STOP!

April 8, 2022

STOP!

Ephesians 2:1-3

And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

               Most of us aren’t crazy about stop signs and traffic lights.  Most of the time we see them as an inconvenience and hindrance to us getting where we want to go.  Just give us green lights and open road and we are happy.  While we don’t particularly like stop signs and stop lights all of us know the consequences that would result without them and often does, in spite of them.  Stop is a commandment that brings to rest our forward motion and momentum, but in doing so it is a commandment that can save us serious harm, loss and destruction if we obey.  It is usually in the disobedience of stop signs and lights that accidents happen.  This same principle holds true in our spiritual lives.  The Holy Spirit and the Word of God have put stop signs up in our lives to protect us.  It was when we obeyed the stop sign that said, “quit living and going the way you are because the bridge is out ahead” that we found life.  The wages of sin is death and if you are going down that road you will die a spiritual as well as physical death.  The Holy Spirit often puts road signs in our lives if we will take the time and be sensitive enough to the Spirit to obey and heed them.  Often, it is in retrospect, that we look back from some devastating or negative event in our lives and suddenly remember all the signs that were along the way to this event that we ignored and continued on.  Now, maybe we are facing heartache, pain, suffering or even death because we failed to heed the warnings.  A package of cigarettes has a warning right on the side of them that tells us they can kill us if we continue smoking them.  Does the smoker heed the warning?  He or she may die of cancer, but they are going to enjoy the moment. 

               The Lord is speaking to many of us today that there are stop signs in our lives that we are ignoring and running through.  We have become so impassioned with what we are doing and where we are going that we don’t want to stop or turn away.  Stop signs are there to save our lives and God wants to save yours.  What is God speaking to you and me to stop from today?   Are there areas of our lives that we are living contrary to His will and purpose for us?  Perhaps we are pursuing something that it isn’t His time for just yet and we need to wait upon Him.  We are a people on the go and often we want to go ahead of God instead of following Him.  Then, of course, we want Him to bless our endeavors. 

               Stop! Take time to get quiet before the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit if you are going in directions and pursuing any paths that are not His will for you.  Some of you already know without asking.  The Holy Spirit is dealing with you even as you read this.  God loves you more than anything!  He came to give you life.  He wants to bless you and give you good things, but He will not honor your disobedience and self-will.  Listen to Him this day as He is telling you to stop in areas of your life.  Proverbs 19:27 (NLT) says, “If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you have turned your back on knowledge.”  STOP! Listen and obey.

Blessings,

#kent

Stop, Look and Listen

April 3, 2015

John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

Stop, Look and Listen

Take just a moment to stop, close your eyes and listen to your life. Do you know how desensitized we become to the noises that are all around us? We can do the same thing with the people around us. We become so focused on life, routines and demands that we don’t take the time to stop and really listen to life and the people around us. We hear and respond on a superficial level, but what we need is to step back and watch our life for a moment as an outside observer or as that proverbial fly on the wall? What do we observe and hear there that we don’t really process in every day life? What are the kids really saying, what are their attitudes, their hearts and their greatest needs? What about our spouse, so much of our responses to one another have become cliché and the same way we continue to deal with the same old issues? What we need is a fresh perspective, a new and different point of view. I often wondered if we just video taped our lives for a day or two and watched them if we would see things in ourselves that we are totally oblivious too. We would probably be able to see how we really are to live with. Being immersed in our family and daily life it is often hard for us to really be objective of ourselves and our relationship with others. Sometimes it takes a traumatic event in our lives to really shock us into taking a long hard look at who we are, what we are and how our lives impact others in either a positive or negative sense. Usually one of the best mirrors that we have is our spouse, because they see us as we really are, they live with us and they can often see things in us much better than we can see them ourselves. Of course what happens when they talk to us about these things? We get defensive, we start trying to divert the responsibility, accountability and our shortcomings by identifying there’s or finding excuses for ourselves.
In order for God to change who I am I first have to acknowledge who I am, where I am weak and where I fail. This is our sensitive and vulnerable side and it is an area that we are not willing to easily open up. When we do open ourselves up to scrutiny and examination we want to be able to trust those that we share our true heart and selves with. We all have our darker sides, our ugly sides and weak sides. We generally try and hide these from public view and we tend to want to ignore them ourselves, but they are there none the less. We need a loving spouse or those that really love us and care about us to be able to put our heart in their hands to tenderly show us who we are. Often we live in denial of who we really are in areas of our life. Darkness, ignorance, denial are only areas where corruption grows. It is in the light that things are brought into the open, acknowledged for what they are and dealt with in the light of God’s word and truth. The thing we must be so careful of is that we are not the ones to set in judgement of another. Luke 6: 37 tells us, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” We are all sinners, capable of every vile thing outside of the grace and righteousness of Christ that indwells us.
Close your eyes, take time to really listen and reflect on your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you those areas where He wants you to yield to Him. He does it a little at a time. I am convinced if the Holy Spirit ever really showed us all that was in us in the light of His holiness we would be so devastated and hopeless we might never recover. God often has to take us through hard things to really show what is in our hearts, how much easier if we can come to Him with the willingness to be corrected, transformed and changed. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” As we draw near to God, we will come to Him not in our goodness or righteousness, but with humility, brokenness and repentance. In this heart attitude is where He will meet with us to lovingly correct us, deal with us and heal us. When we comprehend His compassion and love for us even in our state of ugliness and sin, it should work in us a true heart of compassion and caring for others and mercy should triumph over judgement. Take time listen. Ask the Holy Spirit to open up you spiritual eyes and ears to really hear and observe by the Spirit how He see the these things pertaining to your life. John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.”

Blessings,
#kent

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