Guarding Your Mouth


Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

How important are your words? In one breath, you can encourage someone who is struggling with a problem at home. In the next breath, you can raise your voice to your sibling in anger. Both situations required words of some kind but I’m certain each had a different set of words spoken. What you say to someone does make a difference. (Ephesians 4:29)

If you started out your day by dedicating your heart and mouth to the Lord, I dare say you would be able to speak words to others that would leave them thirsting for more. Wouldn’t you agree, teen girl? Your speech is what the unbelieving world will use to compare with your walk. The two must agree or your testimony will be ineffective. (Psalm 37:30) When you start your day with the Lord, reading and praying, you have placed your heart, your mind, your words and your actions down a path guided by Him. Your heart is settled and prepared and your day is set into motion. Your have not started the day on slippery slope but on solid ground, therefore, you are able to walk sure and steady.

The scriptures contain many examples of people and the effect their words had on others. I would like to share the accounts of three women and how their words affected those around them.

The first of these women is Eve, the very first woman. I find it interesting that in the first words we find in scriptures spoken by her, she is adding to what God commanded about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Compare Genesis 2:16 and Genesis 3:2-3) God never said they couldn’t touch the fruit. Whether she did this on her own or this was what Adam shared with her, we don’t know. However, it is still interesting that these were the first recorded words spoken by Eve. What were the effects of these words? The serpent was able to trip her and deceive her. She, therefore, went to her husband and was able to convince him to eat of the fruit as well. Adam and Eve had the wonderful privilege of walking with God in the Garden of Eden. I wonder what would have happened had she prayed a similar prayer as in today’s verse? Would she have been so willing to listen to the serpent? Would she have dragged her husband into her sin? So this “first lady” of scripture’s words caused another to sin. Interesting.

Our next example of the impact of our words is Job’s wife. (Job 2:9) A woman who lives with a godly man cannot help but be influenced by his testimony. The scriptures don’t say whether or not she loved the Lord. All we can go by are her words. The first words spoken by Mrs. Job is Job 2:9. Except for Job’s boils, Mrs. Job experienced what Job experienced. She, too, lost all their children! Can you imagine? She, too, lost all that they had worked hard for. But when the rubber met the road, she did not have the same spiritual fortitude that her husband did. The only words mentioned in scriptures spoken by Mrs. Job is to tell her husband to curse God and die! She must have been at the end of her rope after going through all these emotional experiences. I wonder what would have happened had she started her day with this prayer in today’s text? Mrs. Job’s words encouraged her husband to curse God. Also very interesting.

The last of our women is Sarah. We read in Genesis 18:11-15 that the Lord told Abraham that Sarah would conceive in her old age. As well, when Sarah overheard Him, she laughed at the idea. I dare say I probably would have done the same had I been in her shoes. However, her lack of faith didn’t begin there. If you recall, Abraham had been told by God in the previous chapter that his seed would be numerous like the stars. (On a side note, Abraham laughed as well so let’s not be too harsh on Sarah!) I’m sure he shared this information with his wife. But her disbelief, or lack of faith, was displayed when she decided to help God along by giving Hagar, her servant, to Abraham so she could “bare” a child through her. What I find interesting is not so much Sarah’s lack of faith. After all, God Himself told Abraham that she would have a child. What I do find interesting is that she lied when the Lord told her that she laughed. (Genesis 18:15) She denied it! I wonder what would have happened had Sarah started her day with this prayer in today’s text? Sarah’s words, instead, were those reflecting her shaky faith and resulted in lying. Once again, very interesting.

How important it is for us to start our day out right. Is it any wonder that we are powerless in our walk when we haven’t spent time with the Lord before we embark on our day’s journey? How can our Father say no to a child who comes to him and says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” A sincere prayer such as this makes for a firm foundation, don’t you think? Guarding your heart will in turn guard your mouth. Starting your day with this sincere prayer is bound to have an effect on your. You’ll think before you speak – you’ll have God’s word hidden in your heart and its effect will be a guarded mouth.

Advertisements

Disappointments


Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Regrets and disappointments come in many sizes and varieties. I have had my share of them in my lifetime. Some are easier to let go than others, however. Is it wrong for a Christian to live with regrets and disappointments? In my own life, “living” with them is harder for me, spiritually speaking, than it is to simply let them go.

