The High Places

April 19, 2018

 

The High Places

 

2Chronicle 20:23

Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.

 

In Old Testament times post dating Moses we know there was an altar of the Lord that dwelt in a tabernacle and later, through David, came to rest in Jerusalem.  For us, who are New Testament Christians, this altar has become the equivalent of Calvary and the Cross.  It is the central altar around which our faith rests and where we find communion with our fellow believers and the Lord Himself.  It is our place of worship.  It is the place where we committed our hearts and souls to the Lord and ask Him to come into our hearts, cleanse us and be the Lord of our lives.  It is that place as Romans 12:1-2 puts it, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”   It is that altar where we consecrate ourselves, our worship, our affections and our commitment, first and foremost to Jesus Christ, our Savior.  He alone is the object of our worship, before whom there should be no other Gods.  For it is written, “thou shalt worship the Lord God and Him only shalt thou serve (Matthew 4:10).”

Once again we are asked to go to the places we would rather leave hidden and obscure from the Holy Spirit’s observation.  Today He comes to us to address the “high places” in our hearts and souls.  These were the places, other than the altar at Jerusalem where the Israelites went to worship.  They were places not designated or ordained of God. They were often places of cultic activity, idol worship and perhaps the places more convenient than the altar at Jerusalem.  What are they for us today?  Could they be the places of inordinate affections: our sports, our play, our work, our lust and sensuality, our harbored attitudes of unforgiveness, our movies, computers, games and any number of things that have come into the high places of our heart.  If we are to prepare our hearts before the Lord as our scripture indicates we must deal with and take down the high places.  These things are not easy to let go of.  Our flesh craves and covets them, but they have become an abomination and have brought a separation between our God and us.  They are the idols in our lives, rather we recognize them as such or not and with them we are breaking covenant with God.   These are often things and areas we just as soon stay ignorant of because it will cause us to face areas of our lives we don’t want to face.  It is really those areas where our flesh makes provision for itself to stay alive and active in us rather than going to the cross.  Are we willing like King Josiah, after hearing the Word of the Lord, to go into the high places of our heart and soul and tear down the idols and affections we have built there?  We must be willing to come honestly and openly before the Holy Spirit and ask Him to show us any unclean way in our heart. Then, as He begins to reveal these things, we have to be obedient to put them away from our lives.  Our flesh will cry out and we will still want to harbor and keep some part of it, but when we do we are leaving seed for it to return and it will.   2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong-holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  What are the high things in our hearts that exalt themselves against God today?  We must, by the Spirit pull down the strongholds and bring every thought into obedience to Christ.  We must guard where our thoughts take us, because they may well be the seed for disobedience, rebellion and idolatry.  We must guard our hearts and keep them tender in the light of God’s grace and truth.

“God, give us grace and strength to lay it all on the altar of sacrifice and let go of all that would offend You.”

For us to live an uncompromised life we must tear down the high places and deal with the hidden issues of our hearts.  This is what the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, it is to prepare our hearts to be pure, consecrated and in right relationship with our Lord.

Blessings,

#kent

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A Time to Speak

April 11, 2018

 

Proverbs 25:11

A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver.

 

A Time to Speak

 

There is a lot of verbiage that goes through our mouths during our life.  Most of it, in the light of eternity is virtually meaningless.  We also know from Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  The tongue has the power to kill and it has the power to bring life.  We have no doubt all been around individuals that rattle on and on and never really say anything of substance or value.  We’ve been around individuals that could use their tongues to cut like a sword and with one sentence they could leave you feeling like the most worthless individual that ever lived.  Occasionally, we come across those individuals that may not be very outspoken, but when they do speak their words are those apples of gold in pictures of silver.  They speak a word that doesn’t just flatter you, but it speaks faith, confidence and gives you sense of value and purpose.  Their words are rich with life and substance.  Often they can be missed because those who are doing all of the talking are so full of themselves, they are all that they can hear.  How often do we not hear the Holy Spirit, because we never give Him an opportunity to speak or when He does speak the sounding brass of our own thinking and speaking drowns him out?  If we don’t hear Him it often may be because we don’t shut up long enough to listen.

