Guard Your Heart

September 25, 2014

Guard Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

What is the heart of a person and why is it important to keep it? Most of us know that when the Word speaks of the heart it is in the figurative sense, but just as the heart is the primary organ of natural life, so it is in the spirit. Our heart speaks of our soul, our mind, the inner man, the seat of our understanding, will and emotion. It is really the key component that identifies who we are as an individual person and personality. When we understand that, then we understand why the Word is exhorting us to keep, guard and watch over our heart with all diligence. This diligence conveys a meaning as one would watch or guard in a prison. Perhaps it is so necessary to watch over our hearts in this manner because Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.” When the Lord searches our heart what does He find? When he tries the reins of our heart; are we like the sensitive and well trained horse that responds to his every gentle nudge and direction. Or, are we the wild rebellious stead, set upon our own freedom and our own way, unbridled in our affections and passions, bent on our own direction?

We need to be watching, even with a heart that is given to the Lord and in love with Him. Things of the world and our imaginations and desires can begin to creep in subtly, almost without detection. We know that we have an adversary, the devil, who stalks like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. What makes us vulnerable to him? It is our heart. It says, “for out of it are the issues of life.” What happens to your circulatory system when it develops a blockage or even worse your heart? Your physical life can be in serious trouble and the same can happen spiritually.
How do we guard our hearts? We continually hold ourselves up to the mirror of God’s Word. We know that if we are aligning ourselves with it in every respect then our heart is abiding in truth. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
We also covet and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help in keeping our hearts, because He can show us the things we can’t see in ourselves. He is our hope and companion in the process of spiritual renewal and transformation that we desire to take place in us. 2 Timothy 1:14 says, “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” It is Spirit of Christ in you, in union with your spirit, which must be the heart and mind, which you now live out of. As you do, those are the issues of life. What goes forth out of you is his Spirit-life. Our tongue and our actions are the best indicators of what is really in our heart. Jesus tells us in Luke 4:65, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
Remember to not let your guard down, become complacent or be filled with apathy. You are a life-giver and in order for the issues of life to flow forth from you, you must be abiding in and carefully guarding the life of the spirit within you. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”

Blessings,
#kent

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A Pure Heart

June 24, 2013

A Pure Heart

Psalm 24:3-5
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Titus 1:5 says, “Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” The purity of our hearts and our relationship with God has so much more to do with the condition of our hearts than it does with just outward acts, or do’s and don’ts. Many of us are concerned with how others perceive us and how even God perceives us. We spend much of our life and efforts trying so hard to project the right image or performing the outward works of righteousness. The Lord wants us to focus on the truth that purity and righteousness are a condition of our heart. If our heart isn’t right nothing else will be either, no matter how religious or pious we wish to present ourselves.
Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” It stands to reason then that the condition of our heart toward God is the measure of our purity. Impurity takes place when there is a mixture of unclean and clean. With regard to our spiritual state that could be a mixture of impure thoughts, desire, emotions, actions, or motives. If we are God’s kids, His desire in us is purity of heart. He wants every thought and motive of our hearts to be centered in Him, in His nature and character. If the Lord is the treasure we are laying up in our hearts then our motives and that which is spoken out of our mouths will reflect that.
One of the ways the Lords helps us achieve purity is by fire. It is the tribulation and trials of life that reveal our true heart. How do we act in stressful situations? How do we handle sin and temptation? The Holy Spirit within us discerns the thoughts and intents of our hearts. If we want to be pure then it is by exercising the knife or the sword of the Word of God in our hearts through skillful instruction and conviction of the Holy Spirit that cuts us to the quick concerning the areas of impurity in our lives. Hebrew 4:12 says, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word is able to cut into the gray areas of our lives and reveal true heart motive. Then it is our will and choice to purify and cleanse ourselves by relinquishing these areas of our lives to the Lord. If we are the Lord’s then we must always be mindful that this why Jesus came, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)” Jesus has saved us to deliver us from iniquity. The purification is a process by which He is pruning us, cutting away the unproductive ways of our flesh and baptizing us into fire that is constantly dealing with the issues of our heart. Why? The Lord is desiring a peculiar, separated people unlike the world. They are as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
In order to have purity, we must by the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word be willing to deal with the impurity. That comes in that place of relationship and desire for all that He is, counting all that we value in this earth as dung in comparison. James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.” The motives of our hearts must be centered in His Love. It is not out of legalism or ceremonial ritual or practice that we will be purified. 1 Timothy 1:5 says the end of the commandment is this, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:”
What is the condition of our heart today? Are we operating out of a pure heart and pure motives generated and birthed out of the love of Christ within us. It is in that continual, life-giving union with Him that the exchange of His nature for ours is taking place and purity of heart is the cream that rises from His love within us.

