Psalms 71:5
For thou [art] my hope, O Lord GOD: [thou art] my trust from my youth.

God, I don’t Deserve You

Throughout the highs and lows of life, the victories and the defeats, the triumphs and the disasters the one thing that is constant is God’s love. How thankful I am that my hope and confidence is not in myself. It would be as vanity and vapor if it were. All through life the anchor has been the Lord. Even in the times I felt rejected and cast off by others and the times that I even have hated myself, I have known like David that God is my hope and my trust is in Him. As we are pressing in to know and love God more we all know that we make a lot of mistakes and miss the mark more than we would like. The good news is that while there are times we may really get down on ourselves and feel totally condemned, God loves us. He loves us through our failures as well as our successes. While He doesn’t justify or condone our sin, He can forgive us and restore us into right fellowship with Him.
God loves you. Even if you don’t know how He could, He does. No matter what falls we take in life or even if we have slipped back into sin, hope in the Lord. Continue to put your confidence in Him. He is the One that you can always trust to love you, forgive and restore you if you will put your trust always in Him. We don’t deserve His love, His forgiveness or His mercy, but they are new every morning. His arms are open to us today. Come, let us embrace Him and draw near to Him again.

Blessings,
#kent

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Chasing After the Wind

June 13, 2014

Chasing After the Wind

Ecclesiastes 2:11
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

Solomon, the wisest and richest of kings wrote this book of Ecclesiastes. He was a man who said that he had it all, tried it all and none of the things of earth or the pursuits of pleasure and accomplishment were really worthwhile. They were like, “chasing the wind.”
What are we chasing in our lives? We allow so many things to consume our lives, our time, our efforts and affections, but what eternal value do they possess? What will become of them when our lives are spent and we are gone? In Mark 10:21 Jesus says to the rich young ruler, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
This man went away sad and unfulfilled because his possessions possessed him, he didn’t possess them. How many things in our lives possess us? Jesus offered the rich young ruler the one thing in life that would fulfill and complete him, but he couldn’t release the natural things for the spiritual. Jesus was letting him know and in so doing letting us know as well, if you want to pursue something more than the vanity of this life and all that it possesses there is only one way to store up treasure in heaven, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).” Jesus makes it plain to us that wherever our affections are, our values are placed, our importance lies, that’s where our hearts will be as well. Jesus is giving the same challenge to us as he gave to the rich young ruler, “take up your cross and follow me.” We process this with our minds, but not our hearts. We don’t want to, because it means we, like the rich young ruler, we have to deal with our issues, possessions and things we don’t want to let go of, even though they are robbing us of eternal treasure. That young man was no different than many of us. He was a good kid. He loved God and lived a righteous life and no doubt attended synagogue regularly. He thought he really wanted Jesus till he had to count the cost. It would cost him everything. While salvation is free, discipleship will cost you everything. The irony is that in losing everything this life has to offer you gain the riches of eternal heavenly treasure that has value long after your natural possessions have vanished. We don’t want to make the same mistake the rich young ruler did and become offended at the gospel.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” If we are really sold out to Christ then we are willing to surrender all our earthly goods, talents and treasures to follow Christ. That doesn’t mean we all literally go cash in, give it all away to the poor and take a vow of poverty, but we do need to have come to that place in our hearts. If the Lords says sell it all and give it away we are ready and willing. Often we can tell what things mean to us by how tightly we hold on to them. We need to embrace the cross and lightly hold the things of this life for even this is the wisdom of Solomon. At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon says this of all that he has learned of life, “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 (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”

Blessings,
#kent

When We Doubt

February 12, 2014

When We Doubt

 

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.


When We Doubt


There is a thief the comes to steal,

The identity he says that is not real.

He brings with him doubt, fear and unbelief,

He comes to rob my faith because he is a thief.


What if all my faith is in vain?

Then I can hold on to all my guilt and shame.

What if this message of the cross is just a lie?

Then wretched and most miserable of men am I.


Let me return to the sin and death from which I came,

Let me forsake life and hope if God’s Word is just a game.

Let me return to when my heart was perverted and my walk was lame,

If all roads lead to God, then Jesus why did you come to die in vain?


The Jews passed down the account of all the works that God had done.

