As I was doing some yard work the other day,I was rolling up a hose and all of a sudden saw in my spirit a picture of a pinball table! Many of this generation may have only seen them at Dave and Buster’s but it was a very popular type of electronic game table before video games came on the scene. When playing, you try to get the ball to hit certain places as it drops down the table and sometimes if you lean too hard into it, you may lift the table too far and it’s sensor sends up a loud buzz and blazes the words: “TILT”,”TILT” all over the screen and your game abruptly ends!
In the Merriam Websters the word, “tilt” means:to cause to have an inclination, to point or thrust in or to charge against; to move or shift so as to lean or incline ,to slant, to incline, tend, or become drawn toward an opinion, course of action, or one side of a controversy; to engage in a combat with lances; to make an impetuous attack;
As you can see, each of these descriptions could be summed up as to mean: severely reacting to something; or overreacting, going in the opposite direction. When I saw this vision I was pondering different situations with people we have known a long time who had been disappointed, manipulated, deceived and hurt. This happens in life, But when it happens to Christian people by other wounded Christians, it really stings. And several of these folks were not letting it go and moving on but instead severely overreacting and not just throwing out the dirty bath water, but also the baby, sink, plumbing and the whole bathroom!
This TILT mechanism is like what many believers are doing! They are ending the “game” by overreacting to things and attempting to control the ball, that causes the TILT! Some people hurt in church situations not only throw out the source of the hurt, but all possibility of it ever happening again by throwing out any and all things that look like “church”. If their pride and self-importance is big enough, they actually begin to throw out Christianity and God Himself, by buying into the common atheist by-line, “what kind of God allows me to be hurt?” And the devil has a heyday when good disciples of Jesus reject these types of hurts as part of "bearing in our bodies the sufferings of Jesus". Emotional and relational pain is real but Jesus was also mistreated, maligned, dishonored and lied about as well, remember?
In our present narcissistic culture with all the social media, people are used to being the center of attention so some actually think that applies in Kingdom life. The world orbits around God ,not us. As believers in Jesus we have to do as He did and act as He did. We are to forgive and let go so we can then begin again believing in people again. Watch that your TILT isn’t due to your own overreaction to what happened to you and then you end up denying the Lord who bought you!
Paul told Timothy that when we goes through these "wars" we are to hold unto our faith and a good conscience! 1 Timothy 1:19-20 (NIV) holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander,
Don's allow yourself into the "TILT" by overreaction to a bad situation.
In the church today we have an EPIC lack of recognition of the spiritual warfare (Eph 6:12) constantly raging around us for the minds, hearts and ultimately, the souls of people & their families. But you likely will NEVER hear about this in most seeker churches as it would cause too many waves in their “Matrix”. Content to only focus on “the positive”, most of these places “Wrestle…NOT.”
Jesus is only King or Lord over that in our heart which we have surrendered to HIM. Unsurrendered areas are easy pickins for the enemy.People with unhealed wounds, bitterness, offenses & wrong beliefs are susceptible to pick up more of these from others at critical junctures in their lives.Angels know that the earth is under the rule of the evil one but because of Jesus Christ, any and all that turn to Jesus are freed of this power. Jude 1:9 (ESV) But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” The reason this happened was because at that time satan was the undisputed ruler of earth. Are you so naive to think the enemy isn’t contending also for you and your family! Have you surrendered everything to HIM?
A classic Twilight Zone TV episode called “The Hunt” tells a story of a dead man, wandering down eternity road with his dog. It takes awhile for him to even discover he is dead! Then he runs into a slick-talking “angel of light” attempting to get him to come on in to Heaven! But his dog smells something rotten and it just doesn’t feel right so he goes wild,barking. The man leaves and says,” if my dog is not welcome there, I’m not going in,either”. Later on he runs into a loving angel who invites him into heaven,but the man says.”if this is heaven,who was that other fella?” The angel answers:
At this time of the year, we LOVE singing the lyrics, “Go, tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!” (I especially love the Pentatonix version.) We are accustomed to hearing a LOT about Jesus Christ as we celebrate and commemorate His birth by gatherings at church and with friends and family. It is the greatest and most popular Christian celebration, on a par with Easter,which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But Christmas is a joyous holiday because it is all about the gift God gave to the people of this planet.
