Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Clear Distinction

Exodus 11:7
But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move
its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know
that the Lord does make a difference between the
Egyptians and Israel.

A first glance at this verse would cause a person to just skip doing an in depth study because it clearly has nothing to do with a person's speech. But this verse decrees a type of peace that is uncommon. Have you ever laid in bed at night and heard dogs barking at night? Very little noise is needed to stir up a dog and get a dog barking. Yet, as the Lord explains to Moses that on the night when the Egyptians will be bewailing and mourning the death of their firstborns, not even the dogs would bark at the Israelites.

This verse is giving Israel a peace and security that God is protecting them and will keep His promise of deliverance. And yet He is also making a clear distinction between His people and the heathen Egyptians. As I read this verse and thought about the context of today, I am reminded of the many preachers and leaders in our country and around the world who are proclaiming "Believe what you want to believe, and as long as you are sincere God will bring you into heaven." How wrong and misleading these leaders are. It saddens me to think of the many people in our world who are blinded by this human idea and have been given a false view of God.

I serve a holy God.
Le 19:2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of
Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy:
for I the LORD your God am holy.
Because God is holy His character demands specific things. The only way God can even see me is if my sin has been covered by the blood. In the Old Testament, Israel was required to offer a perfect lamb as a blood sacrifice to cover their sins. Jesus Christ, the only man to walk this earth and NEVER commit a sin was sacrificed on the cross. His blood has covered and cleansed my sin. The book of Romans says that If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead thou shalt be saved. Clearly a person cannot be saved unless they truly believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The book of John states that Unless a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.

You see, God makes a very clear distinction between those who have been born again and those who are spiritually dead.

I also must be very clear when I am speaking with others that I express the distinction God makes between believers and unbelievers. Most of the people in my small town are religious. Unfortunately, many have been raised to believe that if they attend church on Sunday, participate in church activities (as long as it doesn't interfere with their normal life), and give money to help people in need than they will have a free pass into heaven. However, God's holiness is mocked when we try to earn or work our way to heaven. If we could earn our way to heaven than what purpose did Christ's death serve? Salvation is in none other than Jesus Christ.

I urge you if you have been trying to work your way to heaven, please turn to Christ. This website will help explain better. Or you can leave a comment and I will respond to you.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man
Christ Jesus; I Timothy 2:5

In regards to yesterday's post, I want to thank those of you who were praying for me. I went to the workshop this morning with the intent to talk with someone. However, by the time I introduced myself to the lady sitting beside me and she told me what she did, the workshop started. I ended up having to leave before the workshop was over so the opportunity to share Christ did not arise. Please continue to pray for me that I will seek out other opportunities and have the boldness to share.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lord Grant me Boldness of Speech

Exodus 4:10 Then Moses said to the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not
eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to
Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."

How typical is it for me to offer up excuses. "Lord, I was too busy chasing my kids to notice the lady across the room." "Lord, I can't leave and go talk to her -- my kids will get wild if I'm not standing RIGHT here." If I don't want to do something, believe me I can come up with a pretty acceptable EXCUSE.

In today's verse, Moses was the same way. Whether he was speaking out of fear of returning to Egypt, or the desire to not upset his current living situation, Moses chose to use his speaking abilities as an excuse to not appear before Pharaoh. Now keep in mind, Moses had a better education than any of the other Israelites (he was raised in Pharaoh's own home). His education most likely included the ability to orate.

Moses' reason for offering the excuse could have been a feeling of inadequacy to perform the task which God was asking of him. I mean here was one person asked to go speak before the ruler of Egypt -- one who thought himself to be a god. I would certainly feel inadequate to complete that task.

Understanding this verse, I must now look at myself. I so often find myself speaking this same thing to God -- not so much in words as in my lack of action. On a weekly basis I come into contact with unbelievers. Yet, can I recall the last time I boldly confronted them with the Gospel? I love the next verse --

So the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes
the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the
Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach
you what you shall say."

God has given me a task to do. Yes, I am to care for my husband and my children, but he has also entrusted me with the precious gospel. This precious message needs to be given out to others. If you won the lottery, would you not be shouting it out to everyone around you so they could celebrate with you? With that same joy and excitement I need to share the good news of Christ with everyone I come in contact with.

