James 1:22-25

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

Who is that Person in the Mirror?

When you look into the mirror what do you see?  You see the reflection of your outward man from which you derive your identity and perception of how you look.  Even though you see a real-time reflection of how you appear is that really who you are?   Two people looking at the same thing will see it different ways.   A woman may look in the mirror and be thinking, ” Oh my goodness, look at the bags under my eyes, that blemish on my nose and I can’t do a thing with this hair.  I just look horrid.  Her husband may come into the bathroom and say, “Honey, did I tell you how beautiful you are today and how much I love you?”  Wow, two totally different opinions of what you look like.  Which one is true?  The truth is in the  perception and we tend to act according to the perception we hold.  

The Lord began to show me that what we reflect on often becomes the image of our reality.  The people that we associate with often do a lot to influence and shape that perception and image of who we see ourselves as being.  We may often mirror what others do because we want acceptance by them, but is  that who we really are?  

Most of us have seen the mirrors at the amusement park that are distorted to make us look fat or skinny, but we readily recognize that these are not true representatives of what we really look like.  We would be surprised at how many times life puts these kind of mirrors in front of us, but instead of recognizing their distortion of the truth we begin to believe their lie.  Our behavior and self-perception can be strongly influenced by the feed back and input we get from others.  We are always reading this to get a sense of how others see us and how that relates with who we are.  

Often, with our children we tend to major on their shortcomings and minor on the positives and accomplishments.  If my son comes home from school after trying his best and everyday I greet him, “Hi looser, what did you mess up today?”  What is that going to do for the image of how he sees himself, because I am a mirror to him of his self-worth.  Many of the problems we see in people come out of a distorted perception they have of what they should be like.  It is influenced by culture, media, friends, social groups and relationships, parents, relatives, school, work and the constant feedback we get from the world we live in.  

The only really true perception we can get of who we are, our worth and value, is what we get from God’s perspective. We know that He is truth and can not lie.  If we want to be mentally and emotionally healthy then we need to focus on what God has to say about us and what we need to do to become what He has created us to be.  James says it is not in just listening to the word and then forgetting what it taught us.  We need repetition for remembrance and application for change to take place.  When a woman goes into the bathroom to get ready for work she doesn’t generally just look in the mirror then turn around and forget what she looked like and go to work.  She starts a process of cleansing, conditioning, make-up and grooming.  All that she does is to conform her to the image of what she wants to look like.  When we look into God’s Word it has to be much the same way. If we just go and listen to a sermon on Sunday then leave and forget what was said how does that change anything?  If we continually position ourselves in front of God’s Word through our reading it, reading inspired books, listening to inspired messages and then praying and meditation on all that we are taking in, we are like the woman who is conforming her looks to a certain image.  We are working on conforming our hearts to the image of Christ.  That is why it is important that our focus isn’t on the world or the things of the world.  That is not the image that we want to be conformed too.  

Take into your spirit the promises that God has for you.  Heed the warnings that He gives to you that will end up perverting His image in you.  Act upon who you are in Christ, acknowledging that it is no longer you that lives, but Christ in you.  ‘As He is so are you in this world. (1 John 4:17)’  That is the identification  you want to remember and walk away with.  When you look in the mirror know that you are created in His likeness and you are becoming His expression and you are being conformed into His image.  That is God’s reality of who you are.

Blessings,

#kent

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The Passion of Our Hearts

Psalms 86:12
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.

As Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, we come from many different backgrounds and influences in our lives. We’ve even congregated and gravitated to groups or denominations that most reinforce our particular view, opinion and understanding of God and scripture. The primary problem we find with this is that it tends to separate us into different camps and we get caught up in internal squabbling over our sacred dogma or opinion. It seems to me that in this hour the Spirit of God is working in His body to tear down these walls of division. He is still “one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:5-6).” While it is fine for us all to have our own opinions about scripture, there are certain foundational truths we should all embrace and be in agreement about. What the Spirit of God wants to speak to us about is that our faith is not just about what we think or just us, it is about Him and what He thinks. The Word and Christ teaches us that the most important commandment is that, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. “ This is the foundation upon which all of the law and the prophets hinge and rest upon. If we miss this we are building upon sand. We all know the adage, “Divided we fall, united we stand”. This is why it is so important that unity be restored back into the body of Christ. Psalm 133:1 reminds us, “Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!” When part of my body starts conflicting and fighting with other parts I get sick and I can no longer function to my potential. God desires for us to lay down our pet peeves and doctrines and start becoming one with the rest of the body of Christ concerning what God’s will and purpose is for us in this hour. We must learn to build each other up and not tear each other down.
Isn’t it funny how when we meet someone and discover that they are a Christian, the first thing we want to ask them is, “where do you go to church”? We are more concerned about seeing what brand or mark of religion they have on them than seeing if the mark of Jesus is in them. We are all at so many different stages in our walk with God and most of us would agree that have been Christians for some time, that our views and ways of seeing and understanding things has changed over time. We may not have even accepted ourselves for the way we are now if we were judging ourselves by what we use to think and believe.
The thing that should be driving our lives is not our religion or denomination, but our passion for Christ and our love for Him. God sees men after the heart, not their denomination or belief system. What do you love the most? What is your deepest passion and desire? That is where Christ must be at the forefront or we are missing it. Our love and compassion for others should be a close second. Let us focus on what is important to God’s heart and not just our intellectual satisfaction. When we love and are able to lay hold of the truth, the truth will set us free from our wrong opinions. Often we think it is our duty to set everyone straight on how to believe. We need to quit stepping on the Holy Spirit’s toes and let Him do His job. Our responsibility is to judge our own hearts and make sure that we are walking in faith and obedience to Him. If we are all impassioned with Christ that will be our bond of fellowship and communion with one another and with Christ. Allow God’s law to be written upon the tablet of your mind and heart. “The letter of the law kills, but the Spirit gives life ( 2 Corinthians 3:6).” God’s Word will guide us and His Spirit will give us peace. Be at peace with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Love them where they are at and if you have a greater revelation or insight then speak it through the way you live your life and in your actions. Above all things, be passionate in your love and pursuit of Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

Continued Renewal

June 11, 2014

Psalms 51:9-10
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Continued Renewal

As we travel this earth daily the dust and dirt of sin and its influences are continually around us and upon us. Christ has cleansed us within, but outwardly the world and the spirit of this world presses upon us. The scripture here is after Nathan the prophet had confronted David after he had gone into unto Bathsheba. David was a righteous man, but he was human and the influences of the flesh had caused him to stumble greatly into sin. Our endeavor, like that of David’s, is to walk with God in righteousness and uprightness. Like David and before we would fall into sin or temptation, our cry should be daily, “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
When Jesus, at the Last Supper, washed the disciples feet, Peter protested in John 13:8-10, “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9″Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.” We have been washed and cleansed in the blood of the Lamb. Our sins are forgiven, but there is a constant washing that must take place, a continued humility and contriteness before the Lord and cleansing from our daily defilement and pollution. Every day we need to renew our minds in Christ and our spirit that we may maintain a clean heart before the Lord. Have we washed our feet lately? Have we gone before the Lord daily to confess our sins and ask his forgiveness? 1John 1:8-9 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We all have need for that continued renewal of fellowship and right relationship before the Lord. Let us not neglect our spiritual hygiene and need for a right spirit before the Lord.

Blessings,
#kent

Are You Putting Me On?