Living with regrets, in my opinion, produces a negativity in my life. If I dwell on these regrets too long, it affects me and those around me. It especially affects how I deal with day-to-day circumstances. I believe the Lord can take anything negative and turn it into something that He can use for good. A good example is the devotional on impossibilities – about Jochebed’s dilemma of having to give up Moses as a baby and how the Lord used this very difficult situation for His good! Just as the Lord used an impossible situation, He can use my regrets and disappointments to teach me something good.

Like a cancer, nurturing these regrets and disappointments in our heart will cause us to grow resentful. I’ve been there and I don’t like the person I become when I allow this to happen! Yes, you read right: I allow these things to happen! There is not one thing I can do to change what has happened – it’s a done deal. However, there is something I can do today and that is to leave these life changers at the feet of the Lord and allow Him to work in my life.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. II Timothy 1:12

The Lord can take these regrets and use them as lessons. Do you have regrets, teen girl? Is there something that’s happened that you wish you could make it go away? The scriptures are filled with parables that the Lord used to teach His disciples. Let the Lord do the same to you! Your circumstances are not parables – there are real people involved and the situations are in the here and now. The same God that helped Paul to write these blessed words is the One who will help you. Some of your regrets are irreversible. But there is nothing you can do about that at this point. However, you can learn now so that it doesn’t happen again!

Each time you can be taught as you sit at the Master’s feet, you grow more like the image of the precious Lord! He desires to impart teaching in you – teaching that I will learn and apply to your life – not just read/hear and do nothing with!

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6

The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: Psalms 138:8a

We need to let go of things that keep us focused on our walk with the Lord. The devil would love nothing more than to keep us loaded with burdens of care and worry. When we allow this, we become useless to the Master’s cause! Don’t you see that, teen girl? Day-to-day drama in your life cause will cause you to look away. Regrets and disappointments will NOT change unless YOU do something about it. Can we change the past? No! But we DO have the ability to affect the future. Since the path you’ve been walking has produced heartache and disappointment, why continue down it? Rather, walk His new path – learn from Him – be refreshed by Him – and let go of those burdens that weighed you down! Amen?

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Let’s allow the Lord to have a hand in each area of our lives – including those disappointments and regrets. He can heal them – He can teach us how to move forward – and He can take our lives and use them for His ultimate glory! I have “preached to myself” today. Things that have happened in my life have been such a regret and I have found myself, as I get older, wishing I had done things differently. Dwelling on such thoughts are not spiritually productive – in fact, quite the opposite! Lord forgive my lack of trust in Thy faithfulness. You are the Author and Finisher of my faith and I leave those things behind and press forward toward the mark!

Ready to Hear


Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. ~Ecclesiastes 5:1

On a typical Sunday morning, millions of people go to church. Not all go with the same motives. Before I was born again and totally changed by the Holy Spirit of God (II Corinthians 5:17), I went to church to fulfill my moral obligation. I dressed up (like today’s beautiful picture) and put on my Sunday best. Sadly, it was my heart that should have been prepared, not my outward appearance. (I Samuel 16:7) I also went to church so that others would see me there, not because I desired to hear from God. I don’t think I was too different from many who attended along with me.

However, once I was saved, I was totally different. After salvation, we should thirst after God’s word. We should read the bible for hours on end as though we are dying of hunger or thirst and cannot get enough to eat or drink! (Luke 4:4) When we long to hear from the Lord, He will satisfy our thirst day after day! (Matthew 5:6) Each time we enter His gates (the church house), we should be ready to hear what He has to say to us. If we want our spiritual cups to be filled to the brim by the Holy Spirit, we must enter with empty cups. If our spiritual cups are filled with concerns, burdens, sin, etc., we won’t have any room available. We must prepare ourselves prior to reading and hearing God’s word – a spiritual housecleaning, if you will. God can fill an empty cup but He can’t fill one that’s full of sin and worldliness.

Today’s text takes this a little bit further. God points out that there are those who will go to church, as I did before salvation, merely to fulfill their religious obligation and moral duty. These do not go expecting to hear about one of their sins and repenting from it. No, they will not see their sin – they will not hear. This is not the way of a repentant heart. The one who goes into God’s house expecting to hear from the Lord is the one who will benefit. Fulfilling one’s religious duty is not obedience to the Holy Spirit of God. It is a futile sacrifice!

