Romans 10:19
But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by [them that are] no people, [and] by a foolish nation I will anger you.

Why we should be Thankful

Some nearly four hundred years ago God led a small handful of people out of the religious oppression and intolerance of Europe to a new land, unfounded and virtually uninhabited by the civilized world of that day. These people possessed within their spirits a calling and a mandate of God to come out from among the religious beast of Europe that proclaimed its self to be Christianity. They stepped out in the faith of God, forsaking all to become the pilgrims that we remember as the founders of our nation. This little handful of people, who were no people in the eyes of the world, they heard a calling to a promise land that flowed with milk and honey. A place where they could worship in the manner that they chose without fear of reprisals. Here they could be true to themselves and to God. It was this kind people with which our God founded this great nation we live in today called the United States. If any ever doubts that there is a God or that He was the One who was at work to bring forth this great country, let them follow the true history and accounts that took place when this country was formed and through its growth, even till today. All that we are and all that we enjoy is only due to the sovereignty, goodness, mercy and the blessings of God.
How it must grieve Him that now we have laws that we can destroy our unwanted children, laws that prohibit our teachers from teaching the truth of God in public schools, that deny God as the Creator and forbid His Word from being read, along with the freedom to openly pray. We have tolerated those who would strike His name from every public place and have courts that will not even allow the display of His commandments. What kind of religious freedom is this that tolerates every other religion being taught about in our public schools except the one true gospel? What spirit have we allowed to come in that has blinded the hearts and minds of so many and even we, His people, have become complacent and lethargic?
These early pilgrims gave their very lives to establish a precedent of religious freedom. Even when the captain of the Mayflower offered to take them back to England, not one of them would go, even in the face of such great adversity and loss. They counted Him faithful who had called them out of darkness and brought them into the light. It didn’t come without great sacrifice and loss. Many of us don’t really think about or really appreciate all the sacrifice of so many throughout the history of this country that has sustained its freedoms and liberties.
Let us remember our heritage and how we that were no people, God has made us a great people with blessings like none other upon the earth. He has taken that which was nothing and has made it something. He has taken the weak and made them strong. He has taken the poor and made them rich. Great is the Lord!
God, please forgive us when we take so much that You have done for us for granted. Help us to truly acknowledge You and truly give thanks from the depths our heart and soul. We are a blessed people and You are the reason for that blessing.

Blessings,
#kent

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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

 

When God is Silent and Understanding Fails

(Part 1) 


Job 23:8-17

8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. 13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. 16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. 17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.”

 

I ask God’s wisdom and counsel today in what we share.  There are times in our lives when we know and trust God with our heart, but we question Him with our mind, intellect and understanding.  We try and reason how God is, who God is and how He should act and work in our lives.  Life’s circumstances and trials can sometimes be very crushing and cruel.  They leave us in the wake of disasters that our natural reasoning struggles to understand and comprehend in the light of what we know about God.  The question is often asked and disputed, “If you are a loving and just God, how could you let this happen?”  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Many depart from their faith through the course of life, because God has disappointed them and failed to live up their expectations.  Sometimes when we are desperate for answers or a Word, God is silent.   

The book of Job has long been a source of comfort and strength to those of us who find ourselves in these places in life.  It is not uncommon for any of us at times in our lives to have these hard questions, because God does not always respond to us the way we think that He should.  About the time we think we have God all figured out and put in the box of our finite understanding, He blows the lid off of our box and defies our understanding.  God has defined Himself by certain characteristics and attributes, but His thoughts and ways are so beyond ours that they are unable to be corralled by human or conventional wisdom.  Some of you who are reading this now have struggled in your faith and perhaps have faltered because you couldn’t grasp why something happened as it did.  You prayed and you felt God didn’t answer.  You tried to walk in faith and you didn’t feel that God came through.  You may have trusted God and you felt He let you down or cried out to Him and it seemed He wasn’t there.  We may have said in our hearts, God, are you really real?  If You are who You say you are, then where are You, why have You abandoned me in my hour of need?  In times past we were so sure of His reality and we had experienced His presence, the joy of salvation and the precious power of the Holy Spirit.  Now our world has turned upside down and God seems nowhere to be found.  In the discourse of Job 29:1-6, “Job continued his discourse: 2 “How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, 3 when his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness! 4 Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, 5 when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, 6 when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.”  Has that ever been the cry of our heart from the hardship and trials we have experienced?  Many of us, like Job, have searched for the answers that could bring comfort, consolation and satisfy our dejected soul.  In these times and through these monumental trials, what is our heart attitude toward God?  Can we still maintain our trust in God’s integrity and righteousness, or will we forsake and curse our God and turn away from our faith?  When the fires of hell are brought to bear upon our faith, when we can no longer with the natural eye behold the evidence of God, but only see the devastation of the enemy in our midst through death, sickness, poverty or affliction can we maintain our integrity and faith toward God?  Sometimes the fire of God will try and test our hearts in the ways that blessings and answered prayers never will.  It is easy to love and serve God when all is well, when we are prospering, healthy, wealthy and wise.  It is easy when we worship and sense God’s presence, favor and blessing, but what about when all of that is withdrawn?  Can you still trust Him and hold fast to Him?

