BUILDING IN VAIN: THE POWER OF FOLLOWING GOD’S PLAN

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. (Ps. 127:1)”

“I bless all of My people as far as I can. But the reason there is not the move of God and the depth of the flow of the Spirit, and the fullness of the manifestation of the Holy Ghost today is because men do not take time to hear from Me. And they do not take time to follow My plan set forth in the Scriptures. The more closely you follow My plan, the more My power will be in demonstration and in manifestation.”

These were the words of Jesus spoken to the late Kenneth E. Hagin in a 3 hour visitation in 1987. If you are interested in the details of that visitation you can read it in his book, Plans, Purposes, and Pursuits.

When we were missionaries in West Africa we received a mandate from the Lord to establish interdenominational Bible training centers with an emphasis on discipleship. We started a training center on Saturday while having voluntary discipleship programs during the week. Soon when word got out many church members from all kinds of denominational backgrounds flocked to our schools.

Many pastors, however, and even other missionaries got jealous and annoyed at our success. They began to bad-mouth us and offer certain church members positions of authority with pay to not go to our school. Some also began to start their own church Bible schools.

Think about that. We had the Lord’s plan for our lives and ministry, and other pastors were hindering it, and substituting their own plans and their own purposes for God’s. Who ultimately suffers? Is it not the people? The people are robbed of a God plan and a God opportunity to be trained and equipped.

In that 3 hour visitation the Lord also told Brother Hagin that oftentimes men’s purposes are also wrong and He cannot bless them because their purposes must be lined up with His plans. The purpose of some of these pastors was to protect their own church and grow their own work. They failed to properly discern the body of Christ.

Think about how much of this goes on today – much of it quietly and behind the scenes. We can get so busy promoting our own church, ministry, and work that we forget the body of Christ.

When God looks down on a city He doesn’t see one church but He sees the entire body in that city. What could happen if there was real spiritual unity in cities across America? If the body of Christ rose up as one?

It was when the early Church was in prayer and in one accord that it was birthed. It was when they followed Jesus’ instructions to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Ghost that revival came.

I was preaching along these lines in a pastor’s conference one time and I told them that they could either be a key or a lock to the move of God in their cities. If pastors are not careful they can form a fraternity and oppose what the Lord wants to do in their city. I’ve tried to do neutral meetings and find very little cooperation among pastors in America. Most of them are not interested in the benefit the entire body of Christ will receive but only their church.

When we started these Bible training centers in West Africa the churches that recognized this as God’s bigger plan and cooperated with us were the most blessed. You will always be blessed when you cooperate with God’s plan – whether it is for your individual life and ministry or a part of a bigger picture for the body of Christ.

Only walking in the light of God’s plan can you know the fullness of His blessing. Failure to follow God’s plan and purpose and to move with Him kills the move of the Spirit. This results in dead, dry, and dull churches that have dissension, strife, and splits.

Those who will take time to wait on the Lord and hear from Him and pursue His plan for their lives and ministries will be ready for the move that God is wanting to bring upon the earth today.

Kenneth E. Hagin’s awesome visitation occurred nearly 30 years ago. In my opinion the body of Christ in general is further from God’s true plans and purposes than they were back then. We need a course correction. We need men that know how to hear from God because frankly, if the Holy Ghost walked into most churches today with a red suit and a red hat on most pastors wouldn’t recognize Him, or they’d be so taken up with their own plans and programs that they would override what the Holy Ghost is trying to say and do.

If you’re too busy to wait on God and discover His plan for your life, you may go through your entire pilgrimage here on the earth and everything you do will be in vain. Then what will you say to God on that Day when you will give account?

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ARE YOU BEING LIFTED OR SIFTED?

 

There is a big difference between pruning and sifting. The Lord prunes, but the devil sifts.

“…Every branch in me that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). “

…Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Lk 22:31).

The key to being pruned and not sifted is to keep your eyes on Jesus. When your eyes shift, the glory will lift, and your life, the devil will sift.

Your life and vision will be clouded with a kind of driving ambition and ego that is restless instead of restful. Tests and trials have both a divine and demonic purpose. The demonic design of every test and trial is to take the focus of every believer off Jesus and pull them out of that high and holy place of abiding in the Lord.

I will say it again so you can remember it: The Lord prunes but the devil sifts. Only a believer given to the Spirit will recognize the difference. A spiritual person will yield to the pruning, but resist the sifting.

