Be imitators of God

It has been a while since I have last written for my website, as I have felt that I needed to have a rest, but just recently the lord has graciously given me the desire to get back into the saddle again.

Therefore, I wanted to write an article that reflected a bit of what the lord has been teaching me lately. That is, to be an imitator of God, as his dearly loved child.

The question I have asked many times over the years is this, how do I truly imitate God so that my life really reflects that he is living within me?

Ephesians 5:1 says:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.  (NASB)

Well the bible is full of wisdom on how to imitate God in righteousness, but the one issue that the lord has been working on me in the last few weeks has been the power in my tongue.

Yes, I am back to this lesson again, and I believe it is because it is easy to become complacent in the use of that little instrument.

So here are a few of the lessons that I have been learning, and by no means perfected.

  • Proverbs 11:9 With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered
  • As a Christian I need to realize that through my knowledge of good and evil and what God desires from me, I must not use my mouth to destroy the people around me, by speaking ill of them and or even listening to others speak ill of them. I need to keep my mouth from evil.
  • Proverbs 11:11  By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down. 
  • I can either be a part of the blessing to others and bring life and joy to a place because of what comes out of my mouth, or I can be like the wicked (non believer) and speak evil of everything and everyone.
  •  Proverbs 11:12 He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, But a man of understanding keeps silent. 
  • I need to understand, that sometimes I just need to shut up!!! I do not need to voice my lofty opinion on every subject all of the time. Especially if it breeds division and slander.
  •  Proverbs  11:13 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.
  • I need to remember not to be a gossip, intentionally or unintentionally, what do I have to gain by speaking about something that I have no business speaking about? I must be aware that gossip will not only separate me from the person whom I am speaking about, but it has the potential of wrecking any hope of a friendship between the person that I am speaking to and the person that I am speaking about. Stop while I am ahead, is my new motto.
  • Ephesians  4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 
  • Yes I think the above verse speaks for itself, I need to use my mouth for good and not evil, building people up in godliness and not playing a part in bringing destruction into their lives.
  •  Ephesians  4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 
  • I will grieve the Holy Spirit, if I continue to act in a way that is evil and useless, and to be honest I really do not every want to do that, so I need to make sure that I put a guard over my mouth.
  •  Ephesians  4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 
  • You can see from the above verse that this is the reason for people using their mouths for evil; as sometimes we have allowed bitterness to mature within our hearts, or it could have been some anger that we felt against another person, and therefore feel  justified when we spoke evil of them, or it was out of pure malice that we found ourselves taking actual joy in tearing another down. This must not be, we as Christians, have to lay these old ways down and allow the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and minds with his love in order for us to love instead of rip others apart.
  •  Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
  • This verse I think sums it up, that we need to be kind and tender hearted to those around us, instead of holding grudges and speaking ill of them or allowing ourselves to be caught up in the temptation to listen to others speak ill of them, we need to be willing to forgive them, to love them and to remember that God has through his great love for us, forgiven our sins, through Christ Jesus.

 So where do we go from here?

My prayer for myself and now also for you is that the Lord will reveal to you, and to me when we fall into the temptation to use idle words, words that bring about destruction instead of hope and healing. My prayer is that the lord will put a guard over our minds, mouth and heart, in order that we will only think of things that bring life, and not death, that our hearts would be transformed by the out flowing of the good that is stored there, through the knowledge of what God desires for us, and that our mouths would speak of that good and bring life to all around us.

 If you feel that the Holy Spirit is tugging on your heart right now, because of what you have just read, Yay God!!!!

 That just means that he wants for you to bring out some changes into your life, in your thought patterns and your speech patterns as well as your heart, and what dwells there. There is no time like the present to ask the lord to forgive you, if you feel that you have used your mouth for less than wholesome purposes.

He is always willing to forgive you and bring full restoration into your life.

 As for me, I realize that this is going to be a life time thing, where I will always have to learn how to keep my mouth from evil, but I know with the help of the lord, I can do it and that all is not lost for me, as he teaches me once again, to cleanse my mouth and use it for his glory and not my destruction.

 

The Spoken Word – Gossip

I have once again been reminded of the fact that the words that proceed from my mouth will either bring life and refreshment to myself and those around me or they would bring death.

It is very easy to form bad habits when it comes to the use of our mouths. Sometimes those habits have been taught to us by other people and other times, we adopt them because it makes us feel better about ourselves.

The Lord recently revealed to me that my mouth once again was getting me into trouble. At the time I enjoyed every morsel that came out of my mouth. I felt justified to say what I was saying and it was not until later did I realize the damage that I had been doing.

You see, I had been having some issues with a person, and how their attitude was affecting me and everyone else around them. Where I landed in hot water with God was, I was retelling these “facts” to another person, “teaching them, what not to do” yes, I know, ridiculous but that is what I did.

I would love to sugar coat what I did, but the truth of the matter is, I was gossiping, slandering and tearing down the integrity of that person, as I retold “My side of the story”. Yuck!

In the process, I realized that not only had I compromised my relationship with both of those people, but I had sinned against God who tells me not to gossip, and slander another person. I felt horrible and apologized to the person whom I had told the story to.

You see, in my irritation with the person, I felt justified to shake my head and say,” see look at that behavior is it not awful?” not realizing at the time, that my behavior was just as bad. God wants us to be people of integrity who use our mouths to bring life to all those around us. To speak well of them, instead of using our time to tear them to pieces as we smugly sit on the side lines and discuss them.

I know that I do not want people to talk about me behind my back, therefore I need to make sure that I do not do it to other people.

James 3 tells us that the tongue is hard to control, but we need to learn to bring it into submission under God.

James 3:5-6

 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 person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 

James 3:9 – 10

 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.   Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 

I desire to be a woman whose tongue brings life to those around me, I desire to build up and encourage the people that God has given me the privilege of ministering to. I cannot do that, if I allow my tongue to be used as an instrument for evil.

In the book of Isaiah, God had shown the Prophet Isaiah a vision of heaven and had called him to be a prophet to the people of Israel, but during the time of this vision, Isaiah realized that he was a man of an unclean tongue who also lived amongst people who also used their words for evil and not good.

Read the following scripture to find out what God did to remedy this situation;

Isaiah 6:1-7

 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 

 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.   “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 seraphs 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.” 

Brothers and Sisters, your sin and mine have also been atoned for by the blood of Jesus Christ through his death on the cross. You have been given the right to become a child of God and been sealed with the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing your inheritance one day. Therefore, you have also been given the ability to choose to walk in righteousness all the days of your life.

If you have found yourself depicted in this article, I pray that you would ask the lord to forgive you. He promises that he will.

Please understand something, I did not start out the day, thinking, hey I am going to gossip about someone today, but I found myself there. I know that the bible teaches that we should not do it, therefore I knew that what I had done was sin. I still did it, but when I realized that I had sinned against God I asked him to forgive me. Which I know he did as that too is a promise in the bible.

I believe that God enables us to learn and grow more and more into Christ likeness when we acknowledge sin in our lives, repent quickly, learn from it and determine not to do it again. In the following scripture the apostle Paul tells the believers where we are to set our minds, they are to be set not on earthly things but in the heavenly realms. We are to clothe ourselves with the good that God has given us, and literally de-robe from the things that held us captive before, even gossiping.

 Colossians 3:1-17

 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.   For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.   When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.   Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.  But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.  Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.   And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.   Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

I pray that the lord will bless you today as you clothe yourself with Him and His righteousness, and leave behind the things that will put you into the bondage of sin once again.

 

 

dirty cocoa mouthDirty Cocoa Mouth!

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 When we attempt to live our lives according to God’s standards and not our own, we are called to live at a higher standard.

Every moment of the day we are faced with the choice to use our mouths for good or for evil, sometimes we slip up and things come out that we deeply regret. It is our responsibility to ask the Holy Spirit to continuously help us to guard what comes out of our mouths.

 The Holy Spirit’s job is to lead us into all truth, meaning that he will show us when we have deviated from the truth of God’s word.

 Pro 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. 

Pro 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Pro 4:24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

 Above are a few of the verses about the power that our tongue has to set the course of our lives. We have to choose continuously to guard our lips from saying things that could potentially harm another person. This is often hard to do as we find ourselves with words that flow way faster than our brains often do.

 The following is an excerpt from an apology letter that was written from a dear friend of mine. I thought that it absolutely conveyed the thoughts of most of us. I am sure that you will be able to relate to her words…

Open mouth. Insert foot.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you open your mouth…
(need I say more?) Should I say more? should I say, “I” instead of “YOU”?
I open my mouth at which point I might just as well insert my foot, because anything else coming OUT of the mouth won’t be much better than stinky feet.
To make matters worse, there’s a little voice inside my head saying, “DON’T!!!! Don’t go down that path!”
But, I choose to ignore it.  Open mouth. Insert foot.
The words come pouring forth.  The path widens before me like a candy, chocolate covered wonderland, and for a moment looks just as delicious.  As I finish my first sentence and taste the words, some how they don’t taste as good as I thought.  The proverbial “eyes were bigger than my stomach” well, this time my tongue was bigger than my heart!
Although my heart meant well, I choose to turn a deaf ear to the still small voice and venture on.  The candy melts on the end of my tongue like mud drips off an icicle on the back of your car.  Not sweet.  Not chocolate.  Not edifying.

Now the words are out.  I chose the path.  I have to find my way back. 
Silence.  Apology.  Those would be good options, but, instead I choose to talk on.
Open mouth, change feet.
In attempts to repair the damages, to spit out the melted mud that I once thought would taste like chocolate, I find that the lollipop I thought I was licking is really just a piece of dry wool.
Mouth now full of lint and dirt, I might as well change the subject, because there is no repairing this.

In our attempts to fix our little broken worlds, and speaks words of kindness, we some how seem to make matters worse. All our attempts at kindness are broken or at best come from cracked pots.  Sometimes the crack is just a little too close to the bottom where the years of dirt have accumulated and once in a while some dirt gets out on others.  We try to hide the cracks…try to turn the vessel around so people see the “pretty side.”  But, from time to time we get twisted around, and the cracks show, and sometimes, the sludge at the bottom comes out.

