Speaking in Tongues

Our lives are shaped by our experiences. Happy childhood = happy adulthood – for the most part. Tragic childhood = strife. And there are always exceptions. Still, no one seems to understand us better than someone who has been in our shoes – for the good or the bad. Someone crosses our path that speaks our language and poof – someone understands me. A kindred spirit – that’s what I’ve heard it called.

Have you ever sat and listened to a speaker and you notice he or she is delivering the same message you heard earlier, but it was tailored for your specific tongue – at that moment? I don’t even know that – that makes sense. But…I attended a conference last weekend. This speaker was teaching on the importance of being free to love. The topic is a familiar one… how can we express love to others, if we are not free to love. Loving others and allowing others to love you go hand in hand – and it includes loving self.

Well, I have been talking to my husband about the whole concept of love the last couple of years. I spent ten years in a very abusive marriage. The Lord had to work in my life to teach me how to love and how to allow myself to be loved, to feel love. Anyway, the Lord did not send me someone that loved me unconditionally, or that stood by me, or any kind of support. He did not plant me in a church. He did not surround me with Christian women, though I knew many. He sent me two friends that walked with me in spirit. One knew my struggles because she too had survived an abusive marriage. My male friend was a bible study teacher. He and his wife held bible studies in our home.

I had three daughters, but this time, they were teenagers and two were in full rebellion. It was not easy raising teenagers on alone. So how did the Lord teach me about love?

The Lord gave me rebellious children, with constant needs, a grandchild to raise, with constant need. He stripped me of my employment. He shut all the doors to any employment opportunities. He left me without a vehicle. All my friends, except for the two abandoned me. I have a huge family, but I might as well have been an orphan…

I was attracted to the teachings of David Jeremiah and Rich Mullins… to completely different voices.

Yes, the Lord taught me about love, to love, to allow myself to be loved by stripping me of all my worldly identities, my worldly resources – non-existent as they were. And he gave me rebellious children as a mirror. For me, it took an absence of the spoken word to allow God to reach through decades of pain and rejection. His word had to penetrate walls so thick and wide… He alone could tear down those walls. I learned the only way to hear the Lord – is to shut my mouth – and limit the other voices trying to get in my head.

Anyway, back to this teacher last weekend. I was listening to this speaker and suddenly I realized – I am so dumb. All these teachers, preachers, authors, speakers and such are speaking the same message they are just using a different language to convey meaning. They all put their own spin on the message. They all believe it to be new revelation. Then it was like the light bulb coming on. If I happen to attend two conferences with two different speakers, the audiences will be different. If I go to the west side and listen to a speaker who rose from the streets to preach the gospel – his message will sound different from the speaker at the convention center – who grew up in middle class America and attended Dallas Theological. The language matters. Experiences matter. American is a very diverse place. Some people need convoluted language to convey/understand a simple messages e.g. soulical plague. Come on! Others need only – the simple message.

So then, if the message of the gospel is a simple message – and it is presented to every man in his own tongue. Then truly, the messenger is the one we need to be cautious of. Different voices appeal to different people. And if someone wants to hear only good things that’s what he or she will gravitate too.

We have to test every spirit – to make sure it is from God. No one wants to be the town crier, but in these last days – deception is on every corner. The Scriptures tell us the deceivers are already in our midst.

So if any message appeals to you, if you feel a connection with the messenger – he/she feels your pain, your struggle – then take the time to make sure their message aligns with Scripture – and not your feelings. The heart is deceitful above all things. I have to constantly remind myself.

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

2 Timothy 3:15-17 And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear. People will refuse to listen to the truth and turn to myths.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Thank you for reading. Be blessed.

Do not be caught unaware…

The Lord uses any and all situations to drive home a message. On Friday, my husband and I were on our way downtown to meet our daughter and her fiance for dinner. We had left early (75 min. early) giving us plenty of time to get to the restaurant, find parking and such. Well, it was Friday afternoon, peak traffic and it was backed up something horrible – unusually heavy. We could not believe it. Nevertheless, we figured, even with the heavy traffic we would still arrive on time. We were expecting traffic, so entering a congested highway was no big deal. We were not expecting a fatal traffic accident.

