In Good Conscience…

“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then we have confidence toward God.” 1 John 3:20,21  The heart there speaking of conscience. 

I’ve been wrestling with exactly how to hit this point, I toyed with an elaborate play in my head… something out of a history book, you know an old dude in a wig with the forefathers stomping his foot and throwing his quill pen on the table and profoundly stating, “Gentlemen I can not in good conscience be a party to this senseless farce!’

But then again that may be from history, ah, you never know!

Anyway we are digging a good conscience, that little tugging inside that tells us something about the situation we are in or a direction that someone is trying to lead us in is just not quite right for us.

On the flip side of that you can have someone, even with good intentions,  attempting to herd you into a direction or condemn a decision you have made or are trying to make based on their personal feelings on the matter.

People can often try to lead or condemn us when our true Shepherd the only one who truly has the right to lead and truly the only one with the power to condemn has no plan or purpose for that action in your life.

That is why the verse is so powerful and so extremely important especially when we are in a valley of decision, because God IS greater and he is greater than our heart and if our heart is not condemning us that tells us that surely God being greater than that would let us know beyond any shadow of a doubt the true path we should take or the correct decision even if we chose to make a decision that another may not think is the best one if God gives peace with that then we know we can have that confidence of being in his will.

To give an example of the importance of listening to the “voice” of God we’ll go to one of the scariest stories in the Bible, or at least to me it is one of the scariest because it teaches us how easily a person can sway us away from the will of God,

“And behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense,

And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord (at the command of the Lord), and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.

And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign the Lord hath spoken: Behold, the altar shall be rent (split apart), and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.

And it came to pass, When King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying Lay hold upon him. (seize him) and his hand, which he did put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.

The altar was rent, and the ashed poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.” 1 Kings 13:1-5

I want to stop right there for a moment because we can establish right there so completely that there was no doubt possible that this man, who is referred to as a man OF God had been sent and purposed of God to do this work and God displayed his power against those who would try to stop him to further prove that this was indeed divinely ordained.

Now for the rest of the story.

“And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the Lord thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the Lord, and the king’s hand  was restored him again, and became as it was before (healed).

And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give the a reward.

And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:

For so it was charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest .

So he went another way,and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel, and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.

And their father said unto them, What way  went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.

And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass, and he rode thereon.

And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak, and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? and he said, I am.

Then he said unto him, Come home with me and eat bread.

And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:

For  it was said to me by the word of the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way thou camest,

He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water, BUT HE LIED UNTO HIM.

So he went back with him an did eat bread in his house, and drink water.” 1 Kings 13:6-19

This story has a horrific ending,  if you have a moment, please finish it on your own, but needless to say the man of God dies because he listened to the wrong voice, he listened to the voice of a man, the voice that assured him that he himself also was a “prophet” and he listened to the “voice’ of an “angel” supposedly heard by the man.

And he listened to all these “voices” when he had already heard from the “voice” the word of God and for whatever reason chose to listen to the wrong voice after having received all the instruction he needed from the right one.

Not faulting him at all, this is why this is such a scary story, because it happened so easy and it is a great warning to us, that there are those for whatever reason would try to lead us completely out of the will of God or even snare and trap us just to try to cause us to stumble and  fall.

The overwhelming thread of this story is that he had had been told every single thing he needed to know about the man of God, including the command that God gave him against eating and drinking in that “place” and the direction in which he had been commanded to travel and he had all he needed to convince him into going “back” with him. So much symbolism going on there.

God is greater than your heart, if you know God and I mean truly know God, that you are a born again, spirit filled Bible believing person, you know what your heart is saying, and God is greater.

So if your heart is telling you a way that you should not go while someone else is saying that is the only way to go, take a note from your heart and know that God through his word has already told you how to go.

As said in 1 Corinthians, God is NOT the author of confusion but of PEACE. The God that saved you is the same God today and anything that takes your joy and your peace and bring confusion and strife into your mind and heart is NOT of him and anything contrary to his word and his teachings will never be his will for your life.

Thanks for reading! have a blessed week!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

 

CRAWLING OUT OF THE CAVE #1

“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

Not only as Christians but just as humans we go through many seasons in life and all these seasonal changes can often leave us  disillusioned, drained, despondent and the most dreaded and deadly of the “D” words, discouraged. It rains on the just and the unjust and that is THE “go to” scripture for all who are weary and when winds blow and the devil wants to convince us that if we were right we wouldn’t be going through this.

