Archive for May 23rd, 2016

from JO’s sermon tonight:

one of the main reasons people get stuck in life is because they haven’t learned how to control their mouth; they say hurtful things, put people down, argue, gossip. they don’t realize, their tongue is keeping them from rising higher; God won’t promote you if you don’t have the character to back it up. you don’t have to be perfect, but we shouldn’t be where we were 5 years ago; we should be improving.  pay attention to what you’re saying; sometimes, we’ve done it so long, we don’t realize we’ve become harsh, condescending, sarcastic, saying things just to please our flesh. Paul said:

Ephesians 4:29 (NET Bible)

29 You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need,

before you say something, you need to ask; is this going to be beneficial to someone, build them up, or tear them down? is this comment going to make my spouse feel better about themselves, or is it just going to feed my ego? some people, the only thing that’s holding them back from a healthy marriage, good relationships, a promotion, is their mouth; they’re talented, skillful, but they pop off, they’re sarcastic, stir up strife. you can’t say everything you feel; your emotions will get you into trouble. when somebody gets on your nerves, you feel irritated, annoyed; instead of popping off and saying things that you know you’re going to regret later, you need to step back, take a deep breath, pause for 30 seconds, think about what you’re going to say. don’t speak out of your emotions, let your tongue run wild; that’s the easy way out. you have to be disciplined, and tame your tongue. the scripture says:

James 1:19 (NIV)

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

if you’ll pause for a moment, let your emotions calm down, you’ll realize, some things are better left unsaid. you don’t have to win every argument, comment on every situation, straighten everyone out. you may know they’re wrong and you’re right, but you have to ask yourself; is this worth starting World War III over? just bite your tongue and walk away. I’ve heard it said, the reason we have 2 ears and one mouth is because we’re supposed to listen twice as much as we speak. do you know how many headaches you could save yourself if you’d just zip it up, not say things you’ll regret later?

it’s easy, in the heat of the moment, to make hurtful comments; it takes 10 seconds to say it, but 10 years later the pain is still being felt. it’s like a burn; the fire goes away, but the mark is still there. we can apologize, say we’re sorry, that’s good, that’s the right thing to do, but it doesn’t remove the scar, doesn’t make the pain go away. it’s much better to tame your tongue, be slow to speak, not say things out of our emotions; that damages relationships. you’ve heard the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” that’s not a true statement; words can leave scars, tear people apart, make them feel inferior, insecure. there are people today not reaching their potential because of hurtful words spoken over them. they heard their parents, over and over; “you can’t do anything right. you’re not smart.” or a spouse; “you’re unattractive, you’re not talented.” now those words are limiting their life. David prayed:

Psalms 64:3 (NLT)

3 Sharp tongues are the swords they wield; bitter words are the arrows they aim.

he referred to hurtful words as swords; are you building people up with your words, or are you cutting people up with you words? are you encouraging them, making them stronger, more confident, or pushing them down, leaving them wounded and scarred? many times, we recover from a physical wound much quicker than an emotional one.

parents, we have a responsibility to speak words of life, faith, encouragement, into our children. yes, we have to correct them, but don’t do it angry, in a disrespectful way. don’t say derogatory things to your children that are going to damage their self-image. even small children; you should never say, “you’re a bad boy/girl,” don’t get that into their spirit. they’ve been made in the image of God, He breathed His life into them; they may have bad behavior at times, but your children are good. correct them in a loving, kind way; don’t start cutting them up early in life with hurtful words. they have enough to overcome already; they have enough people, circumstances, coming against them. let’s be parents that speak life into our children, push them into their destiny, help release their dreams. our children are a gift from God, and with that gift comes a responsibility; God is counting on us to guide, nurture, help them become who they were created to be. 

taming the tongue starts at home; husbands, make sure you’re treating your wife with respect and honor. if you’re saying hurtful, demeaning things, pushing her down, really, you’re pushing yourself down; you’re not just hurting her, you’re hurting you. the scripture says:

1 Peter 3:7 (TLB)

7 … Remember that you and your wife are partners in receiving God’s blessings, and if you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not get ready answers.

you won’t reach your destiny, accomplish your goals, if you’re always cutting her up. I read a study that said, one of the main reasons women fall into depression is because they don’t have the blessing from their husband; they don’t feel valued and appreciated. I know men that treat strangers better than they treat their own spouse; they’re kind and gracious to coworkers, but they’re sarcastic, condescending to their own family. Jesus said:

Matthew 12:36 (NLT)

36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak

idle word means negative, condescending, hurtful words. when we come to the end of life, God is going to ask; “what did you do with that spouse I gave you? did you help them grow, become more confident? did you challenge them to reach to the next level? if your spouse is not better than before you met them, you need to step it up a notch; check up on what you’re saying. are you speaking the blessing? every time you tell your wife, “you’re beautiful,” she shines a little bit brighter. every time you say, “I love you, I’m so glad you’re mine,” not only is your marriage getting stronger, but she’s getting stronger. when you tell your children, “I’m proud of you. you’re going to do great things in life,” those are not just kind words, those are seeds that will move them toward their purpose.

