Instructions for Life

September 11, 2015

Proverbs 4:13
Take fast hold of instruction; let [her] not go: keep her; for she [is] thy life.

Instructions for Life

Every day is a classroom of instruction, learning and experience. Much like school when we were children, many of us still don’t pay very close attention. God has something to teach us every day if we are tuned into the Spirit and we have spiritual ears tuned to hear what He is speaking. As we grow to know God’s Word we are learning instruction in spiritual, as well as practical life. God gives us the principles to live full, productive and satisfying lives, but are we listening, are we paying attention and are we applying these life principles to our lives? Often we nod, say an amen and acknowledge them with our minds, but have they gotten down into our hearts?
Just like in school there is a time of listening, studying and learning; then there is a time of testing to find out what we really know and remember. It is our testing that really tells us where we are. God already knows where we are, but most of the time we really don’t. It isn’t till we are put to the test of faith in certain areas that we see if we really have learned to trust God and apply the principles that He has taught us or if we resort back to acting out of the natural man and that way of thinking.
Often we can be going through life filled with joy and being blessed and then suddenly wham!!!!!!!!! We are hit with a punch that knocks our breath out. Tragedy may strike, we are treated unfairly, we are fired, our spouse wants to divorce us, we are faced with a life threatening disease in ourselves or one that we love and life no longer makes sense. Any number of things may assault us at any given time. How will we cope with these calamities? This is where the rubber meets the road and theory meets reality. Can we now make application in our lives of the things that we have learned and have knowledge of or are we sitting there stunned, shaking our heads and asking, “why me, God?” God says that it rains on the just and the unjust. Whether we are in Christ or in the world, tragedy and calamities are a very real part of life in this body. The life, the power and the grace that takes us through these times are found in the instruction that God has given us. Fortunately, it is an open book test and if we are struggling to make sense of all that is going on with us we can go back to the instruction of God’s Word. There we can find the answers that will help us to gain the perspective and even the faith that we need to prevail in difficult times
Jesus assures us that we will have tribulation in this world, but to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). What does that mean to us? If our life is hid with Christ, in God as Colossians 3:3 says, then you also have overcome the world. The Overcomer dwells within you to help you walk where He has walked and prevail in victory where He has prevailed. Yes, we will have tribulation, but we are promised that we don’t have to face it alone. Christ is always there with us and the last part of Romans 8 assures us that there is no calamity or being or even death itself that can separate us from the love of God.
How do we pass the test? It is first in listening and learning the instruction of the Lord. Proverbs 6:3 says, “For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life.” God in His love shows us, teaches and corrects us. If we are wise we will receive His correction and we will grow wiser still. Proverbs 9:7-12 teaches us, “”Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. 8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you. 9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. 10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. 12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”
Learning and putting into practice our instruction is what is maturing us into the image of Him that is our teacher. It is God’s purpose and plan that we are like our Teacher and Master. If we will humble ourselves before Him, He will give us the instructions to a godly life and He will help us in the tests to practice the principles that He has taught us. Pay attention to His instruction and humbly receive His correction, ‘for whom the Lord loves He chastens’. Hebrews 12:7-13 leaves us with this exhortation, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Blessings,
#kent