It would be very easy for me to respond as Moses and beg the Lord to send someone else, but in doing that what purpose would I then have. Nor do I want the Lord's anger to be kindled against me as it did against Moses.

Now, how do I apply this to my tongue. Tomorrow morning I am attending a community meeting. Typically I attend these meetings and quietly sit by and listen and observe. Please pray for me and with me that tomorrow I will have boldness to approach someone sitting near me with the gospel. While I may not know the words to speak, God does, and He and He alone must guide my speech.

Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the
mighty acts of the Lord? Who can declare all His praise?
Psalm 106:1-2

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Study on the Tongue

I know it has been quite a long time since I have blogged. I must admit that my time as of late has not left me any leisure for blogging. However, as I have struggled in consistency with my personal time with God, I am going to use my blog as an outlet for meditation and sharing what God is teaching me in my time with Him.

I have recently noticed how my outlook on my day and on my situation can be quickly changed by another person's words whether positive or negative. For instance, if you awaken in the morning and declare "What a glorious day today!" and every person you encounter throughout the morning says "It's dreary today", "Oh I wish it were Friday", "I hated getting up this morning", "I wish the sun would shine"; by noon you're glorious declaration will be turned to "Today is ok." Continuing through the day and still hearing only negativity about the day will continue to depress your outlook on the day to where by supper you may be saying "I can't wait to go to bed so I can wake up to a better day then today."

As women our attitudes are often too closely linked to what others say and think about us. Now I am certainly responsible for my own response to the negativity of others. Biblically I must not allow the words of others to discourage me from obeying God. Nor can I change the words of others -- only God and that person can change their thinking. However, there is another factor in this exchange of words that I can change. This factor involves my words to others. If I tell that same person seeing a dreary day about the beautiful green grass, I am adding a positive point to their day. I must guard my words so that I am edifying other believers and not causing them to sink into depression and discouragement.

Thus comes my point. I am beginning a word study on the Tongue.

Today's verse is Psalm 31:20 "You shall hide them in the secret place of your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues."

I do understand that David wrote this chapter while he was facing adversity and being hunted by men who wanted to kill him. Now I know that no one is hunting me down with the desire to physically kill me. However, Satan does desire to see my testimony destroyed. He longs to drive me into a spiritual depression and he will do so through verbal attacks from those about me -- both unsaved and saved.

The first section of the verse refers to the believer being securely hidden in the presence of God. Here I find safety and comfort knowing that by spending time in God's presence no one can harm me. The second section explicetly states why I am being hidden -- from the strife of tongues. When I hear the word strife I often think of one who is up to mischief.

Therefore, God is protecting me from the mischief other people speak. I am protected from what others are saying about me. This does not mean that I am oblivious to what is being said about me. In verse 13 the Psalmist states "For I hear the slander of many . . ." At times I will be aware of the slander and malicious statements people say about me.

By spending time in God's presence I am reminded that the only person who's thoughts I should care about are God's. It does not matter what my neighbor's think of my numerous and closely spaced children. God gave me each child, so he is glorified when I speak positively about the joy each of my children are to me. When I am in God's presence I receive fullness of joy. This joy will carry me through the negative comments and opinions I routinely face.

Verse 18 of chapter 31 states "Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous." Here in this very chapter the poet David gives me a prayer to offer up when I do hear the verbal attacks.

Rather than allowing the negativity of others drive me into the depths of despair I need to take the attack to my Heavenly Father and pray for Him to silence the attack.

I do want to add that a person does not need to speek maliciously in order to destroy a person. A simple, "you must always be tired" is enough to drive a splinter of discontentment into the heart of a person. Recently I had a splinter, the size of a pin head, stuck in the tip of my finger. For an entire day that tiny splinter caused my finger to hurt immensly every time it touched something. A person's words are like that splinter -- no matter how small they can fester and cause pain.

But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, "You are my God . . .
Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies' sake.
Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord,
for I have called upon You;
Let the wicked be ashamed;
vv 14-17