BY WINSTON DAVENPORT, APRIL 16 2014
Human beings don't like being responsible for things. When something goes wrong, we notoriously try and blame someone or something outside of ourselves. A woman spills hot coffee on herself and sues McDonald's. A child falls in a swimming pool and drowns, and there is sure to be a trigger-happy prosecutor close by. We are a litigious society, and our tendency to dissuade acceptance of responsibility goes all the way back to Adam, who blamed Eve for making him eat the fruit.
So it's no surprise that we act this way when it comes to spiritual matters as well. You will always find Christians blaming their hard times and tragedies on either God or Satan. They say, "Well it must have been the Lord's will," or perhaps, "Well, the devil has just really been after me lately."
But why is it that no one ever says, "That one's my own fault!"
Jesus encouraged us to understand that both the good and the bad is a result of our own doing. He said, "Cultivate a good tree and you'll get good fruit, or cultivate a bad tree and you'll get bad fruit."
And when it came to healing, never, not a single time, did He direct the credit of healing to the will of God. He said that it was the Father's power that enabled the healing, but Jesus always said, "Your faith has made you well."
He didn't say, "Nothing is impossible when it's God's will."
He said, "Nothing is impossible to him who believes."
When it comes to creating something in your own life, Jesus explains clearly what defines the outcome. He said, "According to your faith be it unto you."
Stated another way, "Your life will produce results according to your faith" (Matthew 9:29).
Not according to God's will.
Not according to Satan's attacks.
According to your faith.
Faith is whatever you train your mind to be in agreement with. If you renew your mind into alignment with well-being, your life will begin to reflect well-being. If you allow your mind to align with fear, then the very things you're afraid of will become manifest in your life.
Whatever has come against you...whatever has you defeated...whatever mountain stands in your way...you must realize that "according to your faith it is unto you." In other words, the mountain is there because you put it there. Hard to believe?
Jesus said it.
Time and time again.
But this is good news. If you will accept that you are the one who has created the unwanted elements in your life, that lets you know that you are the one who can create something different.
In essence, your present reality is the result of your past thoughts and beliefs. And your future reality will be the results of your thoughts and beliefs today. That is encouraging!
Life is the canvas and you are the painter. It is no more difficult to paint health than sickness. It is not harder to paint joy instead of sadness. And painting prosperity is just as easy as painting poverty. So as long as God has given you the paintbrush and the easel, why not paint what you do want instead of what you don't want?
Create a future filled with blessings.
Envision life working in your favor.
Don't set low expectations because you fear disappointment. Aim higher—you have no idea what you are capable of. If God has gifted you with desires, He has also gifted you with fulfillment. And that fulfillment comes from the same source as the desire: you!
So see your desires fulfilled. By doing so, you are painting a good future on the canvas of your life. The only thing that could hinder it is you. Be careful to only paint perfection. Don't just paint a picture of today; unless, of course, today is perfect, and you would like more of today tomorrow.
The more you think about the aspects of life that you don't want, the more those aspects will manifest in your future. Don't think that by resisting the unwanted you'll become free of it. No, the focus and energy you exert toward resisting is only that: focus and energy toward the unwanted. What you're really doing is painting pictures on your canvas of the things you don't want. This only exacerbates your dilemmas. Instead, let go. Don't give your problems the time of day. Don't allow yourself to feel discouraged—that just means you're painting the wrong picture.
Created in the Father's image, you have been equipped to be a painter. Adam and Eve were told to "paint" the Garden of Eden throughout the whole world. Don't allow your problems, the "serpent," to distract you from your calling. Take five minutes each day to quiet your mind, put a smile on your face, and envision life as you want it to be—life as you know it should be. Don't be shy about your desires. Embrace them to the point where you feel such joy in your spirit that you know that you know that your desires are already fulfilled!
I promise you that "according to your faith it will be done unto you."
