The Door Of My Mouth

 

LipsI have been known to talk. Over the years, I’ve listened to myself talk and I feel like that I’ve sometimes wasted words. I am in sales, but I can cut to the chase. When I was in student ministry, I was in a “sales position” of sorts. I was introducing and “selling” how a relationship with the Lord could be a life changer. Today, I sell myself as a trusted, real estate professional. I also sell houses, land and commercial. In all these roles, I do find that I need to talk. I am learning that there is great weight and value in words. I try hard for my spoken word to have the same weight as my written word. I did learn many years ago in the business world that if it’s not written down, it’s not enforceable. I want the words of my mouth to be enforceable by my character. I talk to the Lord a lot about my words. King David welcomed accountability and I should too. Check this out…

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
    keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
    so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
    do not let me eat their delicacies.

Let a righteous man strike me – that is a kindness;
    let him rebuke me – that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
    for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. (Psalm 141:3-5 NIV)

I remember back in my college days I was part of a musical group and we did a musical a musical based on the study of James. One of the songs, I remember was: “The Little Red Devil Behind the White Pearly Gates”. I’m sure I was 20 years old when I first heard that. My tongue can get me in trouble. My life group is studying the book of James and this past week’s lesson was in James 3. James points out how I can sing, pray & praise the Lord with my tongue and crush someone the next minute with the same tongue. I’m learning to speak slowly and be discerning with my words – unfortunately it feels like I’m on lesson #1 of this class!

I think the most important point when I think about my tongue, is that the words of my mouth represent the things going on inside my heart. When I speak in frustration and anger – my heart is frustrated & angry. I believe my biggest daily challenge is to surrender my heart to the Lord. With that surrender comes my thoughts, my words, my rights. I want my heart to be daily surrendered to the Lord so that He helps control my tongue and my thoughts and certainly all my actions. My surrender to Him is the most important choice I can make today and every day.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Forgiveness & Consequences

 

Time to Move On Clock Acceptance Concede to ChangeI believe forgiveness is a most powerful experience – whether you’re receiving forgiveness or giving forgiveness – It’s release; It’s remission; It’s pardon. Forgiveness is a gift to both the giver and receiver of it.  The Lord demonstrated this first throughout The Word. Giving and forgiveness are closely linked.  Giving is part of the root word. I have experienced first-hand the power of forgiveness. It releases anger, resentment, bitterness, hate and a ton of other emotions that we harbor. Forgiveness means freedom to both the giver and receiver of it.

There are consequences to sin even though there is forgiveness. I know of people who have made some disastrous choices and are forgiven, but still must pay huge consequences. I believe there are some godly and forgiven people in prison for crimes that were horrifying, but the consequences may possibly be a life sentence in prison. Check this out…

Lord our God,
    you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
    though you punished their misdeeds.
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his holy mountain,
    for the Lord our God is holy. (Psalm 99:8-9 NIV)

Both the offender and the offended need forgiveness. I’ve encouraged people to give forgiveness in their heart long before they ever have an opportunity to verbalize. It is so cool to see people who have held grudges and hurt for years’ release that and move on. In forgiveness, there is a new start even with the consequences looming. I’ve seen so many lives destroyed by bitterness and hate and the harm done to them was long gone. Holding on to hurt can lead to bitterness. Bitterness leads to literal death or certainly death of all sorts of relationships. I believe when I make a dumb choice or stupid decision, I should own it; make amends, accept the consequences and move on.

I’m no longer a slave to my dumb decisions and profound mistakes – I may have consequences to face because of them but I now know the amazing forgiveness of God. I’m not afraid of what is to come because I’m a child of the Most High God!

No Longer Slaves

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Frustration

 

Neck TensionWhen my expectations are not met, I can easily get frustrated. I can get frustrated with just about anyone for anything. Frustration is a relative of anger. I can sometimes go quickly from frustration to anger, but for the most part I usually spend a few moments in this area prior to moving on to anger. The word frustration by definition is being dissatisfied or disappointed in someone or a situation.