The following is a spiritual utterance which instructs us on the reversal of the sifting process. Let it teach and admonish you.

LIFTED OR SIFTED

“The glory is manifested where God has called you to be. The glory manifests in the one whose position and posture is one of abiding. Your life, the plan of God, the ministry, and the gifts God has placed in you will manifest and blossom to a much greater degree, and in a more frequent manner when your eyes are on Me.

The lifting begins when you seek God for who He is, and you wrap yourself around Him. The lifting continues as you cleave diligently to the Lord and draw away from man’s wisdom and ideas.

The opposite is true also. You shall be sifted when your motives are wrong and your eyes are off Me and on man. The sifting begins and continues when you seek things instead of God.

It’s important you be whom I’ve called you to be (calling), where I’ve called you to be (location), and when I’ve called you to be (timing). But realize it is only Me who can place you there. It’s only Me who can make you fruitful.

When you are frustrated, anxious, and eager to do something else that usually means that your eyes are off Me unless you’re being stirred in your spirit to another step I’d have you take. But even then, if you’re walking in the Spirit, you will never be frustrated or anxious about anything.

You cannot rest when you’re being sifted because you’re operating out of your soul. Many things bother you when you’re in this state, but when you’re in the Spirit nothing bothers you. You are in a total and absolute rest.

Labor to maintain and stay in that rest. It’s a place of victory. It’s a place of refuge where the enemy cannot sift you and wrap himself around you. The enemy fears this rested state because it’s a place of faith. When you are in a rest, know that your shield of faith is up.

When you feel frustration, unrest, and anxiety, know that you are a good target for the enemy because your shield is down. When you are in a state of rest and abiding you are lifted above your enemies. Your spiritual discernment is much keener and the voice of the Lord is heard.

Yea, know that it’s in this rest that you place yourself in a position to hear Me. So enter into that rest by seeking Me and building yourself up by praying in the Spirit, meditating on My Word, and worshiping Me. Then your way shall be made clear as you draw near to Me. My way for you shall be exalted in your spirit and there will be a knowing there of certain things.

There will be an assurance unshakeable which no one will move you from. You will know My plan and My will. There will be no guilt or condemnation, insecurity or uncertainty.

Yea, there shall be assurance. There shall be identity in Me. Yea, you shall know your place and your function. You shall know My plan and My purpose. And your heart shall be free and glad, and rejoice.”

SPIRITUAL LEISURE

Years ago my wife Carolyn and I were in our car on the road singing and just rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness. The spirit of prophecy began to well up inside of us and we started singing and speaking by divine inspiration.

The following is a psalm succeeded by a prophetic utterance which flowed forth to teach us about the flow of the Spirit. It speaks to us of a spiritual rest and leisure that is found only in the Lord.

Here is the Spirit-inspired psalm.

VACATION

I’m on a vacation
It’s time for some rest and relaxation
Abiding in the Vine
Where peace and rest is mine
It’s vacation time

I’m on a vacation
It’s time for some rest and relaxation
I’m going to a land
That God has made for man
Abiding in the Lord

I’m on a vacation
It’s time for some rest and relaxation
The land that I possess
Is one so full of rest
Abiding in the Lord

Vacation time is all the time
Where spiritual rest is mine
This is God’s plan for every man
To abide in this great land
In the peace and rest of God

Here is the prophetic utterance which followed the above psalm:

STAYING IN THE FLOW

“Do all you can to keep yourself in this flow. Cut off every hindrance that would stop you from staying in this flow. Cut off anything that would offend this flow. Work out your salvation in the natural things so that you may remain in the Spirit. Do not let the natural pull you down.

Work to remain in this flow full time so that you can receive My full time benefits. In the work of the kingdom many of My children only receive part time benefits because they’re only in My flow part time. And yet there are others of My children who receive little to no benefits because they are never in the flow.

And yet it is My plan for man to be blessed fully and without measure joy unspeakable and full of glory. Learn to abide in Me and My rest. Labor to enter and stay in that rest, and then you shall surely have My very best.

Do not bear burdens or weights that I’ve not called you to bear. Those of this world and of the lower nature are not for thee. Do not let them attach themselves to your tender spirit. Do not…do not become heavy with care and concern. Do not feed your mind nor your mouth with things not fit for thee. Let your sanctification be in Me. I will bear those burdens not made for thee.” (Prophetic utterance)

What a word of edification!

