Archive | October, 2016

He’s a smooth criminal, so use your over-comeuppance – Transcript

2 Oct

Welcome to the House that Dignity Built. I’m Dr. Daintee Glover Jones, and I am humbled that you are listening to our October 2nd message of our 2016-17 series called “The Sum of Peace”. For the month of October, our speakers will continue to be on one accord by speaking and teaching about the concept of prayer’s effect upon peace in our land. This message is called “He’s a smooth criminal, so use your over-comeuppance”. May God add a blessing of peace to this word, and may He use me to encourage, empower, and inspire.
On Saturday, September 24, I attended a conference on the topic of recidivism which is when a person returns, relapses, or falls back into, in this case, criminal activity. There was a large panel of over 20 participants from ministries, media, non-profit organizations, and governmental entities. The leaders agreed to form partnerships via collaborative and action-focused future activities in order to derail the high rates of recidivism which the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports at approximately 68 percent of ex-offenders being re-arrested within three years of their release and almost 77 percent being re-arrested within five years”. The group spoke of expungement, housing, employment, and timely paperwork processes, and then disbanded with a sense of hope and purpose.
Afterwards, as we dined together, I began to think that these ex-offenders, who call themselves overcomers, had been tricked by the evil one who is a smooth criminal.
Some of you might remember one of Michael Jackson’s songs, called “Smooth Criminal”. Some of the lyrics state,
Annie, are you ok?
Annie, are you ok?
Are you okay, Annie?
You’ve been hit by
You’ve been struck by
A smooth criminal
The devil is the original smooth criminal. This smooth criminal comes to steal, kill, and destroy according to the book of John chapter 10, verse 10. The devil works so hard at his job of duping people away from their rightful, regal positions. The overcomers who attended this conference appeared to be strong-minded about remaining out of prison because they had served their time and had received their comeuppance or punishment. They showed grit and what I am calling over-comeuppance which is a rich and peaceful reward that an overcomer can receive.
Scripture tells us that we are to be concerned about those in prison. Hebrews chapter 13, verse 3 asserts, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering”. The book of Acts chapter 12, verse 5 mentions that “Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him”. Acts 16 tells of Paul and Silas “praying and singing hymns to God” right before God sent an earthquake that shook open the doors of the prison. Genesis chapter 39, verse 21 shows us while Joseph was in prison, “the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden”. These passages suggest that one is to empathize with, pray for, and praise with those that are imprisoned for the Lord still watches over them and can grant them favor.
Not too long ago, I went to see a movie called Ben Hur. Its protagonist had been imprisoned within the bowels of a ship, and after his release, he wanted to re-enter society and reclaim his rightful position. In order to attain his desire, he entered a chariot race. This character’s strategy could prove to be helpful today as an over-comeuppance approach for dealing with the smooth criminal.
The first step of the strategy is to stay behind the competitor while in the chariot race so that one has time to observe and study the enemy. Since he comes to steal, kill, and destroy, the believer, with the help of God, works on the opposite traits of renewal and restoration. Genesis chapter 3, verse 1 describes the evil one as being “more crafty than any of the wild animals the lord God has made”. Because the snake is so smart, God asks His people in Matthew chapter 10, verse 16 to be as “shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves”.  In life today, one observes that athletes watch videos of their competitors in order to be able to prepare for their plays. Once the team watches the plays, they know the strengths and weaknesses of the other team. The evil one’s strength is that he is attractive, and at first, his tricks feel good to the flesh until one is caught or hooked. He is talented and persuasive because he tells almost-truths, yet the statements are out of context and out of order. His weaknesses are that he is small. He fits under your foot. He is exposed by light, and this light is the word of God.
The second bit of advice that Ben Hur received was to avoid traps by learning to drive his chariot on one of its wheels. Avoiding traps is learning enough about oneself to know which traps the evil one would choose to use on us. Driving on one wheel is about knowing enough about our blind spots that we can cover them and navigate around them. This takes practice. When I was a little girl, I loved Evil Knievel, a daring motorcyclist who did extreme stunt tricks for a living, so I practiced jumping off self-made ramps with boards and bricks on a quiet street in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After practicing over and over, I learned that in order to soar pretty high off the ramp, I had to start from a distance and then come in very quickly and accurately. Fortunately, God was watching out for me because I never hit my head or broke any bones.
One can protect oneself by donning the whole armor of God that includes the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sword of the spirit, the shield of faith, and the gospel shoes of peace that are mentioned in Ephesians chapter 6, verses 14-18. Because of this strategic maneuver, the evil one won’t so easily be able to affect one’s thoughts, words, or actions.
Even Jesus, the son of God, had to strategize against the evil one. When He was tested, he leaned upon the truth of God’s word. After fasting and praying, Jesus was hungry; however, he resisted turning stones to bread. Instead, He said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus was tested about having riches in the wrong way, for the evil one offered to give him kingdoms of the world if Jesus would worship him, but Jesus stated, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Matthew 4:10). This word made the devil flee.
The last morsel of advice that Ben Hur received was that he had to win the race to live. This is God’s intention for our lives. John chapter 10, verse 10 shows us that Jesus came so that “we might have life, and have it to the full”. He loved us so much that he sacrificed His life for ours. He hung on the cross and died in agony and excruciating pain so that we would have forgiveness. This was the ultimate sacrifice. Since He sacrificed for us, let us offer our lives as peace offerings to God by taking time to talk with him and meditate on His word.
So overcomers, walk into your over-comeuppance because now you are on the outside of the bars and inside the upper room where you can pray by singing to the Lord,
Let your glory fill this place
Let your all-consuming fire
Fill this tabernacle
And purify our hearts
(Speaks: Oh dear Lord)
Surround us in this place
And breathe new life within us
Send your refreshing glory and saturate our hearts
(Speaks: Send your peace Lord)
Rain on us
Breathe on us
Shower down, shower down
Shower down, shower down
So overcomers, stand down
For the battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s
Stand down
For you have on your armor that will protect your thoughts as you seek the word and quench the fiery darts of temptation
Stand down
As you fight by praying
Stand down
and take a knee in your victory formation because our God has power over time, so he can run down any clock, and we won’t have to risk fumbling the ball.
Stand down
This message reminds us that even if we’ve been hit by a smooth criminal, prayer brings peace for overcomers. For Romans chapter 16, verse 20 tells us that “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet”.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can and
Wisdom to know the difference” (Reinhold Neibuhr).
As we come to the end of this message, stay tuned for lecture notes on this coming Tuesday, October 4, at our website address that is displayed on our YouTube channel. I’m Dr. Daintee Glover Jones, and this has been a message from the House that Dignity Built. I bid you peace and over-comeuppance.
Amen and ashe’.