Imagine a prosecuting attorney coming to you and telling you that you are accused of murder…and he is going to get you. He is going to use the weight of the law, and every resource the law provides him, to get you…you are going down! He is going to devote his every moment to getting you the death penalty! Moreover, every single day he then comes by your workplace, your home and even the church to tell you and constantly remind you…he is gonna get you. Yikes! That would be so scary wouldn’t it?
You didn’t really murder anyone, but you would still be consumed with the thought of this guy after you. You would be somewhat afraid of him, the prosecutor, but what you really fear is the sentence he is looking for. And like the real worry you might have today, the worry of the sentence locks your spirit in bondage; this threat from the prosecutor would be the last thing you think about before you go to sleep at night…and the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning.
Oh you can still walk around; you are not physically incarcerated; but your spiritual liberty and your spiritual freedom are in total bondage. You would live every single minute in dread and fear. Right?
Well keep this in mind,
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments (KJV=imaginations) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
This is very clear; God says the battlefield is in our mind…the devil will attack our minds with imaginations and dreaded thoughts.
Ok…now, imagine you get a letter stating the charge has been dropped. Then you get a call from the prosecuting attorney’s office; the secretary tells you another person has confessed to the crime, been convicted and hanged; the case is closed and all the charges against you have been dropped. How relieved would you be?
Well, suppose you then run into the prosecuting attorney at the 7-11. He tells you he knows you did it and he is going to get you for it. Would you think he was an idiot? Would you be the least bit afraid of him or worry about it? No! And you certainly would not be afraid of the sentence! No matter how much authority he tried to wield, the case was closed…forever! Ka-poot! But this is exactly what the devil tries to do to us in our thoughts! Here is a counter thought from God:
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
What is your soul? It’s your mind, your will, your emotions and your thoughts. God says He wants us to prosper in all things and be in health…just as our soul prospers. So you must see and think about prosperity and health “even as” in order to bring them about and kick the devil’s thought(s) to the curb.
You have probably heard the verse from Matthew 6,
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
But look at the next verse, Therefore:
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
So, first seek the kingdom of God; in the Now! God tells us to seek His righteousness; not our own…He knows how fickle and unstable we are.
Listen…you can’t stop thoughts from coming into your head, but in Vs 31 of the same chapter of Matthew, Jesus himself says “take no thought saying...”. In His sermon on the mount He said, “take no thought” five times; the number of grace. Don’t let your thoughts turn into words…that’s where the danger and submission are…in your words. So only “speak” God’s words in defense of weird thoughts. And don’t worry, just like Israel in the Old Testament…God does not give us manna for next week or next month…we get manna for today! There will be enough grace to get you through, so there is no sense worrying about a project due six months from now…
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
Speak God’s thoughts. Put His hope (bible hope= a positive expectation of good) in your mind…have a confident expectation of good. Victory begins in your mind…as Proverbs says “As a man thinkest, so is he.” And a word of caution to all of us believers,
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Forget the new age thinking that a positive mind will transform your life. Our ability to think positive was bought with the blood of Jesus and nothing else of a fallen creation can take its place. The finished work begins in your mind…God knew it:
Mark 15:22 And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.
The Holy Spirit even translates this for us…Jesus was crucified at the Place of a Skull. In the Greek called Calvary…from the root word cranium...thinking. The skull represents your thinking…and the skull means death. But take solace…Jesus can even break your thick skull. But it all begins here…in your mind.
Guard your heart, God says. He doesn’t say guard your health, guard your finances, or guard your family…He says guard your heart. When a weird thought, or some off-the-wall condemnation, darts into your mind, know that God loves you and will NEVER be angry with you again…it’s not God throwing this stuff at you! It’s the liar. And the next time you see a rainbow and are reminded of God’s promise to never flood the earth again, also be reminded of this promise of mercy…
Isaiah 54:9-10 “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, So have I sworn That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
So, the next time the devil taunts you with his lies, expose the lie. Don’t panic. Just tell him he’s a liar; say it out loud – not just in your mind, say God has said…not you; God has said His kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall His covenant of peace ever be removed from you…He will never be angry with you and has put His promise in the sky after a storm…a rainbow.
But if you fall for the devil’s lie, get ready to spend some time in the desert! There’s an example in 2 Samuel; with the story of the last of King Saul’s descendants, his grandson Mephibosheth:
When the people in Saul’s palace heard Saul and his son Jonathan, Mephibosheth’s father, had been killed in battle, they freaked! In their mind, they believed David would, as was the custom of the time, be coming after the throne and kill all of them. So they panicked with fear and ran for their lives…you can relate right? Fear grabs you, and before you can even think, you take off running.
Well, one of the nurses grabbed up little 5 year old Mephibosheth. In her haste to get out of there, she dropped him and he became lame in both feet (2 Samuel 4:4). They all fled to a place called Lo-debar, where Mephibosheth matured and had a son of his own.
Side Note: Mephibosheth, in the Hebrew means “breath of shame”. Lo-debar in the Hebrew means “without pasture – without communication”.
Now here is Mephibosheth…who’s very name is an everyday reminder of his very life, fed every day of the unquestioned belief David was out to kill him. But such was not the case…David loved Mephibosheth’s father Jonathan. He made a blood covenant with him, and would have protected and cared for Mephibosheth his entire life! But this reality didn’t do Mephibosheth much good did it? In his mind David was out to get him…he spent probably half his life unnecessarily scared every minute and eating dust in Lo-debar.
Are you eating dust in Lo-debar? Have you been duped into thinking God is mad and now the prosecutor is out to get you? Nothing could be further from the truth! Like David, God has promised to show you kindness, to take care of you…and restore you. He knows all about your sins, loves you no matter what and promises He will never be angry with you...it’s impossible to sin your way out of His love and you are justified.
And the mastery of the devil? Well, sometimes he will accuse you with truth…backed up with a lie; like, you got impatient and hollered at your child, or your spouse. Or that little old lady on the interstate driving 40mph in the hammer lane! Now, you really messed up and God is mad at you! All for his purpose to bring you under condemnation, scare you and send you running to Lo-debar! Don’t fall for it, or try and deny it, or try justify it. After all, Lo-debar is a miserable place to spend your life; and like Mephibosheth, running from God will cripple you on the way.
Just admit whatever it is and turn the thought back to the rainbow; point the devil to Jesus who paid for your sins once and for all. You don’t belong in Lo-debar and you are not in trouble with God. Before you panic, remind yourself of God’s heart for you. Look at Jesus and see God’s will for you in action.
So, stay your mind on Him and His promises…trust Him and guard your heart from the lies, threats and accusations…Settle in on God’s promises to you and enjoy His perfect peace.
BETHEL ASSEMBLY OF GOD
In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (John 1:4)
God, Our Father
"Sometimes human beings—individuals or communities—are confronted with something that they must reject outright or that, if they accept it, will demand the remaking of their worldview." (N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope)
"Hope, for the Christian, is not wishful thinking or mere blind optimism. It is a mode of knowing, a mode within which new things are possible, options are not shut down, new creation can happen." (N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope)
The Nature Of Righteousness
Risking The Palace
Connecting Your Work To God's Work
The Blind Man And Zacchaeus, Part 1
The Blind Man And Zacchaeus, Part 2
Mother's Day Message 2017
Memorial Day 2017, Pastor Larry Johnson
The Call Of Peter
The Parable Of The Compassionate Employer
Jesus Meets A Skeptical Student
"If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God’s calling, can matter forever." (Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor)