The Wounded and Broken

September 23, 2015

Deuteronomy 32:39
See now that I, [even] I, [am] he, and [there is] no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither [is there any] that can deliver out of my hand. 
 
 
The Wounded and Broken
 
In the Garden of Eden were two trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.  Choices were given to man as to which way he would come to know God and walk with Him.  When wrong choices were made, consequences ensued that brought darkness, sin and death into our world and all of creation.  We must know that this came as no surprise to God and that His plan was before the foundation of this world.  Life and death have become the cycles of life that have carried down since the beginning.   In between that cycle of life and death many things touch our lives.  Life can bring much joy and blessing, but it can also bring us much heartache and pain.  Many of us today bear in our lives the marks of pain and suffering.  That can take many forms, mental, physical, psychological and even spiritual.  Pain has many avenues.  Many times it comes as consequences of what we sow knowingly or unknowingly into our lives, bodies and minds.  Sometimes our pain comes from the consequences and actions of others.  Sometimes it comes as part of the fallen world that we live in.  However it comes, we are left to endure.  
Now as unpleasant as pain is, it is not all bad.  It often works in us what no amount of blessings could.  It is much like our enemies, as unpleasant as they are; they can touch areas in our lives that friends never will.  Often we wonder, “God why all of the unpleasantness?  Why all of this pain and suffering?  Why do our enemies persecute us?  God why must I suffer?”  Joseph, in the book of Genesis 50:20 reveals it so well, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.”  We have an enemy of our soul that perpetrates evil upon us, but what he has thought for evil, God has meant for good. How can this be good?
Romans 8:18-25 helps us to see into the eternal and far reaching purposes of God. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  The Word says that God is the one that subjected creation to this frustration, but in hope, hope of what?  “That the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage and decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children or the sons of God.”  
Jesus Christ was the prototype and firstfruits of this glorious liberation.  What did He say His purpose was?  It says of Jesus in Luke 4:14-20, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18″The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 
20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.””  The people were murmuring, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”  This was a proclamation that Jesus had stepped out of the earthly paradigm of humanity into His divine purpose of eternity.  What was begun in the headship of Jesus, He will complete in and through His body which Ephesians 1:23 declares is, “…the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”  
Pain and suffering can rend our hearts and bodies like few things can.  They are processing tools that bring us into the purposes of God if we catch that revelation.  They are areas we can see God work supernaturally in, both in the areas of healing and deliverance, but also in the areas of tribulation, patience and longsuffering.  Job certainly wanted to be free from his pain that he felt unjustly afflicted with, but it was a process that brought him into a double portion anointing and priesthood that he would have never experienced without it.  David would certainly have not chosen to be fleeing his enemies that sought for years His life, but it was preparation for kingship.  Joseph wouldn’t have chosen captivity, slavery and prison, but it prepared him to rule and reign.  Even of Jesus it says in Hebrews 5:7-9, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”  We, like our Savior have been called to a royal priest hood.  We also will pass through our seasons of suffering.  When we pass through these valleys, for however long we must endure them, let them have their perfect work in us.  Allow them not to discourage you, but to encourage you that, “whom the Lord loves He chastens.”  He doesn’t discipline bastards or illegitimate ones, he disciplines His sons that in due time it might work the peaceable fruits of righteousness (Hebrews 12).   God is preparing us for greatness and what the evil one has meant for evil, God has meant for good. 
 
Blessings,
#kent

Psalms 30:7-12 LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled. 8 I cried out to You, O LORD; And to the LORD I made supplication: 9 “What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? 10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!” 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Attitudes that Nullify or Qualify

