Hello and welcome to Christian Louboutin Shoes Outlet the official website of Kevin L. Kingsbury, Christian Fiction author.
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My primary goal here at KevinLKingsbury.com is to bring glory to Jesus my Lord by sharing the many ways he is actively working in my life to make me into the man he created me to be. I don’t claim to have any superior knowledge of God or some kind of inside track to the wonders of his kingdom. What I do have is a desire in my spirit to please God and to overcome my sinful nature; to empty myself of me as much as I can and allow God to transform me so that I am more like Christ every day. My purpose is to honor God and to serve people. Sure, I hope to sell a bunch of books on the site when they become available this spring, and then for as long as God blesses me with the privilege of writing for him, but mostly I hope to honor God and serve people with the things he puts on my heart to share.
Check out my blog for anything from the random musings of my brain to my favorite quotes from other people to life lessons I have learned and pretty much anything else that hits my brain while I am sitting in front of my laptop writing.
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Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
Being a writer, I don’t really get hit with a lot of visuals, but this morning even I couldn’t miss the message in the amazing picture outside my kitchen window. Sunrise thundershowers are pretty neat anyway, but this morning was even more special. When I got up, the thunderstorm was doing its thing, making a racket that I am surprised the boys slept through, between the thunder itself and the noise of the skylights in the bathrooms. However, it seemed to stop with the rising of the sun. As it got lighter outside, I could no longer hear the thunder or the rain. But I did hear the coffee pot beckoning, so I made my way to the kitchen to imbibe. When I looked out the kitchen window, I saw the huge drops of water dripping off the leaves of our crab apple tree, back-lit by the intense rays of light from the morning sun. Off to the right and all around was still dark and dreary, but right there on the other side of that tree it was sunny and bright. That was really cool by itself, but then I noticed something else as I tried unsuccessfully to capture the scene with my cell phone camera. It was still raining! The reason those big drops were falling from the tree so consistently, and the reason they were so sparkly and bright, was because it was still raining! The entire scene through the window to the left was all sparkles and sunshine and bouncing lights, while to the right and most of the rest of it was dark and gloomy.
Scarcely did I grasp the first message that scene spoke to me before I was hit by another, deeper one. I remembered Psalm 30:5 where it says, “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Even as the storm raged through the night, the sunlight broke through in the morning. Regardless what I may be going through, it may last for a night, but the sun will come out in the morning. That’s a really neat sentiment and a comforting truth by itself, but my second realization took even that to the next level.
Even while it was still raining, the sun was shining through! It was as if God were saying to me, “Do you think I can’t do this? Do you think this storm is too much for me? No! In fact, I don’t even have to wait for the storm to be over! I can shine to you right now, right here, right in the midst of the storm! Yes, rejoicing comes in the morning, but we don’t even have to wait for that. You can rejoice right now, because I am in control!”
I hope I can always remember that visual, because I tend to forget sometimes how awesome my God is. Sometimes I look at my life and my troubles and the difficulties I have to deal with, and it’s hard to imagine how God can make anything useful out of it. But, well, he’s God. That’s what he does.
I don’t have to weather the storm and wait for the rejoicing to come. My God is bigger than any storm. There is nothing this life or this world can throw at me that my God can’t overcome and use for his glory. In fact, the more storms I go through, the more glory he gets!
Forget the morning. I will rejoice all through the storm! Rain if ya gotta– my God will shine the sun right through it.
Praise be to our awesome God!
Am I the only one for whom things do not always go according to plan? Or whose desires do not appear to be considered as time marches on? Sometimes I just feel beat down. Not only do things I had hoped for not pan out, but sometimes even things I didn’t know I was hoping for get squashed in my face and I am left without. Now, I know that happens to all of us, but before we get too deep into the “Why Me?” whining about how nothing ever works out for ME, let’s consider that statement from the opposite perspective. Rather than being upset because God won’t give me this or that, or because this is too difficult or that hurt my feelings or I deserve this or I have been waiting and now it’s my turn for that, let’s look for a moment at what we are really saying. I mean, it sounds like I am telling God, the creator of the universe, that he isn’t doing his job right. Obviously, I have been overlooked by he who counts the sparrows and numbers the hairs on my head, because I am not getting my fair shake in this fallen world where sin is the norm and the devil is in charge.