Blessings,
kent

Words of Destruction

February 18, 2013

James 1:26
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Words of Destruction

Perhaps no other author in the Bible addresses the tongue quite like James does. He sees in this small member of the body, the ability not only to do great good, but also great harm. In this scripture he basically says, “it doesn’t matter how religious or spiritual you think you are, if you don’t have control of your tongue and what comes out of your mouth, your religion is worthless.”
That word worthless means vain, useless, devoid of force, truth, success and result. In other words, if you want your words to be effective and powerful, you can’t spout off everything the pops into your head or erupts out of your emotion. It is a member that needs self-control.
James addresses the tongue further in James 3:22-12.
“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
A tongue left to its own devices can be a very destructive member. It is like putting a sharp sword in the hand of a man that has no regard for life and has no conscience as to who he wounds and kills. It is a primary communicator of what is in a man’s heart, for the Word says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
The tongue is a two edged sword that can cut on one side, but can bring healing from the other. Proverbs 18:21, the Living Translations says, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
I have seen examples in life where people could be so Christian in their words of praise and exhortation, they could teach and preach the Word, but if you dare offend them, out of that same mouth could come venom and curses that would send you to hell. You see it is usually in our offenses that the control of our tongue is best tested. Can we still speak life when we have been wounded or threatened? When the Holy Spirit still has control of our tongue, even in the most adverse circumstances then we’ll know that it is an instrument of life and not of death and God has the reigns.

Blessings,
kent

Success

February 7, 2013

Success

Joshua 1:8
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

We as a people and a society are very success oriented. There are different ideas and definitions of success. The one most prevalent in the world’s view has to do more with materialism, riches, fame, houses, cars and social position. If we are to be successful as Christians then it only makes sense for us to ask the question, “What is God’s definition of success?” It is interesting you should ask, because the word “success” only occurs one time in the Word of God. That is in our passage for today. I don’t think that there are any of us who don’t want to prosper and have good success. Here is God’s formula for having it. Now whether God’s ideas for success are that of the world’s I think not, but I do believe that God created all things for our enjoyment and pleasure if they are used in the context of His will and purpose. God is telling us today that our key to success lies between two covers that we call the Bible. It is not just the words on a page that bring success in our lives it is what we do with those words that is life and blessing. Notice where that Word has to be. It “shall not depart out of thy mouth.” Remember Proverbs 18:21 that says, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Our words are powerful instruments of both death and life. We know that the Word of God perpetuates Life. John 1:1-4 tells us whom this Word is, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” God wants that Word to never depart from our mouths. What we speak reflects what is in our heart, ” for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Is the Word of God prevalent in our speech and conversation? What we are speaking is what we believe; it is faith in that which we hope for, but may not yet see.
What is in our mouth is the fruit of what is in our heart, which is what brings us to the second part of success. What is the meditation of our heart? Is it our work, our hobbies, our sports, our earthly desires or is it the Word of God? If we want to succeed and prosper in the kingdom of God, His Word must prevail as the primary source of our meditation and contemplation. As we eat of His Word and slowly ingest and digest it, as we pray to fully pursue understanding and revelation, the Holy Spirit is little by little making it alive in us and then through us. It is the staple of our spiritual life that carries over into every aspect of our natural life.
David had the revelation that He gives in the beginning of the Psalms in Psalm 1:1-3 he says essentially the same thing, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
If you and I want to prosper and have good success then it begins and ends in the Word of God. It is the source of Life and Blessing to us. It is our guide and counselor through the instruction of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the mind and will of God. Through it we will experience the prosperity and sweet success of a godly life because His Word fills us with divine life, eternal hope and the riches and treasures that can only be found in Christ. Jesus said it when He said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When our priority lines up with what God is speaking to us today we will experience the abundant life that is in Him.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3 John 1:2

Blessings,
kent

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