Sleep Walking

March 19, 2015

Revelations 3:1-6
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 4Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Sleep Walking

I wonder how many of us today might find ourselves much in the same condition as the Church of Sardis. We have a reputation as a Christian and having a relationship with Christ and yet we have allowed the world to induce us to sleep. We still go through motions of Christianity, but inwardly we are slipping into apathy, complacency and lethargy that are causing us to fall into a spiritual sleep. When we are around the world and its values daily, hearing its talk, watching it values and trying to fit into its social norms, we can find ourselves drifting away from that purpose driven life of who we are in Christ and what He has called our lives to be. We may have said to ourselves subconsciously, “I’ll just sit here for awhile and rest from my spiritual journey. The warfare of walking in Christ has wearied me, so I’ll just let down for a while and go with the flow.” First we sit down and before we know it we are lying down in the spiritual filth of the world and our righteous garments are becoming soiled by our compromise.
The Holy Spirit is coming to us in this hour, shaking us and telling us to “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of God.” We have allowed ourselves to slip back into the death that holds the world in darkness and sin. Shake it off and arise again with repentance into your purpose and calling in Christ. He has called us to live in daily faithfulness unto Him. He is looking for those who will not soil their garments of righteousness, but will walk in an overcoming life of righteous living in Christ, day by day fighting the good fight of faith and not growing weary in the battle.
If we examine ourselves and the Holy Spirit is revealing to us that we are in this state, then it is time for us to Wake Up and get our lives back into the flow of His life and purpose. Our Christianity cannot be a sleep walk; it must be a walk of overcoming through commitment, obedience and faithfulness.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Long and Winding Path

January 29, 2015

The Long and Winding Path

Proverbs 4:14
Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil [men].

Jesus told us in Matthew 7:13, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” How blessed so many of us are that our loving Lord has shown us the strait gate of salvation and life. As we travel this road of life together in the light and truth of God’s Word how prone we are to still want to wander off the paths of truth and righteousness. Seldom do we want to take the shortcut to follow the straight and narrow. We so often want to take the windy path that wants to kind of weave in and out of the God’s way and His path. We always think we are missing something more exciting or more enjoyable if we stay directly on the path and so we run over here and over there. We are like little children, undisciplined to color within the lines of our drawing. Our life pictures are often distorted and not as pretty as they ought to be, because we choose to color outside the lines of God’s will and purpose for our lives. We love the Lord, we know His ways are right and just, but it is so hard for us to let the cross have its way concerning our old nature and desires.
There are those times when we perhaps cross God’s path long enough to truly experience His presence and experience the reality of Psalms 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.” What our foolish hearts blind us to see is that our God is the author of joy and pleasure. The world can only hold up a weak counterfeit to all that we can have in Christ. We don’t always see that right away and being the impetuous and impatient people that we are, we want our candy now. How easily we are often lured away. Proverbs 5 is a story of warning to the wandering and unstable son. “1My son, listen to my wisdom. Turn your ear to my understanding. 2So you may know what is good thinking, and your lips may keep much learning. 3For the lips of a strange woman are as sweet as honey. Her talk is as smooth as oil. 4But in the end she is as bitter tasting as wormwood, and as sharp as a sword that cuts both ways. 5Her feet go down to death. Her steps take hold of hell. 6She does not think about the path of life. Her ways go this way and that, and she does not know it. 7Now then, my sons, listen to me. Do not turn away from the words of my mouth. 8Keep far away from her. Do not go near the door of her house . 9If you do, you would give your strength to others, and your years to those without lovingness. 10Strangers would be filled with your strength, and the fruits of your work would go to a strange house. 11You would cry inside yourself when your end comes, when your flesh and body are wasted away. 12You would say, ‘How I have hated teaching! My heart hated strong words! 13I have not listened to the voice of my teachers. I have not turned my ear to those who would teach me. 14Now I have a bad name in the meeting place of the people.'”
Whether we wander the path of fleshly impurity or spiritual idolatry, we are unfaithful to the lover and redeemer of our souls. Who of us wants to find that at the end of our lives, or even before, our careless actions and wanton ways have brought destruction and heartache to ourselves and those around us? It is because we chose the long and windy path that allowed us to wander out of the path of life into the fields of sin and destruction. This path will have an impact on our lives in a negative way. While God, in His great love and mercy, will seek to correct us and bring us back, our foolishness is often not without its consequences and repercussions.
What is God’s path for us today? Who are we associating with that is leading us out of the will and purpose of God back into error and sin? Proverbs 1:15-16 instructs us, “My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.” God does not want us to be yoked with unbelievers but to be their signpost to the way of life. Proverbs 4:18 instructs us,” But the path of the just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Our paths must be made straight, for our eye must not be fixed on the temporal, but upon the eternal purposes of God and our part in them. With the vision that we are walking into the perfect day we will set our hearts to follow directly and passionately after Him and not the windy paths that lead in and out of His will. We must grow up into Him in all things concerning this life and that which is to come.

