Good Evening sweet friends - I have missed you. It has been too long (over a week) since I last shared my thoughts with you. I have not felt good, and I am trying to do my best to take care of myself and get enough rest. I was admonished by my sister-in-law to at least write a paragraph each night, and I think that is what I will do.
I have so many thoughts running through my head, straight from my heart and from that "still, small voice." I wondered if I should share with you what the window washer said to me today just off the cuff that the Lord used in a specific way to speak to my heart about who I am in Christ, or the lesson He taught me about the importance of everyone He brings into my life, or the power of the tongue. I settled on that sorry ole' tongue. It either encourages or discourages, speaks blessing or cursing, honors the Lord or opens the door for "disorder and every evil practice." That is a powerful statement.
I can remember telling sweet Opal Dunn (I don't usually name anyone, but she is in Heaven now and always laughed when I said this to her) that she needed to lay that tongue of hers on the altar, but our church altar just wasn't long enough. What made that funny is this dear sweet person probably never said an unkind word in her life. There are others I could have said that to and caused "disorder," myself included.
I will share my other life's lessons over the next few days because I was truly blessed by my Heavenly Daddy sending sweet messages to me through different people and circumstances. (He did use Balaam's ass to talk, so I have no doubt He is perfectly capable of using anyone or anything to speak to my life. I am not talking about anyone specific. Honest!)
I have a feather pillow that I love because I do sleep so sweetly when I use it. It conforms to the shape of my head and shoulders, and that is a good thing. I do have to double case it because the feathers tend to stick out of the pillow and can prick the skin - not a good thing.
The other day I noticed a slight separation in the seam which means several feathers could escape. I keep finding them. Just when I think they are all cleaned up, I find another. They are elusive little devils. They are so light and airy that it is impossible to gather all of them up.
It reminded me of a story I heard about a man who had repeated something that had caused great harm to another's reputation. He desperately wanted to make amends and asked his parish priest what he should do. The priest told him to break open a feather pillow and put a feather on the door step of every person that knew what he had told and to come back when he was finished. Sure enough, the man came back after a couple of days and asked what he should do next. The priest told him to go gather all of the feathers back up. The man couldn't believe what the priest had told him to do. He retorted, "I can't do that, all of the feathers have blown away." To which the priest replied, "I know, so have your words. Once they are spoken, they can never be taken back."
I immediately thought of the old idiom, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me." That is not true, is it? I have a broken little finger on my left hand that doesn't bother me one bit. I broke it playing softball at recess in the 5th grade; but I can think of words that were spoken to me by my 5th grade teacher that the devil still uses to try to discourage me.
How many of us have said things we wish we could take back? We can apologize, ask for forgiveness, and by the miraculous power of the blood of Jesus, forgiveness can be complete; however, words spoken are always available to our arch enemy to use against us. Never confuse the source of the voice that speaks to you.
In James 3, there is a perfect description of how we know that what we are hearing and experiencing is from the Lord. He tells us that words spoken to us by the Lord Jesus are "first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. [that produce] Peacemakers who sow in peace and reap a harvest of righteousness." When our words produce the same results, we know our tongue has been tamed by the Holy Spirit (we certainly can't do it.)
James also describes for us how we know words spoken to us or words we speak are "set on fire of hell." Are we ready for that description? "But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such 'wisdom' does not come down from heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."
That is truly mind boggling, and why the Lord Jesus is so clear about warning us about our thought life. Whatever we think, we will eventually say. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh." (Luke 6:45). What we speak, we eventually do, what we habitually do becomes a habit, and our habits determine our character.
I am thinking right now about how dangerous envy and selfish ambition are. Where it exists also exists the potential for every evil thing. Oh, dear Lord Jesus, help me to keep my mind stayed on You, so my words will be sweet, encouraging, peaceable, full of mercy and sincere. Don't let me regard envy and selfish ambition in my heart so I will be able to please you by being "salt and light" through your power.
I tried several times to take this discussion to a funny, sarcastic place. The subject of the tongue is rife with that opportunity, but the Lord wouldn't let me. He is serious about the devastating effects of a tongue "set on fire of Hell." I need to be as well. If you don't mind my saying, you do too.
And all of God's people said, "Amen."
Goodnight, sleep sweet, resting in the peace provided by your Heavenly Daddy. I am still approaching each day with the joy of the Lord. Love you all, Mecca