Tag Archives: power of the tongue

Receiving Instruction (part 3)

In my last post, I spoke of being ‘thumped’ and asked the questions:  What has God called you to do that requires more of you?  What are you facing that requires the very best that you have? 

As followers of Christ we are called put on the Armor of God and stand against the powers of darkness.  I have written about this to some extent in previous posts, and will come back to it again another time. But not every challenge encountered is a demonic attack.

Sometimes, we are tried (tested) simply by encountering other peoples stuff or other natural circumstances of a fallen world.   I believe this is the enemy’s A#1 go-to plan to come against those who bear the Name of Christ.  To put circumstances around us that test our character and test our beliefs – hoping we will take offense at the test and walk away from the very One who has given us the victory (through Him) in all things.

And sometimes, what we are experiencing is the consequence (delayed or immediate) of our own choices, words, and actions.  It is easy to point to outside circumstances for our pain and suffering, but it requires humility before God and a teachable spirit to allow Him to poke at and point at the areas in our life that need to be addressed for our greater good.  In the same way that a loving parent will teach independence to an infant by allowing them to stand  and fall over and over again until they develop – through testing – the balance, coordination and strength required to walk and eventually run on their own, our loving God allows us to undergo periods of testing in order to help us identify and confront the beliefs, circumstances, and behaviors that are holding us back from His best for us and poorly represent His character and His name.

Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.  Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.  (Matthew 5:13-16 MSG)

Lord, give us wisdom to recognize an attack from a trial, and show us through your Word the proper response for the challenges we may encounter in our lives.  When under attack, may we be quick to respond with boldness under the authority You bestowed upon us as Your ambassadors on this earth.

And when I’m ‘thumped’ by trials, may I recognize them as opportunities to be developed, strengthened, and even pruned/corrected.  As opportunities to be ‘proven’ as authentic and of quality, reliable and durable.

Who will I be when I’m winning?
Who will I be when I’m loosing?
Who will I be when stuck between a rock and another rock?

Will I choose to act in a way that is unbecoming to someone who bears the name of ‘Christ follower’?  

WilI I choose to stand boldly and confidently on the Word of God, fully relying on Him to bring this to a conclusion that is both for my good and His glory?

So what about all those challenges I have been journaling about for months and in some cases even years?   Well, I would like to end this post by declaring who I am and what I have!

I have the Wisdom of Christ residing in me (Proverbs 2:1-6, 1 Corinthians 1:30-31), and am quick to implement the corrections that God asks of me, because I am a doer of the Word and not just a hearer (Proverbs 15:33, Colossians 1:9-14).  That I take as my very own every benefit promised me as a joint-heir with Christ, knowing that nothing is impossible with God and no Word from God is without power or impossible of fulfillment (Isaiah 55:11, Luke 1:37, Romans 4:16).  That I am now experiencing victory in managing all my attitudes and behaviors, and that I am more than a conqueror over every evil scheme of the enemy. (2Timothy 1:12, Philippians 1:6-11, 1 John 4:17)

Yup, that’s me  – speaking of things that ‘be not’ … as though they are, until they are!

Be blessed,
Jenny

From my journal
From my journal

 

Receiving Instruction (part 2)

I pray I am always honest with God, with myself, and with you – my reader.  I never want to represent myself here as having figured out the answers to all of life’s questions, and/or be walking in constant victory over all manner of trials and temptations.    Nor, I pray, shall I focus too much on the unanswerable questions of life.  Why do we always feel this need to have an explanation for the problems of life?  This world is broken.  Because of Adam’s sin, it doesn’t operate (at this time)  in the way that God originally intended. It seems I am always wrestling my thoughts to the ground to put down that one recurring question … “Why God?”

Photo by Sarah Vaughan
Photo by Sarah Vaughan

As I shared in Receiving Instruction (part 1), I had been looking back through some of my older journals and was feeling a bit discouraged.  But as my morning devotions ended, I began to notice that throughout all those seasons of challenge God was at work in me. He brought correction to my heart about prideful attitudes.  He gave light to ‘stinking thinking’ that needed to be brought into alignment with His word.  He taught me about the power of my words to either bring blessing or cursing into my life and the lives of those around me.  He renewed my mind and mouth through the power of His Word and Spirit at work within me.

