Nancy Henry – I love sharing the HOPE of JESUS. "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 NLT
Have you seen people wearing placards and crying “Repent! The end is near!”? Hae you read the story of Chicken Little crying “The sky is falling”, or Peter and the Wolf, who cried “Wolf!” so many times so that when the wolf really came, no one believed him. Are we like that? Christians crying that “The end of the world is here, Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming!”, and now unbelievers just scoff?
People are so dramatic….. or should I say we are attention seekers and drama queens? God will come when He comes. Even Jesus couldn’t tell us exactly when He will return. Read Matthew, chapter 24. Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the end of times, in response to their questions. Mark also documents these words of Jesus in Mark 13.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32 NASB1995
Should we even talk about the end times? I think it’s good to read the Scriptures so that we know what will happen, but we do a disservice to ourselves and to the world when we speculate on the when. Focus, instead, on the fact that Jesus is coming again, and whether or not you are ready.
“Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—” Mark 13:33, 35 NASB1995
Billy Graham answered the question of why God keeps secret the time of Jesus’ Second Coming. He says “…. the Bible does tell us that certain events must happen before His return — many of which seem to be taking place today. For example, Jesus said that “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world … and then the end will come” – Matthew 24:14. Why hasn’t God revealed it to us? Suppose you knew for certain that Christ’s coming was still several centuries away. What difference would His return make to you then? Probably very little. But because it could happen at any moment, we should have a sense of urgency to do God’s will. Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me” – John 9:4. Make every day count for Him.” (From https://billygraham.org/answer)
That’s an incredible statement. Make every day count for Him. Maybe, it’s a challenge. What will you do with it?
Deceived. Denied. Abandoned. Deserted. Lied to. Ignored. Lied about. Awkward. Hurt. Introverted. Rebellious. Angry. Lashing out. Acting out. This is me. This was me. I have endured them, and I have lived them. I did them to my parents and family, to friends, and to God. People who did these things to me became objects of loathing and derision. Why should I ever speak to them, let alone forgive them?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 NASB1995
In what sense is this commandment “new”? The old command was to the Jewish people to love their fellow Jews; the new command from Jesus is to love ALL people, regardless of nationality, love one another as disciples of Jesus. The old was to Love as you love yourself, but the new is to Love as Jesus loves you.
Wait! You mean, love those people who abused me???
“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18 NASB1995
Jesus gave us a new proof of Love; a new pattern. In His time, the Hebrew slaves were not required to wash feet because it was the lowest of tasks, but Jesus did it. He performed a humble service, the lowest of low, to demonstrate His love and devotion to His friends, but also to the one who would betray Him. These acts that can be seen, to show visible love to all peoples, are what we are called to do. It doesn’t mean that we literally need to be running around and grabbing people’s feet to wash them, but we are to use humble, visible things. The Apostle John wrote a lot about Christian love for one another: John 15:12 “This is my Commandment…. Greater love has no man than to lay his life…”; 1 John 4 “This is love: …”; John 13:5-15.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor” (not selfish or self centered) “…do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Show the love. It is a verb, active, through attention and service, act as ‘slaves’ to the LORD. Love = to live for. SERVE.) “Rejoice in hope, [because you are] patient in tribulation, [because you are] constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” [Don’t entertain to impress; hospitality is sharing practical Christianity. Acts 4:34 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” When we are cursed and maltreated, bless and love them] “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” [Not by fixing anything, but just being there, even when rejoicing is harder when it is something that you want that doesn’t happen.] “Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own estimation.” Romans 12:9-16 NASB1995
Agree on the basics. Be humble – think of yourself less, not less of yourself. Befriend the unimportant; make them feel important. Be open and willing to say I am wrong, I am sorry; admit to not knowing everything. If Jesus is truly your Lord and Saviour, He says that “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 NASB1995
“You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving.”
– Amy Carmichael
“Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.” Micah 7:18 NASB1995
“….. everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”
Victor Frankl. Man’s Search for Meaning, 1946
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 NASB1995
What do you believe? Deep in your heart, what do you hold dear? Are your actions consistent with your beliefs? Does your behavior follow your heart? Is Love guiding your thoughts and actions? “Love God; Love people.” Is that reflected in your life?
