Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Year, A New Season

Another year comes to an end. Already.


I think this past year has been a year of waiting; sometimes not even knowing what I was waiting for. Sometimes waiting for a break from caring for my father-in-law, some of the time waiting for new grandbabies to be born and yes, another is due in a couple of weeks!


But here lately I’ve been feeling more thankful to God than ever, for all the wonderful blessings in my life.


On a good hair day, when you’re on time for your appointments and the perfect parking space opens up everywhere you go and people actually smile at you – it’s so easy to be thankful for your life.


But on those days when you have to hide your hair under a hat, do your best to cover a gigantic pimple, sit carefully all day because your jeans are too tight and you’ve got a case of the clumsies and everything you touch falls apart – it’s too easy to forget about all we have to be grateful for.


Why is that?


My friend Stacy Voss has the perfect reminder for me – the beautiful coffee mug (pictured above) that bears the tag line, Seize the Gratimoment! (Contact her here to get your own.)


Sometimes we need to purposefully look for gratitude in the moment. We need to focus on what we do have; we need to take our focus off the things that are bringing us down or “ruining our day” – and seize the opportunity to turn things around with our attitude by finding something to be grateful for.


This year, I promise myself to be more thankful and to discover what it means to “live in the moment”!


See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19 NIV

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Some of us love the feel of moist, rich soil crumbling in our hands, pulling at it with our fingers, knowing what can grow there. Even the smell of it tickles our senses.
While praying this morning for someone I love dearly, I began to pull away at the roots of bitterness and anger. I’ve had issues with anger myself, so I began praying for myself, as well. In my mind, I could see the roots being lifted out of the dark, rich soil. The fact that the soil was so fertile blessed me, knowing good things can grow and are growing here, too! Like when I was a child, weeding the garden back home on the farm, I shook off the dirt from the large and tiny roots, alike. But instead of tossing the weed into a weed pile, I threw it over a cliff, into a fiery abyss was completely destroyed, never to grow here again.
My fingers dug deep into the ground, breaking up the soil as I prayed over it and asked God to bless it and fertilize it and plant His seeds there, the seeds of the fruit of the spirit, seeds of love, joy peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance… (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV). Then I realized that these seeds have already been planted here and I excitedly began to look around for the fruit of those seeds.
All of us who love plants, love watching them grow and produce. Scientists love to watch their projects progress, artists love to see their masterpieces morph all the way to their unveiling. So, too with God, as He watches us learn to love Him and trust Him with everything He’s given us. He’s watching us grow up to conform to His image, the image in which He created us in the first place.
God has given us the authority to pull up the snares (Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like… Galatians 5:19-21 KJV), to make room for the fruit of His Spirit to grow abundantly in our lives.
Time to do some gardening?


Thursday, December 6, 2012


God is holy. Be ye holy as He is holy.
Last night in church the question came to mind, Can one be very holy? Or super holy? Or exceptionally holy? Or just a little bit holy?
Then the response, No, you’re either holy or you’re not.
It’s like salvation. Either you’re saved by grace, or you’re not. You can’t be a little bit saved; born-again. You can’t be 99% saved. You’re either saved or you’re lost, no gray area. If you believe you’ve given 99% of your heart to God, in reality, you’re clinging to 100% of your heart, trying desperately to figure out what to do with it.
There’s only one safe place for your heart and that’s in Christ. There’s only One Who can fill the voids in your heart, that’s Jesus Christ. To continue to refuse Him entrance there commands that you continue to live life without meaning and purpose; searching. And it’s great that we search, but too often we run around the world looking for the treasure that’s found in our own backyard.
At we find one definition of holy that reads:  specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated.
When we give our whole heart to Jesus, we become holy. Not just a little bit holy, simply holy. Consecrated (set apart)  for Christ, by Christ. We are recognized as holy by God’s authority; not because we live good lives or say good things, but because God Himself declares us to be holy, because He declares us to be His.
When I go out and purchase something for myself, it becomes mine. When Jesus suffered and died on the cross, He paid the price for our sin, He bought us with His love and with His blood. We belong to Him. But He doesn’t lay claim to our love until we give it to Him. He gives us the right to withhold that love from Him, to try to fend for ourselves in a life He created to be lived in His power. Without Him, we are lost; we are unholy.
What holds you captive? What holds you back from giving your heart to the One Who created you and loves you and provides all the power you need to live abundantly?
Leviticus 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. (KJV)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Focus and Magnify

Magnification becomes more important to me the older I get. I need to magnify the words I read through the glasses on my face, now more than ever. Without the help of these magnificent image enhancers, I’d miss out on so much, especially words. The lenses clear up my misconceptions about what I see without them.


