The Perfect Storm

March 18, 2015

The Perfect Storm

Nahum 1:3
The LORD [is] slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit [the wicked]: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds [are] the dust of his feet.

Most all of us are familiar with storms in our lives. They often come at the most inopportune time and places. In the natural, over the course of the last few years we have seen numerous and devastating storms strike places all over the earth. When our perfect storm comes, that storm of storms or even the smaller ones that we face, how are we prepared to face our storm? Obviously if you see a tornado is approaching your home, you are not going to go out and shake your fist or beat it back or turn its course with any natural means. You know that in your natural self you are no match for such forces of nature. In the natural you would be a fool to try. You know that your greatest chance for survival is to seek shelter in a safe place. When the storms of life come we are going to seek our refuge and fortress from the storm not in natural places, but in the God we know and trust.
Psalms 91 is such a place of refuge for the believer. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Unfortunately, for many the Lord is like that lifeboat on a ship, the only time it gets used is when the ship is sinking. We don’t want our God to be our lifeboat; we want Him to be our life ship, the place where we continually abide. We have seen great storms come upon the earth, but they are but a shadow of what the last days hold and what will be unleashed upon the earth. The Lord tells us that earth is in travail and the natural is just a precursor to the spiritual. Our storms up to this time have been to prepare us and to teach us who our refuge and shelter is, but when that perfect storm comes who will abide the day of His wrath? Our peace, our refuge, our safety and our assurance is in knowing our God intimately and personally.
What did Jesus tell His disciples in the storm of Mark 4:37-41? “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”, but faith is also developed through exercise and experience. These same disciples that feared for their lives in the storm with Jesus in the boat are the same ones that bore testimony of Him resulting in their martyrdom and death. The preservation of our natural lives is not always our greatest concern. What we want to protect and preserve at all cost is our relationship and trust in Christ. Eventually, the natural man will perish in most every man, but the man of the Spirit, is the one that must be preserved. Our faith must stay in tact at all cost!
What is important is that when the perfect storm comes we know, not just with our head, but with our heart and every fiber of our being, who our Redeemer and Refuge is. No matter what happens outwardly, on Jesus Christ, the solid rock we stand!

Blessings,
#kent

Descended to an Ascended Life

February 26, 2015

Descended to an Ascended Life

Ephesians 4:7-10
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Jesus came down that He might bring us up. The Son of God became the son of man so that He might bring the sons of men to be the sons of God. Christ came down and imparted Himself into humanity that He might bring us into His ascended life. It is a life that is marked by the same attributes as the One who has gifted and imparted it to us. It is a life wherein we die to live, a paradox that the world doesn’t comprehend. Just as a caterpillar dies to it’s old ways in the cocoon of transformation, so we are transformed and changed from glory to glory, even into the same image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). While we live the blessed life, in the favor and fellowship of the Spirit of God, we, at the same time, may be living out the trials and tribulations that are facing us in this world. Again, we find a paradox that we can find peace and joy in the midst of trials and tribulations. While we descend in a spirit of humility into the lives of those that God has placed within our influence, loving them in Christ and meeting them where they are at, we are living an ascended life that is drawing us into the presence of the Father. With eyes and heart set upon things above, we are not an island unto ourselves we are a light and a ladder to bring others to ascend with us in hope and in faith.
The Lord, when He ascended up on high, led captivity captive and gave gift unto men. These gifts He gave us, were not for our glory, but for His. He is glorified when these gifts serve to bring others into this ascending life. While we are ascending up into Him in spirit, we are being poured out and offering up a spiritual sacrifice in the natural. The abundance of God’s glory is manifested in our weakness. When we are operating out of an ascended life then others will see Christ; they will not see us, because the ascended life is not about us, but about Him. We become a usable commodity spent upon a higher good and calling. We spend and are spent that others might taste and partake of that ascended life.
Allow me to leave you with the Apostle Paul’s definition in 2 Corinthians 4:7-19, of the ascended life and how he also descended that he might ascend, but not without hope and not alone.
“7But this precious treasure–this light and power that now shines within us–is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.
8We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. 9We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. 10Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies. 12So we live in the face of death, but it has resulted in eternal life for you.
13But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, and so I speak.” 14We know that the same God who raised our Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself along with you. 15All of these things are for your benefit. And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 18So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”

Blesssings,
#kent

Peace

August 20, 2013

Peace

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

We live in a world of constant pressures, turmoil, fears, and deadlines. It is always something pressing in on us whether it is conflicts, or bad feelings with some people around us, or financial pressures, life impacting decisions we must make, or any number of circumstances that want to rob our peace. Did you ever notice how many times in the Word of God, Peace is used? Our God is a God of Peace and He wants to give us His peace. Does that mean that all is calm around us and our life glides merrily along like we were floating down a lazy river? That is not likely. Jesus says in John 14:27, ” Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ” Again in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Jesus is saying that all of hell might be coming down around you, but in Him you can experience peace. It is not the world’s peace, but His peace that comes to us through the Holy Spirit. Like God’s other promises to us we lay hold of this peace by faith, by learning to trust and rest in God’s ability to order our lives as we yield ourselves to Him.
This morning, as I write this I feel the outward pressures to make decisions that can greatly impact our lives. Our greatest guidance probably won’t come by hearing a voice out of heaven, it will probably come more from how the Lord orders events and the peace He gives us as we trust Him to make the right decisions. It is important that the Lord’s will and purpose is at the forefront of the decisions and choices that we make. It is important that His peace and love fills our hearts in our dealings with others that may be in conflict with us. It is important that the circumstances and pressures this life brings to bear, would not rule us, but that we are ruled by the peace of God in our hearts. “He is our Peace, that hath broken down every wall.”
Today let us enter into His presence, not with worry or stress, but with confidence and thanksgiving for what He has done and what He will do. Let us find the rest of the Lord through our faith and confidence in Him and the promises of His Word and let His peace rule and reign in our hearts.

Blessings,
kent

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