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Silence is Golden Sometimes

About a week ago, God highlighted this verse to me: “But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” Luke 1:20 (NLT)

Abba has been using this verse to make it clear that I’ve not been careful with my words.  I’ve not been considering the power and weight in them.   I’ve not been acknowledging what Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.”  (AMP)

Ever since God reminded me, “Your words are powerful.” I’ve been singing  “Oh be careful little tongue what you say. Oh be careful little tongue what you say.  For the Father up above is looking down with love, so be careful little tongue what you say.” (Note:  Author of this lyric is unknown so I cannot give credit as I normally would).

More thoughts on the power of that little tongue of yours…

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Proverbs 17:28 (NIV)

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

If someone believes they have a relationship with God but fails to guard his words then his heart is drifting away and his religion is shallow and empty.” James 1:26 (TPT)

A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!  It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” James 3:3-6 (MSG)

Whoever wants to embrace true life and find beauty in each day must stop speaking evil, hurtful words and never deceive in what they say.” I Peter 3:10-11 (TPT)

The angel Gabriel delivered a heart’s desire promise to Zechariah.  He told him flat straight out, you’re going to have a son, and he’s going to be a big deal. (Take a minute to read Luke 1 to hear the full promise).  Zechariah was an older man.  He wasn’t a 20 year old kid who just got married to his fertile 20 year old wife.  He’d probably gotten to the point where he’d given up hope of having a son.  So his response was the “um…okay well prove it” response.  It’s the response that the majority of us probably would have had, if we were in his shoes.

Zechariah asked the angel, “How do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is too old to give me a child. What sign can you give me to prove this will happen?”

Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel. I stand beside God himself. He has sent me to announce to you this good news. But now, since you did not believe my words, you will be stricken silent and unable to speak until the day my words have been fulfilled at their appointed time and a child is born to you. That will be your sign!”” Luke 1: 18-20 (TPT)

If this passage doesn’t illustrate the power our words have, I don’t know what will.
Gabriel muted Zechariah so he wouldn’t speak against the promise God gave him.
Literally.
Muted him.
As in Zechariah did not utter a single solitary word until after his and Elizabeth’s son John was 8 days old. Think about this.  He’d gone to do his annual service.
“See ya in a week, Elizabeth.”  Then he shows up at home a mute.
Then Elizabeth gets pregnant, just as Gabriel said she would.  Nine months go by.  His son is born.  8 days later, Zechariah is finally able to speak when He speaks to confirm his son’s name. The name Gabriel told him the boy’s name would be.
He was only able to speak when he was confirming the promise!
What?!  Come on people!  That’s amazical!

 

This passage just blows me away.  This promise to Zechariah and Elizabeth was a dream they thought was not even possible.  And this dream meant everything to them.  And when God made the promise to them, through Gabriel, it mattered so much, that God allowed Gabriel to mute Zechariah, so he couldn’t speak against the promise God had given him.
Silence is golden sometimes.
I think sometimes it might be better for me if Gabriel would show up and say, “Hey Jill.  I’m gonna have to mute you for a while so you don’t speak against your dreams and God’s promises for you.”

A few short months after Zechariah’s experience with Gabriel, he visited Mary. Mary’s reaction was decidedly different. ““I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”” Luke 1:38 (TPT)

Now Mary’s situation was just as out there as Zechariah’s.  Both of them were told not to fear and received a mind blowing prophecy.  Both asked questions that were answered.  But their responses to those answers were opposite.  It might be that Zechariah had much more experience with disappointment, while Mary had no negative experiences.

Whether you’re seasoned like Zechariah or young like Mary, your words are powerful.

How are your words right now?  Are they something that Gabriel would mute you for?  Or are they more “bring it on” like Mary’s?

In my life I’ve experienced some “What in the bluebells is going on here?” seasons.  The “Where are you, Lord?” seasons.  And even the “I can’t do this anymore. It hurts too much.” seasons.  I’m sure you have too.  The times when things are not logical.  The times when you’re looking at the situation and your rational mind is blown.  Times when you don’t understand why bad things are happening and keep happening.  Times when promises aren’t coming to pass the way you expected them, and disappointment starts to shift your perspective into the negative.

