Mud Slinging

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Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV) Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

When I was a little girl, my family spent a great deal of time at the beach. My grandmother and I would sit on the edge of the surf where the water’s edge would almost reach us and the sand was wet to build sandcastles. It was there she taught me to create “drip” castles. Taking a handful of saturated sand, holding it up and letting it drip – you create a sandcastle by moving your hand around to create a monument. It almost resembles a mountain with tall peaks resembling turrets. I have been thinking lately if our words may be the very essence of some of the mountains in our life. Words thoughtlessly released or aimed directly at another that hardened into doubt or even offense. I wonder if the dripping sarcasm or biting dissatisfaction is weighting down the very thing that we are requesting the Lord to remove.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing” is a tall order. Our life is built around convenience, comfort and control. When one of these three are threatened, our pride and selfishness quickly work to construct the foundation as to not interrupt these “vital” necessities of life. Crying out to the Lord to move a mountain, but then firmly packing it in place with words thought to be idle and careless maybe just a release only to stand in frustration before the insurmountable thing which we cannot seem to overcome. What does your mountain look like? Is it made of grumbling, complaining and constant whining?

Pure and blameless” faith comes from a heart that is confident in God’s Salvation and Sovereignty. His Ability to now only save you but sustain you in life. Faith, even in the smallest measure, will move any mountain. I wonder if our faith is being choked out or suffocated by a barrage of worthless banter. If I am complaining about my life as a Child of God, I am telling the world that He is simply not enough. I am confirming their doubt that He is not a saving God full of unconditional love and amazing grace. I am actually feeding the darkness rather than creating new light.

You will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” Jesus is the Light of the world. The Light of the world now lives in us. Is He shining brightly today? Are you confident that He lives in you and works through you? Do you believe that the Lord is working every detail of your life for good as the Word of God tells us in Romans 8:28? Reading just a little further, are you confident that nothing can ever separate you from the Love of God and that you have overwhelming victory in Jesus Christ? See if we believed, our conversation would change. Our way of conversation would shine brightly with confidence that His Love is enough to overcome the mountain of doubt rather than constantly fortifying doubt with mud-slinging words and negative connotation. We give our God and His Son a bad reputation when our words and heart are out of alignment.

Luke 6:45 (NIV) A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Jesus said, “I tell you that everyone will give account on the day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” What is your daily conversation? Do you listen to the words coming out of your mouth each day? God does. He judges us for the abundance of idle and worthless words that are empty. God has filled us with good fruit. His Spirit gives us the ability and abundance to pour out for others. Love, joy, peace, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and, of course, self-control. Did you think it was for you? The generosity of God is poured into us to be released into the darkness of this world and fill it with the Light of His Love. To feed the hungry physically, emotionally and spiritually with the Word of our testimony. Seed left in the silo will not grow it must be put in fertile ground to grow, develop, mature and reproduce. What is your testimony today? In Revelation, it tells us that we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb AND the Word of our testimony? What are you saying about the Lord? Grumbling, complaining, and negativity are born of a hard heart that has not discovered the satisfaction born of faith and hope. Has fear, doubt and anxiety filled your heart with negativity and doubt?

Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)  Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

“Do not let ANY unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…” It is my responsibility to monitor the words flowing from my lips. Fresh water cannot come from a salty or even stagnant pond. My words should build and not destroy. Build others up. Build my faith in God. Build a solid foundation of faith rather than adding weight the mountain I am trying to overcome. Faith-full words speak things not yet seen into existence welcoming God’s Spirit to do His Work, not grieving Him, but rather moving “me” out of the way. Bitterness is the root choking out the goodness God is doing in us and through us when we decide that His Word, Will or Way is not for us. It is absolutely for you. Faith makes the unseen hope we have a reality. It moves mountains of doubt out of the way so that we can become one with Christ enjoying all of His Benefits, Promises and Prosperity.

