Set A Guard

broken-gate

Psalm 141:2-3 (NKJV) Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.

If only the Holy Spirit had a hand to carefully yet firmly put over my mouth day in and day out. To keep me from releasing commands into the atmosphere. Oh the idle words that never need to be spoken. Words hold power. Life and death is in the tongue. It is the most difficult to restrain. Caught in the crosshairs of our mind, will and emotions as our heart tries to edit each one spoken before it is released. Lord, set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door to my lips.

James 3:4-6 (NKJV) Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.

Everyone has words that they wish they could take back. Tiny sparks released into a dry atmosphere if withheld would have stopped mass destruction. The tongue is such a small part of our body yet the hardest to control. It is important that our tongue remains under our strict control. Each world carefully weighed and contemplated compared to Christ. We must speak His Word. Say what He said. Otherwise, there is a real danger of destroying people or causing them to turn away rather than embrace the Love of God evident in His Word. His Word is sweeter than honey. It is desirable. It is good for you. Communication is for edification. Lord, set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door to my lips.

Proverbs 18:20-21 (NKJV) A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

The fruit of our mouth feeds our mind, will and emotions. The words that flow from our lips are evident of the abundance of our heart. Our heart must agree with our words and our words should be in alignment with the meditation of our heart. The things spoken in private should be our declaration in public. We must feed our heart and mind good things in order to produce good fruit. The Word of God nourishes our mind. It feeds our thoughts. It produces the kind of speech and communication that God desires of His People. The power of death and life are given to me as Christ lives in me. I bind heaven and earth with the words that I speak and if not carefully chosen they can have a dire effect. Therefore…Lord, set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door to my lips.

Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

It is my personal responsibility to filter the contents of my speech. It is my soulful duty to control my tongue. I will be held accountable for every single word released from my person. (Matthew 12:36) The words that come flowing out are for my good or can be to my detriment. The Word of God is clear. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth. Lord, forgive me for all the times that rotten fruit came flowing out. People are people. They are just as imperfect as I am. Father forgive them and please Lord forgive me for all my faults and failures. Make me conscious of the words that I speak right down to those I say to myself when no one else is listening. You are always listening. My words are for edification of others and to impart grace. My tongue is not a weapon of mass destruction. It should be used to build others up not tear them down. It should always give freely grace, love, mercy and kindness as a reflection of the same that I have received from you. Lord and on those days when I have nothing nice to say, let me take the advice of my elders who told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all.” Lord, set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door to my lips.

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.”

God has a plan and purpose for our life. One written from the beginning that began with our birth. It is a good one with a future and hope. I wonder how many times it is hindered by unfiltered words and unworthy mandates released in our life fortified by pride or driven by bitterness. His Grace is enough even to cover all the idle, careless or harmful words released each day. It is up to me to apply grace to the words that I speak. Lord, I am undone. I am a woman with unclean lips. I have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts, and the King of Glory. Lord, I ask you to cleanse my lips today. Lord, forgive me for idle or angry words released carelessly around me. I long to fulfill your purpose for my life. It is not dependent on other people. It is solely according to living my life in alignment with you, Jesus. My mouth is for your praise and glory. Remind me of that today. Lord, set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door to my lips. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Psalm 71:8 (NKJV) Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your Glory all the day.

 

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Shove the Mountain

Shove the Mountain

Matthew 17:19-20 (ESV) Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

“Are you ready to shove the mountain?” What in the world? Where did that come from? The Voice of the Lord whispering inside of me, yet audible enough to make me look around. Did anyone else hear it? Apparently not. When the Lord speaks to us, it is human nature to try to excuse it away as our own personal thoughts or maybe think our mind is playing tricks on us. After hearing His Words in the innermost depths of my heart and soul, I knew in that moment that God was up to something. It begins as a thought or idea planted inside of us. Maybe it came to you as a dream or vision. It has to be the Lord because it is a notion of the impossible too great for human comprehension or execution. What if? The dare to dream mentality that overtakes fear of failure. The decision of faith that determines God is good no matter what and to grab hold of the anchor called hope.

Isn’t it funny how God works and His Perception of timing? Allowing us to make it to the end of our strength, use up personal power, run out of ideas, and about ready to give out when He comes and challenges us for more. Oh, it’s not personal but providential. See you can’t do it. The things that God has in store for us are humanly impossible but pride will not relinquish control until it is thoroughly exhausted and out of ideas. Our plan must be completely interrupted to finally accept the Will of God for our life. Desperation must become our drive which leads us to the divine. The Lord is patient concerning us. He waits for the right moment. When it comes, He is ready to take full advantage. “Are you ready to shove the mountain?” These words have been written on my heart as a challenge to experience a new level of faith empowered by higher levels of grace and greater expectation than ever before.

If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” What is your “impossible” today? What is the thing that you believe to be the biggest obstacle in your life? Many times, there is a face attached to the problem when people have nothing to do with the blockages and stoppages of life. Define the “mountain” in your life today. Though you may be plagued with many problems and situations in need of divine intervention, just pick one. The Word of God tells us distinctly that if our faith is the “like a grain of mustard seed” that “nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 4:8-10 (ESV) Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”

The impossibility in your life represents an opportunity to exercise faith. Faith must be used in order to properly develop. It must be planted if expected to grow. When the “Spirit led” Jesus into the wilderness, it was a test of faith. It was to demonstrate to us how to deal with the lies of the enemy which are thrown at us every day. The Armor of God includes a shield of faith to ward off these “fiery darts”. The enemy took Jesus to a “very high mountain” and showed him the kingdoms of the world. He told Jesus that it would all be his if the Lord would bow down and worship him. Now I know it sounds preposterous to think that the devil would be so ostentatious display, but he did just that. He does it to us every day. Offering an alternate route and a subtle substitution for the very thing God has promised you in His Word. Of course, the Son of God quickly dismissed him reminding Him that “you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.”

Worship. What is it? Worship is to show profound devotion or respect. It means to adore. To profess feelings of profound adoration and genuine respect. Our words are representative of our worship. Fear is a form of worship. It demonstrates respect. Fear of God is produced by love. Fear in any other sense is the product of a lie allowed to grow in the fertile soil of our heart. Perfect love casts out all fear not associated with God. Luke 6:45 explains “for out of the heart (our) mouth speaks.” What are you saying about your impossible situation today? Are you speaking the Word of God as Jesus did? Or are you telling everyone how hard life is? How broken you feel? Crying out the people of this world rather than King Jesus who rules and reigns over the universe and everything in it? Are you complaining, grumbling or constantly expressing dissatisfaction? The contents of our heart is the context of our speech and daily communication. Sometimes we worship the giant rather than celebrating the Lord who is the giant killer. It is human nature. It can only overcome by faith invested in God’s Word, His Way and His Will. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Our faith grows when rooted and grounded in God’s Love through Jesus Christ. When faith is the substance of our heart, the words of our mouth begin to speak what God says about us, our life and our problems rather than what the enemy is trying to convince us of.

Matthew 21:20-22 (ESV) When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21) First, the disciples could not cast out the demon. Perplexed they came to Jesus and He told them they needed faith. Part two of the lesson would come at the expense of the fig tree. “How did the fig tree wither at once?” Jesus replied, “If you have faith and do not doubt…” Doubt nullifies faith. There is life AND death in our tongue. We decide what flows out of it by the prevailing substance in our heart. Do you believe? Do you believe that God is good? Do you believe that He is for you? Do you believe that nothing is impossible? Do you believe that there is nothing that can separate you from God’s Love? Do you believe His Grace is enough? Do you believe? Doubt is not only evident in our daily communication.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight…” (Psalm 19:14) Schizophrenic Christianity produces nothing. To live by conflicting and inconsistent doctrines, one day the world and the next day the Kingdom, will not release God’s Power in our life. Mountains to not move with halfhearted commands but wholehearted commitment to faith. The words of our mouth must agree with God’s Word. The meditation of our heart must be God’s Word creating the abundance that flows from our mouth which empowers us to do the impossible simply by praising and worshipping the Lord with consistent and ongoing faith. The mountain shakes at its very core when a believer truly believes. It knows it’s about to move. Something is about to happen. Faith is effective when our heart, mind and mouth agree. The agreement of these three will overcome our rebellious flesh every time.

