Set Your Mind on Things Above

Colossians 3:1-3
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Where do we live in our thoughts and affections? What is the nearest and dearest thing to our hearts? What do we truly worship, spend our money on, and spend our time and energy in pursuing? An honest thoughtful answer may bring to us a revelation of where we are at in relationship with our God. Can we honestly say that He is at the foremost of all of these questions? If our pursuit is truly a closer walk with God, a greater sense of His presence and an increasing revelation of who He is, then this is a key to where we can start. I have heard it said that, “we become what we worship”. What are you becoming today? In order to walk close to our God, we must abide in His presence. This is the place we find holiness, communion, and the presence of God. Christ doesn’t want to be just a part of our lives; He wants to be our life. That is why we die to natural affections, that He may live in us and through us.
In order to be accomplished at any thing you must practice it over and over again. In the process of learning and perfecting a skill you will make many mistakes and experience some setbacks. That should not discourage us, but cause us to persevere the more. The Lord wants us to apply this principle to “practicing His Presence”. It becomes that place where we are ever mindful of Him, whether consciously or subconsciously. He becomes constantly a part of our thoughts. We are constantly filtering the world and activities around us through Him and through that mind of Christ that we have put on. We are constantly in silent or verbal conversation with Him. He becomes a unified part of our daily life and breath. We are in constant heavenly communication and communion. This is abiding in Christ. This is setting your mind on things above. This is the place where we enter in beyond the veil of the outer court things and we begin to commune with our God heart to heart, mind to mind and spirit to spirit. In this place our lives have become centered on His will, His purpose, His design and plan for us. It is no longer about us; it is all about Him. Our family, friends and those in the world around us get to become the recipients of God’s grace and love working through us. They may not always respond in a positive way. Jesus said your enemies might be those of your own household. When satan throws all he has against you, the blood of Jesus covers you. You simply rest, in humility and love. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” When you find yourself in this place you will know that you have left off friendship with the world and you have become a friend of God. In this place of spiritual pursuit, guard against spiritual pride that wants to enter in. It is easy to begin judging others, seeing yourself as better, more spiritual and alienate yourself due to that spiritual pride. Jesus became as one of no reputation. He became the servant that got under the lowly and lifted them up. He was always bringing up the low places while He resisted and brought down the high places of spiritual arrogance and pride. His focus was always first to God and then to men. He didn’t isolate Himself, but became the servant of all.
Think what it is to set your mind on things above. Paul states it well in Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Blessings
#kent

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Passion for Your Lover

March 23, 2015

Song of Solomon 1:2-5
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! 4 Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.

Passion for Your Lover

Is your Christianity a routine? Has it become stagnant with the same old ritual and habits? Do you feel like going to church is just going through the motions and doing what you are supposed to do? If our Christianity has become mundane, boring and uneventful to us then we are missing the passion for the greatest lover that ever was.
The virgins and the friends of the bridegroom may have a more distant relationship with the Bridegroom, but for the bride He is her passion, He is the air she breathes, the song she sings and the dream that she dreams. All of her hopes are in Him. He is whom she lives for and pursues with all that is within her. Why, because it is required of her or it is what she is suppose to do? No, it is because she is so passionately in love with this bridegroom that it is all that she can think to do. He fills her thoughts, her dreams and aspirations. Oh, to be with Him and to come into union with Him. What adjectives can describe her love and desire for Him?
She has discovered what so many have missed. She is in love and nothing else matters around her compared to Him. Oh, how she languishes for His love to be poured out to her. He is the one that puts the butterflies in her tummy. He is like sweet smelling perfume, she just wants to breathe Him in and His name is like perfume poured out. With the fragrance of His name there is life, healing, deliverance and salvation. It is the name above every name and the name that is the sweetest fragrance in all of the earth. No wonder so many love him.
She cries to Him, “Take me away with you, let us hurry!” In John 14:3 the Bridegroom tells His bride, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.” As the Bridegroom has prepared a place for her, so she has prepared herself for Him. Now she is ready and crying out to Him. It is not about escaping or running away from all that is happening around her, for her it is the union with Him. “Let the King bring me into His chambers.” It is about union and intimacy that produces life and a manchild that is in the image of his Father.
The fruit of her loins the enemy despises, seeking to devour and destroy this one who comes forth in the image and likeness of the King. This child is he (many membered he) that rules and reigns with Christ and becomes His government in a new heaven and a new earth. It is this bride that desires that seed. His seed of life and godliness that shall prevail and overcome, that will set creation free and bring all of humanity into the emancipating liberty of Jesus Christ.
What is your passion today? If you want to know this kind of love, then pursue Him. Often He may seem evasive as we seek His presence. He is looking for those who will not be discouraged and will not take no for an answer. He is looking for those who are not easily distracted and set their affections upon other things. He is proving her whose heart is perfect toward Him and who will not allow her love to be denied. Are you such a person of passion and purpose?