These are not the times to go off at the mouth.  This is when you need to remember silence is golden sometimes.  Like Mary after the birth of Jesus…

But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant.” Luke 2:19

If you cannot muster your faith to speak in agreement with God’s promises, remember silence is golden sometimes.  Ask a trusted friend to pray for you, and shut your mouth.

In recent months, I’ve been in a season of this hurts to much.  I’m not sure I am capable of believing anymore.  But I know in my heart God is faithful.

So difficult to be between the full understanding that God is faithful, and looking at your situation and thinking…how is this even possible anymore?

If you’re in a rough season with me, I’m going to tell you how I am handling this really difficult place.  I texted (I didn’t trust myself to speak) 2 trusted prayer warrior friends and simply said, “I cannot speak positively on this topic.  I don’t have the faith to believe in this specific area right now.  I need you to pray and speak for me.”  And they are reminding God of His promises to me, for me.  They are speaking the faith words missing from my vocabulary right now.  And I’m praying and believing with them in their promises, because my faith to believe for them hasn’t been affected by this season.

Maybe that’s not how everyone would handle it, but I sure appreciate my friends who are willing to stand in the gap for me.  They are even more golden than the silence.

Point to ponder while you wander… Gabriel muting Zechariah is the same lesson as what Thumper’s Mom was teaching him about silence. (Bambi, 1942).

thumper

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Just Do It

​”Jesus replied to him, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but you will (fully) understand it later.‘” John 13:7 AMP 

Often we are asked to obey, trust, or act in faith without having a clue as to why we are being asked to do or not to do something. But we need to remember that Jesus was there in the beginning and He’ll be there at the end, and all that knowledge and wisdom is being used to encourage us to live abundant and full lives.

I know it’s difficult to step out. It was for the disciples too. They spent a lot of their time asking what? and why? questions of Jesus.

It’s not easy for me either. But I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I’d been brave enough to step out.

Point to ponder while you wander…Joshua walked around Jericho every day for 7 days…and it probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense to him. He was a military commander not a band leader. But he obeyed….and the walls came down. He fully understood as he watched the walls crumble. God did something amazing for him and his people. But he would have missed it if He hadn’t obeyed.

So let’s do it! Let’s be bold and courageous! 

#justdoit

Real Communication Straight from the Heart

I appreciate this passage because it involves real communication between Abram and God. It showed him asking God real questions about his doubts and concerns. And God’s responses to Abram.

Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.’” Genesis 15:1 NLT 

What happened in the sometime previous to this later? Well Abram went to war to rescue his nephew Lot. In doing so he reclaimed all the spoils those kings took from Sodom and Gomorrah. The first thing he did was to honor God by giving a 10th to Melchizedek. Then the king of Sodom asked Abram for his people back and told him to keep all the plunder for himself. But Abram was like…no way! Then you’ll get credit for making me rich instead of God. So he took nothing of the 90% of the remaining plunder. He asked to keep what his warriors had already eaten, and that his allies received a fair share, but gave the rest back.

Wow! That’s legit trust in God.

God’s response to Abram was to tell him that fear is a liar, and that his reward for his faith would be great.

You’d think that Abram would be celebrating that promise. But no. Abram had a father’s heart and mindset. What is the point of blessing and protection if it ends with me? If there’s no legacy, then Abram only needed enough for him and Sarai. Or he could even die right then.

But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”  Genesis 15:2-3 NLT 

This wasn’t a woe is me attitude. 

This wasn’t ungratefulness.

It was a father’s heart. A leadership mentality. He understood that he needed to pass on what he knew about God and set up the next generation to go further than he could.

Abram shared his heart with God, and God responded. 

“Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” Genesis 15:4-5 NLT

That is a huge promise. Mind blowing. 

“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Genesis 15:6 NLT 

The thing that stands out to me, besides the importance of open communication with God, is that Abram had no Bible to read or way verify  God’s track record on promises. He simply believed God. 

I have the Word. I know His track record of faithfulness and promise keeping. I want to simply believe like Abram did.

I have promises from God that blow my mind and terrify me to my very core. I want these promises to be fulfilled because they are the dreams and desires of my heart.  And the thought of a life that doesn’t include those promises sounds absolutely boring and drab. 

But for those promises to come to pass I have to do my part. Trust God. And comply with the small steps of faith He has asked of me. Trust and obey. Simple, right?

