Proven Faith

July 10, 2015

1 Peter 1:3-9 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Proven Faith

Is there any one of us that feels like our faith has been sorely stretched and tested through our trials and tribulations? Yet even in what we have gone through few of us have been tested in the way many of these early Christians were tested. Even in our struggles and hardships we are blessed in so many many ways. Currently anyway, we still enjoy the freedom to worship without fear of retribution. Our children may actually experience less freedom of religious expression in their schools than we do. The important thing for us to realize is that God doesn’t paint a picture here of all blessing, prosperity and no opposition. For many of us we are only beginning to head into the winds of opposition, trial and testing. Few of us walk into the fire of our own accord, but it is so relevant in this hour that we know Him intimately that shields us as we pass through the fire. Verse 5 says, “who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” There is a divine promise of God’s great salvation and power towards us, but in order for us to reach that breakthrough we must pass through the fire. That fire will greatly test the metal of our faith. It will separate sheep and goats, but, more importantly, it will burn up in our own lives whatsoever is not of God. Some of us have already been feeling the fire and enduring the testing of our faith for some time now. You may feel there are days when you don’t know if you can still go on, but I want to encourage you that you are among the firstfruits of God’s delivering power if you will hold fast your faith. You will be the guide and the mentor to help others come through where you have already walked. You may feel right now like God’s rejected ones, but you are far more favored than you know. When we are going through the severe discipline and chastening of the Lord it is hard for us feel or see ourselves in a place of victory. What we must realize is that we are in a place of victory because of God’s discipline and chastening in our lives. While many Christians are still walking the superficial Christianity you have been experiencing what it is to be on the front lines of battle as you stand in faith concerning your circumstances and all that has come against you. What you probably don’t see is the precious value of your faith that is emerging out of this fire with purity and power. What we all have to learn and are learning even more in this hour is that our reliance and source can no longer be through our human efforts. We must learn the rest that comes from knowing Father as our source in all circumstances. You don’t have the resources, but He does. It occurred to me that it is like a Father that establishes a business and as he raises up his sons it becomes a family business and he changes the name from father’s business to Father and Sons. God is preparing us to take over His business and to operate in it. That is why we pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.” He is establishing His business back in this earth through us. First we must be fully trained, equipped and tested to know how to operate in this business properly. We have all seen examples of how it can be improperly operated, but Father is putting integrity back into the business and He is doing it with the fires of purification. Be encouraged people of God. What is crucifying our flesh is strengthening us in spirit and in power. If we hold fast our confidence we will reap its exceeding abundant salvation. We will not only reap it, we will have the privilege of being the instruments of it. Be of good cheer and let the inner peace and joy of the Holy Spirit sustain and encourage you through every trial and testing.

Blessings,

#kent

Orphan, Son and Father

April 14, 2015

Luke 15:11-31
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Orphan, Son and Father

