Words That Control Us 3

We have seen how words impose authority over us, rightly and wrongly.

This article explores the options you have in responding to the words that are projected against you.

It may well be that you are rejecting words you should be heeding.  And it is also possible that you are responding to words that you should be ignoring.

Some Words Stick


The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied to the nation of Judah over two and a half millennia ago, almost 600 years before Christ.  Because he warned that King Nebuchadnezzar would make a second attack on Jerusalem and kill the people his message was rejected.

At one point Jeremiah wrote a lengthy prophecy and sent it to King Jehoiakim.  The king listened as the message was read to him, but then threw the message, page by page, into the fire.

The king and the people rejected the message but they could not change its accuracy.  The message was from God, Himself.  Jeremiah spoke with true, divine jurisdiction.  And so the prophesied destruction came, while Jeremiah was locked in the prison and spared from death.

The Word of God is not a word to be rejected no matter how much we don’t like it.  It is God’s living word and it brings about divine outcomes.  When we receive it in faith it impacts our natural life with divine grace.  If we reject it we will ultimately stand before God to accept the punishment for our rejection of truth.

Just as King Jehoiakim could not destroy the word of God, neither can you.  So making your own god or choosing to believe something that suits your sensibilities will make no difference.

Some Words Crumble

Just as Jeremiah’s words proved to be truly from God, other prophets in his day who opposed him gave empty prophecies.  Grand promises of deliverance were given by those who stood against Jeremiah.  Yet it was Jeremiah’s message that proved true.

And that reminds me of the prophecy given by Elisha when the Syrians surrounded Samaria and the people were starving.  Elisha prophesied that food would be abundant and cheap by the next day.  An attendant of the king scoffed at such a preposterous suggestion, but it came to pass.  The words stood true.

The scoffing of the king’s attendant were the words that crumbled.  In fact he was trampled to death in the stampede of people rushing out to the abandoned enemy camp to grab all the provisions left there.

Various Responses

So far we have seen that words spoken to people can be responded to in a variety of ways.

Words can be respected and obeyed, like the man who pulled his car over at the police officer’s demand and had his car commandeered for the policeman’s purposes.

Words can be rejected and thrown in the fire, as King Jehoiakim did to Jeremiah’s prophecy.

Words can be waited upon, such as the warring tribesmen did when Mary Slessor sent her nonsense message cloth.

Words can be deflected by responding with questions to challenge the jurisdiction of the one asking.

Words can simply be ignored, as many people do who have a copy of the Bible and never read it or attend to what it says.

Return to Sender

John Harris of the People’s United Community in the UK (tpuc.org) recommends that people simply return official documents to the sender.  John initially advocated writing “RTS” on the envelope, but subsequently recommended writing “No Contract. RTS”, or “NCRTS”.

Others suggest returning official letters with a stamp or sticker affixed, so you are not putting your own handwriting on the document.

John Harris points out that if you do not have a contract with these entities and they are trying to impose their will on you, you can simply send their attempts back to them, unfulfilled.

By returning the mail you show that you have not opened or accepted it.  Thus they cannot claim to have some “contract” with you by your acceptance of their documents.

Even if the document appears quite impressive, like Mary Slessor’s wax sealed cloth, it can be sent back without you accepting the imposition of authority by that entity.

Question The Authority

Another approach is to question the asserted authority, to expose its lack of jurisdiction.  This is exemplified in the Roger Elvick questions which he used in court, and which are linked to the Toothpick Story mentioned earlier.

The three questions Roger Elvick used to respond to a judge trying to impose authority over him are:

What is your name?

Do you have a claim against me?

Do you know anyone who does have a claim against me?

The 1215.org site suggests that the judge or official, such as a police officer, will remain silent.  That silence is taken as acquiescence or default agreement and confirms that there is no claim against you.  The site claims, “if somebody fails to respond or is standing mute it literally means you are in control and they are waving their rights.”

So you then discharge the matter.  In court Roger Elvick would say, “I request the order of the court be released unto me immediately.”  When there is no order to be released to you, you say, “It appears as though there is no more public business here. I’m out of here.”

Conditional Acceptance

Rather than rejecting the attempted assertion of authority, it is suggested that we should accept it, on conditions.  An example of this kind of conditional acceptance is seen in the encounter of Jesus Christ with some religious leaders in his day, 2,000 years ago.

The leaders asked Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things?”  Jesus advised them that he would answer their question if they first answered his.  He then asked if the baptism preached by John the Baptist was from God or from man.

The leaders did not want to answer, as any answer would cause them trouble.  So Jesus also declined to answer their question.  See the historical record at Matthew 21:23-27.

You might respond to a charge sent you by a council or court by saying something like, “I am happy to pay the amount requested upon proof that the claim is lawful.”  This is conditional acceptance of the offer or claim.  But in practice it puts the weight of responsibility onto the other person to prove their right to make any claim.

Asking Questions

In Conditional Acceptance you can see again the merit of asking questions in response to approaches made by others.  The person asking questions is in charge.

