Monday, February 14, 2011

Child Like Faith

Children are a gift from God.  The bible says that we must have a child like faith to enter the kingdom of heaven.  What exactly does this mean?  The sense is--whoever humbles himself until he becomes as a child, exhibiting trust, openness and eagerness to learn, these qualities constitute greatness.  Let's take David for example.  He was a child when he defeated Goliath, a giant.  As a matter of fact, he told Goliath that he was going to cut his head off, and feed his army to the birds and beasts of the earth. 

Let me back up a little.  Goliath from the Philistine army was taunting the Israel army and suggesting a contest between individual warriors on behalf of the armies.  He thought that he had the upper hand because of his size. The Israel army was greatly afraid and fled from him.  Goliath did this every morning and every night for 40 days. There was a valley between both armies. One day David was delivering supplies to his brothers, when he heard Goliath's words taunting them. 

David began to ask, "Who is this Philistine that taunts the armies of the living God?"  David was asking everyone this question, including his brothers.  His oldest brother got angry with David and David said, "What have I done now?  Was it not just a question?"  Somebody went and told Saul about David's questions.  (Wow, a grown man told on a kid?)  Saul was David's master during this time and he told David that he was just a youth while Goliath had been a warrior from his youth.  David told Saul, "I, your servant has killed both a lion and a bear; and this Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.  The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."  Saul told David, "Go, and may the Lord be with you."

Saul clothed David with his armor but David didn't feel comfortable in them and he took them off.  Instead he took his stick in his hand and chose 5 smooth stones from the brook, put them in his bag, then he approached Goliath.  When Goliath saw David he said, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" He told David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth."  David told Goliath, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.  This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you.  I will give the dead bodies of your army to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord's and He will give you into our hands."

Goliath rose and began to walk toward David, but David ran quickly TOWARD the battle line to meet the giant.  Obviously, the valley was still between them.  David took a stone from his bag, slung it, and struck Goliath on his forehead.  The stone sank into his head so that he fell on his face to the ground.  David didn't have his own sword, so he stood over Goliath, drew his sword out of its sheath, killed him and cut off his head with it.  (Hold up. Did he just cut Goliath's head off with his own sword? Yep!)

You see, David's faith in God is what gave him the courage and strength to conquer a giant.  We have many giants in our lives such as finances, illness or unruly people that we have to deal with daily.  Our faith in God will allow us to do what seems to be impossible.  Like a child trusts their own parents, we should apply our trust in God our Father in every situation, big or small just like David did.  God will always give you the tools you need.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Complain and Remain, Praise and Be Raised

I am currently reading a book called "Me and my Big Mouth!" by Joyce Meyer.  The title of chapter 6 is Complain and Remain, Praise and Be Raised.  It is a great book and if you want to work on controlling your mouth, I think you will find this book very helpful and encouraging. 

He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.  Proverbs 21:23

Complaining causes you to remain in your circumstances longer.  You don't realize how much you complain until you are made aware of it and you try to change it.  Complaining comes naturally for humans.  For example, does it seem like we always complain about Monday?  Why do Monday's have to be bad days?  Isn't every day that God breaths life into us a good day?  I think it's time for us to change our negative thinking as the world does and line up our thoughts with God's word.  I recently began telling people happy Monday at work and  you would be surprised that most people just look at me kind of funny and laugh.  It's always nice to make someone laugh so it was cool with me.  If they ask me how I'm doing on Monday mornings I say, "I love Mondays".  The more I hear myself say that, I actually believe it, maybe in time they will too.  I always tell my girls, "If you speak it, so it shall be."  Do you realize how much power your words have?  We can actually speak things into existence.  For the past week, I have been trying to avoid complaining and saying negative things in general.  I found out that I say a lot of negative things w/o even thinking twice about it.  I'm very critical and now that I'm trying to control my mouth, I realize that I have 3 girls that need to do the same.  They are little replica's of me and we all tend to complain without realizing it.  As a matter of fact, my husband is guilty too.  We have a lot of damage control to do.  We will take this bull by the horns one day at a time.  In the book, Joyce says that complaining is like whistling for the devil.  When I think about it that way, my mission of watching my mouth will be much easier.  I'm not about to allow the devil to use my own words against me.  That whole right to remain silent thing is beginning to take on a whole new meaning in my mind.  When it comes to complaining, the only thing I want to remain is silent.