We tell and retell the story of how Joseph took his pregnant wife Mary back to his hometown , Bethlehem to register for the census. We also remember they could find no rooms in the inn there so had to sleep in a stable and in short time Mary Gave birth to Jesus Christ there in a stable,born of humble beginnings.
through failure or mistakes. Learning from mistakes is what we are attempting to live out. No one is perfect and God didn’t call us to a rigid perfectionism but to such an excellence of spirit in our character that we can remain child-like, always learning,IF we remain humble and flexible.
But when we make mistakes there is also a tendency in all of us to regret the choice or choices we made and even re-litigate the decision over in our minds, even beating ourselves up as we are doing it.
But this is a dead-end street! Regret has a way of keeping us focused on the past when that’s done.Again there is nothing wrong with analysis or correcting our way of thinking .That’s good. When we do it we should repent,we should change our thinking and even sometimes our ways of thinking.
But when we second- guess too much ,it hinders us from moving out of the cul-de-sac and dead-end street of regret. It only leads to death because we beconme sorrowful over unwise choices. And regret is the path to bitterness, to others but ultimately ourselves.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
Regret is there and happens when we make poor choices. But we need to learn to move forward and not camp in regret. Then after we have learned we should drop regret as a way of responding to failure and as a part of living. Realize regret steals our ability to keep moving and see it as a road to nowhere! Prophet Bob Jones used to regularly say, “The door to the past is the door to death”. Don’t constantly go back. Go forward.
We can’t keep our eyes on the Lord and ourselves at the same time. The reason Judas killed himself is he was trapped in regret,which is a form of self-destruction. Acknowledge the mistake ,the failure and how it occurred then keep moving forward or you will only be looking back.
The Safest Place in the World
STATISTICS DON’T LIE! So where IS the safest place?
But….You will be pleased and really surprised to learn that only .001% of all deaths occur in worship services in church.and these are usually related to previous physical disorders. Therefore, logic tells us that the safest place for you to be at any given point in time is at CHURCH!
And . .. . Bible study is safe too! The percentage of deaths during Bible study is even less.
So, attend church, and read your Bible as if IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE!
This week I sensed that many are facing situations where they have lost hope. And DESPAIR is the next place down we go when we have lost hope.
Maybe we put hope in something coming through for us, or hope in an outcome, maybe hope in a certain kind of result, hope in people to do this or that…..and it all didn’t work out as we thought. Despair is not a slippery slope,despair is when we slip from hope into the mud and the mire, David says here in v 2.
Psalms 40:1-3 (NLT)
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.
In our nation we see what seems an unraveling but it’s really not. It’s an exposing of the corruption, the rot that has already been there for many years. The corruption and degradation in education sooner or later surfaces in the media .We see it in politics ,economics and the agendas the media is attempting to push and drive. But this nation can’t be fixed by anyone or anything but repentance and an awakening so putting hope in anything other than that is a false hope.We only slide into despair when our hope is in something other than the Lord Himself. The Lord is our hope but we still need more than hope! We need to believe in HIM and HIS wisdom and HIS ways and HIS plans He has for us. Hope is good, but expectation and actual belief ,real faith in Him is the BEST!
When our hope is in an outcome,we despair.When our hope is in things or plans other than HIM we will see failure. But let’s go HIGHER than HOPE… let’s lift our eyes higher and see HIM. Only He can direct us, only HE can bring us success. Only HIS ways work!
Let’s let go of despair because we lost HOPE and now put our eyes back on HIM. He will never fail us or let us down. When we see the rot ,don’t despair.It only means it exposes something needing repair! God is so good to show us these things so let’s look to HIM in expectation He has something awesome round the corner.God is up to something in our lives and it is good and it is big,if we can only keep our eyes on Him!
PASTORS, for all our talk ,and saying things like, “I just want more of God” or praying,”Come, Lord!”,just STOP! Really take a minute,be honest and ask yourself, ” Do I REALLY want the Lord to show up at and in my church? Would I actually make accommodation for HIM?”” Would I panic and run Him off because,I couldn’t handle it?” Then think and realize….does God really have to give us 6 months notice before He comes? NO! If we say our church is “His House”, why would we be anything but delighted when He comes? But are we ready? Do you live expecting it?
