“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Necessary Word

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray
lyrics from the song Slow Fade by Casting Crowns

...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.

Ephesians 4:29b NASB

Someone who I hold in the highest esteem told me that I am perfect. Considering that I pursue perfection... and that words of affirmation is my love language... and that I revere this sister... wouldn't you imagine that this "edification" would bring me great satisfaction?

But it didn't.

A Necessary Word = Edification
An Unnecessary Word = Flattery

Edification is necessary for our growth in Christ. It sustains us. Instructs us. Gives us something to build upon.

Flattery is superfluous. It weakens us. Stupefies us. Undermines our foundation.

"But I tell you that
every careless word that people speak,
they shall give an accounting for it
in the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified,
and by your words you will be condemned."
Matthew 12:36-37 NASB

We are responsible for the words we speak... and the words we choose to listen to... Edification is essential, but we must be mindful to not take the easy route and say what we think people want to hear. But speak the words that will give life.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Wholesome Word

I stopped by one of my favorite blogs yesterday... and when I read the post... I thought, "Now, that is what I'm talking about!" Literally!

I asked Ms. Daisy if I could link to her post Let The Lower Lights Be Burning... The material is written by her friend G. Lewis.

It is the beauty behind a beloved hymn.

The "what if" we didn't let our light shine. And the "what if" our light was meant for the benefit of others?

"You are the light of the world.
Neither do people light a lamp and
put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand, and
it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way,
let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and
praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Affect of Wholesome Fruit

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth..."
Ephesians 4:29a NASB

I've been meditating on my current memory verse. I keep thinking about the word "unwholesome" and what it means.

In other versions of the Bible, the word unwholesome (in this verse) is translated as:
  • corrupt
  • foul and abusive
  • corrupting
The Greek word for corrupt is sapros. Meaning:
  • rotten, putrefied
  • corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out
  • of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless
When used multiple times by Jesus in the New Testament, He was normally discussing a tree bearing forth fruit.

It makes me think about my cherry trees in the back yard. Cherries often grow in clusters. And when one cherry starts to become rotten it corrupts the other fruit that is growing in close proximity. Before it is time to harvest the cherries, I spend a fair amount of time plucking out the rotten cherries before they contaminate their neighbors.

The English Standard Version of the Bible translates unwholesome as corrupting. That sounds like an active word. It is not enough for it to be corrupt within itself. It is also affecting the others around it. Whether it intends to or not.

I'm just wondering... if my unwholesome talk can affect those around me... what could my wholesome talk do? May my words enrich those who are in my cluster... and beyond!

Friday, March 20, 2009

An Act of Worship: Encouraging Others

Thou art worthy, O Lord,
to receive glory and honour and power:
for thou hast created all things,
and for thy pleasure
they are and were created.
Revelation 4:11 KJV

God created all things for His pleasure.

And God said,
Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness...
Genesis 1:26a KJV

God made man in His image... after His own likeness.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father,
and with it we curse men,
who have been made in God's likeness.

James 3:9 NIV

With the same tongue we praise God and we curse men.

I will praise thee, O LORD,
with my whole heart;
I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
Psalm 9:1 KJV

We praise God for who He is and His marvellous works... His creation.

A positive spin on James 3:9:
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father,
and with it we bless men,
who have been made in God's likeness.

And so, when we encourage and bless those who are around us...
Could we consider that an act of worship of our Lord?
Well then! Let's start praising God!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Are You Thinking Without Speaking?

It is often that I speak without thinking.
But I'm wondering...
how often do I think without speaking?

How often have I had the words of life to speak to someone... and yet withheld them? I'm not just talking about witnessing... I'm talking about encouragement.

I'm currently listening to a presentation by author Linda Dillow. She is speaking on the words we use... or don't use. And this is how I came upon my current memory verse:

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.

Ephesians 4:29 NASB

Don't miss this part of the verse... "so that it will give grace to those who hear." When I am presented with an opportunity to edify or encourage someone at the right timing and I withhold those words... well, can I be so bold as to say that it it possibly a sin of omission?

11Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

13But encourage one another daily,
as long as it is called Today,
so that none of you may be hardened
by sin's deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:13 NIV

24And let us consider how we may
spur one another on
toward love and good deeds.

Let us not give up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another
and all the more as
you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

And so today, I am compelled to encourage you to start speaking... encouraging... edifying... and you might be saying, but I'm too shy or I'm too young or I wouldn't know what to say or it's not my place, but I'm wondering... whose place is it?

...and all the more as you see the Day approaching... We need encouragement, now, more than ever. Could your words be the balm that a hurting soul needs today? Could your words be the inspiration that someone needs to draw closer to the Lord? Could your words be the strength that a young mom needs to hear?

My challenge to you today... is

Are you thinking without speaking?

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Choice for the
Siesta Scripture
Memory Team:
Verse 6

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.

Ephesians 4:29 NASB

What's funny is that I was just thinking... my brain is getting full... how am I going to be able to continue memorizing all these verses? And then I read this... and I think I'll be able to find a little more room... Looking forward to hanging with my Siestas in Houston next January!

And the other big news is that Living Proof Live with Beth Moore and Travis Cotrell will be in Portland, Oregon in a month... I'm wondering if they'll have a Siesta Section? Actually, I'll be in the sister section with my natural born sis and a couple of my other sisters, too!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fah Hoo Forres

I've been thinking about the Whos lately. How I grew up being amazed at how the Whos handled the whole Grinch thing... I was really impressed.

But then I thought... they didn't know what hit them. They weren't sitting there on the couch with us watching what the Grinch was doing. They didn't see the deception of the Grinch. They didn't see the hatred of the Grinch. They didn't have to suffer through all the pilfering and pillaging of the Grinch.

They woke up. They went outside. They held hands. They sang a song... "Fah Hoo Forres" and the next thing they know... The Grinch is their hero. He is returning everything that belonged to them in the first place.

And sometimes I wonder... if it would just be easier to be a Who. To be oblivious... and to wake up the next morning finding a green creature speeding toward me with a sled and a dog... and all my stuff.

But I would have missed my favorite part... The part where they show that picture of the Grinch's small heart growing three sizes that day. You know when the heart grows outside of the box. Like there is metal around the heart and it bursts out.

Yeah... I guess I don't want to be a Who after all... I'd rather hang in there during the tough times... just to see a heart grow and learn the true meaning of Christmas...

Now, that's truly amazing.

And they were all
at the greatness of God.
Luke 9:43a NIV

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm Angry!

Fresh Snow this Morning...

Last week, I decided to stop blogging.

After teaching last Tuesday on Abigail... I believed the lie that I was told. "You didn't do it. You weren't good enough. You were telling people things they already knew. You sighed too often. You crossed your arms. You made exaggerated statements. Why did you think you should be up there teaching?"

And so, if I was that poor of a teacher... why did I feel that my random musings via blogworld would be any different?

When asked by a friend* "How did it go?" I said, "It went."

Despite the fact that one of the ladies at my table said to me that she wanted to pick up my challenge to be an Abigail (or Jonathan) to someone who is in an Abigail-like situation. Despite the fact that my pastor's wife commended me on Facebook for all to see. Despite the encouraging words of ladies I love and I adore... and more importantly... I trust.

But what is worse... It was despite the fact that I was obedient to what God asked me to do... and even more so... despite all of the intercession that had occurred on my behalf... and finally despite the fact that I truly knew it was "not about me" and that God would have to be the one to "bring it"...

Yet, the lie was easier to believe. I wondered... was it false humility? Perhaps. But the lie was strong and deep and it was carefully mastered. Almost as if the lie came from someone who would want to tear me to shreds... so that I would shut up... hold back... sink within myself...

And frankly, it worked... this week I have been suffering from PTD (post-teaching depression).

But God would not let me stay there. During church service on Sunday, we had a guest speaker who spoke to us about

guilt vs. grace
shame vs. righteousness
condemnation vs. conviction.

And I got angry. Angry for being lied to. Angry for believing the lie.

And I realized that I must not be the only one who feels this way, so I immediately ran home and wrote an e-mail to the gal who is teaching this Tuesday. And I am praying for her before she teaches... and during her teaching... but now I know to pray for her AFTER she teaches.

Then, I knew that I should post about this week of weakness. Because it wasn't just for my benefit, but for yours.

And so, I again cling to these words penned by the apostle Paul...

4My message and my preaching
were not with wise and persuasive words,

but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power,

5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom,
but on God's power.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5 NIV

I don't understand why it is easier to believe a lie about ourselves... especially when we are the one speaking it. Sisters, we must remember who we are in Christ. We must remind each other and encourage each other. We must use what we have learned during our weak times to strengthen those around us.

...that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.
Romans 1:12 NIV

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Totally Inadequate, Again...

I had the opportunity to teach on Abigail this morning. I thank you for your prayers.

This is a re-post from December 3, 2008. It brought me comfort today.

Totally Inadequate

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer
to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect,

keeping a clear conscience,
so that those who speak maliciously
against your good behavior in Christ
may be ashamed of their slander.
1 Peter 3:14-16

I was having a java fix with a dear sister yesterday. She was distraught. She was berating herself because she didn't feel that she gave an adequate "answer" to a gal who had asked her, "Why should Christians pray if God knows everything ahead of time? What does it matter? If He knows someone is going to die... why pray?"

My dear sister is a solid and mature Christian woman. A well-put together lady who is successful in her business and life. Generous with her time and resources. Hangs out with God daily. A good and trusted friend to many.

But she felt that she missed the opportunity to witness to her acquaintance. She didn't have the "answer" that she felt was persuasive enough to win this gal to Christ. Surely, as a godly mature Christian woman... she should have a prepared Christian "answer" to give... She felt she had "blown it"...

I came across this verse as I was reading today's devotion in My Utmost for His Highest.
I immediately forwarded it to my dear sister.

You'll remember, friends,
that when I first came to you
to let you in on God's master stroke,
I didn't try to impress you with polished speeches
and the latest philosophy.
I deliberately kept it plain and simple:
first Jesus and who he is;
then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.

I was unsure of how to go about this,
and felt totally inadequate
I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—
and so nothing I said
could have impressed you or anyone else.
But the Message came through anyway.
God's Spirit and God's power did it,
which made it clear that
your life of faith is a response to God's power,
not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork
by me or anyone else.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 The Message

This is the apostle Paul talking... unsure... totally inadequate... scared to death... yet he celebrated his weakness... because it gave God room to do the work. He didn't want to persuade anyone by his "answers"... He wanted it to be clear that "God's power did it."

My dear sisters! How often I am guilty of this same offense! "Oh, if I only would have said this or that my friend would be saved. If only I would have spoken to that person in the grocery line. If only I would have spoken more clearly... If only I would have been prepared!"

Oh, how we need to remember... we just need to keep it "plain and simple"... Because when we start blaming ourselves for the loss of a soul, we're denying the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work.

Yet we should truly always be prepared... and how do we do that? "In your hearts set Christ apart as Lord." We need to know Christ. We need to know and believe and have faith in Christ. Not ourselves, but Christ... and Christ crucified.