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Monday, April 20, 2015
The tongue is the most powerful member of your body. Not your glutes, not your quads, shoulders, back or biceps. The words that roll off your tongue are so potent that they have the power to move mountains and change lives for good or for bad. Words will determine the course of a life just as a bit in a horse’s mouth will determine the direction its body will turn (James 3:3).
The Bible states that what we say is what we get. We speak what we believe, many times to our demise when we are snared by the words of our mouths (Proverbs 6:2). We say things like, “Nothing ever goes right for me,” or “I don't believe that will work” and then wonder why our lives are a mess, or we’re not empowered when we pray.
Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). If we’re feeding our minds and hearts negative information, our lives will take a negative turn, because what enters our eyes and ears determines what we think and believe, and eventually shows up in our lives by way of our words and actions. (Read more in Guard Your Heart.)
Jesus said that we will have what we say, and that we can move mountains and change lives by believing, praying, and speaking our desires. He said that if a person “shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass: he shall have whatsoever he says” (Mark 11:22-24).
Most of us have had a lopsided view of this promise, believing that only the good things we say will come to pass. Yet this verse does not differentiate between good and bad. It doesn't say that whatever you believe and say that is good will come to you. It says you shall have WHATEVER, that means whatever you believe and say, whether good or bad.
People tend to believe that if they use negative words, they will get positive results, which rarely ever happens. Some believe that by criticizing a person it will motivate him or her to do better. They say things like, “You’re fat, dumb, lazy or sloppy” in hopes of prodding the person to lose weight, study harder, get a job, or clean up his act. The critic doesn't seem to understand that the motivation to rise and better another person does not come through negative words of condemnation, but through positive words of praise.
Therefore, criticism keeps the recipient stuck in his situation, fulfilling the conditions that Jesus set forth,“You shall have whatsoever you say.” Tell your co-worker, spouse, or child that he or she is stupid or a loser and they will not disappoint you. They will live out your low expectation of them, unless they have enough inner-fortitude to rise up and prove you wrong. On the flip-side, if you tell them that they did a good job they will be encouraged to do even better.
On judgment day, we shall give account for every idle word that we have spoken and be justified or condemned by them (Matthew 12:36). This life review may be like an echo, as our words bounce back to us to have a positive or negative effect on our lives. Words have the power to create or destroy. Therefore, our desire and prayer should be, "Let , and meditation heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O , strength, and redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Suppose Jane is using a camera phone to video Sally preparing a meal. Sally slices onions, peppers, and mushrooms then puts them in a wok and stirs the vegetables. If you stopped recording right there and played the video back, you would see the exact same images that went into the phone, Sally preparing and cooking a meal. The video doesn’t show Sally dusting furniture, making a bed, or taking a walk. The device captured and copied what it “saw” and “heard” and projected it onto the screen.
The camera lens and the audio receiver are similar to our eyes and ears. The images and sounds we see and hear are caught and then sent to the recording device in our minds. Trivial thoughts are soon forgotten, but remarkable or repetitive thoughts are embedded in our hearts where they eventually come out of our mouths and show up on the screens of our lives.
Children are most impressionable to what they see and hear, because their innocent minds lack a strong gatekeeper at this young age. But we as adults can control what we see and hear by being vigilant to what we allow to enter our eyes and ears. Having this knowledge is key to controlling our emotions and even our destinies.
Everything we do begins with a thought or command and then the body responds either positively or negatively to this input. Many images and words have an immediate effect on how the body reacts: An embarrassing comment causes a shy person to blush. Viewing or reading porn creates a feeling of misguided arousal. An enlistee in boot camp snaps to attention at the sergeant’s command. Seeing and helping the needy creates feelings of fulfillment and joy. All of these responses come forth unbidden after the thoughts entered the mind.
Thoughts are like seeds that grow into flowers, produce, or weeds. They follow the same natural and spiritual laws of sowing and reaping. What goes into our minds via our senses, especially by way of our eyes and ears, is what will grow and show up in our lives. If we plant corn we will always, always get corn, not tomatoes. Sally’s stir-fry video will never show up as an image of her riding a horse. The sights and sounds planted in our minds will eventually project in our lives. As a man thinks, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).
The best way to eliminate negative and detrimental thinking is to renew our minds and fill our hearts with faith ( Romans 12:2, Romans 10:17).
Guard your heart for out of it spring forth the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Two of the most well-known Bible stories are Joseph and his “coat of many colors” and Daniel in the lion’s den. Ironically, though over 1,000 years separate these men, they have many things in common that we can learn from today.
Both men were uprooted from their homes and planted in foreign lands when they were teenagers. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and he ended up living in Egypt (Genesis 37:28). Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians and he ended up living in Babylon (Daniel 1:1). Many of us in the same situation would be looking for a child psychologist to fix our damaged psyches, but not these young men. They clung tighter to God through prayer and unwavering obedience.
- Both men were faithful to God and obeyed Him without reservation even while living amid heathen people (Daniel 5:11, Genesis 39:6-12 / Daniel 1:8, Daniel 6:10). Many of us would be selling our homes and moving to more upscale locations, but these men sought ways to improve the lives of the idol-worshiping people around them.