The difference between what Jesus spoke and what the religious leaders spoke was quite different.  They both spoke from the Word of God, but Jesus spoke as One having authority.  We are around many that go through the religious motions and ceremony.  They have knowledge of the Word, but what they are speaking is more often than not a regurgitation of something they have read or studied from someone else.  On the other hand when we are listening to someone who has been in the presence of the Lord and is speaking out of His anointing those things which God has placed within their heart there is substance and depth that we so often long for, but so rarely find.  Proverbs 16:1(Amplified) says, “THE PLANS of the mind and orderly thinking belong to man, but from the Lord comes the [wise] answer of the tongue.”  What we want coming out of our mouths is the wisdom from above, not just our earthly wisdom and knowledge.  It takes us being in the presence and seeking the heart of God for us to begin hearing the words He is speaking to us and through us.  It is from the richness of God’s presence and the life of the Word within you that you will begin to speak fitly words that glisten with God’s nature and are framed within His redemptive character and likeness.  They are words that will not just address the situation, but words that will speak to the motives of the heart.  Within the root of a tree is found the substance of what it is, so is the root of a man’s heart.  It is the fruit of that tree that reflects its root.

Blessings,

#kent

Are there Any Who Understand?

Psalms 14:1-3

The fool says in his heart,

“There is no God.”

They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

2The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand,

any who seek God.

3All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good,

not even one.

 

Are there Any Who Understand?

 

While God has made Himself known in so many ways, often men will not acknowledge and worship a God that they can not bring to their own level. So they make false gods after the imaginations of their own minds and thinking. They worship even their own corrupt ways and become a law unto themselves. The fact is, we all have been conceived in iniquity.

“The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” In Romans 3:23 Paul says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” In Ezekiel 22:30 God says, ““I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (Psalms 14:2).”

Do you suppose God ever feels like the rejected parents who have poured out their life, their love and their very best to their children only to be despised and rejected? The children rebel and that which you poured your heart and soul into now turns to rebel, despise and reject you. Parents that have experienced this from their children know the heartbreak experience of that person which was created in your image now turning their back on you and rejecting the love you have for them. How grievous and wounding it is.

The fact that the human race is still in existence today is a tribute to God’s unconditional love and grace toward mankind. Thank God, He had a Son that was willing to stand in gap for us and intercede on our behalf. He was not only willing to intercede for us, but to take His own Holy life and become sin for us that He, who alone was able, might receive upon Himself the just recompense of our sin and in turn impart unto us by faith His very own righteousness. Romans 5:6-11 declares, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Father is looking for those who will return to Him. He is looking for a heritage and a legacy of those who live by faith and obedience to His name. Those He can call His sons and daughters. Those who will honor, fear and revere the Mighty God of their salvation and redemption.

You who have embraced Christ with all of your hearts are such a people. 1 Peter 2:4-5 describes us, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” If we truly recognize the destiny unto which we have been called then we realize the high and holy calling that is upon our lives. By God’s grace let us live into the sons and daughters of the Most High that God has called and created us to be. We have the privilege of honoring and worshiping the Wondrous God that so many others have despised and rejected. Yet we know as parents that the heart of a father always longs for the return of his wayward children. We are Father’s instruments of love and reconciliation to that wayward world that we might extend again Father’s great love and forgiveness for them. His heart never stops beating for them, because His love is without condition. May we be the ones that stand in the gap today, ever making intercession and proclaiming God’s love and reconciliation to them that whosoever will may come in.

Blessings,

#kent

The Loving Hand of Correction

February 26, 2018

The Loving Hand of Correction

Hebrew 12:5-8

 

5) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.  6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  8 )  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

 