Many of us have read or heard sermons on this parable many times before, but the Lord was dropping into my spirit just a few key principles from this example that I don’t know that I had ever heard or thought about before.
In the midst of Christianity today there are many of us that have an orphan spirit. It is one that really doesn’t know its identity. It is one that is not secure in who they are in Christ and they don’t often have a good sense of what the nature of their Father is. They are often only looking after their own best interests, they like to hoard and keep things for themselves and they really lack that security of just being loved and accepted. As a result most of their world is pretty much about them.
In this younger son we see such a spirit. He had everything and yet all he could see is what he thought he didn’t have. He didn’t want to build into his father’s house, but wanted to take his inheritance and use it to his own self-indulgence which is another quality of an orphan spirit. So father gave him his inheritance and let him go. Now, an orphan spirit, isn’t interested in legacy or building and sowing into something greater than himself. All he really sees is himself and often carries a victim mentality and sense of entitlement. After all, his father “owed him” his inheritance because it was rightfully his. He had a “right” to be free and spend his inheritance how he wanted. What an orphan spirit does is take us down a road of perpetual poverty, because we never see beyond ourselves. All that we think we have or gained becomes dust and blows away, because we don’t have a vision to see our Father’s heart.
Now this orphan spirit son finds himself where this spirit will always tend to lead you, being dependent upon others to feed you the pig’s food. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20So he got up and went to his father.” Finally, he gets a revelation that even his father’s servants are living better than he is and it would be better to go back to father as a servant than to live starving and dwelling among the pigs. He now sees the fruit and the consequences of his orphan spirit.
Now we see the heart of the Father as he comes back home. ““But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
You see the Father’s heart is always for restoration and legacy. He was willing that his son departed for a time that eventually he might come to repentance and be restored. The Father never saw this boy as any less than a son when he left and when he returned. His love, his heart and longing was always for him. The father didn’t receive him back because he deserved it. He didn’t kill the fatted calf and celebrate because of his great choices and he didn’t put the ring on his finger because he deserved to be a part of the family any longer, but because the father wanted him to know who he was to him and know that he still belonged to the family not just as servant, but as a son.
Now we see the spirit of the son. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
The older son has been faithful to his father and to his father’s house. He has staid the course and paid the price, so this causes a great offense in his heart when he sees how his younger prodigal brother is received back with celebration and royalty. He becomes very angry. For those that are in the Christian faith who have been sons and have walked the walk and staid the course, take note, because the day is coming when the prodigal is going to come home and your hearts are going to be tested in similar manor. The son sees from the perspective of what is deserved, but the Father’s heart is one of grace and restoration. Just because we are sons doesn’t mean that we have a father’s heart, but God wants us to get one, because it is the next level of maturity. It is where we understand that it is not about us and never has been. It is about the kingdom. It is about restoration and reconciliation of that which was lost being restored back to the Father. It is not that the father didn’t already love the older faithful son, but what did he tell him?
““‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” This is what we must understand as sons; all that that the Father has is ours and it is our for a reason so that which is lost may be found and restored back to the Father. As sons we have to catch the Father’s heart or we will be offended. Just like Jesus, we must descend so that we can ascend and bring others up with us. It is not about us, it is about the Father’s house and kingdom, His love for the lost and His desire for legacy which is a lasting representation of His nature and character in the earth.
Thus we see the Father’s heart to restore the orphans to sonship and the sons to fatherhood, so that Father God’s kingdom will come and His will, will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

Blessings,
#kent

Jesus Wept

January 13, 2015

John 11:32-40
When Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she dropped down at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
33When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her [also] sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. [He chafed in spirit and sighed and was disturbed.]
34And He said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see.
35Jesus wept.
36The Jews said, See how [tenderly] He loved him! 37But some of them said, Could not He Who opened a blind man’s eyes have prevented this man from dying?
38Now Jesus, again sighing repeatedly and deeply disquieted, approached the tomb. It was a cave (a hole in the rock), and a boulder lay against [the entrance to close] it. 39Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of the dead man, exclaimed, But Lord, by this time he [is decaying and] throws off an offensive odor, for he has been dead four days! 40Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God?

