Learned Tongue

Have you ever been so weary in your spirit that you felt you would drop?

Whoever speaks to you next while you are in that condition holds a lot of power in their tongue even if they don’t know it.Along comes one who either lifts you up or crushes you further just by what they say. I’ve had it happen both ways and I know which I prefer.

Isaiah 50:4 says; “The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.”

We should always aim to provide a positive word in season. I wonder if you feel the same way. However, there are people who challenge where you are and make you feel like whatever condition you are in is your fault. Maybe so, but how does that help? A know-it-all person who has all the solutions while you just want to feel heard. Ahhh, how refreshing it is when the opposite occurs. A person who speaks words of encouragement and life and somehow causes your spirit to arise. How welcome that is.

As I examine myself I have to admit that I try to uplift others most of the time…. but have been on the flip side with people at times too. There are many words I’d like to retrieve because I know the person receiving them did not go away refreshed.I think the “tongue of the learned” is a slow tongue that thinks before it speaks. It is the tongue that asks the Lord whether to say anything at all and if so, what. It is the tongue that wants to impart God’s grace rather than be right or justify self.

 Lord God, please allow me to strive to have the tongue of the learned! And always encourage others and not tear them down.

Sights Sounds Smells

Thursday as I was watching the weather report on the 6 o’clock news. I started to think about things we take for granted in life that are absolutely FREE.

Breathing that fabulous commodity called “air”. What if we were charged for that? It’s worth everything; we can’t live without plenty of it all of our lives. But it is free. Sunsets and sunrises are free. Everything created in nature is free. The sound of laughter is free. The smell of baking cinnamon rolls is free. A warm summer breeze blowing in through a window is free. I could go on and on but I’ll let you continue making your own list.

It strikes me that all the things on my list are God made things. Man charges for the things that he makes but God gives us His handiwork FREE. It also strikes me that His makings are of higher quality and value than man made things. A painting of a sunset is only a poor imitation of the real thing.

This brings me to another thought….

What is behind someone who freely pours out such an abundance of wonderful sights and sounds and smells? Why? He doesn’t even sign His work; He just puts it all out there for all of earth’s travelers to enjoy or not – their choice. The answer is one more freebie:  His love. Psalm 145:9 says; “The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”  Also  Psalm 100:5 says; “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” 

When we think about it, doesn’t it make us want to return such love? Freely we have received; freely give.

Update: Book Order

“Tea Among Family”Bookclub members:

Your book order(s)were placed Friday, January 25. You should receive your shipment this week. If for some reason you don’t get your shipment  by Friday, Feb 1.  Please let me know promptly.  Delivery is guaranteed this week. 

Thursday is expected arrival date for order (s)

Thanks for your support and following “Tea Among Family.”
Blessings
Melissa

Begin Again

How many times have we started something and never finished?  How many times have many of us lost weight and re-gained it? Lost a bad habit and found it again? Made a resolution and broke it? Yet, somehow every day there is fresh hope, isn’t there?

We believe somehow that we get a do-over. Fresh resolve rises up in us again and we give that thing a new try and we believe that THIS time we will make it. Great! That’s exactly the attitude God takes when He looks at us and our best efforts. He’s always up for a new beginnings.

If we have failed every single day of our lives He still has all the faith in the world in us to be successful’no matter if it’s today or any other day. He cheers us on and pours out grace in abundance to help us over any hard bumps.If you are starting fresh on something this year, think of it from God’s viewpoint. You aren’t in it alone. You have your own personal cheering section and you will get VIP treatment. 

“This I know, that God is for me.”Psalm 56:9

Knowing that God is for us can carry  you and I a long way in achieving success. Having someone who believes in us a hundred percent gives us a head start on really making it. Past failures getting you down? Wondering if you should give it that old college try just one more time? Of course you should! Don’t you know that you plus God are a majority?

Begin again!

Faith That Heals

Is faith simply believing?

Nope!!! Believing isn’t  good enough. Well: “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” James 2:19 The demons know the truth about who God is but what good does it do them? And I bet there are lots of people in hell who believed Jesus was the Son of God but who never had real faith.

Faith that counts responds with action to what is believed. Faith that counts adds TRUST. I think about the woman with the issue of blood who had been sick for twelve long years. The scripture says she had; “suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.” Mark 5:26

This woman believed that Jesus could heal her if she could just get to him. But she did more than just believe; she acted on what she believed and pushed through a crowd of people to touch his garment. He wasn’t aware she was there until he felt power go out of himself. As she fell at his feet and confessed all that had happened to her, he told her; “Daughter, your faith has made you well.” Verse 34
She believed; she trusted; she acted on what she believed. Now there we have faith that counts!

Push through that crowd of doubt, and act in Faith!

Grinding Out

If your like me, are there times that you have felt picked on by God when  going through a time of suffering? There may even be times you ponder if you have done something wrong, or maybe God is grinding out some major character flaw?

Or have you felt that you are somehow out of favor? I believe most of us if we are honest have felt this way, at one time or another.