Most of us would rather run away from discipline and correction.  Especially when things are going well the last thing we want is someone to rock our boat, especially heavenly Father.  Every motive and action of God is birthed in love, for He is love.  For God to leave us to our own devices and ways would not be very loving on His part since we are His children and His responsibility is to raise us as such.  While many of us say we love God we can be just as stubborn and rebellious about spiritual things as we can about natural things.  Out of God’s great love for us, because we are His children, He corrects and disciplines us in many different ways.  Even though that goes against the grain of our flesh, what is the greatest hindrance to our spiritual walk if it is not the old natural ways of living and thinking?  The trials and tribulations that touch our lives are exercising our true faith, spiritual obedience and substance.  I find I can think I’m pretty a good egg until the Lord allows me to tested in an area and what comes out of me or how I respond is often a pretty good indicator that a definite work of grace and correction is needed in that area of my life.  Unfortunately for most of us God has to keep taking us around and around some of the mountains in our life, because we still can’t seem to get it right.  How often have we read about the Israelites of the Old Testament and shook our heads at the fact we saw a continual cycle of rebellion and disobedience to God, His warnings and exhortation to turn from sin, their continued path of disobedience, God’s rod of discipline and correction, the repentance and turning again to God.  Then it would start all over again.  1 Corinthians 10: 11 says, “Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”  Here we have 20/20 hindsight, but do we make any better choices and demonstrate a greater measure of obedience and submission to the Lord than our Israelite predecessors?

Those who have trusted God for their salvation are at the heart of God’s love.  Even Jesus is our example, for it says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered (Hebrew 5:8).” Let us not take the discipline of the Lord as a sign of His displeasure or anger toward us.  Though our discipline is not pleasant while we are going through it the Lord does it for our profit and good.  The end result is that it works the peaceable fruits of righteousness in us when we have been exercised by it.  Like the loving Father that He is, He is not allowing us to grow up spiritually being the self-willed, self- serving children we would be inclined to be, but the children that are being conformed to image of the Father by His loving hand and correction.

Let’s thank God He loves us the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way.

Blessings,

#kent

 

 

Luke 21:34-36 (The Message)

“But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.”

 

“Not now God, I’m Busy”

 

We may not actually say that out loud to God, but how often do we communicate it to Him with the actual time and attention we give to Him?  If I’m not saying “I’m busy” to God, I am saying it to my family.  Most of us are living life at break neck speed and we don’t see things slowing down any time soon.  The demands we face from the complex world we live in are sometimes overwhelming.  We sometimes want to say, “Stop the world from spinning I want to get off,” but mostly we just try to keep going faster and harder to keep up.  Meanwhile, the most meaningful and important elements in our life often get put on hold.  Our relationship with the Lord and our family may be suffering from neglect and inattention.

I know with my own business there is always far more to get done than there are hours in the day.  A lot of us are in that place where we find life running us, rather than us running our lives.  We often find our families unhappy and unfulfilled because we don’t make the personal time to invest in them.  Our relationship with the Lord we may not find much different.  No doubt many of us are struggling with that balance of work, play, family and God.  I put them in that order because that is often the order we find them in.  We can readily acknowledge that we have a lot of things backwards, but what steps can we take to change it?

It is important that we block out times when we have to spend with the Lord and special time that we have to spend with family.  These times we should endeavor to make mandatory and add to them whenever possible.  I’m speaking to my own self as well as anyone else that is struggling with this issue.  Life is short, don’t miss the most important part. It will never be the time we spent with the Lord or family that we will regret when we come to the end of our days, rather it will be the lack of it that we will regret.

“Lord, Help us to live our lives with no regrets and the balance that we so desperately need.”

Blessings,

#kent

Tragedy to Triumph

January 11, 2018

 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.  Genesis 50:20

 

Tragedy to Triumph

 

In the process of life many of us will go through tragedies that will be “life changing events”.  These events are something we would never have chosen to experience or go through if given the choice.  They can be incredibly painful and they will forever stain our life.  While they are often horrific, they are a part of the fallen world that we live in.

Could God stop these things?

Yes, but then it would only be His choice and no longer the free will to make our own.  While God can’t remove all the tragedy in the world without violating our free will, He can and often does, take those things that satan meant for evil and turn them for good if we will allow Him to have His perfect work and way.  On the other hand we can circumvent God’s highest when in our pain, we choose to blame Him, others or even ourselves. We hold on to that pain in the form of bitterness, resentment and unwillingness to forgive our perceived offenders.  We hold those offenses in our heart to our own detriment and hindrance to experiencing God’s greater working of grace and good.