We had been sitting in traffic for over an hour when I got an alert on my phone about a fatal accident… on the highway we were on, about 3 exits up. Apparently, two trucks were involved in an accident and one rolled over, killing the driver. The news reported the accident had occurred before we entered the highway, less than an hour before.

Sitting in traffic is never convenient, never pleasant, never merciful. Did everyone else get the alert that afternoon? If they had news alerts set up on their phone, they probably did. I imagined not many had, just because of the impatience of the traffic. Traffic never considers why it’s backed up. It only thinks about finding a way around, jumping in front of cars, cutting people off… finding a way off the highway other than the exit ramp, etc. Traffic just wanted to keep moving. So emergency crews had to close the highway to deal with the aftermath, but no one (law enforcement) was directing traffic off the highway. It was every man for himself.

For drivers that are accustomed to traffic, they find ways to deal with the frustration. They are talking on the phone, not paying attention, perhaps complaining to person on the other side, or texting. The reason for the back up is irrelevant. Drivers just want to get to their destination.

Where are we going?

A young man, loved by family and friends died that afternoon (May he rest in peace.), and it was an inconvenience to many. He was a son, a husband, a father, and perhaps a man of God. How will his loved ones deal with their loss? No compassion from the traffic. As we moved ahead, at a snails pace, I couldn’t help but consider my own mortality.

I do not know when or where the bell will toll for me. But in an instant I will be gone. I can imagine a portal from heaven opens up and I will be snatched up and set in the presence of the Lord. Wow! To behold my Savior. I was telling my husband that I have talked to my daughters about this topic. He does not like to talk about it much, death that is. It worried me more when my daughters were young. If I died, I didn’t know who was going to take care of them? Their dad didn’t even try to keep in touch with them. Would he step up to the plate? Or would he continue to reject them? God was merciful to us. These days it’s about my grand kids. Will my daughters be able to protect them? Death can be very inconvenient! It leaves a big hole behind. Who will fill it? Gosh! Trusting in God in life and in death – is all about faith. 

A death disrupted many lives that afternoon. A wife cried out in disbelief. A child couldn’t understand why dad was not coming home. And the traffic was merciless. That’s what happens when we are not prepared for death. But we are never prepared for death, not our own, or that of a loved one. Even when we expected it and plan for it – we are not ready for it. In this case, 

According to police, the man was indecisive about whether he wanted to travel on the highway or get off, making in-and-out changes of direction.

There was no allowance. Do you know where you are headed? Is there a place waiting for you on the other side? So this man could not decide if he wanted to stay on the highway. I hope that before he passed that he had decided to trust in Jesus for his eternal destination. Because when it’s time to get off – there’s no changing lanes. 

So, I considered my own mortality that day. The best way to prepare was to make myself right with the Lord. I have to examine myself moment by moment, so when the time comes, when the Lord calls me home… when the sun sets on my life… everyone will say…”All she wanted was to go home.” And she’s finally home! Praise God!

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Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.
James 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
James 4:13-15 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 
John 14:2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Revelation 16:15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”

What if they Lord were to return overnight, or tomorrow. Would I be ready? I pray that I will be ready when He calls me home, or that I will be found faithful should He return this day. And I pray that my death will not be an inconvenience. But – if the Lord should return and I be taken up – it’s every man for himself on the highways.

I know where I am going after I take my last breath on planet Earth. I pray the reader does too.

Mathew 24:36-44

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

 

Where are they?

As our world grows ever smaller – we hear of it more often these days. Another person goes missing, a child, a woman, a man. It gives me a sense of helplessness. I pray and ask God “Where is she my Lord?” “Who would take a defenseless child?” “Why have they not found her, or him?” It’s heartbreaking. It’s as if the ground opened up and swallowed up these people. I pray and ask God for understanding. Is there an answer? Not one that I can comprehend. Truly, answers is not what we want. We want our loved one home.

