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

The Children’s Bread

November 4, 2014

Matthew 15:21-28 (Amplified)
And going away from there, Jesus withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
22And behold, a woman who was a Canaanite from that district came out and, with a [loud, troublesomely urgent] cry, begged, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is miserably and distressingly and cruelly possessed by a demon!
23But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us.
24He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25But she came and, kneeling, worshiped Him and kept praying, Lord, help me!
26And He answered, It is not right (proper, becoming, or fair) to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.
27She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little pups (little whelps) eat the crumbs that fall from their [young] masters’ table.
28Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you wish. And her daughter was cured from that moment.

The Children’s Bread

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray in Matthew 6 part of that prayer was, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I see the Lord’s Prayer as an outline for us to structure our prayer and worship time before Him. One of the first things that I think about when I think about daily bread is that first and foremost we must do as John 6 says. We must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood. He is the bread of life. If we miss our daily nourishment of Him, we’ve missed the most important meal of the day. So many of us put our spiritual man as our last priority when it comes to feeding ourselves. We must realize the importance of daily feeding our spiritual man from His substance and His life, for out of Him are the issues of life both for the spiritual and the physical man.
Secondly, I remember this scripture in Matthew 15 as I prayed for my daily bread and the Lord brought it to mind that as believers in Christ Jesus that we are the true Jews and heirs according to the promise. Romans 2:29 tells us, “But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.” If I am in Christ and if we are true Jews then healing and deliverance is our bread for we are His children. As surely as I can ask and trust Him to give me physical bread, I can ask and trust Him for the bread of healing and deliverance. If Jesus was willing to give this to the woman who was outside the faith of Israel, because of her worship, persistence and faith, how much more should He be willing to give it to His children who approach Him in like faith?
Thirdly, our daily bread is tied to our natural provision. In Psalms 37:5 David says, “I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” God is the provision for His children. In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus teaches this kingdom principle, “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.”
Here is a kingdom principle that God gave me, “In the center of God’s will is the center of your purpose.” This is where He wants us to be focused. If we are too concerned and worried about the earthly things we will miss the higher purpose of God for our lives. I believe that God has great blessing in store for the people of God who will come together to labor on building God’s house and not their own. If the Father has called us as joint heirs in Christ to come along side of Him to establish His temple and His house then we can trust that He will provide the means to do it. All of the gold, the silver and the resources of both heaven and earth are at His disposal.
“Lord help me not to fight and struggle to keep what “I” have, but simply embrace Your provision for me. That may not look what I have known or what my natural thinking tells me, but we are now a spiritually minded people who are being transformed into your thinking and the mind of Christ. Thank you that You are my every provision for my spirit, mind, soul and body. You are my Bread of Life, You are my healing and deliverance and You are my physical provision as well.
Lord I pray for your body and the people of God that you will break every yoke of spiritual strongholds, debt, poverty, sickness and spiritual oppression. We come in Your Name declaring your Word and Your lordship, power and dominion over every need in your body.
Lord give us this day, our daily bread. In Jesus name, amen.”

Blessings,
#kent

Fear of Man

October 14, 2014

Fear of Man

Psalms 56:1-6,9-13
Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. 2 My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. 3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? 5 All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. 6 They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life…
Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise- 11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Fear is a powerful force. Most all of us have been influenced and moved by it. But ironically it is the fear of God that will move us to faith, while the negative fears that we harbor and allow, touching and influencing our lives will move us away from faith. If we think about it most anything we fail to trust God for is either an act of disobedience through rebellion or it is disobedience out of fear. Faith is a confidence in God and His Word, fear is the doubt and apprehension that God will fail us. Romans 14:23 tells us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” One of our greatest fears is what others think about us, how they will accept us and what they can do to hurt us. Fear is one of the strongest instruments at the enemy’s disposal. It undermines our faith and gets our eyes and our confidence off of Christ and back on to us. It causes us to see after the natural rather than the supernatural.
There are different levels at which fear can touch us from the most surface levels of fear to the deepest levels of psychological trauma. On the surface levels we all deal with fear of social acceptance, failure and insecurity. Think about a baby in the mother’s womb. It knows no fear there. It is safe, it is warm, provided for, accepted and secure. It has all of the things that we loose the guarantee of as we come into this world and are forced into self- responsibility. When these basic needs or wants are threatened it causes us to fear. We fear when we are not in a safe environment. We fear for our health, our daily provisions and needs as well as the needs of those we are responsible for. We fear when we feel insecure and threatened, physically, emotionally or even spiritually. Thus fear becomes a very powerful motivator and influence in our lives. Jesus addresses this fear that stems out of worry 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.”
Is all fear bad? No, we can’t say that all fear is bad, because it is often fear that can motivate us to right actions or even protect us from things that could harm us. The fear of God is a good fear because it moves us into Him and the more that we move into God the more we learn to trust Him. He can bring us again to that place of peace we had as infant only it won’t be without conflict. It won’t be without many things, people and circumstances coming against us, as they attempt to rob our peace and confidence in the God that we’ve come to know, love and serve.
Many of the challenges to our faith come through the fear of man. We fear that others will not accept us so we focus on what will be pleasing to the world. Many of us get our self worth and esteem from what others think. We often fear man so much that we let society and our circle of influence shape our values, our opinions and form the standard for how to act, what to wear, what we can and can not talk about. In Jesus’ day people were fearful to talk about Jesus. John 7:13 says, “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” Many of us fear to speak openly of Jesus today for fear that others will be offended or not accept us. We want to have the heart that David had when he said in Psalm 56:4, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Our flesh avoids pain and seeks pleasure. We fear not living up the standards others have for us for fear of rejection. Many of us live in a constant state of worry and anxiety, which is fear. Yet the word teaches us in Philippians 4:6-7, “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.”
Fear will always focus us on the natural and take our eyes off of our faith in God. Deuteronomy 31:6 exhorts God’s people, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” God speaks His Word into us to disperse our fears. Isaiah 41:10-14 says, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. 14 Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
It is our faith in God that gives us boldness in place of timidity, that gives us eyes and a heart to see beyond our fears as we embrace the realities of God’s promises and His Word. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” And again in 2 Corinthians 4:18 he says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. “ The fear of the Lord will bring us into faith for it will cause us to exalt God’s ways above man’s ways and it will embrace His Word as truth even in the face of opposing natural evidence. Our hope, our confidence and our faith are in the Lord. When we embrace who we are in Him, then the fear of this world looses its power over us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. (1 John 5:4)”

Blessings,
#kent

All of our need is met in Jesus

Philippians 4:19
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

It is interesting to note that this scripture follows Paul commending the Philippians for their faithfulness in communicating and supporting his needs. In Philippians 4:15-18 Paul has just remarked to the Philippians, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.” We can see from these passages that the Philippians weren’t just out seeking the blessings of God, their focus and endeavor was to be a blessing. So often we take the promises of God out of context to meet our particular needs or desires. What is as important as the promises are the conditions of the promise and the foundation it is based on. There are some that have the idea that God exist in order just to bless them. It is God’s heart that we be blessed and that our needs are met, but our heart should not be that of seeking the gift, but the Giver. What we find in the economy of the kingdom of God is that in blessing we are blessed, in giving our needs are met. The Lord increases us for the purpose of being a greater blessing, as well as being blessed.
What we must ask ourselves is what is at the core of our heart when we approach God for our needs or wants. Is it covetousness, the strong desire for what we don’t have, or is it the desire to be a blessing? Is our heart just to get or is it to give. Jesus says in Matthew 6:31-34, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.” Jesus is telling us here that it isn’t the natural commodities of this world we need to be focused on, it is the kingdom of God. When we get in the flow of God’s economy we don’t have to worry about the natural, those needs will be met in the course of our living. Certainly we must still work, the Word exhorts “let him who will not work, not eat.” What we fail to see is that even our work can be a spiritual exercise and function of the kingdom. It is a means for providing not only our needs, but also the needs of others, which is a spiritual principle. Ephesians 4:28 says, ” Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” It is in the meeting of needs that our needs are met.
Paul says in this passage, ‘may God supply all of your need, singular, according to His riches in glory.’ What is your need today? Is it about all of the things in life that we need or is it about knowing that Christ is our greatest need and everything else is worked out as we pursue Him.
May we have the heart of the Father in our giving and being a blessing. In blessing we will find ourselves blessed and all of our need met according to His riches in glory.

