The Mouth-Need I say More!

Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. James 3:10

Happy Friday friends! Can you believe it? Next week we will be entering June. 2020 is passing by quickly yet, it is making a lasting impression on the world. We have experienced many things we never could have imagined a year ago. However, I think it has reinforced the thought of being ready and prepared for anything. And with that thought, let’s talk about this concept when it comes to the mouth.

 In Matthew 15:11 the bible reminds us to be careful what comes out of our mouth because our words can tarnish, corrupt, and ruin. Most of us are quite aware of the power of words. As we mature in Christ, we strive to listen more and talk less. We intentionally choose to be engaged in conversations by being fully present and just listening instead of being so concerned with what we may say in response. (For me, that takes some Holy Spirit reliance)

But let’s visit the subject of casual chit chat slyness of the devil. He knows how to tap into your anger, sore spots, self-esteem, and emotions. Trust me when I say he is looming in the shadows of social media, zoom meetings, emails, etc. He loves to stir the pot and have people point out things that seem to be a direct hit at you. Innocent yet uncomfortable for the most part.  

No matter the comment, smirk, sarcasm, or crafty comeback, it hurts! Makes you feel weird and downright uncomfortable. Well, why don’t we see these things coming? —because it is our family, friends, close community, church, etc. and it is never expected around those who love us or so we would hope. Yes, the enemy knows that too! So, guess where he likes to attack? Among the ones that we hold near and dear to our hearts in order to destroy relationships and tear down your trust. He definitely doesn’t want us building relationships especially in the church because that might just mess up his plans.

Therefore, we have to be ready for these situations. Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupt communication process out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”  Plan for the sly comments, “innocent” darts, and the hurt. How? By adopting the mind of Christ and willing to allow the Holy Spirit to lead. Be very quick to extend grace and to have words of love and gratitude ready on your lips. Choose ahead of time to respond with an extension of God’s authority and not your own. (This challenges me beyond my own abilities and trust me the post may be for my benefit only!) We even have to learn how to refrain from being a sandpaper person too. Our words are so important.  

I have had to learn how to go to my inside voice and immediately say, “I bring my mind and mouth under your authority Oh Lord. Help me smile and extend your love.” No, I haven’t lost my mind. It works! There have been times when people unexpectedly lash out and I have had to choose God’s way quickly. It is difficult to stay calm and find God’s strength to exercise self-control. It is one of the hardest temptations to overcome because my insides want to lambaste in more ways than one. But God’s love works in mysterious ways. (Do not misunderstand what I am saying. I am not asking you to take abuse. If you are being abused get help.)

So, choose your words today. Plan for the incidents. Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment every time your mouth opens its door. Think about the words you give and the responses you will utter. (Maybe a quarantine mask isn’t all so bad! Perhaps God wants us to pay more attention to what “goes in the body and out of the body” than germs!)

I know it is an old cliché — but seriously, What Would Jesus Do?  

Are You a Wise Synthesizer?

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If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NIV)

In today’s society, if you want to gain knowledge about a particular topic, “google it”. Chances are you will find the general information you need. Possibly even a video to go with it. Thirty years ago, it wasn’t as easy. Technology has brought us a long way baby!!! Who knows what the next thirty years will hold.

Recently I came across these words, “We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom”. In my research, I found this was only a partial piece of the famous epigram by E. O. Wilson, biologist and writer. The remainder states, “The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.” Um…then I read his take on religion and God. I’ll let you research that for yourself and come to your own conclusion. (Just google him! 😊)

Wilson made a good point about the amount of information at our finger tips. As we gain and experience information, we increase our knowledge base. Unfortunately, this doesn’t produce the discernment wisdom gives. For instance, knowledge can give us the insight of the most eloquent words to prove our stance; wisdom delivers the discernment of when to open our mouth and deliver the speech and when to put a zipper on our lips.

So, how do we find wisdom? Wisdom is found in God. He provides the insight of how to apply the knowledge we find in scripture and we obtain from life experiences. Wisdom is ours for the asking. Just remember, we must do the seeking as well. In Proverbs we find a full invitation from God’s wisdom along with the value and promises it holds for anyone so inclined to embrace it. In chapter eight alone, we find a multitude of skills wisdom provides: discretion, justice, wealth, honor, counsel, strength, and righteousness are just a few.

