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Here is something that separates true Christians from false:

Keeping Your Word
Even When It Hurts You!

Do you keep your promises?

Some years ago, a man phoned us to ask if we could accommodate him, his wife, son, and daughter in our home for a few days. He was from Scotland, but another son had been living in a town 25 miles from here and had been involved in a serious car crash. This son was now in hospital and the father needed to visit him. He didnít know where else to stay or whom he could ask for help. A friend had put him in touch with us.

We put him up, even though it inconvenienced us somewhat.

We didnít know what God was working out, but we knew that God was doing something to bring this man here. Time and again, we have seen the hand of God working through the changing circumstances in peopleís lives. Like drought and famine caused Jacobís family to go to Egypt (Gen 42-46), so God uses changing situations to test people.

God sees the way you react or adapt to them, and your response brings either blessing or curse.

We always tend to view people through rose- coloured glasses. We anticipate positively. We have high hopes that they will accept all that God presents before them and that they can be helped, delivered (from demons), and move ahead spiritually.

Unfortunately, we are frequently disappointed, but that doesnít change our hope Ė until we see all prospects of that hope pass away.

We had positive aspirations for this man and his family. Since they were staying with us for several days, and visiting the hospital every day, it worked out that they were staying over a Sabbath. We asked them if they wanted to join us in our Sabbath meeting for fellowship. It seemed to be a positive sign that they said Ďyesí.

During the meeting I received a prophetic word for the man, which was something like this: Hitherto you have been taught by men; from now on, I will teach you direct. I thought, ďOh good, he is going to receive the Holy Spirit and accept a spiritual gift or gifts.Ē But God had another meaning hidden behind the words. He often does when He speaks cryptically!

What I didnít perceive (and God did not want us to know at that time) was that God meant He was going to bring this man under the direct hand of Godís judgement!

When he talked with us in our lounge, he was friendly. He seemed well-meaning. He was not hostile or antagonistic. He put on a good front, as people do. Much is hidden beneath the surface. The well of a manís heart is deep.

He talked a lot about himself, about what he had done. He painted himself in good colours, and boasted about his achievements and expertise in his professional field. Yet he was not well off. He lived in a rented council house and didnít own a home. He didnít even have a reliable car. A son had loaned him his car in order to make the trip.

I do not judge people by what they own, or by the house they live in (Luke 12:15), but with hindsight this manís circumstances were a reflection of his Ďexpertiseí and Ďintegrityí. Both were lacking.

He was involved in the legal field, and since we were considering being registered as a charity in this country, I asked him if he could take the necessary legal steps to begin the process of registration for us. He agreed. He also agreed to take our computer, which had Ďcrashedí, and repair it for us.

He went home, but before he did, he explained that he was in severe financial difficulties. He was in danger of being evicted from his council house. He asked if I could loan him some money.

At the time, we were in difficult circumstances ourselves. We had substantial debts on credit cards. We have to rely upon God to provide, because we are not a church with a congregation of tithe-payers. Asking us for financial help is like asking a man without hands to do a job for you. Nevertheless, I felt moved by the Spirit at that time to sacrifice all we had available. Somehow we managed to scrape up the money he needed, between Tonyaís wages and by borrowing some money from our son who works self-employed as a car mechanic.

It left us destitute! I didnít tell him that we now had absolutely nothing. Whether or not the man knew our position, I donít know. But he was effusive in his response: ďMalcolm, you can rest assured that I will repay you!Ē He was so grateful... at the time.

Later I phoned him to ask of his progress with the Charity Commission application and to find out how much his services were likely to cost. He replied: ďLetís not talk about money now. Iím owing you.Ē And thatís where he left it. Weeks later, when I needed the money repaying, he didnít reply to my e-mails or letters. He had taken further money from us for work he was ostensibly doing on our behalf. But, although I asked him for an invoice or statement, he ignored me. He gave us no account for his services. He just took the money and went. He never kept his promise to repay what I had loaned him.

Even though I asked how we could recover our computer (and other equipment he took with it), he completely ignored me about that also.

