Words, Words, Words

Oh, how I struggle for words…words to speak my opinion yet would be surrounded by God’s Truth…all in one sentence! Words to share my experience but anger might be added at the way another is treating someone. Words to pummel yet knowing that God would not desire that from me. Words to encourage yet touched by spite. In my mind, I feel like I am on a roller coaster shouting words at the top both praiseworthy and unworthy. And when at the bottom, words to undermine yet filled with words of gentleness. What can I say without compromise? What can I say without speaking both truth and deceit in the same sentence? All of this is in response to others short Facebook or Twitter posts regarding things of this world.

“OF THIS WORLD” is the relevant phrase!

So I am silent.

Until I can speak words of the Holy Spirit and He Alone, I must be silent, for I do not want to fall into things of this world.

I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. John 17:15

Deliver me, O LORD,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.
Psalm 120:2

Sometimes, I want to take someone by the shoulders and shake them until sense is upon them. But who am I to know sense from non-sense? Who am I to tell someone else anything unless…

UNLESS… it is the Word of God, the Truth of Jesus, the Kingdom to come. That is the Truth.

In Christ Alone. So unless I am sharing the Gospel, am encouraging one with the Gospel Truth, am praying for another, am loving another in Christ, silence needs to be my game. Silence must be my story.

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
Psalm 139:4

Teach me Your Ways, My LORD.

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;… Ecclesiastes 3:7b

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elementary principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

So if the topic is politics, behaviors/actions, spoken words, beliefs, masks/no masks, etc., that first desire to respond is usually NOT going to come out right. It is like squeezing that toothpaste out of the tube into the letters that spell “WORD.” The words have oozed or flown out to say something that I may regret. And I cannot put that toothpaste back into the tube! It is too late. I do not want regret sitting on my shoulders.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

Forgive me, LORD, for my foolish words. Forgive me when I denigrate You, the One Who has saved me from this world. Why do I so easily fall back into it? Why, oh why? Thank You, Father, for Your love and forgiveness.

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:17-18

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Proverbs 17:28

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs 17: This is generally taken for such a sure indication of wisdom that a fool may gain the reputation of being a wise man if he have but wit enough to hold his tongue, to hear, and see, and say little. If a fool hold his peace, men of candour will think him wise, because nothing appears to the contrary, and because it will be thought that he is making observations on what others say, and gaining experience, and is consulting with himself what he shall say, that he may speak pertinently. See how easy it is to gain men’s good opinion and to impose upon them. But when a fool holds his peace God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound up there; thoughts are words to him, and therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment of men.

And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

May I know my times and my places, lifting my voice to praise the LORD.

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God,
because He has not rejected my prayer
or removed His steadfast love from me!” (Psalm 66:16-20). Thank You, my precious LORD. I praise You for holding my tongue, for guiding my steps, for teaching me Your ways, for loving me even when I fail You. In the Holy and Powerful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

“Words” graphic: Oyster English

Photo – Ecclesiastes 3:1,7: BibleInMobile

Toothpaste: https://s234.photobucket.com/user/tammy_61/media/toothpaste.jpg.html

Photo – Pray1 @ https://recruiterpoet.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/pray1.jpg

Offended

“And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” Matthew 11:6

Do I question Jesus as to Who He is or what He does? Do I doubt His authority? Does Who He is offend me? Does what He say offend me?

I have answered those questions with a resounding, “YES!” before I knew Him. I knew of Jesus and during those many years (except as a child), I did question His very existence. I thought He was a good teacher, a kind and gentle man. But I certainly did not trust Who some said He was. I mean, they said He was born to a virgin! He performed miracles! He chose 12 men to be apostles who followed Him all over the place. Why would I believe Him? Why would I trust Him with my life? Besides, if I did, I might have to change…change the way I did things, or even change my thoughts. Goodness, no!!! Yes, I took up an offense!

In Matthew 11, John the Baptist was in prison and questioned Jesus:

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the One Who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” Matthew 11:2-6

σκανδαλίζω

skandalizō

I. to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend

  • to entice to sin.
  • to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey.
  • to cause to fall away.
  • to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority (Matthew 11:6, Mark 6:3, Matthew 26:31, Matthew 13:57-58)
  • to cause one to judge unfavourably or unjustly of another

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Some think that John sent this question for his own satisfaction. It is true he had borne a noble testimony to Christ; he had declared him to be the Son of God, the Lamb of God, and he that should baptize with the Holy Ghost, and sent of God, which were great things. But he desired to be further and more fully assured, that he was the Messiah that had been so long promised and expected. Note, In matters relating to Christ and our salvation by him, it is good to be sure. Christ appeared not in that external pomp and power in which it was expected he should appear; his own disciples stumbled at this, and perhaps John did so;…. Note, It is hard, even for good men, to bear up against vulgar errors. **

(John’s doubt might arise from his own present circumstances. He was a prisoner, and might be tempted to think, if Jesus be indeed the Messiah, whence is it that I, his friend and forerunner, am brought into this trouble, and am left to be so long in it, …. **

(Others think that John sent his disciples to Christ with this question, not so much for his own satisfaction as for theirs. Observe, though he was a prisoner they adhered to him, attended on him, and were ready to receive instructions from him; they loved him, and would not leave him. Now, they were weak in knowledge, and wavering in their faith, and needed instruction and confirmation;….)  **

Are worldly influences persuading us that Jesus is not who we are expecting? Is there someone greater or different? I think that the world around us does draw us away from the One Who has, indeed, come to save us because the world wants Him to be someone/something else.

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Mark 6:3

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ Matthew 26:31

And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:57-58

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.  And He said this plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. Mark 8:31-32

It seems easier for us if Jesus would look like the world, to do things as the world does. We squeeze our description, our “Jesus-likeness” from our minds, into a box filled with expectations.

The Pharisees came and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven to test Him. Mark 8:11

Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to Him?” John 10:20

The Israelites wanted a king, a king who would conquer and save.

But we had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Luke 24:13

Maybe our eyes are shut and we miss Him altogether.

While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. Luke 24:15-16

We want to know Who He is and to know this with clarity, intelligibility, and purity.

So the Jews gathered around Him and said to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” John 10:24

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the Cornerstone. Acts 4:11 (Psalm 118:22)

We want to know Him, yet we do not trust because we do not know Who He is.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name bear witness about Me, but you do not believe because you are not among My sheep. John 10:25-26

I see Jesus caring for the poor, the afflicted, the sick, the demon-possessed. These acts should draw me to Him, not send me away for He cares and loves the lowly and meek.

“If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father.” John 10:37-38

The Cross offends. The Cross scares people because of the depth of it’s meaning. Jesus the Christ went to the Cross. He bled for each and all of us for we are sinners. We are disobedient to the Father. He sent His One and Only Son to draw us unto Him, to teach us the Truth. Jesus went to the Cross for the sins we committed. He was sinless. Jesus died for us, nailing our sins to the very Cross from which He hung.

Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is a Truth that many run fast and hard away from. I did…for many years. I carried the heavy burden of my sin too and did not know what all that weight was on my back.

Rather than acknowledge Jesus as their Savior, the Jews dealt with Jesus in ways of their own:

The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. John 10:31

So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. John 18:12

And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” Mark 15:13

I reached a place in my life, at age 45, when I could no longer run, nor hide, nor carry the weight of my sinful burden. I turned to Jesus. I repented of my sin. I could no longer face myself in a mirror because I saw no good in me through anything I was or did. I gave myself to Jesus. He cleansed me and made me brand new. The weight was lifted from my shoulders. Jesus has given me a new heart, a heart that loves Him and only Him. Through Him, I can live anew and love anew. Oh my! Freshened. Refreshed.

We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:6

These words made no sense to me at one time in my life. Now, I can clearly see that my sin was cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

This is so OFFENSIVE to so many in this world.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19

Yet, through the Word of God, prayer, quiet times, the Lord calls me to be near Him. He knows me and will not let me fall back into the world. I stay close to Him in obedience. I do not want to be a stray sheep.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” John 10:27-30

Father, I pray I am able to be true to You, to the Truth of the Gospel, to all that is of You. I want to be a reflection of You. I desire to transmit Your love to those I come in contact with, while opening my heart to others about Jesus. I do not want to be offensive yet the Cross, the Gospel, Jesus, You can be offensive to many. It is through me where some may meet up with these, thus possibly making me offensive, like body odor. They may stand back, run away, protest, deny. Reactions can be many. Lord, please guide me and show me Your ways in which to walk as I share my faith in You. I love You so. I pray in the Saving Name of Jesus. Amen.

** Matthew Henry: Commentary on Matthew 11

Cornerstone drawing: https://www.ulpanor.com/2017/11/23/hebrew-vs-aramaic/

Cross: Adam Zdebel @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/zdebel/. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

In His Arms

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Psalm 146:5-10

 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord his God,

6 Who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them,

Who keeps faith forever;

Who executes justice for the oppressed,

Who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;

 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

the Lord loves the righteous.

 The Lord watches over the sojourners;

He upholds the widow and the fatherless,

but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.

10  The Lord will reign forever,

your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!

The Lord is over all and the only One Who can supply all our needs, provide all the help that the world just cannot supply.  With so much going on in these days we are living in, I so wish that things would be better, that people would not be oppressed, hungry, killed.  I just want us to live in peace with everyone, with all nations.  But Jesus said:

And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.  Mark 13:7-8

…but while we live in these times, we are to remember Who is the only One Who saved us, can save us, and will come for us when the time is right.

Psalm 146:1-4

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

 Put not your trust in princes,

in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;

on that very day his plans perish. 

Father God, I lift my hands to You and feel Your strong arms reach to me, this child of Yours.  You hold me closely and I am secure in You.  Father, why is there so much that feels so terribly wrong in this world?  Why is there starvation?  war? murder of innocents? fear of what others may do? chaos? kidnappings? … this list does not end, Father.  Why?  I am sad, Abba Father.  Just too much that is wrong.  But there is only one answer and that is the fall of man; evil came to live with us.  Oh, Father, Your strong arms remind me that one day, Jesus will come for us who have placed our trust in the One Who is Salvation, Who is the Holy One, and will bring us into His home where there will be no more tears nor pain. 

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

Father, I want to stay close and feel the comfort of Your love as I am wrapped in Your arms.  I thank You for the very salvation that Jesus brought to us so that one day we will be free from all that is of this world.  I have always been sad that You felt that You were sorry You ever made man back in the early times.    

So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7)

I sense You feel that way today.  But You know the times for they are in Your hands.  Walk with me through the remaining days of my life.  I crawl into Your arms, my Abba Father, one of your lambs.  I thank You and love You so.  In the Strong Name of Jesus.  Amen.

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picture:  https://i.vimeocdn.com/video/120444797_640.jpg

Through His Eyes and Mine

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A Quiet Game called “Photographic Memory”:
Everyone looks at the same photograph for 30 seconds.
Remove the photo and write down as much as you can remember about it.
The person with the longest list of items that are really in the photo wins!

As we look at God’s world, can we see, really see, what He created?  Or do we look past the beauty, the technicolor, the detail, the variants, the love, the indwelling, the calm, the preciousness in a child’s face, the innocence, the majesty… look past to see the mean, nasty, ugly, vicious, ridicule, gossip, anger, strife?  Oh, how I wish the world were without these things.  I want to be able to see only God’s beauty.  But this world is filled with such hatred and animosity and sin that it truly is hard to see past and even find the lovely some days, some moments.  But we are God’s children and He has created the beauty for us.   Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden and given the privilege to name the animals.  Adam saw all that God created.  God called it all good and very good.

Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.  God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.  Genesis 1:29-31

Let us take moments of each day and look beyond the worldliness of the moment and see His world through His eyes using our eyes.  It is beautiful and there is so much that is lovely.  Ann Voskamp, author of “One Thousand Gifts”, invites us to look for those things for which we are grateful…not just a birthday present or a bouquet of flowers, but the love of a mother, the wind in our hair, the bright pink of a rose.  “I want to see beauty.  In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.”  — Ann Voskamp from “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are”.  I, too, want to see the beauty.  Can I see it in the vile, in the wicked, in the mean, or in the angry?  Yes, I know they are all around me, but I choose to see God’s best before I see the world’s worst.  Oh, yes.  I do mean this.

I am swept into tears as I type these words for the world is so deep in these terrible things and I just can hardly stand it.  I want love and peace and calm to surround me and everyone else.  I am a big wuss and cannot help that.  I trust and cannot help that.  I love and cannot help that.  I feel empathy and sympathy.  I want to capture the innocence of my childhood and live amidst it for always.  I am just too…no, not too, but I am me, just me, and I am who God created.  I want to be me and see the world as God created it, not as man has made it to be.  This is my Father’s lovely world and I want to see it as He made it through my eyes, even through my tears.  I wish it to be that way for all, but that may not be so in this day and age.  Yet, I can still pray for it to be so.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Colossians 3:12-15

Father, this is Your world as You made it.  The vileness and hatred that dwells here is not You, but You know it is here.  Father, if it cannot go away, disappear, then I ask You to hold my heart that it could stand to live in this world, but in Your arms.  May I see the lovely that is Yours, the angelic that is in that little one’s face, the glory in those flowers, the ruby on the hummingbird’s throat, the black and orange and blue in the butterfly’s wings, the delight in my husband’s heart towards me, the kindness I feel from people who cared for my Mama for five years, the gentleness of the breeze when it blows in from the north.  I want to know You, Abba Father, in Your world of beauty.  Amen.

 


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