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

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

Blessings,
#kent

Heart Issues

April 28, 2014

Heart Issues

Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

What are your heart issues today? What is the source and the outflow of what is in your heart? Our heart deals with the motivation of our soul. Out of that motivation of our being is the direction and the resulting fruit of what our life will produce. The heart is a precious thing to God. It contains the attitudes and desires for the things of life or the things of death. Most of us through the course of our lives may be very distraught with ourselves because we see our lives going in directions that we know are destructive, contrary to the will of God and what is best for us. Inwardly, if we are the Lord’s, there is a grieving of the Spirit of God within us. There is an inward crying out of our spirit not to continue in those ways. Our heart is divided between flesh and spirit. There is war in the heavenlies of our soul. Sin and darkness battle for possession of our heart, but you have made a choice. At some point in your life you opened up your heart and asked Christ in. You confessed your sin; did you also renounce the works of darkness? Sometimes when we are saying yes to the Lord, we still aren’t saying “no” to the flesh. We wonder why we find ourselves with a heart for Jesus, but also a strong compulsion for sin. Have we been diligent to guard our heart or have we left open doors for sin and darkness to come in? This is a hard area, because it is often hard to see ourselves and really judge our motives without our mind and flesh trying to justify it’s position.
If you are on the Lord’s side and you really want Him to be Lord of your life, will and emotions then you have to be willing to allow Him to have complete Lordship. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Without the Holy Spirit’s supervision and our permission to really allow Him to have His way, even as Christians, our hearts can become very perverse. Usually it comes about subtly as we have opened the door perhaps in what we thought were innocent ways. One day we start to become painfully aware that things are out of control and we don’t seem to have the strength and will power to stop them. The issues of our heart are producing sin and death, much to the dismay of our inner man, who is standing there, inwardly crying out, but weak and helpless. We cry out to God, but we still find ourselves overpowered by the strongholds of sin that has overtaken us.
Look around your life. Have you shut the doors and windows of your soul to the damning influences that have brought this corruption or are they still wide open for these demons to walk in and out of? The first step to guarding our heart is to close all the door of our senses, sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste to the influences that have taken over and are defeating us. It is in guarding and renouncing all impure thoughts and desires of our mind. When these sources of entrance are cut off you will have made a major first step. Be aware that you will not be able to do this in your own strength. You must ask the Holy Spirit’s help to free you from the bondage of your heart. We must take the Word of God as our sword to speak by faith what the mind and will of God is in our circumstance and weakness. He, His Word, is our authority over the strongholds of darkness. Ask Him to show you every in-road satan has in your life and cut it off. Your flesh will cry out and protest for all it is worth because it doesn’t want to die. It will ultimately relinquish anything if it can maintain some small place in your heart. Beware of the weed that is cut off at the surface, but whose root remains for it will spring forth to live again another day. Ask the Holy Spirit to continually show you every area that sin can gain entrance and get rid of it.
If you are struggling with heart issues, then you need help in the battle. Surround yourself with strong and godly people that can pray for you and help you be accountable in these areas of weakness. James 5:16 tells us, “Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Leviticus 26:8 tells us, ” And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” This is a spiritual principle of warfare that we are much stronger when we are not trying to stand alone.
The third thing is that it is essential to give these unredeemed places in our hearts back to the Lord. Begin to totally saturate and baptize and immerse your heart back into Christ. Let Him come in and fill up the desolate and waste place that vanity and sin have left in their wake. Many times we turn to sin because we are not satisfying the spiritual longing of our heart. Pursue spiritual things and let the Lord fill your heart with His desires. Let Him move you out of that stronghold of sin, turn it around and let it become a weapon against the enemy.
God loves you with an everlasting love. He doesn’t love you more when you are good and less when you are bad. He loves you always. God is restoring His people in this hour. He is calling us out of the throes of worldliness and ungodliness and calling us back to be a separated people, a sanctified people for His possession and glory. God is interested in our future, not our past. He has provided His blood to cover our past blunders and sins, but to continue in them is to crucify the Son of God afresh. We are not the world’s toilet bowl. We are the sanctified, redeemed and holy consecrated vessels of the Lord. We are His dispensers of spiritual life, mercy, justice, loving kindness and salvation. We must get our hearts right with the Lord and then guard them with all diligence for out them are the issues of life, His life.

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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