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

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The Darkness of Hate

March 10, 2015

The Darkness of Hate

1 John 2: 9-11
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

Matthew 5: 43-44 says, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 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.
There are some of us that have been offended, hurt, defrauded, cheated and taken advantage of. There are some of us who have hate in our hearts and who feel so strongly about it that Christianity or no Christianity, it is our right to hate this person or persons and no one is going to take that away from us. “If they had done to you what they did to me you would hate them too.” We are convinced we are justified and in the right, but somewhere deep down has to be the realization that hate is now your master and you are its slave. Maybe you are determined to get revenge and right the wrong, pay back evil for evil and hurt for hurt. When that is all done will your spirit be healed, will a relationship be reconciled and will you feel good about yourself again?
Hate is darkness when it possesses us. It often overrides rational and clear thinking because it is only fixed on one thing, revenge. Forgiveness isn’t even in our vocabulary at that point in time. It is ironic that nothing can destroy hate like forgiveness and nothing can bring a greater retribution than love. While hate will shut us down to the Spirit of God and allow us to be driven by the passion of our emotions, if love and forgiveness are given place, it changes the dynamic from destruction to construction. Hate perpetuates itself and only serves to destroy all who take it into their soul and hold on to it. It is like a cancer and infection that only breeds more sickness and disease.
What if Jesus just happened to know what He was talking about when He said, ‘love your enemy, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you. ‘
The Father is telling us that when others offend and hurt us, then they are answerable and accountable to Him for hurting His kids. He is telling us, “ you don’t have to hate and get justice; you let Me take care of that”. Romans 12:17-21 says, “17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” If you want to get to your enemy then do the opposite of what they expect, love them and forgive them. Even go so far as to do them good and bless them.
Hate destroys and damages the hater far more than it hurts the object of the hate. Our hate and unforgiveness puts a wall up that holds back God’s forgiveness for us. In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus tells us, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” When you fall into hate you further allow that person you hate to damage you more by hurting your relationship with the Father.
You may be saying, “I can’t help the way I feel and this person doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.” You and I didn’t deserve the Father’s forgiveness, but it says that, ‘while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.’ We were the enemies of God. Our sin had a part in putting to death Jesus upon that cross. We as much as nailed His hands and feet to the cross. As Jesus hung their dying and having all of the reason and excuse in the world to hate His enemies and what they had done to Him, he said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” If Jesus could forgive you and I, do we have a right to not forgive one another?
When you are able to go beyond your emotions and feelings, and despite your feelings pray in faith for forgiveness for those that have hurt you, it will begin to set you free. It may well take time for your emotions and feelings to catch up with your act of faith and obedience to God’s word, but you have opened the door for Him to begin to heal the hurts and offenses you have held in your heart. It is not saying that the person you have hated was at all justified in their actions toward you, it is saying that in spite of that you choose love and forgiveness. Release whatever hate and unforgiveness you have been harboring in your heart and give it to the Lord. Allow Him to be your judge and vindicator. Allow the light and love of God’s forgiveness to once again release your soul from the darkness that hate has held you in. Come into the light and love of His forgiveness as you release yours.

blessings,
#Kent

1 John 2:8-11
Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness.

What is keeping You in the Dark?