If you want to live and walk in the supernatural realm where God speaks to you and leads you, you’re going to have to learn to release your cares and concerns to the Lord.

“The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith. The beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” (George Mueller)

TELL MY PEOPLE: A PROPHETIC UTTERANCE ON HOW TRUE GRACE WORKS

There was a story told of a prostitute whose father was her pimp. Can you imagine? When she was gloriously saved her father went into a fit of rage.

Even though this woman was born again she had no sense of value and worth. She felt like a commodity and had a difficult time believing that Jesus had forgiven her. She felt unloved, dirty, and rotten. All day long she’d bathe herself in an effort to try and feel clean.

One night she couldn’t sleep because the voice of the Spirit overwhelmed her. All night long she had heard the words, “You are accepted in the Beloved, you are accepted in the Beloved, you are accepted in the Beloved!”

The Holy Spirit had persuaded her of her righteousness in Christ. The voice of love, acceptance, and affirmation set her free from a mountain of guilt and condemnation and motivated her to serve Jesus.

This is the real grace of God.

Prophetic utterance:

“Like the prostitute there are many today who are not receiving My true grace. Worrying about not having enough for yourself is due to a lack of understanding My true grace. It’s when people understand My love for them that they will also begin to receive My grace. My grace will release them from serving themselves.

My grace is not based on your works, but instead your works is based on My grace. It is not your faithfulness that releases My grace, but it is My grace that releases your faithfulness.

Neither circumcision nor un-circumcision avail or profit anything, but only the new nature. Neither works nor lack of works profit you, but yielding to the new nature.

The Law is based on outward restraints, but grace is based on an inward transformation. Yielding to the new nature, which is given by My grace, is My highway to heaven and the key to much fruitfulness on the earth.

Tell the people that My provision for them is not based on their performance, but their promotion in My kingdom and their eternal reward is.

Tell them that they are My children and My grace is sufficient for all their needs.

When My children understand their sonship and their place in the family, then and only then will they be free to serve Me instead of themselves.”

Fear is the result of no faith in God.
No faith in God is a result of no revelation of grace.
No revelation of grace means you don’t yet believe God loves you, which means you don’t believe the gospel.

Grace is an inward force that enables and empowers us to live in obedience to God.

A proper image of God the Father and your position of sonship in His family is what creates grace in you and causes that grace to be multiplied.

DO YOUR DESIRES HAVE THE SANCTION OF PURITY?

Years ago, while still in Bible school, I heard a quote from one of my most respected teachers. It went something like this: “A man can preach a great sermon, and actually get a demerit for it because his motive was wrong. An author can write a great book and get a demerit for it because his motive, too, was wrong. A person can sing a great song and also get a demerit for it because of wrong motives. Oh, how important this principle is in our Christian walk!”

That statement made a great impact on me early in my Christian life.

Then, later on, I read a word preached by Smith Wigglesworth that also confirms the importance of this principle. During a question and answer time with Bible school students, Wigglesworth was asked a question having to do with knowing the leading of the Spirit. Here is the question and Wigglesworth’s answer, just as it was recorded:

Question: “When we have a strong impression to do a thing, how do we know that it is the Holy Spirit speaking?”

Answer: “Hundreds of people are in this dilemma, to get to the mind of God. The first thing you must always keep in mind is that when you are living in the perfect will of God, you only will that which is purposed in His will.

If you are not living in that perfect attitude toward God, you may have any amount of thoughts of your own nature that you will find brings you into difficulty. It is the easiest thing to get the mind of the Lord when your whole heart’s only desire is the will of the Lord. That will save you from a thousand troubles.

Are you so in touch with God that the desire of your mind is purity regarding that thing you want to be done?  Has it the sanction of purity?  Would Christ desire that thing?  If so, the moment you pray, you will have the witness of the Spirit and it will coincide with the will of God.

But the difficulties are that people want the Lord’s revelation in a carnal manner or a carnal life or where there is some human thing.

Ask yourself these things: Why you are in the meeting, why you want to live, why you want to go to the conventions, why you want to be pastor, why you are anxious this morning. Act and you will be freed.

If I can find out that I want to be in Angeles Temple for anything but for the glory of God and the extension of His kingdom, then I am in sin. If I want to be heard, I am wrong. If I want to be seen, I am wrong. If I want to be honored, I am wrong.

