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

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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

 

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

A Fish Story

October 14, 2013

John 21: 1-6
1Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias, It happened this way: 2Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3″I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

A Fish Story

How often we struggle so hard to produce so little, but one word from the Lord, acted upon in obedience, can produce beyond our expectations.
When I was a young married man and Sharon was pregnant with our first son, we lived next to a lake in a park in the middle of town. I had been working construction as a laborer, it was the middle of winter, there wasn’t much work so I spent about our last $10 on a fishing license and decided to fish for our dinner. All morning long I sat out in the cold with not even a nibble. Around noon, Sharon came out to see how I was doing and of course I didn’t have a good report to give her. I had been fishing and praying all morning that the Lord would help me catch something and I had received nothing. She asked if she could try for a little bit, so she fished for about a half an hour and sure enough, she caught a little trout. Well, I have to say I was a little frustrated with the Lord, because here I had been fishing all morning with not even so much as a nibble and then she comes out and in a short time she has already caught something. After that I, I started fishing again and a short time later I felt a little tug and then a pretty good hit. I did everything you shouldn’t do. I jerked on that line to set the hook and I felt it go slack. “Oh no, I lost him” I thought, as I reeled in the slack line. Then, there he was again. I was reeling in like crazy and as I got this fish up next to the bank the hook came out of his mouth, the line went flying back up into the trees behind me and I am out there kicking this fish up onto the bank. It was quite a sight. What I caught was about an 18-inch walleye pike. The funny thing is how the Lord allowed me to catch it. When I looked at my hook, I had been fishing with salmon eggs and a little bitty perch was on the hook. The pike had gone for the perch and had never really been hooked himself. Normally a pike can cut right through your line with their razor sharp teeth, but through these unusual circumstances that Lord had answered my prayer and gave me a fish that fed about four or five people that night. There was never a doubt in my mind that it was the Lord that gave me that fish in a miraculous way.
The Lord often doesn’t work so differently in many other areas of our lives. We go out and do our thing and ask God to bless it. I think often the Lord sees us out there blindly flailing around in what we call faith and He has pity on us. God uses these little simple moments in our lives to teach us deeper principles. He taught me that faith doesn’t have a lot of substance unless it is tried and tested. He taught me that I should not be jealous or envious of others when it seemed I was bypassed and another was blessed. He taught me, that indeed He was my provider and He did care about my needs. We often don’t get a lot of results in our own efforts, but obeying one word from the Lord can more than fill our boat.
Don’t become discouraged if you have believed, for what seems a long time, with little results. Rest in the faithfulness of the Lord that He will move in His time and to His glory. Don’t mummer or complain, just keep praising Him and trusting in Him. Keep listening for His word and then act upon it, even when it doesn’t make sense to your natural mind. The Lord is nearer than you think and He knows your heart and your need. Trust that you will catch your fish when God’s time is right.

