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
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
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
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
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
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
Scripture cannot be broken
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
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
Do You Keep Your Word?
Articles of Faith, Vol 4 (£5.00)