of why Christ came.


There remains no other sacrifice to take away your sin,

You’ve been robbed of life and power that is only found in Him.

Beware of your reasoning that tells you that Christ is a fairytale,

Lest in that time when all hope is lost, your heart will begin to fail.


If Christ be a lie I will still embrace Him until the end,

Because I have experienced His love and know Him as my friend.

No, I don’t understand the mystery of all of His ways,

But I believe when He calls me up, in Him I will be raised.


So you go ahead and embrace the lie if you will.

But I choose to embrace my Savior still.

I have identified with Him, and so I am no longer my own,

I am becoming flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone.


I will not let fear, doubt and unbelief rob me of the identity that is mine.

In Him my life is hid and out of His righteousness my life will shine.

I know who I am and I will not let anyone take that from me.

For in Christ I live and through His blood I have found my liberty.


Poor indeed is the man that let his faith be robbed,

In the day of judgement bitter tears he will sob.

Stand your ground and hold fast the truth proclaimed,

When faith has stood the test, His promises you will claim.


Kent Stuck

 
Blessings,
kent
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