Magnification doesn’t actually make anything bigger, accept the appearance of what we’re looking at. Through a microscope, we can more clearly see microbes found in a drop of water, they appear larger so they’re more easily focused on, and seen as they truly are.


So make sense with me, of the cry of the psalmist, “O magnify the Lord with me, let’s exalt His Name together.” (Psalm 34:3)


My experience and ponderings lead me to believe that the more I focus on God, thus magnifying Him, the more clearly I see Him and what He’s doing in my life. The more I focus on my problems, the more magnified they become. So I can either play up my problems to the point where I can’t see anything else, or I can praise God, lifting up His Name in my home and in the marketplace and see Him move on my behalf.


When I magnify the Lord, as the psalmist invites, His presence appears larger to me, His image enhanced and His blessings more recognized; my purpose becomes more focused and aggravations that assail me fall to the blurrier parts of the picture, often falling off into oblivion.


Since I began wearing glasses some years ago, I notice more and more when driving down the street, how little I actually look at along the way. My car can take my mindless self to where I intended to go, occasionally, I admit, with some minor backtracking, almost as if I engage some sort of autopilot feature. What else do I miss out on when I’m not looking at it, or for it?


Come focus on the Lord with me, let’s lift up His Name everywhere!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Texture. One of the things I love about nature is the vast array of textures we can discover if we take the time to look. My cell phone gallery holds a small treasure of my “texture pictures”.

While exploring a field with three of my grandsons, I beamed with pride as my ten year old exclaimed, “Grandma, look! Texture! Take a picture of it!” His “find” was the dry, cracked earth pictured here. Other discoveries that afternoon included a few clean bones, a rusty blade from an old plow, a variety of sticks and rocks, and some concrete and gravel cylinders they cracked into disks. Yes, they’re all now on my cell phone. The disks provided abundant entertainment as they repeatedly rolled them down a steep hill and raced them to the bottom. As I stood there on the hilltop in a jacket, shivering, they ran and laughed and bonded, wearing short-sleeved t-shirts, insisting they weren’t cold at all.

Another mystical attraction that I suppose demands the attention of most young boys: mud. Lots of thick, deep mud. If they were my own little boys, they’d have been wearing cheap, old sneakers. But they’re grandsons who wear Nike running shoes. I cautioned them not to step in it; their moms might not have appreciated the fun we were having as much as we did. As I wound up a short phone call, I turned to see that one of them just couldn’t resist the temptation. He planted one foot and then the other right in the middle of the rich, deep mud…then he grinned from ear to ear. It slurped up over his shoes and threatened to suck his socks off. I shook my head and tried not to laugh.

We shaved off a few minutes of fun so we could run back to my house before I took them home. I washed the pricey shoes in my kitchen sink after we scraped off the mud with sticks. Fortunately, his mom took it in stride and all was well.

God loves our childlikeness, in it we become Christlike. Let your sight be tempted today. Go for a walk – do a little exploring of your own, even if you don’t step in the mud. Look for texture. Maybe take pictures.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Romans 1:20 (NLT)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Simply Put...

Cheating a little today, I’ll borrow from my recent attempt at writing a devotion.
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4 (KJV)
We find ourselves at divine appointments without realizing we had one to show up for. In His infinite knowledge of past, present and future, God always shows up on time.
At the lowest point in my life, a night I considered suicide, God provided the divine connection to steer me into His Word and plant me on the living room floor with instructions to rejoice.
Looking back, it’s easy to see, at least in part, what God was doing in my life that night. From the turmoil of suicidal thoughts to the relentless peace and power that comes from rejoicing, only God could have pulled it off so effortlessly. With no biblical knowledge, I had to concede that He was there with me, not only to comfort me, but also to empower me.
Though circumstances didn’t change, God being in the midst of them changed me.
So began my journey into God Himself; or at least the part of the journey that rises to the conscious mind. He knew me before He formed me in my mother’s belly; He had been wooing me a long time.
When things look so bleak that there’s no seeable fork in the road, no place to turn around, no light to even follow the pavement, we can praise Him. We don’t even have to focus on the things we’re praising Him for; it’s enough to praise Him for Who He is.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

To Autumn With Intent

The dog-days-of-summer are winding down, giving way to weather more like a finicky cat. Chilly mornings yield to hot afternoons that turn into grab-your-jacket evenings. Nighttime gets down right cold.
To me, autumn signals a throw back to when I was a child and September meant back-to-school, get down to business and learn; always seeking new points to ponder and finding questions to ask at every turn. I loved it!
Smiles can’t hide from the memories of tomato soup and crackers, gray skies drenching us with rain and winds that could cut through any coat. The promises of snow on the horizon and the teasing of an Indian summer were the backdrop to countless hopes and expectations of what the new school year would bring.
Blending in with the scenery, not noticed in any crowd, I could watch without hiding, observing everything, wondering what the future held for me. In my own little world, I had purpose – though I didn’t always understand what it was.
This colorful season makes me want to get busy, as if summer was for relaxing, like the summer vacations from childhood. Fall means it’s time to get serious.
What’s on your to-do list? Leave your excuses in the shadows of summer and prepare to cross off the things on that list with determination.
Breathe in the aroma of crunching leaves beneath your feet. Close your eyes and experience that sunshine on your face. Smile more. See what’s in front of you, actually look at it. Listen to the sounds around you. Touch things just for the sake of feeling them. Keep the promises you’ve made to yourself. Today begins a new season in your life. The past has passed – tomorrow is new, intentionally create it.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” – Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nothing Like a Great Meal!

This weekend was long. It started out fun but ended up wearing my patience thin.
You know that rumble you get in your stomach when it’s been too long since your last meal? That’s the rumble in my spirit when I’ve gone too long without God’s Word. It manifests itself in irritability and lack of patience, vulnerability to offense, among other things. My spirit feels angry when it’s hungry.
When I find I’m being easily offended, I either need to make time for a meal; some serious reading of the Word, or at the very least, a snack.
Christian books are great and there’s plenty of time for gleaning from the wisdom God shares with us to share with each other, but there’s nothing like digging into the Word.
Sometimes I opt to listen to the Word via – where you’re given the option to hear it read to you. So when I’m doing something mindless (and quiet), like dusting, I’ll do that. However, with as many questions that get filtered through my mind, I often stop my dusting, grab my pen and scribble notes. Failure to do so would result in me gleaning less from my meal; like standing up while scarfing down a quick burger. It may fill your belly, but it’s a lot less satisfying than sitting down to enjoy a full, healthy, meal with veggies. Not to mention the indigestion you’re likely to get from swallowing that burger without adequate time to chew.
So, while listening to the Bible is good, sitting down to absorb what I’m learning is better.
All of that said, the mere hearing of the Word will encourage our spirits and lift our moods. I find that the offense I may have been carrying around all morning is much easier to let go of, it’s easier to smile, it’s easier to make good decisions like – yes, I’ll go for that walk, instead of simply thinking about it while I snack or play around on the internet.
It’s much easier to be thankful in all things and it’s easier to love when we’re in God’s Word, consistently.
I’m reading Matthew today. Where are you?
(Photo courtesy

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Love is.....a Challenge

This morning I was challenged to take a serious look at the famous “love chapter” in 1 Corinthians – in the Amplified version, and figure out where my weaknesses lie. Here it is so you can see what I’m looking at. Clearly, there’s a lot of room for improvement in my love life.


1 Corinthians 13:4-8 4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

8 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].


I found my biggest areas of concern in verse 5 – sometimes I can be very petty or touchy, easily offended. I probably get resentful, too. And let’s face it, no one likes having evil done to them or to someone they love. I mean, how do you not pay attention when you’ve “suffered wrong”?


I can’t stop there, like most of us, I want my own way most of the time; okay, all the time. If I didn’t think my way was the best way, I wouldn’t want to do it that way either.


So, how do I overcome these obstacles to love?


First, I need to recognize when I’m behaving this way. Along with the challenge to take a look at this, came the story of a woman overcoming her vulnerable points and purposefully walking in love. It will take discipline and a conscious awareness of how I’m reacting to the people and situations around me. There’s really no excuse for “allowing them” to cause me to not walk in love. Like the woman who overcame, I need to keep this issue in front of my face. She posted note cards all over the place, reminding her to watch out for her pitfalls and convicting her when the feelings came to behave in an unloving way. (Unloving as in not loving like God wants us to love.) So note cards might be helpful – but I have to be willing to notice them.