We often feel like God could have prevented this if He wanted too.  Yes, and He could have prevented His Son from going to the cross when Jesus cried out to Him to remove that cup of suffering from Him, but He was relinquished to the greater will and purpose of  Father.  Sin took Jesus through the intense suffering and crucifixion, and through His willingness to forgive His enemies and murderers He showed us a higher way of laying hold of God’s redemptive work even through our own tragedies in life.

Through the deep pain that we experience and the suffering we endure we often later find it to be the catalyst that brought us into a greater experience of grace and God’s working through our lives than what we ever would have known without that experience. We have been changed in such a way that it has given us a greater compassion, empathy and passion to change those things that often caused our pain or is causing that pain in others. We can relate with others in ways we never could before and often we find our life purpose out of such tragedies. God can take that which was meant for evil and turn it for good if we are willing to give it to Him, trusting Him to heal us and in the process transform us into someone better and more like Him through things we’ve suffered.

Jesus loves you and He totally relates with you in your suffering. Ultimately He wants to take your tragedy and turn it into triumph, even as the tragedy of the cross was turned into the redemptive triumph for all of mankind.

Blessings,

#kent

Hear the Spirit

January 10, 2018

Hear the Spirit

 

Hebrews 3:15

While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

 

One of the most difficult things in our walk with God is hearing His voice and hearing what He wants to say to us.  I’m trusting that even as I am writing this God is going to give us all a little deeper understanding of what it is to hear Him.  One of the problems I see right off with me is that I have selective hearing.  Maybe some of you have that.  Someone can be talking right to me and if my mind is on something else or I don’t to want deal with their issue I just tend not to hear them.  The problem isn’t with their communication; the problem is with my hearing.  Do you suppose we do that a lot with God?  The scripture above tells us that one of the prerequisites to our hearing God’s voice is not hardening our hearts.  Judging myself in this circumstance, I think I often do not hear God: number one because I’m not really listening, number two I have my own agenda and my life is not centered in His will, but mine and number three is I’m not willing to spend the time and enter into the relationship where I really begin to know His mind and His heart.  When I am able to do those things then my heart becomes tender before Him and eventually my hearing begins to improve.  God begins to reveal His will more plainly and His voice becomes clearer.  When I spend time exclusively with my wife, with no other distractions and we just begin to share our hearts, I hear her so much better than when I am busy with other things.  I don’t just hear her voice in those times, but I begin to hear her heart.  Don’t you think that is what God wants us to hear is His heart?  We want God to hear and answer our prayers and concerns, but do we want to take the time to really hear what the concern of God’s heart is.  Yes, He is God and He can do whatever concerns Him, but the deal is we are a part of that plan to carry out His concerns and His will.  How can we do that if we aren’t listening?

In the book of Revelations seven times the Spirit of the Lord speaks to the churches and at the end of each one He says, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”  Do we have an ear to hear what He is saying to the churches?  And more directly do we have an ear to hear what He is saying to us at this time in our lives?  God is constantly speaking, through His word, through His ministers, life’s circumstances, by His Spirit, even in little messages like this.  Is our spiritual ear tuned to hear what He wants to say to us?   Think about how perhaps your heart has become hardened, how you have developed selective hearing and how your heart may not be set to really hear and know the heart of God.  He loves us and He has a plan for us.  How sad if we go through our lives and miss His best for us because we never learned to listen and find His highest will for us.  Think of how we may be robbing ourselves and others, because we are not willing to listen and as a result are not able to be used in the ways God could use us to bless the body of Christ and the world around us.

Revelation 13:9  “If any man have an ear, let him hear.”

Blessings,

#kent

Ears to Hear

October 27, 2017

Ears to Hear

Matthew 11:15

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear

There are not a lot of people around that don’t have physical hearing ears.  So why did Jesus so often quote this phrase?  The eyes, the ears and the hearts that he sought in men were not their natural ones, but their spiritual ones.  A lot of people have rejected Jesus for generations, because He didn’t make sense to them intellectually.  They didn’t have spiritual ears. 

