Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Repairing the Refuse Gate: Cleanse Ourselves


  
Over the last two weeks, we've been working on the restoration of the Refuse Gate, as part of our 10-gate restoration project to fortify our hearts and homes. The first part of the Refuse Gate restoration involved working on those acknowledgments, accomplishment and accolades that are revealed to be rubbish in comparison to gaining Christ.

The following week, we began to work on those things that we discover, over time and experience, are actually toxic to our souls.

This week we must deal with the things that we already know are refuse in our lives. We don't need a great revelation or sermon. We already know what needs to be thrown out.

Paul urges us, "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Following is one of best Bible verses that expresses this aspect of the refuse gate restoration. Check out the various translations and reflect on how to apply it in your life today:

Galatians 5:19-21(NLT)
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21 (NLV)
The things your sinful old self wants to do are: sex sins, sinful desires, wild living, worshiping false gods, witchcraft, hating, fighting, being jealous, being angry, arguing, dividing into little groups and thinking the other groups are wrong, false teaching, wanting something someone else has, killing other people, using strong drink, wild parties, and all things like these. I told you before and I am telling you again that those who do these things will have no place in the holy nation of God.

Galatians 5:19-21 (CEV)
People’s desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are  envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God’s kingdom.

This is the secret sinful stuff they we know is trash. Most often it’s something we enjoy, so we don’t want to give it up. Sometimes it becomes a habit or an addiction that we really struggle to throw out. Can't you see how this is directly connected to what we talked about last week? YOU CAN BE LED INTO THESE SINS BY THE TOXIC THOUGHTS, TOXIC PEOPLE, TOXIC MUSINGS, TOXIC CONNECTIONS, and TOXIC LIVING (Patterns).

Jesus told us what it would be like to restore and rebuild this gate. He said it may be like cutting off an arm or plucking out an eye. But it is something that has to be done or otherwise it leads to ultimate ruin. If you have never committed your heart and life to Jesus Christ, don’t let some sin or vice cause you to miss out on what God has for you in this life and the eternal life. If you have committed your life to Christ already, don't allow some secret sin to steal your ordained purpose and destiny. 

Matthew 18:8-10 (NKJV) “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire." 

So let’s get down to business and turn from our wicked ways. Let’s restore the refuse gate and get rid of our trash. We want to clean house so we can see the power and glory of God in our hearts and homes.


---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Repairing the Refuse Gate: Toss the Toxic


 
This week we will continue working on the Refuse Gate. Last week we discussed the first of three things we must become willing to throw out of our hearts and homes as we restore this necessary gate. We tossed out the things that we think of as being valuable, but they are actually rubbish in comparison to gaining Christ.

This week, let’s deal with the stuff that seems harmless, that we must throw away when we discover that it is refuse. There are some things that are of great value to us, but when we DISCOVER  that they are vile, filthy or harmful to us, we need to throw them away.

Hebrews 12: 1-3 reads:
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls." 

As you grow in your relationship with God, you are going to discover things and people who are weighing you down or ensnaring you. Our job, as your life coach, is to point out some of those things that you will need to “watch for” along the way. You have already encountered them, so let this list serve as a brief reminder or refresher.

You must be willing to consider and watch for:

Toxic thoughts: Bitterness, worry, fear, anxiety, lust, envy, murder, an unforgiving heart. 
Toxic people: negative, critical, cynical, arrogant, boastful, selfish, narcissistic people.
Toxic musings: entertainment, music, movies, books, etc. that are reinforcing negative, vulgar, lustful, hostile, violent, prideful images, thoughts and behavior.
Toxic connections: mystical or spiritual items, objects and charms;  gifts, pictures, jewelry that binds you to the past or to demonic spiritual influences.  
Toxic living: Bad eating habits, bad sleeping habits, internet/phone addictions, video game addictions, TV addictions, alcohol, drug or pharmaceutical additions, etc. 

There is no way we can go into all of the details of this list, so when you are able, please check out our video podcast that covers this list at https://vimeo.com/53303264

You may discover that these toxins are the source of the weariness and discouragement in your soul.

Let's continue restoring the refuse gate and allowing the Holy Spirit to show us the things that have become toxic in our hearts and homes. 

---Chris and Carol Green

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Repairing the REFUSE Gate




It's time to resume our quest to restore the gates that surround our hearts and homes. Now we come to the Refuse Gate. This is not a very pleasant gate, but it is a necessary one. It is the gate of elimination; the gate where all the rubbish and corrupt things in the city were brought to the garbage dump in the Hinnom Valley, outside Jerusalem. This gate symbolizes the necessary activity of getting the trash, filth, and waste out of our hearts and homes.

2 Chronicles 7: 14 ….If my people…. Turn from their wicked ways….

Carol and I see three things we must deal with in the rebuilding, restoration and renewing of the refuse gate.

1. We must deal with the confidence we have in our flesh, which God considers to be refuse.
2. We must deal with the things that seem harmless, that we have now discovered to be refuse.
3. We must deal with the thing that we already know is refuse, but we keep holding on to it.

First, let’s deal with our confidence in the flesh, which God considers to be refuse. Let's look at all the things the apostle Paul called rubbish:

Philippians 3: 4-9 reads:
"....though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him...."

From Paul's words we can see several things that must become refuse to us (compared to gaining Christ):
1. Our ethnicity and nationality
2. Our carnal ability to fulfill religious requirements
3. Our zeal and enthusiasm for the earthly causes for which we fight
4. The accolades, awards and acknowledgments that come to us as a result of our accomplishments and achievements through our talents, skills, education and connections.

There are many in the urban world who champion the accomplishments of athletes, entertainers, educators, scholars, politicians, preachers and many, many others. Carol and I were raised in an era when the accomplishments of African Americans were used as the primary motivation for us to strive for success in our personal lives.

However, in later years, we discovered that many of those whom we idolized for reaching those lofty goals, were often horrible husbands, wives, and parents. Many left scores of wounded souls in the wake of their success. The few who managed to keep their families in tact, were often extremely bitter, seriously scarred, or emotionally crippled by all they had dealt with through racism and other issues in their lives.

We do not dismiss, disrespect or minimize the accomplishments of those who have paved the way for us. However, what we offer you today, is what we have learned as one couple, representing one family, from the urban world: We also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, that we may gain Christ and be found in Him.

Nothing compares to Christ Jesus. He alone is the treasure. All else that we accomplish in this life, is trash by comparison to Him. Therefore, we restore the REFUSE GATE and dispose of the rubbish (all confidence in the flesh), carrying it out of our hearts and home. 

---Chris and Carol Green