But again we all know that he IS the liar of all liars and everyone born upon this earth will suffer heartache whether they choose to follow Jesus or not. As a watchman who no longer has a tower and now sits perched upon a precariously wobbly wall only hoping that the shouts reach the ears of those for which they are intended, I can more than ever relate to all of the above. 

January 2015 my Dad was hospitalized and it really did not look like he was going to make it, before going to visit him one morning I got prayer and I had never before nor have I since received a word at that particular church. Of course my nerves were a whole new level of shot and after the service a man came back and told me that when they had been praying he had received a word for me, and it was that 2015 WOULD BE a good year for me, I knew by the delivery of the message and the eyes of the messenger, that it translated to this, there would be NO time during the coming year that it would FEEL good and that NO MATTER what IT looked like or how trying it became that somehow in the spiritual realm it would be working for a greater purpose and all in all in the book that God keeps of all our lives that it would be recorded as a positive.

I think we tend to look at prophecy sometimes as we wish to see it and not so much as what GOD IS TRYING TO TELL US!

It is often something we may not want to hear but had we not known it we have lost hope and the dreaded “D” word would lead us straight back out into the world under bondage to the other “D” word.

I thank God for the word he sent me, it kept my eyes focused through an extremely painful year. My Dad had also received a word at the worst of his illness that his work was not quite finished and had he not received that, he may have not had the will to go on.

But still sometimes enough wind, enough rain, and just enough cold from feelings of disconnection can turn us to cave dwellers. We like to believe it is a place of shelter, a place of rest, and most of all a surrounding to block out all those nasty attacks and the only way they can get us is head on and we will be able to see that coming.

Right? Well, no, Not quite, caves are very dark, isolated, and filled with bones of whatever had made it a prior shelter and never made it back out, and your not going to get much rest if you have to always keep watch for fear of what is going to come through that “door”.

Elijah tried it, 1st Kings 19, God had already done mighty, mighty works through Elijah, really think about seeing this with your own eyes, FIRE FALLING FROM HEAVEN, PROVISIONS THAT WOULD NOT FAIL, A HUMAN FED BY  RAVENS,THE DEAD RAISED TO LIFE. And yet even he, who had absolutely NO DOUBT anywhere in him concerning the power of God. He ran for his life, he had became so weary that he just wanted it all over and just wanted to go home.

God always patient and merciful sent an angel to feed him and strengthen him, showing us as always God knows right where we are, even when he did not send us in that direction and even though he continued on his emotionally self propelled journey God provided for him. Once he made it through the forty day journey and found the refuge of his cave the Lord asked very point blank “WHAT DOEST THOU HERE ELIJAH?”  After Elijah gave his reasoning to the Lord GOD CALLED HIM OUT OF THE CAVE.

Now God gave a rather majestic display of His power and might over all the universe, and sometimes we also could use a refresher course.   ALL POWER IN HEAVEN AND EARTH.

Psalm 97:1-6 “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation (FOUNDATION) of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. HIS lightnings enlightened the world: THE EARTH SAW, AND TREMBLED. THE HILLS MELTED LIKE WAX AT THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, AT THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD OF THE WHOLE EARTH. THE HEAVENS DECLARE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THE PEOPLE SEE HIS GLORY.”

 

ISAIAH 45-5-7 “ I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: THAT THEY MAY KNOW FROM THE RISING OF THE SUN, AND FROM THE WEST, THAT THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME. I AM THE LORD, AND THERE IS NONE ELSE. I FORM THE LIGHT, AND CREATE DARKNESS: I MAKE PEACE, AND CREATE EVIL (CALAMITY): I THE LORD DO THESE THINGS.” 

ISAIAH 54:16  “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument (weapon) for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.” 

This is the power that created the universe. The voice that spoke everything into existence. The one who named the stars and flung the into existence. The sun and moon will cower in His presence and the very mountains will flee from before Him. Heaven is His throne and earth is but His footstool.

And all nations and people will bow before Him and the same small voice who spoke to Elijah is still that same voice that speaks to us today. He is calling us out of the caves and His word is the way.

Please join me next time, Lord’s will, and we’ll look at David’s caving and follow up with that voice and the word of his promises that will help us see a brighter day OUTSIDE of the cave.

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2016

Original post date: 01/14/2016 to read the remainder of this series, please check out: “CAVES” Part 2 “Cavin’ with Dave”

“RESONATE”Crawling out of the cave #3