And He also gave fresh vision to the dreams I wrote about years ago.  Back then, I was at the very beginnings of this journey I’m on to step into His calling for my life.    A little slip here, a little stumble there, but it certainly was fun to read my notes from along the journey, and thrilling to be able to point to a place in time as the very ‘birthing place’ of dreams I’m acting upon in 2014.

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.  But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.  (James 1:2-4)

With that revelation, and believing God has called me to rise up and step forward as a woman of influence, I concluded that these seasons of trial, while not issued by God, can be used for a higher purpose to “test” or “prove out” my character as a leader. And I began to ask different questions about some of the challenges I’m facing today – now viewing them from a higher perspective.

Who will I be when I feel mistreated or falsely accused?
Who will I be when I don’t get what I think I deserve?
Who will I be when prayers seem unanswered?  

The truth is, I don’t much like being pressed and tested!  And it usually doesn’t bring out my most alluring personality traits.  But I was reminded that if I want God to open doors of influence for me, I shouldn’t be surprised to find that more is expected of me (reference James 3:1), for He is not going to give me greater influence if I am not presently a good steward of, or influence upon, the hearts and souls that are currently within my circle of influence.

TEST:  a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, esp. before it is taken into widespread use.
PROOF:  able to withstand something damaging; resistant.

I like the way Max Lucado compares testing to the thumping process a potter uses when testing (or proofing) his pottery.  If it ‘sings’ when it is thumped, it’s ready.  I need to sing more, and thud less!

What has God called you to do that requires more of you?
What are you facing that requires the very best that you have? 

I’ll take a break here, allowing you time to ponder that question as it relates to your own life and circumstances.  And I do hope you will take the time to post a comment or share your thoughts below.  We don’t live in a vacuum and I don’t have all the answers.

Until then, be blessed!
Jenny

 

Receiving Instruction

myAKDxiIt happens to us all.  You feel a prompting in your gut about something, or a light bulb suddenly goes off in your head.  Sometimes you may have a full understanding of it, and immediately know what your response should be to that revelation.  But other times it may be more akin to catching a glimpse of something out of the corner of your eye, or hearing a snippet of an instruction – perhaps even just a single word or small phrase.  You may ask yourself, ‘Did I really see/hear that? What does it mean?’     Then just a few days later, you turn on the TV and come across a program discussing just that subject.   I’m describing those times when it seems like everywhere you turn, the same word/message seems to be coming at you –  from TV, to radio, to friends even strangers.

Some would say ‘the universe is trying to tell you something’.  But why listen to the universe, when we can instead seek understanding and revelation from ‘the God of the universe?’

Well, I’ve been having that kind of experience lately.  There are certain words/phrases and snippets of knowledge that have been peeking out at me from books, podcasts, and around the corners of my mind/understanding.  I’m hungry for them to unify into an cohesive understanding, and so as free time allows I have been setting aside quiet time to dig deeper, seeking His heart and His word for discernment and revelation.   This morning is one of those times.

“Leadership Is Influence: Nothing More, Nothing Less”  ~John Maxwell

From my journal
From my journal

In the course of my quiet time this morning, while talking with the Lord about certain challenges I’m facing, I paused to look back through some of my older my journals.  And in doing so, I was a bit surprised to see that I was writing back then about some of the same things I journal about now.  In some ways, that was a bit discouraging – because I would rather have read about former challenges that I now (in this present moment) have victory over.

For example, in 2010 I was responding to a prompt to ‘step up’ as a woman of influence/leadership, and had crafted a “Statement of Purpose” for my life inspired by John Maxwell’s book “Developing The Leader Within You“.   Oh, to read the enthusiasm and faith displayed in those 2010-2011 entries.  God was leading me, teaching me, I was being challenged and also changed.  I was letting go of (at least in part) the insecurities that had kept me ‘living small’ and was daring to dream of things impossible for me to achieve based on my own qualifications.

