God’s Ways

November 17, 2022

Isaiah 66:2

Has not my hand made all these things,

       and so they came into being?”

       declares the LORD.

       “This is the one I esteem:

       he who is humble and contrite in spirit,

       and trembles at my word.”

God’s Ways

The hand of the Lord moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to display.

We often don’t understand why He moves to bring about what He may.

His wisdom is so far above the wisdom of the of this earthen man,

But be assured He is working all things according to His master plan.

Faith is the confidence to believe what you don’t fully understand or know.

It operates in the principle that where you plant believing, it will surely grow.

It is not a recipe, but truth we lay hold of with a witness in our heart.

Where we operate out of the love of God, we know His Spirit will impart.

Father doesn’t always operate out of our wisdom, mind or will,

But He is still the voice that speaks to the storm and tells it to be still.

He doesn’t always rescue us from every struggle, hurt and trial,

But His grace is sufficient working in us to help go that extra mile.

Hold fast to the One who loves you far beyond this earthen life.

Take the hand of Him who walks with you through all the struggles and the strife

Even when God’s hand moves to allow you in tribulation and pain to take part.

When you don’t understand the hand of God, know that you can trust His heart.

Kent Stuck

Blessings,

#kent

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Failed Trust

November 15, 2022

Failed Trust

Jeremiah 17:7

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

          She was small and frail as she opened the gate to approach the house.  Her form was hunched over and she walked slowly and in obvious pain, yet her countenance was bright and her eyes smiled with light.  As she slowly climbed the porch steps and knocked on the door, she stood there for a time until a younger woman slowly opened the door and peered through the narrow opening. 

          “Good morning Molly, it is so wonderful to see you today.  May I come in and visit for a moment?” 

Slowly the door opened and the little woman stepped through the storm door and into the house.  The house was dark inside and only muted light shone through the curtains to illuminate a home that was littered with neglect and uncleanness.  That mattered not to the little woman as she came in and embraced Molly with a warm hug. 

          “Molly I have missed seeing you and you are so special to me I had to come and see how you were.” 

          Molly voiced in an obvious platitude, “Oh, I have been fine.” 

          The little woman spoke right to the heart, “Molly you are not fine.  Sit down and talk to me.  Tell me what is going on in your life.”

          “Hah”, Life, what life, I don’t have a life.”  She began to tear up, as the little woman gently reached up and touched her cheek.  “All I have is an existence and I don’t even want to do that any more.” 

          “Now, Now”, said the little woman as she set Molly down in the chair and went about opening some curtains and letting light into the room. “Let me make some tea for us and we can talk.”

          “I am so ashamed for you to come into my house this way, it is such a mess.  I guess it just reflects the state my life is in right now. Ever since Dave left me, nothing matters anymore.  I’m not hungry, I can’t sleep and there is nothing in me that wants to go on living.  He was my life, my friend, my support, the one I trusted and depended on.”

Molly began to sob uncontrollably as she went on, “why did he betray me?  What did I do wrong?  Why did he stop loving me?” 

The little woman hugged her and held Molly as she wept and sobbed uncontrollably now.  After Molly began to regain some of her composure the little woman spoke.

“You know Molly, if we set our trust only in people, even those we love; we will have times of disappointment.  People are often conditional in their love, they have weaknesses and shortcomings and even if they don’t mean too, they often fall short of our expectations and dreams.  You are right in feeling hurt, disappointed and crushed.  Those are perfectly normal feelings and emotions, but life isn’t over.  There is a deep wound in your heart that must heal, but with time it will heal; meanwhile life must go on.  Molly, you are a lovely woman and a warm and caring person.  I certainly won’t justify Dave in what He did to you, but now it is time to reach deeper inside and find where your true foundation lies. 

Do you remember the Bible study we had about a year ago?  The passage in Jeremiah 17:5-9 where it speaks about where we put our trust?  May I read that to you again?” 

