” O be careful little mouth what you say…”


 
O be careful little mouth what you say
O be careful little mouth what you say
There’s a Father up above

Pretty is as pretty does

And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little mouth what you say
 

I was walking in the parking lot and I heard the most profane comments, including the Lord’s name linked to profanity.  The voice was young.  I stopped and turned around.  Three girls and a boy were  walking behind me; none over 15 years of age.  I looked at the girl with profanity flying off her lips and wanted to tell her how pretty she was … until she opened her mouth.  Her words made her ugly.  Not cool, cute or popular.  They made her ugly.  You can dress up like a princess all day long, but one flow of inappropriate words will destroy that image.

The woman pushing the cart in front of me was on her phone talking loudly.  “Now this is between just you and me.  But, she ….”.   Really?  There were about ten others in earshot listening to her gossip.  If she had been quietly shopping others would have thought her to be a diligent mom out shopping to feed her family.  Her words made her a gossip and she spewed hurt and shame on an unsuspecting audience that may or may not know her victim.

I hear so many words coming out of mouths that grieve the spirit within me.  Parents to children; children to other children.  People lying, calling others names.  Gossiping, half-truths … words, words, words.    I think Christians need to be very cautious in this area and not fall into the world’s standard of speech.  God’s word has a lot to say about our words:
James 1:19 
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;”

James 1:26
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

James 3:6
“The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”  (You should read all of James 3:1-9).

Ephesians 4:29 
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

God expects us as parents to make sure our children hear the correct things to say.   The shows, video games, computer games that they watch, influence their speech.  In our house I did not allow my girls to call each other stupid, idiot, jerk or other demeaning terms.  We do not say shut up.  Speech is important to developing a Godly character.  Sadly, some parents think it is not anything to worry about.  However, speech is a sign of respect.  God thinks a lot about the words we say.  The verses above are only a sampling of how He wants us to guard our speech.

If we are not guarding our speech then we are not guarding their speech; we are not guarding their minds.  If we are not guarding their minds, we are not guarding their souls.   What they think to say becomes their speech.  Their speech reflects in their actions, their actions in their character.  It all starts with a word … then more words.

“O be careful little mouth what you say …”

Just What Is A Miracle Anyway?


mir·a·cle [mir-uh-kuhl] noun

1.an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
2.such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
3.a wonder; marvel. (Dictionary.com)

Origin of MIRACLE

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin miraculum, from Latin, a wonder, marvel, from mirarito wonder at.  First Known Use: 12th century http://www.merriam-webster.com
What is a miracle to you?  We pray for them.  Some times we pray for a big miracle … and some say,  “I just need a little miracle”.   I think many times we want a quick solution, in a hurry … in the nick of time.  We throw the word miracle around a lot in today’s world.
  • Miracle Whip
  • Miracle Team
  • Children’s Miracle Network
  • Miracle Baby
  • Miracle Mile
  • Miracle Strip
  • Miracle …this and that

And yet on the flip side of the coin some wonder … DO MIRACLES STILL HAPPEN?

I believe:


I think that the times have changed and we do not see  as many of  what some call the ‘fanfare’ type of miracles  recorded in the Bible.  I believe they still happen that way sometimes, but more often than not miracles are quiet and leave us with a sense of awe.  Why?  Because as a whole we do not NEED them like was needed in the times of Christ.  Over two thousand years since Christ arose and people still turn to Him in simple faith, not because they saw the lame walk, the blind see, etc.  We do not need miracles to believe and spread His message.  We need faith.  Miracles still happen.  The fact that today God uses Doctors and technology that He has allowed mankind to develop  is no less miraculous.    I think sometimes we belittle His hand in our lives because of the lack of fanfare in an event.  I do not think there are big and little miracles.  I think it is, or it isn’t.  (Kinda like lies, it is or it isn’t … or Love, you are either in love or you or not).  I think the problem is in our recognizing God’s hand in our life.  We need faith to make it through our lives.  Not huge displays of fanfare of God’s intervention.  We need faith to see the miracles all around us.  God is always at work in our lives.  That is a miracle.

As a Christian you are in the palm of His hand.  Now that is a miracle.  Think about it … He cares about every little detail.  When you look at something you are holding in your hand do you not see every detail?

He sees every little detail as He holds the world in His hands.

For the Jews waiting for the Messiah, a baby born in a stable was not a miracle.  They wanted a BIG miracle, a King on a throne with lots of fanfare. Yet, hundreds of  kings and queens have lived,  have come and gone, and you would have trouble naming most of them.  They were not miracles.  A birth of a baby 2000 years ago in a stable is still the most recognizable name on earth.  Jesus is a miracle.