There are times we come to some very hard places in our lives. Some of us have lived in those places for a very long time. We have no doubt cried out to God to remove our mountain, whatever form of adversity and trial it may take. I found it interesting that the Psalmist David says here, “Lord, you have made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face and I was troubled.” There is no doubt a lot of us that have been, and maybe still are, in this place. The question is, “have we viewed it as the Lord’s favor?” One thing God often does with us is that He puts us between a rock and a hard place. We find ourselves in such a pit that the only we have to look is up. Our resources dries up. Our strength fails. We are left with two choices: forsake our faith, as we mummer and complain, or encourage ourselves in our God and the power of His might. We see two examples in the Word. We see the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and led into a wilderness where there is no food and water. A great many of them choose to murmur and complain when they find themselves against the mountain of adversity. They want some one to blame for their trials and problems. They focus on death and what they left behind and how bleak the picture is before them. They are always looking at how big the problem is and not at how big their God is. On the other hand, we have someone like David. Here is a man who has seen and experienced the reality of God and yet finds himself seemingly forsaken as King Saul pursues him to take his life. I believe the reason David found such favor before the Lord is because he refused to allow his fears to be the giant that conquered him. He saw himself in God in the sense that he knew God would not deny or forsake Himself. He expresses the fact more than once that he became discouraged in his soul, but in his spirit he would rise up and say, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Forget not all of His benefits.” It is the favor of God that causes our mountain to stand strong. It is not that He may beat us down, it is so that He can build us up. Philippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Until we develop the eyes of the Spirit our fleshly mentality will keep us just going around and around our mountain. It is with the eyes of faith and by the Spirit that we will, in due season, go through the mountain and that mountain will be cast into the sea. Our mountain is our place of spiritual preparation and the place where God is honing us for a greater purpose. We have two choices: murmur and complain or praise and worship. Which do we think will bring us more quickly into the purposes and plan of God for our lives? Philippians 4:6 reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Our problems and our mountains aren’t always going to go away like we might like them too, but we are not alone in the trial. Enter into your God and His mighty promises. He will, in His time, turn your mourning into dancing. He will put off your sackcloth and clothe you with gladness. Encourage your soul today, “How great is our God.” He will never fail us or forsake us. “O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever!”

Blessings,

#kent

A Series of Right Decisions

Proverbs 3:1-12
1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

The essence and sum of our lives can be measured and is made up of a series of decisions. There will be things in our lives that we have no control over other than how we respond to them and what we do with them. When we look back over our lives and to the point that we presently live, we can see that our lives are the result of a good number of smaller decisions and choices. Some of those have had more impact on our lives than others but even the little decisions have contributed to the larger whole. When we understand that each day is made up of a series of decision that can impact and guide the direction of our lives, we then understand the importance of making right decisions.
Proverbs 3 speaks to us out of the wisdom of a Father to his son. As we read this we insert ourselves into the object of this conversation. The Father is reminding the son that to live a prosperous and healthy life there are certain things you need to maintain, remember and exercise in your decision making. The foremost is that you keep the teachings and the commands of God’s Word in your heart. The continual meditation upon the Word of God will serve to keep your life focused and continually aware of what your life is about.
The way that we exercise the Word that we store up in our hearts is through love and faithfulness. These are the keys that allow us to partake of the treasures of God’s wisdom and grace and to put them into the vocabulary of our daily lives and actions. Love, trust and obedience, these are the essentials that need to be with us in every decision making process. When we have them and exercise them, and then they will assure a right motive to the decisions that we do make.
Even with these essentials we realize that we lack the insight, understanding and wisdom to really know what is best for our lives and if the decision we are making may be the best choice we could have made.
Again, the Lord reminds us to trust Him with all our whole heart and to lean not upon our own understanding. God knows so much more about our lives and the impact of our decisions than we do. It only makes sense to really trust Him to guide us and lead us. He says He will make our paths straight. Romans 8: 28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” These are those ones that are practicing Proverbs 3. If we acknowledge Him, trust Him and love Him with all of our heart, then He is able to take even the bad things in our life and work them for our good. There are going to be times in our life we won’t be able to grasp the whys and wherefores of how God operates and the reason He has allowed things to happen as they have. He never told us we had to understand Him, just acknowledge, love and trust Him.
We can never boast in ourselves, in our ability, our prosperity or our wisdom. We do acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from above. Sometimes we are tempted in our spiritual or natural successes to be lifted up to think we are something or somebody more than somebody else is. We have to always keep our feet on the ground while we keep our heart in heaven. Spiritual pride is a foolish man’s prize. We are all the products of God’s rich grace and mercy. None of us can boast in ourselves for it is God alone that gives us value and worth. If we fear God and turn away from evil then it will be health to our body and nourishment to our bones.
I heard a minister the other day who was sharing that the temple had five gates. There was a priest stationed over each one of those gates as a watchman to assure that no danger or that nothing unclean entered the gates. He went on to share that these five gate are like our five natural senses and God has set us as a priest to watch over them and insure that nothing harmful or unclean passes through them into the temple which we are. This is much like the principles of Proverbs 3. If we will do our part to love, acknowledge, trust and obey the Lord, He will do His part to direct and order our steps.
As He honors us, we must in turn honor Him with the firstfruits of our increase. We can’t bring the leftovers or the second best. We must honor Him with the firstfruits of our best. He assures us that we won’t lack because of it.
We are His children. He loves us and whom the Lord loves He chastens, disciplines and corrects. We can’t become discouraged when our lot in life is tough. It is not God’s anger and displeasure at work; it is His love. The trials and tribulations in our lives are what shape and mold our character and integrity. They are a part of the process of bringing us into conformity with Father’s nature and character. All that God is working in us is in preparation for a much more glorious life.
Just remember that it is the series of everyday decision that add up to the sum of your life. Allow God to be a part of every one of them.