Blessings,
#kent

Diligence

October 9, 2014

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

Diligence

It is often astounding when we have observed a garden or a lawn that at one time was so beautiful and groomed and then to observe it’s state after a time when it has been abandoned or neglected. What we see are two totally different scenes, first one of beauty and then one of weeds, deterioration and ruin. Our soul can be much the same way. It can be that beautiful garden where we meet and fellowship with God consistently and frequently. It can be a sanctuary of light and truth, filled with joy and blessing. In this state people can look upon it and see the beauty that fills it. What happens when we become less than diligent to maintain that fellowship and groom that garden of our soul? Little by little it will deteriorate. It will dry out, weeds will sprout up and the good fruit and plants will whither and die. A good garden requires continual diligence and so it is with our souls. Many of us can look back over our lives and see times when we have had that wonderful relationship and fellowship with God and our soul has flourished in the sunshine of His love and presence, but then other things came in and captivated our time and attention. We began to neglect more and more our time of prayer and fellowship with the Lord until our garden was one in name only, but not in appearance and fruitfulness. Darkness began to fill the areas where there had once been so much light and life and truth. Weeds began to spring up and choke out the purity, the love and the joy that once abounded there. One day it dawns upon us as we see our life a mess, what happened to my garden? What happened to that relationship and fellowship I once had? The Lord doesn’t abandon us, we abandon Him. He is always there to help us to reestablish that garden and that fellowship again. The thing that I have observed in my life is that when we give ground to the enemy, it is harder taking it back the second time. Yet, the Lord is there for us if we will return to Him in love and repentance.
Diligence is often what we loose sight of. Our Christianity and faith weren’t a one time thing when we walked an isle and gave our heart to Jesus, it is a day by day relationship that rejoices in the good times, but hangs tough and continues to trust even in the difficult and trying times. It is like a marriage, it needs our constant attention or we will grow apart. We want a relationship where every day with Jesus it sweeter than the day before.
Hebrew 6:10-12 exhorts us by saying, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Our faith is not a sprint it is a marathon. It is not about how fast we run in the beginning, but about our steady and steadfast run through life. It is not about starting the race, but about finishing it and that takes perseverance and all diligence. The Lord called each of us to be a partaker of His divine nature and He has given us great and precious promise through which we might enter in. 2 Peter 1:2-10 speaks to this diligence in obtaining all that God has called us too. “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The Lord has given us all that we need, but we need the diligence to keep pressing into Him and maintaining that garden relationship with Him. Perhaps for some of us our relationship and fellowship with the Lord has been slipping away and we are loosing that closeness and intimacy with Him. Be diligent to turn back your heart to Him and draw near again. He loves you and delights in your visitation and your fellowship. Be diligent and don’t give up or turn away.