Why me? Of all the people who could be overlooked or skipped or passed over, surely I don’t deserve to be! Why me?
I think the question we should be asking is, “Why me?” Forget this silly old world with its temporal treasure and piddly rewards and look at the bigger picture.
Why would the God of the universe, the creator of heaven and earth, want a relationship with me? The holy son of God came to earth, taught me how to live and how to love, then died a sinner’s death- the one that I deserve- so that I wouldn’t have to, and so that I could be put right with God and be forgiven for my sins. Why me? When I look at my life over the grand scheme of things, why would the Holy Spirit take time to speak to my heart? Why would I deserve the peace of Jesus in my soul? What have I ever done to deserve the slightest nod of recognition from a holy God? And yet, he humbled himself to become a human and be condemned to death in my place. Why me?
“Why me” when I don’t get what I want? When I don’t get my way? When I don’t feel I am getting my justly due? When I don’t feel the glorious blessings of God?
Oh, no, my friend. “Why me” when I do!
Think on this passage from Daniel 3:15-18:
Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Think about that for a minute. These three dudes were about to be thrown into an incinerator for refusing to bow down before a mere human, albeit a king, and give to him what belongs only to God. Now, they weren’t being asked to do anything out of the ordinary; bowing before a king was pretty commonplace. And everybody else was doing it as ordered. But these three took a stand against it because they were committed to honor God above everyone and everything else.
And what really gets me about this passage is the depth of their commitment. Their faith was very strong. They had no doubt that God could save them from the king or the incinerator or anything else that might befall them. But so deep was their commitment that they went way beyond “My God will deliver me,” and said, “And even if he doesn’t.”
That’s just good preparation. God can, and I believe he will; but even if he doesn’t, yet will I trust in him. What if I don’t get the things I want? What if I pray and pray and pray, hope and hope and hope, dream and dream and dream, and zip. Bupkiss. What then? Doubt God’s faithfulness? Turn from him and seek another ‘god’ to believe in? Bow to the king? What if everything seems to be going right, and all preparations have been made, all i’s dotted and all t’s crossed, and then nothing? Then what? What if I really, really believe I’m following God’s will, and I am praying and seeking first his kingdom like he says, and the things I think I am waiting for just don’t come to fruition? Then what?
Resolve first that even if he doesn’t, I will not bow. I will not bow to doubt in God’s faithfulness and sovereignty. I will not bow to failure and defeat and giving up. Even if I am following his will and his leading to the best of my understanding, and then even if he doesn’t, I will not bow.
That’s what faith is all about. I know God can, and I believe he will; but even if he doesn’t, it will not change my trust in him. After all, who is most likely to have missed the mark or misunderstood the directions, me or God?
Even if I never get mine, if my hopes and dreams never get realized, if things never do work out the way I want them to, even if I spend my whole life wishing and hoping and wanting and never receiving, even so, I will not bow to the king or serve the gods of this world. Even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty. Even if he doesn’t, I will not bow.
“When God reveals anything, he wants us to believe it.”
Seems obvious enough, but do we do it? I mean, really? Do we believe it enough to make the life-changes that anything other than full-out hypocrisy would require? Even that secret hypocrisy that nobody else knows about? James 2:14-17 says that faith without works is useless.
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
I would like to take that passage/concept and apply it to knowledge. One could just as well say that knowledge by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead. Hearing a wonderful, meaningful sermon in church is great, but is the last time it crosses our minds when we blurb about it on Facebook? That’s a nice post, but do we apply it to our lives on Monday morning? Or even on Sunday evening? Or Thursday at 3:18 when none of our church friends are around?
Our Bible is full of lessons, directives, commands, etc., which are all summed up in two phrases: “Love God, Love People.” That’s all there really is. Jesus even said that all the Law and the Prophets hang on those two commands. All the messages and sermons and blurbs and comments and even Facebook posts that bless us and challenge us and touch our hearts revolve around telling us how to obey one of those two commands.
But it is all useless without action.
Love someone today. Really, really love them. Like Jesus would if he were there with you. Ya, you know what I’m going to say next. Jesus IS there with you. And HE loves that person. He loves him or her and he wants to touch that person’s life, but he wants to do it through you and me. We are Jesus’ hands and feet now.
