{re}fresh

Month: March, 2012

Words

by Dawn Aldrich

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34

Words. I love words. I love creating a picture with words. I love writing and speaking words as much as a painter loves her color palate or a photographer loves the images created through his lens. Words have power over our lives like nothing else I know because we all use them. Words evoke reactions and emotions from the author/speaker as well as the reader/receiver. They encourage, love, give life and freedom as quickly as they discourage, hate, kill and enslave.

We cannot control the words that come at us but we can control what words come out of us. How? It’s a matter of the heart.

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings things out of the evil stored up in him (Matthew 12: 34-35).

Whatever our heart holds cannot be contained or hidden, but will spill out of our mouths. Try as we may to contain ourselves, in the heat of the moment, we speak what we really think. Our words, cultivated by the soil of our hearts, reveal the truth of everything we believe.

We’ve all said regrettable words. You know, those times when you heard something horrible coming out of your mouth and cringed, reached out, wished you could stuff the words back into your mouth before they reached the  listener’s ears.

Jesus warns us about careless words in the next two verses:

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned (Matthew 12: 36-37).

That’s powerful!

Jesus was addressing the Pharisees here, whose carefully crafted words attempted to entrap Jesus in a snare of trick questions. Jesus was warning them that they would be judged by their words because words reveal their true character. So too, with our words.

If we fill our hearts with the goodness flowing from a relationship with Christ, who is the ultimate lover of our souls, then our words will naturally be good, life-giving, a reflection of Him.

Oh Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be from you. Take every thought, every word, every motive behind every word captive by your Holy Spirit, today.

“Was That Really You, God?”

by mandyade

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”   1Corinthians 10:13 (NLT).

Have you ever doubted the callings or dreams you thought God had given you? God tells us in His word that all temptation or doubt is common to man.  We all go through similar struggles and doubts. It is common to doubt the dreams and callings we once believed God had placed over our lives.

John the Baptist had a powerful calling on his life: to prepare the hearts of people to receive Jesus. His calling was clear even before he was conceived, yet in the darkest hour of his life this great man of God began to doubt. He doubted the calling he was once so sure of , his whole life’s work, and whether his words were from God or simply his own mind.

In John’s time of turmoil he sent word to Jesus asking if He was the Messiah or if maybe he, John, had been mistaken. John knew without a doubt who Jesus was, but when he was going through a tough time he began to doubt everything he once was willing to die for. He even doubted his ability to hear God and the times in his life when God had spoken to him.

Have you ever felt like this? Have you doubted your years of sowing into a dream that once was God inspired? Maybe you’ve even doubted your ability to hear God.

John had all these doubts. When Jesus heard John’s question He didn’t condemn him. Instead, he told John that He, Jesus was fulfilling the very scripture that he knew John had based his life on. A simple ‘yes’ would have still left John in doubt but only God knew the words that spoke deeply into John’s heart and prepared him for what was ahead.

The Bible tells us that with all temptation God provides a way of escape for us. In John’s hour of temptation the escape route’s name was JESUS. John sent word to Jesus who was able to deliver him in an instant.

Jesus is still our way to escape all doubt, confusion and temptation. When you are in a place of doubt, not even the kindest words from man will be able to quiet your heart. But one word from God will– you need a word from heaven. Send word to Jesus in confidence like John did. Know that Jesus doesn’t condemn you, but is on your side and wants to speak to you. Posture yourself to seek Him and be ready to receive an answer from heaven. You have the ability to hear from God and He will speak to you, simply ask and believe. He is faithful.

www.mandyadendorff.com

Do I Look Like God?

by Mike McKinniss

They say you become what you worship.  Psalm 115 offers something to this effect:

Their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands.  They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.  They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.  They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk.  They cannot make a sound with their throats.  Those who make them are just like them, as are all who trust in them. (vv. 4-8, HCSB)

Similarly, this is part of Paul’s point in Romans 1.  Idolatry, worshiping something other than the Creator, has led the people of the world into a pattern of becoming less and less human, less and less alive.  We’ve seen this on an individual scale – the one who progressively chases, say, sensual pleasure only to be swallowed by it in death.  We’ve seen it on wide, corporate scales – the nation that elevates a phony “racial ideal” and slaughters thousands or millions who don’t fit the profile.  With the wrong god in place, we become ugly and inhuman.

But the opposite has been the hope of Christians for generations, that over the course of our lives, we might become more and more like our Father, more and more like Jesus, His Son, who most accurately represented Him.  Certainly the depiction of Christ in the gospels is a model worth aspiring.  And countless Christians could tell you stories of how they once were and how they’ve progressed towards this goal over the years.

But what if our perception of God, or Jesus, even, were askew?  What effect might that have on us?  What might become of us if we believed our God to be eternally angry, perpetually seeking whom He might smite?  What would we look like if we believed our God to be distracted, unconcerned, or simply too busy for us?

Or, more positively, what might it mean for us if we believed the Father to be eternally joyful, actually happy?  How might it affect us to have a God who doesn’t get ruffled by circumstance, who exudes extreme confidence?  What might we do with an infinitely creative God?  Who might we become if we worshipped a God whose goal was not to destroy all of creation, but to remake it with all the splendor it has lost at the hands of evil and inhumanity?

What does your God look like?  And is that the kind of person you’d like to be?

Being A Part Of The Promise

by Julie

Isn’t it amazing that we have a God who is faithful to His promises? He does what He says he will do!

It says in 1 Corinthians 1:9 “God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Because our relationship with the Lord is a partnership we have the privilege not to just wait in faith but to be a part of those promises.

Recently the Lord promised that He would begin to restore some of the relationships in my life. I was encouraged because that was heavy on my heart and such a desire of mine. Within minutes I could think of several relationships that were in that process. I have held on to this promise but it wasn’t until recently that I realized my part in the promise. It was a few days before Thanksgiving and I really felt the need to reach out to my sister with some words of encouragement. I let her know that I missed her but was excited about what’s going on in her life. As I ended the text message with an “I love you,” I smiled as the Lord confirmed that it takes things like that, even just a small step, to bring about that promise.

As if that is not exciting enough, Paul tells us that God can do far more abundantly than we can ever ask or imagine. I saw the reality of that in this promise. Not only was He restoring broken relationships, He was enhancing current ones. He began to also work in my heart and call me into deeper relationship with Him. In one word from the Lord that seemed small at first I have found that He really does go beyond our expectations.

Can you think of a promise that God has given you personally? Can you think of a way to get involved with this promise? Ask the Lord to reveal your part in the promise. Remember that it was the Lord who promised this to you and He will be the one that will carry it to completion but you get to be a part of that process! Take part in what He is doing and see how much bigger it is than you thought!

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