Molly nodded to the affirmative as the little woman reached into her bag and pulled out her Bible. Opening it to the passage, she read, “5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert in a salt land where no one lives. 7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,

whose confidence is in him. 8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit 9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”

(Continued)

Molly cried out, “I’ll never trust anybody ever again!”

“Molly”, replied the little woman, “There has to be a balance in where we put our trust.  If all our trust is in a person other than our God, then what happens when the person is no longer there or fails that trust?  The important thing for you to know is that God wants to be your foundation of trust and not man.  When we put our trust only in man or his abilities and security then we have robbed God of the trust that belongs to Him alone.  It is not wrong to build trust with one another on a natural level in relationships, but that must never take the place of the confidence and trust we have in our God. With that trust, when all else fails in life, we maintain that reliance and confidence we have through faith in Christ.  It doesn’t mean we won’t have adversities and tragedies like you are experiencing that touch our lives.  What it does mean is that we always have hope and know that our life is not in a person, but in a Savior.  Jesus promises us, He will never leave us or forsake us.  There are securities and needs in life that can only be met by the Lord.  This is your time to return that trust to Him.  Jesus is a husband that will never leave us, betray us or fail us.  He must remain the foundation support and trust we lean on before any man.  Even now, He wants to be the husband to you that Dave failed to be.  He wants to take you into His arms to comfort and heal you, because He loves you with an everlasting and unfailing love.  Molly, Psalms 9:10 says, “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” 

Many years ago when I was struggling with my husband’s lack in meeting my emotional needs, I remember being angry about his insensitivity, his lack of communication and what seemed to me, his lack of really caring.  I was crying out to the Lord about these feelings I had and one night as I slipped into bed after my husband was already asleep, I snuggled up to him and as I put my cold little feet by his legs he opened them to let me warm them up.  I thought, “Oh, that feels so good.”  Then the Lord spoke something to me I’ll always remember.  He said, “Your husband will never be able to meet the needs that only I can meet.  He is for the taste, the touch, the feel, but I am for the mind, emotion and will.”  It was then I realized I was expecting and trusting my husband to meet needs and expectations in me that only the Lord could meet.  Molly, let your trust and security rest in Christ.  He will help you through this time.  He will lift you and restore you again to that place of wholeness. 

Molly, may I pray for you.”

As the little woman prayed, Molly wept and agreed silently as a work of the Holy Spirit and the love of God was done in her that day.  Molly renewed her vow to trust wholly in the Lord and not in the arm of the flesh.  That day she came to know Jesus in a new and fresh way as her husband, lover and friend; the One she could really count on and trust in.

#kent and sharon

Grace be unto You

November 2, 2022

Grace Be Unto You

1 Corinthians 1:3

Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ.

               This salutation and greeting is used around ten different times in the New Testament.  It is one of those phrases that might grow somewhat cliché’, but perhaps the Lord would have us take a little bit closer look at why this greeting was used.  I believe the Apostles used the salutation, because it was the grace of God that was the foundation and expression of God that gave all, that were a part of the church, hope and confidence in the call of God, the in-working of His life, the strength and the power to live godly lives.  One definition I read sums it up like this, “grace speaks of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.” If we take grace away from the Christian what do we have left except law and self-effort. We are right back to where we were before Christ.  It makes more sense when we read Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  It would be like me greeting you and saying, “what God has provided, be unto you.”  All that God has provided and that is working in us today is activated by our faith and confidence in Him, again a gift which He has provided, is the definition of grace.  When we say grace at a meal we are acknowledging and thanking God for what He has provided.  Grace is God’s provision for every need and in every circumstance. 

               When we speak grace to someone, we are speaking a blessing of God’s provision and salvation working into their lives.  When we speak peace, we are speaking the blessed assurance that all God has said through His Word and through His Son Jesus Christ is right, true and shall come to pass.  We can take it to the bank, and we can sleep through the night because of it.  It is the rest of God. 