The Lord was frustrated with His people because they had stopped following His ways and they now worshipped other gods. He allowed them to be captured by some of the nations nearby. They finally got desperate enough to cry out to the Lord. Check this out…

15 But the Israelites said to the Lord, ‘We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.’ 16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer. (Judges 10:15-16 NIV)

The humility of these people moved the heart of God. They humbly repented and He rescued them. I have to confess that when I’m frustrated, I really just want the other person to take ownership of their choices and/or mistakes. When God’s people repented and turned from their bad choices, He was inclined to come rescue them.

I believe that frustration will always be a part of the world I live in because there are humans here. We humans are infallible, mistake prone people. I’ve had friends who frustrate me and they are still my friends. I’ve had clients and customers who frustrate me and I will still work with them and for them. I’ve had employees that frustrate me and they are still on the team. Frustration is not something to be taken lightly, but I try to keep frustration in perspective. If I act out of frustration, I’m inclined to make mistakes. I see frustration as an emotional response that can and should be managed to avoid full-blown anger and actions that are regretful.

The Lord is so patient with me when I frustrate Him. I can’t help but learn to be more patient and try to work through frustration without an over reaction. I’m confident that I’ve frustrated the Lord many times on many levels. I’m so thankful for His forgiveness and His rescue even though I deserve punishment.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Anger About Salvation

wrathI have known of people who were so wicked and mean that I really didn’t want the Lord to save them. I remember thinking about Osama Ben Laden in this respect. I had to talk to the Lord about my attitude. I do believe he deserved to die as punishment for his wickedness. What if he asked the Lord to forgiven him – I would not really be excited about his salvation.

Jonah was less than enthusiastic about Nineveh turning to the Lord in repentance. He really wanted the Lord to punish them – in fact He built a shelter on a high point overlooking the city so he could watch the punishment. He had just preached to the people about turning back to the Lord. I can imagine that his tone of voice and his passion for the message he brought was less than enthusiastic, but they repented anyway. Check this out…

1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’

4 But the Lord replied, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’ (Jonah 4:1-4 NIV)

I think that deep down Jonah felt like he had done something good for the Lord, but was hoping for a different outcome. He was not preaching with passion wanting people to change – He was just preaching because God told him to. I do think Jonah really described the Lord quite well. I’m thankful for a God Who is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and abounding in love. I really want to lay down my attitude toward others and try to see them from the Lord’s perspective. There’s not a wide gap between my sin and their sin – the consequences are much different, but my sin is still sin. I want to walk in step with the Lord and have the courage to go where He calls me to go and say what He calls me to say. I want to be full of joy over anyone and everyone who turns to the Lord for salvation.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Wrath

wrathThe word wrath means “extreme anger”. I can’t recall being the object of someone else’s wrath. I can remember as a teenager making my Dad really mad and I’m pretty sure I was punished for whatever it was I did to make him mad. I’ve personally been “sideways” mad but this wrath word seems extreme to describe my anger.

The Lord was beyond angry with His people who lived in Jerusalem. He was about to bring punishment upon them and He tells them why. Check this out…

11 Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will shave you; I will not look on you with pity or spare you. 12 A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.

13 ‘Then my anger will cease and my wrath against them will subside, and I will be avenged. And when I have spent my wrath on them, they will know that I the Lord have spoken in my zeal. (Ezekiel 5:11-13 NIV)

 

I believe that the Lord had enough of their ridiculous behavior. He warned them multiple times and they continued to ignore. His deep commitment to us calls for our commitment to Him. I believe that those of us who have had our feet under His table are expected to understand this commitment. He committed to us and He wants us to be fully committed to Him. I’ve not seen the wrath of God, but I know that He hates my sin. I believe that the Lord will fight for control of my heart. The spiritual battleground is my heart. If the Lord has my heart, He has my life. I don’t ever want to see His wrath or be a recipient of it. I love the Lord too much to hurt Him purposely.

Pressing On!

Dwayne