Monthly Archives: October 2013

Does everyone have a conscience?

The word “conscience” has been on my mind a lot lately. Even at Wal-Mart I couldn’t escape conscious thoughts about “conscience.” You see, I finished shopping and began to check out, during checkout one of the items I was purchasing need a price override. Since the cashier didn’t have free will or the authority to override the system he had to call for a manager. Why? Because the manager was the check-and-balance for the cashier’s potential to willfully compromise his own conscience. I thought to myself: “Is it really that easy, and prevalent for people to ignore their own conscience for legal gain and worldly pleasures?” If it is, people don’t stand a chance against sin. Then I thought; “This may be the case for the unsaved. However, I believe for the saved it doesn’t have to be.” Why do I say this? Because I believe the saved person has an internal check-and-balance called the “Holy Spirit.” But, since we have been given free will the Spirit’s help is only available if we choose it.

Drifting further in thought, I asked myself: “What does “conscience” mean? So, I ran over to the book section and grabbed Webster’s dictionary. I Found the word and read “Conscience: The sense of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good; a faculty, power, or principle enjoining good acts.” I wondered: “Does everyone have a conscience? Did God put a conscience in His creation for a purpose?” I am of the opinion that all do, and God did. Why? For one thing, as I was reading John Chapter eight I noticed something in the King James Bible that seemed to be left out of many other translations. What? The term: “conscience.” Not sure why it is left out of other translations. Maybe “conscience” is to judgmental of a word to talk about? I don’t think it has to be.

In John 8:9 the Pharisees bring a woman to Christ. A woman accused of adultery by Hebrew law. The Pharisees were very smart and their legal knowledge was impeccable. However, knowledge doesn’t govern the principle of “conscience” Grace does. Make note, these men were Hebrew Law regulators, even so, they still had a conscience proving the gift of conscience is not dependent upon salvation. How do we know they had a conscience? John 8:9 in the King James bible says, “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” Do you see the power of conscience? Conscience has to be from God! It was amazing to see how the violation of conscience overpowered the eldest and wisest Pharisee first, then the younger less wise and so on. Grace, using the principle of conscience, empowered by the Spirit, just had a showdown with Hebrew Law and Grace won. Do you think this woman will change because her conscience was touched by Grace? Or by condemnation of Hebrew Law?

Jesus, being God, knew that all men and women have a God given conscience. So, it was to the conscience of men he appealed; not to Hebrew Law. He did not have to use condemnation to handle condemnation. He (being Grace) merely appealed to the conscience of man by saying “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” I believe “conscience” is a gift given by God to man, out of love, in hope that it would be used wisely and not suppressed for legal gain or worldly pleasures. Maybe the person reading this has heard this phrase “Let your conscience be your guide.” This may be good advice for an unbeliever. However, for the Christian I would say, “Let the Holy Spirit be your guide, and your conscience will remain righted.” In Romans 9:1(KJV) Paul said, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.”

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URGENCY ADDICTION

All those years, and I could never put a name to the busyness façade I lived for, and became addicted to. The façade that said, “I was the only one who could do this task or that task” and “The only way this will get done and get done right is if I burn the midnight oil and do it myself; even if I have to sacrifice my time with God and my family to do it.” Yes, I fell for the trap. What trap you ask? The trap of “Urgency Addiction.” Mr. Covey defines “Urgency Addiction” as: “A self-destructive behavior that temporarily fills the void created by unmet needs.” Further he says, “Addiction to urgency is every bit as dangerous as commonly recognized dependencies. Some of us get so used to the adrenaline rush of handling crises that we become dependent on it for a sense of excitement and energy. How does urgency feel? Stressful? Pressured? Tense? Exhausting? Sure. But let’s be honest. It’s also sometimes exhilarating. We feel useful. We feel successful. We feel validated. And we get good at it. Whenever there’s trouble, we ride into town, pull out our six shooter, do the varmit in, blow the smoke off the gun barrel, and ride into the sunset like a hero. It brings instant results and instant gratification.”

I wonder if Martha was feeling the pangs of urgency addiction when she said to Jesus; “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.” The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” I have to admit, I missed out on some quality time in the presence of My Lord and My family because of urgency’s lie. Urgency seemed noble at the time. However, urgency left unchecked led to failure. I failed to prioritize and put “First things First.” I now know that God and my family are the very first things of first things; no matter who thinks otherwise. I pray I never again forget this: after all, who makes time for who; God for man or man for God?