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Corinthians 5:1)”
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)”
“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)”
“The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. (Psalm 14:2)”

Only our Father in heaven knows… And all – will be held accountable for the deeds done in the flesh. No one will escape judgment. Pity the fool that says and believes otherwise. The man who thinks “No one sees me.” Yes. Someone sees – all. He is God.

Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.
Job 34:21 “For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps.
Psalm 33:14 “From His dwelling place He looks out On all the inhabitants of the earth…”
“Jeremiah 16:17 “For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.”

Oh Lord, that You would reveal the whereabouts of the missing here. That You would shake the ground…

Guard Your children, my Lord, those near and those far to us. In the name of Jesus.

Pray for the missing…

Thank you for reading. Be blessed.

I am the Apple of my Father’s Eye

Hello this evening. I hope all you great father’s out there are having a blessed day today. I wanted to share something.

I did not grow up with a father. My dad abandoned us when I was four year old. Even though I saw him on and off when I was young, I can’t say we ever bonded, or anything like that. My first experience with a father, was my heavenly Father. He loved me – just as I was. Praise God! On Father’s Day, He is the father that I remember.

My father, He loved me so much. He said He always knew me. He said He knew all about me. He said, “I was there when I created you in your mother’s womb.” He was there when I rose, sat, walked. Before a word was out of my mouth, He knew it well.  He was there with every step I took. He was there for every joyous occasion.

My Father held me when I cried. He held me when I hurt. He held me when I was so unlovable. He calmed my every fear. My Father loved me – even when I did not return the love.

I was His favorite child. I knew I was the apple of His eye. Then I got caught up with life.

He’d call me and I’d say, “I’m busy. I will get with you later. Maybe tomorrow.” 

He’d say, OK. He waited for me, eager to talk. He kept in touch and I just put Him off.

My father, He loved me. I didn’t think about Him much. I was too busy.

When, He last called – I finally came to my senses. I finally came home. There He was waiting with open arms. He ran to meet me and greet me. He welcomed me home. He would not let me get a word in. I couldn’t believe he was prepared to celebrate my return. 

He said, I’ve missed you for so long. I knew one day you would come home.

Though undeserving as I was, though undeserving as I can be. He still loves me.

Today, I give thanks to the Father that gave me life – everlasting life – and gave it without hesitation.  

My Father in heaven – He loves me more than I can ever know. 

Be blessed. Thank you for reading.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! 

Not me – I’m not like that, am I?

Eugenia Price wrote Woman to Woman, in (Copyright) 1959. It was printed by Zondervan and in the entire text she does not use any Scripture references. I found that a bit odd for a text used as a devotional. Either way, she did have some information useful for self-examination. Her text is in italics.

“James wrote a deep truth about human nature when he wrote, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” He is.

And our instability shows nowhere as flagrantly as it shows in our dispositions.

She wrote that both men and women excuse their dispositions on the grounds of heredity, or circumstances. She believed that women had another excuse, exclusively theirs she said. “Deep within our feminine personalities is the conviction that we are permitted some temperament simply because we are women! More commonly referred to as a woman’s prerogative.

She felt that men had no right to excuse their lack of domestic ability simply because of their gender qualities, “neither do women have a right to excuse their irritability, and nagging, unbridled tongues on the fact that, by nature, women are just like that.”

A woman’s disposition is merely an outward sign of what she really is within. An outward sign of what is predominant within her inner self. If she is predominant there, her disposition shows it. If Christ is predominant there, her disposition show that, too.

The Scriptures in Luke 6:45, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Matthew 12:34, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Matthew 15:18, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”

So before Christ, what was in my heart, changed with time, experience, fear.