Believe me; for the most part… none of those things are true.The truth is that we are called into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. Paul says in Philippians 3:10; “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”

 And why are we called to this? For the same reason Jesus was. Jesus is the captain of our salvation “made perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10b)

Jesus did not have any sin to be made perfect from but His suffering fitted Him perfectly for His role as our Savior. Our suffering can fit us for our role too. Suffering does something to us that nothing else can do. I wish it weren’t true but it is true. Those who have suffered greatly usually run deep and compassion marks them.

God has called each of us to a divine destiny. Suffering crowns that call and equips us for its fulfillment. Rather than try to slip loose from any suffering in your life; embrace the opportunity it provides. If you lack anything, suffering will fill the gap.

Losing Sight

A French Author, Andre Gide quoted, “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” 

Well, I’ve been thinking about that quote a lot since I saw it in a Facebook status of a friend a few weeks ago. I would think that people like Christopher Columbus would have identified with those words very well.  In fact, I do too.

In our spiritual walk, losing “sight of the shore” is similar to faith I believe, and also speaks to hope. Whether we are willing to launch out depends on how much we treasure the new lands.  As Christians we might see the new lands as heaven, but I’m thinking a lot about answers to our prayers here on earth.

I’m thinking about some prayers that I launched more than 25 years ago. I also well remember something I said then. I told God from my heart that He could do with me any way He wanted to. I said; “I agree with you Lord, to do it your way and not mine.” That prayer has been very expensive for me. So the petition pushed off into the deep.

After all these years, I have just started to see glimpses of a new land.  At times it has been extremely hard but the land/promise is very prized and I have faith that I will see and enjoy all that has been promised to me. I continue to fix my eyes on the horizon and keep praying and waiting. This has comforted me while out to sea; “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13

 

Temporary Thirst…

Thirst! I am sure most of us have experienced a time when we feel as though we will die without a drink of water. Jesus is the water of “life”, he that believes on Him will never thirst again. Why is that true? It is true because Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within the hearts of believers.

If we quench the Holy Spirit, it will always lead to a “temporary thirst” again, but He is still there. We are never removed from God, as Christians. Sin may quench the Spirit, but when that sin is confessed and forsaken, the fountains of Christ will again burst forth.

When I consider the plan of God, I am speechless! I cannot comprehend a God who would do so much for me. Someone who is so undeserving as I am. God sent His Son to die for all of us who have no righteousness of our own, and then, He then fills us with the Spirit of God, so that He is always with us, “guiding and protecting” us from the ever-present “tactics” of the enemy.

Jesus’ message is always the same–He, as the perfect Son of God and Son of Man, provides the only hope for a restored communication with God of All Gods. Christ, our King, ever reigns at the right-hand of God continually making intercession for us.

Go to the rivers of living water today. Drink, so that you will never thirst again! Go ahead, its OK to gulp!  

Toxic Company

toxic

A dear friend of mine recently made the decision to leave a “position”  with a very poisonous environment. This verse from Psalm 140: 2-3 could easily describe those around her: “Who devise evil things in their hearts; they continually stir up wars. They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; poison of a viper is under their lips.”

It was a hard call to leave because she spent a lot of time in her current position. This position at one time offered much to positively build her resume and supply income and knowledge. Additionally, my friend gave notice without another position “secured” in the wings. I asked her several times was she certain in her decision?  She replied, “With certainty.”   She would often say that to those on the outside, it appeared to be such a great place to work but that was an illusion.

I could tell before she could that it was important to leave. The friend that I once knew was being dragged down; her confidence slowly eroding. Very talented and normally unswervingly upbeat, her smile was fading and she was starting to question whether she could do anything right, even though she was a “one woman” show at the office. She performed her job, and the jobs of those that were supposed to be working along side of her…

 That was one of the problems. Nothing was ever good enough; no project was done fast enough. The only feedback was negative; the atmosphere tense.

It has now been about almost six months since she left the toxic “company”. Just the way poison is, it takes awhile to get it all out of your system. A few days ago she said she is beginning to finally feel more like her old self.  However, she told me that she refuses to be led into another position such as the one she left. She said that she has seen a bright future prepared. A harvest of “wheat” has been prepared on her behalf.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, clear your head and figure a way out of there.  Pray! God will help you and lead you into the “right” position. Remember that we are encouraged in Psalm 140: 12; “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor.”  Refuse to give in to slow poisoning.

Trust God! He can turn any poisonous situation around, and give you your smile back too.

Overlook

Let me begin by saying…The Old and New Testaments explains that God does not change.  However, some people believe the perceived “harsh and intolerant” God of the Old Testament is not the perceived “loving and tolerant” God of the New Testament.

But notice: “For I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6), and “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Other scriptures explain that the God of the Old Testament was the Being who later became Jesus Christ (I Cor. 10:4).

In Exodus 34:6, it describes God: “…the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth”.

The words in this passage show. God is merciful, which means “full of compassion.” He is also gracious. The root of this word means “to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior.” God also suffers long, or forbears, and is abundant in goodness and truth!