BY WINSTON DAVENPORT, APRIL 16 2014
by winston davenport, april 2 2014
Jesus spoke some grave words in Matthew 7:1. Many Christians use His words to perpetuate the idea that we should be afraid of God. Jesus said, "Judge not, that you may not be judged."
But hold on a second. If this statement causes fear of God, then we know that we are not understanding it correctly. John said, "Perfect love casts out all fear, for those who fear have not been made perfect in love." He says, "Fear carries with it the idea that you are going to be punished."
So, let me get this straight: Punishment sounds a lot like judgment, and if we should not fear punishment from God, that means we should not fear God's judgment. This makes sense, I suppose, because any Christian who understands the basic Gospel message knows that any and all judgment was poured out at the Cross, "once for all time." We can, as John said, firmly know that God has not, is not, and will never judge us.
Jesus Himself assured us that this is the case. He said, "The Father judges no one" (John 5:22). That's a relief.
But that still leaves the original question. We will be judged if we judge others, Jesus says. Who will be judging us, then?
The answer is: ourselves.
Paul said that it is our own conscience that condemns us. The word conscience is made up of two words. "Con" (meaning bad or evil) and "Science" (meaning knowledge). In essence, Paul was saying that it is your own bad or evil knowledge that condemns you.
That is a revolutionary idea! It is actually the knowledge of evil that points the accusing finger!
The Greek word behind this translation is syneídēsis, which means "joint knowing" or "a persistent notion." While many correctly teach that this words means "knowing good from evil," most resources say that this knowledge is God-given, and that all men possess it. I would say that the knowledge of good and evil is most certainly not God-given; in fact God specifically tried to prevent us from having this knowledge. God told Adam to freely eat from the multitude of trees in the garden, but there was a single tree He forbade. This knowledge, this conscience, was the one thing God didn't want us to have! The knowledge of good and evil has wrecked humanity and caused man to separate themselves from the Creator. Thank God that Jesus did away with this separation by cleansing us from sin, so that, as Hebrews says, "the worshiper, now completely clean, can be totally free from the consciousness of sin."
If you are free from sin consciousness, not only will you be incapable of judging others, you will be incapable of reaping the result of that judgmental stance: self-judgment.
We cannot gain peace of mind as long as we have not forgiven others. We will be judged by the same standards by which we judge others. Not by God, of course, because Jesus said, "The Father judges no one" (John 5:22).
The judgment which comes upon ourselves when we judge others originates from us, not God. When you judge those around you, you are actually judging yourself.
Isn't that an alarming thought?
Furthermore, when you harbor unforgiveness toward another, you are spiritually binding yourself to the negativity that initiated your judgment in the first place. Think of the ministers who vehemently judge divorce or homosexuality, and later are exposed as hypocrites. Their judgment (their sin-consciousness) of others actually became the activation of the very behaviors they scorned.
Let go of bitterness. Let go of judgment. In doing so, you set yourself free. Additionally, your forgiveness has the potential to set others free as well. Think of Stephen in the Book of Acts. As the would-be apostle Paul stood by and commanded Stephen's life to be taken through stoning, Stephen could have judged Paul, pronounced condemnation on his assailants the way that Peter cursed Ananias and Sapphira. But instead of holding the sin against Paul, he specifically released them from their debt to him, and their debt to God. This violent act of forgiveness not only released Stephen from his bondage to judgment, but also opened the door for Paul to encounter God. It all began with a radical act of forgiveness.
Didn't Jesus do the same thing? Hanging on the cross, surrounded by soldiers and Jews and others who had unjustly championed His death, He had every right in the world to pronounce a curse upon His murderers and betrayers. But instead of judging, He took a page out of His Father's book and withheld His judgment. He said, "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing." What sin could possibly be worse than betraying and murdering God Himself? If Jesus could withhold judgment toward such an evil crime, what little injustices that have been done to you could you, in the fashion of Jesus, let go of?
Remember, withholding your judgment not only releases others from debts they can' t pay, it also releases you. And that's the type of life you want to live, as you know: a life of freedom.
by winston davenport, april 2 2014