There’s no question about it, we have entered the days of judgment.
Don’t let that frighten you, however, because according to the Bible, all judgment is not bad. Judgment can bring blessing and reward just like it can bring destruction and loss. It all depends which side you’re on when judgment comes. If you’re on the side of righteousness, judgment brings rejoicing.
Jesus proved that.
When He was raised from the dead and presented before the throne of God, He was judged righteous and God said to Him: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:8-9).
The day Jesus was judged was a joyful day for Him. That was the day He was anointed with more gladness than anybody had ever experienced before!
“Yeah, but Brother Copeland, I’m not Jesus,” you may say. “I’m not perfect like He is. I make mistakes and I’m not too excited about being judged for them.”
I understand that. We’re all in that situation to some degree. But the Bible says if we make Jesus the Lord of our lives, we get in on His judgment. We end up on the side of righteousness—not because we’ve done everything perfectly and haven’t made any mistakes, but because “he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The High Way or the Hard Way?
That’s what I call shoutin’ ground right there!
As believers, we ought to thank God every day that the most fearsome aspect of God’s judgment has already been settled in our lives. Because we’ve put our trust in Jesus and received His righteousness, our eternal destiny is settled. We’ll never experience the wrath of God. We’ll never know the darkness and torment of eternal separation from Him.
We’re headed for heaven. We’ll spend forever fellowshiping with our heavenly Father and letting Him lavish His grace and kindness on us!
“Well, if that’s the case,” somebody might say, “I guess it doesn’t really matter how I live. If I’ve already been judged righteous with Jesus I’ll get to heaven regardless of what I do on earth.”
You may get to heaven all right, but the question is: do you want to get there on the high way of blessing…or the hard way of disappointment? Do you want to bound joyfully into heaven’s gates having been blessed to be a blessing to multitudes during your lifetime? Or do you want to slip in with nothing but a lifetime of loss?
No doubt you want to get there on the high way of blessing. And you can do it if you’ll just pay attention to God’s Word.
You can do it if you’ll just obey instructions like those in Zechariah 7:9-10 which says: “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.”
Recently I was reading those verses and the Spirit of God spoke to me so strongly it almost shook me. He said, Obey today or sorrow tomorrow.
I immediately grabbed a pen and wrote that down. I knew it wasn’t just a little cliché. It wasn’t some T-shirt slogan. It was a word from the Lord.
God was telling me that our actions today are the seeds of tomorrow’s harvest. Tomorrow is just waiting to see what we say and do today.
A Speedy Harvest
There’s really nothing new about that fact. The spiritual and natural law of seed-time and harvest has been operating in the earth ever since creation. But right now it’s operating more quickly than it has before.
Why? Because as the Lord said to me at the beginning of this year, we’ve entered the time of overflow, which is also known as the time of harvest or the time of judgment. (Overflow, harvest and judgment are three different words but spiritually they are the same thing.)
Seeds are coming up big-time in 2005—both good and bad. We’re living in days like those Amos was prophesying about when he said: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt” (Amos 9:13).
We’re living in days of judgment when the spiritual seeds we plant come up so fast that the sower, the plowman and the reaper must all walk side by side. In the spirit realm, the ground is so hot right now that if you put a seed in it, the guy next to you is harvesting it as soon as you sow it.
That would be a speedy harvest even if you were planting wheat or corn. It would mean you received at once something that usually took a year to grow. But Amos 9:13 isn’t talking about wheat and corn—it’s referring to grapes. It usually takes at least seven years for a grapevine to produce decent grapes. So this is some supernatural vineyard! It’s producing in an instant the kind of harvest that usually comes only after seven or eight years!
A Time to Be Glad
Only God Himself can bring forth a harvest like that. As John 15:1 says, He is the husbandman or farmer. We can plant and we can water, but only God can give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).
What happens when God begins to give that kind of supernatural overflow or harvest of increase?
His people are freed from captivity (Amos 9:14) and the seeds they have planted “…shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong” (Zechariah 8:12-13).
Those who plant seeds of obedience in the time of overflow will receive the joyous judgment of God. They’ll be so blessed themselves and such a blessing to others that they’ll be saying what the psalmist said in Psalm 126:1-3: “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”
“But what if I haven’t planted seeds of obedience?” someone might ask. “What if I’ve planted seeds of disobedience?”
Then repent—quick! Ask forgiveness in the Name of Jesus and receive a rapid, supernatural crop failure. Let His blood wash your vineyard clean and start planting seeds of obedience right away. Then you can be like the man who “goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, [you] shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing [your] sheaves [or harvest] with [you]” (Psalm 126:6)!
No Overflow? Check Your Love Life.
On the other hand, if you have been planting seeds of obedience and you’re still not seeing the overflow of blessing that’s been prophesied, then check your love life.
That’s what the Lord told me to do as I was praying about overflow one day. I said, “Lord, I know You’re the God who causes my cup to run over. You’re not a God of just enough—You’ve always been the God of more than enough. You’re the God of too much. What’s more, we’re in the time of overflow. So why am I still struggling to fully receive it?”
In answer to my question, the Lord had me take a good look at Matthew 22:37-40:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Receiving an overflow of blessing depends on whether or not I’m loving God and my neighbor. Not only that, the Lord corrected me about something I’ve thought for 38 years. Since I began in ministry, I’ve always believed I was called to preach the Word. To me, preaching the Word was primary. And though that’s true—it’s not complete. My first responsibility is keeping the commandment of love. If I don’t keep the commandment of love what I preach is worthless.
The same thing is true for you in whatever you’re called to do. Loving God and loving people is your No. 1 priority. No matter what other seeds of obedience you might plant, no matter what other good things you might do, if you don’t plant them in love they won’t produce a harvest.
After all, you can’t get an overflow harvest without faith, and faith works by love. Without faith it’s impossible to please God who is love! (Galatians 5:6; Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 4:8).
If you’re a born-again child of God, you already know that. But if you’re like the rest of us, you may forget it at times. You may sometimes neglect to make love your first priority. So today I’m doing for you what Peter did in the New Testament, I’m stirring up your pure minds by way of remembrance that you may be mindful! (2 Peter 3:1).
I’m challenging you to get up every morning and say by faith, “Oh, I love You, Father, with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength! And I love my neighbor as myself today because that pleases You and I love You!”
Go throughout your day living out your love for Him. When you miss it, repent quickly and step right back into the life of love again. Before you know it, you’ll be reaping an overflow harvest that’s better than anything you’ve ever dreamed of…and 2005 will be a year of joy and gladness for you!