God has revealed his character to us through the person of Jesus, and he wants us to believe it. And belief like that requires action. Be the embodiment of Christ today. Jesus rose from the grave to give you the ability, the authority, the power, and especially the heart for it. Don’t waste his sacrifice. Love on purpose.
Check out this excerpt from a conversation my wife had on Facebook:
Andie: I’m gonna step on some toes here, but the “big problems” with our country are not stemming from same gender couples in love, but from people “representing” Christ who don’t know how to love.
Love God, Love others. Bless, don’t curse. Pray, don’t hate.
A Friend: i have A LOT i could say about it, and I’m pretty sure you and I would be on the same page… but i’m relatively certain that many people we know wouldn’t agree so i’ve kept my facebook mouth, shut.
Andie: They don’t have to agree, so long as they are loving others with all the God they have in them.
What really struck me was the last part of her statement: “They don’t have to agree, so long as they are loving others with all the God they have in them.” Regardless of how you might feel or believe about whatever issue is at hand, the Bible tells us to love others as we do ourselves. Really, really love them. Treat them with lovingkindness. And even if they are an actual enemy, we are admonished to pray for them and treat them with extra kindness! So how dare we be rude and hateful and mean when we make our self-righteous statements on our soapboxes of purity as we curse others because they haven’t achieved the same spiritual plateau of excellence and perfection that we have? Shame on us. Bottom line, I think my wife was dead-on. When we act that way, we are revealing that that is all the God we have in us. You see, I don’t believe our sinful selves and God can exist in the same place. After all, Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6:15, “What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?” And James, when talking about the futile attempt at taming the tongue, said in James 3:9-12: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
Did Christ ever instruct his followers to correct all the ungodly thinking of sinful men? No. He said to love them. Did he ever tell them to hold a demonstration outside of anywhere in opposition to the ills of society? No. He told them to love the people perpetrating those ills as much as they love themselves.
Well, I’ll just let Jesus wrap this one up for me.
33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37
Unfortunately, I fear Andie’s statement is very accurate indeed. I fear that people probably are loving others with all the God they have in them. Jesus loved people with all the God he had in HIM, and look how he treated people. The problems with our country and our world is not that the sinners have sin in them. Newsflash–so do you. The problem is that the Christians don’t have enough GOD in THEM.
Keeping it real,
“You can force your way through anything with the leverage of prayer. Take care that you work with the mighty implement of prayer, and nothing can stand against you.”
Sometimes words get in the way. Many times it’s better to read something short and sweet, like that quote above, and just meditate on it. Think on what it really means, to pray about stuff. Not those quick popcorn prayers we send up when our problems get thrown up into our faces, but those deeper, heartfelt prayers we send up when we are sitting quietly at our Saviour’s and Benefactor’s feet, seeking his will and his glory. Real prayer. Submissive prayer. Selfless prayer. Prayer that yields our entire being to the will of Christ. Really, not just in word only. Prayer that rids the heart of anything not Christ and relinquishes control of everything. EVERYTHING. Complete dependence on the sustaining power of God. Complete deference to the perfect will of God. Even when it is uncomfortable and we don’t like it. That kind of prayer that squishes every drop of selfishness out of us like squeezing the guts out of a grape. Ya, and even the pit has to get squeezed out. That’s the kind of prayer he’s talking about. That kind of leverage.
Meditate on that. Ask God to show you what kind of prayer he wants to hear from you. Then just do it. Give all of you to him.
His will is always better. His plans are always better. Let him rule. He will always do it better.
My wife got the greatest Bible story book for the younger kids. It’s “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones. She has tweeted about some of the neat things the author has had to say in the book. And after tonight’s story, I felt I needed to share a thought from it.
The story was the crucifixion, the quote taken right where Jesus was calling out to his Father from the cross, saying what in our adult Bibles is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” or something similar to that, depending on your version preference. She writes:
“Papa?” Jesus cried, frantically searching the sky. “Papa? Where are you? Don’t leave me!”
And for the first time – and the last – when he spoke, nothing happened.
Just think on that for a moment.
I want to share my thoughts on that statement, but I also want you to pray and let God share HIS thoughts with you about it. For the first time – and the last – when Jesus spoke, nothing happened.
How does that apply to your life? To my life?
Refer to previous post: Pray.