Remember the man who was called upon by a policeman to pull his car over.  Rather than object, argue or ignore the policeman, the man simply asked a question: “Is there some problem, officer?”

Think about questions you can ask that do not taunt the other, but put them on notice that you are a sovereign and are not yielding to their demands that your obey them.

However, if the other truly does have authority they have the right to demand a response, as God did when He called out to Adam in the Garden of Eden, and as God did when He challenged Job.

Words That Impose Themselves on You

The next consideration is the impact of words and their magical power to impose themselves and plant thoughts into our hearts and minds.

This is a major aspect of how Words Control Us, and so we will look at that in the next lesson.

God and Abundance

Here’s some more proof that God is a God of Abundance. God is not stingy and He doesn’t run the world on a limited budget. And this world is not built on limited resources, where the more you get the less everyone else gets. God has created a win-win universe, filled with superfluous abundance.

In Jesus’ earthly ministry He personally displayed God’s love for abundance. So I’m pressing this truth onto you once more, to push you toward a larger faith horizon than might come naturally to you.

Are you ready?

Jesus and Abundance

On one occasion Jesus had His disciples perform an amazing miracle, feeding 5,000 people with a boy’s lunch. There were just a few fish and a few small bread rolls. When Jesus passed these pieces to His disciples they broke off pieces to feed the huge crowd, and the food multiplied in their hands.

Now that’s already a testimony of abundance. An entire crowd was fed to the full. No-one was asked to take less than they wanted, and no-one was sent home hungry. There was plenty. No rationing was needed. Yet surely those people would all have made it home with only half a meal.

Then, to top it off, they collected a super-abundant supply of left-overs and end up with twelve baskets of food! What a crazy abundance problem! If we could see one small lunch become 12 baskets full we’d be pretty impressed. But this was after 5,000 men and their families were fed.

Why didn’t Jesus measure the miracle to be just enough? Why this superlative supply? Isn’t that a bit wasteful? Would you organise a miracle that created such a huge pile of left-overs?

An Abundant God

It’s all about “abundance”! God is a God of abundance. God is not trying to stretch meagre resources. God already created an abundance of variety and an abundance of productivity in just about everything He made. We don’t need the diversity of colour, design, sound, shape and variety which God has given us. We appreciate it, but we’d all survive with less of it all. But God is a God of Abundance.

Jesus, as God’s Son, doing what He was directed to do by God, created abundance. That’s because abundance is in God’s nature.

Another Example from Jesus

On one occasion Jesus directed Peter and the others who were fishing with him to drop their nets down for a catch. The catch was immense. It was far more than they needed. They almost sank the boats trying to handle the sheer volume of the haul.

God doesn’t have to be sparing in His blessings to you. He generously gives us magnificent sunsets, a sky that stretches beyond our sight and superlative supply of all we could ever want. It’s in His DNA (in a manner of speaking). God has “abundance” built into His very nature.

An Old Testament Example

A widow once called on Elisha for help. She needed money. All she had was a small bottle of oil. The prophet told her to gather all the containers she could get her hands on and then fill them from the tiny bottle. The oil just kept pouring out of that small bottle until everything was full and they couldn’t find another container to put oil into.

If that widow had been able to get twice as many containers, she could have had twice as much oil. God was ready to give her as much as she could contain. The oil was then sold to pay the debt and to fund the rest of her life.

What About that Wine?

Remember the time Jesus turned water into wine. It was Jesus’ first miracle. He turned huge pots of water into pots of wine. And when the wine was tested it was found to be the very best wine!

Surely an average type of wine would have done the job. Surely a smaller quantity would have been sufficient. Surely they could have survived even if they ran out of wine. This isn’t a life or death issue.

Yet here we see Jesus providing an abundance of the best. No scrimping. No economising. Instead we have simple and wonderful abundance.

What About You?

What are your needs? What are you asking God for? Can you believe God for an abundance of good things for you?

I encourage you to stir your faith to believe God for more. Ask Him for more than you’ve asked Him for before. Don’t set your sights on survival. It is the father’s good pleasure to give you more than you could ask for.

Consider These Verses

Look at the notion of abundance and free gifts in these Bible verses.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” Ephesians 3:20

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, will men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you measure out it will be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

“But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1Corinthians 15:57

“That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7

I pray that your faith be stirred to reach out for the Abundance that God has already prepared for you.

The Importance of Timing

There is a time for everything. So says Solomon in his supreme wisdom. Yet timing is a lost art for most people, especially in our opportunistic culture today. So, do you understand “times”? There’s a lot in the subject of time and timing. So this is just an introduction to the topic. You will remember that end time prophecies refer to such things as “time, times and half a time” (Daniel 12:7, Revelation 12:14).

Jesus knew the times and said of himself, “my time has not yet come” (John 7:6,8).

Members of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, Issachar, were noted for their ability to understand the times, thus knowing what Israel should do in various situations (1Chronicles 12:32). Knowing the significance of times and seasons enables people to make the right choice at the right time.