Should be but not for me lately. Fear has been attacking me worse than ever. I feel paralyzed and apatheic. 

You know I hate fear (if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time). Fear is a punk and a bully and no match for God. 

And yet, I find myself hiding and procrastinating. Procrastination is a symptom of fear. It is delaying until it’s too late so that you can say…”Oh I wanted to but I just don’t have time.” Or “I’m too busy.” Those are fear excuses.

I have enough time to do everything God has requested from me. I just need to choose to actually use the time to do it.

I want to comply. I want to desperately. But when I start doing it I am inundated with thoughts of how terrible my output is and fear of failure. Sometimes fear of success too. I’ve been so anxious lately that I’ve been breaking out in hives. That’s not God. God does not want that for me.

I asked for prayer yesterday from some trusted mentors and friends, and one declared this over me:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 

It’s what I am standing on today and praying over all of you. Go forth in boldness my friends in what God has asked of you. Jesus believes in you, and so do I.

Point to ponder while you wander… Before Abram received all God promised, God changed his name from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of many). So for an entire year everytime someone said his name, Abraham was reminded of his promise. 

Remind yourself of God’s promises every day. Remind yourself of His track record. Talk to Him about what’s on your heart. And just believe Him. 

For Those Following Along

Went to a concert tonight with my sister and she was wearing this…

image

If you would like to follow along…read this. 😉

That’s it?

When someone gives you a gift, just accept it and say, “Thank you.”  It’s really not a difficult concept.  But when receiving from God, I still tend to struggle with this.  I feel as though I need to clean up my own mess and earn God’s help.  That is the definition of religion, people trying to impress God with what they do and to make themselves worthy of God’s notice.

Well if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this; God already loves you as much as He’s ever going to.  Do you know why that is?  Because He already loves you completely and unconditionally.  What you do or not do doesn’t change the love He has for you.  He’s a good God who wants to bless people and enjoys giving good gifts.

The story that kept popping up to me was the story of God giving Naaman a gift.  It’s found in II Kings 5.  Naaman was a great Aramean warrior, who was beloved by his king, and also happened to also to be a leper.  Naaman’s wife had a maid from Israel, who told Naaman that she knew of a prophet who could heal him.  So Naaman went to Elisha’s house.  Here’s the story beginning in verse 9 and going through verse 16.

So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house.  But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!  Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.

But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”  So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!

Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept any gifts.” And though Naaman urged him to take the gift, Elisha refused.” 

Naaman’s pride said, “That’s it??? There must be more than simply bathing in a dirty river?  This can’t be right.  Shouldn’t there be some sort of ritual or cost involved.”  But there wasn’t.  God simply required Naaman to believe, then He healed him.  Naaman was the leader of the army that had just defeated his people in battle.  Yet still God loved him.  Yet God healed him without expecting anything in return.  That’s the goodness and giving nature of God.

This just blows my mind.

I Shall Not Be Moved

I know that I haven’t done Musical Monday in a while, so today I’m going to give you a two-fer.  One is old school and the other is a few years old and my on-going theme song.

Old school classic:  I Shall Not Be Moved sung by Mr. Johnny Cash.

This song is sourced from Psalm 1 and/or Jeremiah 17 (which quotes Psalm 1). Biblical scholars believe that this Psalm was written to Rehoboam from his father, Solomon, as he was about to succeed him as king.  It warns Rehoboam to choose God’s way, and what will most likely happen to him if he does not.  Solomon had been led astray by several of his wives and he did not want his son to repeat his errors.

I am a big fan of the Prophet Jeremiah’s flare so here’s Jeremiah 17:5-8 NKJV:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

Your bonus song is my theme song.  I know I’ve posted it before, but like I said, it’s my theme song.  So here is the lovely Ms. Natalie Grant singing I Will Not Be Moved.

Like everything else, you choose how you react to things.  Choose to be still and know that He is God, even if Monday is attempting to take you down.  Choose to remain planted in His promises.

Tears as fertilizer

“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. ” Psalm 126:5-6

Letting go of the comfortable old for the uncertain new can be daunting and emotional. Even if it hurts, choose to remain open. Don’t let fear steal your future harvest!

There may be tears of pain and grief or even tears of frustration and exhaustion. Think of those tears as fertilizer and don’t let fear stop you! Remain open! Those tears are only for a season.