Faith is illogical without the Word of God. We walk by faith and not by sight. Like a blind man heightens other senses to overcome his inability to see with his eyes, Sons and Daughters of God must begin to see their life through God’s Word. Speak God’s Word. Pray God’s Word. And above all else plant their faith in God’s Word by choosing to believe it. “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Matthew 28:16-20 (ESV) Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

It was almost time for Jesus to ascend to the Father. Where did He go? He took the disciples back to the mountain. I never realized how many times “mountains” are mentioned in the Bible. Jesus taught on the mountain. There are blessings from the mountains. Escaping to mountains. Going up mountains. Mountains quaking. Faith moving mountains. Mountains removed. And here we are again…at the mountain. I wonder if all these mountains of problems in our life are by divine appointment. Is the Lord leading us to them on purpose? Yes, for a purpose. Jesus gave the disciples His Final Instructions on the mountain. But do you see what I see today? Jesus standing before them demonstrating resurrection power and life and it says, “But still some doubted”. How is this even possible? It doesn’t matter how many times the Lord saves us, heals us, blesses us, delivers us, answers our prayers, fills us with His Spirit and all the other wonderful things that only He can do for us…everyone struggles with doubt. It is our human nature. If we want to shove the mountain into the seas, we must take the seed of faith and plant it a little deeper today. We must water it with the Word of God. Speak life giving words over it. Weed out doubt, fear and insecurity. Wait for it. Worship until it comes. Praise the Lord and serve Him faithfully even in seasons of drought. Those who do will see the impossible happen and dead things come to life. Will that be you today? Will you accept the challenge to shove the mountain with me?

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)  And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

The Complaint Department

The Complaint Department

Philippians 2:13-16 (NLT) For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life…

Like vines and brush across a narrow path, I tried to step over it but tripped instead. The last several weeks have been trying. As potential begins to yield purpose, and breakthrough is just around the corner – opposition always rises up. With come the words hard to swallow, the complaints and grumbling of our flesh with deep offense at the conditions of life or circumstances surrounding us. It is a bitter pill to swallow laced with pride and indignation. Peter gave in to it from time to time and as one of the most vocal disciples it creeps up in the Bible’s text. In John 19:27, Peter in a sharp discussion with the Lord says these words, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?” Unmet expectation is the faith stealing, joy killer and hope buster that is problematic for many believers. When God does not do it the way one thinks that He should, or perhaps when we think He would or even worse according to our idea of how it should have been done. I have given up everything to follow you Jesus now this… ever feel that way? I do sometimes when I let complaining take over my life.

For God is working in you… I was talking to a gentleman about to undergo radiation therapy for cancer. He knows that our son also had extensive radiation. Talking with him, I did not want to create an unrealistic expectation of the treatment. It is an excellent weapon against cancer. It starts off relatively painless just a bit of a sensation inside. Over time as the therapy progresses, it begins to work its way from the inside of the pinpoint laser delivering it to manifest on the outside. It can cause the surface of the skin to have symptoms that rise up from the inside where the radiation is concentrated. There may be some collateral damage. Most importantly with any type of cancer therapy, because they are all unpleasant, it is important to stay focused on the goal. Remission. A clean PET scan. An extension of our natural life. We must always keep our eyes on the destination because there will be obstacles along the way if the journey is worth the outcome. As God works inside of us, our flesh dies. I used to say at the gym, “Sweat is the tears of fat slowly dying.” If you have given the Lord permission, invited Him to work things out in your life for His Good and Glory, expect your situation to change. Know that He is changing you. It may be uncomfortable and unpleasant. Friend, it is always, always worth it.

“Giving you the desire and power to do what pleases Him…” I want to please the Lord with my natural life. Some do and some don’t. Some will actually pass on eternal life because of the fear of letting go of some things here and not being satisfied with the outcome. Why must the Lord change my desire? Because I will always want less than He has for me, settle for substitutions, and in the name of comfort compromise. It is my nature. I must change the way that I think, move, breathe and exist to allow the God inside of me to make His Way out into my life. It all begins inside of me. Big gulp…the hardest part comes next.

“Do EVERYTHING without grumbling or complaining.” Ugh! There it is – spoiler alert – it is a Biblical mandate on my life to stop grumbling and complaining. God knows every detail of my life even when this passage was written centuries before my birth. He knew me and supplied all the grace and power necessary for me to overcome every obstacle thanks to the Christ in me. The pressures of life often give way to complaining. I will be the first to admit – I have been complaining about my job a lot lately. I love my job. It is a good position. However, it has been an exceptionally tough season with a gigantic transition. It is not going to last a short time but is clearly going to be awhile before things come together and are in order. The extreme conditions make complaining seem natural and acceptable…for some. I am not of this world. The Power in me is far greater than any circumstance or situation in my life. Do my words express His Power or give precedence to my problem?

James 3:2 (NLT) For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

James 3:8-12 (NLT) But no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

In our last house, there was a swimming pool. One step in caring for the pool was testing the water to make sure the chemicals were just right and favorable for swimming. When there was a great deal of rain, it would wash pollen and other naturally occurring substances into the pool creating a high phosphate level that required special treatment. It was more expensive than other chemicals but necessary to keep the water clean and clear. The home test kits did not pick up the level of phosphates. It would be discovered by the chemical analyzer at the pool store. The professionals would have to find it and give me the proper treatment. In life, rain is going to fall. Storms will come. The atmosphere of our life is not always favorable. Let’s face it. Bad things happen to good people. It is important that in such conditions – we test the content and quality of our conversation. What are we saying? Who are we saying it to? Are my words filled with life or death? Praise or contempt? Who are they directed at? The Word of God is the litmus test of life for the believer. It guides, instructs and teaches us the knowledge needed to apply to our life and create wisdom. Wisdom is the lifestyle of those who are blessing and prosperous. When I decide that I am dissatisfied with my life, I am telling God that He is not meeting my expectations or doing a good job. No one else. My life belongs to Jesus Christ. If it is not what I think it should be, He is the One responsible to change it. Not my family, my friends, my boss or coworkers – Jesus is the One.

Habakkuk 2:1-3 (NLT) I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint. Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

If the Word of God concerning my life is true and if Jesus truly is set on giving me a rich and satisfying life while doing more than I can even think to ask for, it is all about the waiting. He has given a place of refuge and peace to wait in called the watchtower. I stand guard over my heart in that place by filtering my words through the Word of God and listing His Promises not my problems. It is the place where my vision aligns with His Perspective rather than focusing on the conditions of life as I know it. I see through eyes of faith the confident hope that I have in Him. The kind of hope that never leads to disappointment and is worth waiting for. Impatience in the waiting gives way to grumbling and complaining. Complaining sows seeds of doubt and fear that become bitterness if continually fed with more grumbling. Pride feeds on the harvest of complaining and suddenly it gives way to wandering and disobedience as one decides if it’s going to happen then I must do it myself.

In the Old Testament, the Children of Israel complained about freedom and wanted to go back into slavery. Fear of the unknown will often compel us back to what is known. Don’t go. There was a group of Levites who did not like their position in ministry, so they complained to Moses. Shortly after, the ground opened, swallowing them and all their possessions. Complaining will forfeit our new life in Christ to become absorbed by the world and worldly things that bring temporary satisfaction rather than long-term completion. In Nehemiah, Judah gave way to complaining. The ones who led worship were tired and let others know. Who would lead the worshippers if the praise team quit? Job of all people felt the right to complain. (Job 6) But in Job 10, Job has reached an all-time low and says, “I am disgusted with my life. Let me complain freely. My bitter soul must complain. Complaining always sows seeds of bitterness. Every time you utter the slightest dissatisfaction in your condition in Christ, it is a seed that must be dealt with.

When our son was undergoing radiation, about two-thirds of the way through his skin began to “break down”. This means that the heat of the radiation burning away the cancer was also destroying his skin. Our middle son is extremely fair. His skin turned a bright red and one morning just started to break open with intense heat rising from the wounds. I will not gross you out with details or descriptions but all I could think of as I attempted to offer comfort and apply the ointment was he has every right to complain. I told him that very thing and he said to me, “Mom, what good would it do if I complained? Would it make cancer go away? Would it make the pain stop? Would it do anything for me? No. So I am not going to complain because it will do no good.” Such profound words from an unsuspecting college student thrust into a life uncertain. I will never forget that moment when my heart broke open and I asked the Lord to forgive my wayward and wandering heart. I needed the coal from His Altar to touch my lips that complained about the hard bed with the plastic cover that was a bit uncomfortable. Lesson learned.

Your life may not be extreme today. Just filled with “ordinary” problems and some “inconvenient” problems, what you do with such opportunities are game changers in life. Complaining does nothing but complicate things. It is unclear our position. Our heart begins to waver uncertain of its commitment. Soon our thoughts give way to discouragement and then disappointment not of God but to whom we give all credit. Take your right hand. Put it firmly over your mouth. Say with me, through your tight clasped fingers, “Holy Spirit, filter my words for life today and remove any foul thing among them. Teach me your vocabulary to replace my doubt-filled vernacular. Give me wisdom to speak your praise when I want to grumble and complain. Let me see the Face of Jesus rather than focusing on the giants today.

“Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life…”

Micah 6:1-3 (NLT) Listen to what the Lord is saying: “Stand up and state your case against me. Let the mountains and hills be called to witness your complaints. And now, O mountains, listen to the Lord’s complaint! He has a case against his people. He will bring charges against Israel. “O my people, what have I done to you? What have I done to make you tired of me? Answer me!

The Lord invites you to His Complaint Department today. The watchtower is open. It is a waiting room. It is His Presence. The place to leave all unmet expectation so the Lord can complete His Good Work uninterrupted by fear or doubt but pushed on by our faith in His Faithfulness. Our words should always express allegiance to Jesus Christ. Complaining and grumbling gives glory to a weak and inattentive god who doesn’t exist rather than an all-powerful, ever-present and always on-time God who is good and gives His Glory to His Children. What will you do with your words today? Life and power are in the tongue. It is up to you to decide how to use it. In His Presence, there is a new perspective. When His Unfailing Love and Overwhelming Goodness make it into our thick and hard hearts, suddenly there is very little to complain and grumble about because He is enough to change our heart and mind. God you are good! Help me to silence complaining and dismiss it from my life. You are a Good God. You are more than enough!

Psalm 103:1-2 (NLT) Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

Sticks and Stones

sticks-and-stones

Proverbs 18:20-21 (NLT) Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me” is one of the greatest lies ever told yet recounted time and time again to overcome the hurtful, thoughtless or careless words of others. The original context is from an English children’s rhyme in 1872 which is “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me.”  Rubbish. Hogwash. Words do cause great harm when not considered fully and carefully before delivery. Many people will take the words of others to the heart. Many word walls surround fragile hearts enshrouding them in darkness and never allowing the Light of God’s Love to reach inside.

As a self-professed and often labeled talker, I am at great risk when it comes to conversation. It has taken a whole lot of Jesus to gain even the slightest control over my wayward tongue and rambling thoughts that come tumbling out of my mouth. There are some days when I stop talking altogether in fear of allowing those harmful words to come rolling out undeterred. Blessing and cursing cannot come from the same mouth. We must examine our heart and consider each word in every conversation comparing them to Christ to be sure that they nourish souls and bring satisfaction. The tongue can bring death or life. As believers, let’s take a moment today to evaluate the contents of conversation.

I Samuel 17:40-47 (NLT) He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!  And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”

Bear with me. I know this is not the common text concerning wise words and godly conversation but it is relevant. David didn’t come to the battlefield looking for a fight that day. He was directed to bring his brothers lunch and return with a report of their well-being. When the shepherd boy arrived on the scene, he was an unsuspecting hero who was about to be discovered. He went to battle with five smooth stones selected from a nearby stream and his staff. Goliath approached ready to fight but David came ready to win. His faith spoke from a confident heart, “But I come in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you…” With one well-directed stone, the giant in all his bravado died that day. The whole world did see the Hand of God work on behalf of his people. It is one of the most renowned stories of the Bible taught to even the smallest of children.

There are many teachings on the stones that David chose that day. I believe there is significance in his choice as well for many reasons. David went to battle with stones, a slingshot and a staff. What if the stones represented our words, testimony and offering to others? The slingshot our mouth or tongue. The staff represents direction. Our words should always be washed in God’s Word and sent in His Direction according to His Instruction. David wrote in Psalm 23 that God’s Rod (Discipline) and Staff (Direction) were a comfort to him. The smooth stones of the stream were once sharp-edged rocks. Time and testing had tempered them as the water rushed over them and around them season after season preparing them for the day of the giant. The stones are evidence of precise preparation at the Hand of God. He tumbled them in that stream until the moment they were to be released. Our words should be the same. They are not for killing sheep but killing giants.

John 8:4-11 (NLT) “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

The woman was caught in flagrant and obvious sin. The religious folks including teachers and Pharisees brought her to Jesus – she was caught in the act. They put her in front of the crowd. They each had stones in hand ready to exact the Law of Moses. They asked Jesus, “What do you say?” His response, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” It did not take long to empty the place. Jesus turned to the woman and asked, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you? “No, Lord,” she replied. Jesus set her free. “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

We are so quick to condemn others with our words. I don’t think it is an overt act but one that is covered by religion and self-righteousness that smacks of the Law rather than God’s Love. A relationship with Jesus Christ does not condemn us but frees us. We are given the grace to know Him more. We are given unconditional love that knows our faults and failures from before we meet Jesus on the earth until the time we meet Him face to face. I hate the statement that someone has one foot in Christ and one in the world. It is not possible. We live in this world but are not of this world. To be in Christ is not a religious or judgmental possible but to become so clothed in His Love and wrapped tightly in the Robe of His Righteousness that Light breaks through darkness setting others free. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the Glorious Standard God set forth. Many Christians are still doing it today without even knowing it.

What if we considered a word like a stone in our hand? What if we became intention about only throwing rocks at the Goliath rather than pummeling our sheep in the head? If we throw rocks at sheep they will scatter, running for cover, looking for refuge in other things, and hidden in the darkness just to survive. David went into the battle with faith in God. God who fights for us. The Lord was His Victory. His voice projected faith and confidence in God alone. Not his skill or ability to kill the giant, but God’s Promise that the big man was going down. He entered with a staff. The staff was used to guide the sheep. The hooked used to pull them out of their mess, or deliver them from trouble. What are we using our staff for today?

The woman was caught in her sin. The church set out to make an example of her. How quickly we forget what the Lord has done for us? His Grace is sufficient for me, but does not give me the right to throw careless words about. Our words hold power. They can do way more than break bones. Do not be deceived. Your hidden conversation is not as private as you think. There are days when I must shut my mouth completely as not to let an idle word slip out. Careless conversation is like stoning someone to death without even knowing it.

Psalm 19:14 (NLT) May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

The words of our mouth are a direct reflection of the contents of our heart. From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. What do your words reveal? It matters less what you say to their face, then what you say about others in private. The Word of God gives us clear direction on the contents of godly conversation including the following:

The Words of the Godly are:

Life (Proverbs 10:11)

Knowledge (Proverbs 10:13) Reveal our understanding of Christ and His Way

Valuable (Proverbs 10:20; 20:15)

Encouraging (Proverbs 10:21)

Wise Advice (Proverbs 10:31)

Helpful (Proverbs 10:32)

A Benefit (Proverbs 12:14)

Healing (Proverbs 12:18)

Truth (Proverbs 12:19) Withstanding the test of time

Favorable (Proverbs 13:2)

Nourishment for the Soul (Proverbs 18:20)

Instruction with Kindness (Proverbs 31:26)

God has set a standard for godly communication that the church must pay close attention to or they will kill their sheep. Your words should welcome other into the fold. Express the Love and Grace of Jesus Christ. We must examine the stones in our hand, heart and mouth to determine their direction in each conversation.

Romans 14:10-13 (NLT) So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God.’” Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

Some say that the truth hurts, maybe the truth you choose to live in. My Truth came wrapped in flesh to set me free. He died on a Cross to save me, heal me and deliver me. His Love so thick it wrapped itself around my heart and is the life and breath that I breathe. His Grace so sufficient that even when I fall it picks me right back up. The Truth in my life is Light that gives me hope. He has given my life new purpose to have all that He has promised according to His Word. My faith is not in my ability to live a perfect life but that He is and always be enough. He is the Word that came inside me and is changing my heart. His Language is Love. Always love. Never condemnation. When I use the words I am given to throw at another rather than pulling them close and loving them like Jesus loves me, I am no longer a giant killer but a Pharisee in the making.

My mouth was made to give the Lord praise and adoration. It is to declare my allegiance to Jesus Christ which is always wrapped in His Love and full of His Grace. I must make sure that my attitude and actions right down to every single word I speak draws people closer to the Lord rather than causing them to stumble and fall. Even if I am misunderstood, it is my humble position to apologize and continue to love them no matter what they do or say. Pride can never be my motivation again. I must live to love others with every breath in my body. Jesus help me to examine the contents of my heart and every word of conversation so the context remains in Your Truth according to Your Word, following Your Way which always leads to love, forgiveness and freedom.

Proverbs 15:4 (NLT) Gentle words are a tree of life.

Can you imagine your words like the stones in the stream before David? He selected them carefully. We must do the same. Our words hold power once released. We must be sure of their trajectory. Aimed at giants produce victory. Carelessly hurled at sheep only lead to death and defeat. Have some wandered? Stop talking about them and go get them. Jesus never forced His Love on anyone. He met their need in their current condition. His Love drew them in. His Grace pulled their heart strings. His Kindness lead them to repentance. Faith is born of love not hate. Hope is confidence that in spite of me – He has a Purpose, Plan and Promise for my life that is worth having. What is the Gospel shared? Love. It should always be love. Drop the rocks, people. Shut the death door. Consider carefully the contents of every conversation. Does it lead to life? Is it Light in the darkness? Is it freedom to others? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it useful? Is it even true? I am pondering these thoughts and ideas today. I challenge you to do the same. Sticks and stones do harm people including us even more than we think. Lord, please take a coal from your altar and touch my lips so I may worthy to praise you again.

Isaiah 6:5-8 (NLT) Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

Mouth Full

Biting an apple

Luke 6:44-45 (NKJV)  For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

What is the abundance of my heart? Is my heart full of abundance? The words that I speak are seeds if the Word of God is true. The words that I speak determine the harvest in my life. Every tree is known by its fruit. The fruit of conversation is a harvest of our heart. A good man (or woman) out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good. What are our words producing today? Anything good coming out of them. Abundance means an extremely plentiful or over sufficient quantity or supply. It is an overflowing fullness. We give from abundance never from lack. Think about that for a moment. I can say all the right words, but if there is no abundance in my words to gather the listener will leave in the same condition they arrived. Does that matter? It sure does.

