Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Think about it

Ok so I’m reading a very good book right now entitled The 4:8 Principle. Today I read, “Neuroscientists can now demonstratethat every thought sends electrical and chemical signals throughout your brain, ultimately affecting each cell in your body. Thoughts influence your sleep, your digestion, your pulse, the chemical makeup of your blood, all other bodily functions. The secret conversations you hold in the privacy of your own mind are shaping your destiny little by little.”

The average person thinks some fifty thousand thoughts a day. Wow! Is that good news or bad? Food for thought huh?

What do you think about yourself? What do you think about your abilities, gifts, ect…? Do you think God is good? What kinds of thoughts are running around loose in your head? I am learning to think more about what I’m thinking about. My thoughts determine my experience of Joy.

Philip. 4:8
And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Thinking excellent thoughts is the goal. Think about it.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lemme Lemme upgrade Ja!

Upgrade your potential for Joy!

I don’t know about you but sometimes I can become negative, anxious, and even unbelieving in my thought life. I am learning that each thought I think goes directly into the formation of my character. What I think about others, myself, my future, everything all contributes to who I am becoming and where I will end up. I am seeking to take greater control of my thought life and thus change my capacity for Joy.

Today I was listening to a teaching on the “battlefield of the mind” and heard the speaker say that we have thought potential of Jesus. His discipline-His-focus-His influence-even His capacity for Joy flowed from His extremely Godly thought life. We are told in scripture I Cor. 2:16 that “we have the mind of Christ”. Then I was reading the book "The 4:8 Principle" and it said, "You can think God's thoughts". I wondered if God was trying to get me a message.

How much is it possible to think in harmony with Jesus? I know that God did not give me a literal brain transplant but really, How much of His thought life is available to me? Can I via the presence of His indwelling Spirit think “God’s thoughts”? If this is true(that I have His mind in me) then certainly I can upgrade my potential for Joy.

In the words of that famous theologian Beyonce, “Lemme Lemme upgrade Ja”

Friday, January 11, 2008

Incredible power of words

In chapter of Philippians, Paul encourages followers of Jesus to present evidence (fruit) on the "outside" of the work God is doing on the "inside". He challenges them in one important area-an area of our lives that Jesus said defiles us more than any other-our words.

Matthew 15:18 (NIV) 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'

Paul said that people can shine when they don't whine! He said that others can see our authentic faith by the absence of negative speech in the midst of a corrupt and verbally abusive culture.

Words are of the utmost importance. Everything you see and experience exists and takes it shape because of words. In the beginning, God said, and there was. The words He spoke created and shaped everything we see. But that was just the beginning of the conversation. God chose to create other word speaking beings in His own image. For better and for worse, we have been wordsmithing ever since. The shape of our world today is the collective result of countless words exchanged by creative people throughout history.

Our words are impactful. It is hard to fathom just how potent the words we say are. No wonder the Bible has so much to say concerning our communication with others. Every time we speak, creative force is released and there are results. Whether it is two kings meeting to discuss terms on a battle field, people talking over plans to build, a group dialogue about improving a community, a father speaking to his son, the words shared in those moments shape the result seen in the future.

Proverbs 10:20-21 (NIV) 20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. 21 The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.

I have spent an entire week thinking about my words-in particular, my words to my wife and son. It is quite sobering to me to look at Michelle and realize that the amount of confidence, security, and peace that she experiences in life can be in large measure determined by words I say to her. I have witnessed the impact in her life over the years and am deeply convicted of my need to nourish her more with my words. She also could be led to believe she has little worth or value by careless words I speak. May God help me to speak his words to her.

My son is three years old now. I sat and watched him play with his mom today and thought about the formative nature of our words over those years. Everything he believes about himself and life is shaped mostly by our words. I can choose words that go into his heart with important nutrients that shape him into a good man. What he believes about relationships, money, the world around him, even God will be derived from words spoken from us to him over the next few years.

Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) 18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

I am becoming more aware of my opportunties to bring Joy to the world by speaking well chosen words. To be part of God's solution in other's lives is what it means to be a Christian. The people of this world (including me) are sick. Wise words bring healing. Reckless words-thoughtless words, wound. Hearts are sick, damaged, even destroyed by hurtlful words spoken with little or no thought. This is what I am trying to do more of... "think". I want make sure my words are helpful not hurtful.

Proverbs 18:20-21 (NIV) 20 From the fruit of his mouth a man's stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. 21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

The Bible gives us some helpful ways to use words. Here are a few:

Use words to tell about what God has done. Psalm 40:10 "I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth."

Psalm 71:8 "My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long."

Use words to teach. "Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel," declares Proverbs 20:15. Col. 3:16 adds, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom."

Use words to strengthen the weak. Job 4:4 "Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees."

Say the right thing at the right time. Proverbs 15:23 declares, "A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!" In many cases, silence is not golden!