Blessings,
#kent

A Heavenly Perspective

May 16, 2013

Colossians 3:15-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

A Heavenly Perspective

Today is a day to be glad, rejoice in life and embrace your life with hope. We are a blessed people. Some would say, “if you saw my condition you wouldn’t think I was very blessed.” I can certainly appreciate all that life throws at us sometimes. Outward circumstances can get incredibly harsh, cruel and difficult to bear. The apostle Paul says this, in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” For most of us, our biggest stumbling block is that we are always focusing on what is seen, rather than what is not seen. We tend to base our life, our success, our happiness and our worth on what we see as reality in the natural world around us. What the Word is teaching us is, if that is the case, you are living out of a wrong perspective and viewpoint. Colossians 3 gives us some perspective in where our mindset and viewpoint of life must now come from. “1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” If we are living in discouragement and defeat it most likely has to do with the perspective of our minds and our hearts. This present life can offer some crushing blows and some real discouragement, but when we begin to understand that if we are in Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father, then nothing can really touch our life without first going through the Father. If these things are allowed to touch our lives then it is our opportunity and privilege to know that as we keep our eyes upon Him, He is giving us the grace to walk through whatever it is. Often times, we come to the point where there is really nothing more that we can do outwardly. The Words tells, “Having done all, stand.” Stand in the faith that the Lord is God and He is upon the throne of our lives working all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Perhaps the Lord allows us to go through some of these things so that we can begin to practice living out of the mind of Christ, rather than the mind of our flesh. The mind of Christ will look with the eyes of faith, resting in the Lord to work all things out according to His will and purpose. It will rejoice in hope and confidence in the God of its salvation. The mind of the flesh will be agitated, fearful, and full of worry, anger, frustration and doubt.
Many of the saints of old went through great times of trials and testing. It was their faith and confidence in the Almighty that sustained them and brought them through. Most of us would rather avoid and run away from our problems, but that is not where growth is or that which builds our faith. Like the song by Andre Crouch goes, “if I never had a problem, I would never know that God could solve them. I’d never know what faith in His Word can do.”
Don’t allow your countenance to fall today. Look up and make the decision to have joy in your life in spite of any circumstances that may be pressing on you. God will see you through.

Blessings,
kent

Philippians 4:6-7
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.

What are You Anxious About?

I heard the Lord ask,” What are you anxious about today? What are your fears?”
Take a moment to ask yourself those questions and consider your answers. Most all of us have those issues that want to arise in our heart that cause us concern and consternation. If we allow them to persist they can take us right on over into doubt, fear and unbelief.
Where the Father wants us to abide is in the position of His rest. We first start to find that position by doing what Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” What do we do when we rejoice? We put our eyes upon Jesus, along with the acknowledgement of all of His goodness, provision and faithfulness. We position ourselves in an attitude of continual joy. That is why we joy and joy again. We know that with joy comes the words of praise, worship and adoration that create faith in our hearts. Then we rest in what we don’t have control over because God does, so then just pray about everything and present our petitions before Him, with thanksgiving, knowing that He has the final say in all things.
He has created us to enter into His rest and we can’t abide there if we are anxious and restless. So climb up on Papa’s lap today. Rejoice in Him, His goodness and all of His benefits. Present your concerns to Him in prayer and petition with thankfulness, because you know that He hears you and will work all thing together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His Purpose (Romans 8:28). He will work all things after the council of His will if you just trust Him. Just as a child is not anxious, but trusting that his parents will meet all of his needs; how much more can we trust the Father to care for our needs according to His riches in glory.
Just crawl up on His lap and abide in His rest. He loves you and cares for you.

On Papa’s Lap

Where can I go when the spirit of fear surrounds me?
What do I do when my circumstances overwhelm me?
I crawl up on Papa’s lap, safe from all threats of harm.
There, in love He holds me, enveloped in His arms.
There I know what touches me is only for my good.
There I have confidence that I can stand the ground He stood.
In the unity of God’s love I feel our hearts beat as one.
Whenever fear and doubt attack me, to Papa’s lap I come.
Kent Stuck

Blessings,
Kent

Rest

April 11, 2013

Hebrews 4:1-5
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith, 3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
“So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. 4For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. 7Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

