2 Corinthians 2:10
For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds

Through the Heat of Battle

In the trenches of spiritual warfare you are not often going to look your best. In the daily battles and encounters we have we are often sweaty, dirty, tired and even bloody, bruised and wounded. Those who are walking out their faith are not dressed for ceremony they are dressed for battle. In the battle you most likely will not feel like a good warrior or hero. You may be scared, discouraged, fatigued, hurting and just trying to survive. While you may feel inside to be anything but an overcomer, that is who you are as you endure the battle and stand faithful to the banner of your faith. The survivors and heroes of war weren’t wearing their medals on their chest in the midst of the battle, those medals were the result of their fortitude, their faithfulness, their courage in the midst of the battle when all they were seeing around them was pain, suffering and death. Yet there was something in their character and in their hearts that brought them through the battle. Those men and women weren’t decorated with medals because they conducted themselves well, when everything was going good and they were at peace. Most medals are won in the midst of battle where if we get through it, it is not without loss and pain physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Many of you are on the spiritual battlegrounds today. It may not have been your choice, but you are there in the midst of the battle none the less. Most of us would like to just speak a word and have those battles resolved and go away, but we find that we are in a war that often rages on day after day. Some days we are not sure we can make it through another one, but somehow, by the grace of God, we do. God wants you to know that this is not a sign of your weakness or your defeat, it is the proving ground of your victory and your triumph. The enemy is fighting to take your life, but by your faithfulness and the fortitude of your faith, God is forming in you the heart of courage and the qualities of heroes. By your continued faithfulness you are prevailing and you are conquering, even though in your heart you may feel very discouraged and defeated. It is in these places that we learn to crawl out of the weakness of our flesh and put on Christ who is our strength and our life. We may have to endure the battle while in these weak and frail bodies, but in our spirits and in our hearts we have put off the flesh and put on Christ who is our strength. Through Him we are more than conquerors and can do all things. If He leads us into battle then we must trust that He can sustain us through it.
Whatever your battle and whatever front your are fighting on, whether it be health, finances, job, emotional, family problems, persecution, or whatever, He is there for you. In these places of battle the enemy tries to strip us of our dignity, our faith, our confidence and assurance. He rails upon us with condemnation, throwing before us our weakness and defeats. We can not take his bait. Sometimes he causes hurts so severe that we will harbor, hate, anger and unforgiveness. He assaults us on many fronts, but we must be wise and discerning of His tactics, holding fast the Word of God as our standard of truth and reality. We are what the Word of God says we are. 1 Peter 2:9-11 says of us, “9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Be encouraged today; strengthen yourself in His faithfulness. Stay the course, endure the battle and finish the race. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)”

Blessings,
#kent

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Power of our Words (Part 2)

Hebrews 1:3
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

The previous study brought out that our words are the personal reflection and mirror of our heart. It is by our words that we express, both faith and acceptance of God and His Word, or we deny and turn away from it. Our obedience to God’s Word then is our seal that we love God and want Him living and abiding in our hearts. His seal to us is the Holy Spirit, who will help us in our walk of obedience and faithfulness. We discussed also that all that has been created is established and sustained by the Power of the Word, which is Christ. What is more, the powerful, creative Word, which is Christ, now resides in His believers and desires that we are now the expression of that Word, even as Jesus was in the earth. In order for this to happen, certain things must take place. We must first believe the Word of God, we must begin to align ourselves with it in thoughts, words and actions and walk in the Spirit so that God’s Word can have right expression through us.
Where our words are first birthed are in our thoughts and imaginations. Obviously these are areas that must be guarded. 2 Corinthians10: 2-6 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” While our imagination can be the creative expression of who we are, it can be fertile ground to conceive ideas and thinking that are opposed to Christ, vain and not in alignment with the Word of God. We are exhorted to examine all of our thoughts and imaginations through the filter of God’s Word and cast down all that is opposed to Him. God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are the filtration systems God has given us to discern the world we live in and decide what is acceptable and what isn’t. This is the root where we need to deal with wrong thoughts, wrong motives, destructive words and ungodly behavior. If they get past this checkpoint then they are on their way to fruition. Psalms 1:1-3 is a good example and exhortation of this fundamental truth, “1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
Proverbs 18:21 lets us know that our words are not to be taken lightly, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” As there is a creative power in God’s Mouth and His Word, He tells us we have a creative power in our mouth by the Words that we speak. They can be words, which bear the fruit of life, or words that bear the fruit of death. James 3:8 says, “but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Our tongue again will reveal what is in the heart and what condition the heart is in that it is coming out of. It will even reveal when we are double minded in our thinking and deeds. James 3:9-12 goes on to say, “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[a] 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. ” The purity of heart can be seen by the consistent flow of life giving words coming out of it.
What are our words speaking to us today about the condition of our hearts? Are we abiding in that place where the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are presiding over our words, our thoughts, imaginations and subsequent deeds? There is a powerful life-giving Word resident within you. Does it have a purified fountain to flow out of? In words are the power of salvation and the power of damnation, what are your words producing in your life and those around you? What are our words telling us about the condition of our heart?

Blessings,
#kent

Weapons of Our Warfare

January 3, 2014

 

Weapons of Our Warfare


1 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.



How many of us are still trying to combat and fight flesh with flesh.  Is just a positive mental attitude, or using a right formula or trying to be good enough or religious enough going to win our battles over our flesh?  What we are experiencing in our lives is frustration, defeat and condemnation.  We want to do right, but we are still experiencing that law of sin working on our flesh. Our flesh and even soul are not very good at overcoming the weaknesses in themselves.  The Word says that the weapons that God has provided for us are mighty to the tearing down of strongholds.  There are many of us that haven’t experienced a lot of victory in tearing down these strongholds.  We continue to allow these stronghold to be a part of our thinking, behavior and being.  We are still identifying with them and in so doing we continue to give them life and power over us.  Our greatest weapons are not our earthly thinking.  That is the source of our greatest defeat.  We think as the world thinks and not as the Spirit of God thinks.  When the Word exhorts us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, it is telling us to put on the mind of Christ and renew our thinking according to the Word and not according to our natural reasoning.   It is telling us to put our identification on who we are in Christ and not on whom we have been in the flesh.

The first place we must come too is a place of total surrender to the Lord and the Holy Spirit that indwells us.  We are like a country taken over by the Lord, but the flesh still maintains its pockets of resistance, it’s guerilla fighters that provide avenues for the flesh to have access and regain position and power.  Most of us don’t want to admit to these, but they’re there.  We know they are there because we are struggling with these fleshly strongholds in areas of our lives.  Romans 12 starts out by telling us the first position we need to take, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. “ The first thing we need to do is offer our lives a living sacrifice which means that we are willing to lay the flesh upon the altar and allow it to be consumed.  It means that we are turning our mind and thinking from a worldview to a kingdom view.  Our thinking, goals and attitudes are no longer geared towards this earth; they are geared towards heaven and the spiritual calling we have in Christ Jesus.  Here, in this earth, we have no abiding place, but our eyes must be set upon the city whose builder and maker is God.  It is in this mindset that we begin to fashion our lives and our thinking after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh.  As we begin to walk in the Spirit then all that flows through our senses begins to flow through Him.  He is the Discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  If we are sensitizing ourselves to Him then He begins to put His finger on the wrong motives, thoughts and attitudes that are working in our lives.  If we indeed want the weapons of the Spirit to operate in our lives, we must first be in agreement and submission to the Holy Spirit.  While the Holy Spirit indwells us to help us in living a godly life, He by no means usurps our will to decide and choose to whom we obey and to whom we give our mind and our flesh over too.  If we want to choose the fleshly things, then the Holy Spirit will back off.  We may still have a conviction that what we are doing isn’t right, but if we desensitize ourselves to the Holy Spirit through following after our self-will then we will be less and less sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  When God says draw near to Me and I will draw near to you, He is saying as you become more sensitive and obedient to Me then you will begin to sense more of My presence and dealings in your life.  The thing we learn about walking in the Spirit is that it is a continual conscious act to live in that place.  When we walk after the Spirit long enough it may become more natural to us, but our spirit man must always be a guarded city.  As soon as our defenses go down the enemy is ready to come in.  

Indeed the weapons of our warfare are mighty, but they do demand diligence and full surrender of our hearts and minds to Christ.  Our over coming is by allowing the Holy Spirit to over come every thought and temptation that is contrary to the will of God.  We will no doubt loose some battles along the way, but that must not discourage or detour us from our mission of being conformed to the image and likeness of Christ.  In this life, the warfare is continual and ongoing, but we do have the weapons to defeat our foe.  We must indeed to do as Ephesians 6 exhorts us too and put on the whole armor of God that we might stand against the whiles and schemes of the devil.  It is up to us to appropriate our spiritual weapons and armor through fully and unceasingly yielding ourselves as living sacrifices in obedience and submission to the Holy Spirit.

 

Blessings,

kent

Strife

November 22, 2013

Strife

1 Corinthians 3:3
for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

Isn’t it unfortunate that this statement so often defines us as we try to walk and live spiritual lives? Strife comes into to pollute so many of our relationships, both spiritual and natural. Really it is the outward manifestation of an inward condition. James 3: 14 and 16 in the King James version speaks of strife with this: “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth… “For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.“ The Amplified version identifies more of the root causes of this strife, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth… For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” Verses 17-18 of the Amplified version goes on to say, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” We all know what it is like to be around a contentious person that is trying to provoke strife. It is often difficult to ignore and continually walk away from because it is continually antagonizing and provoking you. Strife is described in Galatians 5:20 as an attribute of the flesh, but it is one that has a hard time existing by itself. It needs someone to partner with. It needs an adversary and someone to contend with. It loves company and to get others caught up in the fray.
What are strife’s root causes? James has already identified bitterness, envy, selfishness and self-seeking. Proverbs 15:8 says, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Proverbs 16:28 says, “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:14 tells us, “The beginning of trouble is like letting out water. So stop arguing before fighting breaks out.” Have you ever noticed how strife can result in a diarrhea of the mouth? We get started and before we know it, all kinds of putrid things are spewing out, which usually only serves to bring the same vile venom out of the other’s mouth.
We know that the perpetrator of this strife is demonic in nature and spirit, and yet we so easily fall into the snare that serves to only hurt, divide separate us. Disunity and strife strikes at the heart of family, fellowship and community. It has destroyed families, marriages, churches, and nations. It is at the root of our wars. In spite of its immensely destructive power we continually allow ourselves to be manipulated by it. Perhaps it is destroying the relationship you have with the person or persons you started out loving. It can only be stopped as we realize and acknowledge within ourselves the weakness and the flesh that is giving place to this deceptive destroyer. It needs our flesh to feed off of to even exist. The more we can enter into Christ and walk by the Spirit, the less power and influence it can have. It needs our ego, our pride, our selfishness, our jealousy and envy. It needs our anger, meddling, gossiping, and tattling to fan its flames.
Philippians 2:2-4 says this, “2Then give me true joy by thinking the same thoughts. Keep having the same love. Be as one in thoughts and actions. 3Nothing should be done because of pride or thinking about yourself. Think of other people as more important than yourself. 4Do not always be thinking about your own plans only. Be happy to know what other people are doing.” Strife has very little to build on when our motives are based in unselfish love toward one another. If we all have this mind to live for and bless one another, then the flesh has little place because our selfishness and pride aren’t in the way. Love the person that is so intent on striving against you. Return good for evil, compliment for insult and be of a gentle and quiet spirit. It is a spiritual battle waged through human agents. See it for what it is and let the weapons of your warfare not be natural, but mighty through the Spirit to the tearing down of strongholds.
Moses lost his entrance into the promise land because he responded out of the flesh to the strife of the people at the waters of Meribah in the wilderness. Responding to strife in the flesh will always cause us to lose by robbing us of the higher way. Let love rule in your hearts, mercy and peace in your actions and willingness to count others above yourself in your thinking.
“Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).

Blessings,
kent

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