Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mind over Mouth

The Bible has much to say about our thinking and our speaking. I have been studying Scripture to understand the reason why my mouth often gets me into trouble. I know plenty of people who suffer from this malady as well. I, along with countless others, struggle to keep a bit on the mouth when doing so would be most beneficial. Nouns and verbs don't just assimilate themselves and randomy fly out our mouths. What we say stems from what we think and what we feel. In the Old Testament book of Numbers there is a repetition of instances when God put words into the mouths of people. God did so in order that these individuals would speak His thoughts and commands, not the mere fleshly thoughts of these less than perfect people. Oh how I wish I would wait on God to put words in my mouth. I know that often what I am thinking and feeling does not line up to what God thinks and feels about my dilemma. How many times I have opened my mouth before going to my Savior and asking Him to direct my conversations. Sadly enough I have given folks "a piece of my mind." This saying is an idiom that means to tell someone off. This is when you let your mouth spew the vomit that is churning in your mind. God doesn't speak verbal vomit. The words He puts in my mouth, your mouth, are for edifying others, correcting others, and imparting grace to others. Our mouth can expose us in the same way looking in a mirror can. A mirror reflects the image in front of it. The mouth reflects what one is thinking and what the heart's condition is. The Bible tells us to guard our hearts and minds. To not do so is a set up for disaster. However, by setting our minds on things above (Col. 3:2) and guarding our hearts (Prov.4:23) we can speak in a way that honors God. Our goal is to build up with our words- not tear down. Psalm 19:14,"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Enduring Temptation

How would you define temptation? Would you say it's the desire to go after things or experience you shouldn't? Perhaps it's going for the dessert when you're on a diet, late night websurfing on forbidden sites, flirting outside of your marriage, speeding to get where you want when you want... Certainly these are examples of going after what we shouldn't go after. What I know to be true as well, temptation is not going after something we should go after. Daily I get directives from God to send a note, make a call, put in the offering plate, love the unlovely BUT I don't. I don't go after what is best. I settle for laziness, procrastination, living in fear of risk... So temptation then can be either active or passive. Giving in to temptation either way yields poor endings. At age 55 I am still memorizing Scripture. I want to stay sharp both spiritually and mentally. Crossword puzzles may help my mind but not my spirit. I kill two birds with one stone. Right now I am attempting to take on James Chapter 1. My verse today, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation..." The word blessed means to be truly happy. To endure is to successively and victoriously survive a trial or testing. And temptation is that trial or testing. So when you put this altogether you have great words of wisdom. You will be the happiest when you go through a tempting time and don't give into it. Your choice to be active when God speaks or be passive when God speaks will determine your true level of happiness, success, and victory. Self denial doesn't get easier with age, or at least at 55 I am still struggling denying my fleshly desires. So today I ask myself this question,"Do I want the temporary happiness that temtation is flaunting me with, or the true happiness of endurance with success and victory that may take awhile?" Today I pray to endure!