Bringing these thoughts into prospective (what got me thinking on all of this), for over three years we were praying for a miracle for my husband, a job.  One that would instantly solve our financial woes.  Phil now has a job (PTL and PTA*).  God answered our prayer, He gave us a miracle because in today’s society people over 40 years old who have too much education and experience are not recognized as valuable.  Some have said, “well, you know it’s not what you were praying for and it’s probably not what he wanted, but  it is a job.”  True.  But, it was what he needed.  We were praying for God’s will.  We long since passed the time of telling God what we needed in the way of a job because only God knows what we need to fulfill His plan and our wants seldom have anything to do with that.  Does that mean this job is not a miracle, or it’s a little miracle?  Of course not.  After 3-1/2 years of looking for work he has a job, THAT IS A MIRACLE.  Why?  Because every time God intervenes in our lives through His love for us it is a miracle.  It’s a miracle of love.  We wait expectantly, hoping to apply all that we have learned in the past 3-4 years as we move forward with Him.

Are you overlooking the miracles in your life today?  Do you consider them too small to be a miracle?  Were they not what you wanted?  Maybe we need to look for those miracles we wanted by looking  a little closer at what God places in our hands; at what God knows we needed.

*PTL and PTA: A Southern-ism for Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition.  Or, in other words, the battle is won, the war is still to be fought.  That is life.  The devil rules in this world and evil is prevalent everywhere because mankind chose for him to be here.  God gives us the battle and He has won the war … the devil will surrender.

“Fair Winds and Following Seas”


A nautical blessing of unknown origin, “Fair Winds and Following Seas” is how many sail through life.  A hope and a prayer for smooth sailing.  Are you sailing through life?  That can be disastrous, especially since your kids are learning how to handle life from the way you handle yours.

Is Your Life Sunk?

Early in our dating years, my husband taught me to sail his catamaran.   I cannot tell you the thrill of controlling the boat using the wind in the sails, the tiller and rudders.  Control is an awesome feeling.  Lose control and you capsize.  Yes, I did.

Our life is like a sailboat.  The rudder decides the direction as guided by the tiller.  Whose hand is on the tiller? Yours?  The current of the world is strong.  The Wind of God’s Word is stronger.   Without His word you cannot sail, the current will push you into the rocks.  Your sails need to be trimmed through prayer and the Holy Spirit’s guidance in your life.  When we navigate through the currents of the world, if  the rudder (our character)  is directed with our hand on the tiller  then we are going to capsize and sink.  If on the other hand, our sailboat has a keel shaped by Jesus Christ through salvation, then the rudder is directed (our path)  by Him and His hand is on the tiller (His will vs. ours).

Life is hard and there are plenty of rough seas.  When you need to put into harbor for safety His promises are your anchor.  You can count on His promises to keep you as you ride out the storms.  Sometimes He calms the seas (Mark 4:35-40), sometimes you have to ride out the storm and sometimes God uses the storm to shape you (Jonah 1).

God needs to be the Captain of the boat, not the co-captain.  His hand needs to be on the tiller of your life setting the rudder so that you sail safely no matter the weather.  From time to time you need to lighten the load and He will direct you to throw your baggage and cargo overboard.  Some of it may be precious cargo, but often it is garbage.  Allowing God to be in control and guide your sailboat will not give you smooth sailing, but it will always give you safe sailing.

Set sail today; let go, sail with Him at the tiller.

Whose hand is on the tiller?

I believe …


… “I Believe I Can Fly”
… “I Believe”
… “I Believe In Angels”
… “I Believe, I Believe”
… believe in our product … believe in the team … believe in yourself?

The world says believe in yourself.

Binging,which I prefer rather than Googling, the words “I Believe” is fascinating.  Humans need to believe.  It is innate. It is that little something in us that is a hole, a void, that needs to be filled.  God put it there, that need for Him.  That longing for Him.  The world tries to help you fill the void.   As you can imagine, there are scores of song lyrics, t-shirts, photos and artwork with those two words incorporated in or on them.  Remember the scene in Miracle on 34th  Street at the end when the little girl keeps reciting, “I believe, I believe.”?  We need to believe. We WANT to believe.

I am not talking about looking at that chair and saying, “I am going to sit on you chair and I believe you are going to hold me up.”  We believe in many things .  I am talking about the ultimate belief, the one thing that fills the void in our lives that nothing else can fill, our belief in God and His Son Jesus Christ.  That is the only “fill” for our void.  God provided the Lord Jesus Christ and  the Holy Spirit to meet our need and fill our void.