At this point in the letter came the apology, and as you can see it was definitely heart felt.

I pray that you to would allow the Holy Spirit within you to reveal to you when you have let your mouth run off with words that you later regret; that you will humble yourself and ask him to forgive you for using your mouth in a way that does not edify the other person.  I pray that you would also go to that other person and ask them to forgive you for using your words to bring harm to them.

Practicing this principle of guarding your mouth will bring you much peace and joy in your life.

So the next time you are tempted to let your mouth run wild, please remember these great words, and listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. That way you will not have to go and apologize for having a Dirty Cocoa Mouth.

My Never Again list

 

One: Never again will I confess “I can’t”;for I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)

Two: Never again will I confess Lack;for my God shall supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)

Three: Never again will I confess fear; for God has not given me a Spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

Four: Never again will I confess doubt and lack of faith; for God has given to every man a measure of Faith (Romans 12:3)

Five: Never again will I confess weakness;for the Lord is the strength of my life (Psalms 27:1) and the people that know their God shall be strong and do exploits (Daniel 11:32)

Six: Never again will I confess supremacy of Satan over my life; for greater is He that is within me than he that is in this world. (1John 4:4)

Seven: Never again will I confess defeat; for God always causes me to triumph (spiritual victory) in Christ Jesus (2Corinthians 2:14)

Eight: Never again will I confess lack of wisdom; for if you are lacking in wisdom all you have to do is ask God and he will give it to you without measure (he will not be stingy, he will not hold back) (James 1:5)

Nine: Never again will I confess sickness; For with His stripes I am healed (Isaiah 53:5) and Jesus Himself took my infirmities and carried our diseases (Matthew 8:17 & Isaiah 53:4)

Ten: Never again will I confess worries and frustrations; For I need to cast (Lay) all my cares upon Him (Jesus) who cares for me (1 Peter 5:7) In Christ I really am “carefree”

Eleven: Never again will I confess bondage; for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Twelve: Never again will I confess condemnation; for there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (In Christ Jesus, he no longer holds my sin against me and I will not be condemned by it.)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I live near the Rocky Mountain range in Southern Alberta, and we often have some very strange weather in this part of the country. In the winter we can be having a cold snap that makes the temperature plummet to a cool and breezy -40 degrees Celsius. Trust me it can get very cold here, and then a Chinook, which is a warm wind, can blow in and it raises the temperature up to a balmy -10 degrees Celsius, all in a matter of hours.

Crazy as that sounds, it is true, I have lived through this dramatic change of weather for a long time. The reason I tell you this, is because about a year ago, I was planning to attend a ladies retreat in a beautiful resort town in the Rocky Mountains called Lake Louise. It is absolutely gorgeous there and it is approximately 3 hours from my home.

We were due to leave at about 1pm in the afternoon for our little adventure up to the mountains, with just our luggage, and no husbands or children for a whole weekend. Trust me there was excitement amongst the ladies.

The night before we were to leave, the snow started to fall, and normally in Alberta it is not anything to be concerned about and so I did not pay it much mind. Well by mid morning the following day, we had a full blizzard happening. This did not go over well with me, as I had paid a lot of money to have the privilege of a weekend away from mom duty and I was going.

My husband was quite concerned about the weather, and rightly so, the ladies that I was driving were concerned about the weather and like I said, they had a good cause to be concerned. Ok to be honest I was concerned about the weather too. I realised though by mid morning that our planned getaway was in serious jepordy. I was quite upset.

Around the same time that I came to this realisation, I started to feel really sleepy and lethargic and started to become frightened about what was lying ahead for us on the road. The other ladies that were driving with me decided that they were willing to risk going, and I was to be the driver.

Like I said, I was starting to feel really sleepy and scared of getting into an accident.  I then started to feel something rise up inside of me, (The Precious Holy Spirit), and I felt like I needed to read the above “Never Again” list. Well I did and my daughter joined me in declaring the word of God. Together we grew in our excitement of declaring war on discouragement and fatigue. We boldly and loudly spoke the truth of who our God is.

 It really felt like we were kicking down the doors of discouragement and hopelessness and fatigue by declaring the word of God out loud. Before long we both felt like a releasing of the peace of God come over us in the kitchen. I believe that the Holy Spirit showed us that even though the enemy was trying to use discouragement and fatigue to disuade us from venturing out, God was about to turn it all around and use the faith that He gave us to believe his word for our strengthening and encouragement.

I felt the fatigue and the discouragement leave me, and a peace that truly passes all understanding invaded that space instead. I felt renewed both in body and in my spirit.

I tell you this story to encourage you, that the word of God, has power and it is true. There is not a lie found within the pages of the Holy Bible. God promises that He is near to all who call on Him and that is what I was doing, I was calling on God for strength and help. God was faithful and met my need of strength and encouragement.

When the enemy tries to come at you with lies and discouragement, please run into our Heavenly fathers arms, you get there through prayer, the prayer of faith. God promises that when we pray in faith and do not doubt his words then He will answer us.