God would not have us take lightly the salutation contained in these scriptures.  They are the introduction and reminder that all things good flow through Him to those who believe and embrace His Word.  Even in the midst of great tribulation, suffering and persecution which many of the early Christians endured they could rest and take hope that the grace of God was sure and would bring them to their final destiny in Him.  “Christ in us” is the grace that is working out His exceeding great promises toward us that we might be partakers of the divine nature. 

               Today, and each day, “grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.“  Have a wonderful day and a wonderful life!

Blessings,

#kent

Dare We Trust Him

October 17, 2022

Dare We Trust Him

Psalms 9:10

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

               Often, we talk about faith and trust as if they were just clichés of our religion rather than the substance and foundation of it.  When we are faced with circumstances beyond our reasoning and abilities, we are often forced to step out in these words that we talked a lot about, but haven’t really had to experience in practice.  Yes, we took a step of faith when we received Christ into our hearts and that may have been a big step for many of us.  There are times in our lives when we come to circumstances and crisis where we can no longer just talk the talk.  We have to walk the walk.  As we step out into those unknown and yet to be explored dimensions of faith, often fear will start to grip our hearts and our mind begins to race with all of these “what ifs”.   What we have learned is that fear is the greatest enemy of faith.  The Lord says, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:9).”  It is in our hour of need that we are seeking out Jesus.  We know that He alone has the power and the abilities to do what no man can do.  He is our only hope and we are desperately trying to get His attention and have Him hurry and meet our need.  Then perhaps we get the devastating news that it is too late.  “No sense in bothering Jesus anymore, it’s beyond Him now.”  These are the words that maybe you have heard in your life and circumstances.  These are the words that were spoken to the ruler of the synagogue, Jairus, as he was desperately trying to get Jesus to come to his house and touch his daughter who was dying.  Can you imagine how his heart sank as he was brought the message that it was too late, his daughter was dead?  He may have been thinking, “if only that woman with the issue of blood hadn’t distracted him, if only He had hurried a little faster and acted a little more quickly.”  One thing most of us come to know about God is that He seldom gets in a hurry.  Our panic doesn’t usually move Him any faster.  You can almost hear the cynicism from the messenger that came with the news of his daughter’s death, “While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s [house certain] which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? (Mark 5:35)” What was the response of Jesus to this news?  “As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe (Mark 5:36).”  Let your faith take the place of your fear.  Don’t embrace the evil report; embrace your faith in your God.  The Lord seldom moves and does exactly what we think He should, in the time frame that we think He should do it.  That’s because He is God and we are not.  That doesn’t mean we don’t try to coerce, manipulate and put God in our box.  The truth is He just doesn’t fit.  Our God is as diverse in His ways as He is faithful and while we may think that He has waited too long or failed us in our crisis, it may be that we just don’t understand the timing and the ways of God.  Jesus is telling us the same thing today that He told Jairus,  “Be not afraid, only believe.”  His Word is the “light unto our feet and the lamp unto our pathway (Psalms 119:105).”  We dare to trust God because we know that His Word is true and that He cannot lie.  Hebrews 6:17-18 says, “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath: That by two immutable (unchangable) things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.”  Christ is that Hope that has gone on before us and entered into that which is within the veil.  Where He has gone He has called us to follow and the only way to follow is by the full assurance of faith. 

               There is a song whose words I’ve quoted before and now share from memory so please forgive me if they are not perfect, but this is pretty close.  “God is too great to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind, so when you don’t know His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, Trust His Heart.”  Our faith is about trusting in One who is greater and far more infinite than we are and the One who has loved us with an everlasting love.  We won’t always comprehend and understand His ways at the time, but He tells us to do one thing, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.”

Blessings,

#kent

Though He Slay Me

January 3, 2022

Though He Slay Me

Job 13:15

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

            This is for those who are walking through the dark places of the shadow of death, of testing and trials.  Many have good intentions of encouraging us or helping us understand that place, but how can they unless they are where you are and face the fears and the terrors that you face.  The two things that you have, that you are holding on too with all your strength, are your physical life and your faith in the eternal life.  When death, hell and the grave rise up to daily confront us, then all the foundations of faith in God are shaken as it attacks in its pain and fears to separate us, condemn us and crush that hope within.  It can bring us to even despair of this physical life, until all we want to do is give up, let go of it and sleep. 