Now that we have discussed the sources of knowledge and wisdom, let’s focus on the analogy of being a synthesizer. First, to all of the music-technology-savvy peeps, extend me grace. My precise knowledge of a synthesizer is definitely lacking in detail and even full comprehension. However, I know it is capable of producing various sounds based upon all the different frequency signals it takes in. From my understanding it usually has a control to go with it. That’s as deep as I need to go for today. (Here’s a video if you need more information https://youtu.be/ECl-XbgqljY) (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)

Therefore, Wilson may have been on to something when he compared us to a synthesizer. Yes, we do have to put together all the “right information” as a multitude of information signals arrive daily. And Yes, we must obtain the discernment of the “right time” by critically thinking through what “sound” (action) we should produce and when. However, to “make important choices wisely” the controller to our synthesizer has to be God. A point Wilson might have missed.

We are and will continue to be synthesizers. We even get to choose the different frequency signals we intake. However, if we want to walk in wisdom, God must be given full authority over the controller. Just something to think about…

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge, its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (Prov. 24: 3-4 NIV)

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. (Prov. 13:20 NIV)

Tempted? – 5 tips to DEAL WITH IT

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Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Proverbs 7:2

Allyna found herself in a precarious situation after accepting a seemingly innocent invitation. It was just a few friends getting together and hanging out. You know, everyone bringing their favorite side to accompany the delicious brats provided by the host and hostess. She was told playing cards, pitching washers, and taking in a movie was the laid-back agenda. She didn’t know everyone invited but assumed the best. It wasn’t long into the party until the atmosphere got smoky in more ways than brats cooking on the grill. Drugs, alcohol, and advances by a few unknown male guests cranked up quickly. Not only that but it seems the movie might fall into the category of X-rated. She wondered how she ended up in a night filled with temptations and a lack of bravery to leave on her part. She didn’t set out for this to happen. This was never her intentions for the evening.

Most of us would agree, when temptation rears its ugly head, it was never our intention for it to happen. Yes, there are times we intentionally plan to participate but, most of the time temptations catch us off-guard and creep up when we least expect it. Do you think those addicted to drugs, alcohol, porn, sex, food, … intentionally planned for it to take over their entire body, mind, and soul? Can you really say all adultery had a direct laid-out plan and schedule to endure divorce costs, child support issues, sexually transmitted disease, a loss of peace, a reputation hit, and a broken family? I would dare to say it never starts out that way.  

Gwen Smith in her book I Want It All says, “The act of giving in to temptation always leads to suffering, because these actions turn us away from the will of God.” It comes down to choosing between physical desires or God’s authority. Yes, it sounds like a simple choice but, I am here to tell you, it is difficult to fight back fleshy desires. We live in a society where we want instant pleasure and “right now” happiness. Please don’t make me think about the costs later. I need to live in the moment. Plus, if I just give into the issue, it will satisfy my craving and then it won’t be a problem nor will it be on my mind. Poof! It will never reappear! (Yes, I have believed this lie a time or two as well!)

The Bible tells us that temptations will come, we are not exempt, and we need to prepare. So how is this possible? I don’t have all the answers but here are a few tips I have found to be helpful.

1. Deal with the Elephant – List areas in which you are prone to temptation. Call them by name and identify those that make you so vulnerable. I guess you could say this is the admitting stage.

2. Slay the cause – There has to be a reason behind the attraction. Why do they have a stronghold on your life? Yes, this is the “nitty-gritty” source step. How can you be prepared for some of them if you don’t know what triggers it? I went half my life not knowing and it took some deep counseling sessions to identify the cause. I am not suggesting this stage will be easy but, it is well worth it. Also, list where your choice will lead if you continue.  

3. Succumb to God – Lay it down and confess it to the one who can truly help. Put into practice “Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord”. Talk to Him and submit your struggle. Ask for His guidance and direction to overcome. This might be a lifetime conversation with the Lord and a continuous battle but, I can promise you He will increase your strength and give you the power to walk out a life devoted to Him if this is your true heart’s desire. Surrender, my friend. God loves you beyond measure.

4. Saturate your life – Guard your life with God’s Word. Spend time in it. Place your name in the verses filled with commands and blessings. They are all for you. His Word assists in knowing in advance how to respond to temptation. So, rely on scripture to strengthen you. Listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him lead.

5. Plan for it – It is not a secret that we have to avoid situations leading to temptation. We must be fully aware of our location, setting, and timeframe. Satan knows when to hit you and is aware of the perfect seducing timing. (Dirtbag! Oops, I said that out loud.) Decide in advance the situations to avoid and have an escape plan. You might even think about someone who could be your accountability partner. Just know this means transparency, honesty, confidentiality, and trust. Pick wisely.  

