Monthly Archives: November 2016

Power of Words

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The other morning, I got my coffee and went out on my screened in porch to enjoy the view of the lake.  As I opened the patio door, I noticed that the smell of firewood was heavy in the air and the lake and my surroundings were wrapped in a blanket of smoke.  It was such a surprise!  As a matter of fact, the smoke was so thick that it was difficult for me to breath without feeling like I was wheezing.  I had to go back inside to finish my coffee.

This smoky haze hung around for days and is from deliberately set fires in the forest several hundred miles away.  I’m trying not to let it stop me from going outdoors, but the more I’m out in it, the worse I feel.  It’s to the point I have a constant scratchy throat and I’m coughing.  It’s amazing that a fire so far away can have such far reaching consequences.

Huge fires can be the result of tiny sparks or lighted matches landing on something dry.   It starts out small and if not caught in time can spread into something so big that it cannot be put out – only contained.  As it spreads it sends harmful smoke and debris into the air for human and animal life to breathe in.

There is another kind of fire that is dangerous to mankind.  The human tongue is but a small part of the body, but it too can spark and cause a fire to start.  That fire is caused by our thoughts, beliefs and emotions which spread hate, misunderstanding, envy and the list goes on.  When we use the tongue to hurt others or say untruths or bad things we are starting or spreading the flames.  Depending on how often what we say is repeated by or to others, it can spread its flames outward and catch others on fire with the same bad attitude or hatred or jealousy – whatever is negative and hurtful – to burn and hurt others as it grows out of control.

It’s unfortunate but the true that the good and edifying things said are rarely passed around like something that is bad, untrue or negative.  While it’s hard to stop a fire once it’s started, there are things we can do to stop it from spreading.  The most obvious is to not repeat what was said or done, but we can also walk away from the person who is repeating or saying bad things and let them know we aren’t interested in hearing it and tell them know you do not want to be party to spreading the fire even by listening to it.  Standing up for what is good, honest and right can pour its healing waters over the fire.   If enough people would do that, it would cause a steady rainfall that would keep things moist with goodness and caring so a fire is not able to start.

Our tongues have the power to hurt or heal, kill or bring life and to show love or spread hate.  The scary thing is that it just takes one word to spark a fire or to bring love and healing.  That a great deal of power that the Lord has given us.  As I look at what is going on in the world today, I feel that God must look on us sadly shaking His head.  What He had intended to be used for good and to edify is being abused and misused.  There are consequences – not just earthly ones, but eternal ones.  Our words are not just here and gone, but ripple out into eternity.  They reveal what’s in our hearts and something we will have stand before the Lord and account for or explain one day.

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. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.  James 3:5-6

The Facts

This past weekend I decided to decorate for Christmas – a little early I know.  But we are going to be so busy the next two weekends and with all the work that goes into decorating the house, I wanted to make sure we would be able to enjoy it longer than a few weeks.

Miles and I pulled all the boxes out of the attic and I began to go through them.  I found my skating rink with skaters that I used to put under the tree with the train.  I had not set it out in years, so I made room for it in my bay window in the living room.  The magnets drag a little and the skaters sometimes stutter.  I was tickled to death that it still worked.

My husband went out of town so I was alone the first part of this week.  My house was a little quieter than normal with him gone.  While watching television this past week, I heard a scratching, chewing kind of sound.  I believed it was our clever resident mouse that has dodged all our mouse traps.  He had been a regular visitor over the past few days in the wall of my bay window.  I would get up and bang on the wall to scare him, but he never went away.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it was!

Then last night I sat there upset that he was chewing up our wall and decided in the morning I was going to have to go to the store and get more mouse traps and have Miles set them around when he got home.  Then Lily barked and I went to the bay window to see if there was anyone out in the yard.  That chewing sound was more clear and loud.  I began to follow the sound to get an idea of where that mouse was and realized that my skating rink was the culprit and that scratching noise was the skaters trying to slide over the not so smooth ice.  I was both relieved and felt kind of stupid.

My wrong assumption got me to thinking about how easy it is to assume things without checking out information.  I let my assumption go on too long and it caused me to get upset and think the worst.  If I had only taken the time to investigate the sound for myself and get the facts, I might not have spent days thinking a mouse was running rampant and chewing in my walls.  The sad part is we believe what we want to believe sometimes whether it’s right or wrong.

The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitful and is sick, wicked and beyond cure – depending on the version you are reading.  Sadly, Jeremiah is correct.  Our hearts can easily lead us astray and alter our thinking.  After all we humans are willful beings and want to believe and do what we want, when we want, and we can easily overlook or ignore the facts or lose discernment.

Discernment and wisdom that we gain from looking at the facts and thinking with our brains can go a long way to keep our hearts on the right track.  Facts are true and cannot be changed by our words or thoughts.  It’s important that a person looks at the facts and prays for wisdom as to how to go forward with that knowledge.  Seeking to do good with the facts we know is important.  Any word or thought that is said to cause a violent negative reaction or to hurt another person is wrong and never justified and is basically coming from an evil heart. Also to rail at the facts or to not take a wait and see attitude about something that has yet to be and complain also comes from evil intent.  It’s called causing dissention.