            Know this; you are not in this place to fail and be defeated, but to triumph through the Resurrection Life within you.  “For the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you! Romans 8:11 declares to us, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”  Wrap your arms of faith and hope around the promises of God and refuse to let go.  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day.”  The outward man isn’t our strength, it isn’t our hope and it is but the container of the Life out of which we live.  Our life is so much more than even physical life.  Job had a revelation of this.  He knew that as long as he maintained his integrity and hope in God, then even the grave itself could not defeat or rob him.  It was only if he gave up on God and turned his back on the faith that the enemy could triumph.  This is the hope resident in you that is greater than life itself, because it lives beyond this present physical life.  Fear and death may try and wrest it from your hand, but whatever else happens let us all go to the grave with our faith and hope in God intact.  Meanwhile fight the good fight.  Don’t allow condemnation to come in through thoughts or other individuals, for God isn’t here to condemn you.  If you have been washed in the blood of the Lamb then no accuser has grounds to tell you that you are worthless or deserving of what you are enduring.  Your life is hid with Christ in God.  The devil and hell itself will have to come through God to get to you.  You are His.  He redeemed you with the precious price of His blood and you are forever precious in His sight, for you are His possession. 

            Rest in Him.  You are weary in the battle.  Your strength is gone.  So, rest in Him who is your strength; rest in Him who is your life.  Enter into the Christ within; make your abiding and fellowship there.  The Lord wants to lift you above your circumstances today and invite you into the garden of His presence and life.  There you will find rest and refreshment; hope and faith.  There you will rise up to be more than a conquer through Christ who has loved you, for there is nothing that can separate you from His love.  He is your refuge, your high tower, your shield and buckler.  It is the Lion of Judah that has come forth in His holy raiment to fight your battles and triumph through you.  Though the outward man is frail and weak, let the inward  man wax stronger and stronger through faith, having your eyes fixed on Him who is your life and the reason you live and move and have your being.  Everything else is a name whether it is cancer, disease, poverty, afflictions, sickness, infirmities, trial, persecutions or tribulations, but there is a name above every name and HIS NAME IS JESUS!  He is your hope! Your hope is not in man, medicines, finances, or in the technological abilities and provisions of this world; it is still only and forever in Jesus. 

            Rest your life upon His breast. Let go of all your fears and concerns.  Christ is your rest.  He is your life and your victory remains your hope in Him.

Blessings,

#kent

Time and Chance

February 24, 2021

Time and Chance

Ecclesiates 9:11

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race [is] not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Things in life don’t always go according to plan or in the direction that we may have thought they should go.  We all have preconceived ideas about the way life is and how it should be.  Things happen in life that takes us in directions that we didn’t expect.  Life can bring upon us both good and evil in ways we didn’t anticipate or plan for.  We live according to certain principles that we expect to yield certain results, often it happens that way, but there are times that it doesn’t.  We may find ourselves coming into great riches and wealth or be diagnosed with cancer, neither one of which we would have expected to happen to us. 

                If we can’t rely on what life will bring us then what can we rely and base our lives upon?  What is a constant that we can count upon to not change?  There are a lot of principles and wisdom keys that we can use to govern and live our lives.  At the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon sums it all up in these words in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.”  We don’t have control over all the things that can touch our lives.  What we can have is faith and faithfulness to the One who has our lives in His hands.  Most all of us will enjoy times of blessing and all of us will endure times of adversity, but it is the Lord who is with us in all that we face in life. 