From Tommy Tenney’s book, “Chasing God, Serving Man” :
“We make GOD “comfortable” by providing furniture and food suited for the habitation of Divinity.In “God’s Favorite House “, I tell the story of a friend with an apparent genetic disorder causing him to be extremely obese. His great size and weight made it uncomfortable for him to visit the homes of his friends because none of them had furniture designed to bear his weight. After some sad experiences with broken furniture and a broken heart,he learned to look through the door for furniture strong enough to hold him before he would agree to enter a home for a visit. My friend usually gave the prospective hosts some excuse, but he told me, “the truth is , I’m only leaving because there is no furniture in their house that can hold me.”
The Hebrew word for glory in the Old Testament is kabod and its literal meaning is "weightiness or weighty splendor”.
I wonder how many times the “weighty glory” of God has visited us but not come in?”
PASTORS, do you ever wonder how often He “stands and knocks” at the doors of our churches and assemblies, desiring to come in and be among His people, with His glory hidden while HE scans the place looking to see if HIS WEIGHTY GLORY can even be accommodated?
If God showed up this Sunday at your church ,would you not just be willing to “seat” Him, but ready and able to find a place for the Lord to be comfortable among you?
One of the reasons a move of God keeps on moving when it shows up at our churches is God doesn’t desire to destroy your house to accommodate Him. This is why Jesus said we pour new wine into NEW WINESKINS that can hold the new wine so BOTH are preserved. (Mt 9:17) The Lord does want to be among us but he also doesn’t want us destroy our churches or lives in the visit!
PASTORS ,I know you want to accommodate people, but can you also consider how you might accommodate God if He desires to come in?
After The Lord mightily showed up at a friend of mine during some of his meetings, the man asked God, “Lord what was that?” The Lord answered him, “I’ve been tagging along and coming to your meetings for years, now I want to come to some of MINE! “.
Several years ago,after one Sunday service, I noticed that some of our most faithful people, who had much freedom to use their gifts, were wildly reacting to even the idea they should be accountable for how they were using them. Our style was to adjust as we went ,allowing people space to make mistakes.Maybe they thought if it was a spiritual gift, they would administer it perfectly. Amid complaining, grumbling and backbiting, some seemed convinced I or someone else was “the problem”,not them,and they had plenty of thoughts about it.Instead of desiring input and wanting to grow, they indicated they would rather leave their self-described “callings” than make the slightest adjustment. This level of immaturity I was seeing was shocking among those I considered mature. Disappointing was not the word for it.The first thing a disciple should be is a learner, not one who has “arrived.” It seemed like we had very few disciples (learners) there.
Dismayed, I couldn’t eat so I came home and went into my office, and laid face down in front of my desk on the carpet crying out to God, asking, “What’s going on, God? What is this I’m seeing? Why are these people who looked so good seem to be pulling back,some even falling away?” I then started crying, my heart crushed, thinking of each and every one of them and how they could be so deceived. I was sobbing uncontrollably when suddenly I had what I would call an open vision. Instead of being on the floor of my office facing my desk I was in the throne room of God. My office carpet became clear gold and what formerly was my desk became the Throne of The Holy One. I didn’t look up but saw His feet of bronze brightly gleaming like hot light. I was wailing in intercession at His feet, perplexed by the question I’d been asking Him all afternoon, “what is this, God?” I continued pleading with Him for an answer when suddenly I heard His booming voice welling up in my spirit. I heard the audible voice of God say: “Lawlessness”.
In an instant I got a panoramic view of how this lawlessness had already affected me, our church and other people. I also how insidious and pervasive it was and how it pervaded the world system and culture, the foundation of the American Church and then I was shocked by what the Lord revealed would need to occur to expose it. The Lord revealed to me that a “falling away” was coming to some people we cared about to reveal it and if they responded and repented they would see and overcome it. Then just as quick as the vision came, it was over and I was back in my office again on the floor crying, tears running down my face. In real time, 45 minutes had passed but it seemed between a second to hours.
