Friday, October 31, 2008

Can We Eat Our Own Words?

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21 NIV)

Proverbs 18:21 is one of my favorite scriptures. I’ve most often heard this scripture quoted by those who attempt to correct the negative, harmful things that we say out of our mouths. This scripture is also commonly used to caution us to be careful what we allow to come out of our mouths because our words possess power. The power of life and death does lie within our tongues. However, instead of focusing on the verbal assassinations some chose to commit with their mouths, I’d rather focus on the power of life that lies within our tongues.

But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:8 NIV)

It is true that no man can tame his tongue however, that which is impossible by man is possible with God (Matthew 19:26). God came to do the impossible. Alone we are unable to tame our tongues but with Jesus Christ we can do anything (Philippians 4:13)including tame our tongues. Therefore, if we truly want to speak words that are pleasing to the Lord and ask God to help us we absolutely can control what we say.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

I don’t know who came up with that old cliché but it is so far from the truth. Words can hurt. They can tear down and destroy. But just as they can tear down and destroy, they can also edify and create. After all, the world and all of creation was formed by words. God highly values His word.

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11NIV)

God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19 NIV)

God will do what He said He will do. He is looking for us to place the same value on our word. God will receive anything we promise to Him one way or another (Deuteronomy 23:21 NIV). Why? Because God has already illustrated through His own actions how powerful the tongue is and wants us to regard our words as highly as He does His.

The earth was empty and dark. God said let there be light and there was light (Genesis 1:3). Lazarus was dead for three days. Jesus didn’t perform CPR or use any other physical means to resuscitate him He spoke to Lazarus and Lazarus arose(John 11). Remember when Jesus was on the cross and it was time for Him to give up the Ghost? He verbally commended His spirit into the hands of the Father(Luke 23:46).

According to the Word of God as written in Proverbs 18:21, we will eat the fruit of our tongues. Let’s use our words to build up instead of tearing down. We can rejoice in the promises of Proverbs 18:21 and at the prospect of eating the fruit of our words. Let us speak to one another in love, peace, joy, and patience so that we may eat and bear the Fruit of the Spirit.

Shanita Waters
By His Stripes We Are Healed, Author

Thursday, October 30, 2008

He Called You So Answer

(Today’s post was inspired by Jonah Chapter 1)

How many times have you looked at the task at hand and looked at yourself, looked at yourself and the task at hand and reasoned that it was easier to allow the task to go undone than to try and not succeed? How many times have you been given an assignment that you felt unqualified to complete? Just as we work for employers in the natural that hand us assignments to complete, we more importantly work for a Heavenly Master that has certain tasks for us to complete. If we decide that we just don’t feel up to the challenge in our natural jobs we have to face the consequences. There are also repercussions for our refusal to complete assigned Heavenly duties.

Perhaps one of the most famous examples of someone that attempted to abort their assignment from the Lord was Jonah. It wasn’t that Jonah was incompetent or confused that prevented him from going to Nineveh when God told him to. It was the fact that Jonah felt his energies and time could much better be spent elsewhere. Therefore, Jonah went off to Tarnish instead. Even though Jonah may have meant well and had great plans to do great things in Tarnish –– that’s not where God told him to go so God would not allow him smooth sailing.

I can personally recall leaving relationships, congregations, assignments, ministries, etc. all because I felt that I wasn’t making any progress or because things were not progressing the way I thought they should be. As a result, I didn’t have peace. The storms of life were raging and I felt heavy at heart. I knew that the problem was. I wasn’t “where” I was supposed to be. I was miserable until I was able to move beyond my pride and my self-will and surrender to the will of the Almighty.

God caused a great wind and a mighty tempest in the sea which caused Jonah’s ship to be tossed in such a manner. It felt like it was going to break. In other words, God twist-turned Jonah’s life upside down all because Jonah heard the voice of the Lord and did not hearken to His call. Jonah’s shipmates were afraid. They knew that their vessel was carrying too much weight. They tried tossing unnecessary objects off the ship in their attempts to lighten their load but unbeknownst to them, it was Jonah’s disobedience that really weighed them down.