Dateline: 10/15/2011 5:45PM ~ She stood outside the store where I work.  She was shopping in the store and had waited on me outside when she saw I was leaving at the end of my shift. She said she was Jewish and her friend Catholic.  They are friends and had wandered into the store while out shopping.  She had questions.  She said, “I believe in God.  I am a Jew, yet I was raised in private Catholic schools.  I am open-minded.”    She has questions, she is searching.  She has a void.  She needs answers, a way to fill that void.

“I believe in God.”  Many people make that statement.  The truth is, satan* believes in God.  The  Bible says satan* knows who Jesus Christ is and that He is the Son of God.  The difference is  Christians believe Jesus is the Savior.    I was raised on the “Four Fold Gospel ~ Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King.”  He saved me, cleansed me, heals me and will return.  That sums it all up.  Yet, I cannot stop there.  I  have to read His word and pray.  I have to get to know Him daily and walk with Him. I have to know what the Bible says.  A saying from the 18th century states, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”  I think we can study the Bible all our lives and never understand or learn it all.  But I have to continue to read, pray and grow.  Some of us are further behind than others in learning.  If you have not started, you need to get started.  We all should learn and teach our children who will teach their children ….

Do you believe?  What do you believe?  Do your children, family and friends know what you believe? Do you believe as the world tells you to believe?

Webster defines believe: 1a: to have a firm religious faith  1b: to accept something as true, genuine, or real ;  2: to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something ; 3: to hold an opinion : think ;  4a: to consider to be true or honest; 4b: to accept the word or evidence of; 5: to hold as an opinion
God’s word simply defines believe as faith:

John 3:16 ESV “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Mark 16:15-16 ESV “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Why do you believe what you believe?

Webster defines Apologetics:  1: systematic argumentative discourse in defense (as of a doctrine);  2: a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity

Wikipedia defines: Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, “speaking in defense”) is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of reason. Early Christian writers (c. 120-220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists.

So do you believe?  Do your children believe?  What have you taught them to believe?  What do others think you believe?

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

 

“Now I Lay Me ….


down to sleep” ; “God is great, God is good….”; “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name…”

      HOW DO YOU PRAY?

"Where two are more are gathered..."

I have noticed through the years that people pray as they have ‘heard others pray’.  We all grow up hearing the children’s prayers.  Some faiths have recited prayers.   Many pray only when in need or after they have tried everything else.

Children are sponges.  They soak up all around them as they grow. both the good habits and the bad.   So many times we inadvertently teach them to PRAY only as a last resort because all the other ‘praying’ is in recitation, not real prayer.   There is the ‘blessing prayers’ … “God is Good, God is Great.  let us thank Him for our food.”   One of my cousins when asked to pray would get to the point with, “Dear God, bless this bunch as we munch our lunch.”   There is the bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep … bless mommy, daddy, the cat … the goldfish …. oh and dear old Aunt ______ (P.S. please stop her from pinching my cheeks.)    As they get older we teach our children The Disciple’s Prayer:

Matthew 6:9-13, ” 9“Pray, then, in this way:  ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’(NASB)   This prayer was intended to teach us HOW to pray and while it is OK to pray it, it was never intended for us to ‘use it’ as a substitution for PRAYING.    Many people call that portion of scripture  The Lord’s Prayer but, it was the Disciple’s Prayer.  A prayer Jesus used to teach them HOW to pray.   (The Lord’s Prayer is John 17:1-5)

So how do you pray and how do you teach your children to pray?  You use the ‘model’ He gave us in Matthew 6 to teach them to TALK with God in Prayer.  It’s a conversation not a recitation.  Acknowledge WHO He is, praise Him, ask forgiveness, pray for others and THEN ask for your needs.  That is a ‘season’ of prayer. 

There are faiths that pray three times a day.  But, we as Christians are to pray unceasingly.  And we can.  What does that mean?  Well, even though in your morning devotions or night-time devotions you pray as the Lord taught His disciples, throughout the day you pray unceasingly.  You see a wonderful sight in creation and you pray, “thank you Lord … that’s beautiful”.  You see a homeless person on the corner and pray, “Lord be with them, meet their needs.”  A friend calls or is brought to mind, “Lord you know their need right now, meet them.”  You wake in the middle of the night and someone comes to mind, “Lord, I do not know what is going on right now, but I lift them in prayer asking you to guard and protect them, meet them where they are.”  You pray, unceasingly … when the Holy Spirit brings Him to mind or others to mind … you lift up a prayer.   This is intercessory prayer, interceding on the behalf of others as the Holy Spirit brings them to mind.  The Lord uses this way to teach you faith and draws you closer to Him through the Holy Spirit.  You learn to listen to Him. 

Sometimes you can close your eyes, other times you silently lift up the prayer.  The Word instructs us to have a daily time of prayer:  “Matthew 6:6  But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”  But you can pray at anytime and should.  It gives you peace to be in constant communication with our Heavenly Father.

