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Choked

“Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and CHOKE and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” (Mark 4:19 AMP)

The word “Choke” is defined as “to prevent (someone) from breathing by constricting or obstructing the throat or depriving of air; to have trouble breathing; to hinder movement; to make speechless with strong emotion.”

The word “Suffocate” is defined as “to die or cause to die from lack of air or inability to breathe; to feel or cause to feel trapped or oppressed.” It’s Latin Origin “suffocare” literally means “to stifle”, from “fauces” which literally means “the throat”.

In the parable of the sower Jesus said, “Other people are like the seeds sown among the thorn bushes. These are the ones who hear the message, but the worries about this life, the love for riches, and all other kinds of desires crowd in and CHOKE the message, and they don’t bear fruit.” (Mark 4:18-19 GNT).

Notice, the problem is not the sower or the seed, it’s the soil. Jesus said they “hear the word,” so we’re talking about church folks with a pre-existing mindset that chokes every Scripture they hear, read, or try to apply. I reiterate, we’re not talking about unbelievers or the world here. We’re talking about laying hands, prophesying, tongue talking, praise, worship and praying church folks, who allow stuff to suffocate the Word they’ve heard! These are the folks who get stuck in the thorn bushes! And Jesus describes these thorns as: “The worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things.”

Can you imagine hearing the Word of God with all of its promises, protection, provision, and the like and yet allowing stuff to choke out the message? And what kind of stuff choked it out? Well, do you remember the time when you thought the house you now live in, the career you now enjoy, and the investments you now have, would make all your worries go away? Or so you thought…But no, the more you have, the more you have to lose, to protect, to maintain, and to worry about. That’s why it’s called “the deceitfulness of wealth.” The word “Deceit” is defined as “to deliberately mislead into believing something that is false; to give a mistaken impression of.” It’s Old French Origin “Deceivre”, from Latin “Decipere” literally means “To Ensnare or Cheat”. And that’s exactly what happens when you, the believer, allows “the deceitfulness of wealth” to cheat you out of the valuable promises of the Word of God!

Listen again: “Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and CHOKE and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” (Mark 4:19 AMP)

So what’s choking you? Cares and Anxieties of the World, Distractions of this day and age; Pleasure and Delight and False Glamour; the Deceit of Riches; and the Craving of Things! This is what’s “Choking” you! This is what’s preventing you from opening your mouth and declaring the promises of God that you’ve heard! This is what’s hindering your movement in walking in the promises of God; this is the worries that are strangling you with such strong emotion that you’re speechless and breathless! And one of the most dangerous things you can do is to cut off someone’s breath! Why? Because, No breath? Then how do you declare and decree the Word of the Lord over your life? No breath? Then how do you praise the Lord? No breath? Then how do you speak well over yourself and your loved ones?

And to make matters worse, this time you can’t even blame the devil for the attack! Remember: You Heard the Word, However, YOU then let the Cares and Anxieties of the World, Distractions of this day and age; Pleasure and Delight and False Glamour; the Deceit of Riches; and the Craving of Things to put your breath/your air/your life in jeopardy! How? Because the Bible is clear? “But he answered and said, It is written, MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD” (Matthew 4:4). How do you expect to Live without digesting the Bread of Life?

Listen: If your significance as a person or your sense of security is tied to anything other than your relationship with God, worry about stuff and things will choke the life right out of you. Because true happiness lies in trusting God for what you need, knowing if it’s right He’ll provide it, and if not He’ll give you something better: “Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse].” (James 1:17 AMP); “For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11 AMP); “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 AMP)

Remember You are a Believer, and as Such, You Believe the Word of the Lord When it Declares to You: “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW GOD AND THE WAY HE WORKS FUSS OVER THESE THINGS, BUT YOU KNOW BOTH GOD AND HOW HE WORKS. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. DON’T WORRY ABOUT MISSING OUT. YOU’LL FIND ALL YOUR EVERYDAY HUMAN CONCERNS WILL BE MET.” (Matthew 6:30-33 MSG).

Did you catch that last line? “YOU’LL FIND ALL YOUR EVERYDAY HUMAN CONCERNS WILL BE MET.” And when will ALL your concerns be met? EVERYDAY! In other words, there is not one single day of the 366 you receive (yep, He meets yours needs even in a leap year) where your God forgets to meet your daily concerns! Unbelievers fret, worry, panic, set-up back up plans, and lose sleep and hair! But as believers our sleep is sweet! Because we have the promise of resting in the Lord, even when we’re tired, frustrated, stressed, we still have the promise of Rest!

The Bible Declares to Us: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG).

That’s Our Promise! How dare you as a Believer Let stuff and things choke that promise out of your life? And don’t tell me that it was because of what you look around at in your day to day life and see, because the Word admonishes us: “That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8 MSG) And if you need that Scripture in a nutshell, here it is: “(FOR WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT)” (KJV).

So the very next time you let the concerns in this world cause you to feel a spiritual “Shortness of Breath”, inhale this: “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG).

Listen: I had the unfortunate experience of both choking on food and on water, and neither was a fun experience! But because of the experience, I learned to be more cautious when I eat my food and when I drink water. I take small bites of my food and chew it well before swallowing. In other words, I’ve experienced the feeling of losing breath and I didn’t like it so I took precautions. Likewise, many of us have allowed the Cares and Anxieties of the World, Distractions of this day and age; Pleasure and Delight and False Glamour; the Deceit of Riches; and the Craving of Things to choke us. But as the old saying goes, “When you know better, do better.”

With that said, Today, take the time to exam your life. Locate the areas of care, fear, fret, worry, anxiety, distractions, deceit and even the desires of unnecessary things and uproot the thorns! Take today’s devotional as the label you find on children’s toys, “Caution, small pieces may cause choking.” Because the truth is, little by little, day by day, fear and the like will slowly creep into your life and suffocate faith right out of it!

Stop allowing things and stuff to choke out the Word of God you’ve received! Maintain a lively hope, and a lively faith. God has no desire for you to die, but for you to live! “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.” (John 10:10); “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” (Psalm 118:17).

What’s choking you? Hanging out among the thorns!

Now, I know its hard, but today’s a good day to do some spiritual gardening. So, put your gardening gear on and get to uprooting and killing anything that would choke the life of the Word of God out of your life!

Inhale His Word, Exhale Your Worry and Live!

Never forget. You are in the Refiners hands !!!

I love you
Jay Ikwan, Snr

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