Instructions for Life

September 11, 2015

Proverbs 4:13
Take fast hold of instruction; let [her] not go: keep her; for she [is] thy life.

Instructions for Life

Every day is a classroom of instruction, learning and experience. Much like school when we were children, many of us still don’t pay very close attention. God has something to teach us every day if we are tuned into the Spirit and we have spiritual ears tuned to hear what He is speaking. As we grow to know God’s Word we are learning instruction in spiritual, as well as practical life. God gives us the principles to live full, productive and satisfying lives, but are we listening, are we paying attention and are we applying these life principles to our lives? Often we nod, say an amen and acknowledge them with our minds, but have they gotten down into our hearts?
Just like in school there is a time of listening, studying and learning; then there is a time of testing to find out what we really know and remember. It is our testing that really tells us where we are. God already knows where we are, but most of the time we really don’t. It isn’t till we are put to the test of faith in certain areas that we see if we really have learned to trust God and apply the principles that He has taught us or if we resort back to acting out of the natural man and that way of thinking.
Often we can be going through life filled with joy and being blessed and then suddenly wham!!!!!!!!! We are hit with a punch that knocks our breath out. Tragedy may strike, we are treated unfairly, we are fired, our spouse wants to divorce us, we are faced with a life threatening disease in ourselves or one that we love and life no longer makes sense. Any number of things may assault us at any given time. How will we cope with these calamities? This is where the rubber meets the road and theory meets reality. Can we now make application in our lives of the things that we have learned and have knowledge of or are we sitting there stunned, shaking our heads and asking, “why me, God?” God says that it rains on the just and the unjust. Whether we are in Christ or in the world, tragedy and calamities are a very real part of life in this body. The life, the power and the grace that takes us through these times are found in the instruction that God has given us. Fortunately, it is an open book test and if we are struggling to make sense of all that is going on with us we can go back to the instruction of God’s Word. There we can find the answers that will help us to gain the perspective and even the faith that we need to prevail in difficult times
Jesus assures us that we will have tribulation in this world, but to be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). What does that mean to us? If our life is hid with Christ, in God as Colossians 3:3 says, then you also have overcome the world. The Overcomer dwells within you to help you walk where He has walked and prevail in victory where He has prevailed. Yes, we will have tribulation, but we are promised that we don’t have to face it alone. Christ is always there with us and the last part of Romans 8 assures us that there is no calamity or being or even death itself that can separate us from the love of God.
How do we pass the test? It is first in listening and learning the instruction of the Lord. Proverbs 6:3 says, “For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life.” God in His love shows us, teaches and corrects us. If we are wise we will receive His correction and we will grow wiser still. Proverbs 9:7-12 teaches us, “”Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. 8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you. 9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. 10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. 12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”
Learning and putting into practice our instruction is what is maturing us into the image of Him that is our teacher. It is God’s purpose and plan that we are like our Teacher and Master. If we will humble ourselves before Him, He will give us the instructions to a godly life and He will help us in the tests to practice the principles that He has taught us. Pay attention to His instruction and humbly receive His correction, ‘for whom the Lord loves He chastens’. Hebrews 12:7-13 leaves us with this exhortation, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Blessings,
#kent

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Come with Me

June 23, 2015

Song of Solomon 2:10-13
My lover spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.
11 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”

Come with Me

Even as in the natural the winter is passing and spring is coming the life and glory of God is springing forth within its people. It is a time for dead things to be pruned away so that the life of Christ within us might flourish and bring forth in fruitfulness.
The Lover of our souls is whispering in our spirits, “Come with me.” He is stirring within us a renewed love and passion of Him. He is calling us up unto Him and into His presence. His voice is tender and sweet, but still a whisper. If we have the volume turned up to loud in our outward lives we could easily miss hearing Him. He is speaking to those whose hearts are tender and who are pursuing Him. Many will miss it and continue on with life as usual, but He is whispering to those who are listening and to those that can hear He speaks, “Come with Me.”
This is a beautiful time of fruitfulness in the Lord if we are walking with Him and if we are discerning His voice. The Lord is ushering in His kingdom through a kingdom people, many of which are hidden and unknown to the world or even Christianity at large. They are the precious ones that He has hidden unto Himself. Those that He has been training up and revealing Himself too.
Our Lover speaks in verse 14 and says, “My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” In this hour the Lover of our souls is calling forth His dove, His spirit-filled ones who have been hidden. It is the hour when they will show their face and be revealed to the world. Their voice is sweet with the truths that the Holy Spirit has revealed and planted in them and their countenance is lovely with the glory and presence of the Lord.
In verse 15 the Lord speaks to us what we must do. “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” It is those little things that you must deal with. It is the little tormentors that spoil our fruitfulness that keeps us focused upon the outward and concerned about the natural. It is those little foxes that push our buttons and causes us to respond out of the flesh rather than walking in the Spirit. It is those little foxes that are like the weight and sins that so easily beset us and hinder us in our high calling in Christ Jesus. We have to catch those little foxes so that they can be laid aside to no longer rob and hinder our fruitfulness in righteousness. Hebrews 12:1-2 exhorts us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” What is it that hinders us from coming with Him if it is not the entanglement and encumbrances of this world? We must rid ourselves of the little foxes.
Are we listening and can we hear? It is springtime and the Lord is stirring up and bringing forth new life. Listen to what He is speaking into your spirit. Listen as He calls you forth unto Him. He is pruning the dead things and the foxes that spoil our vine so that the things that pertain to life and godliness might flourish and be fruitful. Let him who has ears hear, even as the disciples heard the call of the Lord when He said leave what you are doing and come with me. Very few really hear and even fewer are willing to let go of their life and respond to His. Those that can hear and have their ear tuned to the Spirit, He is speaking, “Come with Me.” He is calling unto Himself His kingdom people.

Blessings,
#kent

Are You Putting Me On?

Galatians 3:27
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Let’s talk further of our spiritual wardrobe and how we are to clothe our whole man. The Word says that when we were baptized or immersed into Christ we have put on Christ. The struggle isn’t that we don’t have Christ, the struggle is with our thinking and old ways of behavior that must be transformed to the mind of Christ. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Just as we choose each day which clothes we are going to wear, we make choices, either knowingly or unknowingly, about our mindset and how we are going to think and act. It can be all too easy to fall back into the rut of our former way of thinking and behavior because we fail to acknowledge who we are, how we should think, and consequently how we should act. We fail to come into union and alignment with the Holy Spirit on a constant basis to enable us to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh.
There is an active decision going on each day in us to press into and follow after Christ. Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that we are to give ourselves daily to renewing our minds; “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We are continually to pursue and put on that mind of Christ that walks by faith in our Father and not by the sight of natural things. This is a way contrary to our natural thinking and our former behavior. It is an area we must give ourselves too as we seek to come into concert with the Holy Spirit within us. Colossians 3:8-15 continues to give us further insight into the direction of this exchange and transformation, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.
And above all these things [put on] charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” The word is exhorting us to make right choices about our spiritual wardrobe. It is the reflection of who we really are in Christ. When Paul exhorts women about their outward apparel in 1 Timothy 2:9, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” he is simply saying let the outward man reflect the inward man. What we are inwardly should show forth in who we are outwardly.
Our spiritual man is not just about an attitude or way of thinking, it is also an armor and protection against the powers and influences of darkness that are ever there to tempt us, distract us, and undermine our authority in Christ. Romans 13:12 tells us, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Ephesians 6:11-13 says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Paul goes on in this passage to explain the different parts of the armor and their spiritual application to us. We are not dressing to go to the mall; we are dressing for battle and spiritual warfare. If we fail to see the significance of our spiritual garments and wardrobe, then we are going to find our selves in those old sweaty garments of the flesh and spiritual defeat. Those aren’t the garments of heavenly attire. How does our Father want us to dress? ” But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof] (Romans 13:14).”

Blessings,
#kent

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