Speak gracious words. "Words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips" (Eccles. 10:12).

Use words to encourage. Christ is our ultimate example of this, of course. As I observe Him through the Gospels, I note that He rarely complimented. (I couldn't find too many times He said, "Way to go!") But He continually encouraged. How? Read John 13–17 to note the ways.

Use words to correct. Proverbs 25:12 says, "Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man's rebuke to a listening ear."

Our words have eternal implications. In a moment of deep insight, Jesus some critical and unbelieving Jews that words actually reveal ultimate destiny.

Matt. 12:33-37 33 "A tree is identified by its fruit. Make a tree good, and its fruit will be good. Make a tree bad, and its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned."

My heart is the root and my words are the fruit. My words should be a way for people to taste and see that the Lord is good. According to Jesus and Paul, If God has touched and is changing my heart, then it is reflected in my speech. My words will reflect faith. My words will reflect love. In short my speech says I believe in Jesus. One day I will be justified or condemed by my own words.

Psalm 19:14 "May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer."

Day off

I made it again all day with only encouraging words coming from my mouth! Now i'm taking the rest of today off. Up to Mt. Charleston to play in the snow with little Sam.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fruit of my lips

Proverbs 10:21 (NIV) 21 The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.

It is so true that the words we say can be the difference in others lives. They are the fruit of life. Our words come out of our mouths and into the hearts of so many who need to hear something good. And since God has given us new and good hearts our words can be transformative for others. I am hoping to say some good things today-some delicious things today.

Proverbs 25:11 (NIV) 11 A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

By the way…I think I made it through a whole day yesterday without negative speech!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

not perfect for sure

26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. James 1:26 (NIV)

Today I’ve got mixed reviews. Like yesterday I started out great determined to bless and encourage wherever I went-and I did. But at days end I found myself in a tricky conversation where I really could have handled it better. Upon reflection, I believe I listened poorly and thus answered poorly. I hate that! (Oops did I just gripe?) I'm not perfect for sure but today is a new day and I hope to honor God in speech all day today.

After spending four days meditating in scripture concerning the importance of our words and realizing their incredible power, I am deeply convicted that I must allow God to produce even deeper changes in me. I now see more clearly than ever that our words are anything but neutral. Each one released is a revelation of what is in my heart and has untold power for good or evil. Spending time reflecting on conversations throughout the day and asking for forgiveness where I fall short is helping me a lot. Starting my day in heart surrender and thanksgiving is even more important.

Jesus spoke often of words. Words come from our hearts and go directly into the hearts of others. It is of utmost importance to understand the nature and power of our words because Jesus said they have eternal implications.

35 A good person produces good words from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgment day of every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say now reflect your fate then; either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned." Matt. 12:33-37

Help me with idle and careless speech Lord. May good come from my mouth God. May my heart be yielded to the work of Your Spirit. May Jesus be Lord of my lips and may His love be a filter for all that flows from them.

14 May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalms 19:14 (NLT)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Joy Train

Ok so yesterday went pretty good for me concerning the "Word of Life Challenge". Most of the day I prayed and controlled my tongue although I did have about an hour where I was tested. I was putting together a new train set provided via Grandma for Christmas when the pressure began to mount. With Sam jumping all over me and the tracks in utter joy and anticipation, I could not get the already difficult project assembled. I broke a very fragile piece. I’m not sure but I think it was then that I declared the train set had been forsaken by God. This was immediately followed by an impassioned plea for Sam to spend an extended period in time out.

I don’t know, you tell me, did I “Do everything without complaining or arguing”? Maybe not in that instant. But I repented and made a new declaration that the train was a good and perfect gift from the Father and I thanked Him for it. Then I released Sam from his harsh prison sentence and Joy reentered all our lives. Hallelujah! (the previous is based on a true story)

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Today is a fresh day. I am up this morning praying, thanking God for His many blessings in my life. I am even having my joy tank filled as I type watching the train go round and round the track on my living room floor (I have decided to name it the Joy train). I’m setting my course for joy and fully expect to spread it wherever I go all day long. What a priveledge to be tasked by Jesus to give Joy to the world. Watch out people-here I come!

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

p.s. Sam just walked in and caught me running the/his Joy train and he is not happy! Gotta go quick! Send me your comments.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Each word a gift

29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. 30 Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted. Eph. 4:29-30

Ok so 36 hours have passed and as far as I can tell my speech has been uncorrupted. No griping. No complaining. No criticism-nothing negative at all. My goal is that my words would be a gift and that the Holy Spirit who indwells me would not be grieved but pleased with the words that I choose. I have never thought of my words as a gift before. I like that.

So today I am giving the gift of words. I am going to use words that lift people. I am intentionally seeking to help with what I say. I am hoping to make the world a better place with the power of well-chosen words. You can too.

Father, help us to give Joy to the world today. Help us to hold out the word of life to all those who hear. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and speak through us today!