Robbed of Our Blessing

November 13, 2015

Haggai 2:10-14
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’ ”
The priests answered, “No.”
13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”
“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”
14 Then Haggai said, ” ‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

Robbed of Our Blessing

This is a day when the Lord desires to lay the spiritual foundations of His Temple again. What the Lord speaks to Haggai here He is speaking to us. In the analogy that Haggai brings forth, if a priest carried meat that had been sanctified and consecrated to the Lord in their pocket or the fold of the garment and touched another substance of food it didn’t automatically sanctify and consecrate that food. On the other hand if someone had handled or touched a dead body that defilement was transferred to all that he touched. The Lord says this people, His people, have been like those who have touched the dead body and so what ever they offer becomes defiled.
Are we wondering why we aren’t blessed, coming up short in our finances and experiencing so many struggles that we may not need too? The Lord says it is because we are defiled in our giving and our living.
We have talked about how the body of the old man is dead and crucified with Christ and we are a new creation in Christ, but when we fail to lay hold and live out of this reality and truth we are in affect touching the dead body. We are living out of corrupted fleshly thinking and attitudes. Thus what we touch becomes defiled because it is not the mind of Christ we are operating out of, it is the mind of the flesh, the old man, that which is supposed to be dead.
If God is to bless the works of our hands they have to be the works of His Spirit through us and not our fleshly efforts any more. When we lay the foundations of the Lord’s house, it is a spiritual house not built with human efforts and thinking, but directed and ordered by the Spirit.
We all want the God’s blessing and favor to rest upon us and it is in God’s heart to want to bless and increase us, but there are things we need to get rid of and the primary one is the mentality of this old dead man. We speak often concerning our identification with Christ because His is the life and the mind that we are being renewed and brought forth in day by day as we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Romans 8:5-10 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” It is easy to see from this scripture how much we may still be living out of that old man and nature mentality. The Lord says that this is a defilement and pollution of the life He wants to live through us and the works that He wants to accomplish with our hands. We must begin to truly put on the mind of Christ and view our world through God’s eyes and perspective. In doing so we will be blessed. It is imperative that we identify the thinking that is filled with doubt, fear and unbelief and turn that around to agree and line up with the Word of God. Anything less is sin. Allow Christ to be at the forefront of your motives, your intentions, your will and your purpose. Filter your world and all that you are dealing with through Him. Ask Him and trust Him for wisdom and direction in all of your ways. We are a people that are putting away that which is dead and walking in the consecrated and sanctified life that we carry within us. Walk in the Spirit, build the Lord’s house and live in His blessing. If you will come and build the Lord’s house by the Spirit, He will build yours.

Blessings,
#kent

1 John 4:8-15 (Amplified)
He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins. 11Beloved, if God loved us so [very much], we also ought to love one another.
12No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us! 13By this we come to know (perceive, recognize, and understand) that we abide (live and remain) in Him and He in us: because He has given (imparted) to us of His [Holy] Spirit. 14And [besides] we ourselves have seen (have deliberately and steadfastly contemplated) and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son [as the] Savior of the world. 15Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God.

What is God’s Heart for You?

God’s heart is and ever has been that He loves you with a love so massive it defies comprehension. Until we fully embrace and come into the love of the Father for us, we can’t really know Him, for His identity is LOVE. Which of us would willing lay down our life for another, much less give our only son to die for someone else. It was through this demonstration of love that the Father and the Son corporately as one gave their life for the very humanity that had become their enemies; despising, rejecting and living in rebellion and opposition to God. Romans 5:6-11 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” That is God’s heart for you!
Now what is our heart for God? 1 John 4:15 says, “Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God.” God’s heart for us has so consumed us with His love that we embrace the gift of His love by our faith in Christ. His Holy Spirit comes into our heart to bear witness that we now belong to Him and the evidence of His presence is that we continually grow in His nature, which is love. After all, verses 16 and 17 go on to tell us, “And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. 17In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.”
What is He? He is love! What are we? His love exemplified through word and deed.
The question we all must ask ourselves is when others see me do they see God’s love, because I am His expression of love to others. If the answer isn’t positive then I must ask myself, “Am I so abiding in His love that it can’t help but show up through me? If we try and just do God’s love then it will always fall short, because it is out of conditional human effort and ability, but if we can become so lost in Him, that we just start to become like the One we worship and abide in then it will it come out of our being and not our doing.
The law of the kingdom of God is contained in this one word LOVE. When LOVE is what rules our hearts, our desires, our motives and our actions then God’s kingdom has come in us. When God’s love rules over all that we do then there are no limitations on what He can manifest through us in His power and glory, because it is all of Him and for Him. This is the heart of God for us and this is the kingdom we were called to live into and out of.

Blessings,
#kent

Savor the Laver

December 29, 2014

Savor the Laver

Exodus 38:8
And he made the laver [of] brass, and the foot of it [of] brass, of the lookingglasses of [the women] assembling, which assembled [at] the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

The brass laver was a piece in the tabernacle of Moses between the holy place and the brazen altar that the priests would come to wash themselves before their service. Exodus 40:30-32 tells us, “And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash [withal And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses.” The laver provided the facility for washing both when ministering to the people and when ministering to the Lord. The fact that it was made of the highly polished looking glasses of women spoke of its ability to reflect back to the one washing, their image and likeness. God’s Word is like a laver in that it gives us a standard of God’s character and righteousness and helps us to examine ourselves for who we are in the light of that standard. God’s Word can provide the introspection we so desperately need to see and wash the areas of sin and blemishes from our lives. This practice of washing was obviously a routine event that took place quite frequently as the priest would minister and serve. It is one we should practice in ministering within our own household.
Ephesians 5:25-27 gives us some insight into the spiritual application of this piece of the tabernacle furniture. It says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” The Lord gives us the Word to wash us and the Holy Spirit to be the polished brass that reflects our image so that we might see ourselves as He sees us. The Word of God has that power to transform our lives and wash away our uncleanness as we apply it to our minds, our thinking, our actions and our words. It is what translates to us the mind and purpose of God for us, as well as helping us to see where we are in light of that.
Please understand that God doesn’t give us the Word to condemn us, but to convict us. We were already under condemnation before we came to Christ, so the Word acts as introspection that reveals our sin so that we may repent, be washed and delivered out of our sin through the blood of Jesus. The Word speaks in several places about the need for us to judge ourselves, so that God doesn’t need to judge us. Whenever the Lord’s Supper or Communion was administered the partakers were exhorted to examine their own hearts and motives so that they didn’t partake of the Communion with sin still active and present in their lives. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 says, “27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” It is important for all of us to perform this self-examination in the light of God’s Word continually and respond to the evidence of sin in our lives by ridding ourselves of it. If we judge ourselves in this manner then we avoid the need for the Lord’s discipline to come upon us and deal with us in a more severe manner. This is true for all of us, but the ministers and the leadership of God’s house has even a greater responsibility in this cleansing, because they are the ones who help to wash the rest of the saints by giving forth the Word of God. This is a time when we are seeing God beginning to reveal and judge the sin in His house. It will start with the ministry of greater accountability and will follow down from there. 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
James 1:21-25 sums up the spiritual aspect of the laver quite well, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22Do 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.” We need to savor the laver, judging our own selves in the light of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s conviction. The laver was not just to look into, but to wash in, through this washing we can be the instruments and ministers who can effectively serve both the Lord and man. It is essential that we are clean and right before the Lord.
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn [yourselves] from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:30)”

Blessings,
#kent

Power of our Words (Part 2)