But if I want Christ, if I want to preach because I want to advocate His glorious Gospel, if I want to be seen only because I want to exhibit His Spirit, if I am here for the advancement of the glory of Christ, then things are as easy as possible.”

Hear the heart of our lovely Jesus: “I receive not glory from men [I crave no human honor, I look for no mortal fame]…” (John 5:41 – Amp.)

Every wise believer would do well to make this attitude their aim in life. It is the mind of Christ.

What a word this is! It shall determine your eternal destiny and your position in the millennial reign. Keep the motives to the desires of your heart pure. With all your heart pursue this spirit of holiness.

When you want what God wants for the same reasons He wants it, you shall shine brightly in the kingdom of our Father forever.

BRING BACK THE OLD ANOINTINGS: HOW LONG WILL WE BE SATISFIED WITH HAPPY SHALLOW REVIVALS?

Many of our so called modern revivals are happy but shallow. This is of deep concern to me for I am not seeing the old anointings any more. My heart grieves especially for the young people who have never witnessed the real power of God.

Honestly, some things I see today are appalling. That old teaching that we are free from the Law has raised its ugly head again. Certainly, we are free from the Law written on stone, but we are not free from the Law that is written in our hearts.

In a time when repentance is needed the most we have teachings sweeping the land that tell Christians they don’t need to repent. In a day when there is a deplorable lack of holiness in the Church we are being told that we are already holy enough through Christ’s sacrifice (2 Cor. 7:1). In an hour when we sadly lack God’s power we are oversaturated with Church conferences that focus on numbers. Whatever it takes to grow numbers seems to be the cry of every powerless pastor.

Call me old school if you want to, but I see far too much irreverence, levity, frivolous behavior, a deplorable lack of holiness and sanctification, and a far too easy backsliding in the modern Church, which frankly is coming from hearing another gospel.

For the Pentecostal and Charismatic, our baptisms of the Holy Ghost are also too shallow. And we don’t even speak in tongues any more, or we designate it to the back room. Pentecostals seem to be growing in number but where is the power?

Things have got to change and it starts with ministers. If enough of us do not change, people will go underground and find another way. We will have more nones and dones, unchurched and de-churched among the multitudes.

Since this magazine is a Pentecostal/Charismatic publication let’s talk about our movement.

Is it still a movement or have we been grounded? Are we really in revival or in a rut? Is it a mighty flowing river that brings refreshing or has it become a swamp full of stagnancy and stench?

There was a time when Pentecostal meant something. In old fashioned Pentecostal meetings you weren’t supposed to know what was going to happen next. When led by seasoned mature men of spiritual stature there was order but there was also power and life. Today, it’s 5 songs, a prayer, an offering, announcements, and a sermon – dismiss, rinse, repeat. Such routine and predictability!

Thus the reason many are leaving our local churches. Oh, they’re not leaving God; they’re only leaving the church to find God. Ouch! I know it hurts to hear that.

At one time Pentecostal meetings were nothing less than the gate of heaven. It was a meeting with God.

Repentance is our deepest need. Without repentance men’s hearts are not touched, broken, melted, or moved. The result is superficiality. There are many who still receive the word with joy, but they lack depth or have no root. And so they are not fit for the day of tribulation or persecution (Mat. 13:5, 20-21). Through soft and non-repentance preaching many pastors are grooming their people to miss the Lord’s coming and be martyrs in the great day of tribulation. Ouch! I know that hurts, too.

You can easily tell where there has been true repentance. The one great characteristic is a love for the Word. “Great peace have those who love Your Law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Ps. 119:165). If you’re still easily offended you have never repented as you should.

“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent” (Mat. 11:20).

And let’s get one thing straight. We desperately need miracles and the power of God, but that alone does not produce repentance. Neither is it in what we say or don’t say. We can say the sweetest things or the most terrible things with still no guarantee of repentance. Some will still remain indifferent and never be affected. It is the Spirit that we need to produce repentance in men’s hearts.

The call is to pray and to preach with the Spirit. The call is to let the Spirit move!

Jesus wept over the cities who had not repented because He knew of the judgment that was coming. When is the last time you heard a message on judgment. Most preachers today have never been to the judgment Seat. They will never preach it until they’ve trembled before it themselves. Today religion is happier to speak of universal salvation and a pie in the sky for each of us regardless of the road they traveled to get there.