 

Blessings,

kent

When God is Silent and Understanding Fails
(Part 1)

Job 23:8-17
8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread. 13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. 16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. 17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.”

I ask God’s wisdom and counsel today in what we share. There are times in our lives when we know and trust God with our heart, but we question Him with our mind, intellect and understanding. We try and reason how God is, who God is and how He should act and work in our lives. Life’s circumstances and trials can sometimes be very crushing and cruel. They leave us in the wake of disasters that our natural reasoning struggles to understand and comprehend in the light of what we know about God. The question is often asked and disputed, “If you are a loving and just God, how could you let this happen?” Why do bad things happen to good people? Many depart from their faith through the course of life, because God has disappointed them and failed to live up their expectations. Sometimes when we are desperate for answers or a Word, God is silent.
The book of Job has long been a source of comfort and strength to those of us who find ourselves in these places in life. It is not uncommon for any of us at times in our lives to have these hard questions, because God does not always respond to us the way we think that He should. About the time we think we have God all figured out and put in the box of our finite understanding, He blows the lid off of our box and defies our understanding. God has defined Himself by certain characteristics and attributes, but His thoughts and ways are so beyond ours that they are unable to be corralled by human or conventional wisdom. Some of you who are reading this now have struggled in your faith and perhaps have faltered because you couldn’t grasp why something happened as it did. You prayed and you felt God didn’t answer. You tried to walk in faith and you didn’t feel that God came through. You may have trusted God and you felt He let you down or cried out to Him and it seemed He wasn’t there. We may have said in our hearts, God, are you really real? If You are who You say you are, then where are You, why have You abandoned me in my hour of need? In times past we were so sure of His reality and we had experienced His presence, the joy of salvation and the precious power of the Holy Spirit. Now our world has turned upside down and God seems nowhere to be found. In the discourse of Job 29:1-6, “1 Job continued his discourse: 2 “How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, 3 when his lamp shone upon my head and by his light I walked through darkness! 4 Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, 5 when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, 6 when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.” Has that ever been the cry of our heart from the hardship and trials we have experienced? Many of us, like Job, have searched for the answers that could bring comfort, consolation and satisfy our dejected soul. In these times and through these monumental trials, what is our heart attitude toward God? Can we still maintain our trust in God’s integrity and righteousness, or will we forsake and curse our God and turn away from our faith? When the fires of hell are brought to bear upon our faith, when we can no longer with the natural eye behold the evidence of God, but only see the devastation of the enemy in our midst through death, sickness, poverty or affliction can we maintain our integrity and faith toward God? Sometimes the fire of God will try and test our hearts in the ways that blessings and answered prayers never will. It is easy to love and serve God when all is well, when we are prospering, healthy, wealthy and wise. It is easy when we worship and sense God’s presence, favor and blessing, but what about when all of that is withdrawn? Can you still trust Him and hold fast to Him?