Hebrews 1:3
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

The previous study brought out that our words are the personal reflection and mirror of our heart. It is by our words that we express, both faith and acceptance of God and His Word, or we deny and turn away from it. Our obedience to God’s Word then is our seal that we love God and want Him living and abiding in our hearts. His seal to us is the Holy Spirit, who will help us in our walk of obedience and faithfulness. We discussed also that all that has been created is established and sustained by the Power of the Word, which is Christ. What is more, the powerful, creative Word, which is Christ, now resides in His believers and desires that we are now the expression of that Word, even as Jesus was in the earth. In order for this to happen, certain things must take place. We must first believe the Word of God, we must begin to align ourselves with it in thoughts, words and actions and walk in the Spirit so that God’s Word can have right expression through us.
Where our words are first birthed are in our thoughts and imaginations. Obviously these are areas that must be guarded. 2 Corinthians10: 2-6 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” While our imagination can be the creative expression of who we are, it can be fertile ground to conceive ideas and thinking that are opposed to Christ, vain and not in alignment with the Word of God. We are exhorted to examine all of our thoughts and imaginations through the filter of God’s Word and cast down all that is opposed to Him. God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are the filtration systems God has given us to discern the world we live in and decide what is acceptable and what isn’t. This is the root where we need to deal with wrong thoughts, wrong motives, destructive words and ungodly behavior. If they get past this checkpoint then they are on their way to fruition. Psalms 1:1-3 is a good example and exhortation of this fundamental truth, “1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
Proverbs 18:21 lets us know that our words are not to be taken lightly, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” As there is a creative power in God’s Mouth and His Word, He tells us we have a creative power in our mouth by the Words that we speak. They can be words, which bear the fruit of life, or words that bear the fruit of death. James 3:8 says, “but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Our tongue again will reveal what is in the heart and what condition the heart is in that it is coming out of. It will even reveal when we are double minded in our thinking and deeds. James 3:9-12 goes on to say, “9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt[a] water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. ” The purity of heart can be seen by the consistent flow of life giving words coming out of it.
What are our words speaking to us today about the condition of our hearts? Are we abiding in that place where the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are presiding over our words, our thoughts, imaginations and subsequent deeds? There is a powerful life-giving Word resident within you. Does it have a purified fountain to flow out of? In words are the power of salvation and the power of damnation, what are your words producing in your life and those around you? What are our words telling us about the condition of our heart?

Blessings,
#kent

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

Counsel of the Lord

October 15, 2013

Proverbs 19:21
[There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Counsel of the Lord

Are there any of you, besides myself that get in our mind what we want to do and that is like our final counsel? We have decided this is the way it needs to be and in our mind we are right. We are insistent in our arguments and dogmatic in our commitment to see it done our way. Maybe someone has said to you, “It doesn’t matter what I say, you are going to do what you are going to do.” So we bulldog our way through; sometimes it turns out good and a lot of times not so good.
Conviction of purpose is a good thing to have if we follow the right counsel. Proverbs 19 says that there are many devices in a man’ heart. We have our ways of how we think things will work, what is best and how things should be done, but is that God’s counsel or ours? What we often find out, and don’t like to admit, is that we are not always as wise as we thought we were at the time we decided what the right way to do something was. What we all have to come to the realization of is that no matter how good our intentions or our motives the only counsel that will surely stand is the Lord’s counsel. How imperative it is in this hour that we develop an ear for the Lord’s counsel. Most times we can find it in His Word if we have ears to hear and a heart to obey. Human nature is such that it usually hears what it wants to hear and kind of ignores the rest.
Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors [there is] safety.” Counsel is an important element of success. Where we lack proper direction we usually fail, but if we have the right counselors to advise us and we have a willing and an open heart to listen, we can be successful because we follow sound advice. The advantage of a multitude of counselors is that you get a multi-faceted opinion and direction. The key here is to choose a multitude of counselors that are people of God and seek to have the mind of the Lord. In that multitude you may find confusion or you may here a reoccurring theme and advice that is a witness that this is the way to proceed. Most of us have had the experience of hearing something that we thought was of the Lord, then we started hearing that same thing or something similar coming from different places and people. It serves as a confirmation in our hearts that what we first heard was true. It is like a multitude of counselors and can work the same way.
Many of us can relate to places in our spiritual walk where we are much like teenagers. We thought we had it all figured out, we had just enough knowledge and information to be dangerous, but in our minds we knew what we wanted and what was best for us. So despite the counsel of others we proceeded to do what we wanted to do. We usually continue in that vain for a time until we gain enough maturity, generally through our failures and mistakes, that we realize we don’t know it all and that those who were trying to give us good counsel weren’t as dumb as we seemed to think they were. Why is it that we can see it in our teenagers, but we can’t see it in ourselves? What we generally find out is that we didn’t want to do something God’s way because we wanted to have our freedom. What we come to find out is that our so-called freedom became our bondage and downfall and our response of obedience really brought the liberty and freedom that we thought we would miss. The sad part is what we had to go through to come to this realization.
Lord may we find the wisdom of your counsel each day of our lives. May the divine counsel of the Holy Spirit guide us and order our steps in the ways of righteousness. May You place the will and the do of Your good pleasure within us to follow Your counsel and gain the principle thing, which is divine wisdom. Help us each day to put on the mind of Christ, not being conformed to this world, but being transformed through the renewing of our minds in Your counsel. Straighten our crooked paths and correct us when we steer off course. Bring us into the straight and narrow of Your divine will and purpose for our lives. In that place we will find the green pastures of your peace and the gentle stream of living water. In that place our soul will be satisfied with comfort and joy because we are the sheep that know Your voice and follow in Your counsel. Amen