                No matter what you are facing today, no matter how inadequate you feel, or how bad you think you have failed, there is hope.  Ecclesiastes 9:4 says, “For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.“  Life may not hold the quality that you had hoped for, but don’t give up on it.   God is the One who has our lives in His hand and we must never presumptuously take it from Him, but rather set our eyes upon Him.  What we truly long for and cherish is not found in this world, but in that which is to come.  The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”  It wasn’t the joy of this life that brought Paul pleasure, but the assurance of that life he had in Christ that made it all worthwhile.  Whatever place in life you are in today, never lose your hope or fail to put your faith in the Lord that holds your life in His hands.

Blessings,

#kent

The Arm of the Flesh

February 11, 2021

The Arm of the Flesh

2 Chronicles 32:7-8

Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that [is] with him: for [there be] more with us than with him: With him [is] an arm of flesh; but with us [is] the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

            When we think about our arms, we think about limbs that are fundamental to our lives; by their strength we carry out the tasks of life, by them we defend and protect ourselves and by their strength we take care of ourselves from the small things to the large.  We have come to realize that often our strength is not sufficient for the needs we have in our lives.  This brings us to the place where King Hezekiah offered these words of encouragement to the people of his nation.  He had done what he could do, but in the natural, the forces that had come up against them were much greater and stronger than they were.

            Does that ever sound like your life?  You’ve done what you know to do, but some of the trials and circumstances in our lives are much greater and stronger than us.  If all that we have is our natural strength to rely upon then we know that whatever it is that we are facing will overcome and conquer us.  Praise God for the Word that says in 1 John 4:4, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  Isn’t it marvelous and reassuring that we don’t have to rely upon the arm of our flesh, but we have the arm of the Lord to rely upon; “for there be more with us than with him;” him, being our enemy, our circumstance, our need, our sickness, our disease, and our adversities and trials.  The Word of God is rich with stories of those who by faith in their God were more than conquers, they were Overcomers of God.  They were able to do mighty, miraculous, and many times, supernatural things because they did not rely upon on the arm of the flesh, but upon the arm of God.  God wants to be our strength.  He wants to show Himself mighty in our circumstance that are too great for us and not only in the big things, but in the everyday things.  In fact, God is very strong about His feelings of where we put our trust and confidence.  In Jeremiah 17:5-8  the Lord speaks this to His people, “This is what the LORD says:  “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. 7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” God wants to get us out of this mindset of self-sufficiency and reliance.  He wants our eyes, our hearts and our confidence to be in Him and who He is and not ourselves.  We, like those before us, are all prone to self-worship.  We become our own god and it is always about us, what we can do and how we can get it.  That is not God.  God wants to be an integral part of everything that affects our lives.  He cares about your problems and your needs.  He wants us to bring them to Him, but more than that He wants us to believe for what He says He will do and stand in that faith.  God doesn’t work in the snap of our fingers or in the twitch of our nose; He works in His time and His way, His wonders to behold.

            Now that we are “in Christ” we have His arms and His strength to sustain us.  That doesn’t mean we won’t go through the fires of trials and testing, but it does mean that we don’t go there alone and in our own strength.  It is there that we will see the manifest strength of our God in and through us. 

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)”

Blessings,

#kent

The Joy of His Fellowship

September 28, 2020

Psalms 5:11

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

The Joy of His Fellowship

              When you think back over your life what strikes you as the times when you had the greatest joy and contentment in your life?  For many of us has been the loving relationship that we have shared with our spouse or some special individual, but I don’t even know if that joy can exceed or compare to the joy of an intimate relationship with the Lord.  There is not greater joy than when we are in right fellowship with Jesus.  When I think of the times of greatest joy and fulfillment, I have to say they are in the Lord.  In those days when there is a constant dialogue with the Father and the Holy Spirit is just speaking little things into your heart that encourage you or just give you a new different revelation of Him.  It is such a joy to see the little miracles that He performs in our lives as we are fully trusting on Him and looking to Him for our every need.  That is why it is good that we don’t have everything.  We need to keep exercising our trust in Him.  Some of our poorest times were some of our richest times, because we had the privilege of seeing God’s ability working in our circumstances and His provision in our needs.  When we become prosperous and enjoy success, we often lose sight of the One who brought us where we are and who gave us the prosperity that we enjoy.  We begin to take ownership and pride in what we have accomplished rather than what the Lord has imparted through us and to us.   We tend to quit trusting in Him and looking more to our own devices and means.  He blesses us with all of His riches and wonderful gifts and then, ironically, we tend to have less and less time for Him because now we have to be focused on all that we have and all that we are still trying to get.  Meanwhile, in all of that we lose that most precious commodity and possession that we can have in life, the joy and fellowship of the Lord.  We have allowed that intimacy and fellowship we once enjoyed to become replaced by other things we think we want, but that usually only bring us into more bondage and obligation to care for them.  Somewhere in our travels through life we look back and we wonder where did it go, when did I lose it; that special relationship I had with Him?  It is not that we have forsaken our faith or that we don’t still love and trust the Lord, but it becomes like many of our marriages; we lose our first love. 

