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

Guard Your Heart

September 25, 2014

Guard Your Heart

Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.

What is the heart of a person and why is it important to keep it? Most of us know that when the Word speaks of the heart it is in the figurative sense, but just as the heart is the primary organ of natural life, so it is in the spirit. Our heart speaks of our soul, our mind, the inner man, the seat of our understanding, will and emotion. It is really the key component that identifies who we are as an individual person and personality. When we understand that, then we understand why the Word is exhorting us to keep, guard and watch over our heart with all diligence. This diligence conveys a meaning as one would watch or guard in a prison. Perhaps it is so necessary to watch over our hearts in this manner because Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us, “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.” When the Lord searches our heart what does He find? When he tries the reins of our heart; are we like the sensitive and well trained horse that responds to his every gentle nudge and direction. Or, are we the wild rebellious stead, set upon our own freedom and our own way, unbridled in our affections and passions, bent on our own direction?

We need to be watching, even with a heart that is given to the Lord and in love with Him. Things of the world and our imaginations and desires can begin to creep in subtly, almost without detection. We know that we have an adversary, the devil, who stalks like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. What makes us vulnerable to him? It is our heart. It says, “for out of it are the issues of life.” What happens to your circulatory system when it develops a blockage or even worse your heart? Your physical life can be in serious trouble and the same can happen spiritually.
How do we guard our hearts? We continually hold ourselves up to the mirror of God’s Word. We know that if we are aligning ourselves with it in every respect then our heart is abiding in truth. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
We also covet and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help in keeping our hearts, because He can show us the things we can’t see in ourselves. He is our hope and companion in the process of spiritual renewal and transformation that we desire to take place in us. 2 Timothy 1:14 says, “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” It is Spirit of Christ in you, in union with your spirit, which must be the heart and mind, which you now live out of. As you do, those are the issues of life. What goes forth out of you is his Spirit-life. Our tongue and our actions are the best indicators of what is really in our heart. Jesus tells us in Luke 4:65, “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.”
Remember to not let your guard down, become complacent or be filled with apathy. You are a life-giver and in order for the issues of life to flow forth from you, you must be abiding in and carefully guarding the life of the spirit within you. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”

Blessings,
#kent

Apples of Gold

August 22, 2013

Apples of Gold
Proverbs 25:11
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Throughout our lives we’ve all come to know and experience how cutting, hurtful and harmful words can be that are spoken in a way that is mocking, cruel or unkind. Words are like a two edged sword, on one edge is life and on the other is death and the flat sides are neutral. As Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” We have these tremendous weapons in our mouths and often we so carelessly use them and abuse them or we fail to use them in a positive way at all.
It is wonderful to think about the power we have to edify and build up another through the power of our words. When we look to speak the best about people then we will see the best in them. Sometimes we all need words spoken to us that are hard for us to hear, but they are truth. The words of a true friend are not always going to make us feel good, but hopefully they will help us to be better people and reveal to us things we need to know about ourselves that we are blind too. Proverb27:17 says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” In other words, we don’t just speak the words that make us feel good, but we speak the words that help one another grow, the words that challenge us and exhort us.
God’s Word has many passages that give us great hope and purpose. It can greatly edify us and build us up. God’s Word can also cut us to the bone and reveal the ugliness of our sin and wrong motives. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” God’s Word goes to the heart of the matter. If correction is needed, it will correct us and chastise us and if edification is needed, it will build us up and set our feet upon a right path. While hard words are difficult for many of us to hear, we will hear them and receive them more readily if we know that the person’s heart is pure who is speaking those words. If we know the motive for speaking hard things to us is love, then we are more apt to receive those words into our heart in order that they might produce life and betterment in us.
Proverbs 25:11, today’s passage, paints for us a picture that right words, spoken in season, can create rich and beautiful things. If we are walking in the love and spirit of Christ then our words should be moved and spoken out of a right spirit and a contrite heart. In other words, when we are speaking right words into someone’s life we are doing it in love and without spiritual pride or haughtiness on our part. We all need ones that will speak both blessing and correction into our lives, in love. Those are our true friends. Those are the ones that know how to speak out of the nature of God and in the spirit of redemption and mercy. Their words are ‘the apples of gold set in pictures of silver.’
How will we use the sword that God has put in our mouths? Will it produce apples of gold or a bloody mess? Let us choose our words wisely and pray that the Spirit of God directs what, where, when and how we speak. Remember the power of death and life is in your tongue, both for you and for others. Ask God to put a watch before your mouth that you may speak out of both wisdom and love.

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

Words of Destruction

February 18, 2013

James 1:26
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Words of Destruction

Perhaps no other author in the Bible addresses the tongue quite like James does. He sees in this small member of the body, the ability not only to do great good, but also great harm. In this scripture he basically says, “it doesn’t matter how religious or spiritual you think you are, if you don’t have control of your tongue and what comes out of your mouth, your religion is worthless.”
That word worthless means vain, useless, devoid of force, truth, success and result. In other words, if you want your words to be effective and powerful, you can’t spout off everything the pops into your head or erupts out of your emotion. It is a member that needs self-control.
James addresses the tongue further in James 3:22-12.
“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7All 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.”
A tongue left to its own devices can be a very destructive member. It is like putting a sharp sword in the hand of a man that has no regard for life and has no conscience as to who he wounds and kills. It is a primary communicator of what is in a man’s heart, for the Word says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
The tongue is a two edged sword that can cut on one side, but can bring healing from the other. Proverbs 18:21, the Living Translations says, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”
I have seen examples in life where people could be so Christian in their words of praise and exhortation, they could teach and preach the Word, but if you dare offend them, out of that same mouth could come venom and curses that would send you to hell. You see it is usually in our offenses that the control of our tongue is best tested. Can we still speak life when we have been wounded or threatened? When the Holy Spirit still has control of our tongue, even in the most adverse circumstances then we’ll know that it is an instrument of life and not of death and God has the reigns.