Rest

What does it mean to rest? When we are truly resting are we still worrying and laboring with our mind and body? Resting is entering into another state of being than when our body and mind are active and working. Resting is a state in which the mind and body are being turned off and labor has ceased. Many of us have experienced insomnia where we tried to rest, but we can’t get our minds to shut off and sleep eludes us. Instead of rest we find restlessness and are wrestling to find sleep.
When God talks to us about entering into His rest what is He telling us we should do? Are we to just sit down where we are and expect God to do everything and provide everything for us? Is that rest? No, God is talking about a state where we turn off the natural mind that is filled with its desires, concerns and worries. He is talking about a state of obedience and trust in Him where we see the finished work of Christ and the Cross. We rest in all that it represents to us and all that has been and is being accomplished through it. Most of us are pretty aware that we can’t earn our way into heaven through our own goodness and righteousness, but in many ways we haven’t learned the place of rest that is in Christ Jesus. As long as the natural mind is always actively seeing and reacting to the circumstances around it, it remains in a state of insomnia and restlessness, never able to fully find its peace. In order for the message of the rest of God to have any value and substance to us it has to be combined with one key ingredient and that is faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” God never created us to be gods unto ourselves; He created us in His image to be the expression of who He is, of His nature and his character. He created us to abide in harmony and fellowship with Him. We can never find that place without faith. If we truly have faith then it will result in obedience out of love. The more we intimately know God, the more we will grow in trust, obedience and love. The more we intimately know God in and through Christ Jesus the more identified we will become with His life and the finished work of the cross.
The reality check is this; we live in a natural world, filled with many godless people and we have to function in an economy that is not spiritual and filled with greed and selfishness. That must mean I have to really struggle to be godly and fight the devil. I need to condemn sin and every sinner I see so that I am not like the world. Isn’t that how many of us see our calling and our faith? It is a war, it is a struggle and I have to try harder to do better and to fight sin?
Have you ever seen a person trying to swim in water when they didn’t know how to swim? There is no lack of activity. They violently thrash and kick just to keep their heads above the water and not drown, but that isn’t swimming, that is just trying to survive. When we learned how to swim we had to learn to work with the water and not against it. We had to lose our fear and learn that if we would trust the water we could actually float without a struggle. Learning to swim is an exercise in learning to trust. The rest of God is the same way. We can’t rest with all of our thrashing and work to overcome sin and live righteous. What God is teaching us is that rest is a matter of trust. Christ has overcome, He has paid the price for sin and He has conquered sin and death. Why are we trying to accomplish what He has accomplished for us from the beginning? Our rest is learning to rest in and appropriate what Christ has already done by full association and reliance upon Him. It doesn’t mean we cease living and functioning in this world; it means that now we function in identification and trust in His life. We no longer live out of our goodness or our ability, but His. “Christ in me” is my hope of glory; my flesh can never accomplish that for me, no matter how hard it tries. The rest is the trust to let Christ be in me, to have expression and to have full dominion over me.
Rest, like swimming, is something that we practice. We learn not to fight God in our ignorance, but rather work with Him, as one with Him. Hebrews 4:12-13 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
As we begin our rest in God, yielding and trusting the Holy Spirit. As we read and meditate upon God’s word to intimately know the One we are to be like; then that Word, quickened by God’s spirit, will begin its spiritual surgery within us exposing what is of Him and what is of the flesh. He exposes our true motives and intents. He will show us that a lot of what is religious and looks outwardly good is just spiritualized flesh, but it is not Spirit. Rather than us thrashing the water and trying to change ourselves from the outside in, in the rest of God we will find Him changing us from the inside out. He will sanctify us, spirit, soul and body. The transformation that takes place in us through the rest of God is one in which we cease to struggle and strive with Him and we simply, through faith and trust, come into compliance with what He is revealing to us. It is a process of shutting our eyes to the circumstances and the fears, concerns and the sin that surrounds us. Instead we are opening our consciousness to the Spirit and the Word as together they guide and support our rest. In the process we sometimes inhale a little water and we start to spit and sputter. We immediately want to forget our position of rest and go back to trashing and struggling, but we begin to learn that it is only counter productive to our rest, so we have to let down and again rest our head upon the breast of Jesus.

Blessings,
kent

Clarity in the Mist

December 13, 2012

James 4:13-17
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Clarity in the Mist

Like a foggy mist before the autumn trees,
It mutes the colors that I should clearly see.
As I look down the path of life and destiny,
I can only fully walk in what is revealed in front of me.

Why presumptuous mind do you rush to plan my way?
How do you know what will even happen in this day?
It is boastful and arrogant for me to declare my steps,
Only as God wills my life, so why should I worry or fret?

I will walk with You, oh Lord, day by day,
I will trust in You to order my steps and ways,
My plans must always be subject to Your mind and will.
As I walk in faith Your Spirit leads me into the real.

Even a sower sows his seed on various ground,
Your seed in me depends upon the conditions found.
The more I yield my heart to listen and pray,
The more clearly I will see how You order my life and day.
Kent Stuck

Blessings,
kent

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