Blessings,
#kent

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

Affections of the Heart

August 28, 2014

Colossians 3:1-2
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Affections of the Heart

The fixations and affections of your heart are the making of your soul. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he. (Proverbs 23:7)” ‘Where your treasure is there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)’
What is the desire and passion of our heart today? What are we fixed on and what is driving our lives? We might glibly say, “it’s the Lord”, but do our actions, words and life bear out that truth? Have we laid every other affection, passion and desire upon the altar and said, “have your way oh Lord”? We want our affections to be such that we are clinging to nothing else but the hem of His garment. We can deceive others and we can even deceive ourselves, but we will never deceive the Lord concerning the condition and the affections of our heart. He sees and reads us like an open book. Our words are often not our heart. They may serve only as a disguise for what we want others to think and see.
God has given us a will to choose where we will set our affections and our obedience. What are we choosing in our inward parts? Where are we truly setting our affections? A new life in Christ demands a transformation from the former man of the earth. Our transformation and metamorphosis is taking place as we are hidden in the cocoon of a Christ-centered life where He is our affection and the purpose behind all that we do. It is not done in a moment, but it is done in a process and completed in the twinkling of an eye. In order for the Spirit to have His perfect work we must remain with our affections set upon the things above and maintain a heart that is willing to relinquish all that is not of Him. “Christ in us”, that is our hope of glory.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23-24)

Blessings,
#kent

Chasing After the Wind

June 13, 2014

Chasing After the Wind

Ecclesiastes 2:11
But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

Solomon, the wisest and richest of kings wrote this book of Ecclesiastes. He was a man who said that he had it all, tried it all and none of the things of earth or the pursuits of pleasure and accomplishment were really worthwhile. They were like, “chasing the wind.”
What are we chasing in our lives? We allow so many things to consume our lives, our time, our efforts and affections, but what eternal value do they possess? What will become of them when our lives are spent and we are gone? In Mark 10:21 Jesus says to the rich young ruler, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
This man went away sad and unfulfilled because his possessions possessed him, he didn’t possess them. How many things in our lives possess us? Jesus offered the rich young ruler the one thing in life that would fulfill and complete him, but he couldn’t release the natural things for the spiritual. Jesus was letting him know and in so doing letting us know as well, if you want to pursue something more than the vanity of this life and all that it possesses there is only one way to store up treasure in heaven, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).” Jesus makes it plain to us that wherever our affections are, our values are placed, our importance lies, that’s where our hearts will be as well. Jesus is giving the same challenge to us as he gave to the rich young ruler, “take up your cross and follow me.” We process this with our minds, but not our hearts. We don’t want to, because it means we, like the rich young ruler, we have to deal with our issues, possessions and things we don’t want to let go of, even though they are robbing us of eternal treasure. That young man was no different than many of us. He was a good kid. He loved God and lived a righteous life and no doubt attended synagogue regularly. He thought he really wanted Jesus till he had to count the cost. It would cost him everything. While salvation is free, discipleship will cost you everything. The irony is that in losing everything this life has to offer you gain the riches of eternal heavenly treasure that has value long after your natural possessions have vanished. We don’t want to make the same mistake the rich young ruler did and become offended at the gospel.
Matthew 6:24 says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” If we are really sold out to Christ then we are willing to surrender all our earthly goods, talents and treasures to follow Christ. That doesn’t mean we all literally go cash in, give it all away to the poor and take a vow of poverty, but we do need to have come to that place in our hearts. If the Lords says sell it all and give it away we are ready and willing. Often we can tell what things mean to us by how tightly we hold on to them. We need to embrace the cross and lightly hold the things of this life for even this is the wisdom of Solomon. At the end of Ecclesiastes Solomon says this of all that he has learned of life, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).”

Blessings,
#kent

Return of a Wayward Heart

October 31, 2013

Return of a Wayward Heart

Hosea 2:7
And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find [them]: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then [was it] better with me than now.