Psalm 19:14 (NIV) May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Today I must consider the conversations I will have and monitor closely my communication with others. Every word I speak is important as it tells of the contents of my heart. I have some mountains still to be removed. I have some doubt that must be washed away with the Word. When building drip castles on the beach, I did not see the significance of the lesson the Lord would teach me in that moment. “When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man (woman), I put the ways of childhood behind me.” (I Corinthians 13:11)

My grandmother is in Heaven with Jesus now. I miss her every day. Soon it will be my turn to build drip castles on the beach with my grandson, I want my conversation be filled with faith that will build him into a mighty man of God – full of life and favor. I must first build that kind of heart in me. I cannot share a faith I do not own for it is not mine to give. My Gram introduced me to Jesus and I hope to have the same privilege with him one day building sandcastles on the beach. Until then, it is up to me to take captive every thought contrary to faith before it leaves my mouth and cast it back where it came from. To allow the Water of the Word to wash away fear and doubt just as high tide melts sandcastles along the beach. It is important in overcoming the fears, doubts and insecurities that compromise my faith and hinder my hope to take make sure my heart and mouth agree on a daily basis. It is no easy task but always well worth the effort. Mud-slinging words filled with complaining and grumbling feel way better leaving me but then harden into yet another weight keeping my mountain from budging an inch much less melting in the sea. We must put away childish conversation and speak the words of our Father each day.

Lord, let every word I speak be pleasing to you. Pull out every root of bitterness and plant a new seed of faith in the void left behind. Strengthen my heart and remind my soul that you are my confident hope. I have new life in you, Jesus and Your Promises are for me. I give You my heart, mind, soul and body to you again. Lord, use me and my words to bring You glory today. You are worthy of it all.

Revelation 12:10-12 (NIV) Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them!

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I Thessalonians 5:9-11 (NIV) For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

We are all called to be builders in Kingdom of God. Together productive in love. This is accomplished by faith and confident hope that takes our expectation from the things of this world releasing into the Kingdom to achieve the purpose for which it was intended. I can do all things in Christ. This includes not only loving all people, but encouraging and building them up as well as well. It matters how we treat other people. The mandate on our life is to love one another. Jesus was straightforward in His Instructions. Love is the primary objective of our life once saved. First, we love Jesus. Then, we love everyone else. Or, at least, that is what we are supposed to do.

I am reading, studying and writing this on Sunday. After I am finished, I will get ready to go to church. What are my thoughts? What is my main motivation as I prepare to go worship the Lord with other people? The first image is Jesus, of course. As I rifle through my thoughts, I find that the next several things include the things “I do” to facilitate the service and activities of the day. My responsibilities, if you will. I sense the Holy Spirit hurrying behind my rambling thoughts and overwhelming list – His Hand held up as He calls, “Wait a minute, did you forget something?” Indeed, I did.

What about the people? Those who come and serve regularly. The ones who attend each week as the Lord continues to poke and prod them to a new level – perhaps might I help by opening the door. Those who barely crawl in from a harrowing week. They made it. What about them? Could it be that they need me to listen and encourage them before they face the world again. There will be people who are lost and this place called “church” is foreign. Will I make them comfortable today with “whosoever come” or will my behavior be like everyone else staring and gawking at the one who is clearly out of place? How about all the teenagers, children and babies? Will I pray for them? Will I take the time to even acknowledge they are there? I have received the Gift of God’s Unconditional Love, Unending Grace and Unmerited Favor. It is given in surplus to be poured into the lives of other people. How am I doing?

John 15:12-14 (NLT) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

Greater love. The basis of our life is Jesus Christ is the acquisition of the greatest enduring love of all time. The love that did not consider itself but gave its all for me. Jesus is my example as I learn to love others and give my life away. See that is the purpose of our life to give limitless supplies of love to others, to build relationships together depending on Christ to meet all our expectations allowing us to love freely expecting nothing in return. Love that is opportunistic is not love at all. The kind of love that is given in consideration of the return. This is not a covenant but a contract. The investors do not care about their partner but weigh heavily the return. We are benefactors who have received the blessing and benefit of God’s Love to give it away freely and unconditionally with an abundance at our disposal.