Then life happened, and it rather grieves my heart to say that some of the same fears and insecurities that I was writing about conquering back then are still stalking me now.  Oh, yes, I’m now much quicker at dismissing them as falsehoods (issued direct from the pit of hell) but in truth – I have not entirely “broken up with fear” as I so boldly declared in my journal back in 2010.  Fear was alive and well in my life throughout 2012 and a good chunk of 2013.  Which is why I (again) declared a Break Up with Fear in 2014!

Or what about all those entries pouring out my heart during seasons when I felt persecuted by unfair circumstances, or under attack in some area of my faith-walk.  In some cases, it was exciting to later read an entry about a fresh revelation or victory seen – but there were also plenty of entries that sounded a lot like my writings in recent months.

I’m going to pause here because otherwise this would be a very lengthy post.  Please check back in a few days for part 2, and while you’re waiting please take a moment to leave a comment or two.  Have you ever heard the same message coming to you through TV, radio, etc?  Or have you ever looked back to old journals, diaries, or photos/videos and what were your experiences?

See you again in a few days!

Be blessed,
Jenny

 

Staying Positive In Difficult Times

This post was originally published under an older blog of mine in July 2011, just one month before I received a new job offer! Funny thing is that those very lessons I was learning back then (about guarding my thoughts and minding my tongue) are just as important today as they were then.  I enjoyed reading this again, as though for the first time.  I hope you do too!

It’s late, and I really ought to be in bed by now.  But after tossing and turning for the past hour and a half, I finally came to the realization that this is not going to be one of those nights when sleep comes easy to me.    Words are bouncing around in my head and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get them to shut up and leave me alone so that I can get some sleep.  And so instead of tossing and turning for another hour and a half, I have  decided to get up and put pen to paper (so to speak),  trusting that this restlessness is actually God inviting me to partner with Him to meet a need.  Believing that this writing, written as an act of obedience,  will be a blessing to somebody out there.

Today was a good day.  I was able to accomplish most of what I intended to do today, which not only included finishing a blog post I’d been working on for a few days but also catching up with a dear friend who lives in another state.  But I think what really has me so amped up at 11:58 pm are the endless “possibilities” that are before me.   Let me elaborate.

mhGv1bGFirst, a bit of background.  Just under 1 month ago, I joined the ranks of the unemployed.   I’ll be honest and tell you that it was a little scary those first few days of unemployment.  I know several people that have been looking for jobs for well over six months – and the more people you talk to, the more of those stories you hear.  And so as soon as I lost my job, I had to make a decision.  Will I listen to new reports and war stories of family and friends telling me how bleak the job market is right now?  Or will I listen to and put my faith in what the scriptures say about my future?  I choose the later!   And so for the past 4 weeks, I have been rigorously  ‘guarding’ my eyes, ears and thought life so that I am not giving a home to any fear-based thinking about what will happen if …

Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks.  For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.  – Ephesians 6:11-13

When negative news reports come on, I turn to another channel.  When friends tell me how bad the job market is, I quietly rehearse in my head scriptures about God’s promise for provision to those who love Him.  When worry knocks on the door, I don’t stand around and chat with it – invite it in for a nice cup of tea, nor go out on the porch for a quick little catch-up.  Nope, I smack that door shut and then crank up some worship music so that I can’t hear the knocking anymore!

Now lest I sound like some simple minded Pollyanna, let me be very clear about one thing.  Staying positive in difficult times is not for sissies!   It requires putting on the full armor of God, because if you only put on a few select pieces, I guarantee you that your adversary (the devil) is going to attack those unprotected areas and take you out!   So put on the whole suit – the ‘belt of truth’, the ‘breastplate of righteousness’, your feet fitted with the ‘gospel of peace’.  Put on the ‘helmet of salvation’ and take up the ‘shield of faith’ in one hand and the ‘sword of the Spirit’ in the other.  And of course, PRAY!  This is a war.  And you, my friend, are a called to be a Gladiator!