Temptations are real! They surround us if we don’t deal with them. God wants to give you a fulfilling life. His Word tells us in Proverbs 6:23 that His “commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life”. He didn’t promise us an easy road. However, He wants us ready and prepared to detect and avoid paths to destruction. He can shed light and hope in and on your situation.

Seek wisdom and find help with your temptations. Please don’t let them overtake you. God cares too much for you. You were bought with an extreme price. You are valuable to God and well worth the effort to do some temptation work within.

I am praying for you as you tackle it together with God.    

God’s Workout Plan

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. (Luke 6:45 NIV)

Happy sunny May Day! Despite the fact we were not blessed with April showers, God’s beauty is showing up with May flowers. It has been refreshing to finally return to daily walks and see people out maintaining yards. Tree branches lined the curbs and lawn mowers were all the buzz around the perimeter of the park today.

We have even spent a few weekends pulling weeds, designing a stone path, and planting a garden. Yard maintenance requires work and a strategy. There is no doubt about it. It always requires physical labor. Pulling weeds is my least favorite task.

But, guess what? God has a maintenance plan too! That’s right. He developed it to maintain His property as well. In Proverbs 4 we discover this property is YOU and YOUR BODY! Yes. You are God’s equipment designed to carry out His work and you are His estate. Nope, your body is not yours to do whatever you please. OUCH! Why not? “You are no longer your own. God paid a great price for you. So, use your body to honor God” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 CEV). As a matter of fact, your body is the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit abides. Therefore, God has a workout plan to ensure He will be honored.

Most of us love the verse Proverbs 4:23 where the Lord reminds us to guard our heart because everything flows from it. However, do we really know what that requires? You got it–a total body workout. So, let’s take a look at the steps involved to strengthen our heart for the Lord.

Workout
EyesBe aware of your visual intake. Focus your eyes on wisdom. Read God’s Word. Embrace a path of brightness.
EarsIncline your ears to consume only God. Listen to God’s voice/calling. Place yourself in God’s presence. Flee from enticing words from the enemy.
MouthTalk less, listen more. Use your mouth for good. Guard your lips from unhealthy chatter and evil words. Let your words affirm God’s goodness.
MindPay attention to all parts of the body. Keep everything under God’s authority. Place your attention on Godly living. Keep God’s commandments. Don’t allow your thoughts to waiver into the darkness.
FeetKeep on the pathway of light. Avoid the wicked road. Be careful where you go. Know the direction in which you are going.
HeartStore up goodness. Apply Godly wisdom to your circulation. Keep God’s word in your heart. Be aware–the health of the eyes, ears, mouth, mind, and feet will impact the heart.

Intentional Living Workout Plan

Let us be mindful of what we allow to penetrate our hearts. Psalm 51:10. Happy Workout my friend!

How Do I Adorn My Life With Wisdom?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

Would you like to be granted wisdom like Solomon? Solomon was keenly aware that true wisdom began with his relationship with the Lord. It meant surrendering to the fact that God is a better executive over his life than he was. Solomon knew he had to let God Reign to be successful. Also, he had to train his ears to hear the Father. Yes, he had to find the mute button to his mind’s voice too! But the biggest take away we can learn from Solomon is his declaration that wisdom comes from the Lord.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

So how can you obtain it? The bible tells us that it is ours for the asking. Wisdom bids us to come and seek it in Proverbs 1:20-33.

Ask for it, seek it, value it, hear it, and apply it.

We need a willing heart and a spirit of receptiveness to its teachings. As we search for it, wisdom requires us to be engaged and found in the presence of God. Our time has to be spent hearing and meditating on God’s Word as well as diligently praying for God’s wisdom to be given to us. Most of all, we must treasure it and be willing to apply it to daily living.

WOW! That is quite the list but, be encouraged my friend. The benefits are numerous and sweet!!

In Proverbs 2, wisdom promises some of the following:

  • Knowledge of the Lord
  • God’s protection and guidance
  • The Lord’s discernment and understanding
  • Deliverance from evil
  • Ability to walk out a righteous life

What is holding you back from adorning your life with wisdom? It is simply a choice. Be wise and heed to God’s ways or join folly and do life your own way.

Read Proverbs Chapters 1-3 and make a choice. As for me, I choose wisdom because I want a long and peaceful life, favor in the sight of the Lord, successful ventures, good health, prosperity, a fruitful life, and to follow God’s will.

I pray you want the same adornments.

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