Blessings,
#kent

 

A Series of Right Decisions


Proverbs 3:1-12

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline 

and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.


The essence and sum of our lives can be measured and is made up of a series of decisions.  There will be things in our lives that we have no control over other than how we respond to them and what we do with them.  When we look back over our lives and to the point that we presently live, we can see that our lives are the result of a good number of smaller decisions and choices. Some of those have had more impact on our lives than others but even the little decisions have contributed to the larger whole.  When we understand that each day is made up of a series of decision that can impact and guide the direction of our lives, we then understand the importance of making right decisions.  

Proverbs 3 speaks to us out of the wisdom of a Father to his son.  As we read this we insert ourselves into the object of this conversation.  The Father is reminding the son that to live a prosperous and healthy life there are certain things you need to maintain, remember and exercise in your decision making.  The foremost is that you keep the teachings and the commands of God’s Word in your heart.  The continual meditation upon the Word of God will serve to keep your life focused and continually aware of what your life is about.  

The way that we exercise the Word that we store up in our hearts is through love and faithfulness.  These are the keys that allow us to partake of the treasures of God’s wisdom and grace and to put them into the vocabulary of our daily lives and actions.  Love, trust and obedience, these are the essentials that need to be with us in every decision making process.  When we have them and exercise them, and then they will assure a right motive to the decisions that we do make.  

Even with these essentials we realize that we lack the insight, understanding and wisdom to really know what is best for our lives and if the decision we are making may be the best choice we could have made.  

Again, the Lord reminds us to trust Him with all our whole heart and to lean not upon our own understanding.  God knows so much more about our lives and the impact of our decisions than we do. It only makes sense to really trust Him to guide us and lead us.  He says He will make our paths straight.  Romans 8: 28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  These are those ones that are practicing Proverbs 3.  If we acknowledge Him, trust Him and love Him with all of our heart, then He is able to take even the bad things in our life and work them for our good.  There are going to be times in our life we won’t be able to grasp the whys and wherefores of how God operates and the reason He has allowed things to happen as they have.  He never told us we had to understand Him, just acknowledge, love and trust Him.  

We can never boast in ourselves, in our ability, our prosperity or our wisdom.  We do acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes from above.  Sometimes we are tempted in our spiritual or natural successes to be lifted up to think we are something or somebody more than somebody else is.  We have to always keep our feet on the ground while we keep our heart in heaven.  Spiritual pride is a foolish man’s prize.  We are all the products of God’s rich grace and mercy.  None of us can boast in ourselves for it is God alone that gives us value and worth.  If we fear God and turn away from evil then it will be health to our body and nourishment to our bones.  

I heard a minister the other day who was sharing that the temple had five gates.  There was a priest stationed over each one of those gates as a watchman to assure that no danger or that nothing unclean entered the gates.  He went on to share that these five gate are like our five natural senses and God has set us as a priest to watch over them and insure that nothing harmful or unclean passes through them into the temple which we are.  This is much like the principles of Proverbs 3.  If we will do our part to love, acknowledge, trust and obey the Lord, He will do His part to direct and order our steps.  

As He honors us, we must in turn honor Him with the firstfruits of our increase.  We can’t bring the leftovers or the second best.  We must honor Him with the firstfruits of our best.  He assures us that we won’t lack because of it.  

We are His children.  He loves us and whom the Lord loves He chastens, disciplines and corrects.  We can’t become discouraged when our lot in life is tough.  It is not God’s anger and displeasure at work; it is His love.  The trials and tribulations in our lives are what shape and mold our character and integrity.  They are a part of the process of bringing us into conformity with Father’s nature and character.  All that God is working in us is in preparation for a much more glorious life.

Just remember that it is the series of everyday decision that add up to the sum of your life.  Allow God to be a part of every one of them.  

 

Blessings,

#KentStuck

Higher Level Living

March 5, 2014

Matthew 5:11-12

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


Higher Level Living


What is our natural response to insults, verbal and physical attacks, slander, gossip and false accusations?  Isn’t it to fight back, justify, retaliate and begin attacking our attackers.  Suddenly we find ourselves drawn in and participating in the same fleshly ugliness of those who attacked us. We have come down to their level and are fighting with the same carnal weapons they are.  We are opening our hearts to be influenced by the same spirits that are influencing them.  

“An eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth,” some will say.  Funny you should say that because a little further down in Matthew 5:32-42 Jesus says,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”  

Wow, that is pretty unconventional wisdom by this world’s standards and wisdom only a few are willing to walk in.  

Why?

Because it denies all of “my” rights.  It is asking me to give up and renounce what is “mine”.  It is asking me to return good for evil and it imposes seemingly unfair demands upon “me” as a person.  It  seems to be letting injustice prevail and our rights to be taken unfair advantage of.  

When we can all walk in the principles that Jesus gives us in Matthew 5-7 it is probably a pretty good indicator that we are getting very close to being dead unto self and alive only unto Christ.  For us to willingly walk in the principles that Jesus is describing means it can no longer be about me, but only about exemplifying and living out of  Christ.  These are the principles that He walked and lived by.  The reason He could is because His heart and affection weren’t upon His natural man or the things of this world.  

We all have our possessions and things we have worked hard for.  We all have our reputation and our dignity to uphold.  It so goes against our grain to be taken advantage of or exploited or to be spoken falsely about.  

What Jesus is telling us is, there is a higher level of kingdom living that most of us never touch or  really know because we are still so connected and attached to this earthly kingdom and realm.  Many of us still think that the political candidate or president is going to determine the fate of the world, the nation and my well being.   We may believe if others aren’t of our particular denomination or persuasion of belief they are going to hell or will miss it and yet how many of us are really living these principles of Jesus?  

What we all need as believers, who say we love Christ, is a deliverance from a lot of our materialistic and capitalist ways.  They are not His ways, but what the world has taught us is true and valuable.  If we are not of this world then why are these things still so important to us?  The truth is most of us are really living out of a lower level of life and values than what Christ has called us too.  

Sometimes we don’t think much about it until we are put in those positions where we must choose between the conventional wisdom of this world and the wisdom that is from above.  If you want to really stand out as odd, even among most of the Christian community, try truly walking in the principles that Christ lays out here.  

Finally Jesus really stretches us even more in verses 38-43 by saying,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Jesus is calling us to a higher place.  It is not a realm where we can operate in conventional wisdom or even love with conventional love.  It  is place that we can only operate out of, by His Spirit and His Agape’ love.   It is a place where our self identity can not live; only our identity in Christ.  It is a place where we need to thank God for our enemies, because they are the only ones who can help elevate us to this realm of living and being.  Are we ready for a higher level of living?

 

Blessings,

kent

The Treachery of Riches

October 9, 2013

The Treachery of Riches

Psalms 49:4-20
I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle: 5 Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me- 6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? 7 No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him- 8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough- 9 that he should live on forever and not see decay. 10 For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. 11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. 12 But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Selah 14 Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. 15 But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. Selah 16 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; 17 for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. 18 Though while he lived he counted himself blessed— and men praise you when you prosper- 19 he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life. 20 A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

In the natural world it is the rich and powerful who think they have arrived and are in control of life. That is the goal of many, to have riches, fame and power. We are under the delusion that if we have these in abundance then our kingdom and our goals of success are secure. We think that when we pass on, our riches, our kingdom and our accomplishments will be carried on in our descendants.
What amount of money can redeem life, purchase forgiveness or deliver us from death, hell and the grave? What power among men, commands and rules over death? Even, as the beasts of the field perish, so we also have a limited number of days before our bodies will see corruption. When the rich, powerful and worldly successful men are in the grave, what then can their riches, their princely mansions and the power they wielded on earth do for them? As the word of Job 1:21 says, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. “ What then did the pursuit of riches and power gain the rich man when he goes to join the generation of his fathers who will never see the light of day? It as the Psalmist concludes, “A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.”
Is it wrong to possess riches or power? No, not if your trust, your love and affections aren’t given over to them. Those things have no power or life in regards to our eternity. It is shortsightedness on our part if our life is dedicated to the pursuit of things that will so soon pass away from us. It begins to make sense what Jesus said in Luke 12:33-34, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our eternal riches aren’t found in our bank account, our investment portfolio, our houses, lands or inheritances. They are only obtained through giving, not getting. Eternal riches are a paradox to the world. It is not till we pour out and give our life, first to the Lord and then to others, that we truly begin to become rich. The richest people in heaven won’t be those who had all of the wealth and power in the earth. The elite of heaven will be comprised of those who walked in the footsteps of the Master, who poured out their lives for others and who became poor that they might make others rich in Christ.
Many of us think in terms that if only we could win the lottery, look at the good we could do. We forget that we are already rich in the things that matter most. Most of the time and for most of us, earthly riches would only detour us from the eternal riches we already possess in Christ Jesus. The sacrifice of His life and the cross was the only thing worthy enough, powerful enough and rich enough to purchase us from eternal corruption, hell and death. We are a very rich people who possess the Lord. Take your eyes off of the outward and begin to tap into the riches you possess in Christ in order to give and bless others. Then you will possess the riches and the rewards of heaven that will greet you at death’s door rather than those riches that flee away from you. Many of us are rich beyond measure and don’t even realize it. I read a quote the other day that said, “the poorest man in the world is the man that only has money.” Hebrews 11:24-26 says that Moses saw this truth when, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”
The apostle Paul also prayed that we would get a revelation of our true riches in Ephesians 1:18-23. “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
The bottom line is that we don’t want to make the mistake of putting our trust in the treachery of the world’s riches, for the love of these things will result in our greatest poverty, life without Christ. Comprehend what the true riches are and that you already possess them in Christ. Now, let us go and invest them in His Kingdom that does not wax old or pass away and there they are laid up for us as an eternal weight of glory. The richest of all men are those who realize who they are in Christ.

Blessings,
kent

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

September 24, 2013

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

2 Timothy 4:14-18
Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

How many of us have been living life on a pretty even keel. We are getting along pretty well in our social relationships with people, living, what we feel, is a relatively good Christian life and testimony and then it happens. Some one comes into your life that train wrecks you emotionally and possibly in many other ways as well. Quite possibly they have come to you under the guise of another Christian Brother or Sister who loves the Lord. Maybe, initially you have sat and had great fellowship with them. They have won your friendship, trust and confidence and then it happens. At first some things start not adding up, there are seeming misunderstandings or miscommunications. Eventually it becomes evident that they are lying to you. They have been manipulating and using you as long as they could for their own gain or cause. Perhaps they are slandering you, spreading vicious rumors and trying to destroy your reputation. This is especially true if you are trying to expose them for who they are. What is worse is that they are still below the radar of most of their other associations, so most still perceive them as this wonderful spiritual person. Whether they are still perceived as spiritual or not you find yourself duped and taken advantage of. When you confront them they are always full of false promises of restitution and reconciliation or in total denial, turning it back on you as having the problem. What do you do with someone like that?
These types of people are probably much like those Paul describes in 1Timothy 3, when he talks about those who come having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was (1 Timothy 3:1-9).” What is disturbing is the emotional and spiritual destruction they leave in their wake. They often come defrauding honest people, deceiving, manipulating and betraying those who have embraced them in Christian love and fellowship. They often bring division and strife, as they turn brother against brother and sow the seeds of discord. Sometimes you would wonder if even they realize that they are the instrument of satan rather than the instrument of God.
The Word tells us that there will be those wolves in sheep’s clothing that will come among and try and destroy and undermine the work of God. We must guard our hearts, for their greatest strength is gained when they get us into the flesh, operating out of emotion and feelings, rather than out of the spirit. If we are able to rather stand in the Lord, entering into the fortress of prayer and lifting up a spiritual standard against this spirit, in time it will be broken. When we become frustrated, angry and discouraged, we tend to want to fall back upon the arm of the flesh to fight our battles. What did Moses do when Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses? Jannes and Jambres were thought to be the Pharaoh’s Egyptian sorcerers and magicians. It is interesting that Jambres name means, poverty, bitter and a rebel. What Moses did was let the Lord be His authority and vindicate his position. God will vindicate the righteous, but it may not be before there is great persecution. Again our lesson is to be discerning of men, stand our ground based on the Word of God and through prayer and confidence in God allow God to go before us in battle, so that we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Blessings,
kent