I confess that I really don’t like a lot of people. Often, they annoy me. I’ve thought that I would be happy far out in the wilderness, with only me and my animals…… but truthfully, I like electricity and refrigeration and all the modern conveniences (like hot water on demand!) More importantly, God doesn’t intend for us to be alone. Even though I don’t have a life partner, I have a lot of partners to share life with. God created the Christian family and community so that we aren’t always alone. Across political beliefs, economic boundaries, health, housing, family size ….. God binds us together.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:9, 14 NASB1995
Hypocrisy, noun, defined by Merriam-Webster: 1. a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not : 2. behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feelHis hypocrisy was finally revealed with the publication of his private letters.especially : 3. the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religionour conventional morality often serves as a cover for hypocrisy and selfishness
We are moving into an unprecedented state of affairs. It is more important than ever for Christians to band together and support each other. Government is stepping into areas never before seen, dictating where we can meet and how many can meet, what we wear (masks), and what substances we put in our bodies (“vaccines”). It’s all for “the good of the people”. In order to shop for food and to travel, it’s becoming more common to have to produce a “vaccine passport”. It is being suggested that without this “passport”, you soon won’t be able to receive your social security, SSI, unemployment benefits, or any other government assistance.
You say that doesn’t affect you? Are you quite certain?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3-10 NASB1995
I’m no better than anyone else. Neither am I any worse than anyone else. I’m not a particularly bad person. I have been – and still am – very blessed. I try really hard not to be a hypocrite. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, or a survivalist. I believe that government has it’s place, and I believe that we have an obligation and a responsibility (especially as Christians) to live in such a way that it does not harm or infringe upon others. Our lifestyles should encourage and enrich others, and bless others, and not harm others.
The book of Revelations reveals the taking over of the earth by the beast, and of him requiring every person to receive the mark of the beast. I’m not a Bible scholar, and I don’t interpret scriptures. There are plenty of people out there doing that. All I can do is read and study and pray that God reveals the meaning to me. What I see happening right now is perhaps not the mark described by John, but it is absolutely a precursor to it. Many people have been convinced or coerced into taking it. Is it “the” mark? I don’t think so, but in good conscience, having read and studied about this current “vaccine”, I cannot (will not) take it. I can’t say what will happen in the future, but I pray for those of us who haven’t received it. Whether you agree or not, I hope you will pray also.
And remember, it isn’t a conspiracy theory if it is true.
While reading my devotional this morning, it asked this question: “What is the most difficult trial you’ve gone through? How can you use your pain to impact someone else?” My first thought was that I’ve had so many, how could I choose a “most” difficult? If you’re familiar with my story, you’ll understand why I say that. I know I’m not unique in having had a difficult life, and for many of us choosing one “most difficult” is, well, difficult.
Reflecting back, though, it would be losing my husband, Ron. Our life together wasn’t easy, but we had much to be thankful for. We were in our “forever” home, we had a thriving business, we were active in the local church, and we were content. When he lost his health, and began losing the battle with addiction, our life together became difficult at best and untenable at worst. The day I left him was one of the worst days of my life. I was a failure as a wife, and a failure at marriage – I hurt, bone deep. He was in unimaginable physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, and I couldn’t fix it. His rage at life became all consuming, until nothing (especially me) was safe from him.
I was active in the church before it all fell apart, and I thought I had a strong faith. Friends from the church took me in and protected me until I could live the area. My family rescued me. All of these wonderful Christians came together for me, and they reached out to try to help him, too. How did I react? I got back on my feet, new job and apartment, new church, and new friends added to my life, I thought I was good. I was angry, though, and began to blame God for Ron’s behavior and the destruction of my good life with him. My behavior over the next few years was full of denial, and I was determined to “fix” the world. Needless to say, it didn’t end well, but it did get me back to church and connected with strong Christians who showed me the path back to God.
Through those people and the program, I worked through a lot of my issues, and was able to assist other women going through difficult trials. No one’s life is the same, and we cannot judge anyone by what they are going through. I know this: if we can help someone find the courage to open themselves to Jesus Christ, we are blessed right along side them. He is the Comforter, full of Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness like we can’t even imagine.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NASB1995
“In the world you have tribulation….” That is true for every one of us. No matter how much money we might have, or what country we live in. Doesn’t matter what color our skin. Whether of indigenous heritage, or recent immigrant, or long established family; farmer, herder, town or city dweller, we will always have tribulation. People we love will die. We lose our livelihood. We will be persecuted for what we believe, or what color we are, or for how we live. Why?
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9 NASB1995
Almost since the beginning of time, satan, the devil, has been after God’s Creation. He wants it for himself. He wasn’t satisfied with being the most beautiful creature that God created, he wanted it all. Does that sound familiar? In history, so many leaders and rulers have been greedy, narcissistic, evil, and cruel, but no one compares to the Enemy of God’s people. Once the most beautiful, and now the ugliest.
“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!” Isaiah 14:12 NASB1995
The Darkest Day in America. The day thousands of Americans were killed – massacred – on American soil by a small group of terrorists. That’s the anniversary we just marked. We can lament and weep over this day, following the example of the prophet Jeremiah. His people and his city, Jerusalem, were captured by the Babylonians. The city was destroyed and left as a pile of rubble, just like our twin towers. Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet, the man of sorrows”, wept over his people, just as we should weep at the ongoing attack on christianity. September 11, 2001; Nine eleven, is a symptom, a beacon. We can relate to how broken Jeremiah was when he wrote this:
“I am the man who has seen affliction Because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk In darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand Repeatedly all the day. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away, He has broken my bones. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places He has made me dwell, Like those who have long been dead. He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He is to me like a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in secret places. He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drunk with wormwood. He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust. My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness.”
God is unfailingly faithful, and the purpose of a godly lament is the regeneration of hope in your heart. God wrote this book through Jeremiah to remind people of the complete destruction, of not glossing over sin, and of total confession. The transgressions of Israel were laid out from A to Z. Can you imagine if he were writing about America? Jeremiah pours out his lament to God, then he writes this:
“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:21-26 NASB1995
How could this happen? How did we get here? How did this happen? Verse 12 says “He bent His bow and set me as the target of His arrow….” God did this, God is in the midst of it. Jeremiah isn’t showing defiance, but asking God “how is Your covenant going to survive?” Samuel Johnson said “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” We need to constantly reminded to trust God; to allow Him to work His will in our life. How will God’s covenant survive if we don’t live it? Remember the scriptures. God’s faithfulness is on display not because of the destruction but in spite of it. God PROMISES. Consistency in discipline shows affection; He will do what He says He will do. God is faithful.
God’s unrelenting faithfulness, His lovingkindness, abounds and overflows. The compassions and mercies of God are unlimited, and they are brand new every day. They are immeasurable. Have confidence in God’s faithfulness – change your thinking from “great is HIS faithfulness”, to “great is YOUR faithfulness”. In verse 24, “my portion” means “God is everything”. In verses 21 and 24, we read “I will hope in Him”, and in verse 25, “I will wait for Him”. We must be patient, as we are assured that GOD IS FAITHFUL. He provides. Wait for Him!
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.” Galatians 1:3-9 NASB1995
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NASB1995
We definitely have tribulation in this world! As we come closer and closer to the Rapture of the saints, life as we know it will continue to get more difficult for Christians. Our world is shrinking by the day, as governments across the face of earth are joining in mandates and ruthless anouncements. Republic and democracy alike are shrinking, as administrators behave more like despots. Are we in the Great Tribulation? I can’t answer that because I am not a Bible scholar, and I don’t have a direct line from God telling me when Jesus is returning. I just know that we are getting closer. Minutes, hours, days ….. years? No one knows, and no one can predict it. Are you ready??
“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the Grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:3-9 NASB1995
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23 NASB1995
We can’t allow things like CRT, mask and vaccine mandates, skin color, party lines, or denominations to divide us! As Christians that means that we have to go back to the Word – the BIBLE – to guide us. We have to live now. Not based on 100 years in the past, on how our ancestors behaved. We have to live now. Take care of others and help others based on the now. We also have to stand up for what is scriptural, and stand against secularism. Not judging. (That’s really hard for me, especially when the people “in charge” are going against everything I believe in!) Remember who is in charge of this world until Jesus returns!