Jesus Wept

As the Lord dropped this scripture into my heart I came to it trying to understand the heart of Jesus in this moment. Mary, Martha and Lazarus were no doubt some Jesus’ closest and dearest friends. They acknowledged and received Him for who He was as Lord and Christ, but now the revelation of that knowledge is tested through the sickness and death of Lazarus.
“Jesus wept” is the shortest verse in the bible, but it can make a strong statement if we seek to understand the heart of Jesus in this moment. Jesus is not weeping because he is sad for Mary or Martha or because He is mourning the loss of Lazarus. Jesus saw the grief and sobbing in Mary and Martha. Then he hears from Mary in an almost mournful rebuke, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Perhaps Jesus is thinking, “What are you saying Mary, because I didn’t come in your time and in the way that you thought that I should that I failed you?” I believe it was these loved one’s disappointment in Him that grieved Him so. In their grief they were saying, “Jesus, you failed us. You didn’t come through. You didn’t show up in time.” This disappointment communicated through Martha, Mary and even the mourners that were with them greatly disturbed and disquieted the spirit of Jesus. I believe that this truly hurt the heart of the Lord that they had these scruples and doubts about His love and faithfulness to them. There was such a tremendous upheaval in the spirit of Jesus that He groaned and wept. This was a very disturbing moment of Jesus. He already knew that Lazarus, though he had been dead for four days, was a good as alive, but to see the disappointment and the feelings of His failure in the hearts of those who loved Him the most was tremendously hurtful and troubling.
What it shows us is that we have a box of our own human reasoning and understanding. We so often want to put Jesus in that same box. When He doesn’t fit within our boxes we can often become offended with Jesus and feel that He has somehow failed us. In our grief and disappointments we sometimes want to blame Him and hold Him responsible because we feel that He failed us. We often carry those hurts and they create a breach in our faith and trust in the Lord. Sometimes it causes us to turn from Him altogether. We can see here how this grieves the heart of the Holy Spirit. We must learn to trust Him and count Him faithful even in what we don’t know and fully understand. We must know that His love for us is so much greater. If Jesus had showed up sooner and healed Lazarus, He would have still been known as only the healer. This is a time and place where Jesus is going to manifest an even greater dimension of Himself as the resurrection and the life. There is a power in Christ that is even greater than death. Even death has to bow to His power and authority.
When Jesus commands the stone to be rolled away from the tomb, Martha speaks out of her natural thinking as she says, “But Lord, by this time he is decaying and stinking, for he has been dead for four days.” Natural reasoning often speaks out of doubt and unbelief. Jesus replies to her, “Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God.” What a powerful statement this is, to her and to us. When we deny him through unbelief, we are denying ourselves of His manifest glory. The glory of God is beyond our comprehension and so far beyond our limitations.
The Lord would say to us, trust me even when you don’t understand me, even when I haven’t come through the way you thought I should. Do not murmur against me in unbelief and doubt. Trust me, for I will do what I have promised even in ways that you do not understand.

Blessings,
#kent

Don’t Worry

December 30, 2014

Matthew 6:25-23
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Don’t Worry

I remember many years ago in the first year my wife and I were married. I had only been working for a company a short time when I was called into the office and informed that the company was in bankruptcy and they had to lay me off. That was hard news to carry home to my new bride. She was quite concerned about what we would do and how we would make it. I remember taking out my Bible and reading this passage of scripture to her. It was like the assurance that we needed that God saw our need and He would take care of us.
Many in this hour are facing similar circumstances. Times are often hard, jobs are hard to come by and money is tight. Jesus is telling us not to fear the world’s fears. We must learn to live out of an economy that is not of this world. Jesus plainly tells us that it is the unbelievers that run after earthly things and worry about the things of this world. That is the world’s economy. God’s economy is Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” God is our resource when all others fail and even though we might not see Him coming through in the ways we think, if you are trusting Him, He will meet your need. I can tell you that since loosing that job all those years ago, we’ve never gone hungry or slept out on the street. He has been faithful.
Many of us are feeling financial concerns of this hour, but I believe God is wanting His people to learn kingdom economy. We simply put God first and rest in the knowing that He is working all things to the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. I can’t promise you that you won’t be tried and tested or that you won’t experience some losses in the world, but what Father is raising us up into is far greater than the security we long for in this cosmos. We have His eternal security and He hides us under the shadow of His wing. Psalms 91:1-2 says, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” I encourage you to read the rest of that chapter if you are struggling and need to be built up in your faith.
Psalms 103:13-19 reminds us, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—18with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.”
Remember that by faith and rest in the Father we are partakers of a greater kingdom and higher order than we see physically surrounding us. Let us not put our confidence in the things of this world for they are soon passing away and it is time for us to get our dependence off of them. Philippians 4:4-7 exhorts us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” As the tests come to us in this natural realm it is all the more reason to rejoice and praise Him. That is the expression of faith, whereas anxiousness, worry, murmuring and complaining only tender fear, doubt and unbelief. It is our faith that is accounted unto us as righteousness.
No matter what your circumstance or situation is, keep your eyes on Jesus. Put Him first and trust Him to see you through as you rejoice in Him and praise His name. We are walking in kingdom economy and there is no recession in heaven.