So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace.  At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One.  And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you.  Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people.    – Ephesians 6:14-18

In addition to guarding my thoughts, I am minding my tongue – which is to say that I’m careful about the words I allow to come out of my mouth.  Instead of giving in to the temptation to speak doom and defeat over my circumstances (i.e. I  heard that there are more than 100 applicants for every job out there, I hope I don’t run out of money before I find a job, etc.), I am instead speaking God’s Word over my circumstances!

Proverbs 18:21 reads “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (NASB).  In other words (quoting Charlie E here) … ”you will have what you say’.   Friend, if we are going to ‘eat the fruit of our words’, it only makes sense that you and I be purposeful about what we say!  We must train our tongue to speak God’s Word over our circumstances.   The scriptures are overflowing with promises of provision and prosperity (having more than enough to meet every need for every area of your life).   Cant think of any?  Read my earlier post entitled “I am: Blessed”  and then open your mouth and start speaking out loud the Word of God over your life and circumstances.

And going hand-in-hand with minding my tongue is feeding my spirit.   A couple weeks into the job hunt I hit a wall.  I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.  Nobody was calling me about my resumes, but of course my estranged friends Worry and Fear were quick to come knocking on the door to share with me the latest stats on how many months I should expect to be out of work.  I cranked up the worship music.  The knocking continued.  I watched some Daystar TV.  They rang the doorbell.  Eventually, I took to loading up my Nano with just about every Podcast teaching I could find by a few of my favorite Pastors (Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Brian Houston) and started taking 6 am walks  … long walks.  Yup, with headphones on and sound teaching streaming into my ears, I opened wide the door and walked  straight past  Fear and Worry, listening to one Podcast after another (i.e.  feeding my spirit) and refusing to turn back towards home until those old cronies legs got tired and they quit following me!  By the time I got back home each day, my faith was so stirred up that I was well prepared to face the challenges of the day with a victorious attitude.   It was awesome!   I’m still replaying several of those teachings in my head even while I type this.

Now I’m not necessarily suggesting that you start walking 4-5 miles a day, but do what you have to do to feed your spirit!  You can put on the armor of God and quote scripture over your circumstances til your blue in the face, but if your spirit man is malnourished, you aren’t going to have the strength and stamina to stay in the game long enough to win this battle!

Four steps to staying positive in difficult times

1.  Put on your Armor

2.  Guard your eyes, ears and thoughts

3.  Open your mouth and speak (appropriate) God’s Word over your life / situation / circumstances

4.  Feed your spirit

 

Now back to my earlier comment about being amped up about the  endless “possibilities” that are before me.   You see, while I was lying in bed trying to reel in my runaway thoughts, I got the brilliant idea to quietly speak (out loud) all the things that I am grateful for about today.  Like how grateful I am for the direction the Holy Spirit provided this morning when I was doing some writing.   How blessed I was to be able to connect with this  out-of-state friend of mine in the afternoon.   What a wonderful teaching I listened to later in the day, and how happy I am that I have learned how to release  my faith in the power of the blood to secure victory over my circumstances.  And then I started naming them off.  One thing led to another, and instead of winding down, I got so excited that I knew I’d not be able to sleep for at least another hour or two.

So there you have it.  The late night (actually, now early morning) ramblings of one very tired woman!  I’m praying that its just fatigue and a wild imagination that keeps seeing little brown shadows flitting across my office floor.   Imagination or not, I’m getting a little creeped out and am going back upstairs to bed before I succumb to the temptation to start singing the song “You’ve Got To Put Your Armor On” by Psalty The Singing Songbook.

Oh, whatever … why not! Who doesn’t like a good chorus??

You’ve got to put your armor on.
You’ve GOT to put your Armor on!
YOU’VE GOT TO PUT YOUR ARMOR ON!
SO YOU’LL * BE * SAFE!!

Side note:  my daughters loved Psalty when they were growing up, and now that I’ve discovered the Psalty collection is still available, I’m totally going to get some to share with my grandchildren!

Goodnight and be blessed!

Jenny