Many of us wonder why we are struggling with so many issues in our lives and in our relationships. I believe the Lord is speaking to us to go and clean out the closets of our past, because they are defiling and polluting our present and our future.
Many of us have hurts and wounds, perhaps from those that we loved and trusted, that we are still carrying into today’s life and experience. Hate, resentments, unforgiveness and bitterness are all walls that shut out the light of God’s love and truth to our soul. Think about when you have gotten angry with someone and you ran into your room, shut and locked the door. Symbolically, as well as literally you were shutting off your soul and your love to them. You were putting them out into darkness and cutting yourself off from them. In most cases, we eventually open up the door, get over our anger or hurt, reconcile with the person and restore the relationship. There are still a lot of cases we have not done this. The door is still shut in our hearts. Hatred, unforgiveness, bitterness still remains, keeping us in the darkness. These elements shut out the light of God’s love and forgiveness.
There may be very good reasons you have not reconciled with certain individuals and there may be very good reasons that you shouldn’t be physically around them any longer, but what we carry from our past can destroy our future.
There is a tremendous amount of emotional healing that needs to take place in the body of Christ. We can’t always control how we feel toward another, but we can begin to release forgiveness in faith toward them. When Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That act of forgiveness on the part of Jesus opened the door for the light of God to come in and reconcile the very ones that crucified Christ back to Him. Our unforgiveness can hold both ourselves and the ones we refuse to forgive in spiritual bondage. In Matthew 6:14-15 Jesus says it this way, “”In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.”
Are you struggling today in your relationships with God and man? Maybe we need to take some time and find out if there are past issues that haven’t been dealt with and forgiven. If you want to walk in the light of God you need to go back and deal with the issues that may be keeping you in darkness. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that you are still holding on too and haven’t released to Him. As you repent, ask God to forgive those you may have not truly forgiven. Release forgiveness to all of those who have offended you and come into the light and the true fellowship of Christ. Don’t allow your past to be an anchor that hinders your glorious future in Christ.
“Father forgive us as we forgive those who have sinned and trespassed against us. Amen”

Blessings,
#kent

Garbage: Destructive or Constructive?

Matthew 5:38-48
“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. 43″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.

Which of us doesn’t deal with garbage in our lives? When I say garbage I am talking about all of the offenses, insults, persecutions, inequities and evils that come at us in life. We all deal with it on some level and some more than others do. Life inherently holds hurts, disappointments, pain, frustrations and offenders of our person. Most of these come directly or indirectly through people that touch our lives in a negative way. Mostly we brush it off and go on, but there is garbage that can emotionally cripple and traumatize us. There are some offenses that are gut-wrenchingly hard to deal with, let alone let go. All of this is the garbage that gets dumped into our life. Even in the good things there are by-products that must be passed and flushed down the toilet of forgiveness and forgetfulness.
Here’s the thing, if we don’t pass the poop in our life, it will back up on us. It will eventually make us sick and can even become septic, especially if gets into the rest of our system. It not only makes us sick, but it can begin to poison our other relationships that were healthy as well. It changes our state of emotional and spiritual health.
In the scripture that Jesus gives here in Matthew 5 we find some principles that in the natural are kind of hard to swallow, because they seem unfair. There is an old saying, “No one can get your goat unless you have one to be got.” Jesus is simply saying get rid of your goat. These principles that Jesus speaks of are hard, because we are still holding on to us, our rights, our goods, our dignity and pride. You see, a dead man can’t be hurt. If we are truly dead to this old man and alive unto Christ, then our life is hid with Christ in God and living a life pleasing unto Him is all that matters. Most of us aren’t there yet. We are still struggling with the garbage.
Garbage or dung can have a positive and a negative side. We have just spoken to the negative effects it can and does have on us such as bitterness, covetousness, unforgiveness, strife, jealousy, envy, gossip and the like. It feeds upon the flesh like bacteria. On the other hand if we can process our garbage and our dung in a healthy way, then it can become the fertilizer for a productive and godly life. If we ask ourselves, “Where do we grow spiritually”? Is it when everything is roses, prosperity, health and great relationships? No. We grow out of adversity, trials and tribulations. These are what stretch and exercise our faith. These are what cause us to lose ourselves and press into Christ. The law of our mind wars against the mind of the Spirit, because it still wants the law of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ The kingdom we are entering into is not one in which we seek to preserve this life, but we willing lose it for Christ’s sake. We are to be using our garbage to grow from and not to be allowing it to pollute and defile our lives. Your garbage must become your fertilizer. It must become the fabric for growth and not destruction. It is out of this garbage that we can see the fruit of the Spirit produced in us, but if we hold it in and allow it to become septic and toxic, it will poison us. It will feed the fruit of our flesh and it will produce death and not life.
Be careful how you process your garbage. Don’t hold on to it. Process it and pass it. Use it as the fertilizer for your spiritual growth and health in Christ.

Blessings,
#kent

The Story of a Cripple

February 25, 2014

The Story of a Cripple


Isaiah 30:20-21

And [though] the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. 


A little girl sits staring out her window.  Her thoughts and dreams take her on journeys that her legs never can.  Struck by a drunken driver while riding her bicycle she no longer knows the pleasures of running and playing with her friends the way she used too.  At first, it didn’t seem real and she thought that surely she would get better and be able to walk again, but she never has. Then she became very angry with this person who had hit her on her bike, she hated them and wanted them to die.  This person had robbed her of a normal life, of friendships and had forever handicapped her from being like everyone else.  

Elsa was just eight years old when it happened.  After her body had recovered as much as it was going too, she would spend hours looking out her large second story bedroom window.  Below in the street and yards she would watch the kids play.  Often she would be saddened and angry as she set there, a captive of her circumstances.  Eventually she began to look beyond the neighborhood into the nearby fields and forest that surrounded the area.  She began to observe nature, the seasons, the birds and the little animals.  She began to see that just like humans, animals, birds and even the trees sometimes experienced tragedies, but adjustments were made and life went on.  

One day when she looked out, the field was on fire and it was quickly moving toward the forest.  She hurriedly dialed 911 and reported the fire.  She observed as the fire fighters arrived quickly upon the scene and as they battled the blaze, doing all that they could to contain its damage.  It went on for some time and the fire had reached the forest, burning a good area of it, before they finally got it under control and put it out.  Elsa was saddened as the landscape had been forever changed and she felt it would never be as beautiful or the same again as she looked out over the charred trees and burnt ground.  As the seasons changed she was amazed the next spring when the grass was actually greener in the burnt area than any place else.  Elsa observed that over time the burnt area filled back in with growth and animals started coming back into the new growth and shrubs.  In many ways it was even more beautiful and lush than before.  The Lord began to speak to her heart and she began to make the connection that bitterness and unforgiveness only will leave your heart barren and unproductive.  It poisons the ground.  Elsa began to here the voice of God telling her and showing her that she was like that burnt ground.  Wonderful things could still happen in her life.  Yes, it might be different than most, but perhaps even more beautiful in some ways because she had a perspective that others didn’t have.  She began to pray and release the anger, bitterness and offense she had so long held inside.  She prayed for the person that crippled her and asked God to make them whole as well.  Elsa came out of her room and began to become involved with life and people again.  She accepted that circumstances beyond her control had forever changed her, but perhaps it could be for the better and not for the worse.  As she began to embrace life, relationships and people again, she felt her life enriched somehow.  She missed being normal; walking and running like others, but she saw opportunities to help people in ways she never had before.  She realized that, like that that burnt field, God was restoring her to be an even better person than she had been before.  She realized her right attitude and God perspective made her grass a little greener than a lot of those around her.  She found herself walking no longer with the natural legs that she was born with, but with legs of faith, trust and dependency upon God to now direct her life in the way and the plan that He had for her.  Now instead of feeling robbed of life, she felt enriched with new meaning and purpose that her new life had found.  Instead of the burnt field of bitterness, hate and unforgiveness she found herself flourishing in the greenery and new life of her relationship with the Lord and with people.  She was learning what it is to be a new creation in Christ Jesus, that even in adversity there is blessing and holding on to offenses is more crippling than physical handicaps.  

 

Blessings,

kent

Good out of Evil, Life out of Death

Genesis 50:16
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.

