Do you ever brush past certain Bible verses because you don’t struggle with the particular sin addressed in that verse?
When someone gently points out a weakness in you, do you listen?
What about when you see that particular weakness being addressed in your daily Bible reading – in a verse you usually gloss over?
Time to listen, I think!
I personally don’t have to try very hard to “not let any unwholesome talk come out of my mouth.” (Ephesians 4:29) Or so I thought.
I don’t use foul language. I don’t lie. I try not to gossip. I don’t tell crude jokes. I don’t even talk politics – that should count for something!
So this verse has been pretty easy for me.
Today I read it differently.
Today I heard some hard questions.
“What about when your dramatic use of words exaggerates and misrepresents reality?”
“What about when your knack for sarcasm produces hurtful comments?”
“Why the need to tell your story instead of listening to someone else’s?”
“And how about your incessant need to be the one talking when in a group… let’s talk about that for a minute.”
And now, here I sit, with a verse I thought didn’t apply to me. A word from God that most definitely applies to me.
Saturday our family hosted a party for those involved with the worship ministry at our church. As we were all visiting and having fun, a friend made a lighthearted comment about when women start “one-upping” each other. Much to my chagrin, his comment was in response to something I had just said and, though joking, he was right. Even more sobering was the fact that, as I replayed the evening in my head, I realized I had done it more than once. I had also redirected conversations to be all about me instead of focusing on the needs of the other person. I’m sad and embarrassed that I had treated a good friend with such selfishness.
But God didn’t leave me there. I’m so thankful to know that God isn’t looking to sadden or embarrass me; He’s looking to change me. Will I let Him? Will I ignore gentle admonitions when they come, or will I allow God to “search my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me?” (Psalm 139:24) I pray I will always choose the latter.
As I continued to read, I saw that it’s not just about avoiding unwholesome talk, but making sure that everything I say is helpful for building up others according to their needs. (Ephesians 4:29)
I love the artistic and passionate use of words. Today God is showing me that the very tool I use to bless people can also be a weapon that hurts people, even if by accident. It’s sobering and won’t be a quick fix. But God is so full of grace, and He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion. (Philippians 1:6)
Did you know you can train your spirit to crave what you give it?
Lately I’ve been more consistent about getting up early (usually a bit before 6:00, which is early for me) and spending time with God, enjoying the peace and quiet, and preparing my heart for the day.
Yesterday I ended up making some commitments for the coming weeks that are going to keep me pretty busy.
Today I got up and hit the ground running.
So much to do.
No time to copy scripture into my notebook.
It’s OK. His Word is hidden in my heart and will accompany me through this busy day.
No time to find some praise music to listen to.
No time to write my prayers for the day.
No place in my schedule for a baby.
After three hours of that nonsense I had accomplished very little and found myself feeling distracted, anxious, and chaotic. With hands folded over my quickly-filling planner, I prayed.
And I learned that my soul needs that time. God has given my soul a craving for time with Him that nothing else can satisfy. It makes me a better person. Calmer, steadier, and more perceptive of the joy that is all around me.
Make time and space for the baby we celebrate this season. Teach your spirit to crave His quiet. You’ll be exponentially blessed.
Some thoughts from my Bible study this morning:
“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the spirit of God, we who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh-though I myself have reasons for such confidence.”
What am I putting my confidence in? Is it the flesh? Something of my own doing?
I’ll let you in on a vulnerable little secret. For a long time I’ve been putting my confidence in my blog. Somewhere inside me I believed that if I could only make it good enough, if I could only get enough subscribers, then I’d be significant.
Oh it wasn’t a conscious thought, just a nagging lie in a little corner of my heart.
Perhaps that’s why my blog never reached “problogger” status. Was it God’s grace, keeping me from accomplishing what would keep me shackled under a false sense of significance?
I am finally to a point that I’m praising God for not making my blog grow, and instead, helping *me to grow. For showing me that I was significant long before there was blogging, and that nothing I do makes me significant. What a relief! I can now carry on with the work He has set before me, letting Him work through me, not striving, just responding… to amazing grace.
What is you “circumcision?”