              God show us again how to recapture the fervent passion and joy we had in our first love.  Help us to turn our backs on the weights and sins that so easily encumber us, stumble us and have robbed us of our joy with YOU!  Help us to find again the elements of our love that made our time together so sweet and memorable.  Help us to revisit and possess again that joy.  We tend to lose it with You and in our marriages and other human relationships as well.  It was that joy that made life so rich and so worth living.  Bring us back to that joy of when You were everything and fellowship was so sweet. 

Blessings,

#kent

Maintain His Standard

September 4, 2020

Maintain His Standard

2 Chronicles 14:-2-12;15:1-8,

Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God. 3 He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. 4 He commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to obey his laws and commands. 5 He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. 6 He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the LORD gave him rest. 7 “Let us build up these towns,” he said to Judah, “and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered. 8 Asa had an army of three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows. All these were brave fighting men. 9 Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with a vast army and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.

11 Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you.” 12 The LORD struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13 and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the LORD and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder. 14 They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the LORD had fallen upon them. They plundered all these villages, since there was much booty there. 15 They also attacked the camps of the herdsmen and carried off droves of sheep and goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. 2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. 4 But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. 5 In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. 6 One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. 7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

8 When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the portico of the LORD’s temple.

              In these scriptures we see a man given to doing right in the Lord’s eyes and in trusting Him. We see that the Lord honored him with peace and prosperity.  We see that when evil forces rose against and even though their numbers were great, they put their trust in the Lord, the Lord fought their battle and gave them great victory.  The prophet speaks the word of the Lord to Asa and says, “The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.”  These are good words for us to take to heart as God’s people and as His nation.  We have seen our nation’s history was founded on men who put their trust in God and who sought His wisdom when founding and creating the constitution that has been its foundation.  The foundational truth that was established and that which has even been printed on our currency is “IN GOD WE TRUST”.  What do you think will become of us as a nation and as a people when we depart from this foundational principle.  If we look further into the end of Asa we will see. 

2 Chronicles 16

In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah.

2 Asa then took the silver and gold out of the treasuries of the LORD’s temple and of his own palace and sent it to Ben-Hadad king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. 3 “Let there be a treaty between me and you,” he said, “as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.”

4 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim and all the store cities of Naphtali. 5 When Baasha heard this, he stopped building Ramah and abandoned his work. 6 Then King Asa brought all the men of Judah, and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using. With them he built up Geba and Mizpah.

7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8 Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen ? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.”

10 Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.

11 The events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians. 13 Then in the forty-first year of his reign Asa died and rested with his fathers. 14 They buried him in the tomb that he had cut out for himself in the City of David. They laid him on a bier covered with spices and various blended perfumes, and they made a huge fire in his honor.