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Debtor’s Ethic

I’ve never met a Christian that had the qualifications or resources to payback God for anything He has done for them.  However, I have observed people saying, “Before I can fully receive from God; I have to get right with Him.”  I believe the thought at the root of this statement is this:  “I do not feel worthy enough to receive anything from God right now. But, once I get my life right then maybe, just maybe, I will be able to then.”  Then what? “Then I will be able to pay him back for my deliverance and restoration.  Then I will be worthy enough to receive His Grace.”

I find it interesting that all these people believe in God; however, the perception of their self-worth has made them unable to receive from God.  They have perceived themselves right into something known as the “Debtor’s Ethic.”  Read the rest you will see what I mean.

As I was spending time with Dr. Piper yesterday I discovered some interesting information.  As most of you know I have been looking into the art of receiving.  Not just the mere, “here I gave or give you this” but a deeper sense of reception.  Actually, letting the reception of something sink deep into one’s heart – no strings attached.  Unfortunately, the majority of my research supports the fact that people, whether Christian or non-Christian have an impulse to attach a self-debt to every gift receiving situation.  Dr. Piper supports me in this when he says, “There is an impulse in the fallen human heart—all our hearts—to forget that gratitude is a spontaneous response of joy to receiving something over and above what we paid for.  When we forget this, what happens is that gratitude starts to be misused and distorted as an impulse to pay for the very thing that came to us ‘gratis.’ This terrible moment is the birthplace of the ‘debtor’s ethic.  God meant for gratitude to be a spontaneous expression of pleasure in the gift and the good will of another.  He did not mean it to be an impulse to return favors.  If gratitude is twisted into a sense of debt, it gives birth to the debtor’s ethic—and the effect is to nullify grace.”

According to Webster “gratis” means: without charge or recompense: free. Can anyone imagine how freeing it would be, if during the ‘gratis’ moment in any relationship we just rested, received, and rejoiced; instead of focusing on the giver’s loss. When we obsess about the repayment of a free gift, we nullify and steal the cheerful joy from the giver.  We all know its true – God “Loves a cheerful giver.”  I’ve come to discover that he loves a “Joyful receiver” just the same. “Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves. (Philipians 4:23 MSG) 

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MODEL AIRPLANES

When I was young, I attempted to put together model airplanes. I say, “attempted” because I never had the patience and took the time to read the instructions that came with the model kit. The picture on the box attracted me. So, I would beg my parents to buy me the model, which most of the time they did. After getting home from the store I would head straight to my room and “attempt” to put it together. I would start grabbing parts and gluing parts, and grabbing more parts, and gluing parts. This cycle would go on for awhile, then when I finished I stepped back and gazed upon my creation. I never liked what I saw. Why? Because usually a wing would end up where the tail was supposed to be, and the propeller wound up where the landing gear should have been. Without the instructions/directions these models never developed into the image and likeness of the original. I became distraught and frustrated by my own doing.

For many years, impatience and instant gratification took its toll on my life. My life became unmanageable, and broken. Being Christian, and in a state of desperation I cried out “God! What can I do to add value and correctness to my life?” He said, “Well, the fact that you are saved by Grace, know me, and recognize the Holy Spirit is a great start. However, have you considered the power of my Word?” I replied, “What does your word have to do with me?” He explained, “You were engineered according to my word. My word contains the blue print, and pattern intended to help you live an abundant life. This pattern does you little good if it is not known or regularly consulted. Another thing, the enemy loves a man that rarely consults my Word.” I responded, “But, it is so much easier to listen to and pay a psychologist.” “Yes, this is true. However, do you desire temporary help or permanent healing?” He said.

Since taking God’s word seriously can I say everything I’ve done has turned out perfect? No. But, I can say this: The wing and tail end up where they belong, the propeller finds its proper place, and the landing gear supports the body. Plus, the image and likeness of the original is closer than it has ever been.

Psalm 119:1-9 (MSG):

You’re blessed when you stay on course,
walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what you tell me to do;
don’t ever walk off and leave me

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October 16, 2013 · 12:23 pm