Blessings,
#kent

Agenda for Today

May 1, 2015

Colosians 3:17
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Agenda for Today

Lord, what is on Your agenda today?
Other thoughts invade my mind as I take time to pray.
I try to focus in on what Your will is for me,
But my mind is cluttered by all the mental imagery.

I find my thoughts on these rabbit trails,
Then I catch myself only to feel like I have failed.
Help me Lord, get my soul quiet before Your throne.
Help me give myself, that I may be all Your own.

Lord, what is Your agenda today?
Give me spiritual ears to hear what You have to say.
Order my steps and help me with the choices I make.
Help me loose myself in You and do all for Jesus sake.

Fill my thoughts and be in all I do,
Let my former distracting thoughts, now be thoughts of You.
Focus me in Your will and plan for me.
In all I do, let it be done as unto Thee.

You are the ark and the safety for my heart,
Help me find in You my every portion and needed part.
Be my everything, as You are meeting every need,
Let me live in Christ and humbly follow as You lead.

Kent Stuck

Blessings,
#kent

Faith is a Journey

April 20, 2015

Hebrews 11:8-10,13-16
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

Faith is a Journey

As we look back in Hebrews 11 upon Abraham and those that have walked in faith we see something that should be in our hearts. We see that faith is not a place, but it is a journey and a vision. It is seeing and walking toward what is unseen and invisible to the world around us. If we are to walk in and fulfill the destiny that God has placed before each one of us, then we must know that it is not found in what we were or where we used to live. When we were born from above we were called out of the homeland of our earthly fathers and our feet were set upon a path to follow after God. We were given a vision to look for a city whose builder and maker is God.
God’s Word says that all of the promises of God are “yes” and “amen” in Christ Jesus, but does that mean we will see everyone of them fulfilled in the span of our short lifetime? These men and women of faith didn’t see all that they were promised come to manifestation in their lifetime, yet they wavered not, but continued to walk in the promises.
2 Peter 1:2-4 says, “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.” We also have these great and precious promises before us and like our predecessors we must see that these great and precious promises are what lead us into and cause us to be partakers of the divine nature. When we asked Christ into our hearts that is not when were saved but rather when we began to be saved, because salvation is a process that continues on through faith. It sets us on a new road, a high road and a heavenly destination. Faith is not just an act that we do; it is a life that we lead, a journey that we walk and a lifestyle that embraces daily the promises of God and walks in them. It has eyes to see what the world can not see, because it knows that reality of those things in God. Rather we see all the natural reality of what God has promised to us fulfilled in our natural lifetime matters not. Our journey doesn’t stop at death’s door, we simply step into the reality of all that He is and we come into the abiding city that He has prepared for us. All of our earthly limitations and restrictions are released as we stand in the presence of the One who has promised and called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. That journey of faith has lead us to the to the One that called us out of the realm of earthly things and gave to us a heavenly vision and mandate to follow Him in the promises that He has given us.
Today, our faith is not just a belief or an action; it is a journey that takes us from faith to faith and from glory to glory. It is a daily believing into God. Oh yes, we stumble and fall, but there is faith in our hearts that lifts up again and prompts us to continue on. We can’t turn away and we can’t turn back, we must press on into Him who has called us into His promises and into our destiny.

Blessings,
#kent

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

What does this tree of knowledge of good and evil mean today? I would suppose the same thing it meant when God told Adam not to eat of the tree of good and evil, but to partake of the tree of Life. The Word tells us, “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord.” The Word of God defines what the fear of the Lord is, by telling us it means to hate evil.
When we live in this world, we live around good and evil each day of our lives. We are to live a life trying to find out what pleases the Lord and to avoid evil or the mixture of good and evil at all cost.

The Word also tells us we are to “Put on the Mind of Christ.” We are to “Renew our minds in Christ Jesus.” In fact, we are to be so identified with Christ, Paul tells us, “It is no longer I that lives, but Christ Jesus who lives within me.” How about, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”
The Word also exhorts us to “Not walk after the flesh but after the Sprit.” It also tells us “What so ever things are pure, what so ever things are lovely and of good report, think on these things.” I believe when the Word tells us to put on the Mind of Christ, it is so important to understand that it is an act of our will…and act of our choice. Adam and Eve both had the same choice and because of their wrong choice, look what it has cost all of mankind.

We have but one life time to live for God so we in turn will live out eternity in His presence…with all Adam and Eve had before they chose to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and lose His presence in their lives. When Jesus came, He led the way back to the Father, showing us He came only to do His Father’s will and we have the same choice. We should strive to live as Christ out of the Spirit of Christ in us. Because man could not earn for himself God’s approval, Jesus came to not only live His life doing God’s will…but yielded up His life of His own choice to pay the price so we wouldn’t have to try and earn God’s approval.

In the book of Exodus, just as the death angel passed over all the houses in Egypt who bore the blood of a lamb over the door posts, so also eternal death will pass by all who are covered by the Blood of Jesus. When we have chosen to be identified with Christ and what Jesus did for us on the cross, this is finding God’s approval; this is the mindset we are to live for. If man could have saved himself, Jesus wouldn’t have had to come and pay the high price He paid for our sin.

Blessings,
Sharon

Making Healthy Choices

October 22, 2014

Making Healthy Choices

Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Life is made up of a series of choices we make everyday. Much like what we choose to eat, our lives eventually begin to show forth physically the fruit of what we have eaten or not eaten. One or two good choices or bad choices do not determine our fate, it is the overall direction that we go with a pattern of decision making that really begins to define who we are outwardly and who we are inwardly.
The best and the healthiest choice any of us made was when we asked Christ to come into our hearts and be our Lord and Savior. That should have began us down a path and a pattern of making much more healthy choices for ourselves and those for whom we are responsible. Why do we read God’s Word, why do we pray, why do we listen to sermons and the messages that come out of those who speak God’s Word to the Church? Isn’t it because we want the mind of Christ to make healthy choices and right decisions? We know that over time these choices will define our life, who we are and what we are with regards to the Kingdom of God.
Let’s be honest, most of us like junk food and fast food. I’m certainly no exception there. We are educated enough to know that a steady diet of this kind of food will result in an unhealthy end. Some of us are already experiencing the effects of those types of choices. And we can’t turn around and sue God because He made them available to us. All of our choices have consequences and we bear the responsibility for those choices. They can be good or bad depending on what they produce. One of the greatest gifts or curses God gave to man was the right and ability to make their own choices.
Joshua is saying in our verse today to the children of Israel, you all have to make a choice about who you want to serve in life. If it doesn’t seem good to you to really serve the Lord, then you can choose other gods, whether that be another religion or the god of self, or some other god, “but as for me and my house (those I’m responsible for) we will serve the Lord.” Joshua had made his choice long before he ever spoke these words and his life was the result of the choices he had made. We all have to make our own choices in life and consequently we all have to answer for them rather in this life or that which is come.
Are you making healthy choices spiritually today? Are Christ, His Word, His Truth, His Life and His Ways what you are feeding on daily? I believe God has given us this life to enjoy His blessings and the goodness around us, but if we have chosen Him and continue to choose Him, then all of our other choices will be centered in His will and purpose for us and not our own. “For in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).” May the Lord help each of us daily to make healthy choices in every arena of life so that our lives may be blessed and we may be partakers of all the goodness He has for us.

Blessings,
#kent

Beware the Seductress of Your Soul

Proverbs 7:1-5
1MY SON, keep my words; lay up within you my commandments [for use when needed] and treasure them. 2Keep my commandments and live, and keep my law and teaching as the apple (the pupil) of your eye. 3Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4Say to skillful and godly Wisdom, You are my sister, and regard understanding or insight as your intimate friend– 5That they may keep you from the loose woman, from the adventuress who flatters with and makes smooth her words.

Proverbs 7 is an exhortation and an illustration of what can happen to any one of us, at anytime as we travel through life. God has called us to be fishers of men to bring the gospel and the good news of the kingdom to our world and sphere of influence. We are the lights and the instruments of God’s choosing and using to draw men to Him. Even as men are persuaded to righteousness and faith in Christ by the drawing of the Holy Spirit unto life, there is an antithesis that works unto death. Satan is a fisherman also, continually casting the lure and bait that appeals to our base appetites. It is rare that one is so foolish to walk into an obvious trap, so what we get caught up in usually starts out very unthreatening and alluring. We’ve no doubt all been there at one time or another and to one degree or another. Some of us, by the grace of God, have been delivered in areas of our life where the enemy was able to bring great devastation and damage because he was able to get his hook into us and we couldn’t seem to get loose. Some of us may well still be experiencing the prison of this entrapment are still battling issues in our lives from wrong choices that we made or others that were close to us have made. How many of us have felt the effects in our lives from alcohol, drug, sexual addictions, fraud, lying, cheating, stealing and just plain selfishness? Sin has touched all of us directly and indirectly.
Listen to how the seductress and loose woman of Proverbs 7 seduces and ensnares her prey. The young man is vulnerable because he is simple, empty-headed and empty-hearted.
“And behold, there met him a woman, dressed as a harlot and sly and cunning of heart. 11She is turbulent and willful; her feet stay not in her house; 12Now in the streets, now in the marketplaces, she sets her ambush at every corner. 13So she caught him and kissed him and with impudent face she said to him, 14Sacrifices of peace offerings were due from me; this day I paid my vows. 15So I came forth to meet you [that you might share with me the feast from my offering]; diligently I sought your face, and I have found you. 16I have spread my couch with rugs and cushions of tapestry, with striped sheets of fine linen of Egypt. 17I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; let us console and delight ourselves with love. 19For the man is not at home; he is gone on a long journey; 20He has taken a bag of money with him and will come home at the day appointed [at the full moon]. 21With much justifying and enticing argument she persuades him, with the allurements of her lips she leads him [to overcome his conscience and his fears] and forces him along.” This woman is a chameleon and will take on the guise of whatever is necessary to capture your heart. She is a savage beast in beautiful array. Her one intent is to draw you into temptation that she may destroy your faith and devour you. Her ways are death and lead to hell. She has entered the backdoor of your soul in order to drive her dagger into your spirit. In verses 22-27 we see his end, “Suddenly he [yields and] follows her reluctantly like an ox moving to the slaughter, like one in fetters going to the correction [to be given] to a fool or like a dog enticed by food to the muzzle 23Till a dart [of passion] pierces and inflames his vitals; then like a bird fluttering straight into the net [he hastens], not knowing that it will cost him his life. 24Listen to me now therefore, O you sons, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. 25Let not your heart incline toward her ways, do not stray into her paths. 26For she has cast down many wounded; indeed, all her slain are a mighty host 27Her house is the way to Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead), going down to the chambers of death.”
Our exhortation is to avoid her and not to even flirt with her, for her ways are death. The way we avoid her is by not being simple minded, but Christ minded. We set our mind on things above. We fill our hearts with word of God and His wisdom and discernment. We do not allow ourselves to become ignorant or naïve concerning the ways of the world and the enticements that it holds. We keep our hearts humble and trembling before the Lord, for we know that ‘pride preceedth a fall’. In all humility we seek to warn others lest they also become the prey of satan and their faith is shipwrecked. Hold fast to the Word of Life. It is the anchor and preserver of your soul.

Blessings,
#kent

Are You Putting Me On?

Galatians 3:27
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Let’s talk further of our spiritual wardrobe and how we are to clothe our whole man. The Word says that when we were baptized or immersed into Christ we have put on Christ. The struggle isn’t that we don’t have Christ, the struggle is with our thinking and old ways of behavior that must be transformed to the mind of Christ. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Just as we choose each day which clothes we are going to wear, we make choices, either knowingly or unknowingly, about our mindset and how we are going to think and act. It can be all too easy to fall back into the rut of our former way of thinking and behavior because we fail to acknowledge who we are, how we should think, and consequently how we should act. We fail to come into union and alignment with the Holy Spirit on a constant basis to enable us to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh.
There is an active decision going on each day in us to press into and follow after Christ. Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that we are to give ourselves daily to renewing our minds; “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 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.” We are continually to pursue and put on that mind of Christ that walks by faith in our Father and not by the sight of natural things. This is a way contrary to our natural thinking and our former behavior. It is an area we must give ourselves too as we seek to come into concert with the Holy Spirit within us. Colossians 3:8-15 continues to give us further insight into the direction of this exchange and transformation, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.
And above all these things [put on] charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” The word is exhorting us to make right choices about our spiritual wardrobe. It is the reflection of who we really are in Christ. When Paul exhorts women about their outward apparel in 1 Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” he is simply saying let the outward man reflect the inward man. What we are inwardly should show forth in who we are outwardly.
Our spiritual man is not just about an attitude or way of thinking, it is also an armor and protection against the powers and influences of darkness that are ever there to tempt us, distract us, and undermine our authority in Christ. Romans 13:12 tells us, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Ephesians 6:11-13 says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Paul goes on in this passage to explain the different parts of the armor and their spiritual application to us. We are not dressing to go to the mall; we are dressing for battle and spiritual warfare. If we fail to see the significance of our spiritual garments and wardrobe, then we are going to find our selves in those old sweaty garments of the flesh and spiritual defeat. Those aren’t the garments of heavenly attire. How does our Father want us to dress? ” But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof] (Romans 13:14).”

Blessings,
#kent

 

A Series of Right Decisions


Proverbs 3:1-12

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline 

and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.


The essence and sum of our lives can be measured and is made up of a series of decisions.  There will be things in our lives that we have no control over other than how we respond to them and what we do with them.  When we look back over our lives and to the point that we presently live, we can see that our lives are the result of a good number of smaller decisions and choices. Some of those have had more impact on our lives than others but even the little decisions have contributed to the larger whole.  When we understand that each day is made up of a series of decision that can impact and guide the direction of our lives, we then understand the importance of making right decisions.  

Proverbs 3 speaks to us out of the wisdom of a Father to his son.  As we read this we insert ourselves into the object of this conversation.  The Father is reminding the son that to live a prosperous and healthy life there are certain things you need to maintain, remember and exercise in your decision making.  The foremost is that you keep the teachings and the commands of God’s Word in your heart.  The continual meditation upon the Word of God will serve to keep your life focused and continually aware of what your life is about.  

The way that we exercise the Word that we store up in our hearts is through love and faithfulness.  These are the keys that allow us to partake of the treasures of God’s wisdom and grace and to put them into the vocabulary of our daily lives and actions.  Love, trust and obedience, these are the essentials that need to be with us in every decision making process.  When we have them and exercise them, and then they will assure a right motive to the decisions that we do make.  

Even with these essentials we realize that we lack the insight, understanding and wisdom to really know what is best for our lives and if the decision we are making may be the best choice we could have made.  

Again, the Lord reminds us to trust Him with all our whole heart and to lean not upon our own understanding.  God knows so much more about our lives and the impact of our decisions than we do. It only makes sense to really trust Him to guide us and lead us.  He says He will make our paths straight.  Romans 8: 28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  These are those ones that are practicing Proverbs 3.  If we acknowledge Him, trust Him and love Him with all of our heart, then He is able to take even the bad things in our life and work them for our good.  There are going to be times in our life we won’t be able to grasp the whys and wherefores of how God operates and the reason He has allowed things to happen as they have.  He never told us we had to understand Him, just acknowledge, love and trust Him.  

We can never boast in ourselves, in our ability, our prosperity or our wisdom.  We do acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from above.  Sometimes we are tempted in our spiritual or natural successes to be lifted up to think we are something or somebody more than somebody else is.  We have to always keep our feet on the ground while we keep our heart in heaven.  Spiritual pride is a foolish man’s prize.  We are all the products of God’s rich grace and mercy.  None of us can boast in ourselves for it is God alone that gives us value and worth.  If we fear God and turn away from evil then it will be health to our body and nourishment to our bones.  

I heard a minister the other day who was sharing that the temple had five gates.  There was a priest stationed over each one of those gates as a watchman to assure that no danger or that nothing unclean entered the gates.  He went on to share that these five gate are like our five natural senses and God has set us as a priest to watch over them and insure that nothing harmful or unclean passes through them into the temple which we are.  This is much like the principles of Proverbs 3.  If we will do our part to love, acknowledge, trust and obey the Lord, He will do His part to direct and order our steps.  

As He honors us, we must in turn honor Him with the firstfruits of our increase.  We can’t bring the leftovers or the second best.  We must honor Him with the firstfruits of our best.  He assures us that we won’t lack because of it.  

We are His children.  He loves us and whom the Lord loves He chastens, disciplines and corrects.  We can’t become discouraged when our lot in life is tough.  It is not God’s anger and displeasure at work; it is His love.  The trials and tribulations in our lives are what shape and mold our character and integrity.  They are a part of the process of bringing us into conformity with Father’s nature and character.  All that God is working in us is in preparation for a much more glorious life.

Just remember that it is the series of everyday decision that add up to the sum of your life.  Allow God to be a part of every one of them.  

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

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