Strongholds

April 24, 2014

Mark 3:23-27a
So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.

Strongholds

There are strongholds that each one of us deals with in our lives. Some may be stronger than others, but all of us have dealt with areas of our flesh where we are weak and more prone to failure and sin. Most all of us tend to want to keep these in the secret places of our closets so others won’t see, but often very ugly things reside behind the closed doors of our home and our hearts. These strongholds have fettered us and kept us in a state of bondage even as Christians for far too long. It is most often a love-hate relationship. We hate our sin and yet we love it too much to let go of it. As a result we struggle with our hypocrisy, often justifying it or rationalizing it so we can live with this bondage that is crippling our wholeness in Christ. Many of us live with much guilt and condemnation because we truly love the Lord and yet in these areas that may differ with each one of us, we are weak and seem unable to break free.
The enemy knows our areas of weakness and vulnerability. These are his inroads to our soul to hinder us and cripple us in walking in obedience in these areas. No amount of rules or laws are going to deliver us from these sensual or fleshly indulgences.
Paul says this in Colossians 2:19-13, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” The truth is that Jesus Christ has bound the strong man, disarming his powers and authority. We now possess in Christ a greater power and authority than that which has bound us. Verse 10 says ‘you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority.’
So why are we still enslaved by these strongholds of sin and flesh? God has placed the Spirit of Christ in us to overcome the flesh. It is easy when someone does everything for you, but it doesn’t help you to grow or to find the strength you need to live in victory. God has called us to overcome in Christ Jesus.
We plead, “But I have tried and I still fail. I can’t do it.”
That is exactly right, we can’t do it, but we have a power resident within us by which we can. Romans 8:12-14 tells us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” The key words here for us are “By the Spirit”. We have an identity in Christ that we must put on in every area of our lives. We are no longer identified with the weakness, fearfulness and the lust of our flesh. We are identified with what we possess which Colossians 2:10 says is the ‘fullness in Christ’.
Colossians 3:1-11 exhorts us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” We must know who we are and where we now reside in the Spirit. We are not an earthly people any longer, we are a kingdom people with the King of Kings setting upon the throne our hearts and souls.
Some of us cry out in our souls and say, “I want to be free, but I can’t.” Can’t is not a statement of faith, but of fear and unbelief. “We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.” Our greatest enemy is the deceptiveness of sin. We hide our sin in the closet because of our shame. We don’t want people to think of us less than spiritual; when in truth we are all struggling with the same garbage. It doesn’t matter how wicked or perverse the thing is that you struggle with, God sees it and He knows. It is not His will that this stronghold possesses you and rules over you. The greatest tactic of the enemy is to get you alone with your sin, like you are the only one going through this. You are not alone. We all struggle in areas of our life. Our greatest strength and victory is going to come when we bring our sin and struggles into the light and we allow the body of Christ to stand with us, pray with us and offer accountability to us. James 3:16 tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” The reason we confess our sins to one another is to bring them into the light, which renders the devil powerless. He can only work in darkness. In the light we unite with the strength and support of fellow believers who can pray with us, stand with us and help us to be accountable in those areas where we are so prone to temptation.
It is time for all of us to come out of our dysfunctional state of sin and failure. Let us help one another in coming into the full freedom and deliverance from these strongholds that have so long crippled and hindered us in our walk and full devotion to Christ. You are not alone in your struggle. Surround yourself with other solid believers that you can trust and confide in. You may find that you are able to help them as much as they can help you. Let us walk in the light as He is in the light. No more strongholds!

Blessings,
#kent

Revealed

March 20, 2014

Revealed


1 Corinthians 2:9-16

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

As God’s people we know more than we think we know.  Just as I don’t know what I am about to write right now, the Spirit of God within me does.  Many times as He has led me to write in an area or on a subject, I have protested saying, “God, I don’t know about that or what to write about that. ”  He would simply ignore my protest and wait for me to begin to write.  Today is another of these days.  Often God doesn’t reveal but the initial portion we need to get started.  Further revelation comes as we step out in faith and act on what we have, rather than on what we don’t have.  If we are God’s vessels, filled with His Spirit and possessing the mind of Christ, as the last verse of our scripture for today says we do, then we have to realize that we have a power to move beyond our natural ability and limitations.  I know my limitations and they are many, but I also know that in my weakness God’s strength is revealed.  

How does God want to reveal Himself in you and through you?  Will you, like myself, protest of your inability and weaknesses, or will you like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8 say, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me.”  When God sends us, He will equip us and He will provide for us a way.  Faith is the precursor to all that He gives to us.  Rarely is everything laid out on the table and we know the whole plan and have all our provisions.  Faith reveals the will and provision of God as we walk in it and believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  You have a vast, immeasurable reservoir of Spirit Life within you.  You have not began to sound the depths of what God’s Spirit can and will do through you.  Our God is an ever increasing light revealing Himself more and more unto the perfect day when as 2 Peter 1:19 declares, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” God’s people are the revelation of His truth and the proclamation of His glory.  Before you see the fullness of this truth you will see the revelation of all that hold the truth in unrighteousness for the man of sin will reveal it in his day.  Matthew 12:24 says, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 warns us, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”  All that is seen in the world proclaiming Christianity is not the Church.  The true Church is the remnant whose hearts and lives belong to the Lord, not just in outward profession.  The day will reveal His own.  

As God is revealing the dross in us, He is also revealing Himself in us.  Beneath the dross lies the gold and silver, the nature and character of God and His redemption.  Though we are often discouraged and mourn over the sin that still wants to cling to us, we must not let that become the identification of who we are.  God is at work in us, perfecting that which concerns Him, that His Son may be revealed through us.  2 Corinthians 7:1 tells us, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 

God has a plan.  Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” A body is prepared for Christ, the head, to rest upon and fill with the fullness of all that He is.  Are we prepared to have revealed in us all that He is?   Let us move out in faith and be that revelation of God’s glory and truth. 

 

 

Blessings,

#Kent

God gives more Grace

June 7, 2013

God gives more Grace

James 4:4-10
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

There is no reason in the man without a season,
There must be a time and purpose for all reasons.
Things spent upon our own desires and pleasures,
Seldom yield a spiritual fruit of any good measure.

Darkness often looms beneath our spiritual light,
Hypocrisy often turns our day to night.
Our envy, lust and striving are seldom for the higher good,
Often we find ourselves not living in the spirit we thought we would.

Outwardly we wear our religious and righteous attire,
Inwardly, struggles with sin burn in our belly like a fire.
There is hope if in humility we cry out to God in our need,
But many are the proud, blinded to the life that they lead.

Oh God, what wretched men we so often are,
Shunning the grace and Lord that is our redemptive star.
Yet you give more grace, so let us humble ourselves anew,
Help us resist the devil, submit our hearts and draw near again to You.

Help us draw nigh to you, oh God, that you might draw nigh to us,
Give us grace, strength and power to forsake our envy, pride and lust.
Let us weep and mourn when in our sin we’ve failed,
But help us overcome our failures and by your strength, prevail…
Kent Stuck

Blessings,
kent

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