Most of us know the story of Joseph, how as a young man his brothers despised him because he was daddy’s favorite, he was a dreamer who seemed to think of himself as superior to everyone else. He was daddy’s informant about what was going on among the other ten sons. One day as they saw him coming it was in their heart to kill him, but instead they had opportunity so they sold him into slavery which led him to Egypt. The sons represented Joseph as dead to their father by taking his coat, tearing it and covering it with lamb’s blood and saying that they found it. This caused tremendous grief and heartbreak for Jacob for years to come. Joseph, after being sold into slavery, gained favor with his master for a time as the Lord blessed him, but then was thrown into prison after being falsely accused of rape when he fled the temptation of his master’s wife’s seduction. Even in Pharaoh’s prison he gained favor and possessed the gift of interrupting dreams. He once interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh’s baker and cupbearer. Both of the dreams came to pass. After more years in prison Pharaoh had a disturbing dream that only Joseph was able to accurately interpret. This then brought him into a place of rulership and authority as he was given the responsibility for preparing and preserving Egypt and the surrounding nations during a time of great famine. Long story short Joseph’s brothers come for grain and Joseph has his opportunity to deal with his brothers. What would you and I do in that circumstance? Even the law said “an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth.” He could kill them, throw them into prison, or torture them; they were in his power.
The point the Holy Spirit wants to bring to us is that life may deal to all of us at one time or another some very devastating blows. It can come in many forms, abuse physically, mentally, sexually, betrayal in a marriage, the crippling effects of an accident or disease, the list could go on and on. When our lives have been devastated by some traumatic event how are we going to respond? Will anger, bitterness or unforgiveness consume us? Will we blame and forsake God? Will we seek revenge and hurt for the ones who have hurt us? What will we do with the evil and the death that has befallen us?
A while back I related a story of how I inadvertently used weed and grass killer on my grass thinking it was only a weed killer. Large yellow areas developed all over my lawn and it looked like I had destroyed it. Now, a couple of months later, after watering, rain and a little fertilizer the lawn is green again. Yes, there are still small areas throughout the lawn that were killed, but little by little they are filling back in. What’s my point? I thought of how this was much like these traumatic events that touch our lives. Time, the love and mercy of God are great healers and restorers to the hurts and wounds in our lives. When we would lose hope in the natural, when we would become so discouraged and think all is lost, we can’t discount the power and love of God. Only He can take what others meant for evil and use it for good. Only He can take what would work death and destruction and turn it to work life. “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
… Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed (Hebrews 12:5, 11-13).” Some of life’s most traumatic moments can lead to life changing events that work eternal changes in us. What we would never choose for ourselves can prune us and make us more fruitful than we would have ever been without them. If you are at that place in your life, don’t let a root of bitterness and unforgiveness come up that would rob the deeper work God can work in you through some of these painful things. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled. Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears (Hebrew 12:15-17).” God is at work in our lives in ways we can’t even see or know. The enemy is also at work to destroy and undo us, but God is so able to frustrate his destructive work by turning it for our good and redemption. Not only for us, but also for those He places in our path to minister those life experiences too. ” But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive. (Genesis 50:16).”
” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us? (Romans 8:28-31).”

Blessings,
kent

Let God be the Judge

April 19, 2013

Romans 2:1
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

Let God be the Judge

Each one of us has a past, a history and record of sin for which God has every right to condemn and judge us for. When most all of us look back over the history of our lives we see things we did that were terribly wrong. In many cases some of those things were never found out or exposed and we escaped what could have been very severe consequences. Now if we had continued down that path, our sin would have eventually caught up with us and we would have paid the price, but somehow, God in His mercy, gave us grace. He is still giving us grace, not because we deserve it, but because He is a God of mercy and grace. Even in those we would write off as reprobate and hopeless, God can still do a miracle of His grace. Who would have thought Saul of Tarsus would have been one of the greatest Christian evangelist and apostles of all time. Before his conversion, most Christians of that day would have never thought it possible, but God is a God of the impossible.
At best, we judge out of our limited understanding and conditional love. We all have our prejudices and imperfect views of the world. We are not qualified to be the judge and jury of others sins or wrong-doings because we ourselves are just as guilty of our own sins. Even if they were done against us or the ones we love, those acts, heinous as they may be, must be relinquished, by our hearts, back to God who judges righteously. He sees it all and knows the hearts and motives of each of us. He alone is qualified to be our judge. He doesn’t justify our sins, but often gives us far more mercy than we deserve. That is why He wants us to have the heart of His Son towards sinners. He wants us to learn to extend to the same mercy and forgiveness that He extended to us. He tells us that vengeance is His and He will repay. The heart of a son of God is to see the lost saved and the sinful restored to right relationship with the Father. “It is the kindness of God that leads you to repentance (Romans 2:4).”
Trust God to be the judge of all those who have hurt you or done you wrong. If you carry those offences in your heart you will never have peace. Hate, anger, revenge, unforgiveness, no matter how we justify it, will not only tear you apart, but all those around you, as well. That spirit is a destroyer and a divider. Why should you pay that price for another’s sin when you can place it back in the hands of the Righteous Judge and know that He will take care of it, rather its the way you want it or not. When we carry unforgiveness, we are saying we don’t trust you Father. We are unwilling to allow Jesus to provide the same forgiveness for another that He so mercifully extended to us.
Regain your peace and lay all your unforgiveness and feelings that you have been carrying at the altar. In exchange pick up the gift of His love, grace and forgiveness so that you might be set free of all of that bondage. Free to love even your enemies, even as God in Christ, has loved you.