God detests someone who causes dissention and dissention is considered one of the detestable behaviors in the Bible. The opposite of that is a peacemaker. A peacemaker has good intent and a right heart.  If change is needed, then go about it the right way armed with wisdom and love in a peaceful way.  Whether you like the facts or not doesn’t change a thing.  I can think of nothing good that was ever solved by hatred and dissention.  All it does is perpetuate evil, and if it can, evil destroys all that is good that stands in its path.  The Lord wants us all to love one another.  After all, it is the second greatest of His commands.  Only love can put out the fires of fear and evil.

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Proverbs 6:16-19

A Salute to Our Veterans

My husband and I went to Charleston, South Carolina for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  Not too far from there is Patriot’s Point.  This is where WWII ships are anchored in the harbor for tourists to visit.  There was a destroyer, a carrier, and a submarine.  Because my father served on a destroyer in WWII in the Pacific, I wanted to go and see what the ships were like.

I was not prepared for how small the destroyer was.  My father is six feet one inch tall.  I know it had to be cramped quarters for him, as well as, for all who were on board.  The bunks looked uncomfortable because the mattresses looked thin, and the springs on the bunk had to pop through interrupting a good night sleep.  There wasn’t much of a galley so cooking had to have been minimal.  Because the ship was so small I can only imagine the rock and roll of the waves that would leave me throwing up over the side!  My father lived on this ship for four years!

I really have a new respect for my father and all who have served on these ships.  My dad volunteered at 18 years of age to serve in the service, as did many of his friends.  He never got to graduate with his senior class.  Whether he had regrets or not, he never voiced them.  He served and did what was expected and necessary to preserve our freedom and freedom of other countries.  My father has told us things that happened during his service in the Navy.  It was not a pleasant experience.  I am sure that he came back a different person, not worse for the experience, but very different from someone who has not served in battle.

Men and women of the Armed Forces give up a lot to serve their country.  They are away from their families and in conditions that none of us would be willing to live in for a day let alone for months at a time.  While we are eating a good meal, relaxing in front of the TV, and able to be with our families, let’s remember those who are serving their country away from their comforts and families.  As we observe Veteran’s Day, if you know a Veteran or someone who is serving, reach out to them. Let them know how much you appreciate their sacrifice.  As for me, I say, “Thank you, Dad.”

 

 

 

It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.   Author Unknown


 

Wandering Through Life

Last night I dreamed that I had to run to our local grocery store, Food Lion, to get a few things.  The route between Food Lion and my house is less than two and one half miles.  However, in my dream I was not able to use that route for some reason.

Instead I drove to the downtown area to try to find parking in a parking garage.  I then had to find a walkway from the parking garage to some office buildings.   After several dead ends, I found the walkway and then I had to cut through several offices.  One of which was a hypnotist who was hypnotizing a group of people.  I had to close my eyes and quietly tip toed through as I prayed that I would be hypnotized.  Right outside the door of the hypnotist’s office was a tunnel. I had to get on my hands and knees and crawl through a long tunnel to get to the front of the Food Lion.  Once I got in the store, I wondered how on earth I was going to take anything much back with me.

But I persevered and got what I needed and came out of the store with two bags.  I tried to go back the way I came, but I could not get through.  I kept having to try another route and then another and then another.  I got frustrated and was relieved when I finally woke up!

On awakening my first thought was what on earth caused me to dream such a thing!  A simple task turned was turned into a major undertaking.  The mind-blowing thing was that in my dream there were plenty of people around me, but I kept trying to find my own way and never asked for directions!

As I thought about that dream, it reminded me of the Israelites.  All they had to do was get to the Promised Land which was only 240 miles away.  Walking at the rate of 6 miles an hour and traveling about 5 hours a day that would be a distance traveled of 30 miles daily.  At that rate it would have taken roughly 8 days to get there.  Yet they took a route much like my Food Lion one to get where they needed to go and it took them 40 years.

Why did they do that?  God told the Israelites that He would take them to the Promised Land and that they could conquer the present inhabitants and take the land as theirs.  However, they chose not to believe God and disobeyed Him by not doing as He told them.  He made them wander in the desert until the disbelieving generation was dead which was forty years.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?  However, when we don’t take God at His word and obey, there are consequences – none of which are pleasant.  Many people think that God doesn’t speak to us anymore, but He does.  He speaks to us through the Bible, the Holy Spirit and other believers.   Anything He tells us is always in our best interest and for our own good.  He is our Heavenly Father and loves us and desires a blessed and happy life for us.

This cannot happen if we aren’t tuned into what that means from God’s perspective.  That means we need to have a close relationship with Him which involves prayer and reading the Bible.  This will help us understand God and His ways better.  We can rest assured that any plan He has for us will not go against anything written in the Bible.  It’s so easy to read because there are so many translations to help us better understand what we are reading.

To live outside of God’s will is much like my dream of going to Food Lion where I wandered around aimlessly to get there.  Time and resources were wasted.  If I had stopped to ask for directions the outcome would have been different.  The same could be said of how we live our lives.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalms 119:105