Call to Him today, declare out loud the wonderful and precious word of God and I know that God will without a doubt meet your every need.

These above verses are not a magic formula to get God to do what you want him to do. But by declaring the truth of God’s word to your situation you are standing in faith and God says that our faith is what will move mountains and move the obstacles that have formed in our lives.

Consider these scriptures, write them down, study them, absorb the truth of what they say to you, and memorise them. Pray and ask the Lord to reveal more of himself to you through these precious words,He is faithful and He will. He promises that if we hide his word in our hearts it will lead us to walk in the path of true righteousness and we will have his direction and peace in the midst of whatever the circumstance that we find ourselves in.

Call on Him today, he is waiting.

God Bless you all indeed.

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Have you ever done anything and thought to yourself “oh what is the harm in that, no one will know or care”

 There once was a young man who loved speed. He was not all that particular about what was speeding, as long as he was in it. He was absolutely fearless. He was the kid that always climbed the highest on the monkey bars as school, jumped off the roof of his house to land on the trampoline below, his poor mother was not sure if either he or her would survive his childhood.

 Well the little boy grew into a teenager and acquired his driver’s license. He was so excited and could not wait to get his own vehicle to drive around town. As you can imagine he was a bit reckless behind the wheel and would always try to push the limits of his vehicle, without of course getting a speeding ticket.

 He tried really hard to impress his friends by his skillful driving and how he could speed through residential areas undetected by the law enforcement officers. He loved to squeal his wheels when he came to a stop at stop signs, especially if his buddies were in the vehicle. Some times he did not even bother stopping at the stop signs at all.

 In the same town lived a lady who enjoyed the freedom that her vehicle offered her. She could get her groceries from the store and she could visit her friends and go to all of the social events that she was a part of.

 She decided one day to run a quick errand on the way to visit her girlfriend for tea. She was a very conscientious driver and always checked her mirrors. She tried really hard to obey the stop signs and in all of her driving career had never received a speeding ticket or any other kind of driving infraction.

 She set out to do her errands and came to a stop sign in town. The young man was also fast approaching this same intersection. The people in the vehicle with him were encouraging him to drive faster down this street as it had a bend in it that was really exciting to go around, especially when you were speeding. Of course the young man was never one to back down on any challenge, so he sped up.

 The music was blaring in the back seat and everyone was having a great time in his vehicle. Someone’s cell phone rang and the young man thought it was his and started rummaging through the console of his vehicle for the phone.

 The next thing he knew; he heard a loud bang and looked up. There before him was the unthinkable. He had driven right into the back of a lady’s vehicle. It was badly damaged and so was his vehicle. His passenger that was in the front of the vehicle with him was moaning and holding his head. He had not been wearing a seatbelt and had hit his head on the windshield. He was in shock; he did not know what to do.

 The Moral of the story is this:

If you do something enough times it becomes a habit, and if you choose to disobey the rules set in place to protect you, you will end up having to pay the consequences for that choice.

 Just like this young man who had sped through that intersection so many times he did not even realize it was there anymore. 

 If we choose to ignore these safe guards, we will end up paying a high price for our disobedience.  Notice that this young man didn’t decide that he would speed and answer his telephone while driving for the first time that day. Instead, all of his choices and decisions in the past had led up to the events that occurred that day.

 Be careful what you let slide in your life; you never know where that slippery road will eventually lead you.

 God tells us that we are to guard our hearts, and our minds and our tongues. We are to think on things that will bring life to us and to other people.

I want you to stop and think for a moment about the things that you are letting slide in your life.

 Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else guard your heart as it is the wellspring of life”

 What are you allowing to become “Normal” for you? Are your words a little to sharp to others around you? What are the things that you are reading? Are they things that bring you closer to the lord or does it put a dividing line between you and Him?

 Are you participating in any ungodly practices? Like lust, sexual immorality? What are you letting slide. The enemy of our souls would love nothing better than to draw us away from the dynamic, exciting life that God in His great mercy says that he has given to us, His children.

 If you are allowing anything into your life that will draw you away from our Heavenly father, I ask you to consider stopping. Pray and ask the Lord to forgive you, fill you mind and heart with the word of God.

 You will be amazed how your life will be changed when you start to put positive practices into your life, instead of negative ones.

 God bless you

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

I have written a short story to illustrate a point, please do not be offended by it, I am not trying to single any one sex out for their behaviour. To be honest, in my own home, I have experienced both sides of this story. I pray that you will read it with objectivity and realise that it comes from a heart that desires you to learn new things about living a life that is holy and pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you.

 I have seen many times over the years of my marriage and observing others in their marriage how the power of our words can have either fantastic results or disastrous results.

 Why would I say that, consider with me for a moment, how you speak to someone and the tone of voice that you use; the depth of emotion all determines how the other person is going to respond back to us.

 For example:

 I come home after a long and grueling day at work, my boss had complained about something I did or did not do, the clients that  I was dealing with were none to happy and expressed that to me in a very vocal way. So by the time I got home I was physically and emotionally drained. I was done.

 My wife had a strenuous day dealing with our little children, she had to play referee, break up fights, feed them, change their diapers all day, listen to the screaming for this toy or that, do the laundry, pick up the toys that the children spilt for the tenth time, and make dinner when I get home.  You get the picture, I didn’t even mention half of the things that she did but she knows, and she is exhausted, tired of the kids, of the house and of me, for what reason I could not say at that moment.

 I walk in the door, tired and ask what is for supper. I forgot to say hello because really all I can think of is having some food and sitting down to relax.  I am done.  She is also tired and replies in a less than pleasant way that she had not started it yet. I get annoyed and say to her, “well the house is a mess it does not look like you have done anything all day.  Why on earth could you not do something so little as make me some dinner I am starving.”

 I have worked all day and I want to eat.  I storm into the kitchen, make myself a snack and go upstairs to our bedroom where I eat my snack in the peace and quiet. Have a nice long shower, lay on our bed intending on helping her with dinner, but fall asleep.  I wake up about a half hour later smelling the wonderful smell of my wife’s great cooking. Ah! How I love her, I think to myself. She is making my favorite food.

 Feeling all refreshed I grab some clean clothes and head down stairs. I smile sweetly at her and tell her how wonderful she is for making my favorite dinner. She makes a snide comment about how she has slaved all day. I get a little irritated but don’t respond. My children are crying and I ask her what their problem is and she says to me that “they  are hungry and if I was any kind of husband or father I would know that” I am shocked, what is her problem I think to myself, I am just making conversation.

 Her body language is telling me to back off but her second comment to me has sent me into a tailspin of pure annoyance. I tell her that I to have had a long hard day and I earned the money for this meal so I should be able to enjoy it without all of the attitude.  Lucky for me I had moved out of the kitchen at this point as she was cutting up the tomato’s for the salad and had a knife in her hand.

 We continued to cut each other down all evening; she was annoyed with my insensitivy at not helping out when I got home. To be honest I was just hungry and tired. I did not understand what the big deal was.

 When we finally got into bed, as any hot blooded American male I was ready to show my wife that I still had some stamina left after the day. So I put on my best charms to win her over. I literally got the cold shoulder, she told me to back off and that when I appreciated her a little more then she would be willing to respond to me in a more positive way.

 I was hurt and crushed, not understanding what had happened that evening. I felt like it was a waste of my time even coming home. Why did I bother when I got a response like that all evening? My wife on the other lay on the other side of the bed in tears which she hid. She felt totally unloved and not appreciated as a mother and a wife for any of her efforts.

 How do we get out of this? It seems to be a continuous cycle.

 This is an all to common scenario in marriages, why? For many reasons and I will try and discuss a couple.

 You see the first thing that people who are married to need to understand is that they have the power to build up their spouse or destroy their spouse just by what they say and how they say it.

I realise that it seems like common sense but most of us often speak without giving much thought to what comes out of our mouths. There is a very wise saying that comes from the book of proverbs that says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” Proverbs 12:18

 We have the choice of how we use our mouths, we have the choice to destroy the other person and tell them off and show them what we really think of them. Or our other alternative is to speak encouragement and love to someone.

 Do you remember that old song that all of us would sing on the play ground, “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me”

Read that again, do those words even begin to ring true with you. No, they are a lie, words do harm and they harm for a lot longer than what we think they do.

If you think back to your childhood and think of things that people have said to you, I guarantee that you will remember more of the negative and bad things that people have said to you than any of the good. Why is that? It is because words to harm they are like a cancer to us that can eat us alive.

 You are the only person that can change how you speak to other people. You are the one that is the gate keeper of all that comes out of your mouth. Think of the things that you have said to people and see where you would rate yourself. Would you rate yourself as a person who always speaks life giving encouragement to others or do you choose to tear them apart with your opinion. People who choose the latter response often justify it with; well I am just speaking the truth.

 Yes we need to always speak the truth to one another but in love. In a way that would build them up and not tear them down. Now imagine if that husband had come home and recognized that he was tired, and decided instead of being self absorbed that he would hug and kiss his wife and tell her how much he appreciated her hard work at home with their children. She probably would of responded way differently. He might of even being able to persuade her a little extra loving later on.

 It is all about how we speak and react to those around us. If any of this rings true to you, there is hope and you can change how you respond to those whom you love. It takes practice and determination to choose your words well.

 God bless you today

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 I want to start with a verse that shook me to the core of my very being, I did not realize the long term effects that my words would have on my life. I will share it with you and then we will tear it apart a little. Please take some time and read this chapter of Matthew for yourself, as I have only taken a portion of it for this teaching.

 Matthew 12:33-37

33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 
34Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks
35A good man out of the good treasure £of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 
36But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 
37For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

 Wow, these few verses send chills running down my spine. In essence it is telling us that every idle word that we speak here on this earth, during our life times, we will have to give an account for.

 When I first read that I was admittedly terrified, and the reason is quite obvious, I know the things that I have spoken and I know that my motives when speaking them have not always been very good.

  So how on earth could I ever stop using my words as weapons of mass destruction?

 In the few verses before verse 36 it gives us some clues on how to tame what comes out of our mouths.

 In verse 33 it says; 33“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” 

 Throughout Jesus’ teachings he refers to Christians as people who will bear much fruit, he spoke to his disciples about them bearing fruit. But what is this fruit that is spoken about here?

 Galatians 5:22-23 is a good place to start, it tells us that the fruit that is produced through the Holy Spirit living within us is; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

John 15 tells us that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, and if we stay connected to him we will bear much fruit, and like any vine that produces an abundant crop it needs to be pruned and watered and cared for. That is what God does for us, he prunes, cares for and waters (teaches and grows) us.

 In this particular verse it is telling us directly that we are to either make the tree (us) good and produce a good harvest from it, (Galatians 5:22-23), or we grow a tree (us) that is bad and produce rotten fruit that brings death and destruction into our lives.

 What kind of fruit are you producing at the moment, with your actions and attitudes?

 Verse 34 says; “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

 Now granted, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees at the time of this conversation, and they once again doubted the words that he had spoken. So he calls them a Brood of vipers! He asks them this rhetorical question, “How can you, being evil, speak good things?”

 He does not want them to answer him, but is stating a very important fact that we cannot overlook as truth seekers. He called them evil and then stated that because they were evil; they could not possibly speak any good thing. There was no way for any truth or goodness to come out of their mouths.

 Then Jesus goes on to say that “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” What does that mean to us? Well let’s think about it for a moment, if we look at the word abundance, it means to overflow.  Think of a pot of soup that is boiling on the stove, when it reaches a certain temperature, it starts to bubble over the top of the pot, and before long it has gone over the boundaries of the pot and has overflowed onto the stove, causing a huge mess.

 The same principle applies here; whatever is inside of our hearts will inevitably flow right out of our mouths, no doubt about it, just like that boiling pot of soup. Like the pot of soup it can either cause a lot of damage to those around us, or if the things that are flowing out of us are good, then it will nourish the people around us instead. Therefore in the book of proverbs it deals extensively with the issue of guarding both your heart and your lips. (We will attack that next)

 Proverbs 13:3

“He who guards his Lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”

 You can see here in proverbs, written (by King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live) a long time before Jesus came to earth that it is a good thing to guard our lips as it literally guards our lives

 Verse 35 says: A good man out of the good treasure £of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”

   Remember, that if we are filling our hearts with good things that come from God, that good will come out of our mouths, and the opposite is true as well. If we are filling our hearts with wrong thinking, sinful behavior and anything that is in contrast to God, then that is truly what will come out of our mouths.

 We as Christians have to learn to first of all guard our hearts, so that what comes out of our mouths is good and edifying for those around us. If we don’t put this principle into practice in our daily lives it will bring about untold sorrow and destruction.

 In the next article we will be dealing with the principles that we need to put into place in our lives so that guarding our heart against the evil things in this world becomes like second nature to us.

 Now finally onto the last 2 verses,

 Verse 36:But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”

 Yes my friend, you read that correctly, Jesus himself said that for every idle word that men speak we will have to give an account of it on the day of judgment.

 It was this particular verse that got my attention when it came to how I use my words. I thought of how terrible it would be to have all the things that I have ever spoken to be put forth before Jesus one day, and how that would make me feel. I immediately felt the feelings of embarrassment at the words that I knew I had spoken.

 I repented of the wickedness that I had built up in my heart and asked the lord to help me to build his truth as the measuring stick for everything in my life. If it did not measure up to the truth of God’s word, the bible, then I do not want anything to do with it. Essentially I was asking God to help me to guard my heart and my lips from sinning against him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God is faithful to fulfill that request.

 Verse 37: “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

 This verse says it very clearly for us to understand, we will; my brothers and sister either be justified(made in right standing with God) by our words that we speak or we will be condemned, because we have allowed wickedness to take root in our hearts.

 Examine yourself:

In this section, I want you to take a few moments and examine your heart.

  • Ask the Lord to show you areas in your heart where you have allowed your heart to become hard to his teachings?
  • Ask him to show you how you use your words. Are they being used to build people up or are they being used to tear people down?
  • Do you tend to excuse your behavior as, “Well I am a tell it how it is kind of a person”
  • Do you find yourself feeling a sense of satisfaction when you have given someone a piece of your mind?
  • If you have children, how do you speak to them? Do you treat them with respect by the words that you speak to them? Or do you criticize and condemn their every action?
  • Do you find that sometimes you might be thinking of saying these hurtful words to people, but you don’t? You might feel a sense of accomplishment that you did not say anything, but you are still harboring those thoughts in your heart.

 If you have found that you have answered yes to any of these questions, friend please realize that you are not alone, we as human beings all struggle with these things, but there is hope, hope to be able to walk in freedom from the terrible hardening of our hearts towards Christ.

 Take a few minutes with me now and let us pray together that God would forgive us for hardening our hearts and that He would teach us to guard our hearts from this day forward.