Blessings,
kent

Apples of Gold

August 22, 2013

Apples of Gold
Proverbs 25:11
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Throughout our lives we’ve all come to know and experience how cutting, hurtful and harmful words can be that are spoken in a way that is mocking, cruel or unkind. Words are like a two edged sword, on one edge is life and on the other is death and the flat sides are neutral. As Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” We have these tremendous weapons in our mouths and often we so carelessly use them and abuse them or we fail to use them in a positive way at all.
It is wonderful to think about the power we have to edify and build up another through the power of our words. When we look to speak the best about people then we will see the best in them. Sometimes we all need words spoken to us that are hard for us to hear, but they are truth. The words of a true friend are not always going to make us feel good, but hopefully they will help us to be better people and reveal to us things we need to know about ourselves that we are blind too. Proverb27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” In other words, we don’t just speak the words that make us feel good, but we speak the words that help one another grow, the words that challenge us and exhort us.
God’s Word has many passages that give us great hope and purpose. It can greatly edify us and build us up. God’s Word can also cut us to the bone and reveal the ugliness of our sin and wrong motives. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” God’s Word goes to the heart of the matter. If correction is needed, it will correct us and chastise us and if edification is needed, it will build us up and set our feet upon a right path. While hard words are difficult for many of us to hear, we will hear them and receive them more readily if we know that the person’s heart is pure who is speaking those words. If we know the motive for speaking hard things to us is love, then we are more apt to receive those words into our heart in order that they might produce life and betterment in us.
Proverbs 25:11, today’s passage, paints for us a picture that right words, spoken in season, can create rich and beautiful things. If we are walking in the love and spirit of Christ then our words should be moved and spoken out of a right spirit and a contrite heart. In other words, when we are speaking right words into someone’s life we are doing it in love and without spiritual pride or haughtiness on our part. We all need ones that will speak both blessing and correction into our lives, in love. Those are our true friends. Those are the ones that know how to speak out of the nature of God and in the spirit of redemption and mercy. Their words are ‘the apples of gold set in pictures of silver.’
How will we use the sword that God has put in our mouths? Will it produce apples of gold or a bloody mess? Let us choose our words wisely and pray that the Spirit of God directs what, where, when and how we speak. Remember the power of death and life is in your tongue, both for you and for others. Ask God to put a watch before your mouth that you may speak out of both wisdom and love.

Blessings,
kent

We are Right in Our Own Eyes

Proverbs 21:2-3
Every way of a man [is] right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Isn’t it a fact that most of us are justified in our eyes for our behavior; the words we speak and the attitude and actions we carry out? Most likely, if others are offended or hurt it must be their problem, not ours. That is because we have that wonderful rational mind that is so skillful at justifying what we do, the words and attitudes we communicate and how we live. Even if we do see and acknowledge some of our faults we may well try and offer a little sacrifice to compensate for it. We want to give token gifts that cover over our offenses and sins. We can rationalize “it is okay if I do this and this and the other, if over here I do this and this and the other. ” They will balance each other out and I will be okay. The mind is a funny creature; it rarely really likes accountability for it’s own actions. Are you ever amazed with all the excuses we can come up with when things go wrong?
The truth is these games don’t fly with most people very long, let alone God. He is looking into the true motivation and attitude of our heart. He sees right past all our little diversionary tactics to justify us. Like the prophet Samuel ask King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:14, ” What [meaneth] then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” The command of God was to utterly destroy the Amelekites and all that belonged to them, but here we find compromise because King Saul had allowed the Amalekite king and the best of the flock to be spared on the pretense of sacrificing them to God. When I read this I think how many times have I compromised God’s Word, by rationalizing in my own mind why it would be okay or if I did it just a little different. If you read or are familiar with the rest of this account and exchange you know that Samuel makes this important point to Saul in 1Samuel 15:22-23:
“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.” The lesson is, it can cost you everything to have a heart that is set on compromise and disobedience. The Lord simply requires of us obedience to His Word. We must be willing to look honestly at ourselves and our motives in the light of God’s Word and ask the Holy Spirit to honestly reveal them to us in the light of His truth. There we must deal with them with the blood of Jesus through repentance, submission and uncompromising obedience to the will of God.
“Lord, help us today to have right motives in all that we do and please reveal it to us if we be otherwise minded. Help us not to justify our sins. Help us to yield to Your will in all of our ways and allow You to have Your complete way as we endeavor to live in uncompromising obedience to You.”

Blessings,
kent

A Pure Heart

June 24, 2013

A Pure Heart

Psalm 24:3-5
Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Titus 1:5 says, “Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” The purity of our hearts and our relationship with God has so much more to do with the condition of our hearts than it does with just outward acts, or do’s and don’ts. Many of us are concerned with how others perceive us and how even God perceives us. We spend much of our life and efforts trying so hard to project the right image or performing the outward works of righteousness. The Lord wants us to focus on the truth that purity and righteousness are a condition of our heart. If our heart isn’t right nothing else will be either, no matter how religious or pious we wish to present ourselves.
Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” It stands to reason then that the condition of our heart toward God is the measure of our purity. Impurity takes place when there is a mixture of unclean and clean. With regard to our spiritual state that could be a mixture of impure thoughts, desire, emotions, actions, or motives. If we are God’s kids, His desire in us is purity of heart. He wants every thought and motive of our hearts to be centered in Him, in His nature and character. If the Lord is the treasure we are laying up in our hearts then our motives and that which is spoken out of our mouths will reflect that.
One of the ways the Lords helps us achieve purity is by fire. It is the tribulation and trials of life that reveal our true heart. How do we act in stressful situations? How do we handle sin and temptation? The Holy Spirit within us discerns the thoughts and intents of our hearts. If we want to be pure then it is by exercising the knife or the sword of the Word of God in our hearts through skillful instruction and conviction of the Holy Spirit that cuts us to the quick concerning the areas of impurity in our lives. Hebrew 4:12 says, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word is able to cut into the gray areas of our lives and reveal true heart motive. Then it is our will and choice to purify and cleanse ourselves by relinquishing these areas of our lives to the Lord. If we are the Lord’s then we must always be mindful that this why Jesus came, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)” Jesus has saved us to deliver us from iniquity. The purification is a process by which He is pruning us, cutting away the unproductive ways of our flesh and baptizing us into fire that is constantly dealing with the issues of our heart. Why? The Lord is desiring a peculiar, separated people unlike the world. They are as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 2:9-10, “But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
In order to have purity, we must by the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word be willing to deal with the impurity. That comes in that place of relationship and desire for all that He is, counting all that we value in this earth as dung in comparison. James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.” The motives of our hearts must be centered in His Love. It is not out of legalism or ceremonial ritual or practice that we will be purified. 1 Timothy 1:5 says the end of the commandment is this, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:”
What is the condition of our heart today? Are we operating out of a pure heart and pure motives generated and birthed out of the love of Christ within us. It is in that continual, life-giving union with Him that the exchange of His nature for ours is taking place and purity of heart is the cream that rises from His love within us.

Blessings,
kent

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