Matthew 12:36-37 (NKJV) But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

The life planted in us should be growing day by day into a fruitful harvest to be shared with others. By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned. Guilty as charged. Every idle word will be called to accountability one day. All those wonderful and encouraging conversations building up a loved one and encouraging a friend will be to my credit. All the rest of those wayward words and thoughtless tirades will not be held in my favor but must be covered by His Blood. My words hold power. Life and death are in my tongue. The Spirit of the Living God lives in me and fills my heart with good fruit. The fruit of His Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It has taken a long time and whole lot of Jesus for me to come to realize the awesome responsibility and ultimate accountability of every word I speak. I struggle daily to maintain godly conversations in a world filled with gossip, backbiting and perversity. My desire is to represent Jesus Christ effectively to others. My words are born of the abundance of my heart. When others receive them, what is the fruit of His Labor in me?

Luke 13:6-9 (NKJV) He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”

Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, ‘Let no fruit grow on you ever again.’ Immediately the fig tree withered away.” (Matthew 21:17-19) Jesus was hungry. When he saw the fig tree by the road, he went to take some fruit from it. Though covered in leaves signifying a hidden harvest – the Lord found it lacking any fruit at all. He cursed it and it soon withered. Jesus expected the tree to produce fruit according to fulfillment of purpose. Thankfully such judgment is not cast on those who choose not to produce any spiritual fruit but rather grace is applied in abundance. Grace and more grace like the kind in the parable of the barren fig tree. When the man presumably the owner came to find the abundance of his investment disappointingly there was none to be found. His solution was to cut it down and make room for a productive tree to grow. The “keeper”, however; made a request of the landowner that day. Let me dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next time – great. If not, than you can cut it down.

The Grace of God demonstrated in Jesus Christ allows us grace and mercy as His Spirit works in us and through us to produce a harvest of abundance to share with others. It allows us to give from the generosity of Jesus who cultivates fruit in us to share with others freely and abundantly. Sometimes that means the discomfort of digging a little deeper, plowing our hard heart, breaking our strong will, and sensitizing our spirit. It isn’t comfortable but it just might save my soul.

God created me with purpose. It leads to fulfillment. The way of failure is rebellion. When I lack spiritual fruit, it is a certain sign of disobedience. It reveals a disconnect from the abundance that I am given in Christ that needs to be reconnected so that I will indeed bear spiritual fruit and produce productive conversation. From the abundance of my heart, my mouth will speak. The fruit of my words is the harvest of my heart. Is it satisfying others, or starving their souls?

Ezekiel 37:1-3 (NKJV) The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”

It is very easy to get caught up in our own little world. Our problems, temptations, circumstance, hurts, failures – you know all those things that consume us day by day. Our perception of life limited it is hard to see the forest for the trees. Our life is not our own. We belong to Jesus. This is not our home. Yet wrapped up in everyday life, we see people superficially never looking deeper than the surface. Afraid of what we might find or the responsibility to bear, relationally it is a challenge to reach beyond our three-foot perimeter of personal space let along step out of our comfort zone. As the Spirit of the Lord is given more and more real estate in us, beware for He will lift you above the here and now to show you that there is more to life than this and you have a responsibility to fulfill beyond it.

The Hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit. It has happened to me. It is not some spooky spiritual overtaking but an awakening of my spirit to see life through God’s Eyes rather than always thinking about myself. Just last week during a youth service, I was overcome with the vision of so many hurting and broken people. We had just had an amazing service but rather than continue to glory in our celebration my heart was heavy. So many people being consumed by the burdens of this life completely unaware that there is a God who loves them and wants to take care of them. The Lord has a way of showing us the “one another” who has called us to love and share life with. It is what we do with such revelations that change everything.

In the midst of the valley were dry bones. Bones that represented the absence of life. He saw the amount of death and was overwhelmed by the number of them. The Lord poses the question today that He did then, “Can these bones live?” The Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones and tell the Word of the Lord which is that “you shall live”. To prophesy means to foretell or predict the future. It means to indicate beforehand or make a prediction. When we prophesy the Word of God in a person’s life it will come to pass. If you can find it in God’s Word, you can have it. If God’s Word finds its way into our heart and grows there, we can offer its productivity to others.

Now when Ezekiel prophesied the first time, he spoke life and breath into those dry bones. Only life came to the physical body, but there was no breath in them which sustains life. When we come to Jesus Christ for salvation, he ends the death sentence in our life and gives us the grace of a new life. We can live in obedience to God and commitment to Christ reaping the benefits. But wait there is more…the Lord did not stop by just saving the dry bones and creating an army of arms and legs.

Breath is important. It represents the life in our body. When we come to Jesus Christ for salvation, we are saved because His Word says so. We have God’s Word. It is truth. But the Word of God tells us that we must worship the Lord in Spirit and Truth. We must have His Breath in our body operating as His Spirit. When the Promise of God (His Word) is coupled with His Power (His Spirit) a mighty army was formed. Dry bones came back to life again. Dead dreams are resurrected. Disappointment gives way to hope. To have the Word of God in our heart and never release it is to walk through a field of death and choose to withhold life from the dying. It is to be the two men who passed by the one hurt and dying on the side of the road, that is until the Good Samaritan came by. How many dying people do we hurry past in busyness? How many hurting people do we deal another blow by ignoring? How many words sown in hate and bitterness will I be responsible for when I see Jesus? What is the abundance of my heart today? Lord, show me the words that I speak from your perspective. Are they filled with life, love and abundance?

I Peter 3:8-12 (NKJV)  Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. For “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

I want to bless the Lord with my words today…all of them. It is a struggle because there are temptations in life and well, we are surrounded by people who just as imperfect as we are. It is certainly a challenge to be examine each word thought for truth, relevance and love before it is spoken. This is a must for those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ. We are called and empowered to produce abundance beginning with the cultivation of our heart. How are we doing? Each word should be laden with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. My words should be the very example of what love is and never what it is not.  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Do my words speak of this kind of love or breed hate and discord? I was made to love. I am called to share the Gospel which is the Good News that God loves us. If my words are not filled with life then am I? Sobering to think that even though I try to say all the right words until they are filled with fruitful abundance from a heart complete committed to godly cultivation I am in danger of being cut down. Thankfully I am covered by unfailing love and unending grace. Grace that is enough for me to fill my heart so its abundance will always speak Jesus! Lord, fill me with new life today. Produce a harvest in me for others that will spill out in every conversation. I give my heart and mind to you once again today for fruitful cultivation.

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.

But God…

But God

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world. We do. We don’t mean to, but we do. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. As believers, we must think about our faith in God, relationship to Jesus Christ, His Word and practical application of what we believe on a daily basis. Christianity is faithful and habitual. As we begin the transformation process of salvation, our participation is surrender. It is take bits and pieces of our existence and daily turn them over obediently to God. His Spirit reveals the areas of our life which are withheld and it is our job to turn them over in repentance. I may have lost some of you here, but that’s okay. You will want to be a living sacrifice by the end of this, I am convinced.

 

“But” be transformed is a pivotal statement in the key verse today. This world can empower your life or it can kill your purpose in a single statement. It happens all the time. I have seen it in Sunday school, church, board meetings, and Bible studies. In this social groups of believers who claim to have faith, a lack of faith is revealed in their conversation. “I am trusting the Lord, “but” the reality is…” “I know that healing is possible, “but” the doctor says…” “The Lord has laid it on my heart to do (blah) “but” the budget…” “I want to serve the Lord, “but”…”

 

“But” is a conjunction. The danger of this word comes with its explanation. The definition of “but” is on the contrary, yet, except that, unless, otherwise and other negating words. To use the word “but” after a statement of faith negates it. In other words, when you profess to believe in Jesus and add “but” to it, you have nullified the declaration entirely. The word after “but” holds all the power. Do not be offended by this but be aware of it instead. Offense is the enemy’s way of shutting us off and isolating us. It keeps us from using knowledge to our benefit and keeps us from understanding the Power that God has given us. I know, I know – “but” we live in a real world. Okay, I get that so do I. “but” – greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world.

 

Proverbs 18:20-21 (NIV)

From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

 

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 his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

 

Our words hold power. We don’t have to try or even mean them for damage to be done. The tongue gives life or administers death each day. The word “but” is important. We must carefully listen to the order of our sentences to determine the condition of our heart and level of faith operated in. If God, Jesus or Lord come before the word “but” when used we have a problem.

