Set Your Mind on Things Above

Colossians 3:1-3
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. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Where do we live in our thoughts and affections? What is the nearest and dearest thing to our hearts? What do we truly worship, spend our money on, and spend our time and energy in pursuing? An honest thoughtful answer may bring to us a revelation of where we are at in relationship with our God. Can we honestly say that He is at the foremost of all of these questions? If our pursuit is truly a closer walk with God, a greater sense of His presence and an increasing revelation of who He is, then this is a key to where we can start. I have heard it said that, “we become what we worship”. What are you becoming today? In order to walk close to our God, we must abide in His presence. This is the place we find holiness, communion, and the presence of God. Christ doesn’t want to be just a part of our lives; He wants to be our life. That is why we die to natural affections, that He may live in us and through us.
In order to be accomplished at any thing you must practice it over and over again. In the process of learning and perfecting a skill you will make many mistakes and experience some setbacks. That should not discourage us, but cause us to persevere the more. The Lord wants us to apply this principle to “practicing His Presence”. It becomes that place where we are ever mindful of Him, whether consciously or subconsciously. He becomes constantly a part of our thoughts. We are constantly filtering the world and activities around us through Him and through that mind of Christ that we have put on. We are constantly in silent or verbal conversation with Him. He becomes a unified part of our daily life and breath. We are in constant heavenly communication and communion. This is abiding in Christ. This is setting your mind on things above. This is the place where we enter in beyond the veil of the outer court things and we begin to commune with our God heart to heart, mind to mind and spirit to spirit. In this place our lives have become centered on His will, His purpose, His design and plan for us. It is no longer about us; it is all about Him. Our family, friends and those in the world around us get to become the recipients of God’s grace and love working through us. They may not always respond in a positive way. Jesus said your enemies might be those of your own household. When satan throws all he has against you, the blood of Jesus covers you. You simply rest, in humility and love. Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” When you find yourself in this place you will know that you have left off friendship with the world and you have become a friend of God. In this place of spiritual pursuit, guard against spiritual pride that wants to enter in. It is easy to begin judging others, seeing yourself as better, more spiritual and alienate yourself due to that spiritual pride. Jesus became as one of no reputation. He became the servant that got under the lowly and lifted them up. He was always bringing up the low places while He resisted and brought down the high places of spiritual arrogance and pride. His focus was always first to God and then to men. He didn’t isolate Himself, but became the servant of all.
Think what it is to set your mind on things above. Paul states it well in Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Blessings
#kent

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Pride and Humility

March 31, 2014

Pride and Humility

Zephaniah 3:11-13
In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid.

Pride is the arrogance of man usurping the place of God. Psalms 10:4 says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek [after God]: God [is] not in all his thoughts.” What is the place of God in our lives? Isn’t it to be in every pattern of thinking, demonstrated in our motives and revealed in our actions? Every place in our lives that we rob and exclude from God becomes a place of pride. Pride is our self -exaltation over the will and mind of God. Sometimes we have taken pride to the other extreme of being self-abasing. Declaring how worthless and evil we are and how we don’t deserve God for He could never love someone like me. We have declared God a liar because we have taken upon ourselves such condemnation that we refuse the goodness, forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ.
Humility and meekness, the counter parts of pride, simply places our heavenly Father in the place of Lordship in all areas of our lives. If we are gifted or blessed above others in areas it is a place where God is to be exalted, not us. I think of Jesus and the potential power He had resident within Him. How destructive He could have been if He had ever let pride have place in His life. In His meekness, He was strength under control and in submission to His Father. He never had to exalt Himself for the Father affirmed and exalted Him. In His greatness He became lowly and showed himself to be the servant of men. He was not lofty and condescending even to sinners, but gently got underneath them and lifted them up in His love and truth.
The “afflicted and poor people” referred to in this scripture from Zephaniah carries the connotation that these were people who constantly saw their need and weakness outside of the Lord. They were people not so much outwardly poor and afflicted, but it spoke more of the condition of their hearts, much like Jesus addressed in the beatitudes of Matthew 5. It is an attitude that the Lord you are everything: every provision, every strength, every direction and purpose, every ability I have or can have is found in You. Without you Lord I am poor and afflicted in my own state of being.
Pride will always turn away the face of God, but humility and meekness are an open invitation to His presence. It is the condition of our heart that allows Him to be God in us and to be all that we need to be in Him. It allows Him to have His expression of love and grace through us, because we are not in the way to mire it up. This is the state of the God’s true flock and the sheep of His pasture. They know the Shepherd and are totally reliant upon Him. Thus He cares for them and makes them to lie down in His green pastures of rest. Their confidence is in their God and in Him alone.

Blessings,
#kent

Tired?

March 18, 2014

Tired?


Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. 


There are times on our journey through life that we just get tired.  We get emotionally, physically and spiritually weary; in those times our excitement and exuberance wanes.  Our desire ceases in its passion and we just want to turn away, escape and turn off all the demands and challenges that are present in our life.  

Perhaps you’re tired of fighting the battles in your life.  You know you need to get up and go, but your body is saying, “no, just let me sleep,” or your mind and emotions are saying, “I just can’t deal with it any longer.”  