They did this so they would not forget all the battles by Him they won.

Take some time to recount all of your blessings, one by one.

You will be find yourself amazed at what the Lord has done.


Intellects want to rob your faith through philosophical clatter,

But what you know in your heart is really what does matter.

What you know to be real in your heart, let no man steal,

Christ in you, redeemed by the blood, that is what is real.


Satan and man can throw up all kinds of smoke and mirrors,

But in the end it is the power of Christ that removes all doubt and fears.

If you embrace the lie it is to your shame,

You’ve been stripped of the truth of why Christ came.


There remains no other sacrifice to take away your sin,

You’ve been robbed of life and power that is only found in Him.

Beware of your reasoning that tells you that Christ is a fairytale,

Lest in that time when all hope is lost, your heart will begin to fail.


If Christ be a lie I will still embrace Him until the end,

Because I have experienced His love and know Him as my friend.

No, I don’t understand the mystery of all of His ways,

But I believe when He calls me up, in Him I will be raised.


So you go ahead and embrace the lie if you will.

But I choose to embrace my Savior still.

I have identified with Him, and so I am no longer my own,

I am becoming flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone.


I will not let fear, doubt and unbelief rob me of the identity that is mine.

In Him my life is hid and out of His righteousness my life will shine.

I know who I am and I will not let anyone take that from me.

For in Christ I live and through His blood I have found my liberty.


Poor indeed is the man that let his faith be robbed,

In the day of judgement bitter tears he will sob.

Stand your ground and hold fast the truth proclaimed,

When faith has stood the test, His promises you will claim.


Kent Stuck

 
Blessings,
kent

The Fast of the Lord

January 20, 2014

 

The Fast of the Lord


Isaiah 58:3-11

Wherefore have we fasted, [say they], and thou seest not? [wherefore] have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as [ye do this] day, to make your voice to be heard on high Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? [is it] to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes [under him]? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 

 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I [am]. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And [if] thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness [be] as the noonday And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 


Isaiah 58 is a good chapter to take and read in its entirety.  We have quoted enough here to give us some of the meat of what it is saying.  Many of us consider ourselves religious or spiritual. We profess to love God, we may have our set times to pray, read the bible, fast, go to church or other such spiritual activities we do in the name of the Lord for Him.  If we are doing all of these things to seek God and please Him, then we may ask, like the people of God in that day, “Lord, why don’t you hear our prayers and answer them?  We serve you, but we aren’t blessed.  How come you don’t acknowledge all of our efforts Lord?”  

He may in turn ask us, ” If you do all of these activities and things to seek and please me then why are your lives no different than those of the world around you?  Why is it you yell and argue with your family all the way to church and then come in to praise Me?  Why is it you fast and pray and then get up off of your knees to go and do your own pleasure?  Why is it you go to church, but are angry with the minister if he doesn’t get you out in time to beat the rush to the restaurant or see the sports game on TV?”   Could it be that a lot of our spirituality is phoniness and hypocrisy done more to make us feel like we have done our duty to God than doing what really pleases God.  If we want God to meet us in a greater way than He has before then it isn’t God that has to change, it is us, and more religious activity isn’t the answer.  

God takes the time in this passage to tell us where His heart is and what is meaningful to Him.  He tells us to do such things as “loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free, and that ye break the yoke?”  What does all of that mean?  Could it mean that we are outwardly spiritual, but inwardly wicked?  We talk down to people, we talk about people in a demeaning way, and we’re critical, hateful, judgmental, gossips, backbiters and controllers.  We may want to put all of our baggage, laws, rules and standards upon others when we can’t even live up to them ourselves.  How often do we do things for others in the guise of being so nice and generous to help them out and then turn around and hold those things we gave or did for them as a yoke to control and manipulate them?  There are times we give or loan things to people and they can’t pay them back.  Sometimes we need to just release those debts and forgive them even as God forgave ours.  We can be cruel taskmasters to one another and to others.  When the world looks at that, are they seeing Christ?  Could it be that God wants us to quit being above others and treating others, that don’t have what we have in areas, as inferior and as servants?  Maybe it is time we become like Christ, to use what we have, to get under them to lift and build them up, to be their servants rather than them being ours.  

