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

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Acknowledge Your Guilt

November 7, 2016

Jeremiah 3: 13-18

Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD. 

14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the LORD, “men will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the house of Judah will join the house of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your forefathers as an inheritance. 

Acknowledge Your Guilt

Jeremiah spoke these words to what the Lord called a faithless Israel and faithless Judah because they had forsaken the Lord and committed spiritual adultery through their idol worship and foreign gods.   What God is speaking to us is that we also have become complacent about where we put our affection, our hearts, our eyes and our worship.  Father is speaking to us today to examine our hearts and be honest about all of the things in our lives that take our time and attention away from Him.  The Lord is not here to condemn us, but to awaken us to the urgency of this hour and to the spiritual condition of our heart.  

What are some of our idols today?  Materialism, shopping, fashion, sports, television, eating, computers, cell phones and texting, hobbies, social functions, religious activities, pleasing others, being successful, pornography, work, parties and all of the areas that cater to our flesh, take our attention from the Lord, but are spiritually barren and unproductive.  We most often don’t really acknowledge that a lot of these things in our life are wrong or need to be dealt with.  We have our time slot for God and that should be adequate in our mind.  For those of us who are in that mind-set, how is that working for you in having a close and intimate relationship with your Savior?  Are you hearing His voice?  Are you experiencing His presence?  

Jeremiah wasn’t very popular, because God used him as a mouthpiece to speak some very unpopular messages in his day.  Today He is speaking this message to us.  “Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the LORD.”  This is the scripture the Lord spoke into my spirit as I sat down to write this morning.   He is speaking into the hearts of each one of us to honestly examine and acknowledge the areas of our spiritual adultery and unfaithfulness to the Lord.  He is not putting His finger on our sin to condemn us, for look at His expression of love in the next verse. ““Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.”  Father is reconciling us to His heart if we will listen, repent and obey Him.  It is hard for many of us to let go of our past affections and desires, but we are at a fork in the road where we have to choose between the highway to holiness or the low way of judgement and separation.  Choose this day whom you will serve.  Remember when Joshua brought the people of Israel to this point of decision in Joshua 24:15?  “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  

We are being called to step up into a higher place, a heavenly place that is requiring of us a greater degree of holiness, fidelity and commitment to our God.  How can He use us if we are unfaithful and compromised?  ““Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you…”

Blessings,

#kent

Fear Not

October 6, 2016


Malachi 4:1-3

“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. 3 Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty. 

Fear Not

Most of us are aware that we live in troubled times.  Often fear and uncertainty will want to grip our hearts.  I believe we have entered into the day of the Lord, so these things are to be expected, but Father doesn’t want His children to live in a state of doubt, fear or unbelief.  In this hour He has been calling us up into Him that He may hide us in the shadow of His wing.  This is the hour for the world to fear not His believers.  Are we going to go through tribulation?  Of course, Jesus says in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.  Let me tell you that by the Spirit He is still overcoming the world through His saints.  He has set down at the right hand of the Father until His enemies be made His foot stool.  That means that if we are the body of Christ then all enemies must be put under us as well.  

I was somewhat amazed as God dropped this particular scripture into my spirit this morning and yet I am not surprised.  He is bringing such a spirit of encouragement to His people as we watch the clouds building upon the horizon.  

Why do calves leap when released from the stall?  They leap because they have been released from a place of confinement and captivity.  They leap for joy because they are experiencing a freedom that they have longed and prayed for.  That’s us.  While God is bringing judgement upon the evildoer, He is coming to His beloved with healing in His wings.  He is ministering life, liberty, freedom, release and Jubilee like we have never experienced before.  People of God; rejoice in your Savior, for He is coming with healing in His wings to set you free.  Those things that have held you and bound you, it is now time for you to trample them under your feet.  

Fear not little flock, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  

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

Lust and Love

August 10, 2016

Galatians 5:16-22

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Lust and Love

Lust is simply a great and strong desire or covetousness that delights and longs for something.   That could be in a positive if the object of our passion is God and the things of God, but most commonly in the Word of God it is used in the sense of coveting, desiring and longing for those things that are forbidden and contrary to God.  Here is where we see the selfishness of sinful man at work.  The flesh desires and wants what satisfies its appetites and hunger without regard of another.   It is selfish and self-indulgent without regard to the will and purpose of God.  

In verses 19-21 are given the acts which lust produces when it is unchecked and unrestrained.  It can go in every perverse and rebellious way that is counter and contrary to the nature of God.  The lust of the flesh is a god unto itself and it is subject to the slavery of darkness and sin.  Its mastery and dominion is that of the evil one.  

Love, on the other hand, stands diametrically opposed to the lust of the flesh because it stands for all that the flesh is not.  Love, by its very nature, is focused on another’s benefit and not on its own.   Because it lives not for its own, it doesn’t seek its own interest and desires, but is attentive unto the needs of those who are the objects of its love.  When we come to God through Christ, we cease to be the center of our world and what we want becomes secondary to what God wants.  He becomes the object of our desire and our desire is to do what is pleasing unto Him. We in turn learn of God’s great love for humanity and so we also learn to love our neighbor, as we love ourselves, caring about others as we would for our own needs.  

Do we still war with those passions and lust of the flesh when we come to Christ?  Yes, we do.  The difference is that now we have become identified with Christ.  We are identified with Him in the death to sin on the cross where we now place those passions and lusts that are contrary to God.  We put them to death there and as we die we also experience a resurrection into the new life and nature of God which is love.  As we walk in that love we experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  We experience this as we live out of the Spirit of God allowing Him to now order and control our lives.  It is not a place that God forces us to walk in, but if we want to live by the Spirit and not in the flesh then it is imperative that we maintain this intimate relationship with Christ.  It is only in that place of relationship and focus that we walk by the Spirit, so that we no longer fulfill the lust of our flesh.  We now covet Christ, all that He is and all that He wants to be in us.  Love is the atmosphere in which the Spirit of God dwells.  When we walk in the Spirit we will walk in the love of God.  We will want to oppose and resist all that would influence us away from that love or that would resist the Holy Spirit.  There are many times we have all missed the mark, but the blood of Jesus cleanses us of our sins as we confess them before Him so that we can come again into His fellowship. Our desire, our lust of the spirit, is to maintain a life in the Spirit where we walk in step with the Spirit in the ways that are pleasing unto Him.

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

The Dark Side

May 13, 2016

 

Hebrews 6:4-6

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 

The Dark Side

Perhaps the Lord has placed this scripture on my heart to encourage rather than discourage some of you.  In the course of our Christian journey there may be or have been times along the way, where we have gone astray.  Someone may be in that place today.  We have more or less left the faith and gone back into the world.  This even happens at times to men who were once quite spiritual, on fire for God and full of the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps they were hurt, became discouraged or fell into sin.  

There are those who read this passage or others like it and think that they have blasphemed the Holy Spirit or crucified the Son of God afresh and that even if they wanted to return to the Lord they no longer have any hope of salvation or forgiveness.  If there is still a conviction in your heart, and the desire and willingness to repent and turn your heart back to the Father I believe He can and will forgive you and restore you.  The people that this speaks of are those who have gone over to the dark side.  They have given themselves over to a reprobate mind, being unfit and not standing the test.  Now we have all missed the mark and failed on numerous occasions, but here it speaks of a person that even if they speak on a spiritual plane their heart is not for the Lord.  

Titus 1:10-14 says, “For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. 11They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.”  Romans 1:18-32 describes the mindset of such a people. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 

25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” These people of spoken of here have turned against the truth.  They may even be those who put on a spiritual pretense in order to deceive and lead astray the elect of God.  They have in their hearts now become the enemies of the cross, subjecting the Lord Jesus to public disgrace.  They no longer give place to a conscience or have a heart to repent.  As long as there is a heart of repentance in you and you will humble yourself and seek God’s forgiveness God will not rejected you.  It is you who have chosen to reject Him.  Eventually the Holy Spirit will withdraw and there will no longer be even the desire for repentance or relationship with the Lord.   The enemy has used these scriptures to condemn many who do still have a heart to return to the Lord even though they feel condemned, unworthy and have used these scriptures to believe that there is no more hope of salvation for themselves, the Father is calling you back to Himself.  