King Solomon gave us a poetic celebration of the reality of times and seasons.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The most sobering reflection on ‘time’ comes out of the life of Elisha, the powerful prophet of Israel, approx 850 years before Christ. After this man of God healed the Syrian leper, Naaman, he declined to accept the lavish and valuable gifts offered him by the grateful military captain. Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, however, had no qualms about getting a share of the goods and so he secretly went to Naaman and asked for some of the booty, which Naaman happily gave him. When Gehazi returned to his post Elisha challenged him, since the prophet knew by divine revelation what Gehazi had done.

Significant in Elisha’s challenge to Gehazi is the issue of ‘timing’.

“And Elisha said to him, Didn’t my heart go with you when the man (Naaman) turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive-yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?” 2Kings 5:26

Elisha knew something about timing that Gehazi did not know. It was not the right time to get wealth. Gehazi’s problem was not greed, nor deception, but ignorance of the time in which he was living.

Now, considering how vital timing is in such a case, how well are we acquainted with timing and seasons in our lives? I suspect that most of us think opportunity is all that is required. If there is an opportunity to get something then the opportunity speaks for itself. Many people end up in some kind of curse, just as Gehazi did, when they act without regard for the times and seasons.

I suggest we all need to be much more prayerful and sensitive to times and seasons. We need to seek God for insight and revelation about how times and seasons impact our lives. Let’s do that and stay in step with what God is doing in us and our community, and the world at large.

Sovereignty Banned!

As I have reviewed the subject of personal sovereignty with you in recent months I have sought to open your eyes to the special privilege you have of doing business, directly and personally, with the God of all creation. Our greatest authority comes from the highest official – and so coming under the direct authority of God gives us authority that cannot be trumped by lesser beings.
True sovereignty, however, is not found in asserting personal rights, attending assertiveness training courses, defying authorities or the like. True sovereignty is all about you being in direct, personal relationship with God. He is the ultimate sovereign citizen of the universe. No-one can contend with His authority. When you are an intimate friend of God, falling at His feet and living only to do His will, you can walk in the fullest expression of your personal sovereignty.
Much of what others might think of as exercising their personal sovereignty may well be rebellion, arrogance, defiance against authority, self-will and ignorance. Please avoid such things.
Now, as I have pointed out, a person who truly walks in their personal sovereignty is able to exercise power and influence greater than governments, regimes and armies. That is the reason, I suggest, that evil regimes are so determinedly antagonistic to Christian faith and the Bible.
There is no more empowering experience and no more sure way to establish a person’s personal sovereignty, than to have them enter into personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no more empowering resource than the Bible. When people live by faith in God, through Jesus Christ, committed to the Bible as the inerrant word of God, they are empowered and willing to exercise personal freedom like no other people. Evil regimes, therefore, run the risk that divinely empowered people will be able to challenge them in the same way Elisha challenged the King of Syria, or David brought down Goliath. No evil regime wants to have young people in its own domain who can exercise greater clout than the dictator, nor some lonely prophet who can topple their power.
Have you noticed that communist and other dictators are quick to ban the Bible, restrict Christian worship and punish people of faith? It is a trade-mark of many regimes. They ban the Bible and Christianity, because they are trying to do away with personal sovereignty.
Notice this quote from Horace Greeley: “It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.” The ‘human freedom’ identified by Greeley is that right to stand before God. A person who can stand confidently before his maker is the freest person on the planet. He may be in prison, outlawed, or otherwise oppressed by man, but his soul and spirit are free, even freer than the dictators who incarcerated him.
Napoleon also recognised the incredible power inherent in the Bible and the faith that springs from it. He said: “The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it.”
For that reason Bibles have been taken to oppressed people, as part of the process of setting those people truly free. The Bible has the power to liberate souls, and consequently to liberate peoples and nations.
Note, however, that in the West there has been a subtle banning of the Bible. It is no longer allowed to be read in schools as it was when I was a boy. A weekly Bible lesson was conducted in my classes, by the school teacher, as part of the class curriculum. That small inculcation of the Word of God had its effect, especially when combined with the many other places where the Bible was spoken and its teachings propagated. But today much of that sowing of the Bible has been made illegal, and we have a generation more ready to succumb to tyranny than we had before. We have a people closer to losing their human freedom.
I, for one, am keen to propagate the Bible and its teachings. I also encourage every one to explore their personal sovereignty before God. I want whole generations committed to walking with God, according to the Word of God, living by faith in God, obedient to the will of God, empowered by the Spirit of God, so that they can build the kingdom of God and turn back the forces of oppression which aim to enslave them and their children.
I commend to you your personal sovereignty. Don’t let anyone ban it or rob you of it. Pursue God. Read the Bible. Put your faith in Jesus Christ. Humble yourself before God. And live the destiny God has uniquely created for you. I challenge you to do so, in Jesus’ precious and powerful name. Amen.