God goes on to tell us if you really want my blessing then you need to care about the things I care about.  Are you clothing the naked and feeding the hungry?  Are you visiting those in prisons, nursing homes, jails and shut-ins?  Are you even really taking care of your own family and making sure they have not only their physical needs met, but their emotional and spiritual needs met?  Are you spending the time you need to with them and nurturing them?  Are we pointing our finger in judgement and condemnation of others while we ignore the other three that are pointing back at us?  

When we start getting the heart of God then will we begin to hear from God and see His blessing.  This is the true fast of the Lord.  It is not about going to church, it is about being “the Church.”  We have to become in lifestyle and practice what many of us now only pretend to be.  We have a form of godliness, but we deny the power of it.   God despises pompous, pretentious spiritual pretenders.  I have been there more than I like to admit, how about you?  If we are going to have the real thing then everything we do has be about the Lord and what honors and pleases Him.  Ouch!  That’s pretty tough on my flesh, but then I said I reckoned it dead with Christ, so what’s my problem?  My problem is always “I.”  The more it is there the less effective I can be for God, because the less of Him that is in me.  It is only the death of self that can give place to the life of God.  This is the true Fast.  

 
Blessings,
kent

On Eagle’s Wings

October 22, 2013

Isaiah 40:27-31
Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

On Eagle’s Wings

Are we to worry in troubled times? Do we think that the Lord does not see our need and our cause is disregarded? If we think that then we don’t know who our God is.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:25–34, “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.”
Our lives can no longer be measured by what we possess, the position that we hold or our social standing. Who possesses us and how much we are His possession is the measure of our lives. The Lord cares for His own. Psalms 37:25 says, “I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” These can be great times of opportunity for the people of God, because it causes us to become focused on what is the most important thing, our relationship with the Father. Suddenly the things of this world that seemed so important yesterday are gone today. That which we placed our confidence and hope in yesterday has vaporized and is no more. Does that mean all hope is lost and the Lord does not care? No, it should mean that now we can turn our attention to Him who has cared so much, but before we were too busy for Him. Suddenly the resources of this world have dried up and we must discover whom our true resource and provision is.
People of God, Know Your God! “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
When young eagles get to a certain age of maturity it is time for them to get out of the security of their nest. Up until this time everything has been comfy and cozy. Their food has been brought to them and they have become complacent that this is the way life will always be. Then one day the parent eagle begins to ruffle the nest, disrupting the smooth soft lining, making it poky and uncomfortable. Then one day they make those little eagles leave that comfortable nest and jump out into nothingness hundreds of feet above the ground. Now to that young eagle what is probably going through their mind is, “My goodness they have raised me up to kill me.” Eventually they take off and fall, flailing their wings as they are falling. Before they hit the ground the parent eagle sweeps under them and bears them back up to the nest. Now you know that has to be an adrenaline filled moment, but it has to happen time and again until these little eagles find their wings. When finally they find their wings they find that, like their parents, they too can fly. They have just come into a new dimension that they had never known before. Before it was only the parents that could do this, now they too can soar up to the heights of heaven and see for miles and miles.
This speaks of us in this hour. God is beginning to toss us out of our comfortable nests. It has to be so as to bring us into the fullness of who we are in Him. We were not created to feed in the barnyard with the other chickens. We were created to rise up on our eagle wings and soar in the heavens. God is the wind beneath your wings and He will bear you up as your faith relies upon Him. Don’t be fearful when you fall. Falling is part of the process of learning to fly, but if you never find your wings eventually you will be allowed to crash.
We have a destiny and it is not life on earth status quo. We have been raised up to not only experience the fullness of salvation, but to be the instruments of His salvation to a creation subjected to vanity, yet in hope. We are the instruments of His salvation in the earth.
Do not become discouraged or dismayed when hard times come upon us. This is a day of opportunity and advancement to the people of God that will press us in to truly know Him. God is not trying to defeat you, but promote you. This is a day when you can truly experience Him as your resource and provision. In order for us to fly we will have to adhere to dynamic kingdom principles that perhaps we have not held too so closely before. It is a place of faith and obedience as we learn His voice and find His provision in our every need.

Blessings,
kent

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