Blessings,
kent

1 Samuel 17: 38-40
Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor.39David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.40He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.

Armor of Defeat and Victory

Many of you will recognize this passage from the story of David and Goliath. Saul, in his good intentions to protect David, gives him his heavy and encumbering armor. For David this was very confining, heavy, awkward and not the armor that He had learned to fight with. Saul’s armor represents the natural efforts of the flesh to defeat a spiritual foe. It represented why they had suffered defeat, because ‘the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through the Holy Spirit to the tearing down of strongholds’. In fact let’s take a look at this scripture in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,4for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.5We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,6and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.”
When we fight with natural weapons, rather they be physical, our words, our actions or our cunning; where are they based and where do they come from? They stem from fear, jealousy, greed, anger, rage, slander, contempt, unforgiveness, selfishness and natural mentality. What does James say about us as Christians when we do such things in James 4:1-10, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but shows favor 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.”
Like David, we have to learn that victory and power is not in conventional weaponry based on earthly design and natural wisdom. It is based on our faith and confidence in who He is. I hear a lot of spiritual brothers and sisters talking today about getting guns, concealed weapons permits, storing up goods and finding fortification. We do live in perilous times and we do have to use wisdom, but Father would never have us to forget that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Little David was able to overcome and defeat mighty giant Goliath because of the Spirit of God in Him; that gave Him the confidence to know that God would fight His battles and all he had to do was show up and respond in faith. It wasn’t the natural armor that protected him, it was the spiritual armor of his right relationship with the Father and God’s faithfulness in his life through past experiences. He knew, not what he could do, but what God could do through him, if he made God his armor and weaponry.
Ephesians 6:10-20 instructs us, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” The Word teaches us that our spiritual armament is the strongest and most powerful kind. It teaches us that our real battle is not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms. This where we must remember that as Ephesians 2 says, ‘we are seated with Christ in heavenly places’. We are seated in a spiritual position above our foes, even though our natural man may be positioned beneath them. Where are we living out of, our natural man or spiritual man? It is the difference between above and beneath, between victory and defeat.
No matter what we see in this world, we must maintain our identity and position in Christ. David won the battle against the giant and the Philistines because he knew his identity in God and his position with Him. That is where our true victory lies and that is how we will prevail, not with the armor of the natural, but with the armor of the spiritual.

Blessings,
kent

How We Perceive Others

March 7, 2013

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

How We Perceive Others

As I was spending time with Papa this morning this scripture came to mind and how it can pertain to how we see others, how we see and relate to one another as fellow believers and how we see those in the world around us.

As a Christian culture I think a lot of the world has an image of Christians as being the sin police, self-righteous, condemning, fault-finding, intolerant and often hypocritical. What they see so readily in others that don’t seem to see in themselves. They are quick to see the sin and faults in others while conveniently overlooking their own. Even among Christians I have seen how quickly brothers and sisters can take up an offense with one another and instead practicing forgiveness, long-suffering and forbearance, they hold grudges, speak evil of the other and only see them after the flesh or the fault that they perceive that defines that person in their mind.