 

Sitting in a Sunday school class, the attendees were sharing special prayer requests and the needs of others. As one might expect, there were many who asked for prayer for ailing family and friends. As we bowed our head to pray, the speaker said, “And God if it is Your Will to heal these folks…” I almost came out of my chair right there save my husband sitting right next to me. Of course, it is God’s Will to save, heal, deliver and restore us. Why would He have allowed His Son to be tortured and die for anything less? I opened my eyes and looked around the room and everyone was praying earnestly. Their intentions were good but they did not understand. We must know what we believe. We must examine the contents of our heart. We must allow Jesus to transform us day by day especially until our heart and mind agree. From the abundance of our heart, the mouth speaks. Healing is most certainly the Will of God – He says so in His Word. God holds all power and authority in our life. Jesus is Lord of our life when He comes after all “buts”.

 

Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

Looking back in the Old Testament, there are many references to “but God” in the accounts of men like Noah, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph just to name a few. When life was less than favorable, the passage generally ends “but” God or “but” the Lord was with them, or “but” they found favor with God. These men faced many challenges. In the end, it was the “but God” was with them that changed everything.

 

Mark 9:22-24 (NIV)

“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

 

All things are possible to those who believe. I know many believers who I consider to be strong Christians who still have unbelief. I still have unbelief in me at times. Everything is possible for one who believes. The more we believe the less impossible life becomes. “If you can…” Jesus didn’t like that statement very much. “If you can…” he responded to the man with a quick correction. The man said, “I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.” Even the smallest amount of disbelief is a faith ender, miracle spoiler, blessing robber, and dream killer. We must check our declaration to determine the driving force of our life. This may help us understand why Heaven has not made it to earth yet, healings aren’t happening and deliverance is dead. The impossible is only possible when we believe.

 

Romans 8:8-10 (NIV)

Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

 

“But” if Christ is in you, then you have been made righteous. Many times but is our excuse for trying to help God our or establish some kind of work in our life. Righteousness is in Christ alone. Our connection to Him is established in desperation and never co-dependency. Nothing we can ever do for Christ will be worthy of what He has done for us and is now trying to do through us. The realm of flesh separates us from the realm of hope. God’s Spirit works inside us to cultivate more faith of the little that we have and produce spiritual fruit to satisfy our soul and promote generosity and sharing of that fruit with others. We do not produce increase in our life. We may plant or water but it is always God who gives us increase. (I Corinthians 3:6-7) God is trying to grow us today and move us from the barren unproductive state of God, we must change “but” to “but God” again.

 

I Corinthians 3:10-11 (NIV)

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.

 

“For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” (Hebrews 3:4) Humility can be crushing sometimes and I find that every time I enter a transformation phase in my life that the subject is addressed. Everything I am. Everything I can do. Every word I speak must be devoted to the supremacy of Christ in my life for faith to fill my life. When I take precedence or situations become priorities or my words are not petitions to God but complaints to man, I rob myself of the blessing of righteous obedience. Friend, the Lord can do it without you. You are not a martyr in your labor but simply took the burden from Christ. Our competence is completely from Christ alone. (2 Corinthians 3:5) Apart from Him, we can do nothing of worth or value for us or the Kingdom of God. (John 15:5) It is in Christ alone. It’s humbling to think that all my hard work is in vain when it is not attributed to Christ, wrapped in love, and surrendered to Him. I am nothing without Him.

 

I Corinthians 2:11-13 (NIV)

For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

 

The third relapse of cancer in our son was the worst of all. It had spread from his neck throughout his entire torso. His scan was an array of dots throughout his body. The doctors had declared us in the realm of hope now because to them the reality was that cancer was winning. After the third round of chemo, they were going to scan his body to see if the treatment was helping. It came with a warning. Do not be discouraged if the cancer is still there. The only thing we want to see is that it is no longer spreading. Something rose up in me, it had to be God. I was really struggling by now with the continued relapses in the natural but I asked anyway, “What if it’s gone?” Patting me on the shoulder and then putting her arm around me, the doctor tried to let me down gently and after some pressing, she said, “It’s impossible!” My heart began beating wildly in my chest, my spirit long dampened by bad reports and the Holy Ghost began stirring in me. Could it be? Was it true? Was something about to happen? When she called me three days, yes, three days later, it was to a doctor laughing hysterically. The scan was clear and the cancer gone.

 

The reality was that our son would relapse again and again. The Truth is that he is alive and well today in total remission to the Glory of God. God works in the impossible. When we dare challenge the lines of reality with God’s Word backed by just a little faith, impossible things happen. Revival will break out when continue to push the line of the impossibilities with conversations that are declarations of faith rather than empowering fear and doubt. We must work day by day to wrap our head around God’s Supremacy and Power allowing His Spirit to convince our heart until our mouth cannot give credit, power or authority to anyone or anything else without immediately realizing the mistake. God wants the impossible to be labeled possible and probable in our life. it begins with me. I must examine every single word that I speak, comparing it to the Word of God and making sure that God always comes after my “buts”. Titus 1:15-16 talks about those who claim to know God but remain impure and corrupted. I don’t want to be someone who has to tell others that I believe in God because my life does not display the Truth. I want them to know without asking. Your situation does not dictate one’s faith and circumstances hold no power over us. No matter if the bondage faced is real or perceived, the truth remains unchained and moving in our life. (2 Timothy 2:8-10) Isaiah realized that he was unclean. The angel touched his lips with a coal from the altar. He was cleansed and renewed immediately to do the work of God.

 

Titus 3:3-6 (NIV)

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior…”

 

Jesus said, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” I believe this includes powerless conversation when we allow something or someone else to have more power than God in our life. I trust God “but”… I believe in Jesus “but”. All those times when we profess faith “but” nullify it with fear and futility. We are all guilt of it. When we add all the reasons that make it impossible to trust the Lord, this should be lead to immediate conviction so that we can surrender our thoughts and mind back to Christ. Do our words relay foolishness, disobedience, deception, bondage, malice, envy, hatred or do we constantly express confidence, love, affirmation and allegiance to Christ which frees us of worldly expectation so we can love more, give more and serve more in the Kingdom of God.

 

If someone hurts me, then comes to issue an apology, it is all good until they use the word “but”. I’m sorry “but”…is a lie. For example, I’m sorry “but” I was having a bad day. I’m sorry “but” you made me whatever. Repentance does not come with an excuse. There is no need for “but” when it comes to our life of faith. The only time “but” is effective is when it is “but God.” We all need to be washed by His Blood on a daily basis. We all could use the coal on our lips each day. There is no shame in accepting His Mercy given to us. The greatest sin of all is to know His Great Love and refuse to receive it. We must strive in all things to be like Jesus. We are successful when we surrender everything to Jesus. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Listen to your words each day to see if faith is holding power or fear has taken over. Now do something about it. The words that are spoken after “but” nullify everything spoken before. The subject of our “but” is the one that holds power in our life. Who is that today?

 

Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Well, Shut My Mouth

Well, Shut My Mouth

Shut My Mouth

March 31, 2016

 

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. 

 

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. Grumble. Complaining. Arguing. Backbiting. Gossip. All these things are faith stealers and joy killers yet we get sucked in day by day as the dissatisfaction of the surrounding world seeps into our lives, churches, homes and hearts. There are days when I ask the Holy Spirit to put His Hand over my mouth as I feel words not worthy of my salvation and the grace that I have received rising up within me. I was not necessarily born with a filter. I usually speak what is on my mind. It has taken fifty years of growth to mature to the point that most of the time I actually think about my words and the power that they hold before I speak them rather than casting them carelessly around with total disregard. So today…forgive me. The Lord and I are dealing with my words so bear with me. My boast is in the Lord and when my words reflect anything other than the love, faith, hope, joy and peace that I have in Jesus – it is time to find to shut my mouth.

 

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.

 

Unwholesome talk. We cannot a lot it. Every single word that we speak releases something in the atmosphere. Every word even whispered is heard by the enemy who knows our heart at that moment because from the abundance of our heart words come tumbling out. Sometimes I think the Holy Spirit intentionally allows us to say what’s on our mind so we can see what He is dealing with. Perhaps then and only then, we can rip out the roots of bitterness, unforgiveness, anxiety, fear and stress that keep us from accomplishing Kingdom Goals and fulfilling God’s Perfect Plan for our redeemed life.

 

Get rid of ALL rage, anger, brawling, slander, and every other form of malice. What about righteous anger? Who are we “allowed” to be mad at? To be angry with someone and sin not is a tall order. Our nature is retaliation but to rid ourselves of all malice means that we must be kind and compassionate applying grace to all human situations and every person that we meet. So who are we going to be mad at now? The enemy. Do you really think the team who wins the Super Bowl, Word Series or Grand Prix gives a second thought to the team who loses or comes in second? No, they are celebrating victory. Celebrating together, praising their sponsors (who in our case is Jesus). They are not concerned with anything except the fact that they won! We win. Jesus overcame the world. Now if we can just overcome our doubt…

 

Complete confidence in Jesus Christ will change our heart and mind, as well as our attitude and actions. But here is the thing that cuts to my core today, religion changes our actions a lot of times but only a relationship with Jesus will change our attitude. As a reminder, we tend to be a hardhearted and stiff-necked generation. No matter how strong and victorious we are living in the Favor of God – there is that one Jezebel that sends us running to the cave like Elijah. No weapon formed against us can prosper. Christ is victorious. I heard a verse in a song say that “He borrowed the tomb for three days.” Our words can build walls around our heart and introduce things to our mind not of God. These things take root and become prisons keeping us from walking fully and freely in the Favor of God that is given to His Children. If the Lord can speak through a donkey and shut the mouths of lions, He can shut my mouth, too.

 

Matthew 15:10-14 (NIV)

Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth that is what defiles them.” Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

 

Jesus listens when we speak. He knows our heart condition already yet still listens because each word will be placed before us for accountability. Of course, God looks for Truth. Truth covered in love that is. Isn’t that what He did for us? He took the truth about us and covered it in His Blood and Grace. There are many doctrines and religions that tell us what to do and how to live. However churches are often the breeding ground of contempt. Why? We know better. If our mission in this world is for Heaven to come down and touch the earth sparking a revival and if our goal is true discipleship, there is no place for our opinion. It is all about God’s Love and the Truth – Jesus Christ.

 

Does every single word I speak point to Jesus Christ? Does it turn on an indescribable light that leads others to His Love? As I lay my words on the altar, I am sad to say that not every one of them is worthy of His Name. As I pick through each sacrifice of breath, I realize the very Breath of His Spirit is grieved by some of them and now so am I. I don’t want to be a Pharisee with a mouth that is nothing more than a whitewashed tomb or a cup clean on the outside but filthy on the inside. The Word of God cuts bone from marrow and now in me, too. Bitterness is a root that comes from a seed. The Holy Spirit weeds the heart of the willing but it is done at the sacrifice of pride. To have any root other than Jesus Christ as the foundation of our thoughts at the center of one’s heart and mind is to invite death and devastation. Faith killers, joy stealers, dream crushers, and satisfaction enders are the words left unfiltered by washing them in the Word, inspected by His Spirit and smothered in His Love.

 

James 3:3-6 (NIV)

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

 

Proverbs 18:21 tell us that “the tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” The words released from our mouth have the absolute power to change the atmosphere. It is not in our own understanding or wisdom but each delivery that comes from a heart filled with love and Spirit produced fruit. I have lived most of my life with my foot in my mouth. I have released horrible words that I wish I could take back. I have learned through many trials that what I say can spark a fire of devastating force. Until I have absolute control of my words and are brave enough to measure them up to God’s Standard of Communication with the absence of all malice. His Word for us is Jesus. He came in the flesh and died for my sins so I could live victoriously. Why do I get caught up in this world? Why do I allow ungodly communication to proceed from my mouth? Why? Life is a process. As the Lord uses His Love and Grace to reveal the areas of our heart still under construction. He will forgive me for my rotten fruit not fit for His People. It is up to me if I will produce a good crop.

 

James 3:9-12 (NIV)

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

 

Today I making a concentrated effort to taste each word before I release it. So many times we credit the enemy for his tactics and skillful attacks that leave us devastated and hurting. We applaud him for ruining our day. We give him kudos for knowing just what to do to push our buttons. Is he really that good? Or was just listening to the words that we were speaking? Did he get a hint in our complaining? Did he find an open door in our grumbling? Did he sneak in through bitterness, unforgiveness or malice planting weeds in the Fruit of our Spirit? The Holy Spirit seals us to the Day of Redemption but we still must master this thing called free will. It is the part of us that chooses to love the Lord in all things rather remaining subject just to do’s and don’ts. Our heart must be so full of Jesus that when anything contrary to His Word, Will or Way comes to mind it is quickly and completely taken captive and our complaints will die in our mouth rather than spreading toxin in our life.

 

When pressure and persecution come, it is our job to respond rather than react. It doesn’t matter what another person says when we stand before the Lord. It will be every word that proceeded from my mouth under careful and complete examination. Grace does not stop the process just allows us to make it through all those times the filter fell off of our mouth and corrupt communication escaped us. (Matthew 12:36) Hence, life and death is in our tongue. Could it be revival has been buried in our words? Is it possible that chronic complaining, backbiting, or gossip has stopped the signs, wonder and miracles of God around us? Totally possible and highly probable. Have we killed the next great move of God in our expressed dissatisfaction in our Lord? Any complaint we have is against the Lord no matter who we think is the cause? Any grumbling rumbles discord through our life as our faith is challenged by our fears? We must shut our mouths and let the Lord filter our words if our desire is that His Kingdom be manifested on the earth.

 

Well, my filter fell off. It did. I repent Lord for saying things not representative of the overwhelming grace that I have been given. My river of life is just a bit salty. Cleanse it in your flow today. Wash every word of mine with the Truth of your word. Cover every uncertainty and complaint with the Blood of Jesus. May each word of mind be tied to God’s Great Love for me and carried to another. May the only fire in my words today that spark revival in my heart and soul to start a blaze for Your Glory around the word. It begins with me, Jesus. My words. My communication. No matter what another person says, let my words be always and only reflective of You – Jesus. Just you. Not me. Take the coal of from the altar today – Lord I ask you to cleanse my tongue so I may be used for Your Glory. Amen.

 

Isaiah 6:5-8 (NIV)

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

No Complaints

Close up of woman shushing

Psalm 34:12-14 (NKJV)

Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

 

Life is hard. It is filled with imperfect people and difficult circumstances that persistently apply pressure to God’s People. God uses these situations to grow, develop and mature our faith be able to withstand the test of time. Those who desire life and loves may days that he may seed good…we live for eternity and also here and now. How can we change the atmosphere of our life? How can we take something and difficult to make it a positive gesture? We absolutely have the power to do so because greater is He who lives in us than he that is in the world. It all depends on the contents of our heart. This is easy to discover for those who will listen to their own words on a continually basis. Jesus said that the abundance of our heart is what the mouth speaks. Like an overflowing fruit basket full of fine fruit until the one on the very bottom is discovered with a bad spot that is bitter to the taste and sickening to the stomach. It should not be eaten but quickly discarded. Many times if a bad apple is found in the bag, no one wants the rest of the fruit in fear it may be going bad as well. A moldy piece of bread condemns the entire loaf whether there is another spot or not. So it is with people who live and work around us.

 

I have a good friend who is not a believer. After many conversations, it is easy to discover the problem. Over lunch, she confided that I was the only Christian who she knew that she could tolerate. It was not the message of love and hope that I tried to share with her but her experience with hypocritical people who did not share God’s Love but only condemnation and judgment. Who needs that? We all know the condition of our life. Pride hides all the dirty little secrets. Our heart is a fortress of insecurity and knowledge of the things we have tried and failed. Where is the Light of God’s Love? Where is the hope given to us for the waiting, watching, and wandering world? It is often buried in worthless conversation and endless complaining.

 

By nature, I am a positive person. Whether I was born that way or chose such behavior to navigate a difficult childhood early on, it is who I am. Coming to Christ made my dreams turn to hope. His Word gave me a life to aspire to. It changed my communication or so I thought. Life and death are in power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21) It is true. We are told to speak life but if we do not know what it means to have eternal life and believe it, our mouth will continue to crush our ministry. The lost will remain so and the signs, wonders and miracles of revival never come to pass. You have the power to change the atmosphere of your life. Your home, job, and even your church for starters. It is when we take responsibility for our words that we begin to see the contents of our heart and can decide whether we will be live givers or takers.

 

Isaiah 29:20-24 (NKJV)

For the terrible one is brought to nothing, the scornful one is consumed, and all who watch for iniquity are cut off—who make a man an offender by a word, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and turn aside the just by empty words. Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now grow pale; but when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will hallow My name, and hallow the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the God of Israel. These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine.”

 

For the terrible one is brought to nothing. The enemy has no power whatsoever over the life of a Blood-bought believer. The only authority that he has in our life is that which is given to him. He can come close to you. Stalk you. Trash talk you. He can even manipulate the weak and helpless for his cause, BUT if you are a saved and sanctified Child of the Living God – his ability to torment you stops right there. With that begin said, I hear all the time about what the enemy is doing to people. What about what the Lord is doing on our behalf? If the enemy is battling against your life, it is because God has great purpose and potential for you. The challenges and struggles that put our feet to the fire increase our faithfulness when the trial is withstood. It is that moment it is revealed all that the Lord was doing behind the scenes as He made “all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are the called according to His Purpose. Don’t let the enemy trick you into talking more about Him than praising God for the outcomes of faith which make the impossible a reality.

 

Our words can make us offenders against God. Truly the contents of our heart are evidenced in our daily communication. We will be judged for every idle word. (Matthew 12:36) As believers who are intent on being Children of God and one day entering His Kingdom forever, we must become gatekeepers of our words and examiners of our heart to be found righteous when it matters most. But as for today, our words lead to life or death. They bring us into agreement with God or direct opposition – note there are only two choices. Our errant spirit is brought back into alignment by the Word of God applied to our life as wisdom and sound doctrine. Godly wisdom affirms the hope found in Jesus that will quench our complaints as confidence ends our fear and doubt so faith can grow.