              I believe this is prophetic of our nation in this day and this hour.  It is not just how we start the race, it is how we finish it.  Asa started well, but he finished foolishly and to his own demise.  Our nation started well and even though we were but a weak struggling infant nation God delivered and gave us victory over England, the strongest nation of the world at that time.  Now we, as the people of God, must intercede for our nation and its leaders as we see it quickly descending into this path of forsaking the Lord.  As you exercise your freedom to vote and be heard, hold up the standard of the Lord in all that you vote for.  Those who put their trust in the arm of the flesh will fail, but those who lean wholly and fully trust in the Lord will not be disappointed.  If we, as the people of God, will not lift up His standard then who will?  The spirit of darkness is strong all around us.  We can see it even in the media and news.  We are the light of the world, so let our light shine before men.   If we forsake the Lord, He will forsake us.

Blessings,

#kent

Random Order

July 29, 2020

Random Order

Psalms 119:133

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

              God does not operate out of chance.  He does not spin a wheel and wherever the ball lands that’s the direction He goes.  Our God is a magnificent God of design and order.  He has a plan and He knows the beginning to the end.  Your life and mine aren’t a chance happening, they are ordered of the Lord.  He has put within each one of us a destiny and a purpose for our being. 

              Someone may be thinking, “You don’t know my life, what I have been through or what a mess I am.”  God does and He is able to take what the enemy has meant for evil and destruction and turn it around to be a stronghold for His glory and praise.  He is able to lift you up out of the death and darkness you have been in and set your feet in the way of light and truth.  He is able to take our weakness and turn them into the strongest areas of righteousness and victory in our lives.  God has a destiny, plan and purpose for your life, but the only way you will fully realize it is as you allow Him to order your steps according to His Word.  God has a divine and fulfilling plan for each of us, but we don’t have to follow it.  It is sin and rebellion that have caused us to miss it and that is why many of us are in the misery we are in. 

              As we look back over our lives, what do we see?  Are we satisfied and content with the results?  Do you feel you have lived your life to the fullness of God’s will and design for you.  We must come to the place that we realize our greatest joy, happiness and fulfillment doesn’t come out pursuing our own pleasures and desires, it will only be realized in the unity with God’s will and order for your life.  As I look back over my own life and the times I have walked close to God and the times I haven’t, I can see that my greatest joy, blessing and fulfillment are the times when I am passionately pursuing Him and seeking the fullness of His will for my life.  Our Father didn’t give us His Word and commandments to imprison us and make us miserable.  He gave them to set us free to be the children of righteousness and holiness that could enjoy the riches of all that He has for us.  It is our own sin and rebellion that prevent, inhibit and imprison us from enjoying the full blessings and promises that God has given us. 

              Our God is a God of divine and precise order.  We can look all around our universe and see the evidence of that in all of creation.  Only the fool could truly say the world and all its wonders were created by mere chance, how absurd.  An atheist has to have more faith to believe that, than a believer does to believe in God.  All of creation is a testimony to the wonder, greatness and order of God.  We have to realize that so much of our thinking, values and beliefs have been the persuasion of a lie.  All the chaos, disorder, anarchy, rebellion and discord in the world is the result of the devil’s influence on the minds and hearts of men.  We at war with terrorism today because men bought the lies of satan and in the name of religion and their god they terrorize by killing, wounding and maiming innocent men, women and children.  That certainly has no connection with the God I know. 

              If our steps are ordered of the Lord then He will not allow iniquity to have dominion over you.  In fact, in Christ, He has already empowered you to have victory and dominion over sin and iniquity.  He is our righteousness and we stand complete Him today because of Jesus.  Jesus did it all. He has issued us all the equipment we need to go out, conquer and prevail.  All we have to do is, in faith, put it on and use it according the operations manual of the Word of God, your Bible.  If we are living in defeat, oppression and failure in our lives, then we are like a homeless person using hundred dollar bills to stuff the bag he is sleeping on.  God has given us the resources, but we must rise up in the authority of His Word and the name of Jesus Christ and use them. 

              We cannot live our lives by random order and expect the fullness of God’s best in our lives.  It will be a hit and miss proposition.  As we live methodically and purposefully in the principles of God’s Word then we will reap the benefits of His promises and provisions.  If you want victory, joy and fulfillment in your life then order your steps in the Lord and in His Word.

Blessings,

#kent

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