I can be stubborn, hence, that part about doing things my way. My way leads to destruction and death. (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25 NIV) I can’t just quote those scriptures if I’m not going to live like I believe them. This is going to take some exercise. I’m not fond of exercise…..

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Is This Trial Too Hard?

Have you heard the one about the man stuffing his pockets? Seems Saint Peter saw an old man scurrying around heaven with bulging pockets and a smug smile on his face. He said to the man, “Show me what you’re hiding there.” The man hung his head and pulled out a nice-sized chunk of gold. With a laugh, Peter asked, “What? Why are you shoving pavement into your pockets?”
In the Bible, gold is sometimes used to represent faith – it’s the greatest treasure we have, and that’s why the devil is after it. It may appear he’s after our children, our finances, our health or our successes, but he’s actually targeting the thing that holds all those things upright, our faith.
This morning in church, our pastor was quick to point out that our battle isn’t with the devil, he’s already defeated. He said you’ll wear yourself out trying to fight a dead man. He went on to teach us that we’re to fight the good fight of faith, coming against offense and jealousies and anything else that would try to steal away our faith. Tests and trials won’t destroy our faith, they will reveal our faith.
Yet, we resent the trials we face. What good can come of this, we ask?
It’s the dross in our gold; the impurities in our faith, that hold us back. The testing of the fire purifies our gold; our faith.
1 Peter 1:6-7 says, “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”  (NLT)
Another thing he pointed out is that unlike gold, which only God makes, brass is a man-made alloy, which represents judgment.
I have to ponder, are we working on creating a good-looking piece of brass? Or are we working with God to become more like Him, to perfect our faith?
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13 (KJV)
“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” - Malachi 3:3 (KJV)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's Not About Me

Pride keeps us from being teachable; with no learning, we settle for being “less than” and hurt many around us.

Per one definition of pride reads: a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

The old me was a Leo. Lions not only live in prides, but are a symbol of pride. Perhaps this is something I need to take a look at more closely. Male lions are proud animals. But note, this proud creature might starve if his females didn’t provide his food. She doesn’t just prepare it as a man’s mate might; she literally hunts her prey and brings it to him.

There’s an old song that says, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run….” Pride keeps us from that wisdom, often costing us dearly. Pride rears its ugly head during our common, day-to-day opportunities to learn.

Finances are a good example. Sometime we insist we know a better way, or refuse to hear teaching that will free up our cash flow. A good pastor will teach his flock to tithe, not because it fills the offering plates, but because it blesses the givers. But money wounds can cause us to cling to every dollar that comes our way.

Parenting is another arena we tend to insist that our way is the right way, even when everyone around us can see our children running amuck or carrying unnecessary wounds around in their little hearts.

Even when we “hear” an alternate option, we don’t listen because we’ve already determined that our way is working for us – or will by tomorrow. Sometimes pride doesn’t even care if our way is working, it’s what we want, so we win.

And who suffers? In the example of parenting, it’s the children that suffer and sometimes the price tag is high. Our suffering doesn’t come until later if/when we recognize we fell short as a parent. If pride has finally been displaced we can see that help was available. But if not, then, of course, the falling short wasn’t our fault at all.

Pride goes before a fall. God hates pride, but uplifts the humble, the teachable, those willing to submit themselves to Him. Submission goes way beyond heartless compliance. Yes, if you hate the word submit, if it makes you scoff or cringe, you have a pride issue – and you’re making costly mistakes daily that can be avoided.

Deal with pride now or pay for it later. No beauty hides in self-righteous pride.

Just a few of the many scriptures pertaining to pride:

Psalm 10:4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.  (NIV)

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10 Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

Proverbs 14:3 A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 29:23 Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.

Isaiah 37:23 Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel!

Jeremiah 13:17 If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the LORD’s flock will be taken captive.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Protection and Responsibility

Funny, some men won’t carry umbrellas – “it’s not manly”. (I can’t help but question, and it’s manly to get wet??) Little girls love to play with them. Some are as pretty as they are practical. Shading us from the sun, or protecting us from a downpour of rain – they serve their purpose, only when we carry them with us. How many times have I groaned because I’ve left mine in the car?

It’s not practical to carry my large, purple umbrella around with me everywhere. There are clearly days when it just isn’t going to rain.