Without the Holy Spirit you will make men hard. That was my most common mistake as a young preacher. Crusty, dry soil needs a fresh shower of rain to be broken up. The great need is to see the holy, spotless King in His glory and then you will understand the universality and gravity of sin and the deep need of repentance.

A fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit will produce not only repentance but it will keep us humble, broken, and softened before Him whom all things are open and naked (Heb. 4:13).

The true anointing of the Spirit is what is clearly missing from preachers and our gatherings today. Many are gifted and can dazzle audiences with their charisma and knowledge but they lack the dew of heaven.

Many are like Samson who did not know that the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him (Jud. 16:20). And just as Samson, we have lost our way.

May God have mercy on us and grant us repentance and lead us back to the gate of heaven.

THE CAMPS OF MAN AND THE COURTS OF GOD

“Neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall men worship the Father” (John 4:21). These are the camps of man. Camps of man are places confined to the limitations of the flesh. But to worship in spirit and in truth (v 23) shall place you into the courts of your God.

And it is true worship in the courts of your God that will enlarge you in the camps of man. Behold how the camp of man enlarged for the Son wherever He went! In John 4, one woman, one conversation, and then enlargement! Many others came to hear Him and believed (John 4:28-30, 39). Behold what the ministry of the Spirit produced! This was the pattern in the life and ministry of the Son and in the lives of those He trained.

The Son was a worshiper. He could always be found in the high courts of His Father. The camp of man was being continually enlarged in His life and ministry. People came from round about to hear the Master Teacher. People came from round about to be healed by the Great Physician. People came from round about seeking Him (Lk 4:42) (Mk 1:35-37).

The Son only walked where He had inheritance. It was the ministry of the Spirit through the Son that enlarged His steps and caused Him to possess His inheritance. Your inheritance is possessed the same way.

The expansion of the ministry of the Spirit in the camp of man always happens in proportion to the hearing and obeying of His counsel in the courts of God. What you have today is a perversion of the true works of God. Expansion in the camp of man through the sons of flesh happens much today through natural means by marketing and promotional techniques. This would be no different than a business which brings in profit through marketing and promoting their product.

The only place for marketing and promotion in My kingdom is through the fruit of obeying the Spirit’s counsel. Remember, you do not create ministry in order to produce fruit. You listen and obey the Spirit and then the fruit of your obedience creates ministry. There is a vast difference between the two.

The woman at the well was the fruit of the Son’s obedience to the Father. The fruit created more ministry (John 4:28-30, 39). Once again, this was the pattern established not only from the Son and the early apostles, but even from the days of the Old Covenant through those whom I anointed.

Truly My house has become a house of merchandise instead of a house of prayer. Your call is to elevate the courts of God above the ways of man.

The wisdom of God is manifest in the weakness of the flesh. The power of God is manifest in the weakness of the flesh.

ENLARGEMENT

 As a young calf loosed from its stall

The Lord has enlarged my place

No more confinement to the way of man

No more being confined by the flesh 

My steps have been enlarged

The Lord has made the way

By the light of His counsel

He brightens my every day

I seek not the honor of man

But I seek only the honor of God

I seek not enlargement in the camp of man

But I seek only enlargement in the courts of My God

 

MEEKNESS: THE KEY TO MORE POWER IN THE CHURCH

“In a land of plenty where there is bread and wine in sufficiency, abasement does not come easily.  In a land of materialism where there is money in sufficiency, abasement is not easily learned.  In a land where there is little persecution and suffering for the gospel’s sake, there is almost no meekness of soul found among My people.” (Holy Spirit inspired utterance)

God has shown me that there is a connection between meekness and miracles and the power of God. It is something that needs to be cultivated greatly, especially in the Western Church.

The greatness of Jesus was in His meekness. Before Jesus abounded in power (Lk 4:14) He was abased (to be brought low) and humbled Himself (Phil 2:8 Amp).  The Lamb was meek and lowly (Mat 11:29).  He did not fight or struggle with God.  His soul was under the rule and reign of God the Father.  The Spirit of Christ in a man has no mind of its own.  It is totally under the authority of Another. This is the spirit that is better than the mighty and can take a city (Pr 16:32). It is meekness.  This is the spirit that the Holy Spirit told me is so lacking in America, and in His people.

