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

God is for You

December 10, 2014

Romans 8:28-39
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, we have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God is for You

There are times we go through in life when it seems all of hell comes against us. There are times the enemy wants to condemn and defeat us through accusing voices within and without. There are times circumstances of life overwhelm and flood over us like a tsunami seeking tear away all that we have held sacred and dear to us. There are times that if we lived only by our feelings we would be utterly lost and forsaken. But, God says we are His predestined ones called according to His purpose.
Predestined and purposed for what?
Predestined and purposed to be conformed to the likeness of His Son!
Sonship will allow the world to tear at every fiber of your humanity so that it may reveal your destiny as a son. It causes us to turn from every reliance and dependence upon the world so that we might fully depend on Abba Father. That is why all things are working for our good even in the darkness and seeming discouragement of our life circumstances. Father is saying take heart, I am only allowing it to conform you by faith and steadfast obedience to that which you are called to become.
“I am for you, not against you”, says the Lord.
Hebrews 5:7-10 says of Jesus, “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 have a promise to suffer persecution if we live godly in Christ Jesus. “As Jesus is so are we in this world. (1 John 4:17)” We will have our hardships, but Father wants us to know beyond a shadow of doubt those hardship are in no way indicative of His inseparable love for us. There is a principle in God that out of our dying to self and the natural realm, spiritual life is produced and propagated. The more we die to this life the more of Jesus is released into the earth.
Paul describes it this way in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” Every assault of the enemy and this natural world should only serve to bring forth Jesus. Every time you are wounded physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially; it should only cause you to bleed more of Jesus into every situation, because that is who you are and what you are becoming.
This is why it is so important not to weigh your spirituality or God’s love for you by your circumstances. How can you be an overcomer, unless you have to overcome? God wants us to so get a hold of who we are. He so wants you to have a revelation of your identity in Him, your destiny and purpose in Him. If you have a secure revelation of that and that nothing in hell or earth can steal that from you, then you will overcome the enemy, “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” You will not fear or shrink back from the death in this life, because you have so much of a revelation of the life of Christ that dwells in you. In the understanding of that revelation is the peace of knowing, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If God is so much for you, who can ever be against you?

Blessings,
#kent

Wise Counsel

January 2, 2014

 

Wise Counsel


Proverbs 24:6

For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors [there is] safety. 


Most of us appreciate wise counsel, especially in the hard decisions of our life, but we have a choice of who we choose to hear and receive counsel from.  Essentially all of our decisions are made from counsel that we gather mentally from different sources, then evaluate and arrive at our decision.  Where are we going to get our counsel?   

The fruit of our lives will reveal the source of our counsel.  If we are walking in the counsel of the ungodly, then our actions, decisions and choices are going to be ungodly.   Psalms 1:1 exhorts us, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”  

Most all of us want and need wise counsel.  We realize that we are not all wise and experienced in many of the areas of life we must make decisions, so it is quite common that we would seek out those who are wiser and more experienced in these areas of life.   Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established” 

Proverbs 19:20 exhorts us, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”  As Christians, most of us have come to realize that our best advice and counsel comes from the Word of God and His people who are skilled and experienced in His Word.  One of the reasons we go to church and bible studies, listen to tapes and read Christian books is to hear the counsel of the word of God and it’s interpretation.  It is a resource we can use to make wise decisions for the direction of our lives.  

One of the names of God and Christ is “Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6).  One of the seven spirits of God spoken of in Isaiah 11:2 is “counsel”.  God is our greatest resource of wise counsel and direction for our lives if we take the time to seek it out.  Too often we are in a hurry with the decisions we make or we have preconceived notions about what we want.  As a result we don’t take the time to wait on the counsel of the Holy Spirit or pursue the counsel of wise and godly men.  This is difficult for many of us because we are not given to patience.  We want our answer right now.  With God, His requirements are often that we wait upon Him, that we are “anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6).”   Proverbs 20:5 says, “Counsel in the heart of man [is like] deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.”  I believe the same is true of God.  We have to take the time to draw out what is the wisdom and counsel of God for our lives and the decisions we must make along the way.  Proverbs 19:21 tells us, “There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”  We have to discern in our hearts and sort out what is of God and what is of natural reasoning and thinking.  We do that by connecting the points that make a straight line through the things that line up with the Word and counsel of God.  God’s counsel shouldn’t be confusion; it should bear witness with itself all along the way.  

It is most important, if we want wise counsel, to keep our hearts in tune with the Holy Spirit, seeking His counsel and wisdom through prayer and the Word.  It is equally important to check the attitudes and the condition of our heart and motives to be sure they are pure and submitted to Him.   Proverbs is a wonderful resource concerning the wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel of the Lord. Let’s conclude with a passage from Proverbs 2:1-8 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,

2turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—3indeed, if you call out for insight

and cry aloud for understanding, 4and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,

5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  7He holds success in store for the upright,

he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”  

 
Blessings
kent

September 12, 2013

The Blessing of Our Women

Proverbs 31:8
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.

Most all of us have a woman or women that are very special in our lives. They are often so dependable, constant and such a continual source of blessing that we often become complacent and even unappreciative in our attitudes toward them. Much like our attitude can become toward the Lord, we can become very insensitive to their presence, their continual serving and blessing and all that they contribute to our lives. We often are far more acutely aware of their faults, their nagging, and their expectations. Yet it is often some of these little irritating qualities that keep us on track, that help us live up to our abilities and responsibilities, and they are often the cornerstones of our households. These little ladies look after us, pamper us, serve us, bless us, love us, even when we are unlovely and are constantly laying down their lives to unselfishly serve and bless their families.
Often we relegate one day a year to commemorate and recognize these special ones, which is much like just going to church on Christmas or Easter. We should be so cognizant to love and appreciate them every day, in every way and through all of the little actions as well as the larger ones. Sure they have their human side. They can get cranky and irritable and some times hard to live with, but that may be a good indication that we as men and children aren’t doing our part to support, love and care for them.
I know my wife is so giving and far more generous than I am. While I’m always carefully watching the bottom line, if there is something I really need or want, she doesn’t hesitate to try and bless me with it if it is in her power to do so. Time would fail me to tell all of the examples of her giving and blessings in my life. She is such an example of love and Christ to me in these areas. Often, I get irritated with her for always asking me if I remembered this or that, but if she didn’t she knows that there is a good chance I would go off and forget it. What I am saying is that these special women are such a constant source of blessing and help to us, and we usually cop an attitude with them in their efforts to help us keep on track.
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” We men and children that have godly women in our lives are very blessed and should never fail to praise and appreciate them. They wear innumerable hats, continually work at daunting tasks and yet manage to love and serve their household in that process. Many of us truly have heroines living among us whom we don’t love and appreciate nearly enough. They deserve our best, because they give no less of themselves.
It is interesting that some of Jesus’ last thoughts and concerns, while hanging on a cross, were for His mother. He delegated her care to the disciple John. If we see Jesus throughout His ministry so tender, loving, forgiving and caring of women should we, as men, be any less so? He valued women as few men did of that time. The Word exhorts us husbands in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
We must ask ourselves, as men, husbands and children, are we really everyday appreciating and showing the women in our lives how special they are? Our encouragement and praise means so much to them and helps them to continue on in their endeavor to serve and bless us. I speak this as strongly to myself as I do anyone else; that the women in your life are an extension of you in one way or another. If we love ourselves then we must not fail to love and bless them as a part of ourselves. Many of our marriages and relationships fail, because we cease to really love and appreciate one another. We become focused on all of the faults and shortcomings and actually cause them to become accentuated through the negative confessions of our lips. What if we were to speak, sometimes by faith, what we see or would like to see more of them, in a positive way? What if we were to be sure and praise and appreciate often the positive aspects of one another while humbly and willingly receiving loving correction and exhortation from one another. None of us are the perfect husband or wife, mother or child, but we can move and encourage one another toward that through the positive reinforcement we can bring to one another’s lives. Let today and each coming day be a day of true appreciation of those special women in our lives. Let us continually let them know how special they are and how much they bless our lives.

Blessings,
kent

Kindness

May 30, 2013

Kindness

Colosians 3:12-13
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.

“Kindness”, an obvious word with an obvious application, it is often descriptive of one of the attributes of the fruit of the Spirit. Kindness is so obvious and so simple and yet so missing among so many of us. It is simply goodness and favor toward another person. Many families and relationships are missing this little social grace from their words and actions. Even in our every day encounters with strangers and people that we interact with, we fail at this little thing called kindness. Oh yes, we feign kindness through superficial words and platitudes, but is it an issue of our heart? True kindness pities, it empathizes, sympathizes and identifies with another’s need. Kindness puts itself in the place of its neighbor and then responds appropriately according to how it would want to be treated. Kindness isn’t a social mask that we put on to give the illusion of our graciousness; it is something that issues out of the foundation of who we are in Christ. Kindness genuinely cares for another and will not think about going out of its way to minister or help another. Kindness overlooks the opportunity to be right when it is at the expense of another. It compliments the rest of the attributes of the Spirit and it chooses the high road even at its own expense. Kindness is what covers another with grace and favor even when they may not deserve it. Kindness is slow to be offended and it returns good for evil. True kindness is often the brunt of abuse and is commonly taken for granted. Yet, it is the kindness working in us that causes our Father to smile and reminds Him of Himself.
Today and each day of your life, develop the habit of random acts of kindness, not just on the deserving but on the undeserving as well. Practice that kindness on the ones you say you love and yet always rub you the wrong way. While others may not always appreciate it and it may be abused by some, you will never regret the warmth it leaves inside and the smile it puts on the face of God.

Blessings,
kent

Ephesian 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

The Prominent Woman of the New Testament

I was thinking this morning, “If I were to identify the most prominent woman in the New Testament, who would it be? Would it be Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Elizabeth or one of the other godly women? Then it struck me that the most prominent woman and the one to whom the whole New Testament is dedicated too, is the bride of Christ, us, His Church.
He loves us so much that He laid down His life to redeem us for His bride. His love for His bride becomes the model of every husband’s love for his natural wife. For Jesus, the life that he lived, the love that He proved in action, the Word that He gave and His Spirit that now indwells, all speak to the passionate love that He has for us. He did nothing for Himself, but all was for us.
The Word teaches here that even with the same love and care you extend to your personal self, you should extend to your wife; loving your wife as your own body. Our wife is an extension of our own flesh and blood. Spiritually she is united and one with us. This scripture teaches us that all that Jesus did and is still doing, even His very life was dedicated to this woman, His bride. All that He has done and is still doing is to make us all that we were called to be in union with Him. We were called and betrothed to holiness, so He cleanses us with His blood for the forgiveness of our sins and He washes us with the water of His Word that renews us in our identity with Him; His mind, His heart, His love. By the sacrifice of His own self He imparts into us His own righteousness and virtue to remove every stain, wrinkle and blemish. As husbands who follow this example, we are compelled to provide an atmosphere and environment where our bride is treated in the same manner. When she submits herself to us there is no fear or trepidation in her, because she is so secure in our love and best interests for her. In that love she finds such a place of security and peace. She knows that she is at the forefront of all that we do and provide. She delights to submit, because her joy is to reciprocate the love that is so freely and unselfishly lavished upon her. Her husband has cut all ties to his former obligations and earthly commitments that He might put her first. She is His treasure and He will protect and cherish that treasure with His very life.
This may all sound very idealistic, but it shouldn’t. It should be the way, we, as Christian men and husbands should think and believe, because it is the Word of God. It is the way that Christ loves us. Since we have inherited this same love, it is incumbent upon us to love our wives in this same manner. God gave us all of His Word, but in particular the New Testament as His love letter to His bride. His one desire is to bring us into all that He is and all that He possesses. Jesus loves us with undying, unfailing and unending love. Just as He is so in love with us; He wants us to be so in love with Him. He gave us marriage to practice that love affair. In the same way that we love one another in that marriage relationship, it is the same way we love Jesus. You may think your spouse is so stubborn or has such issues that you can’t get along and love them in that way. Do we think that it has been any easier for Christ to love us through all of our issues and sins? Yet He does. His love never fails, it never gives up and never runs out on us. He looks past our faults and sees our needs. While He would have every justification to divorce us, He doesn’t. He patiently loves us, forgives us, ministers life and blessing to us, even when we live in defiance and rebellion to Him. Love never fails when it comes to this prominent woman in the New Testament. He has committed to stay with Her until He brings Her into His highest and into the fullness of Himself.

Blessings,
kent

Our Children

May 13, 2013

Our Children

Psalms 127:3
Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward.

There are perhaps fewer things in life that can bring us greater joy or deeper sorrow than our children. There are perhaps fewer things in life that can help us relate with our heavenly Father than our children. In our children we see the individual and we also see ourselves. Through our children many of us may have tried to live out a part of ourselves, our children thus becoming an extension of ourselves in their youth. We are given the awesome responsibility to raise them up into adulthood, to be their examples, their mentors, their disciplinarians, and the ones they turn too and trust in. Our heavenly Father has given us a role in a much smaller sense, yet similar to the role He plays in our lives.
Our children, while under our authority, still have a free will to make right and wrong choices. Through those choices they can either bless our hearts or break them. The Lord tells us in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 concerning raising our children, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 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. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Our foremost responsibility, besides caring and providing for our children is to raise them, seeking every opportunity to instill in their hearts the Word of God. We do this through our personal instruction, our lifestyle, example, and the atmosphere in which we raise them. Hopefully we learn to instruct our children in the love and grace of God, not just in harshness and legalism. In our exuberance to have them conform to godly ways we may use God like a club to beat them over the head, using condemnation and judgmental tactics to try and control them. This may not be so different than what many of you grew up in. On the other hand some may give there children too much lee way, not providing a loving atmosphere of discipline and correction to guide them and train them into maturity. The bottom line is most of us try and do the best we can to raise our children in a right way. Being human ourselves, we are prone to make mistakes along the way and we pray God’s grace will fill in the potholes of our shortcomings.
Sometimes our children grow up fulfilling all of our expectations to our delight and joy. Sometimes our children falter, but then recover to still grow up and bless our hearts. Sometimes our children become headstrong, rebellious and turn away from the principles of right and wrong we endeavored to instill in them. They may reject our values and us to go their own way. As a result many have ended up in trouble with the law, have broken homes and marriages, have children and relationships outside of marriage, or have adopted lifestyles and behaviors contrary to the way we sought to raise them in. They may be the source of our greatest hurt and heartache today. Even as much as we disapprove of their actions we never stop loving them. Our natural tendency is to some how take responsibility for their actions and the choices they made. Sometimes it leads to marital strife and tension because one spouse blames the other because of some weakness or failure on their part. We all have shortcomings, but at some point our children choose to no longer submit to our authority as their parents. At that point they take the responsibility upon themselves for their choices. Many of us know that while we may no longer have control in the natural we continue to take our petition into the heavenlies unto the throne of our Father. We begin to identify with how we must break the heart of our heavenly Father through our own rebellion, self-will and defiance of His authority. Yet, He is our example of patience, grace and love that is unconditional and whose arms are always open to receive us back into relationship with Him.
Wherever you are at today with your children we know that God knows our heart as a parent. Hopefully your children are an area of blessing and delight to your soul, but even if they aren’t you are their greatest ally and intercessor. Rather they appreciate you or curse you, you are still the heart and example of the Father to them. They have to know that your love is unconditional even if your approval isn’t. They have to know that in their darkness you are the one that lights their candle before the Lord through your faithful prayer and intercession. As the prodigal’s father stood believing and watching in faith for his son to come home, so many of us must stand, watching and believing God to bring our children back home. Faint not, the Father knows and feels your heart. If you have planted good seed in their hearts and lives, never give up looking for the harvest. “For as a man sows that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).”

Blessings,
kent

Wise Counsel

March 29, 2013

Wise Counsel

Proverbs 24:6
For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors [there is] safety.

Most of us appreciate wise counsel, especially in the hard decisions of our life, but we have a choice of who we choose to hear and receive counsel from. Essentially all of our decisions are made from counsel that we gather mentally from different sources, then evaluate and arrive at our decision. Where are we going to get our counsel?
The fruit of our lives will reveal the source of our counsel. If we are walking in the counsel of the ungodly, then our actions, decisions and choices are going to be ungodly. Psalms 1:1 exhorts us, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
Most all of us want and need wise counsel. We realize that we are not all wise and experienced in many of the areas of life we must make decisions, so it is quite common that we would seek out those who are wiser and more experienced in these areas of life. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established”
Proverbs 19:20 exhorts us, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” As Christians, most of us have come to realize that our best advice and counsel comes from the Word of God and His people who are skilled and experienced in His Word. One of the reasons we go to church and bible studies, listen to tapes and read Christian books is to hear the counsel of the word of God and it’s interpretation. It is a resource we can use to make wise decisions for the direction of our lives.
One of the names of God and Christ is “Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6). One of the seven spirits of God spoken of in Isaiah 11:2 is “counsel”. God is our greatest resource of wise counsel and direction for our lives if we take the time to seek it out. Too often we are in a hurry with the decisions we make or we have preconceived notions about what we want. As a result we don’t take the time to wait on the counsel of the Holy Spirit or pursue the counsel of wise and godly men. This is difficult for many of us because we are not given to patience. We want our answer right now. With God, His requirements are often that we wait upon Him, that we are “anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Philippians 4:6).” Proverbs 20:5 says, “Counsel in the heart of man [is like] deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.” I believe the same is true of God. We have to take the time to draw out what is the wisdom and counsel of God for our lives and the decisions we must make along the way. Proverbs 19:21 tells us, “There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” We have to discern in our hearts and sort out what is of God and what is of natural reasoning and thinking. We do that by connecting the points that make a straight line through the things that line up with the Word and counsel of God. God’s counsel shouldn’t be confusion; it should bear witness with itself all along the way.
It is most important, if we want wise counsel, to keep our hearts in tune with the Holy Spirit, seeking His counsel and wisdom through prayer and the Word. It is equally important to check the attitudes and the condition of our heart and motives to be sure they are pure and submitted to Him. Proverbs is a wonderful resource concerning the wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel of the Lord. Let’s conclude with a passage from Proverbs 2:1-8 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
2turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—3indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding, 4and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”

Blessings,
kent

Characteristics of a Fool

September 26, 2012

Characteristics of a Fool

Psalms 92:5-6
O LORD, how great are thy works! [and] thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.

We have characterized wisdom, perhaps it is a good time to look at the opposite side of the coin and look at the characteristics of a fool. While it is likely the true fool would not spend their time reading this, let alone taking it to heart, it might speak to the wise. Part of getting wisdom is realizing and correcting our own follies and the error of our ways. While in viewing these characteristics we might be prone to judge some that we may think fit this category, it will probably be far more profitable for us to judge and correct our own hearts where we see some of the characteristic active in us.
One of the first characteristics of a fool is seen in Psalms 14:1 and 53:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.” He is in denial of God and His salvation. A fool can be defined as being pretty much full of themselves, “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.” They are not one to listen to advice, counsel or the admonition of others. Proverbs 15:5 tells us the root of where foolishness begins, “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” Proverbs 17:10 says, “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.” They never learned to receive and heed correction as child. Their nature is stubborn and rebellious. They are a god and an authority unto themselves.
Proverbs 13:6 talks about how most people rationalize and come to conclusions based on facts and evidence, not so the fool. “Every prudent [man] dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open [his] folly.” Ecclesiastes 2:14 says that the “The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness.” There is spiritual and moral ignorance and darkness that is prevalent in their lives. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.” Proverbs 13:6 tells us, “Every prudent [man] dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open [his] folly.” From these observations it is clear that fools are presumptuous, impetuous, not stopping to consider all the factors in making decisions, poor decision makers and ruled by their own thoughts and opinions which they value above sound judgement, wisdom and instruction. “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2)” They are arrogant, proud, boastful, full of themselves, lacking understanding, discernment and wise in their own eyes.
Ecclesiastes 10:3 tells us, “Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is.” He is characterized by ignorance and stupidity revealed in actions.
The fool is what we would term the troublemaker, always stirring up strife and contention. Proverbs 10:23 says, “[It is] as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.” Proverbs 14:16 says, “A wise [man] feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” The thing about a fool is that there is no reasoning with them as with a rational person, whose mind is open. Proverbs 23:9 says, “Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.” “If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace. (Proverbs 29:9)” “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. (Proverbs 26:4)” The only time that a fool is thought to be wise is when he keeps his mouth shut. “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (Proverbs 17:28)” Like the saying goes, “it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” The character of the heart of a fool is readily seen through his words and subsequent actions. Normally the fool has little regard for what he says or how it will affect those around him. Ecclesiastes 10:14 says, “and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming- who can tell him what will happen after him?” The fool likes to hear himself ramble and spout off, but has no soundness in his words, neither does he govern his emotions or anger and is noted for his lack of self control. “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Proverbs 29:11)” Isaiah 32:6 says, “For the fool speaks folly, his mind is busy with evil: He practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the LORD; the hungry he leaves empty and from the thirsty he withholds water.” The fool is set in his ways and will always return to his perverse nature. “As a dog returneth to his vomit, [so] a fool returneth to his folly. (Proverbs 26:11)” The fool will not remain in a right path, but will go back to the folly and the error of his ways.
The fool is the counter part of the wise man. By his folly we better see wisdom, just as we wouldn’t recognize light without darkness. “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. (Ecclesastes 10:2).” Wisdom takes the high road, but fools will always take the low road. Wisdom is characterized in the godly and the spiritual man, the fool is seen to be sensual, devilish and perverse.
Perhaps in summary Proverbs 28:26 says it best, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” What and whom we trust in says a lot about how wise or foolish we are. We have all grown up in degrees of foolishness, but our wisdom, our safety and our security are realized in our trust and obedience to God’s Word and His ways.

Blessings,
kent

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