Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Tongue

Have you ever found it impossible to be quiet? My son, who is 9, has from the day he could talk, always had to have the last word. It is maybe one of the most trying characteristics a person can have, the inability to know when to shut up. The Bible tells us that:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (KJV) or

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love to talk will have to eat their own words. (God's Word Translation)

About two weeks ago, I began trying to impress upon my son the importance of learning to control his tongue. The Bible is very clear that the tongue is a very powerful weapon. Jesus Christ, the living word of God, will return at the end of this age, and Satan and his followers will be defeated by the power of his tongue:

Rev. 19:15 From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. (NIV)

But as I have been teaching him, it has come to me that I have much to learn about harnassing the power of my own tongue.

The book of James 3:2-9 says:

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. and a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the TONGUE is a SMALL thing that makes GRAND speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue IS A FLAME OF FIRE. It is a WHOLE WORLD OF WICKEDNESS, corrupting your ENTIRE BODY. It can set YOUR WHOLE LIFE ON FIRE, for it is set on FIRE BY HELL ITSELF. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and fish, but NO ONE CAN TAME THE TONGUE. IT IS RESTLESS AND EVIL, FULL OF DEADLY POISON.

If I could control my tongue, I would be perfect? Wow, wait a minute....think about that....and then think about......IT IS SET ON FIRE BY HELL ITSELF.

That's the one place it's so easy for Satan to trip us up...hearing ourselves speak. We're so proud, so boastful, so full of ourselves that it's easy to just let it pour out of our mouths; to the detriment of our whole body and whomever it is that we're speaking to, and for most of us, like my beautiful, adorable, wonderful son, it begins at a very young age. There were so many times when he was little that I wanted to tell him to just close his mouth, shut up, think before you speak, don't just keep talking to hear yourself speak. But the truth is that our world today blasts us when we talk that way to our children. We're living in the age of respect for all. Everyone gets to have his or her say and it seems like from the moment our children are born, we're encouraging them to speak up.

Since we're told that no one has the power to control the tongue, what do we do? What I'm noticing is that it's not until we're dead serious about our relationship with God that we begin to even want to control it, and so as we begin to see the fruit of the spirit living in us, we begin to want more and more to keep our tongues from evil. It's one of those daily things that we have to pray for....the wisdom of God in knowing when to keep our mouths shut, when to speak and what to say when we do.

Proverbs 15:2 tells us that the tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. When we pray for wisdom and self-control in the use of our tongues, others begin to see the effects of harnessing our tongues and we become an appealing example to them. They see that we're not constantly in turmoil with others because of something we said. They see that we're gently spoken. They see that we think before we speak. We use wisdom and care in addressing others and we don't seek to hurt anyone.

When we: stop trying to hear the wisdom of our own words; listening to how beautiful our voice sounds; and stop trying to convince ourselves and others of our great knowledge, we improve our chances of hearing that still, small voice deep inside and we increase the likelihood that we will do and/or say exactly what God wants us to do or say.

What I'm seeing in my walk is a continual need for God to replenish his spirit in me through prayer and reading the word. It is then that I can do all things through him who gives me strength and boy, do I need his strength to control this less-than-a-pound-dragon in my mouth.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Trouble = Joy ????

James 1:2-8
...when troubles comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, but sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

James, the half brother of Jesus, is telling us here that instead of sitting around crying in our soup when we have troubles, we need to get out and jump for joy. Well, maybe not jump for joy, but we should consider it as a chance for spirtual growth. It's never easy accepting sickness or death, or hurt feelings or any of things we consider "trouble" in our lives, but when trouble comes, that is where we learn to lean on the strength and comfort of our savior. Many times during times of trouble, we just would not even be able to "make it through" if we didn't have his strong arm to lean upon.

I have learned through my struggles as a 52 year young woman diagnosed with parkinson's disease that because of my trouble I've had an opportunity to slow down and just sit in the presence of God. I've been afforded a chance to read his word, study, meditate, pray and worship him like I never would have done had I not had to sit down and be still. Each day my faith has grown because he's shown me how to resist the illness, and how to rebuke satan from using illness as a way to bring me down. Instead, I've learned how to put the full use of the power of God to use in my life in prayer and loosing God's will on earth as it is in heaven and binding the things on earth that are bound in heaven. It truly is a powerful formula that God has given us when we accept the gift of salvation from his son.

If you think you can't do this, you should ask God for help and then fully and completely trust him to show you how to do it. If you ask and then think oh, well, he's not really there or he won't help me, then for sure, you are setting yourself up for failure. But God has shown me that if I ask and then TRUST him, he becomes more and more "visible". In other words, the more I ask, the more he gives, and he works more and more often in ways that I can see. If I keep asking for more and more of him, he is faithful to give me more and more of his spirit.

I've been praying that God will fill me with more and more of him, that I will disappear and that only he will be seen by the world....c'mon, Lord, give me more of you, I want all of you that you trust me to have, and let me use it for your glory and benefit here on earth, and please give me your wisdom to know how and when to use it.

Take it from me, an ordinary nobody; every day I ask God to clean out my body closets, throw away all the junk, get rid of stuff I've saved that no longer has meaning, incinerate the garbage, and store some of the stuff I may need later so that when the day is done, I know in my heart that he is restoring a right spirit in me. He is making my heart pure. And then I can ask him to help me make it through the day in his power, and you know what? I am filled with so much joy that I just want to jump and dance and twirl and do a cartwheel!