Moses’ greatness was not in the miracles He worked, but in the meekness God worked in him.  “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth (Num 12:3).”  A spirit of meekness was developed in Moses’ life through frustration in the flesh.  He came to the end of himself.  In the Old Covenant God dealt with Israel and his prophets according to the flesh because of the deadness of their spirits.  In the New Covenant God’s desire is for meekness to be developed according to the exaltation of the new nature.

Praying in other tongues and fasting have been called the power twins because one subdues the flesh while the other edifies the spirit. Together along with the Word of God they cultivate meekness in your soul.

Smith Wigglesworth made the comment that he often felt like he’d been run over by a thousand railroad engines.  Paul said that he died daily (1 Cor 15:31).  There is a pain which leads to gain.  There is a lonely walk which draws the communion of the Holy Spirit.  There is a dying that generates life and power. There is no other way to the power of God except through dying. The American Church has continually attempted to shortcut this process, thinking they can obtain the true power and glory of God some other was, but it can never be. The result will be more dead religion and a form of godliness void of God’s power. And frankly, many people are sick of that and are leaving our churches due to its absence.

Religion causes sin to abound.  The new nature causes grace to abound. The body of Christ must renew its mind and feed and develop the new nature until it grows to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  Then and only then will the sons of God manifest the power of God to a lost and dying world.  Then and only then will they know that Jesus is Lord.

A NEW HEART FOR A NEW YEAR

Every new year there is a re-evaluation and a subsequent re-ordering of many people’s lives. One of the highest purposes of God in His kingdom is the love of God. If love is not your motive it throws everything else off in your life.

Love is the wavelength of God. It is the Divine frequency of the total measure of heaven. This is the first place I go to in my heart of hearts, especially when a new year commences.

Am I abiding in Christ’s love? Is there the slightest bit of offense and unforgiveness or ill-will in my heart? Is the motive of my heart to serve? Am I saying or doing anything that is hurting others or contributing to someone’s downfall?

The wisdom of God is not given to the person with selfish agendas. God won’t share His wisdom with those who are on a different frequency. He won’t share His wisdom with those who are not interested blessing others.

But if your heart is to bless people, to help people, and to genuinely encourage them then you are on God’s page. He will always honor the heart that loves, and in that place you will find His wisdom. And is not wisdom the principal thing? Is it not wisdom that establishes a house?

Ask yourself: Why would God share His wisdom with one who is not following His plan and does not have God’s interests at heart? His wisdom is not for fools, nor for those who have selfish agendas.

The first rule of the kingdom is Mat. 6:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto thee.”

Since the kingdom of God works by love – since love is the new commandment by which the kingdom operates, all things not based on that love are out of order in the kingdom of God.

Conversely, by making every motive of your heart like the Son of man, who said he came to serve and not to be served, then you position yourself to receive the wisdom of God, by which every plan is established. A spirit of love and servanthood will keep you at death’s door to your own flesh and self-centered desires.

This must be the first order in your life. Without this foundation all you do will be in vain because you are not on God’s frequency. And there is no eternal reward attached to it.

There’s a reason why Jesus began his public ministry in Matthew’s gospel by teaching on the motives of the heart. It is foundational to the kingdom of heaven. I wrote the book, “Purity of Heart” based on that revelation.

If you will pay attention to your heart, it will grieve you or smite you the moment you start saying or doing something that is damaging or hurting others.

For example, God’s will is for sinners to be saved. When we lived in Florida we had an unsaved neighbor whose dog would always poop in our yard. It would aggravate me and make me angry. I would be tempted to shovel the poop and smudge it on one of the windows in their house. I know you’ve never had such carnal thoughts before.

As a matter of fact, every time I found dog poop in the yard I had that same temptation. But my conscience would smite me and the love of God would constrain me for the lost souls that were a part of that household. I wanted to keep my testimony clean before them so I could be in a position to be witness to them. Your witness before the world is to be valued even more than material wealth.

We could apply that same situation to all kinds of scenarios. Taking vengeance on someone because of a wrong they did to you. Speaking evil of someone because they offended you. Robbing someone of an opportunity for favor or promotion because you don’t like them. Not showing love and mercy to your neighbor because their dog poops in your yard (smile). It could be one million things.

Make sure your heart is tender and right as you begin this new year. In God’s love there is light and wisdom for you. And it is His wisdom that will establish your house.