“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” Revelation 12:9-12 NASB1995
That last sentence gives me chills. “….the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” Especially this: “having great wrath”. The enemy is after earth with a vengeance. All of it, not just Christians! We bear the brunt, because he hates us above all else on earth. His goal is too pull us away from Jesus, and to destroy God’s Creation. Remember the Truth. God wins. Jesus Christ defeats satan in the end. The dragon and death are vanquished! Hold on, stand up, for freedom and for Jesus!
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16 NASB1995
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic For which it stands one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The Flag of the United States of America is a symbol of us all — of all America. It is not a political symbol. It is a symbol that each American should respect, for it represents the honor, courage and sacrifice of those who struggled to preserve the ideals upon which our country was founded: Freedom, justice and opportunity for all. Contrary to other flags of the world, the U.S. Flag is the flag of its citizens – the people of all ages that make and keep America a stronghold and an example of freedom.
“Throughout the history of our nation, the flag has evoked intense, sincere feelings of patriotism.”
Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States
Some of the history and etiquette for our National Symbol follows. Our politicians in Washington need to review these guidelines!
Even more than the eagle, our flag, the flag of these United States of America, is a living symbol. Many of us look upon it as the embodiment of the spirit of this great land. Sometimes referred to as “Old Glory’, it has been cherished for years as the embodiment of what we stand for as a nation.
It is a standard of Honor that we should respect. Our reverence for our flag is justified by past and present sacrifices for freedom and liberty. To me, it is a symbol of the incredible bravery and sacrifices of the children, and the men and women of this country. Yes, “children”, because children have fought for this country, from the Revolutionary War to WWII and beyond. From children barely able to carry a musket; to men like my father, who enlisted in WWII at the age of 17.
Throughout the world, our flag signifies a people dedicated to liberty, justice and freedom. There is a magic in our flag. It brings hope to war-torn countries when carried in by our troops. Whenever I see the flag, my hope of a better nation is renewed; that this nation, under God, will continue to be an example everywhere for all people who love freedom with honor. In honoring and saluting our flag we demonstrate affection for our nation, our fellow citizens and the proud future we share.
The Pledge of Allegiance to our flag was written in August of 1882 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage. The celebration plans resulted in Columbus Day being designated a holiday for the whole country by President Benjamin Harrison. The original 23 words read as follows:
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the republic For which it stands one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
In 1923 the original verse was changed from “I pledge allegiance to my Flag” to “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.”
When the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, citizens should stand at attention and salute by placing their right hand over the heart with the first word and hold the salute through the last line of the Pledge. The salute is directed to the flag by facing it during the Pledge.
The United States Flag Code was first adopted in 1924 prescribes flag etiquette for a variety of circumstances ensuring that our national symbol is treated properly. The Code is explained in great detail on the National Flag Foundation’s website for anyone wishing to explore it in greater detail. The Code is a guide for civilians and civilian groups who wish to properly honor the United States of America’s principle emblem. Each military branch has its own flag code of military etiquette.
In 1943 the Supreme Court of the United States decided that “No one – child or adult – could be forced to say ‘The Pledge of Allegiance’. To force someone to say it was in opposition to ‘freedom and justice for all.’ It was in 1954 that Congress added “under God” to the Pledge. It was pointed out that Abraham Lincoln had called the United States “this nation under God” in ‘The Gettysburg Address.’
When the flag is presented, all persons should come to attention. All persons in uniform should give the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may also render the military salute. All other persons should salute by placing their right hand over their hearts. Men wearing any non-religious headgear are to remove it. Women do not have to remove their head covering. In parades and reviews, it is proper to start the salute as the flag enters your position and end when it has passed.
The Flag of the United States of America should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously, and is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. Each individual should stand at attention facing the flag and salute. It is also proper to salute whenever the national anthem is played. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of the National Anthem whichever is the longest. It is not considered appropriate for US citizens to salute another countries flag or anthem.
Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night. There are eight sites in the United States where the flag is flown day and night under specific legal authority: Fort McHenry National Monument, Baltimore, Maryland; Flag House Square, Baltimore, Maryland; the United States Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington, Virginia; Lexington, Massachusetts; the White House; the Washington Monument; United States Customs ports of entry; and Valley Forge State Park, Pennsylvania.