Praise the Lord! He is good and wise and kind and loving and my father who only wants the very best for me.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mayonaise and............Mustard (Seed) Please

What does faith mean? According to www.dictionary.com, it is a:

1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: e.g., faith in another's ability.

2. belief that is not based on proof: e.g., He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

There is not very much left in the world that we can have trust in or believe is there? It seems like all the things we believed in or trusted as children and as we were growing up have gone by the wayside: a government by the people, for the people and of the people; a lifetime in a whole, undivided family; physical and/or mental health; good food grown sustainably and in accordance to God's original plan (read, NO GMOs). In other words, "happily ever after" is gone - not that it ever was really there, but we, at least, believed it did. I really believed that when I grew up, I would graduate (high school, college, whichever), get a job, get married, have children, love my spouse forever, spend our lives together happily and die.

Thank God that there is one thing left in this world that we can have faith in. God is still in heaven and He is still in control. Isa 44:6 says: Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and beside me [there is] no God. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Did you know that the Lord questioned whether or not there would be any faith when he returns to the earth? (Luke 18:8) Of course, God knows everything, so he knows whether or not there will be faith when he returns. Remember that song "Let There Be Peace of Earth? Change the words to:

There Be Faith On Earth,
and let it be - gin with me._____
Let There Be Faith On Earth,
the faith that was meant to be._____

With God as our Fa - ther,
broth - ers all are we,____
Let me walk with my fa-ther,____
in per-fect har - mo - ny.____

Let faith be - gin with me,
let this be the mo - ment now,_______
With ev-'ry step I take,
let this be my sol - emn vow,___

To take each mo - ment and live each mo - ment
with faith e - ter - nal - ly.____
Let There Be faith On Earth,
and let it be - gin with me._____

The Word of God tells us that: (1) we are saved by the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) with faith in Christ (the size of a mustard seed)we can move mountains; (3) with faith in Christ, we can walk on water; (4) with faith in Christ, we CAN be healed; (5) with faith in Christ we live without fear; (6) with faith in Christ, we can have ALL of our needs met, etc., etc., etc.

I have been praying that God will fill me to my limit with the faith that the Lord Jesus, himself, had. I want to walk on water and move mountains, don't you? You'd have to admit, that would add a new dimension to you life, wouldn't it?

So how do we increase our faith? Spending time in God's presence and in his word will increase your knowledge of him, who he is, what he has said and done through all time of record keeping. Get familiar with the Bible, really familiar, and your faith with no doubt increase. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and is one of the three greatest things: faith, hope and love.

And now, one more definition of faith:

3) Hbr 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Lord, please grow my faith. Give me a desire to spend time with you and to read your Word. I want you to find lots of faith when you return. In Jesus' name I pray.


Monday, May 18, 2009

1 Corinthians 2:7-16

...the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God - his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; IF THEY HAD, they would NOT have crucified our glorious Lord. 9) That is what the scriptures mean when they say, "no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." 10) But it was to US that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets. 11) No one can know a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit. And we have RECEIVED GOD'S SPIRIT (not the world's spirit) so WE CAN KNOW THE WONDERFUL THINGS GOD HAS FREELY GIVEN US.......16) For, "who can know the Lord's thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?" But we UNDERSTAND THESE THINGS, FOR WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST.

This secret which no man knew of, for it was hidden by God since before the world began, was revealed to Paul and made known to the nations. Not just that the Gentiles were to be included in the family of God, but that everyone who believes in Jesus gets eternal life and that life is, ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’

This is an incredible gift and an astounding revelation. So the astounding revelation of this sacred secret is this, "if the rulers of this world
had known of it, ‘they would not have crucified our glorious Lord.’"

When the Holy Spirit revealed this secret to me, the core of my soul was touched. Take a minute here and think about this....if satan and his followers had known that Christ would live in us, they would not have killed Christ on the cross. He was one lone man filled with the Holy Spirit and he performed many great things but because of his death, burial and resurrection, his spirit is available to ANYONE who believes that God raised him from the dead and accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. After Peter received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the Bible says that 3,000people were added to the number of believers. Think of the thousands more that have accepted Christ as savior since that time!

In the Old Testatment, a few were chosen to receive the holy spirit "upon" them, but now as a result of our having accepted Jesus Christ as savior, his spirit lives within us and makes us sons and daughters of God, a gift that cannot be taken away, and so the mystery that only God knew is that Christ lives in US, the hope of glory, forever, and we empowered to do the same works as Jesus, to teach, to preach, to heal, to cast out demons. Is it any wonder then that Satan wouldn't have crucified Christ if he had known this secret? All we have to do is step out in faith with Christ's spirit and begin to act upon the promises of His word to bring about his perfect will. How powerful. Think of what can be accomplished when God's sons and daughters work together in one accord.

That should put a spring in your step today as you walk out your door. Rejoice in the Lord today for you Are a highly favored family member of the Creator of the Universe.

If you haven't accepted Christ as your savior, I encourage you to bow before him and humbly confess your sins to him, ask him to forgive you and repent (turn the other direction). Ask him to fill you with his spirit and to pour out his spirit upon you and then go and tell this "Secret" to all you encounter.