I learned later that he had fallen foul of the law by doing some professional work for someone whom the police wanted to arrest. Then I also found out that he had slandered me in court, at the defendantís trial. Fortunately, I donít know precisely what he said about me, but I was told that he painted me in such a bad light that he made out I was a criminal and one of the worst kind.

Instead of doing what I had asked of him, and paid him to do, he wrote to the Charity Commission and spread malicious false accusations against me, telling them that I was involved in criminal activity, and that they should reject any application for charitable status which I might make.

My own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me (Ps 41:9).

Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion who rejoice at my hurt; let them be clothed with shame and dishonour who exalt themselves against me (Ps 35:26).

They reward me evil for good, to the sorrow of my soul (Ps 35:12).

My enemies are vigorous, and they are strong; and those who hate me wrongfully have multiplied. Those also who render evil for good, they are my adversaries, because I follow what is good (Ps 38:19-20).

But, enemies wonít succeed. God has the final word, and He answers this prayer of the faithful:

Vindicate me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me (Ps 35:24).

God gave us various dreams about this man. It should come as no surprise to you to know that the dreams paint HIM in the bad light! God gave a progression of revelation on him, from the beginning of our contact, to the end. The end result is that he is lost. One dream to Helena showed his wife asking for food and help from us Ė showing that destitution will be the end of their evil and self-centred behaviour. In the dream Helena replied to her: ďHave you tried to grow carrots? Theyíre good for you.Ē

What the dream doesnít say directly, but seems to imply, is that her husband will no longer be around to provide for her. We know now that God brought him here to bring him under His judgement. (God will give truth and opportunities first. Then He judges.)

Perhaps God will take the manís life? We have known several others who have paid with their lives for their evil rebellion. They broke Godís command:

Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm (Ps 105:15).

He brought on himself this curse:

Those who seek my life, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth (Ps 63:9).

The grave is the destination of many of the wicked. And while their physical frame rots, their spirit is tormented (Luke 16:28) for the evil they have done.

God Is Testing Many People

I have taken quite a bit of space for the above account. It drives home a very important moral lesson.

Every person faces choices in life: a choice to do good or to do evil. And through the situations that God engineers (He is ultimately in control of all that takes place), people are sifted.

The commands of God are not just nice words, or admirable platitudes; they are fixtures in the spirit realm. They are inviolable.

I do not mean that no one can break them. You can do that if you choose. But doing so will break you!

Jesus made a statement that few grasp fully:

Scripture cannot be broken (Jn 10:35).

Godís commands or precepts are so sure that if you donít live by them, you will fail. You have no sure future without adherence to what God says.

Jesus is the Rock, and the only sure spiritual Rock on which you can stand secure. There is no other. And His commandments are like sea stacks (vertical columns on the rocky seashore), standing sure and firm, unaffected by wind and storm, or the ferocious force of the oceanís powerful waves. The sea of the worldís ways cannot alter that impervious rock one whit! It will stand upright and true until the End of Godís purposes comes.

God wants you to stand upright and true, too. You are to reflect His image, and the place to start is in keeping all His commandments in every possible way. Yet so many Christians think they can compromise and get away with it. They get away with nothing!

Rule 1. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments (Matt 19:17).

Conversely: Rule 2. If you want to enter into death, break the commandments!

Thatís your choice.

The man above made the second rule his way of life. The root of his disobedience was pride. He gloried in himself. He thought a lot of himself. Capable people often do. There are many ambitious, talented people, but who are wicked and will not be saved. God cannot work with them. So He has called some of the weak of this world instead (1 Cor 1:27,28).

The manís pride caused him to put self first, before God. He worshipped, loved, and served him- self, violating Godís commandments.

Only these will enter Godís kingdom:

He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart. He who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbour, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honours those who fear the Lord; he who swears to his own hurt and does not change [his good intentions]... He who does these things shall never be moved (Ps 15:2-5).

Malcolm B Heap

Further Reading: Do You Keep Your Word?  in  Articles of Faith, Vol 4 (£5.00)

Copyright: Midnight Ministries, PO Box 29, Aylesbury, HP17 8TL, UK