After this I went on a quest to find what this lawlessness was and how it had to be dealt with. It was clear to me that lawlessness was one of the key enemies hindering the kingdom of God arising in the church. Here are a few things the Lord showed me while I was before Him that afternoon and since then.
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy (falling away) comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God… For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-10)
So What Is Lawlessness?
The Greek word here is ANOMIA, which translated means lawless deed. Lawlessness is spoken of in Hebrews 1:9: “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” The Bible teaches that lawlessness is:
A spirit that embodies all that is not righteous; it is unholy and a place where evil is allowed to breed; a demonic atmosphere that pervades the earth; (2 Timothy 3:1-5) The last days will be permeated by a climate of lawlessness. The world system, or Greek word Kosmos (1 John 2:16) is caught up in this spirit; similar to that described in Judges 17:6, where “every man did what was right in his own eyes.”
An attitude of disobedience – (2 Corinthians 10:4-6) –“for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We 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 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” (Ephesians 5:6) “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
The essence of the antichrist spirit, which is self will: “I will” (Isaiah 14:10-12) “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
It is the opposite of righteousness and a religious counterfeit. Lawlessness is the antithesis of love and intimacy for the Lord, substituting activity for intimacy, religious duty for devotion, fanatical zeal for passionate fervor for Him. It substitutes a religious act for honest relationship. Saul and David are good examples. The Lord said David was a man who was ‘after His own heart’. King Saul, when he saw that the Word of the Lord thru Samuel was being delayed in coming, that the Philistine armies were massing and the people scattering, committed a lawless deed of religious duty bringing the sacrifice reserved only for the priest. (2 Samuel 17:22,23) This was the lawless act that sealed his fate and he lost his place as king because of the Lord’s anger at this.
Lawlessness is not anarchy as we might think or necessarily the lack of rules or government, but lawlessness is described in scripture as sin, the violation of God’s ways and missing the mark of God’s standard. It is better described as iniquity or self-will; a governing of our lives apart from God, His Word, His ways and His Spirit. Doing sacrificial religious acts outwardly, yet rebelling inwardly against the heart intent of God’s will. It is living out of one’s own rules, laws and ways: doing what seems right in one’s own eyes. (Judges 17:6) It resists true intimacy and knowledge of God. “I never knew you” (Matthew24: 12)
This last day lawlessness is the seedbed for the manifestation of the antichrist spirit revealed in the form of a person or persons, the son of lawlessness, the Bible calls him. Just as Jesus Christ is the Son of righteousness the antichrist is the son of lawlessness. While many of the church get bogged down looking for one end time person,the antichrist,it is wiser to not add to scripture that say many of these “antichrists” have come into the world. There will be many different ones we see in all area of culture.
“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” (1John 2:18)
Fanatical, religious devotion to sacrificial causes born out of self-will is a clear earmark of this spirit. We’ve all seen news reports of how radical Islamic jihadist groups like ISIS are so convinced in their own minds they their cause is just and that they are doing Allah’s will by going into an Orlando nightclub and killing all the gay people. In their dark networks they allow this spirit to operate through them to steal, kill and destroy without seemingly any constructive reason or to serve any logical purpose. This spirit will stop at nothing and even commit suicide to serve its cause and have its way. It will destroy rather than build, curse rather than bless.
Revelations 9:11 speak of this destroying spirit: “They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.” Both these words mean a destroyer or destroying angel. Destroying things and destruction makes little sense to a rational person, but this spirit inflames the zeal and fanaticism of religious people, turning them from just excited zealots to fanatical martyrs for a cause born out of a judgmental, religious mindset. This fanatical zeal reasons, “It is better to tear things down that I can’t control”. “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10)
This lawlessness is actually alive and well in 2017 America where immigration laws are not enforced, the rule of law is ignored and a form of anarchy that suppresses free speech is now commonly taught in our colleges and universities. Instead of bastions of illumination to educate and enlighten young adults, they have become places where people are taught radical leftist ideology and a view that anybody who disagrees is a racist bigot, NAZI and deserves to be killed. Now, college campuses have created a seedbed for this lawlessness. And they are so brainwashed they can’t even hear anything that doesn’t fit into this ideology of victimization and groupthink because if it doesn’t conform to their zealous view of how it should look or function, they’re so fanatically committed to their ideology they will stop at next to nothing, including suppressing speech to be “safe”.