 Dear heavenly father, we come before you today and ask that you would forgive us for hardening our hearts towards you. Forgive us for the lies that we have believed that has put us into bondage. Father we desire to be a people whose hearts are whole heartedly devoted to you, and to do that we know that we have to learn to guard our hearts and our lips.

Please help us, through the power of your Holy Spirit. Teach us to run to you when we have messed up and make us more aware every day of what is coming out of our mouths. In Jesus name we pray.

 

Amen.

Dear Brother and Sister in Christ

I will be discussing the importance of learning to Guard your tongue, this is by no means an exhaustive study on the subject, but I will attempt to cover more on this subject in future articles.

  I want you to think for a moment about the spoken word. It is a very powerful force in our world. God spoke and the earth and everything in it was created. Presidents, judges speak and laws are put into place in our society. I want you to realise that the spoken word is extremely important and it can be either used for the benefit of yourself and others or for their destruction. We as christians, have the Holy Spirit living within us;  this is a biblical fact. (John 14)

Now if the Holy Spirit is living within us, then we need to learn to practice speaking life into our prayers, life into our marriages, children’s lives, and life into those whom God has called us to minister around us. Please put these principles into practice in your life and you will have a greater sense of God working in and through you.

 One of my favorite verses in the bible is found in 2 Peter 1:3-11 as it is a road map for Christian living. We need that map that Christ has provided to us. Read this passage of scripture as it is very important in setting the stage for all that we will be covering in the next few articles.

 2 Peter 1:3-11

  • 3. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
  • 4. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
  • 5. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
  • 6. and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
  • 7. and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
  • 8. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 9. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
  • 10. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall,
  • 11. and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

As you can see in these verses the Apostle Peter is telling us that we have been given everything that we need as believers in Jesus Christ to live our lives in godliness. We are able to tap into the resources of God through our knowledge of God and his son, Jesus Christ.

I want you to realize that even though Christ gave us the gift of Eternal Life, and the forgiveness of our sins, we have the responsibility to walk that reality out here on earth. We cannot say to God one day, “Sorry about that I didn’t know that I had to control my tongue too!”

  We are told to make every effort, to add to our faith, goodness, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.

  Now I realize that it does not say anything about the power of the tongue in these verses but I want to establish the thought with you that we have to make every effort to live the way that God has set out for us. I believe that because he has given us everything that we need to live a Christian life, victoriously, we also have the ability to learn to control our tongues.

 Now onto Proverbs, the book of Proverbs talks extensively on the subject of our tongues and how they are either used to create something good or tear something apart.

 Proverbs 18:21

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

 We are told that our tongues have the very power of life and death, that is a scary thought, as we can either bring refreshing life into a situation or bring death into it by the words that we speak.

 I am sure that at some point in your life you have been at the but end of someone’s horrible words to you, they have felt like 1000 knives being stabbed into you at one time. The effects of those words can last a life time.

 Then there is the other side of the coin, where you have received words of encouragement or affirmation. They have proven to build you up and encourage you to pursue what you loved to do. It amazes me how a few simple words can have such a profound effect on our lives.

 Proverbs 14:8

“The wisdom of the prudent (wise man) is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”

 If you are a Christian, we are told by God that we can and must ask for his wisdom. ( The reason that we need God’s wisdom in this world is to live a life that is worthy of the calling that he has placed on us). Why would that be important? Well if someone gives you a gift of great importance you are not going to throw it into a heap on the floor, step on it, kick it and eventually put it into the trash. No, you will treat it with great respect and treasure it. You will go out of your way to make sure that it is safe.

 My friends, with this in mind, think with me for a moment about the gift that God has given each of us. He gave us the gift of eternal life through his son Jesus Christ. He told us that in Christ we are clothed in righteousness, and have been made into new creations. That is his free gift to us. He also tells us that because of this gift there are a few (ok a lot) of things that are required of us as we walk with him in our faith. (If we disregard the gift that he has given us, we are foolish, and allow deception to rule every aspect of our lives)

 One of the things that we as Christians need to do is to become wise with God’s wisdom and give thought to our ways. We need to live deliberately and not with an attitude that anything goes.  I know that when we deliberately set our minds to do what God says we are to do, we are not only walking in obedience to his ways for us, but we are actually living in the fullness of  his will for our lives.

 Part of walking in deliberate wisdom in Christ Jesus is learning the different principles that he has laid out for us; one of them being the power of the Tongue. Our mouths literally hold the key to life or death in our lives. We need to learn how to submit it to the lord and use it for his purposes and not our own destructive, selfish purposes.

I pray that each of you will give more thought to the words that are coming out of your mouths, if this is the first time that you have ever heard such a message and think to yourself, well that is easiear said than done. My friend, let me encourage you with this thought. I was the kind of person who never gave a second thought to the words that came out of my mouth, whether it was to cut some one to pieces or to laugh at their calamity. Until of course the day that God started a restoration work on my heart. He showed me the effects that my words were having on the people around me, and not only that, how the words that others had spoken to me were slowly eating me up inside.