God spoke through Ezekiel to the people of Israel in Ezekiel 12:2, “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of the house of the rebellious, who have eyes to see and see not, who have ears to hear and hear not, for they are a rebellious house. Spiritual senses have to be attuned to hear spiritual things.  Our spiritual sight and hearing are directly connected to the condition of our spiritual heart.  If we are hardened in matters of the heart, our spiritual hearing and sight will be impaired as well.  Many of us know how to listen with our ears, but we don’t know how to listen with our hearts.  Often words sound like one thing, but that is not the heart.  We often may wonder why we don’t hear from God when in fact He may be speaking to us all of the time.  It is a rare thing to hear God’s audible voice from heaven, but He can speak to us in so many other ways.  He speaks through His Word, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit within our hearts, through circumstances, through others, through examples that we have and a number of ways.  Yet often we don’t hear the Lord speaking, because we are listening with our intellect rather than our heart.  That doesn’t mean that we only hear God through our emotions, because they are from the soul and can deceive us.  We have to get in touch with our spirits, our inner man, that inner voice that is speaking the mind, will and heart of God.   In John 8:47 Jesus  says,  “He that is of God will hear the words of God.”

I remember times when the kids were growing up and they were constantly asking questions, “Can we do this or can we do that and so and so did this.”  As parents you know how emotionally draining children can be.  There were a lot of times that I just zoned them out.  I basically just shut them off.  They could be standing there saying, dad, dad, dad!  I had just shut them off mentally.  That was my way of coping, but at the same time I had shut off my involvement in their lives, as obnoxious as that could sometimes be.  I quit hearing them; my heart was hardened in that area.  We do the same thing to God.  Many times, like my children, we don’t really want to hear God.  He is speaking things to us that we don’t want to deal with.  Quite honestly, we like our way.  We like to do what we enjoy and when we enjoy it.  If that is not lining up with God’s plan, guess who we tend to ignore?  We end up shutting God out of our hearts.  When we close our hearts to God, we don’t just shut out a person, we shut out the love of God to our hearts and consequently the flow of His Spirit and love through us.  That ends up impacting not only our spiritual relationship, but our natural ones as well.  Many of us have done this same thing with our marriages and we are wondering why we don’t feel in love with that person anymore? Our heart connection is the key to our hearing and seeing.  If you want to really hear your wife, stop listening to just her words and listen to her heart.  Sometimes what we hear as just nagging is a plea from their heart, saying “help me, appreciate me, care about me, communicate with me, love me.  I have needs that are desperately needing to be met.”

If we want to hear again what God is speaking through His Spirit we have to open our hearts to Him.  We may be going through all of the right religious protocol and yet totally missing Him.  Our relationship first has to be a matter of the heart, before it has meaning though our works.  Our works must be the outflow of our heart relationship with Father; so many times we have gotten it backwards and try to use our works to find relationship. 

If we ever want to come out of the wilderness and inherit the promises of God, we have to reconnect our hearts with Father.  Deuteronomy 29:4 says, “Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”  A rebellious heart will keep us the prisoners of our circumstances, it will keep us in the rut of failure and it will leave our hearts lean and malnourished.   

When the Holy Spirit spoke through John in Revelation 3 He repeatedly said at the end of each exhortation, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”  Let us have the spiritual ears to hear what He is speaking to our hearts in this day, this hour and this minute.  Let us listen and obey.  Let us reestablish that heart connection that has become callused and cold.  In order to hear Him in this hour we have to have that right heart condition.

 

Blessings,

#kent

Purpose

September 26, 2017

Hbr 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. 

Hbr 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Purpose

My purpose and your purpose in life is not to do our will.  At least not if we have surrendered that will by asking Christ to be the Lord of our lives.  Some might say, ” Why on earth would you want to give up your will, your identity, your right to be whatever it is you want to be?”  Yet many that pursue their own purposes and plans never come to know what their real purpose is for.  At the end of life, by the measure of this world’s standards they may be affluent or successful, but they are left empty, hollow, void of joy and true fulfillment.  All that they have accumulated or succeeded in has failed to satisfy the inner question of their spirit, “what is my purpose in being?”

Those who have found a true relationship in Christ, have found the answer to this question.  Hebrews 13:14 prior to this verse says, “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”

Here, being this world and this earthly manner of life.  If we never see beyond this natural life we have missed the whole reason for our existence. 