The assignment that God had for Jonah was too great from him to be hiding out on a ship. He was called to go cry out against the city of Nineveh. I’ve come to learn that some of the most difficult things to do for God are the most important things we’ll do for God. God wants us to come to a place where we trust Him enough to say what not many people want hear (truth), live (holy) how many aren’t willing to live and most of all to be willing to sacrifice (obedience) everything to follow Him.

All the mariners knew was that their ship was sinking. But Jonah knew exactly what the problem was because he was at the root of it. Isn’t it amazing how connected we really are to one another? Isn’t it amazing how our disobedience and refusal to do the will of the Father not only affects us but those around us?

Every time I read this story, I can’t help but to critically analyze everything that takes place. I came to the conclusion that it is a lot easier for us to do what God tells us to do the first time willingly than it is for us to run from God because there is no where we can go that He can not see us. God’s will will be done whether we comply or not. God will get the glory.

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 1:19-20)

Shanita Waters
Author of By His Stripes We Are Healed

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"...And I Thought You Were A Christian."

Hate is a strong word that I try not to use. But if I was to use the word, I would say that I HATE it when I hear people (especially Christians) tell someone that they thought someone else was a Christian when they see them behaving in a manner that is unbecoming of a Christian. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we should pray for our sisters and brothers if we see them headed the wrong way and not cast judgment. If after praying for the individual, we feel led to speak on the matter we should do so with love and kindness. After all, there was a time at which all of us were on the wrong path so we should learn to treat others as we would like to be treated. Had it not been for Jesus showing us love and kindness, where would we be? After all, we were commanded by Jesus Himself to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34).

It is true that to be a Christian means that we are striving to be like Christ. In our striving to be more and more like Jesus, there are some behaviors that we should no longer exhibit (2 Corinthians 5:17). However we must remember that no one is perfect and as long as we are in this flesh we are going to have our trials and tribulations. The Word tells us that the sprit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). This is why we must pray so that we don’t enter into temptation. We must learn to walk in the spirit so that we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. There are some of us still struggling with the “walking” part so those of us who are a little stronger must remember to bear the infirmities of the weak. We must always be ever mindful of where God has brought us from. Just because God delivered you and me from certain bondages does not mean that the next individual has overcome those areas in their life. Besides, none of us have arrived yet (Philippians 3:14). So instead of judging others, we should show them mercy if we expect to receive mercy (Matthew 5:7). I’m not saying that we should excuse their behavior because they are going through a tough time but we should never question whether or not someone is truly a follower of Christ just because they may have stumbled, slipped or even fallen. Words do hurt. We can literally kill ministries and individual spirits by acting like “church folk” instead of Christians.

Many times we see people headed the wrong way, drifting out of fellowship with the Body of Christ and with God and we say nothing. We figure that it’s none of our business. We tell ourselves that they know the truth and whenever they are ready to come to senses and back to the Lord that they know what to do. But, we are living in a time where people are checking out of here left and right. Sadly enough, many of them are not saved or not in right standing with the Lord. So my sisters and brothers, I ask you to pray one for another, pray for me and reach out to those that are not behaving in a godly manner all the more. We need to all come together and put aside divisions, strife, denominations, and most of all judgment.

Shanita Waters
By His Stripes We Are Healed, Author

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just me and Him

Okay, it has been nearly a month since I last blogged. There has just been so much going on lately. My baby sister got married, I've been on vacation and I've gotten a promotion since we've last talked. As busy and exciting as my life has been lately, none of the reasons I have listed are the the real reason why I haven't been blogging.

You see there comes a time when you are constantly hearing your own voice or reading your own writing that you need to just sit back and listen and hear what the Spirit has to say. I've come to learn that everything that God tells us is not for us to share with everyone. Some things that He tells us are for our ears only. God has been good to me. He has blessed me beyond all I can imagine. So I decided to take some time off of my blogging just to hear what He had to say to me.

Generally, I share most of my daily devotions with the world and at times God has allowed me to do this to help encourage others but I opened my eyes and found myself in a place one day where I was the one that needed the encouragement. It was during this time that I had to listen and learn as I tried to understand what it was that I was to do next. I haven't forgotten about all of my "online community" but I had to take a little break. I'm sure you understand. I want to say "thank you" to those of you that e-mailed and checked on me to see why I've been so quiet lately. I appreciate your concerns and your prayers. I promise to post again soon and until we speak again, please pray for me as I continue to pray for you.

Be blessed as you always are.