Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It Starts in the Heart

So I have been thinking much about the power of our words in the lives of others.  However, it is always good to look even deeper. Instead of focusing so much on what I say, I should be focusing on my heart's attitude.  If I focus on the heart's attitude toward God and toward this world, the issue with watching what I say takes care of itself.

God allowed this concept to be played out in so many parts of his creation.  When plants take in nutrients at the roots, they grow strong and healthy above ground.  When animals stay nourished, they have the energy they need for each day, living the way God intended them to live.  When we allow truth and positive thoughts to fill our minds and hearts, we are helping our spirit and attitude to be one that is pleasing to God and helpful to others around us.  I was asked once, "What happens when you squeeze an orange?" I responded, "Orange juice will come out."  That's exactly it. What we are made of at our core is what will spill out when trials and attacks of the Enemy press in on us.

We women who already know Jesus as our Lord and Savior are, as the Word of God says, a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We are ones who have left the old life (the caterpillar life) and have been made completely new (the butterfly life) by the Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ. So if we are made new, when the stresses and trials of life press in on us, we SHOULD exhibit the characteristics of our new identity; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control which are all products of knowing Christ as Savior; the "fruit of the Spirit". (Galatians 5:22)

I am going to end with the first chapter of the book of James and the second chapter of the book of Ephesians in the New Testament of God's Word. It is so insightful and challenging to me. Both books, James and Ephesians, remind us of our new identity in Christ. They remind us that our tongue (our speech) is influenced by the condition of our hearts. Let us read it together and allow it to change us........today.  Sisters, don't let this wait for another day.  Butterflies can not return to the caterpillar stage. Let us embrace our new identity and honor God for His great work in our little lives.

James 1


 1 James, a servant[a] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
   To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Testing of Your Faith
 2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
 9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass[c] he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
 12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[d] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Hearing and Doing the Word
 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak,slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Ephesians 2
By Grace Through Faith
 1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been savedthrough faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
One in Christ
 11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.   17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,[d] but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by[e] the Spirit.

Women of truth, rise and shine your light!  Embrace your new identity in Christ! 

p.s.-  Are you still in caterpillar stage?  Are you ready to receive Christ as your Savior and be changed from the old life to the new?  Take a moment and admit your great need of a Savior.  Speak to God, confess your sin to Him and ask for His forgiveness. God is ready and willing to forgive all of your sins.  His Son has already paid the price for your sin against the Holy God.  If you are ready, accept His forgiveness and believe in Christ Jesus as the Son of God and the source of your salvation and eternal life. 

Romans 10:9-11 says, "...because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.'"