Blessings,
kent

Truth

April 23, 2013

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Truth

The viability of Christianity today is not in its words, but in its actions. If there is nothing that the world sees in us that is much different than them, except for perhaps a self-righteous attitude, then why should they want what you say you have? There is a religious view today, to love everybody, except everyone where they are at, follow your heart, just be who you are, love everyone, except everything as okay.
God loves us in spite of where we are, that doesn’t mean that He compromises His truth so we won’t be offended and He can be politically correct. Truth stands, not matter how much egg and mud are thrown against it. It doesn’t change, just because of what we believe. Truth was truth long before we ever came into this world and it will remain truth even after this world passes away. Truth does not bend itself to us, it calls to us to align ourselves with it. Either we embrace the truth and walk in it or reap the consequences of our rejection of it.
Really, it is amazing that we have this concept that God should always bend to our will, our wants, our request and all that we name and claim. First of all, God already gives even the unjust and sinners far more than they deserve. His mercy and grace rains down upon us all, but we sometimes forget our place. God is God, Creator, Sovereign Lord of All. His is the dominion and authority over all, but we have the idea that if things don’t always work out right in our lives, it is God’s fault. Yet. if we teach our children right from wrong and model right living before them, then they go out and violate the principles that we as parents taught them, are the parents to blame when consequences come? Often it is through the adversities, trials, and unfairness we find in life that God’s principles of truth become a reality in our lives.
We operate out of a very finite and limited understanding of life, the world and the things that happen in life. We see our world through a peep hole and yet we treat God like we could have done things so much better than Him. How arrogant and naive we are. God sees the end from the beginning. The Word says that even His foolishness exceeds the wisdom of men. We have to be aware that God’s ways are so much higher and we won’t always comprehend or understand His ways. Life may sometimes be terribly unfair and bad things do happen to good people, but that in no way negates or lessens the goodness and faithfulness of the Father. Even as children, we may have felt our parents were harsh or unfair, but we didn’t have the maturity and wisdom to see what they could, because of where they had been. If they were harsh, most often it was in an effort to correct you so that you wouldn’t have to experience a greater pain.
God’s truth is the standard by which we are to live by. That truth magnifies God’s love and forgiveness, but it does not justify and excuse sin. It does not compromise itself with darkness, but rather dispels the darkness, for it is the equivalent of light. Jesus tells us to walk in the light, even as He is in the light, not so we can condemn those in the world, but so that we can light their way to Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

The Antidote for Fear

November 30, 2012

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

The Antidote for Fear

We live and walk in a world consumed by doubt and fears. Unfortunately it touches many who are believers as well as the world. It is important that if fear and doubt are a struggle that you have that you will be encouraged and exhorted by this word.
The only one that God wants us to fear is Him. When we truly reverence and stand in total awe of who He is then we realize He ultimately has the say and judgement over our life and spirit. Others may be able to afflict and kill the body, but God determines our eternal destiny.
When I find myself in fear and doubt, I find that I am not standing and walking fully in faith. Faith in God’s Word assures me that God is Love. His love is able to keep me, not matter what circumstances surround me or those I love. In Romans 8:28 I am given the assurance that, “all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Even when I am faced with tribulation, persecution, afflictions and death, I need not fear.
Why?
Because God’s perfect love drives out all fear. In Psalms 118:6, the Psalmist declares, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” We have the assurance that as we have received by faith, Christ as our Savior and Lord, He lives in us and we live in Him. He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. All else, spirit or flesh, is under His dominion. If we are in Him then anything that touches us must come through Him.
Our fears come when we lose sight of the identity that we have in Jesus Christ. When we fully grasp and lay hold of the promises and truth of God’s Word, fear has no grip upon us.
Why?
Because we are God’s children who abide in the Love of God. His perfect love casts out fear. Our lives are His. Is there any so great as to pluck us out of the hand of God?
“But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” If we fear judgement and punishment then we lack the assurance that we have been fully washed and cleansed in the blood of Jesus. We don’t fully understand that we are fully justified in Christ, meaning it is just as if we never sinned. When we abide in the Righteous One, then we abide in the full assurance of His salvation. In that salvation is the revelation of God holy and insurmountable love for us. For us to live in fear, means that we have taken our eyes off of who He is in us and put them upon the circumstances that surround us.
When Stephen was about to be stoned by the frenzied mob of the religious, he didn’t fear what they could do to him. He only saw Jesus and had set his eyes on things above. When we, like him, see Jesus setting a the right hand of the Father, then there is no room for fear because Ephesians 2:6-10 assures us, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
When we know who we are, where our position is and what our purpose is then what can man do to us. Our life is hid in Him and He is sovereign over all of the affairs of men. When we get a revelation of this we will better understand the perfect love of God and that God has designed that we should be made perfect in that love. “Perfect love drives out fear.”

Blessings,
kent

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