Blessings
#kent

Precious Stones

October 3, 2014

Precious Stones

Zechariah 9:6
And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they [shall be as] the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.

Stones are used throughout the Word of God to represent a natural occurring element as opposed to one that are fashioned by the work of men’s hands. Precious stones have always been a sign of wealth and most often associated with kings or used in the Lord’s service, such as in the ephod of the priests.
What kind of stones do we suppose the Lord would use to build His house? Would they be common or ordinary rocks or would they be smooth, polished and precious stones? 1 Peter 2:5 says, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Understand that if God has chosen you out and is using you to build His house, then obviously you must be pretty precious. We often don’t see ourselves and how precious we are in the sight of God, because we see only the raw materials, but God sees the finished work. With God there is a process of us being built into a spiritual house and becoming His spiritual priest hood. God is removing the temporal in us and replacing it with the eternal. What is being developed and formed in us will stand the test of time and more importantly it will stand the test of the fire of God, because we have been fashioned and formed through the fire. Stones are elements created under pressure and it is the pressure that God allows in our lives that proves us, that deals with the temporal and causes us to lay hold upon the eternal. In place of our natural mind we put on the mind of Christ. That mind is revealed to us as we lay hold of the Word of God by faith and walk it into our reality. Our vision is not fixed on the earth and that which is quickly passing away, it is fixed upon the eternal that can only be realized and appropriated as we walk by the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3: 11-16 tells us this, “11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” While God desires to fashion us for His purpose and His temple, how are we working together with Him concerning the material we provide to fashion our spiritual lives. Are we providing and using corruptible and perishable materials or are we using eternal principles and materials to build our lives in Christ. The Day will reveal the stones as they are put through the fire. All that has been formed of perishable and natural things will be consumed in us and only that which of the imperishable precious things of God’s redemption, nature, and the wisdom and knowledge of His life in us will stand the test.
God is building a house with precious lively stones. Let us do all to make sure that we are the stones fashioned in His image; building our individual temples and lives upon the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

Image

Romans 8:28-39

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

We often struggle with why the people of God go through so much suffering and trials.  Some might say it is because they don’t have enough faith or they must have sin in their lives.  I tend to believe that it is often the sweetest and most precious grapes that make the best wine, but in order for them to offer up their vintage taste and sweet fragrance they must first be crushed.  Suffering and trials have been the plight and portion of many a saint.  It is not a new concept.  We struggle with that because we think in our hearts, even if we don’t outwardly say it, “God if you are sovereign then why don’t you deliver the afflicted and the suffering, especially those who are calling out to You?”  The victory of life in the natural and fleshly man is not always living in health, wealth and prosperity.  It is not about what we have in the good times of our life.  The true metal of a godly nature is tested in the fire.  All of our works will be tested in that fire at some point.  Some may be going through that fire right now.  Perhaps you are very weary; the enemy has assaulted your faith and your God.  Your friends may be like those that Job had, only content on you confessing your sins or shortcomings.  It takes a tremendously faithful person to go through the fires that God sometimes allows in our lives.  The real victory is not in whether or not we see our earthly deliverance; it is in how we live our lives in the midst of those trials.  God’s Word says in 1 Peter 1:7-9, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.”  It is not the suffering and trials that God rejoices in, it is the faithfulness of His saints in the midst of it.  That faithfulness and praise in the midst of suffering is the sweet aroma and incense that rises into the heavens.  It is a sweet smelling savor unto the Father’s nostrils.  Nothing can speak louder to God that we love Him for who He is and not just what He can do, than our faithfulness in the midst of our suffering and trials.   