Psalms 119:11
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

What We Treasure in Our Hearts

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)”
Think about the things we protect, hide away, keep and save. They are the things that we value and that are meaningful to us. Most of the things that we treasure and value are temporal and perishing. Many of us save and put away money, possessions, jewelry and other items we consider valuable. The most precious and lasting treasure of all lies upon the pages of the book we call our Bible. While we treasure our earthly things, for many, the Bible sets upon the shelf and collects dust. It might even get taken to church on Sunday, but do we really appreciate the treasure that is contained and hidden there among the pages of God’s Word. The treasure that we find there is life-giving and eternal. It has the power to change our lives and helps us to know the true heart and mind of God. It has the power to show us ourselves and bring light where there has been darkness.
God no longer walks among us in flesh and blood as He did in Jesus Christ, but neither is He absent and gone from us. He has left us the testimony of His Spirit and His Word. It is His Spirit within us that unlocks the mysteries and reveals the treasures of His Word. If we want to walk with God and have a closer relationship with Him then we must treasure, honor and revere what is precious to Him. His Word is what reveals and imparts that to us. Do we desire to please God? His Word gives us that direction. Do we desire to be free from sin and avoid that which is evil? Again, His Word digested and hidden in our hearts is what transforms our thinking and renews our minds to think and see things as God does. It puts within us the fear, the reverence and awe of God that we would in no way want to offend or displease Him and at the same time dispells the fear that we find in the world and in our minds. We hide many things in our hearts, but far too often it isn’t the Word of God.
John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” We know through the scripture that Christ declared that He was the Word. We know that spiritual life is contained and obtained through Him. When we possess the Christ and He truly possesses us then we will find that treasure that is hidden in our hearts. He will take those words from a page and make them a fire in our belly. His Word will illuminate and transform us. Come and find that treasure that doesn’t perish with the using, that only increases and never decreases and brings you into the presence of the Father.
Where is your treasure today? What do you value and store up in your heart? “Where a man’s treasure is, there will his heart be also.”

Blessings,
#kent

Our Guide

May 6, 2015

Psalms 48:14
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Our Guide

Running the course of this life encounters many obstacles and challenges. Each one of our lives are different, with different circumstances and different challenges. How do we navigate life successfully and gain from it the results that are everlasting? Psalms 48:14 reveals that to us. There is One that we can lean upon, trust in and rely upon to guide us through the maze of our lives.
Isn’t it a peace and reassurance to know that our God holds our destiny and purpose in His hand. If we are willing to fully trust and obey Him, He will lead and guide us into it. God’s Word lays the foundation and principles that order our steps and imparts His wisdom to us that we might know the way of life and walk therein. Even when we have departed from His ways He does not cast us off or judge us as unfit. His grace is not to be abused, but isn’t it wonderful to know that even in our mistakes and disobedience we can be forgiven and restored. We may change and be moved, but He isn’t. His Word never fails or changes and He stands true to all that He has promised to be to us.
If we want true success in our lives, If we want true fulfillment. If we want righteousness, peace and joy to pervade our lives then we must hold fast to God as our guide. There are many gods in this world. People worship and serve many different objects and deities in their lives, but there is and always will be the one and only true God, creator and redeemer, who can impart to us spiritual life that supercedes all that is passing away. He is our Rock, our Fortress, our Shield and our Defender. He will guide us through the darkness. His Word is a light unto our path and lamp unto our feet. He will direct us and keep us where others fail. He is our steadfast hope, the anchor of our souls; “for this God is our God for ever; He will be our guide even to the end.

Blessings,
#kent

Affections of the Heart

August 28, 2014

Colossians 3:1-2
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Affections of the Heart

The fixations and affections of your heart are the making of your soul. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he. (Proverbs 23:7)” ‘Where your treasure is there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21)’
What is the desire and passion of our heart today? What are we fixed on and what is driving our lives? We might glibly say, “it’s the Lord”, but do our actions, words and life bear out that truth? Have we laid every other affection, passion and desire upon the altar and said, “have your way oh Lord”? We want our affections to be such that we are clinging to nothing else but the hem of His garment. We can deceive others and we can even deceive ourselves, but we will never deceive the Lord concerning the condition and the affections of our heart. He sees and reads us like an open book. Our words are often not our heart. They may serve only as a disguise for what we want others to think and see.
God has given us a will to choose where we will set our affections and our obedience. What are we choosing in our inward parts? Where are we truly setting our affections? A new life in Christ demands a transformation from the former man of the earth. Our transformation and metamorphosis is taking place as we are hidden in the cocoon of a Christ-centered life where He is our affection and the purpose behind all that we do. It is not done in a moment, but it is done in a process and completed in the twinkling of an eye. In order for the Spirit to have His perfect work we must remain with our affections set upon the things above and maintain a heart that is willing to relinquish all that is not of Him. “Christ in us”, that is our hope of glory.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23-24)