Earlier in John 15:5, Jesus unfolds the dynamics to a fruitful life which simply states “if you remain in me, you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.” Our connection to Jesus Christ is the primary source of our building tools in every other relationship of life. Jesus is calling us to greater love. The kind of love that sacrifices self to see another raised up to a new life, new calling and new purpose. Are we laying down our life effectively? To do so means that our relationship with Jesus must maintain a solid connection. Jesus Christ is the only foundation on which to build such a love life.

I Corinthians 3:9-11 (NLT) For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

How is your crop? Are you building up people? Are you making new disciples? Love expels all fear. It drives away our deliberate avoidance of problematic people and allows us to love unconditionally. We cannot build up the Body of Christ with manufactured tools or plastic fruit. It is accomplished by genuine faith in the Lord and the ability to trust Him in all things. When we do, it will be evident in the structure of our life and one’s ability to love, encourage and uplift despite feelings, emotions, situations, circumstances, or even the busyness of life. We are instructed to build with care. Love is not forced. It is freely given for the consumption of others. The foundation of love laid forth by Christ is limitless and unfailing love that cannot be tainted or turned by the vilest of people. Jesus loves us all. He died for us all. He commanded us all to love one another.

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Let us consider how we motivate one another toward love and good works. God wants us to think of ways to encourage, uplift and build up one another. Rules and regulations did not allow us to come back to God but rather a relationship with His Son, Jesus. The relationship others develop with us will bring the Light of God’s Love to them or keep them wallowing in the darkness of this world. The love expressed for Jesus in church, during worship or kneeling at an altar is only as strong as our desire and ability to take it to the world around us.

If we eat at a good restaurant, we invite others to that place. If we find a good sale, we encourage others to shop there. If we discover a great product, we will tell others to get some. Yet, Jesus remains in church and doesn’t make it into the world because all our love, affirmation, adoration, and allegiance is expressed there alone. It is time to take God’s Love and not just His Name to the streets, alleys, and workplaces. Church is not a bad place. It is the product of those who fill it. If we are not producing good fruit, there will be nothing for others as we starve ourselves. “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” (Romans 15:1-2)

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NLT) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

When our son was sick, I began going to the gym with my husband. He had been working out for a long time, and so one night I joined him. Once on the elliptical machine, I would begin mindlessly walking and thinking. Turning up the praise music and losing myself in prayer without the worry of tripping, falling or being hit by a car walking in the neighborhood. It quickly became my escape. Sorting through our life as the Lord calmed my heart and wore me out, so I could sleep at night despite the battle raging around me. When our son went into remission, I continued to go to the gym without the same commitment and drive until I just stopped going. Our membership was cancelled when our house went up for sale as it would be too far from our new location.

When I was working things out in my mind, something amazing happened. My body got stronger. I was not going to strengthen my body as much as clearing my head, but in the meantime I was in better physical health than I had ever been. We must condition our soul, mind and body to produce good fruit. Jesus uses the tests and trials of life to expose genuine faith in us. If we do not express this to the world, we get spiritual flabbiness. Every day as we press on in our bodies learning to endure, we must allow the same pressure to expose areas of our heart in need of conditioning. Our time spent with Jesus will directly impact every area of our life especially when His Love begins to come out of us to others.

Though we think little things like a kind word, a hug, or simple acknowledge unnecessary, they are not. These are the building tools of the Kingdom that condition the body in surplus ways. The trick is continuing to walk in love, produce good fruit and seek the Lord when we need nothing from Him at all. In season and out of season until the love of our life is to introduce others to Jesus. Our Beloved. Everything expressed in our life should be dipped in the Blood and covered by His Love to be fruitful for His Kingdom. Be an expert builder. Go boldly into His Presence and claims the fruit that draws others to Jesus. You have a purpose. It is a commandment to love one another. Love is not a noun it is a verb. We do it in every attitude, action and activity. In exchange – Jesus promises that our joy will be complete and full!

John 15:11 (NLT) I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.