- Both men were unjustly accused and thrown into a prison (Genesis 39:20 / Daniel 6:16). Most of us would be crying the blues and demanding our legal rights, yet because of their sterling faith in God, the head guard exalted Joseph in prison and the king fasted for Daniel’s safety and they were eventually released (Genesis 39:22 / Daniel 6:18).
- Both men were in cultures that lived contrary to their beliefs, yet they lived their lives without compromising their convictions. And as a result, because of their unflinching faith and devotion to God, they both became men of influence. Joseph saved a country from starvation (Genesis 41:35-36) and Daniel was instrumental in the conversion of three kings (Daniel 4:37, Daniel 6:25-26).
- Both men ascended to great heights and became powerful men in the political arena, ruling over multitudes of people (Genesis 41:40-41, Daniel 2:48, Daniel 6:2-3). They served among the ungodly while living out their unshakable faith in wisdom and discretion.
Fear will keep us in our comfort zone. Faith and firm footing on the Solid Rock will give us courage and confidence to stand for Christ, love others for Him, and become an influence in our society.
Monday, March 30, 2015
I’ve never watched the series, but I’ve heard what it’s about.
Are they real? If so, where are they? Who are they? It may surprise you to hear that the walking dead still roam the world today. I don’t mean bath salts eating people that act like zombies, but those who are walking around spiritually dead. The Bible is clear that there are two distinct groups in our vast universe. Those who are spiritually alive and those who are not. There is no in-between.
Jesus died but He came back to life so we could also be “quickened” or made alive too, not just after we die, but right here and now while physically present on earth (Romans 8:11, Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13).*
The Bible says that those who are spiritually dead are those who willfully live in sin without God (Luke 15:24, Romans 6:13, 1 Peter 4:6). It also says that we are made alive when we turn from sin and willingly open the door to our heart and invite Jesus Christ to come inside (Acts 5:32, Revelation 3:20). The power and lights are then turned on as we share the same Spirit that He possesses! (Ephesians 2:18).
Not all people in the church possess this precious gift. Many have lost their first love for God or never really had it (Revelation 3:1). Many received the Holy Spirit after they had believed (Acts 8:15-17, Acts 19:2). During this resurrection Sunday you may want to take your spiritual pulse. If there is no sign of power or life, I would encourage you to open your heart and receive God’s son (Romans 10:13) in the form of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).
We all need a Spiritual awakening! CPR for the soul! Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).
Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday.
*Hover over the Bible references to read the verses.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Attaining anything of value places demands upon a person
Becoming a musician, doctor, or teacher (or any other artist or expert) requires time, effort, money, and training. Forming a diamond also takes a lot of time and tons of pressure, but it is these very sacrifices and stresses that make the professions and gems so precious.
Both the person learning the new behaviors and the coal changing to diamonds, willingly (or naturally) make an exchange. They allow the sacrifices and surrender to the pressures to become someone or something more valuable.
Musicians, doctors, and teachers sacrifice their time, money, and social life to study for their careers in order to improve the lives of others. Yet as admirable as these accomplishments are, there is One who gave His all in the greatest exchange that ever took place. This momentous event occurred during Passover when an innocent man died on a criminal’s cross, all because He loved us and wanted to spend eternity with us (Romans 5:8).
Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, willingly suffered, died, and rose again for our sins, so you and I can be righteous in God’s eyes and live eternally (2 Corinthians 5:21). The Bible says that when this exchange is made, we not only experience forgiveness, peace, blessings, and heaven, but when we teach others the way of righteousness, we will also shine like the stars of heaven forever (Daniel 12:3).
My awful sins for His light and righteousness. Best exchange ever!
Monday, March 9, 2015
Merry-go-rounds have a lot of movement and a measure of fun. They also have an appearance of progress, but they never really go anywhere. The highs and lows are enjoyable, but many times the ups-and-downs are like lives entangled in sin or addiction.
When riding the carousel of compulsion, the good times are great and we don’t want to lose them, but the bad aftermaths bring remorse and we don’t want to repeat them. But we do. And the vicious cycle continues because we both love and hate what we eat or drink or do in excess even when the substance or behavior is killing us.
I know how it feels. I’ve been there before. Loving the party, but hating the clean-up that followed. My carousel life spun in the same circles year after year, after year, appearing to progress with its highs and lows, but really going nowhere at all, until I finally learned how to step out of the crazy cycle.
It was when the horses were down (when my life was at a very low-point) that I began to seek and speak to God, asking Him to help me step off the merry-go-round. I begin listening to His Still Small Voice (1 Kings 19:12) and obeying what I heard and read in his Word.
There’s always a pause when the horses are down and that’s the time to quiet your mind and listen to His gentle voice beckoning you to Him (Isaiah 30:21). Carousel living provides no lasting satisfaction. On the contrary, Jesus promises freedom (John 8:31-32) and abundant life to those who follow him (John 10:10).