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

Cistern or Septic

June 10, 2015

Cistern or Septic

James 3:7-12
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
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 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.

Jesus makes this statement 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.” The tongue and the speech of a person are the reflection of the aquifer of a man’s soul. Many things touch us as we go through life and how we process and the attitude with which we handle them can make all the difference in the world in how they affect our life and who and what we are. Most of us, at one time or another, will experience hurts, disappointments and offenses at the hands of another individual. It can be someone who might have been a friend or it may be from our closest and most trusted loved one or relative. Offenses, hurts, wounding can come from many directions, but no matter where they come from, it is how we deal with them that becomes important.
When water falls upon the earth it percolates down through the ground into voids, pockets and underground reservoirs. Many of us have had or at least drank from wells supplied by underground water. What is it that makes that water either pure to drink or in some cases septic and contaminated? Usually it is the process of filtration as it goes through the ground and works its way down into the reservoir. We have a filtration process that we have to take the events of our lives through. What we find in the Word is that if we process our lives with an attitude of the world or if we allow offenses or hurts that may be very real, to be processed the wrong way it can allow our inward cistern of life to become polluted and defiled. It will not only defile us, but it will make our speech and attitudes septic, which can, in turn, defile others.
The bait of satan is to get us to take offense, after all we are justified in doing so, we are the ones that were wronged. In Mark 11:25-26 Jesus makes the statement, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” You see our soul and our heart can be a cistern of life giving water or it can become a septic tank of bitterness and unforgiveness. What would have happened if the Lord had taken the offense of our sins, disobedience and rejection into His heart and held unforgiveness? If we still had life at all there would be no hope and there would be no avenue of relationship. If the Lord had only dwelled on our offenses and had not offered forgiveness could we have known anything but misery and death? As the Son of God was hanging on the cross, grossly beaten, abused, tortured and now crucified of men, His words were “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He didn’t hold the offense. He released it and the destructive power it could have contained with unforgiveness.
Maybe some of us today are sensing that our cistern has been polluted and made septic by offenses we have been unwilling to forgive and release. That unforgiveness hinders the forgiveness of our offenses to the Lord. It must be as the Lord’s prayer says,’ forgive us our sins, our debts, our offenses, as we forgive those who have sinned against us, have unpaid debts toward us and who have offended us.’ This process can be a painful one and in a sense it is like turning the other cheek to forgive when everything within us wants to return pain for pain, an eye for eye and a tooth for tooth. We want the offender to hurt and suffer every bit as much, if not more, than we have. We have a mighty God who is our avenger and just judge before which all of us will stand and give account. Allow your heart to be freed of the offenses that you have held so that you may have a clean heart and know God’s wonderful love and forgiveness for you that we could never deserve, yet He freely gives.
Filter out the offenses and the hurts that want to go into your heart and mortally wound your soul. You must filter them with the love and the forgiveness that the Lord has given you. You must extend the grace that He has given at the expense of his mortal life. It is the only way to purify the living waters of your heart so that you might issue forth life and not death.

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

The Hidden Man of the Heart

1 Peter 3:3-4
Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Who is the hidden man of the heart? I heard it brought out in a message the other day that one thing we never really see is our own face. We can see pictures, drawings or even the reflection of ourselves in a mirror, but they are only representations of the real. Perhaps the instrument we rely most upon to show us ourselves is the mirror. Even mirrors have different qualities and can only reflect as well as the light they are under. How do we see ourselves? Is it not a culmination of how others perceive us and reflect us back to ourselves, or the ideas we have about ourselves which are shaped by our culture and world around us? Aren’t we always evaluating who we are based on what we can perceive of ourselves? Often, we even try to present our outward man in ways that are not who we truly are to create an illusion of who we want to be or whom we want others to think we are. Some of us don’t even want an accurate reflection of ourselves, but would choose to live in the imaginations of what we want ourselves to represent.
God has a mirror that he wants us to look in so that we might see ourselves as He sees us. In the Old Testament the priest had to wash himself in a brass laver. This brass laver was like a wash basin made from the brass looking glasses or mirrors of the women. So as the priest washed they had to reflect on themselves. God was showing us in type that when we come to the laver or wash basin where His Word and Holy Spirit reflect to us the true condition of our hearts, ” That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (Ephesians 5:26).” God is interested in this hidden man of the heart, because it is what is being formed in His image and likeness, not the outward. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18). We have to begin really seeing ourselves as God sees us, “the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We tend to see only our failures and shortcomings. We often only judge ourselves by condemnation and shame because we still perceive ourselves as sinners. We must begin to look and see ourselves in the light of who we are in Christ. God is dealing with the imperfections of our heart, not in condemnation but in transformation. He is conforming us to His nature in our hearts and character. While we look through the water of the brass laver into our hearts the water is there to wash us of all our impurities and uncleanness. The hidden man of the heart is who you truly are. “Christ in you the hope of glory”(Colossians 1:27). Let that Life be the outshining of what the world sees and let it be drawn to the light of the glory of Christ in you, so that it His image in you that you reflect.

Blessings,
kent

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