The Lord has taken each one of us and has blessed, clothed, nurtured and provided our substance and our needs. He loved us when we were unlovely. He has taken us in when we were wandering without purpose and homeless. He clothed us when we were naked. He has healed us, bound up our wounds and broken hearts. He has given us favor where we would have had none. He gave us dignity, respect and purpose when we were full of sin, despised and forsaken.
How have we repaid Him for the richness of His love and blessing? Are we loving and serving Him with faith, obedience and love or have we been like Hosea’s wife in our hearts? Do we have that spirit of adultery and idolatry as she did to run after and pursue other lovers? Do we somehow think that they can in any way fulfill us more than our faithful husband, Jesus? Yet many of us forsake the Lord in our hearts and minds as we pursue and run after our affections and lusts. In the pursuit of them, are we fulfilled or satisfied? Are our hearts more content than when we were living and walking in faithfulness to Christ? Can those lovers ever fulfill the deeper needs and longings of our soul or will they take our life, our substance and our youth; casting us off, leaving us feeling used, dirty and rejected.
Where are we at in the fidelity and faithfulness of our heart and love toward our Lord today? Have we become as Israel of old who turned her back to the Lord to pursue her other lovers? Are we simply going through the motions of Christianity, but our hearts have become hardened and distracted by our sin?
Hosea 2:10 says, “So now I will expose her lewdness no one will take her out of my hands.” What we have done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops and our nakedness will be exposed and our sin revealed. God is calling His beloved back to His heart. He is wooing her to return and repent from her lovers and her vile behavior. The Lord will deal with us in ways necessary to deal with the harlotry of our hearts so that we may return again to Him and appreciate once more all that we have had and enjoyed at that goodness of His hand. Even though we deserve to be cast out and divorced, the Lord’s heart and love is still tender towards us. His love has been unconditional even in the midst of our unfaithfulness.
This is the place that He says that He is bringing us in Hosea 2:14-23, “”Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. 16 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ‘ 17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips; no longer will their names be invoked. 18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. 19 I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. 20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. 21 “In that day I will respond,” declares the LORD—
“I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; 22 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. 23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ‘ I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ‘ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ”
The Lord’s heart is to reconcile and bring us back into right relationship with Him. Let us turn our heart from our foreign lovers and bring our whole heart back to the Lord. Let us repent of our unfaithfulness and turn from all of our lewdness. Let us honor, love and obey Him who is the faithful lover of our souls and true husband. Let us return to our first love.

Blessings,
kent

Lust

September 11, 2013

Lust

Psalms 81:12
So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: [and] they walked in their own counsels.

