Thankfulness

October 21, 2014

Thankfulness

Psalms 100:4
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name.

Why is there power in the words, “Thank You,” or in the words that express thankfulness and thanksgiving? If these are words from the heart then they convey the attitude of deep appreciation and gratitude. We have discussed in the past about praise and worship, but where do these come from if it is not from an attitude of thanksgiving. Thankfulness is a gate, it is an entrance, and it is a condition of heart that makes us ready to really appreciate and express that appreciation to our Lord. It is like the precursor to praise and worship as well as being a part of it. Are we going to praise and worship what we don’t appreciate and aren’t thankful for?
It is important that thankfulness is a constant attitude of our heart. Psalms 30:4 says, “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” Psalms 18:49 reiterates with, ” Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” The Psalms are alive with scripture that exhorts us to be thankful:
Psalms 75:1 Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, [unto thee] do we give thanks: for [that] thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
Psalms 79:13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
Psalms 92:1 [[A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day.]] [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
Psalms 97:12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Psalms 105:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.
Psalms 106:1 Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
Psalms 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, [and] to triumph in thy praise.
Psalms 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
These are among a few of so many that extol thankfulness to the Lord.
Jesus even demonstrates the importance and attitude of thankfulness, when He broke bread when feeding the multitude. Even at the Last Supper He gave thanks as He broke the bread that represented His body that was soon to be broken and offered in the sacrifice of His life at Calvary.
Our giving thanks at meal times is a constant reminder to us of where our blessings and supply comes from and who we depend upon to provide our needs, as well as the expression of appreciation to Him who has so graciously provided it.
The New Testament exhorts us as well in the area of Thanksgiving:
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Colossians 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.
1 Thessalonians 5:13 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
When we give thanks in all things aren’t we acknowledging that God is sovereign upon His throne and in control of all that touches our lives? Aren’t we declaring His faithfulness regardless of circumstances and conditions? Isn’t our thankfulness an acclamation of His Lordship?
Hebrews 23:15 continues this thought, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.” 1 Timothy 2:1 continues the theme of how our thankfulness ties into our praise, worship, ministry and intercession before the Lord, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;”
The relevance, significance and importance of thanksgiving is not just an earthly principle, it is a heavenly one as well that continues on through eternity, precious to the heart of God. Revelations 11:16-17 speaks, “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”
On the other side Romans 1:21-25 speaks of the ungodly and unrighteous who knowing about God fail to have a thankful heart, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Ungratefulness leads to a hardened and perverse heart. It is the fools gate and entrance to wrath and judgement. That lack of thanksgiving can take us out of the right perception and acknowledgement of who and what our God is in relationship with our lives.
As we acknowledge our God today and each day let us do it with a heart that is thankful and appreciative of the matchless grace and abundance He has worked in us. Sometimes we get focused so much on the adversity and the negative in our lives we loose sight of who still sits on the throne and is in charge of all that affects us. While we are not thankful for the evil that befalls us we are forever thankful for our God that brings us through our adversities and is perfecting us in the process. Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

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

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

The Power of Our Words

Matthew 12:30-37
30“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
33“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Words are powerful utterances that have the power to work not only in the seen realm but in the unseen as well. This scripture here tells us that words are pretty important because by them we are judged and must give account. “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Why are words so important? Words are the expression of the heart and it’s condition. If our heart is evil, our words will reflect that and if our hearts are pure and just, our words will reflect that as well.
In the first part of this study let’s begin to look at the power of God’s Word. There is a creative power in words that cannot be denied. Perhaps the greatest and foremost of these is seen in John 1:1-5, “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood[a] it.” All of creation is held together by “the Word”, which is Christ Jesus. He was the spoken Word of faith proceeding out of the Father’s mouth that set all of creation into being. That Word has expression through a person Christ Jesus who is the divine mouthpiece of God. Jesus even said in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.” What Jesus spoke in this earthly ministry was not idle chatter; they were the foundational building blocks, the DNA of eternal life. Our faith in those words and the God-man that spoke them is the essence of our faith and the hope we have in eternal life. It is the power of God’s Word that has the power to change and transform our hearts and lives. Again in John 14:10 Jesus says, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” Jesus again confirms that His presence and His expression are the extension of the Father and not His own as a separate entity. Through our unity in Christ Jesus and common faith in Him, He has joined us to Himself for us to, in turn, be the expression of His Word. Our unity and alliance with the Word is seen in our obedience to it. Because Christ was the Word, His life lined up with it in total obedience. Jesus tells us our lives must do the same if we are a part of that Word. In John 14:23-34, “23Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.””
Jesus expresses His mission and what His Word is to accomplish in and through us in John 17:6-8, ““I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” Then in verses 14-19 Jesus prays, “14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” We should begin to grasp how central God’s Word and truth is to all that He is imparting into the believers. Words are a creative and dynamic power we will continue to expand on as the Lords leads. (Continued)

Blessings,
#kent

Alert and Watching

February 27, 2014

 

Alert and Watching


Judges 7:5-7

So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. 

7 The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.” 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. 


As I watched a sparrow feeding out of the bird-feeder this morning I was impressed at how it did not just casually eat with no other thought or worry in the world.  It was continually eating and watching, turning its head from side to side and aware of what was going on around it.  It didn’t take its safety and well being for granted, but was ready to fly at a moment’s notice.  I was reminded of the story of Gideon and how that out of thirty-two thousand whom volunteered to fight for Israel, God brought it down to three hundred.  The first thing God did to disqualify the excess numbers was to let all that were fearful or afraid go home.   God is raising up a people for His glory and one of the first things they must have is faith and confidence to believe and trust in their God.  A lack of faith and trust is the first thing to disqualify us.  Out of the thirty-two thousand that started twenty-two thousand went home.  Ten thousand were still too many people.  A battle won with that many men could be construed as man’s ability, rather than God’s.  God must receive the glory for the deliverance and if we think we have any strength or ability then we tend to dismiss God and take the glory for ourselves.  The second thing God did was to narrow the field  by having them drink water.  If they were down on their knees drinking with their head down and unaware of their surroundings they were disqualified.  Only three hundred lapped the water from their hands like dogs, because that way they were alert and ready, their physical needs were not turning their attention from their first duty as soldiers in readiness.  

Where are most of us as the body of Christ?  Where would we fit in among these thirty-two thousand that came to fight in the Lord’s army?  Have we become fearful and afraid? Has our faith and confidence in the Lord become weak?  Has our attention has been diverted by our blessings, by our affections for life and by all the other distractions that take our eyes off of the Lord. Have we ceased to really watch and be concerned about the things of God and the timing of God?  I don’t believe the Lord is looking for us to be fearful or paranoid, but He is looking for those like the three hundred that fought with Gideon, who are alert and watching in their spirit.  They are attuned to when the enemy is around, where he is at and what he is doing.  They are not allowing themselves to become vulnerable by becoming lethargic and complacent.  They are sensitive to the hour and the timing of the Lord, watching to move at His command and His coming.

This aspect of watchfulness is addressed a number of times and especially in the New Testament, but in Psalm 130:6 David says, “My soul [waiteth] for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: [I say, more than] they that watch for the morning.”  

Jesus teaches us this throughout the gospels such as in Matthew 24, 4“Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many…13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come…” 42″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 

45″Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In Matthew 25 Jesus gives us the parable of the ten virgins, the five wise and the five foolish.  When the Lord did come the foolish missed out, because they were unprepared and not watching.  When they came back it was too late and the door was shut to them.  Verse 13 says, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”  Mark 13:37 says, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”  1 Corinthians 16:13 exhorts us, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”  1 Thessalonians 5:6 tells us, “Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober.”  Paul exhorts Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

The Lord is speaking to all of us today to rise up off of our haunches of complacency and spiritual dullness.  Now is the day to really get our ears in tune with the Spirit of God and our hearts ready to meet Him.  He is exhorting us not to neglect the day of His visitation, but as good soldiers, to prepare ourselves and be watching for Him.  When the Lord comes will He find most of us at the water hole, drinking our fill and oblivious to the spiritual time, hour and condition of our hearts?  

When the Spirit addresses the churches in Revelation 3, the first concern that He addresses is one of watchfulness.  Revelations 3:3-6 says, “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 4Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Isn’t this what He is speaking to our hearts today?

 
Blessings,
kent
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