Roots

January 30, 2015

Matthew 3:7-10
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Roots

Roots in our lives come from seeds that were planted either in our lives or perhaps the generations before us. Roots go down into the recesses of our soul, but they produce fruit upward. That fruit can be good or bad, selfless or selfish, spiritual or fleshly. Like any good garden it is the gardener’s desire to enhance the fruitfulness of the good plants and to pull out the weeds that want to choke out what if fruitful and good. What happens to a weed if we only pull off what we can see? We know that if we didn’t get the root, the weed will grow back. Such are the areas of our lives that the good Gardner, the Holy Spirit wants search out in us and root out.
William Law wrote, “Self is the root, the tree, and the branches of all the evils of our fallen state. We are without God, because we are in the life of self. Self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking, are the very essence, and life of pride; and the devil the first father of pride, is never absent from them, nor without power in them. To die to these essential properties of self, is to make the devil depart from us. But as soon as we would have self-abilities have a share in our good works, the satanic spirit of pride is in union with us, and we are working for the maintenance of self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking.” He perceived that the major root of sin and separation from God is self. When Christ came into our lives it should be as John the Baptist said, “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” All that was built upon the foundation and has the root of self in it must be cut away. That root must be cut out, along with all of the other off-shoot roots that it produces.
Many of us struggle in different areas of our lives. We may pull them off for a time, but then they seem to continue to come back, sometimes even stronger than before. The question is, “Have we found the root?” Unless we trace these strongholds back to their root they may be hard to get free of. Somewhere we or an ancestor as opened a door for a spiritual attachment to come in and find root. It doesn’t mean that we are possessed or anything, but it does mean that there can be a strong soul tie to something that needs God’s axe to sever and separate us from it. It is something that we recognize the fruit of in our outward life, but we haven’t fully identified the root of it and then renounced and cut off that soul tie to it. Sometimes these roots like those of our wisdom teeth can become candy-caned and intertwined in the areas of our life where it is a process of identifying, renouncing and cutting off these roots by the power and authority we have in Christ Jesus. Nothing ever leaves our lives until we have fully repented of them, renounced them and no longer give them permission in our lives. We can go through the motions, but until our will is one with the Father, these roots will not be fully extracted.
Hebrews 12:15 refers to one such root. “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Bitterness, offense, unforgiveness are roots that are prone to try to get a hold of members of the body of Christ. If we don’t recognize and deal with them they can cause division, dissention, backbiting, gossip, slander and all manner of poisonous manifestations that would defile the many. Prejudice is often a root that is passed to us from previous generations.
The Holy Spirit has indwelled us to bring us into the nature, mind and character of Christ. We need to have intimacy with the Father and the time in the Word so that we can say like David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24)”
It is only as we partner with the Holy Spirit that these roots can be identified and cut out. If we want a weed free garden, then it starts with our renouncement of self in every area of our lives and the full surrender to Christ as our Lord and King. As we give the Holy Spirit permission He will search our hearts and reveal things to us that we then must renounce, repent and surrender to Christ. This is an ongoing process in all of our lives, but the more we work in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to give Him place the more freedom and liberty in the Spirit we can come into.
A lot of us want to continue to sweep our issues under the rug and just ignore them, but we are only robbing ourselves of that place of greater fullness through a wholly surrendered life to Christ. Find your roots.

Blessings,
#kent

The Art of Storytelling

January 14, 2015

Psalms 34:11
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

The Art of Storytelling

Many of us experience the difficulty of relating with our children and grandchildren. They live in a high tech world of video games and fast paced television. To them we may seem pretty boring and out of touch. Even so, I think children still have the same need to be able to be taught and nurtured by us. Often we are perceived as just the yellers and disciplinarians. Yet part of the role of an adult parent or grandparent is the role of a teacher. God has given us a good number more years to experience life first hand through both success and failures. We tend to forget the wealth of experience that we possess. Used in the right way, this can be one of the greatest avenues for us to relate and teach our children the positive lessons of life. It is our way to make real to them the reality of God and how He personally works in our lives.
God exhorted the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” It is a parent’s responsibility to pass on the laws, principles and precepts of God’s Word to their children. Many of us have been very guilty of ignoring this responsibility or feel like we have met our obligation by giving our kids religious videos and taking them to Sunday school. That is all well and good, but God has given us the responsibility to instruct our children. Maybe we don’t feel qualified or we think that just entails us sitting them down while we read scripture to them. No, the Word of God has to become alive to them through us. We have to convey to them spiritual reality.
Our grandchildren love all the things that other kids love, but I find that they are fascinated to sit and listen as we tell them the stories of how God has worked in our lives. We can share with them our victories and our failures. When they understand how God has worked for us and in us then they can mentally handle God in the flesh. It becomes reality to them and it makes the stories of God’s Word more of a reality to them as well. It is amazing to see the hunger in our grandchildren as they ask to hear story after story. The neat thing is that as you are telling them the stories you can teach God’s Word to them in a meaningful and interesting way.
We may not think we have much to share, but maybe we need to take some time to really meditate back through our lives and think about all of the times God has been there for us. As we think about it, most all of us have experiences where we have seen God’s hand in our lives, His blessing, His protection and His provision. We may find that encourages and stirs up our faith as we remember and reflect on all of God’s goodness in our lives. Be faithful to teach your children and instruct them in the ways of the Lord. They need it because it is what gives them a sense of identity and purpose for their own lives. There is perhaps no more effective way than through the art of storytelling. It is the way that cultures have passed their values and their heritage on to the younger generations throughout history. We don’t want to lose this art in our high tech world. Take the time to share your stories and do it often. It is the way that we instill godly character, values and knowledge about who God is, what He is and what He wants to be to them.

Blessings,
#kent

Deuteronomy 4:5-8
See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?

The Nation who Fears the Lord is a Wise and Understanding People

God took this nation, the United States, and birthed it out of a persecuted people that sought to love and worship Him in spirit and in truth. He took this infant nation and protected and preserved it from the enemy that sought to destroy it. From its conception and foundation it was built upon the principles of faith in Him and His Law fashioned our laws. When we look back at the fathers of our constitution who framed and structured our government, we see in them such a spirit of wisdom. It wasn’t natural wisdom, but it was wisdom from above, because they came together and asked God to help them in this great endeavor that would impact the generations to follow. Everything in that document was formed, not to force religion upon anyone, but to preserve everyone’s right to pursue his faith and hold it in freedom of worship and expression. The other nations of the world surely couldn’t help but see the wisdom and understanding that formed this nation. Many others since have followed this model of democracy. As a result, this nation has become the most powerful and prosperous of nations in the earth. That didn’t happen because of us as a people. We are like any other people, but it happened because we made our motto, “In God We Trust.” If we depart from the secular history books and really follow the history and the documents that substantiate it we will find a rich history of God fearing men, who put their trust and reliance upon God as they lead this nation. It was because of God’s law that was set before this nation, that we have had God’s favor and blessing.
Deuteronomy 4:9-10 goes on to say, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”” Unfortunately, we, like the nation of Israel, have forgotten to a great extent where we came from and what is the source of our wealth, blessing and prosperity. We have grown wise in our own eyes, full of ourselves and our vain philosophies so that many think that God no longer has a place in our government, our schools or even our nation. Each generation seems to stray further from the truth. The advocates of darkness have perpetuated the lie through every medium that touches our lives and many of us have failed in taking our stand for righteousness and speaking out against this lie.
We, as a nation, now sit upon the precipice of ruin. First it will happen within and then it will happen without. We see the decay of moral values all around us. We watch them daily on the TV and read about it in the newspaper. Many of us are even the victims of it as we try to walk in the truth. These are perilous times and a time when all of us need to be fervent in prayer and in action. Soon the governments of men will end the governments will become spiritual strongholds. The battle that we fight is not one of the flesh and blood, but of the Spirit. The people of God are all that stands between this nation and its judgement. We must lift up a standard of righteousness again and no longer be a silent majority. We are soon becoming a silent minority. The greater the cloud of darkness and deception that covers our nation the brighter we must shine forth as the people of God. We must not lose our conscience, but be the conscience of our nation. Instead of our children being taught the precepts and principles of God’s Word they are now indoctrinated with humanism and every false thing. If we, the people who bear the name of the Lord, don’t make a difference, then who will?

Blessings,
#kent

The Place of Breakthrough

October 28, 2013

The Place of Breakthrough

Exodus 19:20-25
And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses [up] to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them. And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.

A few inches of snow covered the ground and the bird feeders in the backyard where we often sit and watch the birds feed in the morning. This morning, as I was gazing out of the window, a few birds began to show up, but none were going up to the bird feeders and finding the seed. Finally, one bird did fly up to one of the feeders where he began to breakthrough the snow till he found the precious seed beneath that he could feed upon. As he remained there feeding, other birds began to fly up to the feeders looking for the seed. I began to think how that snow is like our natural understanding and thinking; the true seed and Word of God so often becomes obscured by that cloud and cover of natural reasoning. Many of the mysteries of God’s Word are hidden to our natural minds and we don’t understand and comprehend them, for only the Spirit reveals them.
Moses was an interesting man. There is perhaps no greater type and shadow of Christ in the Old Testament than Moses. He had a very unique relationship with God. It is like he broke through the veil of snow or flesh that separated men from God and partake of the Seed and Word of Life like no others had. God used his break-through to reveal Himself then to His people. As precious as that was, we see it was not without limitation, because the people and even the priest could not go where Moses went in his encounter with God. Moses brought the dispensation of the Law, which was a revelation of our sin and our inability to measure up to God’s standards in our own selves. Breaking through to God in this state of sinfulness would only have brought death if the Holiness of God broke forth upon us.
Roman 8:3 says, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” Moses, as great as he was, was still only a type of Christ. It is Christ who is our break-through. It is He that has broken through the natural barriers of sin and self to bring us to the mount of God. In Christ it is no longer a mountain of fearful judgement, but of grace and mercy. We know that when Christ hung on the cross the veil of the temple was rent or torn from top to bottom. This revealed the truth that there was now access to man to enter into the place that had been forbidden for him to enter into prior to the cross. The cross is the way of entry. The blood of Jesus is the only thing that can wash away our sins and give us right standing before the Father. We can be accepted into His presence when we are in Christ. When the Father looks upon us now, He sees us in His Son and He sees His Son’s righteousness in us. Praise God, we no longer have to fear approaching God in the light of our merit or worthiness. That former man of weakness and sin is dead and we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Our approach to the Father must be in the light of that truth. The Father God has not changed His character since the Old Testament. It is not like He mellowed into this big Teddy Bear where sin doesn’t matter any more, He is not just this God of Love who now looks past and winks at our sin. Yes, He is and always has been a God of love, tenderness and mercy, but God has become no less awesome and holy in His magnificent presence, nor fearful in regards to sin. It may be somewhat obscured to us who dwell under the shadow of His wing, but it would be our great error and mistake to treat and approach our God as something common or someone who is just there to answer our prayers and meet our needs. He does that because He is God, He is love, He is goodness and He has given us His promises. He owes us nothing, unlike us who owe Him everything. We must always have the greatest reverence, love and respect toward Him. We must never mistake our grace as our license to sin, lest we greatly offend Him and the Holy Spirit that indwells us.
The point of all this is that Jesus is that light that came into the world. He became the hierarchy of divine life and truth. He was our breakthrough to bring us into the Father’s presence.
He revealed Himself and that Truth to His disciples and apostles, who in turn imparted it to like faithful ones and so that light and truth cascades down through the generations, through the written Word and through the Holy Spirit that quickens that Word and makes it no longer a dead letter, but a living, transforming dynamic in our lives. It also comes to us through the mouthpieces of God’s servants who are receiving this truth to impart. God’s truth is expanding even the more so in these last days as we press in to know Him beyond the Veil, in the most Holy Place. Where He leads others will follow. He is leading us into an ever-increasing breakthrough into Him. We in turn have to have the eyes of faith to see beyond the veil and press into what we have not yet tasted and partaken of. Like that bird feeder, once we break through these natural barriers, we tap into an endless source of life in abundance that we cannot imagine. This is the day of our breakthrough. Let us get a revelation of Him. We have a Moses access to the top of God’s mountain and God is calling us to come up.

Blessings,
kent

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