Have You Been Evil Spoken of?

Matthew 12:3
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh

Many of us, as Christians, have experienced the hurt and pain of having our good be evil spoken of or having had lies told about us to slander our character. People have taken our words that we have spoken out of a pure heart and twisted them to malign our testimony. Truly it is said, “that the power of death and life are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).” Perhaps there is no greater force on earth than words. Words can be a powerful force for either life or death. Perhaps one of the greatest weapons satan has ever formed against righteousness is twisted, crafty and perverted words. With words Adam and Eve accepted the cunning lie and deception of satan that brought all of humanity into the bondage of sin. Other than physically slaying someone there is nothing more powerful and destructive to the human spirit and soul than hurtful words.
As we look back over the course of the history of the Bible and God’s people we can see example after example where the enemy came in through those yielded to him and sought to use words to undermine and destroy the work of God. What are some of the fruit of the flesh? Galatians 5:20-21 says, “idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God (NLT).” So many find their expression through words. What is even more alarming and sad is that not only does the world want to speak evil of us it is often those whom we have considered our brothers and sisters in Christ that stab us in the back and tear us down before others. Psalms 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up [his] heel against me.” Who can hurt us more than family or a dear friend? As you read through the Psalms you will see this hurt and the unjust evil done toward David a prevalent theme. A key we find here is that he was dealing first with it in his prayer closet. Moses was nearly stoned and rebelled against on many occasions through the slanderous words that stirred up the people against him. The New Testament holds many accounts through which Christians were beaten, plundered and killed because of evil words spoken against them. Then we have our greatest example, our Lord Jesus, who through the unjust words and judgements of men was condemned, beaten and crucified. That is why Jesus calls the Jewish leaders in our key text a “generation of vipers”. If there is poison in the heart, there will be poison in the tongue and out of an evil heart men will speak evil things. I believe there is a general principle that the more power, wealth or influence you possess the more subject you may be to these attacks, as many of them arise out of envy, selfish ambition and jealousy, but it can happen to any of us.
What do I do when someone has crushed my heart with hurt and disappointment, as well as seeking to ruin my reputation before men? Psalm 41:11-13, “By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever. Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.” In Matthew 5:44-45 Jesus declares, “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; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” I guess it can be said that this sort of thing goes with the territory. Our greatest defense is prayer where we can share our heart and our hurt with the Father, forgiveness of those who have hurt you and the love of God toward even your enemies. Our greatest danger is to fall into like tactics of gossip, slander and other devices, we could well feel justified in using if we are in the flesh. Just maintain your integrity. Bring everything into the light and full disclosure, if you are wrong or at fault in any way, confess it and repent of it. Give no place to the devil by hiding anything in the darkness. That is where he does his best work. Be careful about trying to justify yourself, which is our natural tendency. Weigh what you say and do before the Lord and be led of the Spirit before you speak concerning these issues.
This is a spiritual thing and we can all easily get caught up in the snare of gossiping, backbiting and storytelling. Avoid conversation and fellowship with those who are critical and faultfinding. Let your tongue speak good and blessing for the Word says we are “to speak evil of no man” (Titus 3:2).
God is our vindication and our justification. Don’t take the hurtful wounding words and divisiveness into your spirit. Give it to the Lord. Your life and your testimony will speak for itself. Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Blessings,
kent

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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