We know in our hearts that God’s arm is not short that He can not save, but nothing torments and discredits satan more than a Christian who will only honor and praise His God even when satan is twisting his arm behind his back.  What focuses us more on God’s grace and strength than our trials and tribulations?  In those places where we have no further human resources or help in the flesh to lean on, we learn to take hold of the grace of God.  We learn the patience to enter into His rest and know that these earthly vessels of clay and the very life that they we breath are in His hands.   Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand.” We have offered ourselves up into God’s hand to do as it pleases Him.  Our lives are for His glory and not for our own.  We struggle with the perspective of suffering and trials because we see it from a human standpoint.  Our view is the preservation of the natural life.  God’s view is not in the importance of the outward haul of the seed, but He is looking to the life within.  The threshing floor was a place of separation between wheat and chaff.  The outward man with this body is like the chaff.  The separation is really a claiming of the Christ nature and a revealing of it.  No one has the goods like the one has passed through the fire.   Their testimony is not one borne out of head knowledge; it is a witness of experience.  Before Job went through his trials he knew a lot about God and had a relationship with Him, but it didn’t compare with how he knew God when he went through the fire.  In the conclusion of what Job went through and after his discourse with the Almighty he says this in Job 42:1-6, “Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.””  Many of us know about God, but it is only as we have gone through the fire that we come into a place where we have seen Him.  When we have seen Him, all foolish doubts and questionings cease and we repent in dust and ashes.  

God loves us.  We have been called out and set aside for a purpose.  He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son.  His Son learned obedience through the things that He suffered.  If you are in that place of suffering then God is only proving your faithfulness and your faithfulness is a mockery of the enemy.  He is raising you up in LIFE even when your body only seems to be experiencing death.  Lay hold of the resurrection and the Life within you and live out of Him.  His grace is sufficient and He will raise you up to the praise of His name.  Hold fast your faith, you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!

 

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

Good out of Evil, Life out of Death

Genesis 50:16
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.

Most of us know the story of Joseph, how as a young man his brothers despised him because he was daddy’s favorite, he was a dreamer who seemed to think of himself as superior to everyone else. He was daddy’s informant about what was going on among the other ten sons. One day as they saw him coming it was in their heart to kill him, but instead they had opportunity so they sold him into slavery which led him to Egypt. The sons represented Joseph as dead to their father by taking his coat, tearing it and covering it with lamb’s blood and saying that they found it. This caused tremendous grief and heartbreak for Jacob for years to come. Joseph, after being sold into slavery, gained favor with his master for a time as the Lord blessed him, but then was thrown into prison after being falsely accused of rape when he fled the temptation of his master’s wife’s seduction. Even in Pharaoh’s prison he gained favor and possessed the gift of interrupting dreams. He once interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer. Both of the dreams came to pass. After more years in prison Pharaoh had a disturbing dream that only Joseph was able to accurately interpret. This then brought him into a place of rulership and authority as he was given the responsibility for preparing and preserving Egypt and the surrounding nations during a time of great famine. Long story short Joseph’s brothers come for grain and Joseph has his opportunity to deal with his brothers. What would you and I do in that circumstance? Even the law said “an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth.” He could kill them, throw them into prison, or torture them; they were in his power.
The point the Holy Spirit wants to bring to us is that life may deal to all of us at one time or another some very devastating blows. It can come in many forms, abuse physically, mentally, sexually, betrayal in a marriage, the crippling effects of an accident or disease, the list could go on and on. When our lives have been devastated by some traumatic event how are we going to respond? Will anger, bitterness or unforgiveness consume us? Will we blame and forsake God? Will we seek revenge and hurt for the ones who have hurt us? What will we do with the evil and the death that has befallen us?
A while back I related a story of how I inadvertently used weed and grass killer on my grass thinking it was only a weed killer. Large yellow areas developed all over my lawn and it looked like I had destroyed it. Now, a couple of months later, after watering, rain and a little fertilizer the lawn is green again. Yes, there are still small areas throughout the lawn that were killed, but little by little they are filling back in. What’s my point? I thought of how this was much like these traumatic events that touch our lives. Time, the love and mercy of God are great healers and restorers to the hurts and wounds in our lives. When we would lose hope in the natural, when we would become so discouraged and think all is lost, we can’t discount the power and love of God. Only He can take what others meant for evil and use it for good. Only He can take what would work death and destruction and turn it to work life. “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
… Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed (Hebrews 12:5, 11-13).” Some of life’s most traumatic moments can lead to life changing events that work eternal changes in us. What we would never choose for ourselves can prune us and make us more fruitful than we would have ever been without them. If you are at that place in your life, don’t let a root of bitterness and unforgiveness come up that would rob the deeper work God can work in you through some of these painful things. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled. Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears (Hebrew 12:15-17).” God is at work in our lives in ways we can’t even see or know. The enemy is also at work to destroy and undo us, but God is so able to frustrate his destructive work by turning it for our good and redemption. Not only for us, but also for those He places in our path to minister those life experiences too. ” 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. (Genesis 50:16).”
” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? (Romans 8:28-31).”

