Our Steps are Ordered of the Lord

Acts 26:16

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.


Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”  People of God, we have feet that are prone to wander.  We know and love God, but our hearts are still deceitfully wicked.  Our spirits are fully redeemed and delight in God after the inward man, but there is a soulish body of sin, that doesn’t want to let go.  It has been sentenced to death through the cross, but it doesn’t want to die.  It is an avenue of temptation that satan uses to lead astray and cause us to wander.  We can’t change ourselves, but we must maintain a vigilance to keep ourselves in relationship and in a place of sitting daily at the feet of Jesus.  We have to keep our focus on the kingdom of heaven and what our life’s purpose is about.  So easily our eyes and heart can turn away and something other than Christ catches our heart.   We often wonder why we experience so little of the Lord’s presence.  Perhaps it is because our time in seeking it and pursuing Him is so limited.  Here is what the Lord spoke through Jeremiah the prophet to Israel, which is for our example.  Jeremiah 14:10 says, “This is what the LORD says about this people:  “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” Does that sound like us?  

I don’t speak out of condemnation.  I speak out of conviction.  I speak out of shame and disappointment with myself at how often and how many ways I must grieve the precious Holy Spirit. God knows our form and He knows our weakness, but that cannot become our excuse, because it is no longer who we are.  Everyday we must lay hold of the life of Christ and when I miss Him, He will forgive me if I repent, but it must become the exception and not the rule.  Our steps are ordered of the Lord.  We must find and stay upon that path.  How subtly we can be steered out of it.  Usually it is just one little step at a time until we suddenly find ourselves in the deep waters of sin and wonder how we got there.  Many times we may find the discipline of the Lord upon our lives or even the course of the natural consequences of our sin.  God loves us.  His desire and purpose is always to draws us back into Him and into His heart.  Hebrews 12:11-15 of the amplified version exhorts us like this, “For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. 

12So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, 

13And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured. 

14Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. 

15Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it—” Our Father is for us, not against us.  Even in our weakness and failing He so greatly loves us.  Praise His Name, He loves us enough to correct and discipline us, even though it is often painful, to bring us back to Him.  

If we are walking out of His ways today, come back to Him.  Even this word you are reading now is God’s invitation and cry to come back to Him.  He desires that none of us “falls back and fails to secure God’s grace.”  Luke 1:79 says of Jesus that He came, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and [in] the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Who is ordering our steps today?  What are our hearts following after and our feet carrying us into?  The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord.  Let us delight ourselves in His ways and follow wholly after Him.  “God help us to loose ourselves and renounce the strongholds of sin that want and have taken hold upon our lives.   We are marching to Zion and we must not be turned out of the way.  We behold the throne of God and the Lamb of God that sits in that throne with Him and in Him.  “We must fix our eyes and our hearts upon You, oh Lord.  Order our steps, oh God, and direct our paths in righteousness for Your Name’s sake.”

 