In Luke 15:11-32 Jesus gives the parable of the wayward son who took his inheritance from the Father, squandered it foolishly and then later found himself starving and eating corn husk with the pigs.  When he did decide to return to the Father, no longer as a son but as a servant, we see the Father rushing out to meet him and welcoming him back home as a son.  He celebrates his return, for once he was lost, but now is he found.  The Father wants any of us who have strayed from him, fallen back into sin or have turned our backs toward Him to know that He still loves you.  His love is unconditional toward you.  He doesn’t love our sin and our rebellion grieves His heart, but His love never fails.  If you will return to Him today with all of your heart He will receive you again unto Himself.  He will forgive you of your sins, wash you in the blood and in effect, kill the fatted calf as He rejoices that you have come back home.  

As long as there is a repentant heart, there is a Father who will take you back and restore you.  It is when the heart becomes hardened and closed, when it yields no fruit unto righteousness or repentance that the person has become reprobate and unfit for the kingdom. They are no longer willing to return to the Lord that loved them and gave His life for them.  That can be man or woman.  They can not be brought back to repentance, because there is no repentance in them.

If you are away from the Lord today and if you have felt condemned and without hope, know that with the Lord there is hope if you will but turn and give your heart back to Him.  He has the power, the love and the forgiveness to restore you. 

Blessings, 

#kent

On Guard

May 4, 2016

1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14Do everything in love.

On Guard

As part of the final exhortations and comments to the Corinthians in this first epistle Paul writea, he gives them this exhortation. Verse 13 is everything a military commander might speak to his men who are in the midst of a war zone and faced with the intimidation of the enemy.
This is not unlike the exhortation that he gives to the Ephesians in Ephesians 6:10-18. There he exhorts them, “10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Here our enemy is identified. He is not flesh and blood although he may manifest himself in through the lives of others, but our real adversary is the ruler, authorities and powers of darkness, it is not even in the smaller demonic opposition you face in daily life. These are nothing before men who know who they are in Christ and His authority. The stronger adversaries you can face in confidence as well, but you must know that you must be equipped for them.
First of all, you must always be on your guard, for they look for your moments of weakness and vulnerability. The weaknesses of our flesh are often the doors of opportunity that the devil uses to gain access as he attempts to kill, steal and destroy our faith and standing in Christ. Paul exhorts us here to put on the full armor, because you are only as strong as your weakest link.
When the day of evil or spiritual assault comes to us, it is imperative that we know who we are in Christ, because He essentially is our armor and weaponry in different aspects. Our authority in His Word is what we stand upon and it is the belt and buckle of our integrity. If we are holding fast to the truth we will not be found with our pants down, vulnerable and exposed. The breastplate of the righteousness of Christ is what protects our heart. With arrows of condemnation the enemy attempts to pierce our hearts with our shortcomings, failures, former sins and unworthiness. The breastplate of His righteousness is in knowing that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, not because we are anything, but because we have chosen to make Him everything. Through His blood He has imparted His righteousness to us and His blood is the breastplate of righteousness that covers and protects our heart and vital organs.
Our feet have been fitted with the readiness to carry out the gospel of the kingdom of God. The gospel of Christ’s kingdom is not only in our talk, but it is in our walk and we carry it wherever we go.
The shield of faith is what quenches these fiery darts of condemnation, death, discouragement, fearfulness and unbelief. That shield keeps fear and doubt out that would endeavor to undermine our faith and confidence in Christ.
The helmet of salvation is putting on the mind of Christ, being not conformed to the world, but transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus and His Word.
The sword of the Spirit is the power of enacting the mighty Word of God against the assaults of the enemy. The Word of God, anointed and empowered by the Spirit of God is a formidable weapon against which there is no match. It strikes down the ignorance and foolishness of men and cuts through the lies and darkness of the enemy. It cuts to the quick and lays bear the true motives of the heart.
Last, and perhaps most powerful is our prayers unto God through the Spirit. Our prayers are the lifeline, connection and relationship with God’s strength and power. It is through prayer that He empowers us with victory and is able battle on our behalf. It is prayer that not only enables us to stand, but reinforces and upholds our brothers who fight with us in the battle.
So we are reminded as men to be on our guard, always in a state of readiness for battle. Stand firm in the faith, do not compromise or be moved in your convictions. Be men of courage who are strong and not intimidated by mockery, provocation and the varied assaults the enemy wages against you. Don’t back down, but don’t respond out of the flesh, with hatred or retaliation of anger, but out of the Spirit of Love. It is God’s love through us that will set us apart from the rest of the world. This is what God has called us too as men and women of God.
Blessings,
#kent

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