And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. I Samuel 15:22

Teen girl, God desires obedience to His word.  (Psalm 119:9) We cannot fully obey Him if we are not born again by His Spirit. (John 3:3, John 3:5) We cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit if we are not hearing Him. Let us enter our daily reading with spiritual ears – let us enter the Lord’s house with spiritual ears. Let us be ready to hear what the Lord has for us. Seven times, the Lord tells us, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” in the Book of Revelation. He also says 18 times in the New Testament, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” He wants us to hear Him. He desires to communicate with us through His word! Luke 4:4 states that we cannot live by bread alone but by every word of God. He has given us His word through the King James Bible – Now we must be ready to listen!

After hearing what the Lord has to say, let’s put it to action: repent, be a testimony and tell others about the Lord, Jesus Christ!

What about my brother?


~I Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

You’re running along a winding path through the forest one day. You come around a curve and suddenly trip over a large branch in the pathway. It would have been nice had you been warned prior to coming around that curve to beware of the obstacle ahead, wouldn’t it? During one of my hikes at the beautiful Sweet Creek (pictured above), I was walking along the trail and concentrating on the beauty around me. A tree’s large roots were protruding out of the ground and my foot was caught up in them, causing me to stumble.

Today’s account was a good one to meditate on – the stumbling blocks of life. Granted, I have stumbled many a time along my Christian walk. But have I been a stumbling block to someone else? What do others see me doing, whether sinful or not, that could be interpreted incorrectly?

We don’t know who is watching us, teen girl. It could be a total stranger, a member of our own household, or another student at school. Are my actions a large root in someone’s pathway of life? Today’s church sadly screams “liberty in Christ” to justify their worldly living. That is a very selfish thought. We are not at liberty to do worldly things – we are at liberty of being judged by the Law because we are saved from the yoke of the Law’s bondage – we are free from that bondage of sin! We are able to say no to sin and are no longer controlled by it!

~Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Gal 5:1

Do my actions revolve around self and the gratification of my flesh? Paul encourages me to think of my weaker brethren in the Lord. I don’t know if there is a weaker brother listening in on a conversation or watching my actions.

~I Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

~I Corinthians 10:28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:

Being a Christian has responsibilities which involve selflessness, teen girl. It’s not about my liberties but it’s all about my brother’s weaknesses. Paul exhorts me to esteem others, not myself. Today’s self-esteem gospel is a false gospel. It’s just an excuse for Christians to live like the world, talk like the world, and do the same thing the world does.

Christ encourages all of us to be servants (John 13:5). Someone who is concerned about others will have no problem serving. There is no self esteem in a servant’s attitude. It’s all about serving the Master and what His needs are, amen? Just think back on the days of slavery. A slave was not his own – he did not do as he wished but did what his master bid him to do. Wow! Oh that each Christian today would be this type of servant.

~Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

When we are thinking of others, we monitor our own actions with that same thought process. I must be careful that my own actions do not cause my brother to fall into sin. A good example is what some call “Christian cursing.” I’m sorry but that is such an oxymoron. Should a Christian ever curse? Absolutely not! What if a weaker Christian, one who is recently saved, hears you using ‘potty’ words? He will think that it’s O.K. to do so! You may later fall under conviction for having used those words but that weaker brother won’t know this. You will never know who you affected by your actions and, therefore, may cause a friend to stumble. What a responsibility this is!

~Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

Our Christian walk should not be about “what is good or allowable for me” but, instead, what is good for my brother in Christ. A carnal Christian will try to justify his actions by saying that it’s the responsibility of the other person, not their’s. I recently saw an article on modest clothing for women. The article’s main theme was immodestly dressed women cause men to lust after them. A woman responded that it was not her clothing that caused the man to lust but his own heart. Wow! Really? Would he have stumbled if he had not seen her immodest apparel? This is exactly what Paul is talking about. If this woman had a servant’s heart, rather than serving her own fleshly desires, she would have fallen under conviction over this article and would have immediately stopped wearing immodest clothing. Instead, she balked and defended her lifestyle. This is selfish – this is not esteeming the other better than herself. In fact, she is obsessed with self.