But there is an umbrella of protection we can’t afford to put down and leave behind.

When hell rains down a flood of catastrophes down upon us as individuals or as a nation or even as the human race, where’s our umbrella of protection?

Those catastrophes are sins and their consequences; murders, hate, prejudices, deceptions, witchcraft, radical Islam (or other radical belief systems) deviant sexuality, choices with no acknowledged consequences.

We can choose to lay down our umbrella. We can be seduced to put it down, or bribed, or deceived by empty promises to cast aside the faith required to do things God’s way. But we are the ones that lay it down when we choose to do things our own way; we are ultimately the ones responsible.

This umbrella is made of faith in God and His holy Word, prayer and relationship with the One Who created us.

The other day I heard someone say, “Who’s talking about the problem? The problem is a lack of godliness.”

God instructs us to “Be holy, as I am holy.” (See Leviticus 11:44 & 45, 19:2 and 1 Peter 1:16 at the bottom of this post.)

Throughout the Bible we are warned repeatedly about sin and its consequences, yet today, even Christians choose to ignore what God has said, leaving us wide open for the onslaught of evils that permeate our society today.

Can I say it enough? We need to be in God’s Word, reading it, learning it, depending on it, and obeying it – or suffer the consequences.

Leviticus 11:44 For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: (KJV)

Leviticus 11:45 For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. (KJV)

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (KJV)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Longest Blog Post I've Ever Written - My Words

“Where’s his mother?” shouldn’t be my first thought, but it is. In years gone by I’d quickly noticed his innocence, his energy, his beauty, but that all came as second and third thoughts now.

He appeared to run playfully from an imaginary friend. Perhaps because he was across the lake and my eyes are now old, he was chasing a butterfly, but he laughed with excitement and fell to the ground as being tickled, rolling back and forth in the finely manicured, thick green grass.

“I want to do that,” caught in my heart and in my throat, “I want that freedom, that lack of inhibition.” Even though I was happy for the little boy, I felt a sadness for myself overshadow me. If I were to dance along the lakeside, I’d be certain first that I was quite alone.

Am I old, or do I just feel old? That’s a relevant question. If I ask my grandchildren, they’d laugh and heartily chime in with a loud “yes!” If I ask my father-in-law, who’s battle the decline of his body even more graphically than I, he’d laugh and shake his head, saying no repeatedly.

I suppose being old is a matter of aging as well as a matter of how I feel. Many weary young women feel old beyond their years. Many older women sprint past me on a hiking trail. If it’s more a matter of how we feel, I want to be the energetic woman who laughs at birthdays and carries on as though she’s barely entering her third decade of life.

But how do I get there?

Digging through my mind for a scripture that will provide my answer feels futile. Perhaps I don’t want to be responsible for that solution; accountable for the knowledge and wisdom it will impart to me.

What if I really am as lazy as I sometimes accuse myself of being?

Turning the page of a magazine article on physical fitness doesn’t do a thing for my waistline. Even juicing nutrient packed vegetables doesn’t move the numbers on the weight scale when I’m eating potato chips between sips of juice. I know this. So what’s the barrier between where I am and where I want to be?

I sometimes think cutting out my own tongue would be the most profitable thing I could do. I would keep me from eating the foods that make me fat and it would keep me from complaining, another one of my biggest vices. I wonder, if I HAD to write down everything I want to say, how much of it wouldn’t be worth saying? I could definitely see myself leaving out at least 99% of the complaints and whining.

So, is the problem my tongue?

Perhaps. Let’s turn from the youthful scene of a child at play to an important tool for pleasure and zeal for life.

Psalm 64:3 says, They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.

When my tongue is sharp and I dispatch cruel words, they are most commonly aimed my way, to belittle or insult myself. I even manage to turn around the words I hear from the lips of others to construe some less than flattering meaning, meant to tear me down instead of build me up.

Psalm 120:2 Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.

…especially Lord, when the tongue is secured inside my own mouth…. When I join the psalmist David in this prayer, I have to emphasize the point that often, that lying and deceitful tongue is my own. Throughout today, pay attention to the things you tell yourself in the midst of the events the day throws your way. You too may find that the things you hear yourself say are destructive, pulling you down rather than encouraging yourself. If David encouraged himself in the Lord, certainly we can as well. But whether it’s just what we’re used to hearing or what we think we deserve to hear, we might catch words revealing our own worst enemy.

Psalm 139:4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.

