Death or Life of your Tongue

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Proverbs 18:21 KJV

We can bring people to Christ Jesus or we can cause their death. Speak of the Lord’s word by letting the Holy Spirit speak through you and for you. Words can be as a two edge sword. We can not speak God’s word better than he, we tend to put both feet in our mouths. So let the Holy Spirit work through you to save all of God’s children, who have been looked after by Jesus Christ. 

Listening to God part 7

Getting to Know the Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—” John 10:14 NIV

I’d like to ask you two questions for your consideration.

What is it like when you spend time with your heavenly Father? 
What is it like to talk with Him?

Please take a moment and try to describe these experiences.

What I’m alluding to here is the topic of prayer. I think most people get hung up on this hyper-used word, “prayer.” We over-spiritualize it. You see, God knows we are mere man, yet we try to impress Him somehow with “good” praying. And then, we get distracted and give up until the next time we “try.” In doing this, we’ve missed the whole point of what prayer is meant to be!

Prayer is simply how we connect with God. It’s how we relate to Him. And just how does God want us to come to Him in prayer? Well, His greatest desire is to have our total heart, mind, and strength as we read in Deuteronomy 6:5, right?

To begin with, He wants us to enjoy Him—to focus on Him and not your “prayer.”

We should always come to Him just as we are, giving our desperate, unworthy, yet wholly loved selves to our all-powerful, all-sustaining glorious, yet fully compassionate Father. And when we do, we find the overflowing cup of His strength, restoration, wisdom, peace, righteousness, and joy. In His presence is the abundant life. He is the Living Water and the Bread of Life.

When we pray, we should not only talk but also listen. Seek to hear and follow His good paths. Come rejoicing, come playful, come weary, come doubting or afraid. Come to Him in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death. Draw in close and listen to His comforting words of life and hope.

And so, we should come to Him continually—in the humdrum and in every other possible situation. As we do, we begin to know our Shepherd. I mean truly know Him.

To me, my quiet prayer time feels like sitting and sipping hot tea with my closest of friends. It’s wonderful. Good stuff, right? As Paul E. Miller teaches in his book A Praying Life, “You can’t get to know God on the fly. You don’t create intimacy; you make room for it.”

I pray these past seven days have deepened your understanding of what it means to listen to God. It’s not as complicated as we often imagine it is. It’s as simple as unstopping our ears to lies, opening our hearts, getting quiet, and letting our good Shepherd communicate.

I pray you have a deeper understanding that listening to God is, always, about getting to know our good Shepherd.

Tell the Father: Today, I’m going to seek You with all my heart, soul, and strength. I will begin now, with the real me, coming before the real You. I want to know and listen to You more and more each day.

Today’s worship song recommendation: “Touch the Sky” by Hillsong United

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalms 23:1‭-‬6 KJV

I sought the Lord , and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.  They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.  This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.  The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.  O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.  O fear the Lord , ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.  The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.  Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord .

Psalms 34:4‭-‬11 KJV

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

John 10:14 KJV

Listening to God part 6

Stranger Danger

Many in the body of Christ have become increasingly vulnerable to the deceptions of the voice of the stranger. Listening to God’s voice becomes a real challenge due to competing, ungodly chatter. Tragically, they begin to doubt God’s character and the truth He teaches in His Word.

We see the origin of this problem starting with garden dweller, Eve.

And I wonder. 
Why did Eve ever indulge in listening to the serpent’s sly shenanigans? 
Why didn’t she recognize that this was the voice of the stranger?
I wonder. How well did Eve really know God, her Shepherd? She seemed so easily swayed by the enemy’s lies. 
Why was Eve instantly gullible?

I believe that even though Eve knew truth, she wasn’t firmly grounded in truth. She knew what God “said” but never fully grasped Who He was—completely trustworthy and good. She didn’t understand He would never hold back any good thing from her.

Before eating the forbidden fruit, she was unaware of evil, unaware of lies, and unaware that she could be deceived into disobeying her Father.

But this is not true for us! We are not unaware! Praise God we have the Word of God as our truth guide, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Truth) as our Counselor, and Christ Jesus as our Savior and truthful Advocate!

Yet, like Eve, we too get sucked into listening to the stranger’s lies. Why?

One reason is, too often, we actually entertain the enemy’s lies through our own “entertainment.” TV, Internet, movies, books, and magazines, which are most often quite void of God’s voice, have overtaken our societies. Nevertheless, we’ll spend unspeakable hours with these godless, lying voices while our minds and hearts are diluted, polluted, and malnourished of the living, active, and inspired Word of God!

We need to know our Shepherd! We need to be nourished with His green pastures. We need to draw near to Him in order to follow His voice.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s last devotional reading, as we will conclude with helpful insights about “Getting to Know the Shepherd!”

Ask the Father: Am I listening to other voices that are not from or of You?

Today’s worship song recommendation: “My Heart Is Yours” Kristian Stanfill

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.   But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.   To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.   And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.   And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.  This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.  Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.   All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.   I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.   The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.   I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

John 10:1‭-‬11 KJV

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:1‭-‬5 KJV

Listening to God part 5

The Symptoms of Stopped-up Ears

Adam and Eve knew God firsthand! The coming generations of their family members also knew God or at least knew of Him well. Slowly, over the many years, most people stopped thanking and acknowledging God as their source. Sin increased.

Most sins are just symptoms of a more deeply rooted sin: the sin of stopping up our ears to the truth of God and instead listening to a lie. When we stop recognizing God as the Giver of all good things, we stop seeing clearly. We stop thinking wisely. We refuse to listen to truth. Romans chapter one plainly reveals this reality.

And here’s a sobering statement: refusing to listen to the truth is, essentially, rejecting God. Now, as Christians, we obviously embrace God’s Word as truth. But we must keep our ears unclogged by recognizing and rejecting false truths and remaining tuned in to God’s voice.

Equally sobering is the fact that truth rejecters often drag others into their deception, as we learned from today’s reading in Genesis. Think about these questions. Who is at risk when you’re not listening to God? Your spouse? Your friends? Your boss? Your children? Maybe even a complete stranger whom God wanted you to minister to?

I think right now would be a good time for me to stop writing so you can prayerfully listen.

Ask the Father: Would You please show me any and every lie that I’m believing?

Today’s worship song recommendation: “No Other Name” by Hillsong Worship

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:6 KJV

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Romans 1:21‭-‬32 KJV