Blessings, 

kent

The Crossroads of Life and Death

John 5:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

We have discussed how Adam’s sin and fall brought all of mankind into a state of spiritual death and separation from God and the tree of Life. Not only was it manifested in spiritual separation, but also the spirit of death worked to bring corruption and decay to all of creation. That spirit of death is at work in every creature from the time that they are born till the time that it consummates in the cessation of physical life.
When we come to the cross of Jesus Christ, we come to a crossroad and intersection of Life and Death. It is a place and a valley of decision that leads us to a turning point in our lives where we believe in Christ and pass from death to Life or we continue down the road to spiritual death. Jesus Christ stands as a doorway to Life and faith is the key to enter in. When we make the choice to enter into Him a couple of things should happen. When we enter the Master’s door and come into His house we need to remove our outer garment of the body of sin. We hang it there on the cross where Jesus died, as we identify with His death. Where we have now come too, that outer garment of self is but a hindrance and unacceptable apparel in the house where we now abide. Not only do we take off the outer garment or our former self-centered ways, but also we remove our shoes, for now we are standing on Holy ground. We no longer walk in those former ways that we walked in when we walked down the pathway of death. Now, instead we have shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel wherein we carry and communicate the life of God to all men. “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:15).”
When we come into the Father’s house through our faith in Christ, the blood of Jesus has washed us from the filth and stain of sin and death. In the place of our garment of sinful flesh, we are given the spiritual garments of the righteousness of Christ. In these garments we now have right standing and restored fellowship with the Father. When He now beholds us, He no longer sees the sinful man or woman that we were. He sees the righteousness of His Son, because His blood has washed us clean of all unrighteousness. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Also at the door we are given a white turban upon our heads called the mind of Christ. Along with this cleansed body we are given a new mind as it exhorts us in Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Clothed with spiritual apparel and now abiding in the place Christ has prepared for us we begin living in the Life He has given us. Formerly we did not discern between life and death. All we knew was the natural dimension of life and death. Now at the juncture where we have made a right turn into the way of Life we begin to choose the ways of Life. More than a right and wrong issue of our moral choosing, our life in Christ becomes choices of life and death. We know that His Word and His Spirit are Life. The spirit of the world is selling death and calling it life. In as much as our eyes are open to the Spirit of Life and godliness we perceive the lie, rejecting it and make our choices for Life. Proverbs 23:7 warns us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he.” It is warning us that things and people are not always as they appear on the surface. The truth is in their heart. What is in our hearts today? Are we feeding from the tree of Life? Many of us are still planting the seeds of death and bearing it’s fruit in our lives because we are not choosing and living in the Life we proclaim to have. We are experiencing spiritual defeat and we wonder why? What are we continually abiding in? What is the focus of our lives? Which tree are we feeding off of, the tree of Life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? The Lord doesn’t want us to be double minded in our living and our choices. He has called us to abide in the Spirit of Life and to choose Life and not death. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)”

Blessings,
kent

Repeating Offenses and Failures

Romans 7:17-24
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. or I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

I don’t know that there are any of us that don’t struggle in our lives with our character flaws and weaknesses that seem to want to continue surfacing and have long been a source of consternation and dismay to us. We don’t like these flaws, habits, strongholds, weaknesses and shortcomings; we hate them. We know they don’t please God and yet we find ourselves again and again falling back into these snares. We may even wonder if we could still be saved, as many times as we have failed, repented and then failed again. This is where the rubber meets the road for many of us in our spiritual walk. The latter part of Romans 7 deals, I believe, with this very issue. It really boils down to a warring issue within our lives. There are two laws that war in our members and while we serve the law of God in our mind, we find the law of sin, still wanting and seeking place in our bodies. As we seek to ascend in our minds and spirits we have the flesh seeking to pull us back down, bringing condemnation and once again breaking and interrupting our spiritual fellowship with the Lord. We, like Paul, cry out, ” O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Then he goes on to answer his own question, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” What is he saying, that we can be divided and our mind serves God and our flesh serves sin? No, he is saying that which ever one we give place to that is the one we will serve. Romans 8 really goes on to give the extension to the answer of our dilemma that he has addressed in Chapter 7. Romans 8:1-2, ” [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” It is in grasping and laying hold of the higher law that now governs our lives that we begin to walk and live in a new mindset. It is the mindset that is identified, not with our old man governed by the law of sin, but our new man which is governed by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. One of the greatest reasons for our prayer life and spending time in the Word is so that we can renew our minds in who we are in Christ. We are no longer that old person, enslaved under the law of sin, subject to its bondage. We have been set free; the Lord has broken those shackles off of us. Does that mean that we will never be tempted or influenced by the former things? Not at all, we know that the flesh, and that former mindset that wants to regain its strongholds in our lives, constantly assault us. Our freedom is in Christ and in our walk in the Spirit. Romans 8:5-10, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.” If we are the ones still trying to conquer our weaknesses in our own strength then we are doomed for the failure we’ve experienced in the past. It is the Spirit working in concert with our will and submission to Him that is our empowerment. Romans 8:13, ” For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Our lives in the Spirit are a continual overcoming of our flesh and the law of sin that wars against our members. Are we going to loose some battles, yes, we still fall short far too often, but we have set our course. Our eyes are fixed upon our Savior and “it is no longer I that live, but Christ in me (Galatians 2:20).” That old man was crucified with Christ on the cross, but daily we become a living sacrifice consecrated unto Him. He is our victory and in Him we are more than conquerors. Don’t be discouraged, for His blood washes and forgives our failures as we repent and turn back to Him. The more Christ fills our hearts and minds the less room and place there is for sin as the Holy Spirit is given full place to govern over our souls. Press on, identified with who you are in Christ. The Holy Spirit is empowering us to be the sons of God He has called us to be.

Blessings,
kent

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