Lust is an area where we all struggle. Many of us automatically associate lust with sexual lust and while that is one arena that it greatly works in, it is by no means that only one. Lust, is much the same as covetousness. It is the strong desire, passion and delight in a desirable thing or object. Typically, what do we have a strong passion and desire for? Usually it is for the things that we can’t have or that we ought not to have. This is what we commonly phrase, “lusting after the flesh”. It is our flesh that is at enmity with God or at war with Him. It is a battle that we fight in our souls, but finds expression through our flesh. Now, lust could have a good connotation, in that “I lust after the Spirit”, or have a strong passion and desire for God. Certainly this is the direction we would want our lust to take us, but more times than not it is taking us in another direction, the way of the flesh.
In our scripture today the context of what is being talked about is when God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and was leading them through the wilderness. Lust was a condition of their hearts that led them away from God and the higher purposes that He had for them. It continues on after our theme verse to say in Psalms 81:13-16, “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, [and] Israel had walked in my ways I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” If we want to be fed with the finest wheat (the bread of Life) and the honey out of the rock (the truth and revelation of Christ), then we have to hearken unto the Spirit and not unto our flesh when the lust of our desires and want to’s conflict with the Spirit within us.
What is the first thing we want to do when our desires or lust conflict with our spirit? Typically we begin to reason, justify and compromise. Let’s put the old mind to work on it, he’ll come up with a way to make it all right. Isn’t that how we generally try and find peace with ourselves, by rationalizing something in our mind? Or we compartmentalize it and justify it by saying to ourselves, “this is okay in this area of our lives, but not okay over here.” We develop different standards depending on whether we are dealing with family, or business, or social engagements, or spiritual activities. The truth is, God has one standard that applies to every area of our lives. Daniel, in the Old Testament, didn’t cease to pray routinely, just because it wasn’t the politically correct thing to do. He was consistent in every area of his life. We must be no different.
What happens when we start shutting the voice and the conviction of the Holy Spirit out and continue on in the way our flesh wants to go? For one thing, we grow hard of hearing and hard of heart. We have a free will and God will let us go our own way, but the more we go our way the more estranged we become with Him and the less clearly we hear His Spirit’s leading and direction.
Temptation is merely the incitement of my passion, desire or lust for something. James, deals with this issue in a very straight forward way when he says in James 1:12 -16, ”
Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” He lays out the progression of lust from beginning to end and then exhorts us, “don’t fall for it precious saints.”
Again, James deals with lust in James 4:1-5, “From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” It is the lust of our hearts that entices us away from God to pursue our own passions that are in opposition to His will for us; thus we become His enemy rather than his friend. Our desires become our idol and God is saying, “Don’t you know how jealous I am over you?” God is envious and desirous of us, of our hearts, our affections and our faithfulness to Him. We become like the adulterer that forsakes his relationship to pursue another lover. We grieve the Holy Spirit in doing this.
The apostle John gives us this exhortation in 1 John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” Peter makes the remark that the corruption that is in the world is the result of lust and the whole reason that God has given us such wonderful and divine promises is to help us escape out of that snare and stronghold that is taking the world to judgement. He says in 1Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” God desires that our desire be first for Him. He loves us with a jealous love and desires that we are faithful. He wants to give us a divine nature that has escaped the corruption that lust brings to our hearts and lives. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free so that we would no longer be in bondage to our lust and former desires. We need the Holy Spirit’s power to help us break the strongholds of lust off of our lives. The more our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the more our hearts are set upon Him and the more we are walking after the Spirit, the easier it will become to overcome these areas in our lives. The Holy Spirit will help us, but He will not act against our will. Only we can submit our will to His.

Blessings,
kent

Spoiled Leftovers

July 1, 2013

Spoiled Leftovers

Colossians 3:5-11
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

When we were saved and came into Christ we may have experienced a wonderful salvation and deliverance experience. While we by faith stepped into Christ and heavenly places not all of our old baggage fell by the wayside at that moment. While we were forgiven and all of our sins were washed away, it didn’t mean we never sinned or fell short again. The reality is that God didn’t just take all of the responsibility away from us and say now you are all pure, holy and you are just like me. In our spirits He did. In that inner man there is one in the likeness of Christ. But for that “Christ in us” to possess all of us it is a life-long process and one only fully consummated at His presence or coming.
Meanwhile we are caught up in the battleground of the mind and soul. Our inner man is intent on holiness, righteous and conformity to Christ, but sin still wants to work in our outward members. Did you ever have a beautiful refrigerator with great food in it, but you keep smelling this stench and wonder where is that odor coming from? You keep digging and digging and finally you find a baggy with an old rotten onion, so you throw that out, but it still stinks. You look some more and you open up this yogurt container that has more hairy mold than you’ve got whiskers. You grimace and wrinkle your nose as you throw it out. Still there is this smell, but what you find is that some of the foods you really like are the culprits. Oh man, you don’t want to throw those out, because you really like them, even if they aren’t good for you, so you tuck them away so they will be less noticeable, but you can still munch on them when you get the urge. Likely it is not the spirit man that wants to hold on to them, it is the flesh. We have ways of justifying our flesh and our little stashes where we make provision for those things we outwardly love, crave or don’t want to let go of.
What we deal with is that if we are maintaining a relationship with Christ and seeking to please Him in all of our ways we run into conflict. The Holy Spirit only allows us to indulge in our little hidden treasures for time until He begins to put His finger on them. Now it comes down to our will or His. The truth is that to His nose these things are spoiled leftovers of our past nature and they are a stench to Him, but will we let go of them? The Cross takes no prisoners in its process of holiness. It exercises extreme prejudice on those things our flesh holds dear, because they represent idolatry to the Lord. They are the place where our affections, commitments and loyalties often diverge from the Spirit as we make provisions for the flesh.
Most all of us deal with strongholds, these giants in our land in one area or another that keep defying the living God. Only as the Spirit of God rises up in us with dominion and authority will we conquer and overcome the strong will of rebellion that still abides in us. It has to be our will in union with His. Only as we relinquish every thing, every emotion, and every desire can Christ be fully Lord of the land. Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
What are we going to do with our spoiled leftovers?

