Mental shackles ∙
Amos replied, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet. I am just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’” – Amos 7:14-15
1 Job replied to the LORD:
2 I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I – and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.
4 You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’
5 I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”
Houdini is the best known and remembered of all magicians and illusionists. He challenged the world to bind him in shackles from which he could not escape. Houdini became widely known as “The Handcuff King.” He toured England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Russia. In each city, Houdini challenged local police to restrain him with shackles and lock him in their jails. The results are always the same, freedom from the shackles that bound him.
Among God’s creatures, human beings alone have the unique capacity to create limitations on their abilities. We shackle ourselves. We have self-awareness and we reflect, and we focus on our weaknesses and past failures. We convince ourselves that so many things are beyond our grasp and the mere pursuit of them can make us miserable. We shut down inside, settle for far less and limit our aspirations and stop looking forward to better days.
Amos was just an ordinary guy. He herded sheep and picked figs for a living. But he was called and commissioned by the Father, the Lord God Almighty, to be a prophet. Amos never looked back. His prophecies were bold, blunt, and direct. His most dire and darkest warning is once again being fulfilled our time.
Amos 8:11 “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD.”
We live in an age when access to the Word of God is greater than at any time in human history. Yet tragically, the plain, clear teaching of the Word of God is rapidly vanishing from our modern world. Believers without the light of the Father’s Word wander in darkness. Unbelievers put their trust in anything but the Truth of the Father’s Word. Paganism is making a dreadful comeback.
But we as children of the King are children of the light. It is time to believe it and act like it.
1 Thessalonians 5:5-8
5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.
6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.
7 Night is the time when people sleep, and drinkers get drunk.
8 But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
REFLECT & PRAY
You are confined only by the walls you build yourself (Andrew Murphy).
Father, thank you that through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ I have been set free from the bondage of sin, doubt, discouragement, depression, and death.
Perhaps the root of our disillusionment is either unrecognized conceit and ignorance or anger and disdain. Much of the truth which we believe is actually not His Truth. Sometimes we are too smart for our own good and we speak confidently about things of which we are woefully ignorant. We set expectations that do not come true and become angry and bitter.
So it was with Job until he was confronted by the Father Himself. Job’s words in Job 42 show the changes that knowing the Truth about the Father and His ways can produce in a person. Job was now aware, as never before that the Father, the Lord God Almighty, has all wisdom and all power. Job capitulated, repented, and expressed an attitude of awe and submission. Job had asked good and intelligent questions but now he recognized the folly of his ways. The Father always knows what He is doing, and it is indeed foolish to question His actions.
Job 42:6 I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.
Chains, shackles, and bondage have been the lot of mankind for thousands of years. The Lord Jesus Christ came to set the captives free.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and . . . to set free those who are oppressed.
John 8:36 If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:32 You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
For children of the King, our confident expectation for real freedom is based upon what the Lord Jesus Christ has done.
“The Son of God also has the authority to liberate spiritual slaves from their bondage to sin and its consequences. Real freedom consists of liberty from sin’s enslavement to do what we should do.”
“It does not mean that we may do just anything we please. We are now free to do what pleases God, which we could not do formerly. When we do what pleases God, we discover that it also pleases us” (Constable).
The downward cycle is broken. We need only to actualize the spiritual and emotional healing that is already in place. It is way past time to cast off our personal shackles, stop believing our doubts, and doubting our beliefs.
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently (Henry Ford).
A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether (Roy H. Williams).