2 Corinthians 5:16 says, “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!” I believe what the Word is teaching us is that God doesn’t want us to be seeing and judging out or natural mind and thinking. He wants us to see Christ and others after the Spirit, even as He sees us. If God had only seen humanity from humanities’ point of view He would have destroyed us a long time ago, but even with all our sins and faults He saw something redeemable in us, because He saw past our faults and saw our need; so much so that He was willing give us His only Son to die for our sins and become sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. If God was that willing to see beyond our sin, faults, failures and offences, don’t you think He wants us to do the same for others around us? Don’t you think He wants us, not to focus on their negatives and all the things we can find wrong with them, but to focus their spirit and who they can be in Christ. We do that by practicing this scripture: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it. He didn’t come with a stick, but with a cross. He laid down His life so that others could succeed where once they had failed. He saw us for what we could be and how He could transform our lives as we gave them to Him, not as in the mess that He found us. He saw beyond our flesh into our spirit where His image and likeness resides and said, “I am going to bring that back to Myself no matter what the cost.” Do we have that heart for others? Do we even have it for one another? Are we so focused on the faults and shortcoming of others that we can’t see their good and potential or have we already written them off as not living up to our standard, a standard that we probably don’t even live up too.

Grace, which God has given us, doesn’t hold on to wrongs, offenses, disappointments and failures, it is willing to put those under the blood of Jesus and move on. When we are unwilling to do that with others then we are living under the law and not under grace. Unforgiveness puts us again under the law of condemnation and we are then judged by the same law that we judge others. That is why the Jesus says, ‘judge not lest you be judged and with the same judgment that you administer to others you will be judged by the same standard.’ You see, living under unforgiveness and judgment is no longer living under grace. Grace says, “even though you may not deserve it, I forgive you. Even though you disappointed me, I forgive you. Even though you didn’t live up to my standards and perceptions, I forgive you. Even though you failed me and offended me, I forgive you. When you free others through that kind of forgiveness, you not only set them free, you set yourself free.

God is wanting us to see the best in one another, not the worst. We all fail. We all have chinks in our armor. We are all cracked pots and broken vessels, but the love of God is the glue that fixes all of that. When we walk by Spirit in His love then we see others in the light of how He sees us, redeemable, forgivable and worth saving. It is not about our personal preferences, opinions or values. Those are different for every person and not everyone is going to fit in your box. That means your love has to be outside of the box. It has to be more than human love. It has to be His love. In His love we can give to others the same grace that He has so freely given to us. We can begin to see the good in others, rather than just their faults and all of the things we don’t care for. We can use the Word of God to heal rather than to just cut and maim. We can love even the unlovely, because that certainly is how God found us. All God asks of us is that we are willing to give to others what He has given to us. If He forgave our debts which were so many how can we not forgive others whose debts are so few?

When you look at others, in or out of the body of Christ then see them after the Spirit and no longer after the flesh. Even what they are now, might not be what they can be and are becoming. Only God has a right to set in the judgment seat and before Him alone we stand or fall. Look for the truth, the honorable thing, for what is right, what is pure, what is lovely and of good report. Look for the excellence and that which is praiseworthy. Any fault finder can find faults, but it takes one whose eyes are fixed on the positive to always see the good. Find the best in people and not the worst. It is far more edifying and reaps much greater benefits. Let us be that expression of Christ to one another and to those without the household of God.
Blessings,
kent

Regrets

January 15, 2013

1 John 1: 9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Philippians 3:13-14
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Regrets

Most all us of carry regrets of choices we did or didn’t make.
There isn’t any way we can change the past or from our history take,
the memories and consequences of regrets we carry within.
But forgive ourselves we must, of our past regrets and sins.
The important thing is that we learned, so as to never regret again.
God doesn’t hold our past regrets when we repent and ask HIm to forgive.
So we now must forgive ourselves and move on to better live.
Kent Stuck

Sometime the hardest people to forgive in life is ourselves. Some of us are still carrying guilt and condemnation from past decisions and choices. They may have been horrendous decisions with devastating consequences, but God still wants and has forgiven you of that the first time you ask Him. It may be you that is grieving the Holy Spirit by not having the faith to not only believe that God has forgiven you, but that you must also forgive yourself and set yourself free from the guilt and condemnation that you have been carrying.
One thing that isn’t acceptable to God is our unforgiveness, but that doesn’t just apply to others; it also applies to our forgiving ourselves. You can’t change your past, but you can change your future by ‘forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.’ You have a purpose and it isn’t bemoaning your mistakes. Don’t allow your past regrets to define you, but motivate you to be that better person. Who I was may be who I no longer am, but only my life and actions can define the difference. Forgive yourself and move on.

Blessings,
kent

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