Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your Sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
I lost my voice. No, it was not a bout with illness or straining my vocal chords. Nope. I handed it over. I was done with it, I guess. When met with opposition, I became silent. This is the revelation overtaking me in church yesterday during Sunday school. The lesson was on discerning our spiritual condition and the importance of exercising God’s Will for us. As I sat taking notes, it hit me. I am mute. Like the Little Mermaid, I surrendered my voice to the dark side where it has been hidden for years now.
Ariel desired a human prince rather than keeping to the sea of her birth. She wanted to be human just to be with him. When offered the chance, she gave the sea witch, Ursula, her voice. Ironically, this was what attracted the handsome prince to her in the first place. Left to her own girly devices she must woo her beloved in other ways. In the Disney classic, she does just that with a happily ever after ending. However, this is not the original story. The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson ends quite differently for our heroine. The mermaid does not get the prince. Her exchange with the sea witch gives her legs for her words that cause pain. She dances for her prince at his request in overwhelming agony. He chooses another. The only way to regain her voice and return to the sea is to kill him but she cannot. She dissolves into sea mist. The end. Not quite the glamorous ending one might hope for, but more realistic of life’s tragedies.
I gave my voice away. I became speechless. I see when it happened. I remember the day. The church built by people will always possess some imperfection of humanity. We can get hurt. Become bitter. Encounter opposition. Experience separation. Heartbreaking outcomes in a place of that should harbor the miraculous. It was traumatic. I shut me up. I have been so ever since. How about you? Are living in the consequence of brokenness? What have you surrendered in your hurt? What is keeping you from fully pursuing the Lord wholeheartedly? I asked. He answered. Now I must find a way to fix it…
Romans 10:8-11 (NKJV)
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
Confession is good for the soul. (Scottish proverb) It actually states that “Open confession is goof for the soul.” It reminds my soul what I believe and Who I believe in. We must confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, as well as, believing in our heart to be saved. Confession is not a suggestion but a requirement. It is not the only requirement on our life. It is just the beginning.
“The word of faith is what we preach…” See it is hidden in the midst of basic Christianity. The foundation of our life of faith is Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 3:11) Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in human flesh. (John 1:14) In His Death, He released His Spirit to all mankind. (Matthew 27:50-53) Giving us the Word in the form of Living Water (John 7:38) inside of us to be fed cup by cup to the world in which we live. (Matthew 10:42) With our mouth, we must confess our salvation but the mandate on our life does not stop there. It is the preach the Gospel in season and out of season.
2 Timothy 4:1-2 (NKJV)
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
Day after day, week after week, month after month, I stood before others teaching the Word of God. Telling of His Great Name, about His Son, His Plan of salvation and the pursuit of holiness. The day it ended, I fell silent. I didn’t do it intentionally. In fact, I was completely unaware of it until yesterday. I stopped teaching others. I stopped standing before many to tell of His Great Name. My faith was intact. I still believed. I didn’t walk away from the Lord. However, now as I consider my trepidation and fear of speaking – I cannot help but wonder where it came from. I sit day after day in the Presence of God and type out what I believe He tells me. Others use it to teach and preach literally around the world including communist countries and even in the heart of Islam there are people reading it. I didn’t realize that this place of comfort and security had also become my prison.
God didn’t change. His mandate on my life remained exactly as previously prescribed. It was me who stepped back. It was me who allowed the enemy to render me speechless. Now as I try to reclaim my voice, it is much harder than I thought. For 2,615 days (including today), I have come to this place. I have listened and responded the same way but transcribing what the Lord is speaking to my heart. For the same number of days, I have not taught a single lesson. I have not preached the Word. I have simply shared it with those who asked or I came into contact with and even then somewhat reluctantly. We are all called to preach the Word of God in season and out of season. I have lasted well beyond any season of rest that may have been given and built a place of personal protection that has kept me from fulfilling His Call.
Psalm 40:3-5 (NKJV)
He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are Your Wonderful Works which You have done; and Your Thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
If I can assure you of anything today, let it be that God still speaks to His People. In all those days that I have spent in quiet time, Bible study and prayer – the conversation has never been lacking. I think that He opened my heart to this daily blog to fill me with His Word and prepare me for the moment that I might stand up to the enemy, give back the spirit of fear, and snatch my voice back from him again. I believe that day is coming. Who knows it may already be here? God has put a new song in my mouth.
Heaven and earth declare the Glory of God. (Psalm 19:1-4) The Word of God is worthy of my breath blowing it into speech and speaking it into the atmosphere. (Psalm 19:7-11) If I do not glorify God with my voice, the rocks will cry out in my place. (Luke 19:40) He has given me a message to offer others without anything else from me other than submission, surrender and obedience. Just giving my life to the Lord affords me enough goodness, grace and favor to tell others about. Yet, I say nothing. The Lord has purposed that I speak up. He has filled me with His Word. (Isaiah 51:16) It is not a distasteful word that is sour to the taste, but as sweet as honey straight from the comb. (Psalm 119:103-104) If I don’t speak up for Jesus, one of two things will occur. Someone else will take my place and/or I will use my words for someone else. There is only good and evil. I decide what the confession of my life is when I decide to allow the Lord to have complete control over my lips, tongue and voice. “A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23)
Psalm 61:1-3 (NKJV)
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
2 Corinthians 4:5 (NKJV)
For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.
The Spirit of God is upon me. He has given me the Holy Spirit. I have the resurrection power of the Living God inside me making all things possible just because I believe. Why do signs, wonders and miracles not prevalent in my life? They have been. When our son was sick, the third cancer diagnosis was by far the worst. Cancer was in his lymph nodes literally from his neck throughout his torso to his abdomen. The doctors declared our entrance to the realm of hope because modern medicine was failing. We were losing the fight. I acknowledge the realm of hope as the place where impossible things happened and called it openly, publicly and unashamedly God’s Presence and Christ’s Dwelling Place making all things possible. Now I really don’t know if that was a true confession or a constant reminder for my soul that giving up was not an option. When it was time to see if the treatment had slowed the cancer’s progression, I was warned that they did not expect to see improvement but just an overall lack of progression. I said, “But what if it were gone?” Patting me gently, like a disillusioned child, the doctor spoke slowly and deliberately to me that it was impossible. To hope for nothing more than a halt to its continued spreading but that the chemo had not yet had time to work given the gravity and depth of his disease. I inquired again, “But what if it has…” She finally gave in and said, “It would be a miracle.” When I answered the phone that night, it was the call I had been expecting with his scan results. What I did not expect was the laughter met with. She continued to chuckle as she said, “Lori, you are not going to believe this…” I immediately blurted out. “It’s gone isn’t it?” His cancer was completely gone.
I am anointed with the Spirit of the Living God just like any other believer. I have found in those moments that my faith is tested to the extreme and I have no other choice to trust and believe that the power in my words is significant. It is not me but the Christ that I have allowed to work in me as I believe AND confess. Confession is not only good for our soul but has the power to change our situation. Our message is but one thing – Jesus Christ and His Power. (2 Corinthians 4:5) His Spirit adds wisdom to His Word allowing us to effectively express it to others. We are mandated to do so because His Spirit is in us. God’s Word hidden in me is to be preached (by me) from the rooftops. (Matthew 10:27-28) The Gospel does not become salvation until given to another. (Matthew 11:4-6) The Lord invested it in us not just to sit there or fill our own life with goodness but that we would produce much fruit. We must plant it in others to experience a harvest. This will make our own soul prosper, too. The Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus must make it around the whole world so that Jesus can come back. (Matthew 24:13-14) The purpose of discipleship is to preach and spread the Word of God. Equipped and empowered there must be execution to be valid. I can spend my whole life seeking the Lord, reading His Word, studying, meditating and serving but if I do not preach His Word effectively to the world – then what? It is in giving others the Precious Gift of God’s Grace, Mercy and Love that makes our pursuit successful. Each preacher has a platform. In the past, mine has been teaching. Taking the Word of God and breaking it down for everyday life. Making it a practical application for this life. That is until I became speechless. If we desire to see signs, wonders and miracles occur around us, we must release the Word of God and its wonder-working power with our mouth. (Mark 16:19-20)
Romans 10:14-15 (NKJV)
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
We have all the Power of God in our frail human being searching for a way into the atmosphere of our life. God’s Intention and Primary Motivation toward humanity has always been and will always be love. Nothing more or less. He loves us completely. Our response to that love would be acknowledgment only since we can do nothing to earn His Love or make it a reality on our own. To believe in His Love will produce a message in us worthy of the world. It will shine Light into the darkness surrounding us and illuminate the way for others or at least it should. The Lord called me and anointed me to teach others the Way of Christ. I know that but have not been obedient with my mouth for quite some time. I have been rendered speechless by fear, self-doubt, and an overall whooping (as we say in the south) at the enemy’s hands. He cannot take my message from me. It is my salvation. It is the Holy Spirit that lives in me. Until I am willing to give back the spirit of fear and take hold of the Holy Boldness that He offers for those who are free, I will never escape this self-built prison. I do not want rocks to cry out for me. I want to be a messenger of the beautiful love story written in my heart.
Ephesians 3:8-13 (NKJV)
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
Did I fail the test? When the trial came and I gave up, did I fail? Nothing is ever wasted in the Lord. For the last seven years, I have dug in the Word of God like never before. I have developed my mind, conditioned my heart, and survived the worst tribulation I could even imagine. While the enemy has gloated in my silence, the Lord has been secreted preparing me for more. I feel it stirring inside of me as shackles of fear, doubt and anxiety fall off. The Lord promises in His Word to make good on every detail of our life as believers. What does your prison look like today? Not everyone is called to teach, there are many other Gifts of the Spirit that the enemy will gladly steal from us when given the chance. Today I am taking back what the enemy stole from me, how about you? In Jesus Name, we ask you Lord to show us what has been taken and give us the faith to take it back!
Isaiah 6:5-8 (NKJV)
So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”