As a Man Thinks

March 24, 2017

As a Man Thinks

Proverbs 23:6-7a

Eat thou not the bread of [him that hath] an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he…

Often we don’t give much thought to the power of suggestion and the input from various sources that we take into our minds.   Most of us have a belief and value system in place.  Somehow we think that value system stands as a wall to defend us from wrong thinking and consequently wrong actions.   Termites are just like little ants.  They don’t eat that much individually, but given enough time and numbers they can bring down an entire house.  The same is true with our values and beliefs.  They are not impermeable to wrong thinking and influence.  Paul makes this clear when he exhorts the Corinthians in 2 Corinthian 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”  As we live and walk among the world we are constantly exposed to the values and the mindset of the world which is most often contradictory to the Word and the will of the Father.  We can’t always avoid all that we are exposed to in the world, but we take in much of it by our own choice or by not actively turning from it.  Paul goes on to share at the end of this chapter in 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  

Initially when we see or hear something that is wrong or offensive our reaction may be one of shock, disdain and turning away.  If we are exposed to these types of things enough times, soon our conscience becomes numbed, our spiritual senses dulled and more or less we begin to dismiss it as common place, in other words, it becomes acceptable.  

How do we react to common television shows today that twenty or thirty years ago would have caused a public outcry?   Over time, not only have we as Christian become desensitized to the moral depravity, but also so has our society as a whole.  I was reading about a study this morning where they estimated an 18% increase in teenage intercourse, simply due to the influence of television.  It wasn’t just in what they saw on the programs, but what they heard regarding sexual attitudes.  We generally perceive reality based on what are mainstream values around us.  We who are believers should know better, because our reality should be based on the standard of the Word of God.  Let us not think for a minute that a constant diet of worldly views and influences doesn’t have an effect on our relationship with God and our purity with Him.  When God brought the children of Israel into the Promise Land He commanded them to totally annihilate and destroy the societies that previously existed there.  That wasn’t because He was a mean and vindictive God.  It was because these nations had filled up the cup of His wrath by years of gross perversity and sin.  For them to be integrated into Israel’s society would bring pollution and draw their hearts away from God into the idolatry and perversity that God abhorred.  As we can see in the Word of God, this is exactly what happened causing the judgement of God to come upon the children of Israel many times over their history.  

There is tremendous power in the words we hear and take into our minds, either for life or for death.  As Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  It not only has power in what we speak, but in what we hear.  We become the products of our input.  Colossians 3:1-4 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”  Again in Philippians 4:8 we are exhorted, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.”  We are in a day of preparation for the Lord’s appearing.  The Word warns us in Matthew 24:12 that in the last day, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Our love is waxing cold because we are allowing the spirit of this world to take hold of us through all of the things we partake of in the world.  This is not about throwing stones or do’s and don’ts, because we are all guilty to varying degrees.  This is about the mind and the will of God for our lives to be a separate and consecrated people unto Him.  It is a narrow way and few there be that find it.  It is His way, His Word and His Spirit.  We must each one judge ourselves, lest we be judged.  We must be eating a pure manna if we want to produce purity.  We must guard our hearts from the tremendous spirit of corruption and defilement that is all around us.  Let’s seek His grace and entreat the Lord’s help that our eye might be single and uncompromised before Him as we make right choices concerning what we take into our lives.

Blessings,

#kent

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The Protection of Light

March 10, 2017

The Protection of Light

Luke 12:2-3

For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

Light is the guardian and protector of our hearts.  As long as we keep our full face in it, then it will dispel all darkness.  When we begin to turn our face out of the light and regard darkness with our eyes and thoughts, then our body will follow where our eyes and heart lead us.   Outwardly we may maintain a position of light and righteousness, but inwardly light is fading from white, to gray, to black.  A book is often judged by its cover, but its pages reveal its content.  Pages written in the light will reveal light, but pages written in darkness will conceal it.   

Are we an open book today that could be read of any man and no shame would be revealed or are there pages we are writing in darkness that we hope that no one else will see or read.  There is a day the pages of our heart and life will be open and be read of all men.  Regard humility that you do not suffer humiliation.  Fear the Lord, so that you don’t have to fear man.  God gives us grace and a time to repent from our evil and our darkness.  Turn back from darkness and run back into the light.  Let us repent of our darkness, lest our nakedness be exposed.  Let us clothe ourselves again in light and wash ourselves in the blood of His forgiveness.  We must judge ourselves quickly, lest we would be judged and our unclean ways be found out.  Judgement begins in the house of God and it has begun.

A great man who became the victim of his own words used to say, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”  The word he spoke is true, but only each one of us can apply it to our own lives.  Today is a day to no longer conceal a matter but to repent, turn and run back into the light of God’s compassion and forgiveness.  May we be an open book, read of all men, concealing nothing in darkness.

Blessings,

#kent

The Touch of God

January 24, 2017

The Touch of God

 Job 5:17-19

Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. 

What is contained in a touch?  A touch can communicate many things.  It can communicate tenderness or affliction, mercy or wrath, healing or wounding, virtue or hurt, both love and displeasure.  In the Law of Moses there were many commandments of touch not and taste not, but in Christ, righteousness is by faith.  Those that Jesus touched and those who sought to touch Him found the communication of His virtue, healing, power and life passed to them.  What is contained in a touch is what is in the heart of the one who touches.  

When God touches the lives of His beloved we know that His heart is love.  It is God’s love that desires to bring our hearts and will into conformity with His nature and purpose within us.  We have learned as parents and as children that love can be both tender and it can be tough.  God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way.  The touch of God may not always appear to us to be of love, because sometimes it is severe and our understanding is limited.  While God may afflict us and correct us in one area, in another we may see His hand of blessing and deliverance.  I don’t begin to pretend I know the mind and counsel of God, but what I do know is that God is love, therefore all that He does is motivated out of the attribute of that character.  In Job 5 Eliphaz is giving His counsel to Job and He makes these remarks about His observation of the nature of God in verses 8- 27.  ““But if it were I, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. 9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. 10 He bestows rain on the earth; he sends water upon the countryside. 11 The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. 12 He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. 13 He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away. 14 Darkness comes upon them in the daytime; at noon they grope as in the night. 15 He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. 16 So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.17″Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. 18 For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. 19 From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you. 20 In famine he will ransom you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword. 21 You will be protected from the lash of the tongue, and need not fear when destruction comes. 22 You will laugh at destruction and famine, and need not fear the beasts of the earth. 23 For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you. 24 You will know that your tent is secure; you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing. 25 You will know that your children will be many, and your descendants like the grass of the earth. 26 You will come to the grave in full vigor, like sheaves gathered in season. 27 “We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.””  The Lord is our savior, healer, defender and deliver, but He is also our disciplinarian and the corrector of our ways.  We often attribute our trials and afflictions to our sins, but God isn’t just dealing with sin, that was dealt with in the blood of Jesus.  God is preparing us for a much greater calling, as He was Job.  Job wasn’t dealt with so severely because of His sin, it was God working a greater transformation and calling in Job’s life through the fire of testing and trials.  It was Job’s integrity and faithfulness through the trials that he came forth into a place of priesthood ministry and double-portion blessing.  God doesn’t touch you with affliction to bring you down, but rather to bring you up.  Keep your eyes upon His promises and trust His heart.

Maybe you are in that hard place today.  Maybe you don’t understand why and God seems slow to move on your behalf.  Find that place of faith, rest and trust in Him.  Just humble yourself and commit all of you ways to Him.  You can trust that rather in life or death, blessings or affliction, God’s heart for you is love and what He is working is to bring you up and not to bring you down.  Allow God to touch your life to your ultimate benefit that your end may be blessed and fruitful to His glory.

Blessings,

#kent

God’s Life Map

January 3, 2017

God’s Life Map

Psalms 119:1-16 (Amplified)

BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, to be envied) are the undefiled (the upright, truly sincere, and blameless) in the way [of the revealed will of God], who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord (the whole of God’s revealed will). 

2Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are they who keep His testimonies, and who seek, inquire for and of Him and crave Him with the whole heart. 

3Yes, they do no unrighteousness [no willful wandering from His precepts]; they walk in His ways. 

4You have commanded us to keep Your precepts, that we should observe them diligently. 

5Oh, that my ways were directed and established to observe Your statutes [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them]! 

6Then shall I not be put to shame [by failing to inherit Your promises] when I have respect to all Your commandments. 

7I will praise and give thanks to You with uprightness of heart when I learn [by sanctified experiences] Your righteous judgments [Your decisions against and punishments for particular lines of thought and conduct]. 

8I will keep Your statutes; O forsake me not utterly. 

9How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed and keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to it]. 

10With my whole heart have I sought You, inquiring for and of You and yearning for You; Oh, let me not wander or step aside [either in ignorance or willfully] from Your commandments. 

11Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You. 

12Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes. 

13With my lips have I declared and recounted all the ordinances of Your mouth. 

14I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches. 

15I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law]. 

16I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.

God has a road map for our lives that will help us maneuver and steer through all the obstacles, trials and confusions of life.  A lot of us are prone to wander.  We read the map for awhile and listen to its instruction.  We think we have the jest of it, so often we tend lay it aside, occasionally listen to the instructions of others and think we can pretty well find our way.  So off we go like a prideful man on a journey.  Things are going well for while, but then we take some wrong turns and suddenly we find ourselves off course.  Not to worry, we can find our way back and we only read instructions, consult maps or ask advice when all else fails.  The more we struggle in our strength and wisdom the more lost we seem to become, but I’m sure we will find the way back up at the next corner or just over the hill.  

Does that sound like any of us?  Are any of us off course today and struggling to find our way.  Sometimes we can think we know the Word of God pretty well, we don’t really need to read and study it like we used too, but God’s Word is not just literature, it is food and water to our soul, it is the substance of life.  When we depart from it, we slowly start to drift away from our Lord.  Even as I write these papers and have just tried to listen to the voice of the Lord, He has started to direct me to go back and look into His Word for the inspired word from Him.  God’s Word is a vital part of who He is and what we are.  It is written so that by the Holy Spirit’s understanding we can comprehend it and apply it personally to our lives and circumstances; being transformed by it. 

God’s Word is not only our spiritual food and water; it is our cleansing and washing.  It is what renews our mind, our thinking, our vision and our destiny.  It is the compass that keeps us on course with the will and purpose of God for our lives.  Some of you may be faithful to read these writings, other devotionals or books, but never let these become a substitute for your time and meditation in the Word of God.  

The Word tells us in the above passage that if we desire true joy and happiness, and I presume that we all do, then delight yourself in the Word and the precepts of the Lord.  It is when we are walking in the will of God that we enjoy the greatest and deepest blessings of God.  

Often it is our pride and selfishness that are our greatest enemies.  Most of us know that we, in our soulish and selfish thinking are our own worst enemies.  It seems I am always praying God deliver me from me.  That deliverance is in accordance with filling my mind, my thinking and my being with God’s Word, ordinances and instructions.  Even in this there is a danger, because often times we want to compartmentalize God in one part of our life and our soulish activities in another part of our lives.  We can become this multiple personality and isn’t that what have seen in a lot of in Christianity.  No wonder the world is confused when they look at us.  They see in this pious and holy context on one hand and on the other we are breaking our word, lying, cheating and being every bit as bad, if not worse, than the world.  The world is so disillusioned with that kind of Christianity.  They are hungry for the real, the genuine.  They are looking for the God manifested in people who are not just looking down to condemn them and despise them, but those who are willing to humble themselves, get under them and lift them up.  Those who can look past their sin and faults and see their need as God saw ours.   The true knowledge and wisdom of the Word is not a prideful thing.  It is not a head-trip.  It is place of brokenness and humility, of love and devotion, of serving and pouring out for others.  It is conformity to the image and nature of Christ.  

As the breast of a baby’s mother and their blanky is the security and life of a baby, so let God’s Word be that to us.  Let us crave it, cling to it, live it, breathe it, eat it and drink it.  Let it be our meditation day and night.  It is our map to the center of God’s love, will and presence.  We are lost without it.

Blessings,

#kent

The Root of Bitterness

December 21, 2016

The Root of Bitterness

Hebrews 12:15

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled; 

The “root of bitterness” is something I always felt came from emotional or spiritual wounds that through unforgiveness and unmended hurt became a source of spiritual infection that would turn into a bitterness, a hatred and a wickedness that would defile and poison all around it.  While I still think this can and does happen to some who have experienced traumatic experiences in their lives that they have never been able to release, forgive or heal from.  Their experience, instead of compelling them to draw deeper into God’s love and grace, has instead caused them to reject, turn aside from God, perhaps not outwardly, but inwardly.  Now they have let bitterness of soul not only corrupt and rob their faith and hope, but it’s spirit is like a poison that touches all around them, bringing defilement and unrighteousness. 

While a life experience or emotional trauma can bring us into this state, it is also a spirit of wickedness that can present itself through idolatry and turning away from the faith of God.  Deuteronomy 29:15-21 gives us some insight to this bitterness and God’s viewpoint on it.  “16 You yourselves know how we lived in Egypt and how we passed through the countries on the way here. 17 You saw among them their detestable images and idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold. 18 Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison

19 When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way.” This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.  20 The LORD will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will fall upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 The LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.”  We see here that the spirit of idolatry that can cause our hearts to turn away from the Lord and go and worship what the nations worship.  If we give it place it also is like a poison that not only shipwrecks our faith, but can bring down and corrupt those around us.  It seeks to move us away from God’s foundational truths.

The Greek word used here in our passage of Hebrews 12:15 denotes “bitter gall, extreme wickedness, a bitter root, and so producing a bitter fruit or bitter hatred.”   A root is what supports and nourishes a plant, here it is something that can get into our spirits and poison our faith and the faith of those around us.  

We see another example of a man that possesses this quality in Acts 8:18-22, “18When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 

20Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” 

24Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”” 

We see this man’s attributes exemplified with covetousness, power and self-gain.  His heart was not for Christ to be glorified, but self.  

James 3:13-16 also warns about this spirit entering into the body of Christ and defines its origin.  “Who [is] a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.  But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.  This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish.  For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.”  If we are seeing envying and strife in our midst, then it may be a good indication that the root of bitterness is springing up.  How many churches, personal relationships and people’s faith have been shipwrecked due to a root bitterness whose wickedness has manifested through a person harboring that gall of bitterness?  Watch for this deceitful sin that may come in the guise of righteousness, but whose fruit are division, envying and strife.   

Blessings,

#kent

Unfeigned Love

December 13, 2016

1 Peter 1:22-23

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Unfeigned Love

As the Holy Spirit dropped this phrase into my heart this morning, I thought, “What does that mean, “unfeigned love?”  It is described as love without disguise, hypocrisy or ulterior motive.  It is a love that truly operates in the best interest of another and not just one’s self.  It is a sincere love.  So often there is such a difference in what people portray to others through what they say and how they act, but their heart and motives don’t line up with what they are portraying.  We know that as hypocrisy, which is an act of pretending to be something you really aren’t.  