Blessings,
kent

Friend or Foe

November 7, 2013

Friend or Foe

Matthew 16:13-28
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15″But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ,] the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Most of us would agree that Jesus’ disciple Peter was a friend of the Lord. He really did love the Lord and while a little rough around the edges Peter had some great qualities about him. I think most of us would say that we are a friend of the Lord’s, that we love Him and like Peter, we have committed our lives to follow after Him.
It is an interesting passage that we read today because first we see Jesus asking the question about who men think that He is. We see Peter chime in, with spirit of revelation, that Jesus is the Christ. Peter is called blessed and commended of the Lord. The Lord gives him the keys of the kingdom and the power to bind and loose in heaven and earth. Peter must have been feeling pretty good about himself about then like maybe he was just one up on the others cause he had the goods. He had the revelation of the Christ.
We then see a quick turn of events where Jesus reveals the purpose and plan of his life to suffer and die in Jerusalem at the hand of the elders, chief priest and teachers. Peter, perhaps a little full of himself, begins to rebuke the Lord and let Him know that we are never going to let this happen. Suddenly we see a friend turned foe as the Lord rebukes Peter and says, “Get thee behind me satan.” That must have really taken the wind out of Peter’s sails. Jesus goes on to explain the definition of discipleship and the exchange of life that must take place which means the death of the self life to experience the resurrection of God’s life.
I think that we are not so unlike Peter. We have a true zeal and love for the Lord. We have a revelation and understanding of many things, but we become the enemy of the cross because we want to preserve our life when we need to lose it and reckon it dead. We want to hold on to the natural things of this world rather than to die to them that we may possess the treasures of the kingdom. We are like a baby that would rather hold on to a rock than exchange it for a silver rattle. We are much like Peter, spiritual on one hand and unwilling to embrace the cross on the other. What if Peter had had his way? He thought his intentions were noble and good. He wasn’t going to let Jesus have to go to the cross. Often we view the death that the Lord is leading us into as the worse thing for us, because we see the price of suffering and sacrifice. What we fail to see by faith, is what is on the other side of that death, it is abundant and eternal, resurrection life with great reward. We may be traveling that road to Calvary today and satan may be working through agents and people that mean well, but they don’t comprehend the way we must go and why we must go there. We must be careful that we don’t allow others to turn us from our call to discipleship and the cross or that we don’t become a stumbling block to others to keep them from walking that way as well. In order to fully realize who we are we have to die to what we were. It takes two hands to embrace discipleship. We have reached out in faith with one, but we have to release our world and the things we have held dear to take hold of the Lord with the other. The things of this world keep pulling us down into death while the Lord is pulling us up into life, but it takes both hands laying hold of His for us to be pulled up into the fullness of His life.

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: