A Life in Order

June 3, 2014

A Life in Order
Psalms 119:133
Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

This is really the Lord speaking to me. You just get to listen in and glean what may apply to you.
God is a God of order and that is an area I need to be so much more like God. I wonder how many of us can really say we have our lives and houses in order. Do we order and run our lives or do our lives and lifestyles run us? I have to confess that disorganization is far too much of a weakness in my life. I kind of go with the flow jumping from one thing to the next before the former is finished and put away. It doesn’t take long before I’m buried in disorganized paper work. I fail to have a place for everything and everything in its place.
We were in a class and the instructor gave an illustration where she had two volunteers come up. She gave them each a deck of cards and then ask which one could most quickly give her, in order, the cards that she called out. One deck was totally disorganized, with cards turned in both directions and as hard as that person tried she couldn’t begin to keep up with the other person whose deck was all in order. It hit home that this often is a picture of our lives and why there is such chaos and ineffectiveness.
When we look at the nature and the order of God, we don’t see that. God is a God of order and structure. As I was looking through the scriptures pertaining to order I was impressed by a number of scriptures from Exodus and Leviticus that speak of order in the tabernacle. For instance, Leviticus 1:12 is typical of many verses which says, “And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that [is] on the fire which [is] upon the altar:“ There was an order of doing tasks and an order in which things were to be done. I believe that God has an order for our lives of when and how things are to be done. So often we go through life doing things however and whenever. We don’t enjoy a lot of peace because we are always looking for what we misplaced. For our lives to work effectively we have to find the order of the Lord for us, both naturally and spiritually. It’s not that we have to be annal and legalistic about everything. It is important to stay flexible and moldable, but we do this while being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s direction and order for our lives, because we want ours and His to be one in the same.
Job 10:22 speaks of disorder in this regard, “A land of darkness, as darkness [itself; and] of the shadow of death, without any order, and [where] the light [is] as darkness.” Disorder is like muddied waters, even our light is like darkness and its hard for us to know where we are going, as well as finding the resources to get there.
On the other hand 1 Corinthians 14:40 exhorts us, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Since order is a nature and attribute of God, I’m realizing that I need to make it a priority in my life to get more organized. That means I have to practice overcoming a lot of bad habits that keep me in that state. For some of us we may have lives that are in great order outwardly, but spiritually we may be running amuck and have our lives out of balance and out of order. It is great time for all of us to make that commitment to put our lives and houses in order. It will no doubt again be a “God help me thing”, but that’s okay, by His grace we will set our lives and houses in order.

Blessings,
#kent

Be Kind to One Another

July 25, 2013

Be Kind to One Another

Ephesians 4:32
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

It occurs to me that simple acts of kindness are perhaps one of the greatest expressions and testimonies of the love of God working through us. Think about the example of marriage for a moment. Two people start out deeply attracted and hopelessly in love with one another. There isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other. What changes? Through time we tend to become more involved with life outside of each other, little irritations and annoyances begin to eat at us, our familiarity with each other begins to give place to disregard and sometimes even contempt for each other. What was so special becomes more and more common and less and less special and appreciated. Soon we begin to give expression to annoyances, irritations and dissatisfactions. In defense and hurt the spouse releases their own barrage of complaints. Little by little, what was so perfect and beautiful can become a battleground of insults, hurts and offenses. The relationship becomes divided; each party withdraws from the other more and more till often the end result is separation and divorce.
One of the givens in life is that even the people you love the most will sometimes offend and fail to meet your expectations and likewise you will do the same to them. The greatest antidote to these shortcomings is love, forgiveness and kindness. Let’s back up for a moment and see what precedes our scripture on kindness. Ephesians 4:24-31 says, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 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. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Right here some of us may see our relationships and where they have come too. If we find ourselves here, we are not only grieving that person we are in relationship with but we are also grieving the Holy Spirit. You may say, “but you don’t know how much this person irritates me, failed me and disappointed me.” You may not realize how much you have irritated, failed and disappointed the Holy Spirit. If God dealt with us, as we deserved we would all be toast. The Lord sees beyond our faults, shortcomings and the attributes of irritation and sees our heart. He has determined to love us in spite of ourselves and He operates in our lives for our highest good, not His. If the Lord were only looking out for His interests He would have never laid down His life for the undeserving creatures that we are. In Christ, we must adopt this same mindset, where we are no longer responding and acting from our feelings, but out of the mind and heart of God. This is an attitude in life where we are not easily offended through the hurtful comments and actions of others, where we return good for evil, where we bless those who curse us, give beyond that which others may take from us, go the extra mile and act out of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness. These are the love and actions that the world can’t understand, because it so exceeds the kind of love we find in the world.
Our place to develop and practice this love and kindness of Christ is first in our own homes and relationships. Most of the time the hardest people to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving too are those of our own household. This is most often where we will see the reflection of the true nature that is working in us. Do you like what you see? Is it what you want and hope to be?
As we learn to bring every thought and action under submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit we may find ourselves speaking and acting, not out of what we feel in the natural, but out of what we know to be the mind and love of God. As we plant these seeds of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness, we may find our harvest much richer than we ever imagined. We can’t change the heart and actions of others. They alone are responsible for those. The way we can change them is by first changing us. Perhaps they aren’t really the problem; they are only a symptom of a problem that may have its root in us. Let God have His perfect work of grace in you today. Speak the words of kindness that bring grace to the hearer. Let random acts of kindness fill your day as you bless even those who may not deserve it, even as the Lord has blessed you. Take this to heart concerning your former nature, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 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.”

Blessings,
kent

Genesis 35:2
Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that [were] with him, Put away the strange gods that [are] among you, and be clean, and change your garments.

Sanctifying our Household

Just as we have a responsibility to sanctify our own hearts and consecrate ourselves to God, we have a responsibility to and for our household as well. We are not only trying to keep our heart and our steps in the ways of righteousness, but we have accountability as the priest over our household to guide and lead our family in godly ways.
There are so many influences working on our children and families, it’s almost scary. Now, not only television is influencing them, but video games, music, internet, text messaging, as well as all of the traditional things we grew up with, such as peer pressure and social influences. It is so easy to lose our kids today and not even know what hit us. We can’t take for granted that because we think we are okay, that they are. Many times they feed us the responses that they think we want to hear, while they have another whole secret life going on.
Jacob had to take the time to address his household before He met with God. Do we need to get our household in order? What idols and strange gods lurk and hide within our home and the hearts of our family. Help your children and your entire household to be aware of the idols and help them to sanctify and present themselves before the Lord a clean vessel. Take the time to really observe your household and ask God to show you areas that are displeasing and unclean before Him. Sanctify your household.

Blessings,
kent

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