Today I was reminded yet again, that nothing about my saved standing before God comes from me.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith”
**Not even my faith!**
“–and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God-”
Not even my faith comes from me!
Let that sink in.
What amazing God, to provide me with everything He requires!
I come empty. I bring nothing. All I can do is accept and respond to the gift. Oh, the precious gift!
I’m so thankful that God made a special point to make me know that my righteousness depends 100% on him. I believe he knows I would have a propensity to toggle between two destructive mind-sets: self righteousness when I’m performing well, and lost hope when I’m not.
Thank you God, for freeing me from both.
So then, if we bring nothing, how are we to do the works God created us- in Jesus- to do?
Through Him of course. Again, He equips us with everything He requires.
I have a free book that explores the ways God equips and encourages you to do the work He has set out for you to do. You can get it on my blog (top right corner)
Apparently, contentment isn’t a gift given only to a select few.
Paul didn’t say “Christ made me content.” He said “I have learned to be content.”
“…because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.”1 Thessalonians 1:5a
“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
1 Thessalonians 1:6
“…but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.”
1 Thessalonians 2:2b
Oh, the sweet words of The Lord, igniting my soul yet again today.
I’ve written about this before and I suspect I’ll write about it more. As I study His word and stop to really hear, I’m more in awe every day at the length to which God goes to make my redemption and sanctification a “no brainer” for me. It’s all over scripture my friends! Look anywhere and you’ll see it. Today I see it over and over, in this small section of His Word.
**Nothing in my relationship with Him depends on me, except my willingness to embrace it.**
He has truly given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)
Sweet sisters, this verse doesn’t mean He gave us all the rules and a brain to understand. It means that whatever He wants from us, He equips us with! If He wanted me to give Him $5.00, guess what? He’s going to give me the $5.00! If He wants me to have joy-and you know He does-He GIVES ME THE JOY HE WANTS ME TO HAVE. Same with courage, faith, understanding, and love.
Stop and think about that! If you let that sink in you just might come away changed.
God doesn’t wait for me to find him, *He gave everything to come find me!
He doesn’t wait for me to appreciate His beauty, *He woos me and calls me to Himself.
He doesn’t just send His Word and sit back, waiting for me to take it or leave it, *He sent it in the power of His Holy Spirit.
He doesn’t just tell me to have joy in trials…*He gives me the joy He wants me to have. I cannot manufacture joy-it is a gift from the Holy Spirit.
He doesn’t stand on the sidelines telling me to have courage. He never sends me into battle and says “Good luck with this one sweetheart.” Instead, *He gives me the courage and strength I need to fight the good fight.
You’ve heard it said the Jesus never asks us to do something He didn’t do himself. It’s true. From what I can find in scripture, He also never asks anything of us that He doesn’t personally equip us for.
This isn’t about being passive. It’s about knowing where your strength comes from, that there is joy in the fire because God-who cannot be stopped-infuses it into my tired, burdened heart, and there is nothing I can’t give to (or do for) God if He asks it of me.
About Whispers From His Word
A few months ago I bought a journal. Nothing special, just a cool cover and I like how it lays flat to write. (I entertain quite easily.) I’ve been using it as my morning “Me and God” journal. I’ve really been enjoying the flexibility of how I’m using it, and the sense of focus I’m experiencing by keeping my study time simple.
In my journal, I always write a few thoughts in response to what I read in the Bible that day. Sometimes I feel like my thoughts may be a blessing to other people, so share them on my Facebook page. But as we all know, only 1-2% of the readers who clicked “like” on a business page will ever see updates from that page. Which means you’ll probably never see those posts. So I decided to gather them up and post them here as well.
Just be warned, they’re pretty random. No editorial calendar here, just my in-the-moment thoughts as I reflect on His Word.
I may even say something that I discover later was incorrect. I hope you’ll offer grace as you read these posts, knowing they aren’t necessarily intended to be from a position of authority, but from a heart of seeking His will.
Above all, I pray that these snippets will be a blessing to you. That is the whole reason I write. (Other wise I’d just keep writing in my cool journal.)
The most current one is posted first.