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (Matthew 13:41)– “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness….”(Matthew 7:22&23)
It is worked and must be energized by this self-will. The delusion that works this kind of deception is so pervasive that normal definitions don’t apply. Black is white, up is down and evil is anything opposing its ideology. Agape love is absent. It is essentially religious and zealous, invoking this behavior as righteousness. Because love is sincere and involves an honest giving of oneself without pretense, true love and lawlessness can’t coexist. Jesus said in this description, there appears to be much outward appearance of righteousness, while the inside is FULL of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
“Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”(Mat. 23:28)
“And because lawlessness is increased, the love of many will grow cold”. “Let love be without hypocrisy.” (Romans 12:9)
It is a mystery the way it appears, because in the case with Lucifer himself, his lawlessness manifested after countless eons of time, in the most beautiful of all beings who spent all his time ministering to the Lord as the “covering cherub”? If this kind of lawlessness can be revealed in him, should we then be shocked when we see this even among God’s people? No, we shouldn’t. Another point is that while outwardly things might appear right and good in those under the delusion of it, there is inwardly another agenda that violates God’s true desires and purpose.
“For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.” (Romans 6:19)
It truly is mysterious how outwardly there can be individuals who attempt to be pursuing moral and religious purity, but all the while there is an unbroken religious will within.
Earmarks of a Lawless Spirit
While we know these end time strongholds are of a spiritual nature and we do not battle against flesh and blood, we still will see these manifestations in people, in human beings. Here are the earmarks:
Super-spiritual – They are patronizing and display a condescending attitude, especially to those in positions of legitimate spiritual authority. They keep a distance, acting detached and aloof, as if they have the “last word” with God. “He who separates himself seeks his own desire… He quarrels against all sound wisdom.” (Proverbs 18:1)
EXTREME - Fanatically, they are willing to blow up things that have been built by another rather than not get their own way. (for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness 2 Corinthians 6:14) The same spirit that causes divorce, splits churches and destroys; Judas is a good example of this kind of self-pity leading to death.
Sacrificial – This is a perversion of the concept of true sacrifice, like the sacrifice God the Father made through His Son for the purpose of redemption. This is a sharp contrast to the actions of the king of Moab In 2 Kings. “When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him 700 men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom; but they could not. Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel, and they departed from him and returned to their own land.” (2 Kings3: 26&27) The king of Moab was willing to sacrifice everything even his son to get revenge and prevent being defeated by Israel. Acts like the martyr.
Judgmental and critical – This spirit can be brought in many times by outsiders who come to spy out the liberty of others. (Jude 1:11-22); Paul called them “false brethren” (Galatians 2:4). These persons have a mindset that judges everything out of their own personal subjectivity and experience. This can be a danger for those with legitimate budding prophetic people who tend to hear God so subjectively.
Committed – Totally committed to whatever cause he or she might have and believe in. Many times the “cause” came about as the result of being rejected, wounded. They made personal vows, like “I’ll never do that again…” “On a bandwagon” Tends to be a “one-issue” person. The spirit insists on having it’s own way.
A strife-filled mouth – “A perverse man spreads strife and a slanderer separates intimate friends.” (Proverbs 16:27&28) (Matthew 12:30) They lack the self-control not to talk so they talk and have opinions about everything.
Love of Money – They clearly have an agenda and it involves money. Remember, Judas sold out Christ for only 30 pieces of silver. While there might be a noble talk about sacrifice and “giving the Lord everything”, it’s really more about money and the pursuit of it…“between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” (1 Timothy 6:5) It is interesting that John’s Revelation included a world system where buying and selling was all regulated by this spirit.
We are NOT battling flesh and blood or people, but spiritual forces at work behind the scenes that work on people,so we must never forget that. (Eph 6:12) There is no question that for the present church to have a KINGDOM culture we must evict this spirit in the thinking and lifestyle of ourselves and the people we serve.But it will require a major confrontation and it can only be overcome by truth and humility.