Part of the fruit and action of purifying our souls in obedience to the truth through the Spirit, is to really love others as we would love ourselves. It is to love them out of a pure heart free from bitterness, malice, jealousy, unforgiveness or covetousness.  We are to love one another as Christ has loved us, unconditionally and honestly.  It is important in that relationship of love that we have with our brethren that we can be forthright with one another.  So often we have gotten into the habit of covering our true feelings with some excuse or explanation rather than really being able to share our heart and true feelings.  We find ourselves being deceitful rather than saying anything that might upset somebody and yet we may be speaking evil, gossiping and maligning them behind their back, because of what is truly in our hearts.  When we speak the truth in unfeigned love, our heart and our motives are going to be pure.  We need to be able to work, live and speak to each other in a level of honesty that doesn’t seek to hurt others, but doesn’t hide or disguise the real issue.  We all deal with emotions and feelings about people and situations.  They may not be right, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with them.  Our relationships with one another are the same way, we often need to work through issues we are having with someone concerning anger or selfishness or any number of things.  If we only continue to suppress it, but never deal in love with the problem it only serves to create a root of bitterness that gives the enemy access.  God’s love is honest, open and it lays itself on the line.  When we disguise, hide and conceal our true heart then we create and atmosphere of darkness.  That is the atmosphere that grows the bacteria of satan’s workings.  Honest and unfeigned love keeps us in the light and helps us to work through our issues and struggles with a right heart and a right spirit. 

When we view who we are and what we have been called to be in the light of God’s Word we all need to examine this area of unfeigned love and ask ourselves, “what kind of love am I operating out of in my relationship with others”?  Am I honest and open or am I feigned, disguised and not living in full disclosure.  Ask the Lord to disclose your true heart to you and show you the true attitude and honesty of your love.

Blessings,

#kent

Overcoming Temptation

September 7, 2016

1 Peter 5:8

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 

Overcoming Temptation

If you have an enemy or an opponent that you are up against what is it that you must do to defeat them?  Obviously you won’t assault them in their strengths; you will look for their weaknesses and vulnerabilities.  This is how satan stalks us, looking for our weaknesses and vulnerabilities where he might find entrance and gain ground to ultimately defeat and destroy us.  Jesus is very clear about the purpose of the enemy and His purpose in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” Satan’s purpose and mission is to take us out.  Knowing this the Word exhorts us to be self-controlled and alert.  I took the time to look up the root meaning of the Greek words that were used here and basically it is telling us to not get caught up in our passions and  feelings, but to always be looking at ourselves objectively and with introspection.  In other words let the spirit man judge your intent, actions and life.  Be prudent and wise in all of the decisions and choices that you make.  Consider the consequences of all that you do.   How many of us have wanted to do something so bad that we just shut out the voices of reason and restraint and just did it anyway.  It was great for the moment, but then at some point the consequences of our actions caught up with us and we may have later greatly regretted that action or decision, but we can’t ever take it back.  The enemy is always out to ensnare and entrap you.  Jesus says, “be wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.” You have to understand the mind and intent of your adversary and guard your heart, so that you don’t stumble into the temptations that are placed before you.  

There are those times we find ourselves head to head with our adversary. There is a wrestling and a battle going on.  This is where we must resist and oppose the strong urges of temptation and sin. James 4:7 exhorts us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  2 Timothy 2:22-23 exhorts us, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

This is our strategy for opposing our adversary.  We don’t sit and reason with him, we oppose him and flee from his temptations.  If we start to reason and rationalize our mind will justify our actions. The enemy is like that prostitute that wants to woo us into sin.  Proverbs 7 describes her very well and the end of her ways is the grave and the pathway to hell.   

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:11-12)”

Blessings,

#kent

The Crown of the Curse

August 4, 2016

 

The Crown of the Curse

Matthew 29:27-28

27Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.

Let’s talk briefly about the crown of thorns that Jesus wore to the cross.  We can readily understand through the Word the significance of the crucifixion of Christ and how our redemption was bought and our sins paid for through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.  We also can grasp the truth that, “ by His stripes we were healed.”  It was another aspect of suffering on the part of Jesus that brought healing to our mortal man.  Sin, sickness, disease are all aspects of the curse Adam brought upon mankind, along with the thistles and thorns that come up to choke out the precious life giving seed.  Genesis 3:17 –18 tells us, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; 

 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.” 

The crown of thorns represented another aspect of our salvation and redemption through Christ and what He suffered.  Jesus died to free us from that Adamic curse and so He dealt with all of the aspects of that curse.  Galatians 3:13-14 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit”.  We can readily see through the Word how that Christ came to be the anti-type of Adam.  What Adam accomplished in his disobedience to bring the curse upon man and sin into the world Jesus Christ came to redeem man from that curse through His act of obedience to God.  Romans5: 14 –18 explains it,“14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. 15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”  Jesus Christ’s act of obedience through His Passion deals with every aspect of the curse under which man has lived and is the way of salvation from it all.  Our salvation isn’t just for our soul, it goes far beyond even that, to ultimately redeem and transform the whole man, spirit, soul and body.  

We see thorns coming up in the waste place and in places where they can choke out the good seed.  It must be like the unregenerate mind that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. It is seen in the religion and vain philosophies of men, the cares of life and the world, the imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.  They are all of the things in life that divert our thinking and meditation from God and His Word.  Isaiah 7:23-24 says, “23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. 24 Men will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns.”  The thorns are what come in to choke out life and blessing.  It is so like our minds that are the fields and the seed is what we plant in them to bring forth a fruitful harvest.  Left unattended or given over to the natural order, thorns and thistle will come in to choke out the good seed.  Jesus used this illustration in Matthew 13 when he gave the parable about the sower who went out scattering his seed. He explains about the conditions of the soil, or if you will, the state of men’s minds and attitudes. “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.” When the disciples later questioned Jesus about what this meant, he told them in Matthew 13:22-23.  “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Thorns are something we hate because we know that if they get into our skin they cause great discomfort and continually distract and divert our attention until they are dealt with and removed.  That is the way satan is.  He is that thorn continually diverting our attention from the Word and the life that it produces.  The thorns continually want to choke out that life in us with all of the cares and worries of life.   The crown of thorns represent the curse that robs our mind of the precious seed of God, that wants to spring up and choke out the life in people.  Ironically, we often mistake our crown of thorns for our crown of glory, because we are so diverted in our own accomplishments that we are missing the crown of righteousness.   In truth, Christ bore our crown of shame that we might wear His crown of righteousness that He has for those that love Him.  In 2 Timothy 4:8 the apostle Paul tells us, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 

Christ wore the crown of shame, the symbol of our curse, beaten down on His head with the rod of man’s religion and authority.  He wore it that in return He might give us a renewed mind through which we might experience and lay hold of the transforming power of His mighty Word through in-working of His Spirit.  

Some of us are still allowing the thorns to reign in our lives when Christ wants to impart to us the crown of His righteousness.  We have been redeemed from the curse.  By faith we must appropriate what Christ has so graciously and mercifully provided, but as in any garden, we must remove the weeds, the thistles and the thorns that still want to come in to rob and choke out the precious seed of Life.

Blessings,

#kent

The Mark

August 3, 2016

 

Revelations 14:9-12

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” 12This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. 

The Mark

The things that I now write, I trust wholly upon the Holy Spirit to give me, for He leads me here.  

The beast is the devilish, fleshly nature that abides in humanity.  The father of this spirit has moved among us since Adam.  He has sought to pervert and rebel against the nature and mind of God.  When men read these passages they don’t fully have a context with which to relate them with.  They envision and imagine many things.  The spirit of antichrist and the beast has long been resident among us, but the day of its full manifestation is at hand.  In that day it will be very hard to stand as Christians, for as the days of the holocaust were for the Jews, so it will be among God’s people.  There is a means to escape and it is to receive this mark, but it will be akin to us selling our soul to the devil.  Our flesh will long for relief and escape, but our spirit man will restrain us.  

What we often don’t realize is that even in this day and hour that mark is all around us as it pipes the tunes of complacency and lethargy toward sin and unrighteousness.  Many of us recognize it throughout our movies, media, Internet and in almost every medium that touches our lives.  Almost every program has something conditioning us to the gay agenda and sex and violence have long been a mainstay in our societies.  Slowly this beast is extending it tentacles into every facet of our society, including our churches and religious system.  What is even scarier is that all of us, in one form or another have tolerated and embraced to a certain degree the world that we live in.  

What God is telling us today is that, “I have separated a people unto Myself and I have given them My Name and My Seal.  They are a holy people, people for My own possession and purpose.  Be not conformed to the world, but to be transformed through the renewing of their minds in Christ Jesus.  Christ is the name that I have given to you.  You are washed in His blood and sealed with His nature.  If your forsake that truth, you forsake your own mercy.”  

This is a sobering word to all of us to not be caught up in the world’s affairs in this hour, but to be really growing and maturing in our relationship with Christ.  The time will come when all are unaware.  Your time of preparation is now!  Don’t put off the things of God or your walk with the Lord.  You will need your full spiritual strength to stand in this hour and do not fear death, for death is not your worst enemy.  “This calls for the patient endurance of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.”  The stakes are to high to ignore and whatever your theology, it is the Christ in you that will preserve and keep you, not what you know or think that you know.  The Spirit of God is calling us into relationship with Him in this hour.  It is time to gird yourself with the armor of God’s Spirit and life.  It is not a time to be fearful, but a time to come to terms with who you are in Christ. 

Blessings,

#kent

Moral Compass

June 20, 2016

Ephesians 4:17-24

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 

20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 

Moral Compass

Sin and the passions of our flesh distort and corrupt our moral compass.  It is like putting a magnet near a compass, it can pull and distort the true direction of where we are heading.  It causes us to loose our bearings, our right ways of thinking and then it causes us to loose our way.  Our understanding, meditation and the implementation of God’s Word into our life are what keep us in the path of the upright and the righteous.  It imparts unto us the ways of wisdom and life.  We see more clearly from God’s heart and perspective.  When our heart is drawn away in sin and vanity, which here is defined as “devoid of truth and appropriateness, perverseness and depravity”, it darkens our heart to God’s light.  It clouds our understanding of God and His ways and then separates us from the life of God, because of the ignorance that comes through the hardening of one’s heart by sin.  

We are exhorted that this is not the way we were taught in Christ or how we came to know Him.  We were enlightened and brought into the light through the knowledge of Christ, through the repentance from sin and through our commitment to live unto Him.  Following the weakness of our sinful passions causes us to loose our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and the conviction that brings us to repent of our sins.  We begin to habitually shut out the voice of God and His Word in our hearts till our hearts have become hardened and our spiritual ears deaf so that we no longer have the moral compass of God’s Word and Spirit directing our lives.  Instead we have changed our heading and started down another course that leads us to greater depravity, sensuality and impurity.  This lasciviousness has become the direction of our hearts.  The more we have fed this monster of our lust the more it has grown till we are no longer our own, but we are now the slaves of our own impurity and depravity.  

I watched a TV program the other day, which I think is a part of Dateline, called “Predators”.  It was about a sting operation that was set up on the Internet to catch sexual predators.  Then it filmed these people coming to a house where they thought they we meeting some child for sex.  The commentator who confronts them with the transcripts of their Internet chats then confronts them and he asks them about their motives.  Some of the men caught in this were rabbis, teachers and such.  They sat there realizing that their life was over, as they had known it.  There sin and depravity had caught up with them and now they were exposed for what they were.  One person said, “ You know, I am almost glad that I was caught, because my life was out of control.”  That is where the depravity of our sin and lust can take us.  Before we judge someone else we had better start with our own hearts.  It is God’s grace that keeps us from the snares and the pitfalls of our sin.  

Perhaps some of us are loosing or have lost our moral compass.  We need to find our way back to who we are in Christ.  God doesn’t stop loving us, even when we get caught up in sin, but if we continue the consequences will follow. If we find ourselves too weak to get free, then find those to whom we can make ourselves accountable too.  Men, find a brother or ladies, another sister that will pray with you and hold you accountable in your life.  There are times our passions and lust can become stronger than we are to deal with them and we need help.  We need the body of Christ to come along side of us and help us “to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Only we can make the decision to get back on course and again find our moral compass.

Blessings,

#kent

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