Our lives have many demands, pressures and expectations placed upon them.  Some of them are of our own choosing and many just goes with the territory.  Without the proper rest, these issues and trials of life will tend to burn us out.  Maybe some of you are feeling that way even as you read this.  In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”  Sometimes we think, “how can this be, when it is all of this trying to live right and do right that has gotten me to this place of exhaustion.”  Maybe we are trying to be everything to everybody and we just feel spent.  I think women in particular experience this because of all the emotional and physical demands they carry with family, career, household and a social life.  

Most of us know that a lot is often riding on our being able to keep up the pace and perform our duties.  Even though we feel the strain and exhaustion we keep on pushing.  Where is our rest?

Do you ever find that even if you could rest, you can’t?  Your mind is always racing with all of the things that need to be done.  It is like juggling, you are afraid that if you rest from your concentration you will start dropping the balls and your world will fall apart.  In our drive for success we often create our own mousetraps that keep us running.  But the issue is you need rest!  

Jesus is telling us that He has not come to heap more on to our already overflowing plate, but He has come to give our life perspective, meaning and purpose.  Maybe we think we already have all of that, but when we look at all that we do in the light of eternity and what it really means to the sum of our life, how much of it is still as meaningful?  

When we come into the rest that Jesus has for us we find that place where we are not carrying the entire burden of life.  The issues and trials of life we now share with our Savior.  Our reliance is now shifted from our ability to His ability and strength in us.  The Lord doesn’t require of us what He has not provided the resources to do.  Our scripture from Isaiah says, “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.”  That waiting is the hope and expectation we have in God, in His Word and promises.  Our strength, our rest, our renewal is in laying hold of the life of Christ in us.  The Word says, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.”  The Lord is my place of rest and strength.  When I’m tired and weary, when my natural man doesn’t feel it can keep going on, it is like that story of “Footprints in the Sand”, the Lord has not deserted us, but as we come into His rest we find that He is carrying us.  When we are tired we need to crawl up on our Daddy God’s lap and just rest.  Let Him have all your burdens, all your cares, worries and pressures.  The Lord is your rest and in Him you will find the encouragement, the hope and strength you need to carry on.  

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

Heart Attitude

February 5, 2013

Isaiah 66:2b (Youngs Literal Translation)
… And unto this one I look attentively, Unto the humble and bruised in spirit, And who is trembling at My word.

Heart Attitude

It is interesting what men will do to get God’s attention. In Isaiah 66, God addresses all that man does for Him. He is not looking for what we can build for him or the sacrifices that we can make unto Him. There is one thing He is looking for in us. It is the condition and the attitude of our heart.
The prototype and example of all that we hope to be is seen in Jesus. Before he comes to be known in the three years of His earthly ministry, Jesus is a relative nobody. A man of no notable reputation. Don’t think that just because others don’t see you or the church doesn’t recognize you that you are a nobody to Father if you heart is in the right place. What we sometimes forget and grow impatient with is that Father is looking for a people whose heart condition is right before them privately, before He ever shows them off publicly.
What is that heart condition?
Is it education, knowledge, status, talent, strength, position, riches, popularity? No, it is none of these things. In fact, it is quite probable that the person with a right heart condition before God is perhaps the one least regarded by men. David, was said to be a man after God’s own heart and yet he wasn’t even regarded or thought of when Samuel came to anoint a king from among Jesse’s sons. God’s people are not flashy or showy and quite often they are hidden jewels and treasures. The only ones that find and benefit from them are the ones who are willing to search out and dig for them. The richest things in the earth or hidden from plain sight.
Jesus was a man of humility. That doesn’t mean He was a sissy, a wimp or weak. It means He was being filled with God’s strength and was able to keep it under control, because He was ever submissive before the Father. The fear of the Lord is not being afraid of Him, but the strong desire to only do that which pleasing and acceptable to Him out of a heart of obedience and love. That is the one who will tremble at His Word.
For many of us, God has become common, ordinary. Yes, we outwardly love and worship Him, but we don’t have that contrition of heart, that brokenness of our sin, that great appreciation for the enormous grace that works in our lives through the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. Like Israel, we often go through the outward motions of religion, but that is not what Father is really looking for.
Life is often the tenderizing hammer that God uses upon our lives. Through our often painful experiences, He brings us into a brokennesss that only He can heal and bring healing through. Those painful experiences and lessons in our lives are what work the heart of His mercy, grace, forgiveness and love toward others. Out of our brokenness, we gain compassion for others that are broken. From that compassion we gain Father’s heart to cry out, intercede and to pursue God’s ability to heal and touch the broken lives of those around us.
If we have all of those other things of privilege, we often miss the greater treasure that God wants to deposit into our hearts, His true love. That is what He is looking for; a heart that is in the position where He might culture and cultivate His true love and nature. If our attitude is wrong or we caught up with all of the outward things, we will miss it. It is cultivated as we spend time in His presence getting to really know Him for who He is. The more we really know, the more undone we are before Him. From that place comes the heart that God is looking for in us. One of true humility, brokenness, contrition, submission, that truly trembles before the greatness of His Word.
It is not the outward offerings and sacrifices that we make that truly please God. Micha 6:8 again speaks to what God is looking for in His people. “He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” When you are truly intimate with Father, when you truly love what He loves and hate what He hates, when you truly gain His heart, then you will walk in all humility and contrition, because you will realize, it is no longer you that lives, but Christ that lives in you.

Blessings,
kent

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