Personalities - Most people say change is a good thing and that it’s good to get a fresh view or perspective on things. Some personality types thrive on it and can’t live without a lot of it. Like the seasons, the weather, fashion and the times, it is normal for things to come and go and that’s what change is. Like Bob Dylan famously sang, ”The times they are a ‘changin”…. Other personality types resist it because to them it means they can’t count on things they depend on. When tried and true areas they relied on in their life are gone, like friendships, a good job or even a familiar store or website they liked is suddenly gone, it can be a crushing experience for certain kinds of people.
Politics - Barack Obama was elected 8 years ago as the country faced an economic crisis on a promise of hope and change, promising to end the Iraq war, broaden access to health care and change the way Washington works. He said, “not red or blue states but the United States!” Of course as we now know, little of that change ever happened and instead, he enacted changes that created great insecurity for much of the country. Closed factories with good jobs lost, mid-east chaos with a refugee crisis caused by his CIA-led Arab Spring, homegrown terror, racial riots and a loss of a national identity were created with his “change”. So this led to the rise of Donald Trump, who basically promised he would stabilize and restore America. 8 years later we see Obama was largely elected out of idealism for a post-racial US. Trump was elected due to worries people had over a languishing economy, a need for competence, pragmatism and a restored US created by Obama.
Change can be good but change just for the sake of change can be disastrous. Many people threaten their happy lives because they think they’re not happy enough so they long for change, any change. Convinced they are shouldn’t be content they opt for a change. Singles sometimes want a change from the single life they are living so they marry the first person that comes along and is really interested in them. This might end up being a huge mistake.
Being a pastor over the years I have witnessed many people so desperate to change something in their lives they destroyed a good marriage, ended lifelong friendships, robbed people of their retirements, split churches and bankrupted businesses. The fruit of a “change to get something needed” led to catastrophic consequences not just for themselves but those around them. Violation of promises made and oaths given for some kind of short-term gratification are all too common. Sometimes fear and desperation move people to make decisions that can rarely be undone.
Proverbs 24:21 My son, fear the Lord and the king; do not associate with those who are given to change.
Psalms 15:4-5 He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; He who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.He who does these things shall never be moved.
The second passage above actually equates some change as compromising your word, akin to corruption for the sake of personal gain.
Business - On Wall Street what investors look for is stability and consistency. Change and unexpected events scare the market because many transactions require a commitment that lasts a long time like 10 YR T-bills or mortgages. If your lender on your home mortgage came to you in a year or two after buying a home and said, “I changed my mind about your mortgage, I now want you to pay me 10 % instead of 4%. Sorry it’s not personal, but business.” You would freak out. Stability in agreements is needed.
Harvard business review did a study and found the vast majority of people have legitimate reasons to be resistant to change in 10 different areas. Sometimes the people don’t want change they want options or something different. Businesses have to move rapidly to adapt but most have has found if companies bring about changes too quickly, even really good ones, they can lose business and customers. So in the area of business many changes happen behind the scenes and out of sight. Too many visible changes that adversely affect people’s sense of comfort are harmful.
Some people get bored without change and would rather die than not change. Helpful change for the sake of resolving lingering problems is good and necessary. Mow that yard! Reorganize and edit that basement! Get a better job! Go back to school! But making foundational changes to your life without wisely considering how it will affect other things can cause you to waste valuable time and ruin valuable relationships or even your marriage. So before you throw out the baby to get rid of that dirty bathwater you can’t stand, determine if that the changes pass these tests:
1) Consider the short and long-range consequences.
Is it a cosmetic change like a coat of paint? or is it foundational, like digging up your home’s slab to expand or change a room? You should count the cost of any decision or it could cost you a wasted 2 years. Luke 14:28-30 tells us we must consider the cost.
2) Determine what is valued and precious and what is not. Proverbs 6 describes the passing pleasures of a night of adultery then the horrible consequences in people’s lives later.
3) Determine the consequences on all of your relationships. I have watched as people have walked away from wonderful relationships in churches because of an arrogant dispute over a point of view they don’t even remember years later. Community and family trumps doctrinal purity.