Blessings,
kent

Success

February 7, 2013

Success

Joshua 1:8
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

We as a people and a society are very success oriented. There are different ideas and definitions of success. The one most prevalent in the world’s view has to do more with materialism, riches, fame, houses, cars and social position. If we are to be successful as Christians then it only makes sense for us to ask the question, “What is God’s definition of success?” It is interesting you should ask, because the word “success” only occurs one time in the Word of God. That is in our passage for today. I don’t think that there are any of us who don’t want to prosper and have good success. Here is God’s formula for having it. Now whether God’s ideas for success are that of the world’s I think not, but I do believe that God created all things for our enjoyment and pleasure if they are used in the context of His will and purpose. God is telling us today that our key to success lies between two covers that we call the Bible. It is not just the words on a page that bring success in our lives it is what we do with those words that is life and blessing. Notice where that Word has to be. It “shall not depart out of thy mouth.” Remember Proverbs 18:21 that says, “Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Our words are powerful instruments of both death and life. We know that the Word of God perpetuates Life. John 1:1-4 tells us whom this Word is, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” God wants that Word to never depart from our mouths. What we speak reflects what is in our heart, ” for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Is the Word of God prevalent in our speech and conversation? What we are speaking is what we believe; it is faith in that which we hope for, but may not yet see.
What is in our mouth is the fruit of what is in our heart, which is what brings us to the second part of success. What is the meditation of our heart? Is it our work, our hobbies, our sports, our earthly desires or is it the Word of God? If we want to succeed and prosper in the kingdom of God, His Word must prevail as the primary source of our meditation and contemplation. As we eat of His Word and slowly ingest and digest it, as we pray to fully pursue understanding and revelation, the Holy Spirit is little by little making it alive in us and then through us. It is the staple of our spiritual life that carries over into every aspect of our natural life.
David had the revelation that He gives in the beginning of the Psalms in Psalm 1:1-3 he says essentially the same thing, “Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
If you and I want to prosper and have good success then it begins and ends in the Word of God. It is the source of Life and Blessing to us. It is our guide and counselor through the instruction of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the mind and will of God. Through it we will experience the prosperity and sweet success of a godly life because His Word fills us with divine life, eternal hope and the riches and treasures that can only be found in Christ. Jesus said it when He said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When our priority lines up with what God is speaking to us today we will experience the abundant life that is in Him.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3 John 1:2

Blessings,
kent

The Source of Our Life

November 9, 2012

James 1;21-25
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22Do 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.

The Source of Our Life

Life flows from the inward parts. The source of our life and the well-spring of its origin are manifested in the taste of that which flows out of us. That is why James asks the question in James 3:11, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” Can there be, should there be, two sources of life flowing out of us? The tongue is what betrays the source of our life. It can not be tamed, but speaks what is in the abundance of our heart.
James is saying that this duality and duplicity of nature is not of God. We produce the fruit of what we are planting within our minds and hearts. If is showing up as ungodliness then it is telling us that Christ isn’t our central and primary source of life.
Within the church and many of our own lives there is such a mixture of flesh and spirit. That is understandable to a degree, we are in the state of change and transformation., While we have been crucified with Christ we should be moving in the direction of that place where we no longer live, but Christ is living in and through us. For that to happen we have to be eating out of the garden and from the seed of His life. We must be in constant communion, fellowship and relationship with Him. When we compartmentalize Christ into just certain areas or times in our lives, then we haven’t fully sold out to His life alone. We are living in spiritual adultery as we drink from other cisterns or wells that are not the waters of His Spirit and life. “Adultery” is an ugly word that we don’t like to hear or relate with, but we have to all ask ourselves, where am I drawing my life continually from? Many of us want a spiritual life, but in a worldly context. Thus we are choosing to partake once again of that which Christ died to deliver us out of.
Jesus says we can’t choose two masters. We can’t be both spiritual and worldly, for in doing so we pollute the waters of His righteousness and life. Listen to what James 4:4-10 says, ” 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.”
It is not the Lord’s heart to condemn us through this word, but open our eyes to where we are, where we are going and what is being produced through our lives. Yes, we all make mistakes along the way, but where is our heart? What are we living fully for and where are we drawing our strength and life to live in that way? God want us to be the purified flow of His life, producing godly fruit in this world. He wants us to remember where our identity is; in Him and not in this world. The world knows Jesus, by what they see in you and me. If we aren’t the real deal, then how will they ever know or even want the real deal. Live out of the life of God that you may produce the works of God. We are often so quick to judge others when it is ourselves we need to judge and correct.
Come, let us repent before the Lord and return unto Him with our whole hearts. Let us continually and solely drink from the wells of God’s salvation and life.

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: