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

This Day

September 22, 2014

This Day

Genesis 50:20
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.

Joseph makes this statement in Genesis to his brothers who had sold him into captivity in Egypt. What would have appeared to the outward man to be a shipwrecked and cursed life, God was using to train the man that would be the salvation of his people and many others as well.
How is your life? Maybe it seems anything but blessed. Trials and tribulations may be old familiar friends. Outwardly your life may look like the tabernacle in the wilderness, covered with badger skins, very ordinary looking to the world without. The question is, “what is God working within you?” How is He preparing you for your destiny and are you partnered in faith with Him as He prepares you for “this day”?
Joseph couldn’t have possibly understood the entire calamity that touched his life. Most people would have become very disillusioned and even bitter against God. We see in Joseph a calm faithfulness. The dignity and stature of his life wasn’t dependent upon his status or circumstances it was in knowing who he was and in knowing his God. How many lives and stories have missed a great ending because people gave up and lost their faith? All Joseph had was a few dreams and an upbringing that had taught him about Jehovah. There was a connection of faith in God that Joseph never let go of even in the worst of times.
We must lay hold of the truth that Joseph found. What others may have meant for evil God meant it unto good. It is all leading us to “this day” when our purpose is realized and we are brought forth to fulfill the purpose of God in our lives. You may already be at this point or you may still be in the process. Everyday of life has a purpose, even if it is just enduring in hope and faith. Know that God has a destiny and purpose for each one of us. Our life is about finding that purpose and fulfilling it in God’s time and His way. We can only know that and realize it as we walk each day with the Lord and pursue His will for our lives.
Be like Joseph and don’t lose hope. Hold fast even in the darkest of times, because it is always usually darkest just before the dawn.
“This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalms 118:24)
Blessings
#kent

The Spirit of Fear

May 7, 2014

The Spirit of Fear

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind

There is a fear that is a phobia and a dread; beyond that, it can produce heart-pounding terror. Fear can be so strong that it can totally incapacitate us. It can grip us so strong that it will cause us to tremble and shake. Sometimes we can’t even move or think or we flee in terror. There is a spirit of fear that can grip our hearts in a way that makes us terribly afraid. There are varying degrees that this spirit can come upon us, but when it does, it robs us of faith and confidence in God if we only focus on the fear. Often fear plays upon the imaginations and perceptions of our mind. When we have experienced nightmares, they weren’t real, but they created such fear and panic in us because they seemed so real. We can experience waking nightmares, as well, that seem just as real. Fear, itself can’t harm you, but it can create such feeling within your mind and emotion that you often fear for your life and safety. We can sometimes enter into a tremendous battle with this spirit of fear and just speaking words doesn’t always bring the results of victory we would like.
Sharon, my wife will share with you a story of fear that affected her for about year. We hope in sharing this it may help some of you that have had experiences with attacks of fear, panic and terror. For my wife it was a process of the Lord teaching her how to obtain the victory and sometimes there are areas that we open up in our lives for these attacks to come in that we need to shut.
For Sharon, it came after a time when we had attempted to trust the Lord for a home birth. Our son was just too large for my wife and after a long period of transitional labor we had to go to the hospital. There we felt contempt and reproach from the doctor and medical staff for not having checked in earlier and done things the traditional way. It was a difficult time, but the good news is that we had a healthy baby.
It was shortly after this that my wife began to have a visitation of a spirit that would bring great fear upon her. This spirit came usually when she was alone and was resting. It was generally in this state of semi-consciousness, between waking and sleeping that this spirit of fear came.