In closing, what does my walk do for someone else? Do I encourage another to live righteously by my actions? Or do I encourage another to live like the world? 😦

What a responsibility we have. What a responsibility I have! I must live like someone’s always watching!

 

Quilt Holes


Although you, teen girl, have not lived a long life yet, I wanted to share this story with you because it shows in some small way the progress of your life.  I pray that it leaves an impression on your heart 🙂

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times.

I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only somehow mustering the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.

I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, ‘Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you.’

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!

~Author Unknown~

Read!


~Galatians 2:7-8 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

Do you have catholic friends, teen girl?  Are you possibly Catholic? It doesn’t take but a few minutes in Galatians to see that Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles and not Peter. I was raised Roman Catholic and was taught that Peter was the first pope. When one reads the Scriptures, one sees in today’s text that Peter was called to be the apostle to the Jews, not the Gentiles.  There are three more verses where Paul confirms who he was:

~Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

~1 Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

~2 Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

Just one doubt should cause a catholic to wonder what else is in the Scriptures that is contrary to what they’ve been taught!  Sadly, like any “religious” person, most would rather trust the traditions of the catholic church, the words of their church fathers and current church doctrine over what the Bible teaches.  😦

This is just a gentle prod to whomever is reading today and has been searching!  It doesn’t matter whether one is a catholic, protestant, mormon, Jewish, etc. Isn’t it better to believe God rather than a person? Forget denominations right now … it is God who will judge in the end, not being part of a certain religion, teen girl. I’m not asking anyone to change religions, in case you’re wondering. I simply desire that you search the Scriptures whether these things be so (John 5:39)! On judgment day, no one will be there to hold your hand when you stand before Jesus Christ and He asks you why He should let you into His Heaven.

Peter, himself, said to obey God and not man!

~Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Think for yourself, reader, instead of relying on someone else to determine the most important decision of your life! Where you spend eternity is not something that is best left in someone else’s hands! Eternity is a LONG time to mourn a wrong decision!

The Ungodly Way


~Psalm 10:13 Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it.

There is a price to pay for sin. Sometimes the cost is right here on earth. For example, smoking has been proven to cause cancer and many other illnesses. Continuing to smoke is no better than a rebellious child sticking his tongue out when he doesn’t want to do something! The cost for smoking occurs right here during the smoker’s lifetime, some sooner than later. But there is a cost in the end.

Many do not see where they are heading.  Do you see where you’re walking down life’s path, teen girl.  Most people just keep walking down the same dangerous path to destruction.

~Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Some continue on their destructive path not caring of the consequences, like taking drugs for example. Others don’t care because they don’t believe in God and, therefore, do not fear His punishment. How foolish!

Ps 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

This fool says he would rather sin, have fun and go to Hell than to go to Heaven. This fool only thinks for “right now” and lives for a moment’s pleasure. He does not dwell on the future or the permanence of eternity – just the here and now. How sad!

I would rather be born again and look forward eternity in Heaven than to take a chance and live like the devil and spend eternity in a burning lake of fire. I merely have to think back on a burn on my hand from a hot iron, the pain I suffered and I know that the burning forever is not what I want.

God will require a payment for teen girl sins!  Yes, He is a loving God but He is also a righteous God who will bring judgment.  The teen who does not want to accept God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ will stand before Him one day and give an account for each and every sin. Without Jesus Christ as his Saviour, this teen will go into eternity to burn, writhe and suffer pain and darkness forever!

~Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Without Jesus Christ, one has no hope to ever gain entrance into Heaven. You say you don’t care, teen girl? How very sad! Your caring or not does not eliminate the fact that you will die one day. EVERYONE dies. Death is a certainty. You have everything to lose if I am right and you are wrong … but you have everything to gain if you heed my warning. Allah, Buddha, Confucius, good works, etc., will not get you into Heaven. Jesus said,

~John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

There is NO other way but by Jesus. That’s why Matthew 7:14 says that the way to Heaven is narrow! Jesus Christ is so controversial, and has been since His first appearance. Religions do not argue amongst themselves over other gods – but they sure do about Jesus Christ. He is the only Saviour. He is the only Messiah. He IS coming again with judgment on His lips. What will you do with this information, teen girl?

~Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.