 

Philippians 2:12-16 (NKJV)

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

 

To live in the dispensation of Grace freely given to us by God is to relinquish our right to complain and argue. We have been completed and fulfilled in Christ. Our expectation now is in Him alone. Therefore, we have no right to be offended by others. We are mandated to love them no matter what and forgive them no matter how grave the offense. The Word of God tells us to do ALL things without complaining or disputing. But… Well… Yeah I have no recourse. To be found blameless and harmless in God’s Sight, I must become a light in the darkness and hold fast the Word of life over my right to be right or to be treated justly by the world I live in. It is my profound privilege in Jesus Christ to speak life to all I come in contact with. Do all things, everything without complaining. Brace yourself the next one is tough…

 

Psalm 77:1-3 (NKJV)

I cried out to God with my voice—to God with my voice; and He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah

 

I warned you. Complaining is our soul refusing to be comforted by God and accept His Promises. The enemy is not keeping you from anything, it is our own fickle and unyielding heart that still holds onto what can be seen rather than the unseen. Hope is hope only if it unseen and unattainable outside of God’s Intervention. It is how we are overwhelmed. This is the moment that we surrender our power and authority to the enemy allowing him to move in and overtake us.

 

Women – we can be the worst. We whine, complain and grumble about our husbands, children and friends. Those we love the most are often abused in our communication with other women in the midst of comradery. It is social acceptable to be discontent. It is interesting if we complain to become connected. Gossip veiled in phrases like “bless her heart” are killing us softly from the inside out. Deceptively asking others to pray for us or those around us just to share the latest mess or muster up sympathy. I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman which means that I must learn to speak with wisdom and live the Law of Love beginning with each word. (Proverbs 31:26)

 

We are to speak with a new tongue. (Mark 16:16-18) I am know that I am filled with the Holy Spirit and possess a prayer language called tongues. But in this passage, I cannot help but wonder if the Lord is not speaking as the passage in Isaiah when the seraphim touched the prophet’s tongue with a coal from the altar. Is this not a call for clean communication and refined speech? I wonder if we spoke life in our homes, workplace and churches if the signs, wonders and miracles might return. Are they torn apart before they manifest by our backbiting language and choice not to love? Life and death are in the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21)

 

What would happen if our goal in each day was to utter only praise and only say what God has to say? Would it make a difference? I think so. When Moses petitioned the Lord, yet again, concerning his wayward bunch of wanderers in Numbers 11:1-3, it was because their complaining had sparked God’s Anger. Complaining displeases the Lord. It is a sinful problem that must be dealt with to enter the Promises of God and live in His Peace.

 

Colossians 3:12-14 (NKJV)

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

 

I share this story many times so if you have heard it before my apologies. When our son was undergoing cancer treatment including chemotherapy and radiation, we stayed in a facility provided by the American Cancer Society free of cost. I stayed with him in a one bedroom suite so I could care for him. The twin bed was hard with a plastic mattress cover that crinkled when you moved. Throughout the night, I the steady clicking of the machine that provided nourishment through the feeding tube kept me awake. With neighbors on either side, if someone could not sleep or was ill you could hear it through the thin walls. Toward the end of his treatment, I was getting up for an early morning appointment. My body ached from the uncomfortable bed and exhaustion. As I woke him up, the effects of radiation were evident. I could feel the heat in the darkness so I turned on the light. His ears were separating from his head as the skin was burning and breaking down from the inside out. The ointment on my fingers would melt before I could get it to his skin. He would wince as tears ran down his face silently. Not a word. He did not cry out. He did not complain. He did not gripe or grumble. I told him that it was okay to voice a complaint or tell God this “stunk” not my exact words to be honest. He looked at me and said, “What good will complaining do? It won’t change anything and I only see it making it worse.” I felt so small in the midst of such wisdom. His words were sent by the Lord to instruct me that day. I cannot escape the wisdom in them even today now that the battle is won. Normal life does not impact me as it used to. Complaining is not worth the breath or energy offered. It is in constantly expressing our affirmation and acceptance of the Lord, His Will, His Way and His Word in our life that changes the atmosphere and conditions of our life.

 

Grumbling and complaining expresses dissatisfaction with God’s Love and Care for us. It is evidence of some level of disbelief that is keeping you and I from God’s Very Best. Faith is expressed when no matter what the circumstances or consequences of our life may be our words are filled with praise and adoration for the God we serve and His Son – Jesus Christ. Not just chosen words, but every idle word. Lord, flag those words that I speak today contradictory to your Word, Will and Way. When I complain, immediately convict me. If I grumble, remind me to stop. I want my soul to prosper in You today. I want my heart to overflow with kindness, love and grace as I have been shown by You. May every word I speak plant seeds of life in all who I come in contact with until it blooms into a beautiful garden of life in the midst of the Light of Your Love for us. Lord, I must live with no complaints!

 

I Peter 4:8-10 (NKJV)

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.  As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Acid Rain

Acid Rain

Psalm 19:12-14 (MSG)

Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work; then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin. These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray. Accept them when I place them on the morning altar, O God, my altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar.

You probably remember the essence of this verse to read, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord…” There is power in our words. God does not take an idle word for granted. He hears us when we speak in great anticipation of an expression of faith, love or trust that will release more of the abundance that He has tucked away in Heaven for those who believe. I have lived long enough to eat from the harvest of my conversations and declarations in my life. Some I have enjoyed and others had to choke back down. I found a suggestion yesterday that was a great reminder. It said, “Go 24 hours without complaining. Not even once…then watch how your life starts changing.” What a challenge this is for us? In a world filled with dissatisfaction and discontentment to not voice our concerns for a single minute not one time in the course of the day…I can only imagine the results.

During the first round of cancer treatment, our son was receiving maximum dose radiation to his head and neck. Though not painful during treatment, it burned long after it was over as it continued to radiate the tumor and everything in its vicinity. Toward the end of treatment, his extremely fair skin began to blister and breakdown boiling from the inside out. His skin was so hot that cream would melt before I even put it on him just being in close proximity. Splitting open, it was the most horrific thing I have ever seen yet each day I had to take him back twice a day for treatment. During the last week as I tried to soothe the burning, festering, and open wounds all around his ears and neck, I told him that it would be okay if he told God that this was not okay and that he didn’t like what was happening to him. See up to this point, he had not uttered a single complaint. While I on the other hand continually complained about his situation right down to the uncomfortable bed I had been given to care for him free of charge. I am all too human. While I was professing God’s Faithfulness and my belief that a miracle was coming, I was cursing every step along the way. You know what that kid told me in the midst of agony and pain that few will experience. He said, “Mom, what good would it do to complain about it?” I have never felt so convicted in my life and couldn’t wait to have a talk with Jesus about my bad behavior. Trusting the Lord does not allow for complaining because we know something good is coming. Grumbling only indicates a lack of faith that produces unproductive conversation.

Blessing and cursing is a daily choice. I make the choice with my attitude and actions but most importantly with my words. Words tell the secrets of our heart. Why do you think it reads may the words of my mouth first? Our idle words without thought or intent spill forth the contents hidden in the deepest recesses of our heart. They indicate belief or disbelief. Faith or fear. When we begin to set a new precedence in our life with our daily conversation it will change the productivity in our life.

James 3:7-12 (MSG)

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you

We say that we trust the Lord. We want to believe. We are in a battle that incorporates our body, mind and spirit. We are in control of our body and mind. As we strive to submit our body and mind to the Holy Spirit living inside of us our life has the potential and probability to change. However, either one left to its own devices will rob us of the blessings that God has in store for us as His Children. Such things are released by faith and trusting His Way as the best way for our life even the mountains, valleys, and storms with the waiting that comes with it. Complaining our way through the wildernesses does not produce the same effect as praising our way through trust me I know I have tried both ways. The Promise Land was right there but they kept circling and circling complaining all the way. What if your promise is that close and you are wandering in our words? What if our own confessions over our life are keeping us confined? What a shame that would be to be so close to God’s Glory, Goodness and Favor for our life but kept just out of reach because we voice our discomfort in the process

Luke 6:44-45 (NLT)

A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

The contents of our heart comes pouring out of our mouth. When we speak, there is power in our voice that releases commands in Heaven and earth. How do I know? If you are a Christian or believer who has accepted Jesus Christ as the Son of God and call Him Savior and Lord, then you have the power to bind and loose in Heaven and earth. (Matthew 16:17-19) What are you commanding in your life today? What are you permitting? What are you forbidding? Excuse me while I cower in conviction because while on most days I live on praise and adoration of my God, there are many that I actually gripe and grumble my way through. I call out to God and then hold the door shut with words that do not indicate trust and faith but doubt and fear. Lord, help me watch my word. Let me be the gatekeeper over my mouth that I need to be.