“At this point, Kent has asked me to step in and tell my own story. It was a time in my life I thought I was strong in the Lord. The Lord had just healed me of breast cancer seven months or so before our son was born. For whatever reason, the Lord allowed me to go through this experience to teach me many things about my life, where I was with Him spiritually and how I had to change from the bondage my childhood held over me.
I remember the first encounter; it was in the early morning after Kent had gone to work. To this day, I don’t know if I was awake or in that semi –conscious state. It was so real; it felt like I was awake. I heard a noise downstairs and I remember thinking Kent had gone to work already. I heard what sounded like someone coming up the stairs, but it was more familiar than that. Whoever it was, came up skipping a stair, just like my Father used to do when one of us kids were in trouble. When this presence entered my bedroom, I could feel it, but I couldn’t see it. A fear entered with it that paralyzed me. This spirit sat on the edge of my bed and I felt strong hands grab me by my throat and it began choking me. I laid there in unbelief. I felt like I was going to die. When it couldn’t kill me, it left and went back downstairs. I laid there trembling, trying to understand what just happened to me. I could hear my heart pounding; it was beating so loud. Fear gripped me again, as I heard it coming back up the stairs for the second time. At this point, I was searching my thoughts wondering what was happening to me? Its presence entered my bedroom again and this time, it sat down and began beating me about my face. I felt the blows…and they hurt! When it couldn’t kill me by its blows, it left again. I heard the familiar sound coming back up the stairs for the third time and I wondered if I would survive this time. This time, it sat down and began touching me in a sexual way. It was then that I sat straight up in bed and rebuked it in the Name of Jesus! It left immediately.
This presence came and left over the next year. It came in other forms, taking on the form of my husband once. It seemed so real. This wasn’t an experience I wanted to share with people. Can you imagine going through this sort of thing as a Christian? There were many times, I would rebuke it in the Name of Jesus and it would laugh at me. How could I share this with others?
I will tell you briefly what I learned. The Lord taught me that it was only a spirit of fear and that it really couldn’t do anything to me, or it would have already done it. When I understood that, it helped me to enter into the Lord whenever it would make an appearance. Through this experience, it taught me how to climb up on the lap of my Heavenly Father and allow Him to put His big arms around me to protect me from this wicked thing. I learned to enter into the presence of the Lord.
There were areas of my life the Lord was dealing with at that time. I was repeating what I had been taught as a child from a stepfather who didn’t know the love of God himself. God was trying to free me from my earthly father’s example in order to follow my heavenly Father’s example instead. I was caught up in soap operas at that time and the Lord taught me what we put into our minds and take in through our eyes does affect how we live and think. I was also taught that we could control even our dreams when we allow the Lord to be the Lord of our lives. You see, I used to think we could do in our dreams what we couldn’t do in real life if it was sin, but if it were done in our dreams, it was okay. The Lord taught me, ”as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
The last significant time it came, I was lying on a couch in our family room. I heard what seemed to be a herd of these spirits. By this time in my life, I was so angry at this thing called fear, I grabbed for them and they went screaming. I remember getting a hold of one of their arms and it took hold of this spirit with both of my hands to break its bone. I heard it snap! I also heard great pain coming from the one I grabbed, while it was trying to get away from me. That evening, a young man came to our house for a Bible study and he prophesied, “Today, has the enemies arm been broken.” He had no idea what had gone on, but I knew exactly what it meant…and from that time on, this spirit of fear has never had the same grip it had, the first time it manifested itself in my bedroom.
While this was a hard trial to go through, I wouldn’t by pass going through it, when I stop and consider how much I learned from this experience.
When I got complete victory over it, it was because I learned to turn that fear into trusting my heavenly Father by climbing up on His lap whenever this thing would manifest itself. Through the years, it has come and left a few times. I have made comments like, “You again?” When it realized fear had no grip on me anymore, it came around less and less until I can’t remember when it manifested itself last.

Fear is not a physical enemy even though it may use physical means or even people to manifest its self. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” This includes that spirit of fear that can grip our hearts. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” The place where we find that perfect love is in the heart of the Father. If fear is your tormentor, then the heart of the Father is your deliverance. That is the place spoken of in Psalms 91:1-7, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, [and] from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth [shall be thy] shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; [nor] for the arrow [that] flieth by day; [Nor] for the pestilence [that] walketh in darkness; [nor] for the destruction [that] wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee.” Your faith, your abiding and your authority in Christ are your victory over the spirit of fear.

Blessings,
#kent

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