Blessings,
kent

In the Midst of the Fiery Furnace

Daniel 3:21-25
Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their [other] garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnaceTherefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O kingHe answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Our account today is out of the book of Daniel. Again, this is a familiar story to many of us, but for those not familiar I will give a brief summation of the story to bring us up to the point we want to address today. I would encourage you to read this account out of Daniel 3 in Bible if you are not familiar with it.
The setting takes place in Babylon. The children of Israel have been taken captive and some of the choice young men of Israel have been brought into King Nebuchadnezzar’s court and trained up to serve the King. The chief and most prominent of these men is Daniel who doesn’t happen to be a part of this particular account. However, three other men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, godly men that Daniel has appointed with the King’s authority to rule over the affairs of Babylon, are the key players of this true drama. The King erects a huge golden image, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide (roughly ninety feet tall by nine feet wide). One might note the usage of six as the number of man used in the dimensions of this image. The King then has a dedication in which he invites all of the officials of his kingdom to come to. At the sound of the instruments all of these officials are ordered to bow down and worship this image with the consequences being that if anyone doesn’t comply they will be cast into the fiery furnace. Now, after this dedication, certain Chaldeans, officials of that country, came the King and brought to his attention that these Hebrews didn’t bow down as he instructed. I’m sure there was no, jealousy, covetousness or malice on their part toward the Hebrews. They were no doubt just doing their civic duty. At any rate this enraged the King who had the three Hebrews brought before him. He asked them if this account was true and then he offered them a second chance to fall down and worship the image with the consequences being the fiery furnace if they refused. It is a great testimony and example to us in how the three Hebrews replied,” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we [are] not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be [so], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver [us] out of thine hand, O king But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Hebrews 3:16-18). They knew God could deliver them, although they did not have a sure word that He would, they never the less had already resolved their stand in this matter, they would not bow down to false gods even at the cost of death. Well, this sent the king into a full-blown temper tantrum. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than normal and his strongest men to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, into the furnace. Note that seven is a divine number of God throughout scripture and well may indicate a divine judgement and purification in this case. The furnace is so hot that the heat consumes the mightiest of the men as they throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, bound in all of their garments and hats, into the furnace. As the king is able to look into the furnace, his account is as follows: ” Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, [and] spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Christ?).” The account of the story finishes by saying he called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to come out of the furnace. ” Then] Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed [be] the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon. ”
We have laid this foundation to say this, Hebrews 12:28-29, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God [is] a consuming fire.” As we look and see what God did for these Hebrew men, we can see what He wants to do for all of His faithful servants and children. The only thing that the fire can really touch is the bonds of the flesh that have bound us. If we are walking with Christ in us, the judgements and trials that befall us are doing but one thing, they are burning up the areas in our life that bring us into the bondage of the flesh. 1 Corinthians 3:11-16 tells us this, ” For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? ” One day our lives will stand in the fiery furnace of God judgement and our works will be tested by His fire. The exhortation is that God is not trying to destroy us, but He does want to burn up all the areas in our lives that hold us in bondage. He wants to set us free to truly walk with Christ even through the trials of life. So if you are going through the fire today let that be your encouragement, that all that is really being touched are the areas of our flesh while our spirit is being purified and refined. All of us are building on the foundation of Christ, but how we build and what we produce through our lives will have to stand the test of God’s fire. Revelations 3:18 gives us this exhortation, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” That gold, spoken of here, is the pure things of the Spirit that have been worked in us through our trials and testings. ‘ We learn obedience through the things we suffer.’ So hold fast in the place of the fire for in it is where we purchase the gold of His divine nature and Spirit within us. Let us build our lives with the things of the Spirit so they may stand in the day when they are revealed by the fire.

Blessings,
kent

Isaiah 28:16
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

That Upon Which All Sure Things are Built

Every well-built building and lasting structure began with a plan and was established upon a sure foundation. God’s house is no different, for He is that master designer and builder and He has laid a foundation stone in Zion. Upon this stone is established His creation, His house, His purpose and His plan for the ages. He purposed that in Christ all that is lasting and eternal should be built. We know that Jesus Christ is that chief foundation and corner stone. While He has often been rejected of men, God has selected him and all that God is establishing is built upon Him. Without Christ we are missing the essential corner stone to build and establish a meaningful and close relationship with God, for God is in Christ reconciling, restoring and building His temple. It is that temple which we are as His people, living stones, being conformed to the image of the chief corner stone and built up into a holy habitation for God’s own dwelling.
1Peter 2:1-10 tells us, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you 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. 6For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone ” 8and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Throughout our lives we are constantly living, building and growing into who we are as a person. We must carefully choose the foundation upon which we build and add to it every decision that directs and establishes who we are and what we are becoming. If we have missed building each precept of our lives upon that chief cornerstone, we may have a weak foundation that is subject to failure and fault, but if we carefully, obediently and willfully choose Christ to be the forefront and foundation of all that we do, we also will build a sure house; one that will stand in the day of storm and testing. Let us choose well the foundation upon which we establish our life, our values and our purpose.

Blessings,
kent

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