Praise on the other hand raises you above your circumstances.  We must learn to praise God in every situation, good or bad.  So even though you may be having a bad day, no matter how you feel inside, when you speak on it, just say God is good and thank Him for another day.  On the other hand, when everything is going your way, don't forget to praise in these times as well.  Thanking God is a great way to praise Him.  Singing his praises is another way.  I sing lyrics from my favorite "positive" songs all the time.  I have a play list that I created especially for work appropriately titled, "Mellow Out".  It has songs on it like,

"Lord Give Me a Sign" by DMX--As long as the Lord's in my life I will have no fear.  A spoken word is stronger than the strongest man
"Waging War" by CeCe Winans--For your glory, we're taking territory, fighting unseen enemies like never before, we're waging war. 
"Praise Him in Advance" by Marvin Sapp--Praise will confuse the enemy.

On the other hand, quoting scripture is always good too.
Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.
The world didn't give it and the world can't take it away (paraphrased by me).
All things are possible through Him who gives me strength.
If He is for me, who can be against me?

Dancing is another form of praise.  My girls do praise dancing at church and it is so inspiring to see.  It penetrates my soul and even brings joyful tears to my eyes.  I get goosebumps and everything, it's a beautiful thing.  There is nothing like seeing children praise God in this way.  I will post a video of them dancing in the future.

In this world, we will never run out of things to complain about but on the same token we should praise Him anyhow.  Since I have been more aware of my mouth, there were a lot of things that I would normally complain about.  What I have found is that when I don't give in to the temptation to complain, things dissolve on their own and my sanity is still intact.  The choice is yours, you can complain and remain or praise and be raised.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Proverbs for the People--"Wisdom"

While studying the book of proverbs, I noticed that the word "wisdom" is mentioned quite a bit. It looks like God values "wisdom"  so much, that in Proverbs 8:19 wisdom says, "My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, and my yield than choicest silver." Recently the price of gold was over $1000 per ounce. I know because I recently sold some of my gold.  And the price is still going up right along with the price of gas.

I think if we realized the value of "wisdom"  we would work harder to obtain it.

Proverbs 8:35 says, "For whoever finds me "wisdom" finds life and wins approval from the Lord."

So basically, in the same way that the world finds such high value in silver and gold, God holds an even higher value to "wisdom".  I would say that for a person like me, seeking and finding "wisdom" is a lot easier than obtaining valuable materials like silver and gold. This is very comforting to know, especially since nothing we desire, can be compared with wisdom in God's eyes.

According to the bible, words of "wisdom"  bring healing, good advice, success, insight and strength. (Proverbs 14, 18) As valuable as silver and gold are to this world, I know they don't come with good advice or healing.

"Wisdom"  means knowledge of what is true, or right coupled with good judgement as to action. It requires control of your emotional reactions so that your principles, reason and knowledge help you to determine your actions. A good example for me would be when I am angry about something. Anger is an emotion that can have a decent outcome if I react with "wisdom" for a favorable outcome. Now the question is, how often do I exercise "wisdom" when I am emotional?  Not nearly as often as I should but I'm learning something new every day so pray for me.

I don't believe that "wisdom" is inherited but I do believe that it can be obtained through experience (age) or directly from God. The first step in acquiring "wisdom" is to make up your mind that you want it and will strive to obtain it. All you have to do is seek and you will find, ask and you shall receive. You see, God gives knowledge and "wisdom" freely to those who ask.  How encouraging is it to know that the things God requires us to know or have are not difficult to obtain?  Just remember that to whom much is given, much is required.  So the more you know, the more that God expects you to act like you know and act like you have some sense.

The last point that I would like to make about "wisdom", is the comparison in contrast to foolishness.
 "A fool is quick tempered, but a "wise"  person stays calm when insulted," Proverbs 12:16
If you are able to just ignore an insult, that says a lot about your character.  It really takes a "wise"  person to be able to do that and not react in the same way that a fool does.
"Whoever walks with the "wise"  will become "wise" ; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm," Proverbs 13:20
You see, we do need to be careful about the company that we keep. Ya know, the people that we surround ourselves with. Basically, if you wanna hang with fools, just remember, birds of the same feathers flock together. Don't get caught up in no mess with fools, ya dig?

Peace out until next time.