Many times people live their lives (and this is the only part their children see) sending up ‘quickie prayers’.  Make sure you have a daily time of prayer.  If you only go to Him when you are in trouble, your children will only go to Him when they are in trouble.   People would call my Mom for prayer  because she had “camel knees”.  Everyone knew my Mom spent time in prayer on her knees …they said she had a ‘hot line’ to Heaven.  We all can have that ‘hot line’.  Unfortunately, many of us only use the line in time of need and is it any wonder we feel we are getting a busy number?

 

♪♫♪♪♪♫If I Had a Hammer ….


…… I’d hammer in the morning.  I’d hammer in the evening … the whole day through” ♪♪♫♪♪   You’re welcome 😀 … the song is stuck in your head now right?  The lyrics to the song fit me (and many moms).  We try to fix things.  Right now my old computer’s on the fritz, the washing machine’s on the fritz; being my daddy’s daughter, I’m working on them.  Meanwhile I am on my ‘newer’  computer I passed on to my hubby when his died an untimely death.  Couldn’t fix it … but, I tried.

The point is most of us want to fix things.  Most women tease about men trying to assemble or fix things without reading the instructions.  But, you know, all of us try to fix things without reading the instructions.  We have the right tools usually, but we fail to use them properly.

When we try to fix things we can do more damage than good.  Sometimes beyond repair.  Okay, everyone is thinking of how someone else in the house (maybe a male?) tried to fix something and ruined it right?  Focus on yourself.  God gave you ‘tools’ to work with.  Gifts, talents … strengths that He expects you to allow HIM to use in your life.  Unfortunately, many times we pick them up without asking.  Sometimes we use the wrong tools.  We just steamroll ahead in our own power.

It is one thing to mess up your own things, your own life, but usually that messes up someone else as well.  Many times it is one of our children.  Sometimes it is a spouse or other loved one.   Maybe a friend is affected by the misuse.  God put us here and He has a plan that comes with instructions.  He gave us all we have, our ‘tools’.   Using them in our power without consulting Him makes messes.

There’s nothing wrong with the ‘tools’, it’s the user.  Place them in God’s hands and see what He can do.  Your children and loved ones are watching.  Teach them to lay each ‘tool’ down so God can receive the glory and use it for His perfect will.

What’s your ‘tools’?:  Your kids?  Your successful job? Those “A’s” on the report card?  The game winning ball? Trophies?

When you lay them on the altar and give them back to Him, He may take them away or He may give them back.   When He gives them back and you allow Him to use them to His glory, then He will be able to mold and shape you as well as others.

Just think what you’re doing with your ‘tools’ today and what could happen if they were taken out of your hands and put in the Master’s hands.

Psalm 143:10 (HCSB)

     “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground.”

Does the Donkey Need to Talk?


What's He Saying?

Delores, my mother’s BFF of 85 years, was at her funeral.  They were maid/matron of honor at each others’ weddings.  Delores’ daughters and mom’s five grew up like cousins and in fact attended each others family events.  We have a lot of memories.  One of my favorite memories is from my bridal shower that Delores hosted at her home.  She invited about 60 women from our church.  At that time they had been BFF’s for over 50 years and Delores could not resist a good tongue in cheek joke on my mom.  As an ice breaker every woman had a Bible character’s name placed on their back as they came in the door.  Once everyone was in the door we were instructed to go up to people and ask questions to try to figure out whose name was on our back.  The women would look at the sticker on your back and answer ‘yes/no’  questions to help you figure out who you were.   Delores had put Balaam’s uhm … ‘donkey’ on my mom’s back.  Okay, think the GASP at the end of the horse race scene from My Fair Lady.

God has a sense of humor too.  In tough times, in our rebellious times, He gets our attention one way or another.  Numbers 22 tells the story of Balaam, a greedy man who the King of Moab asked to curse the Israelites because they were afraid of them.   On the trip to curse the Israelites God blocked the path of the donkey and when Balaam could not get the donkey to move he beat the donkey each time.   Then God had the donkey speak to Balaam and opened his eyes to the angel that blocked the path.

God blocks our paths and sometimes we try to bulldozer our way through in our own strength.  Got a toddler?  A teenager?  They just won’t listen … you know how God feels with you then.  Sometimes we forge ahead through all obstacles, standing on the belief that God is going to get us through.  But, you’re not on God’s path if you have to make your own way, if you have to beat the messenger.  God’s word says:

James 1:5-7(HCSB)5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

When you are in God’s path there will be obstacles, but there will also be ways around those obstacles made clear.  Beating your way through is not His way.

Does God need to make the Donkey talk to you today?