Isaiah 55:10-11 (MSG)

Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

Do you know where rain comes from? God draws water from the earth and pours it back out. (Job 36:26-28) It is simple science designed by God based on sowing and reaping. What is God drawing from your life? When water is pulled from the earth, the rain produces its contents? Rain produced of chemical-infused, polluted water will give forth something called “acid rain”. Rain was designed by God to produce a harvest in our life by watering the seed entrusted to the ground. We plow the ground of our life laboriously with obedience. We plant seeds of faith in good soil. But then we curse our seed with negativity, doubt, fear and anxiousness in the form of words that rain on our harvest and kill it in the field. If you are discontent or dissatisfied with your harvest, yet you are being faithful to God and living a “good” life and planting seeds of righteousness along the way, what are you saying while you wait for the harvest? How sad to think of all the seeds we have sown that died in the ground because of idle words, complaining, grumbling and mistaken statements.

Are you tired of sowing and never reaping? Watch your words. Are you discontent with your life in the Lord? Change your conversation. To experience new results requires making a change otherwise it will just remain the same day in and day out. What if we began speaking God’s Word over our life when tempted to complain or voice our discontentment? It says that God’s Word never returns to Him unaccomplished. We can sow and water our life but it is God who gives us increase by faith and trust in Him. This opens the windows of Heaven to bless our cultivation in life. People who change their words to agree with what the Lord says about their life will prosper.

Philippians 2:13-15 (NLT)

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

Why would the world want a God that does not keep His Promises? Why live in obedience to God if there is nothing to gain? I want the love, joy, peace and true satisfaction that comes from living a life in the Presence of God and in constant fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ. Negativity, complaining, grumbling and venting is cursing our life. Given the Power of the Holy Spirit in us, we have the power to dictate our outcomes based on our confession alone. What are you saying about your life today? What is coming out of your mouth? I am a talker. I am taking on a huge task in the evaluation of my speech today, but I cannot help but want everything that God has for me so I need to stop killing my crops. Are my words like acid burning up my fields? Or are they like fresh spring rain drawn from untouched mountain snow? It is up to me. I am free to produce whatever kind of life I desire. I can follow the Lord in mind, soul, body, and, yes, even mouth. Or I can allow the world to influence my communication and destroy my harvest. God is working in us. This power cannot be taken for granted or it is like giving a toddler a loaded gun praying for a good outcome. He is giving us the desire to please Him and His Power to do so. We must do EVERYTHING without complaining to have God’s Very Best. We must do EVERYTHING without arguing to live in complete agreement bonded by love with the Lord and every other human being on the earth. Ouch! This is how we become shining examples of the Lord of God and a hope that never leads to disappointment. Take the challenge with me to day to totally eliminate complaining and grumbling from our lives today. I am convinced that within a day our life will dramatically change as God pours out more of His Love on us like good rain!

Psalm 34:12-14 (NLT)

Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

Let’s Talk About It

Let

Luke 6:44-45 (NIV)

Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. 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 his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

 

Oh, if I could only tame my tongue. I have every intention of saying the right things but thank God for His Grace and Mercy for all those times that I don’t. We all bear fruit in our daily life. The fruit that we offer others is our attitudes and actions. We are the Kingdom of God sent forth into the world by the Lord to provide that very thing we once needed to others – life and love. So how are we doing in this endeavor? Let’s talk about it.

I want the world to identify with Jesus Christ based on the fruit of my life. The contents of my heart makes its way to my mouth. Sometimes I am fine with the words I speak but there are many times when I wonder where in the world they came from. Those words that are harsh, unyielding, unforgiving or worse. Am I the only one? There once was a mother in our church with more than a handful of children. Each Sunday they would arrive and as she dropped some of them off in our class, she would stroke their head or speak a kind, loving word to them individually as if they were her only one. I began to judge my own parenting by her example as there were some Sundays we barely made it out of the car alive. So one morning, I pulled one of the older children aside for my own personal validation and asked him if his mother was always like this? Did she ever have a meltdown? Did she ever raise her voice? He then proceeded to shatter my image of the perfect mother and I quickly said, “Enough! Enough! I feel better now.” She is still one of my favorite mom’s in the whole world because even though she loses it just like the rest of it – her love and affirmation of her children is clear in her words.

I Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT)

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

 

We emphasize the power of our words but do we empower our words. Hmm… now that’s food for thought today. I want my words to be powerful and draw others to the love and grace I have found in the Lord but is that what I am saying? I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels but if I don’t love others I would just be making noise. How do we wrap our words in love empowering them to share the Gospel that we have in our hearts with a lost and dying world? It is way more simple than we make it.

Ask me about my husband. Go ahead. I dare you. My husband is my best friend. Partner. Wonderful father. Amazing man. The love that I have in my heart for him is overwhelming. I can tell you all about him. Ask me about my children. If you do, you better take a seat. My children are amazing individuals each within their own right. I will gladly tell you all about them. Each word is wrapped in the love that I have for them. I admire them. I appreciate them. I respect them. I know everything there is to know about them. We have relationships. They are not chance encounters but the very ones that I experience life with so I can tell you about it effectively. What if we took the time to have a relationship with Jesus Christ as we do our family and close friends? Such an experience would fill our hearts with real love for the Lord that we could express to other people. It would wrap our words in love rather than those things that pollute the well of our heart. We would speak life because we could identify with it.

John 6:63 (NLT)

The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

 

The Spirit of God lives in us. When we accept Jesus Christ, it is His Spirit that gives us life. Shortly after we say “I do” to the Lord, we begin a covenant relationship. I have been married to Jesus for more than 35 years. Yet, I am only now beginning to fully accept His Partnership in everything I do in life. I have been with my husband for more than 15 years and I have a close, intimate bond with him even in our imperfection! Imagine the potential of the relationship that I have to Jesus Christ if I invest an equal amount of time pursuing my relationship with Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh. Words. As the Spirit turns the dead things in me back to life, it will change the way that I communicate with everyone else. The Bible tells us to speak things that are not as though they were and I believe that. But you have to believe in the One who you get those things from! I can say that my husband is a mechanic. I can let him under the hood of the car and ask him to fix the transmission with total faith that he could do it even though he has no idea how to do it. But I know my husband and know that is not something he does, so I wouldn’t ask him to do it for me. Our words must line up with the Truth to be empowered by God for fulfillment or they will accomplish nothing. Human effort accomplishes nothing. The Word of God is filled with His Spirit and His Life. These are the words that will impact and change me from the inside out and teach me how to love God, Jesus and His Spirit so that I can effectively love others, too.

Proverbs 18:21 (NLT)

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

 

I love to talk. (I can hear my husband snickering already.) Talking has consequences that I have reaped over and over. I have learned that there is time to talk and be silent. If you love to talk, God will use it for His Glory. You just have to make the right choice before you open your mouth and let your tongue start moving. The tongue has the power of life or death hidden in it. Each day the Lord grants us the freedom to choose life or death in how we live. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20) The content of our words is not as important as the intent of them. When we love the Lord with all of our heart, it is filled with His Word. When we speak – lives saturated in the Word of God committed to pursuing Him wholeheartedly will pour out life to others, but those who are only giving God lip service (Psalm 78:35-37) cannot even help themselves. Blessing and cursing cannot flow from the same heart. You have to pick one. Fresh water will always be contaminated by salt water. You cannot separate the two so we must flush our heart with living water to get rid of all impurity and speak life in each moment to each person based on the life of love that we have discovered that changes our intentions in each word.

Matthew 15:10-11 (NLT)

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.”

 

Shut up! Religion tells us what to do, what to say, how to act. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is confessed by our tongue and demonstrated in how we live. Now, hang on. It sounds like Jesus is telling us that He would rather hear our heart saying the right words more than acting all religious. We have a long list of do’s and don’ts that are supposed to keep us lined up with the Lord but it seems to me like Jesus is back to “who do you say that I am”? (Matthew 16) When our revelation of who Jesus is and what He came to do overrides any other need, want or desire, our words will begin to change. As we learn to trust Him more, we will need less religious doctrine to govern our life but will speak truth and live life in love with Him! What do your words say about Jesus? What do they imply about the Greatest Love you have ever known? Perhaps if we would spend more time getting to know the Lord than working on our speeches about someone we do not know – we could set the world on fire with His Love all over again!

Proverbs 13:3 (NLT)

Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.

 

Christianity does not produce a new vocabulary. It simply wraps our words in the love and affirmation that we have found in Jesus Christ. It allows us to love others and make it evident in the words we speak each day. If you have asked Jesus to be your Savior and Lord, but don’t know Him then it will be really difficult to relay that information effectively to others. To read the Bible from cover to cover without experiencing God’s Love first hand is useless. Good information but it cannot save your soul. God’s Word wrapped itself in flesh and has a name – Jesus. You have to “KNOW” that Name to be saved. You have to believe that the Word is true. You have to accept His Love and Grace before offering it to anyone else or it is not yours to share. We are granted long life in knowing Him. It flows from the abundance of our heart. What is in your heart? Be sure that I am evaluating mine. Listen to the Words you speak and it will give you a glimpse of what lies inside your heart. Gentle words are a tree of life. (Proverbs 15:4) I love that. The Lord is offering us more of Himself today as always so that our words will be once again inspired and empowered by His Love!

Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.