I had to start with repenting for the words that I had spoken, over my life, to other people and allow God to remove the stain of those words, then I had to be willing to learn a whole new way of living. I asked God to show me every time my mouth spoke before my brain could catch up. He was faithful and did that. Soon after I had done this I noticed that if I did speak out of turn, or said something hurtful, the Lord would always show me, so that I could repent, and then go and ask that person to forgive me.

This discipline of watching my tongue, that the lord was teaching me has come in very handy over the years. I have saved myself alot of grief by keeping my opinions to myself. I have also developed a deeper walk with God, due to the fact that I was actively trying to walk in obedience to his word and way for my life.

I pray that God will bless you and your efforts to learn to control your tongue

In the next article we will learn how to guard our tongues effectively.

Dear Brother and Sister in Christ

I want to give a brief introduction into what I consider one of the most important things that we as believers need to learn to control. That is our tongue, the bible has many ways to describe the tongue, and we will be exploring it in the next few articles.  I pray that as you read these words, that you will be encouraged to learn to use your tongue in a  way that brings life to those around you.

The other day I over heard a father say to his son “you are such and idiot, can’t you do anything right?” I watched as the father stood there berating his son for some misdemeanor that his son had committed.

He seemed oblivious to the effect that it was having on his son and for that matter how it made him look. He kept up the abuse and finally when he had finished with his barrage of words he walked away; satisfied that he had “disciplined his son” and was a better man for it. The truth of the matter is that it served only to completely humiliate his son, and cause a chasm so wide and deep between the son and father.

 The son who had taken that abuse learnt a few things from his dad in that short space of time; he learnt that in his father’s eyes he was not of any great value, for if he was, he would have respected him as a person and chosen another way to discipline him.

 I saw another instance of a little boy standing on a play ground with his friends, he was not as athletic as the other boys but he did like to play sports. They were starting up a game of football and he wanted in, I heard one of the boys pipe up and say, “hey fatty, go find something else to do, like maybe eating some donuts or something!” All the boys around him laughed so hard, they thought it was hilarious. I could see in the little boy’s face that he wanted to stand up to them and say something but feelings of hurt flashed across his face but instead he turned and walked away slowly, head down and shoulders hunched.

 Two teenage girls were walking down the corridor at school, as they did so they saw Belinda. Belinda was the girl who was clumsy, she was not so pretty, always wore home made or hand me down clothes. Well in their opinion she was not appealing at all. They took great pains in showing her how plain and stupid she really was. The never missed a chance to belittle her, in front of everyone of course. They also made sure that everyone had a great laugh at her expense.

What could she do, she was helpless to there constant teasing, and hurtful remarks. She sank deeper and deeper into self loathing. Believing after awhile that what they said about her was true. It had to be, everyone said it was!

 The sad part of these stories is that the people saying the hurtful and harmful words often do not realize the long term effect of those words that they have spoken. Think for a moment of all the things people have said to you over your life time.

 When you think about those things that people have said to you, what do you remember the most, the words of love and encouragement or is it the words that tore you to pieces. I am willing to say with out a doubt that the words that you remember the most are the ones that cut the deepest.

 Often those words spoken to you were from people that you loved and trusted as well which makes the pain of what was said even more piercing.  Things like “You can’t, you don’t measure up, you are an idiot, and you are stupid”, I could go on forever but I am sure that you get the picture.

 I don’t know about you but I have been on both the receiving as well as the giving end of biting words. I have felt the effect of other people’s insensitivity to me as a person and in turn due to the learnt behavior have done it to others.

 So why even discuss it? It is a huge problem in our society these days, with many people walking around extremely wounded from things people have said to them. We as human beings often gain our perspective of ourselves from other people. (This will always give us a false perception of  who we really are, as Christ can only give us the correct perception) As humans, in need of love and acceptance from other people we take both the negative and positive criticism from people and often shape who we are around what other people think and say about us. I want to suggest to you that this thinking is faulty.

 Changes can be made to this devastating cycle, and it all starts with you. Yes, you see we are responsible for how we respond to people around us. You have to make the conscience effort to not speak in a way to people that will tear them down as a person. You have to choose to train yourself to speak to people in a way that will build them up.

 That is easier said than done, I know, but it is possible. I used to make a habit of telling people everything that I thought of them. Until one day I realized that I was adding to their self esteem issues and how badly they felt about themselves. I also realized how crippling those negative words had been to me. Those words stopped me from pursuing a lot of things in my life that I probably would have been very good at.

 I want to encourage you to train yourself to start speaking life giving words into people. Make every effort to building them up instead of tearing them down. You are the only one that can make any changes on how you respond to other people. Start today, and remember anything worthwhile in life takes practice and perseverance.

 We will be exploring this whole topic in depth from a Christian Biblical view in future articles, you are not going to want to miss out on this teaching.

 For now, if you know that the words that you have spoken have been hurtful to others; I want to encourage you to ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you.

 In the Psalms, King David, often cried out to God for mercy and forgiveness, but one of my favorite things that he cried out to God for is written in Psalms 19 and it says,

 Psalm 19:14

“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.”

 That is my prayer for you, and for myself every day that the words that come out of our mouths and  hearts would be pleasing to God in every way.

God bless you