Blessings,
#kent

The Peace that Passes Understanding

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

There is a place in the secret garden of God’s presence in us where we find of a refuge of His peace. It’s a peace that we find only when we have found that place of full confidence and rest in the Father and all that He says He is and all that He has provided for us. Philippians 4:3 exhorts us to “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” The joy of the Lord is what brings us into peace. The joy of the Lord is what dispels the dark clouds of doubt, fear and unbelief. The joy of the Lord is what instills in us confidence, assurance and yes, “peace”. When the enemy, or circumstances, or other people can rob our peace, then they can defeat our faith. Faith stands strong in the midst of peace. Our peace is often quickly shattered because it is vulnerable to conditions and emotions that surround us. Our peace can quickly turn to insecurity, doubt and fear, but not God’s peace.
A great example of this personal peace and God’s peace is seen in Jesus as He wages that great spiritual battle within for God’s comfort and peace. We see the tremendous anguish of soul that beset Jesus as He is faced with the greatest, most terrible and horrifying task ever required of an individual. He is staring in the face of insurmountable suffering, pain and anguish physically. But beyond that suffering He is looking at the darkness of becoming sin and bearing the sin for every inhabitant of the human race, all of this from Him who knew no sin. Worst of all, He is looking at a period where the Father Himself must turn away and separate His presence. I doubt that few of us could even begin to imagine or grasp the tremendous weight and burden that was upon the Lord at that time. It is no wonder that He sweat great drops of blood as He struggled with what He was facing. Everything in His mortal man must have been crying out, “NO, Anything but this.” Yet He was not a man given to the outward man and the dictates of His own will, He was and ever would be completely and totally sold out to the will and purpose of the Father. Through that spiritual battle that took place there in the garden where Jesus went to pray, Jesus found that peace that passes all understanding. It was that peace, that complete rest in Father’s will and purpose that enabled Him to face and go the way of the cross when everything within His natural man wanted to turn away. That is the kind of Peace that I believe Jesus left us when He told His disciples in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” There is a peace that Christ has left us in this world. It is a legacy of His salvation and impartation of His great love. It is a peace unlike the world’s peace that is fleeting and temporal. It is a peace that cements us to the heart of God and the assurance that His presence abides with us always. It is the assurance and comfort that Romans 8:31-39 speaks to us, “31What can we say about all these things? Since God is for us, who can be against us?
32God did not keep His own Son for Himself but gave Him for us all. Then with His Son, will He not give us all things?
33Who can say anything against the people God has chosen? It is God Who says they are right with Himself.
34Who then can say we are guilty? It was Christ Jesus Who died. He was raised from the dead. He is on the right side of God praying to Him for us.
35Who can keep us away from the love of Christ? Can trouble or problems? Can suffering wrong from others or no food? Can it be because of no clothes or because of danger or war?
36The Holy Writings say, ‘Because of belonging to Jesus, we are in danger of being killed all day long. We are thought of as sheep that are ready to be killed.’ (Psalm 44:22)
37But we have power over all these things through Jesus Who loves us so much.
38For I know that nothing can keep us from the love of God. Death cannot! Life cannot! Angels cannot! Leaders cannot! Any other power cannot! Hard things now or in the future cannot!
39The world above or the world below cannot! Any other living thing cannot keep us away from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.
We have the peace that our lives are hid in Him and nothing in heaven or earth can rob that from us who believe in Him. Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Some of you are there in that garden today, like Jesus, struggling with tremendous tribulation and trials. The Father wants you to find this place of peace that passes all understanding where you will find your rest in Him. You can rejoice, even in the midst of the fire, because your heart has the assurance that Jesus Christ is the Lord of your situation. It doesn’t matter if you understand how; it only matters that “HE IS”. Your life is hid in Him and whether in life or death He is the peace that passes understanding.

Blessings,
#kent

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