Does this describe a God who is harsh and intolerant? No! Does it describe a God who is patient with us and is able to look past some things? Yes!

With that said, we shall see that God is not tolerant in the same way that we are today!

In Psalm 78:38: “But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yes, many a time turned He His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath.” Time and again, God forgave Israel of her sins, even when she wanted nothing to do with Him. Yet, anger was still present.

But how do the two above passages line up with some of the accounts found in the Old Testament? For example, consider Korah’s rebellion (Numbers 16).  God did not tolerate Korah’s rebellious attitude toward Moses. Because of this, thousands of people died.

God did not tolerate the wrong attitude of Moses’ sister Miriam—she contracted leprosy because of it. But even in this case, God did show mercy, healing her seven days later. So, do these two (apparently) different aspects of God’s actions line up?  Yes!

Now in the New Testament. There is a scripture we can turn to when we want to advocate tolerance without limits. The account is found in John 8:1-11, but the often quoted scripture is verse 7: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” What is the modern-day application of this passage? It is clear. We should not cast stones at others—in other words, we should not condemn anyone. Christ’s listeners had sentenced the woman in their “minds”. They had “condemned” her. Don’t take this the wrong way…this verse does not mean we should always accept people’s actions.

Notice what Jesus said in verse 11: “Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.” Christ did not condemn the woman in this account, as the Pharisees wanted to do, by stoning her to death. On the other hand, He did not tolerate her sinful way of life. Jesus told her to change. Jesus Christ did receive sinners, as so many claim, but He did not condone or “approve of” the sin! However, to overlook another’s offence does not imply tolerance.  Especially without knowing the complete history.

Jesus knew the beginning from the end.  Every detail.  Many times we suspect that we know all there is to know concerning a person or situation, and apply the wrong medicine. Causing more harm than good! Therefore, my point is that there are times when we simply need to overlook some things. We should never….. ever be put in a position to condemn anyone without knowing without a shadow of a doubt…. why they acted in a particular way.  Again, we must know the facts! Not some of them.  All of them! And even then we should always extend grace and mercy to the individual in correction.  As our Lord and Savior has done many times on our behalf.

Ok the definition of tolerance is entirely subjective. There are degrees of tolerance. Every “reasonable” person would admit there is a “limit” to what we can accept. There are probably very few who would accept a serial killer as one who has “chosen a different lifestyle.” This is because murder is viewed as wrong.

Which brings me to the subject of Good and Evil.

What is evil? Evil is obviously the opposite of good. To determine what is good or evil, a benchmark or authority is needed—otherwise, it is just an opinion. As the Creator of the entire universe, God defines what is good and evil; right and wrong. From this we learn what sin is—the transgression of God’s Law (I John 3:4). From that Law we determine what we should and should not tolerate. The world bases their “morals” on feelings, and sadly some Christians too. But we should base ours on the Bible.

As with many things, the world has a mixture of good and evil. This directly derives from a choice made thousands of years ago by Adam and Eve, when they took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For example, it is wonderful that tolerance is taught toward different cultures and people of different ethnic backgrounds. Every human being is made in God’s image and should be treated as such. However, there is also evil mixed in, where different types of sin are promoted as normal and acceptable. In this mixture, there is no sense of balance. Tolerance can be a good thing. However, society is now taught to tolerate everything.

Consider. Love is good, but does that mean we should love everything? Must we love changing the oil in our car? Of course not. Patience is also good, but does that mean we should be patient with everything? Must we be patient if we see a house burning or our dog running into the street when a car is coming? Again, of course not. These are obviously extreme examples, but we get the point.

Many things in life require balance. When it comes to tolerance, there are some who seem to accept any kind of behavior. There are others who do not accept anything, and “get in your face” when you do something or believe something contrary to what they do or believe. Both ditches are wrong.

Only God’s government, when Christ returns, will solve the world’s problems. But right now, most people are cut off from God, and do not have knowledge of His Law. This understanding—on top of the fact that Christ said we should never condemn people—should help us understand how we should react to people in this world. Obviously, getting in someone’s face will not help. Lifting ourselves up and thinking we are better than others is also wrong. In dealing with situations, we must always ask God for wisdom to approach something or someone in a balanced way.

Here are some synonyms for tolerance from God’s perspective: excusing, forbearing, forgiving, kindhearted, longsuffering, merciful, patient, receptive and understanding. These words should describe us in a host of situations.

Here are some synonyms for intolerance from God’s perspective: accusative, critical, condemning and holier-than-thou.

If we are to take two points from this, one would be to not  tolerate sin; the other equally important point would be to take the synonyms for tolerance listed here and apply them daily.

We should be tolerant and understanding of different cultures, backgrounds and other differences with which we are not familiar. If people have physical weaknesses or disabilities,we should be very understanding, and not in a condescending way. Be forgiving when people make mistakes. Be tolerant of other personalities—if we all had the same personality, the world would be a very boring place! This aspect of being tolerant, in many regards, can be described as having an outgoing concern for others. And at times, choosing to overlook