The United States Flag should always be treated with the utmost care and respect. Remember, our flag represents a living country and, as such, is considered a living thing. For instance, the lapel flag pin, being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart. The flag should always be displayed with the blue union field up. The only time you ever display the flag upside down would be as a signal of extreme distress.
We should always carry the flag aloft and free — never flat or horizontally. The exception to this is carrying very large flags that are too big to be flown from a staff or pole. It is important to always keep the flag clean. Keep it safe from those who would not respect it, or do not know enough to do so, such as young children.
I am very grateful to be born in the United States. We are so blessed to live in this great nation. There is so much unrest and focus on things that are irrelevant, and the most important thing that we as Christians can do is to pray for our country. Thank God that you live in what is still the greatest country in the world, despite what politicians and others are doing to tear her down.
“And rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil.” Joel 2:13 NASB1995
There’s a whole lot of bitterness and anger, sarcasm, and spiteful speaking in the world today. Mask or don’t mask. Vax or don’t vax. Guns or no guns. Illegal aliens or migrants. Woke or not woke. Two sexes or multiple sexes. One God, or no god. Stand for the flag or kneel. Freedom or submission.
I don’t mask. I’m not anti-vaccine in general, but I choose not to get the covid vax. I believe strongly in the First and Second Amendments, and I think that every American should be trained in handling firearms. I am not Woke. Life begins at conception, and abortion is murder. If someone wants to come to the United States, they should come through legal channels – otherwise, they should be sent back. I believe that God created man and woman. Period. I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus died for me. I proudly stand for the flag, and in the (famous) words of my ancestor, “Give me Liberty or give me death.”
I try really hard to be respectful of other people. It can be difficult, especially when they are disrespectful of the things, and the people, I hold dear to my heart. It’s really hard when they disrespect my Saviour. The following is from my devotional today, and it struck me right where it needed to: in my heart.
Words can be used in many ways. They can be meaningful and healing, offer optimism and encouragement to someone in despair, and resolve disputes. A kind, compassionate, thoughtful, or caring word can calm troubled waters, give hope to the hopeless, heal a broken heart, and be a light to those around us. However, hateful, cruel, harsh, or careless words can be used to wound, discourage, or create disagreements by being a disgusting odor that echoes what is in our minds while stirring up strife. When someone provokes anger, their words feel like a sharp knife that leads to pain, and even in some cases, revenge. When you provoke someone to anger with words or actions, at that moment, you are unconcerned with their well-being, the condition of your soul, or the glory of the Kingdom of God. If you love God, why would you want to provoke anger in someone who is also made in His image? Those who love God are careful of their words, so their tongue does not lead to sin by provoking others to anger (Psalm 39:1).
“Let Love Turn Us Away from Our Wicked Ways” By: Dante Bowe & Andrea Fisher
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 NASB1995
LORD, help me today, tomorrow, and each subsequent day to put all the bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander in this world away from me, along with all malice. Help me, LORD, to be kind to others, tender-hearted and forgiving, especially to those who try to get under my skin and trigger me, just as You have forgiven me. Amen.
I have a reallyhard time keeping my mouth shut. (Really????) All my life, I have struggled with listening. I’m going to blame it in part to being ADD (or ADHD) – my brain has a difficult time focusing. Anyway, I listen, but when I hear a point I want to respond to, my mouth immediately starts moving before the person can finish what they are saying. I’m quick to hear, but equally quick to speak. My Dad would say “Think before you speak.” In his first letter to the church, James says to be quick to hear and slow to speak.
“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:19-20, 26-27 NASB1995
“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.“ James 4:1-3, 17 NASB1995
I know that speaking before thinking is wrong. A sin. I’m actually much better now than I was, and I strive to continue to be better at listening first, and hearing what is really being said, rather than reacting to the first thing that hits me. Responding, instead of reacting. As Christians, we need to be able to do that. There are so many conflicts that the enemy is throwing at us and threatening us with. Prayerful responses. I’m talking to me, especially.
LORD, be with me as I struggle to find Your voice instead of my own. I pray for those who read this, and who might struggle as I do to listen and to think before speaking. Help me, help us, as Your children, to promote You rather than us. I love You, LORD, and praise You. Thank You for the life You have given me. In the Name of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, I pray. Your will be done. Amen.