God knows what I’ll say next, long before I do. I’ll admit, I often wonder why He doesn’t shut my mouth before it gets me into trouble, or before I begin a barrage of self-talk that belittles and shames. Clearly there are some things in life that we ourselves are accountable for.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we find instructions about: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (KJV)

Thoughts precede our words, or at least they’re suppose to. Sometimes, when I open my mouth to change feet, I insist that I spoke before thinking. But is that even possible? In His Word, God shows us how He wants us to live and how to fight our enemy and all the spirits of darkness. Our imaginations are our thoughts, which our words commonly reveal. When our thoughts and our words exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, we’re taught to cast them down; to bring them into captivity to the obedience of Christ. What does that mean? It simply means to take account of where we allow our mind to roam and how we allow our tongue to speak. Does it line up with what God says? Can we back it up with scripture?

If I betray myself with words of criticism, those words don’t line up with what God has to say about me in His Word. There are so many scriptures that reveal God’s thoughts and intents toward me. None of them betray me or the God in which Who’s image I’m made. God’s immortal enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy that which God loves most; us. (John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.)

Proverbs 12:18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 15:4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death…..

As I examine my life, am I the cause of my own demise? Do I usher in death with the negative words I hurl at myself? If indeed I believe God’s Word, and I do, then I have no choice but to believe that the words my tongue utters contain the power of life and death. That’s a lot of power to play with so carelessly. When I’m reckless and allow perversions of God’s opinion of me to permeate my vocabulary, my own words pierce like a sword and crush my spirit. When I speak with wisdom, I speak healing to myself and my words become soothing, perpetuating life.

So perhaps I would be better off without my tongue. Though it’s not mentioned specifically in the gospel of Matthew where we read, metaphorically, about ridding ourselves of body parts that don’t profit us, I’ve taken the liberty to apply it, personally: And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Matthew 5:29-30 (KJV)

Now, of course, I would never, could never cut out my own tongue, nor could I pluck out my own eye or cut off my own hand – I get the point. I’d be better off without it if I cannot control it.

Proverbs 21:23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.

1 Peter 3:10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.

Okay, so maybe I don’t need to cut it out, but I most definitely need to guard it, to control it, to be in charge of it!

James 3:9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.

So, for the first fifty years of my life, I’ve allowed my mouth to literally put curses into my own life. With crystal clear reasoning and logic, I understand that this tongue with which I use to praise God, cannot be used to curse myself or anyone else, intentionally or otherwise. When we gain knowledge, we lose excuses.


So upon deciding I’ll keep my tongue, I take a look at what good it can do.

Psalm 66:17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.

Psalm 71:24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.

Psalm 73:9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.

Psalm 119:172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.

Psalm 126:2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”

Proverbs 10:20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.

Proverbs 10:31 From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced.

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

Some are pithy, but I find verbose more aptly applies to my own self-description. I’m a woman of many words. I commonly remind myself to speak less, but say more. Oftentimes a phrase I use rolls around in my head from a song I’ve heard, and out it comes, accompanied with melody. This can become annoying to my hearers, believe it or not. But this mouth which can annoy, can also be taught to instruct and encourage, to bless and share wisdom.

Proverbs 31:26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Isaiah 50:4 The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.

I yearn to recognize the same liberty Zacharias experienced, when Luke records: Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. Luke 1:64

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: Acts 10:34 (KJV) If God will do it for Zacharias, He will do it for me! And most assuredly, I need Him to move on my behalf, His own Word tells me that I cannot, in and of myself, control my tongue.

James 3:5, 8 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark….but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

There’s so much to learn about the authority and power God’s given us. But a good place to start is at the place where we choose to submit ourselves, tongue and all, to Him and His lordship. Which reminds me of another scripture:  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 (KJV)

But, nowadays, submission is deemed a dirty word, an action to be shunned, an undesirable way to relate. Ah yes, pride makes simple things hard. But God makes hard things simple.

After a need spiritual reality check (and lunch), I cast my eyes across the lake again. The playful little boy who’s spirit captured my attention is long gone. The sunny morning has been displaced by a rainy afternoon. But determination has filled my heart. My youth and my vitality don’t have to fade if I choose not to let it. If I fill my mind and my mouth with God’s Word and words of my own that line up with His – I can do all things, through Christ which strengthens me! (Philippians 4:13)

(All scripture used is NIV unless otherwise noted.)