The believer in Christ comes to realize that their purpose and existence is only found in the Creator and His purpose.  That great purpose can only be found as I surrender my purpose, my will to His.  While you and I may do many things in our lives, our purpose is in being conformed to the image and nature of our Creator.  That is shown forth as He perfects us in every good work to do His will.  Through Christ Jesus He is perfecting in us everything that is well pleasing in His sight.  God’s Son, living in us and through us by His Spirit is His will and purpose for us.  It can reveal itself in many different forms, different actions or occupations, but in the end it is producing what is well pleasing in His sight.  Only in God’s purpose and will do we find our true purpose and reason for being.  Only as I fade and die out to my will am I released to live in His.  His purpose and will is eternal and infinitely great and wonderful.  My will is temporary and meaningless out side of Him.  What is your purpose?

X 9/26/17

 

Blessings,

#kent

How much does Your Sin Cost Me?

James 4:1-6

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?[a] 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:  “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

We know that Jesus paid the price for our sin and the spiritual, eternal consequences they reap.  We know that through faith and calling upon the name of Jesus we can partake of the free gift of His great salvation and goodness.  We know also that through the power of His life that comes to reside within us we can overcome the strongholds and the power of the sin that has operated in our lives.  We also know that even though Jesus paid the price, sin still operates in our world and unfortunately it still operates in us as believers where we give it place.  Sin has natural consequences as well as spiritual ones.  As we survey our world we have no trouble seeing the devastating effects of sin that touches every life on this planet.  While God is merciful to forgive our sins, that sin still produces consequences.  It produces its fruit of destruction and death.  The sad thing about sin, whether it is ours or someone else’s, it doesn’t just cost us, it cost all who are touched by it.  Sin is like a rock thrown into a pond, it produces a big splash where it lands, but it also produces ripples that go out in all directions.  This begs the question, how much will your sin cost me and how much will my sin cost you? 

People ask the question, “How could a loving God allow war, hunger, sickness, disease, poverty and crime?”  I guess it could be said, because He loved us enough to give humanity a free will to make choices whether they were for Him or against Him.  The state of our world is the fruit of many poor choices where man chose sin over God.  God has loved us so much, that in spite of all those wrong choices and in spite of the ones we continue to make we have a way back to Him; back to His righteousness and perfect plan.  Meanwhile, as long we continue in this present evil age of man’s doing the consequences of sin will follow us. 

What does that mean to us on a personal level?  What happens for instance when a person allows alcohol or drug addiction to get a hold of their lives.  The hook is often innocent enough, but the underlying consequences are horrific.  How many of our lives have been affected by these.  A person lusts so much after these strongholds that they will cheat, steal, lie, con and they will become all the things that they once hated and detested in others.  They will beat the wife they say they love, they will abuse their precious children, they rob from their family to feed and satisfy their addiction and even though they hate themselves for it they can’t stop their destructive course.  They go on to beg, borrow, steal, and con their friends, family and loved ones, because of their lack.  They will loose their jobs, their reputation, their self-respect, their dignity and integrity until they either get help or completely destroy all that they had loved and held dear.  They will cost those closest to them untold grief, heartache, pain in many ways: financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and every other way.  That ripple will continue to radiate out and affect others even beyond their personal relationships.  How many thousands and millions of dollars does it cost a society because of crime and sin.  People are victimized and hurt continually because of someone else’s sin. 

How much does divorce, unfaithful and broken relationships cost, not only financially, but in terms of suffering, heartbreak, anger, unwillingness to forgive and shattered lives and hearts.  That is something nearly everyone has been touched by since it effects about half of our marriages today; all of it the result of our sin and selfishness.  How much will your sin cost me?  It doesn’t just cost you, it cost everyone around you.  If sin has a stronghold on you, get help!  As painful and humiliating as that may be, it is nothing compared to what your sin will reap.  Remember God loves you.  He is for you and not against you, but He will not make your choices for you.  Only you and I can make right choices.  Let us humble ourselves and return to Him, that we may receive His grace before it cost us all more that we want to pay.

Blessings,

#kent

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