Blessings,
kent

Shallow is the Grave, Deep is the Well

John 4:6-10
Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with [his] journey, sat thus on the well: [and] it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

The word today is from the account of the woman at the well which many of you are familiar with, but if not take a few minutes to read it. There are many wonderful truths in this short encounter. The truth I feel impressed of the Lord to bring out today concerns areas that He is dealing with in my life and no doubt areas He wants to deal with in yours. In the natural scheme of the life of that day, this encounter with Jesus should have never happened. In the eyes of society and especially the typical Jewish outlook, this woman was way beneath good Jewish men, being considered little more than a dog. You know, in our state of sin we are much on that same level in regards to God and His holiness and greatness. Yet, God’s incomprehensible love humbles itself to come down to where we are in the messiness of our lives, in the squalor of our filth and sin and minister’s life to us. All of our lives we have come to the well and drank the waters of self efforts, our goodness and the accomplishments our own lives. The very best of what it could do or offer always left us thirsting again. Now, here is a man that is offering us living water that we would never thirst again. Wouldn’t that be great to never have to rely on my self-efforts and goodness to satisfy that thirsting of my soul? Here is a man that is offering to allow me to drink from the deep wells of salvation. It is so much more than the well of my religion that my forefathers dug. It is a well of deep relationship that forever satisfies.
As that woman, I would think, “this is wonderful, but who is this guy? Are you greater than what we have had before? Are you greater than our doctrine or religion or the belief system I have grown up with all my life? And where do you get this water seeing you have nothing to draw it with (no degree, pedigrees or theological background)? ”
“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:13-14).”
“Okay Lord, I’m convinced. Yes, give me this living water. This has got to be so much easier and better than the old routine of drawing from the well that I am used too.”
Then Jesus says something that catches her off guard and goes to a place she doesn’t really want to go. He tells her to go and get her husband and come here. She says, “Well, I’m not married.” Jesus sees right into her heart and says, ” You are right, you’re not married. You have had five husbands and the one you are with now is not your husband.” Immediately, though, no doubt taken back by His insight, she says, “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet,” and begins to engage in a religious discussion about where the true place of worship is. When the Holy Spirit addresses the other husbands in our lives, our personal sins and idols. We get pretty squeamish, defensive and want to get out of the light of His conviction by changing the subject.
There is an underlying truth here. Jesus wants to give us the living water, but He also wants to deal with these other husbands who haven’t even been true husbands at all. When we drink of this living water we enter into a relationship where Christ becomes our true husband that is our eternal supply, which is able to meet every need. In order for us to drink the fullness of the deep wells of salvation we have to deal with these other husbands in our life. If we have other husbands in our life we are in adultery and idolatry, because they will be taking the place of our true husband, Christ. The only way for us to be in right relationship with our true husband is for these others to die and be buried.
Easily said, not always easily done. These other husbands can represent strongholds, drives, habits, addictions and affections in our lives we don’t really want to let go of. We still have a love or at least a lust for them. We would rather the Lord not go there, but in order for us to experience the depths of the well of salvation and living water we must experience the death and the shallow grave of our idols and the husbands of affections that have ruled over us. So it comes down to a choice, to exchange, a shallow grave for a deep well or keep a shallow well, wherein we continue to thirst and a deep grave if we continue to hold on to the things that only bring death and destruction. Either way, there has to be a death, death to the spiritual to maintain the natural or death to the natural to experience the depths of the spiritual. In what areas do you have other husbands or lovers? Which well and which grave will you choose?

Blessings,
kent

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