4) Will this change bring about more love, joy and righteousness, more godly character in me and others? Will I walk in peace because of it? Or is this a self-centered trip to make myself feel relief awhile? Relief isn’t peace and an absence of the cause of stress doesn’t ultimately remove the stress. “Why does this stress me?”, is the question to ask myself. A lot of people who lack peace, try to avoid things that bring a lack of peace, editing things and even people out of their lives. Yet sooner or later they will find peace only comes out of their being at peace with God. Changes that any of us make to avoid God’s dealings with us will fail. Don’t waste years finding this out.
5) Finally, does this change violate my conscience, the Word of God or ethics? Over the years I have watched as people justify doing the craziest things to change something that bothered them in their life. Desperate, they break a covenant they made with God to get “relief”? Are they robbing others because they made unwise financial decisions? Short-term inconvenience to be a person of your Word is more important than getting relief now! Scripture is especially clear: to defraud someone financially, emotionally or relationally is dishonest and serious to the Lord.
Changes can be really good but we should make sure we don’t change or compromise the foundations of a righteous life to do so.
I was always interested in civics and politics from a young age and so beginning at 7 years old I curiously observed the election of JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, his assassination then later the rise of Doctor Martin Luther King from his beginning through to his assassination. 8 years after he died, I was born again and shortly after, went into ministry. 10 years later when we moved to Atlanta, I got an opportunity to go to the King Center and get his books and messages, which tell a vastly different story than most would hear. I also heard much about the prophetic aspects of his messages from a Welsh apostle named Bryn Jones who traveled to Atlanta regularly to study his writings.
First, Doctor King was a minister and man of God rather than a politician. He was a minister and prophet who preached messages in his church that declared a new day of freedom and equality for black people in America. He had a “breaker’ anointing to bring change and one of his favorite passages was Amos 5:24,“But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
Second, his movement came out of his preaching! His daughter said he became “baptized in the Holy Spirit “ and it radically affected him. His movement was a spiritual one to bring righteousness and justice, NOT a political one! He saw the inequality and lack of freedom of the black man in America as a cause he could change because the bible preached it and the American Constitution guaranteed it. At that same time in America, there were several black militant groups advocating Marxism and violent revolution, which King rejected. People attempted to also paint him as a Communist sympathizer but he was not.
Third, Doctor King preached Jesus’ admonition to “turn the other cheek” with Christian LOVE as the method, freedom and equality as the goal and unity and brotherhood as the end result. Politics were secondary. His protests were for the purpose of creating a dialogue and when he called a protest, it wasn’t to boycott or punish, but to focus on a specific issue. There was no violence and all were told to return violence with non-violence and love. John Lewis was knocked in the head at one of these protests and did an admirable thing, as did most of King’s lieutenants. But, politics corrupts, and so later on,many of his lieutenants like John Lewis, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton each moved away from the spiritual methods and turned to politics, rejecting MLK’s positions against abortion, individual freedom, personal responsibility and non-violence and recently they began embracing BLM’s message of violent protest and advocating the killing of police.
Fourth, he was Republican and proud of the Party of Lincoln. He advocated conservative views about individual liberty with responsibility, was against abortion and was a pacifist. His greatest opposition in politics was not from Republicans, but from the Democrats in power who were escalating the Vietnam War. Many from the south were in the KKK at the time and had the ear of the president Lyndon Johnson. Without nearly all the Republicans voting for the Civil and Voting Rights Acts of 1964-5,they never would have passed. His non-violent demonstrations were a far cry from recent BLM protests, with burning cars, destruction of property, violence and chants about killing cops.
Doctor Martin Luther King was an awesome model of a Christian revivalist whose radical biblical preaching led to a Reformation in American society with a godly non-violent advocacy of righteousness and justice. If anything, those who have embraced his name afterward but rejecting his methods and trying to bring change politically, have miserably failed and it shows the incredible impact of a person “filled with the Spirit” advocating reformation to bring righteousness into the culture is much more effective. Changing hearts, always changes minds then the culture. We would do well to study this.
Pastor Marc Lawson
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