When I got married my ex could bring the worst out in me…and it showed. Mind you, I was saved in 1982, so I was already a Christian when I got divorced. So I learned, in raising my children alone…that they too could bring the worst out in me. One thing that I knew about myself…that in spite of myself…I loved my children. They could try my last nerve, but they could also give me immense joy just with a smile, or and “I love you mom.” I wanted to give them the one thing I never had as a child, love, acceptance and acknowledgment that they mattered. God used that love I had for my children to teach me – about myself, but mostly about Him.

God used my wretched character, my inherent qualities to teach me His ways. Because my ways, are not His ways. They couldn’t be. Nothing in me could be like Him without His Spirit living in me. It was not like establishing a new habit. It was about getting a new mind. The old was gone and new was controlled by the Spirit of God.  It took years for the Lord to work in me because my flesh was stubborn. My “inherent qualities” always wanted to rule.

For me as a woman that confesses Christ, whose only desire is to be pleasing to God, to live as such has taken years for the Spirit of God to work in my life, to transform my thought life, to trust in Him in all things, and to be content in all things and to finally put the flesh to death. Yes, because this flesh had to die to conform into the image of God. There was nothing I could do, or change that would stick. The flesh wanted to rule.

I have been blessed to be surrounded by Christians since my salvation in 1982. I wasn’t always in church. I didn’t always read my Bible. But God was always near.

Being around Christians allowed me to see the various types of Christian personalities that are produced by any particular church. Yes. I said church. Baptists, Fundamentalists, Assemblies of God, non-denominational churches, Bible churches, Christian churches  – churches where the Gospel of Christ is preached. I’ve attended different types depending on where we lived. Different name – similar teachings. Some teach speaking in tongues, grace, others don’t. Some expect you to faint when a man of God touches you during prayer. I remember I went up once to get prayer, for something, don’t recall what. When the visiting speaker put his hand on my head, he started to pray really powerful, but all I could feel was him trying to push me down. I didn’t want to fall. I couldn’t understand why he was trying to knock me down. Then, when he finished I saw other people on the floor, or going down, and it struck me, he was probably expecting me to go back. I was like… oh.  I messed up.

I’ve only met one Christian woman that I truly wanted to be like. She was the wife of a Navigators Bible teacher back in 1989. She was and still is the sweetest woman I’ve met. She was soft spoken. Very likable. Hospitable. I don’t know if she was always like that. That’s just how she presented herself during Bible study. I expect she was though…

I’ve used women as a sort of mirror. I would asked the Lord, do I act like that? I’m not like that, am I? Am I like that with others? Do I talk down to others like that? Am I that vain? Am I that selfish? I didn’t compare myself to these women. I didn’t judge them. I just wanted to check myself. We tend to be reflections of our reference group, or groups. The world knows this too clearly. The only person I want to reflect in thought and behavior and in interactions with others – is Jesus Christ. It’s not an easy thing to do when we are influenced by so many other forces.

Ephesians 4:17-24 “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

When my husband and I travel we make sure to check our vehicle, make sure all the lights are working, tires are good, oil is good and so on. As a Christian woman, I want to make sure that I examine myself – in daily interactions. If not, the Lord will examine me and He might find me falling short in areas where I feel confident. Why? because this flesh always wants to resurrect, to revert back to “inherent qualities.”

Psalm 139:1-4; 23-24 says, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

 

Taming the tongue… not an easy thing for a woman to do.

Colossians 3:8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Being content … not an easy thing for anyone to do when the world is continually selling us things we don’t want, don’t need and can’t afford. Yet, we constantly whine and frustrate ourselves because we want something we can’t have. We walk over people, we use people to get what we want. Even people who have nothing are hard-pressed to settle for their lot. So whatsoever is in my heart, whether I have much, or nothing – that’s what will spew out of my mouth.

Jude 1:16 ESV These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.

I need to never forget what the Scripture says about this heart of mine. 

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

I know – now – that apart from Christ, nothing good dwells in me. As I wait on God’s return I pray that He will keep me, that He will give me the grace to accept His will for my life, to be content in all things. What’s in my heart is the one thing I want the Lord to keep in check. To God be the glory!

Thanks for reading. Be blessed.