if you had to give an account now, for your spouse, children, friends, are they better today than they were 5 years ago?  are they stronger, happier, more fulfilled, more successful? if not, you need to make some changes. God gave them to you; He’s expecting you to give them back better. as a husband, I would hate to have to tell you that my wife is not as happy, confident, secure, fulfilled as before we met. that wouldn’t be her fault; it would be my fault. as her husband, as her covering, it’s my responsibility to keep her encouraged, strong, fulfilled, passionate about life. scripture says:

1 Corinthians 11:7 (NLT)

7 … woman reflects man’s glory

if your wife is not shining, if you’re harsh, condemning, sarcastic, it’s not only making her look bad, it’s making you look bad. for some people, when they have to give an account, it’ll be a sad day.  God will look at their spouse, children, friends, and all He’ll see is wounds, cut up from sarcasm, disrespect, condescending remarks. don’t let that be you. use your words to bless people, build them up, make them feel better about themselves. in relationships, we all have conflicts, things that we don’t like. I’m not saying you should never have a disagreement, no tension, no stress. I’m saying, in the heat of the moment, step back and don’t make hurtful comments; that damages relationships. 

“if my spouse wouldn’t push my buttons, then I wouldn’t say things that I know I shouldn’t. if my kids would just straighten up, if these coworkers wouldn’t get on my nerves, then I wouldn’t be so disrespectful.” these are tests that we have to pass. the people in your life are never going to be perfect. you have to learn to tame your tongue; that means, you don’t say everything you feel. you may think it, but you’re disciplined enough to zip it up. maybe your boss is rude to you; you’re about to let him have it, tell him what you think. here’s the problem; he’s the boss, and you’re not. after you speak out of your emotions, give him a piece your mind, you’ll be on a high for about 10 minutes, feeling good, giving high-fives; then you’ll realize, “he still has his job, and I don’t.” it’s much better to tame your tongue; then, you won’t have to live in regrets, thinking, “oh man, why did I say that? what was I thinking?” 

love makes allowances for people’s weaknesses, overlooks a wrong that was done to it. you have to rise above these petty things that are pulling you apart. give people room to have a bad day every once in a while. if they’re rude, don’t sink down to that level; be an eagle and rise above it. life is too short to live at odds, contentious, arguing about things that don’t matter. some people have to have the last word in every argument; they’re so hardheaded, they’ll argue for 27 days just to have that final word. let it go. you have a destiny to fulfill, an assignment to accomplish; those are distractions trying to pull you off course. don’t waste your valuable time and energy on something that’s not moving you toward your purpose. if you argue long enough, you’ll end up saying something you’ll regret later; a 10 minute argument can set a relationship back 10 years. you have to learn to walk away; you’re not going to accomplish anything positive in a heated, disrespectful situation. let them have the last word, and you’ll keep your peace, your joy. “that’d make me look weak.” it’s just the opposite; the strongest person is the one that humbles themselves and steps away. the scripture says:

Romans 12:21 (NIV)

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

you don’t overcome disrespect with more disrespect, insults with more insults, shouting with more shouting; the way you do it is by taking high road, being the bigger person, staying respectful.

Proverbs 20:3 (NLT)

3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor

it doesn’t say it’s a mark of honor to win the fight, get the last word, put the person down; the honorable thing to do is not start the fight in the first place.

in the scripture, when David was a teenager, he was stuck in the shepherd’s fields, taking care of his father’s sheep. one day, his father sent him out to take lunch to his brothers; they were in the army, on the front lines where it was exciting:

1 Samuel 17:28 (NIV)

28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

Eliab was condescending, sarcastic, trying to pick a fight with David. some people will make it their agenda in life to try to bait you into conflict. they see the favor on your life, know you’re going to do great things; instead of being happy for you, knowing that God has a destiny for them as well, they’ll be jealous, and try to draw you into conflict. don’t take that bait.

David probably felt like telling his brother off; his emotions said, “let him have it.” I’m sure he had his speech all lined up:  “Eliab, you think you’re hot stuff, but you’re nothing. God anointed me to be the King; you’re just jealous, you’re going to end up serving me.” he could have lit into him, but David understood this principle; he didn’t get in there and fight, curse his brother, try to have the last word. he kept his mouth closed, turned and walked away:

1 Samuel 17:30 (NIV)

30 He then turned away to someone else

no wonder David took the throne. no wonder God entrusted him to do great things; he had the character to back up the anointing on his life. God can give you a great anointing, have a big future in store for you, but if you don’t develop your character, you won’t step into all that He has. taming the tongue is a major factor in reaching our destiny. because our mouth, more than about just anything else, gets us into trouble, you can’t use your words as a sword cutting people up, disrespectful, sarcastic, and expect to reach the fullness of your destiny.

I wonder how much higher we would go if we would do like David, and not have to have the last word, be right, cause some big scene; instead, we just keep quietly honoring God, taking the high road, staying respectful. you do that, and God will fight your battles; that’s putting yourself in position for promotion.

David faced a lot of opposition in his life. he had plenty of opportunities to get upset, lose his cool, tell people off, but he prayed an interesting prayer in Psalm 141; he didn’t ask God to defeat his enemies, remove all of his challenges, he said:

Psalm 141:3 (NLT)

3 Take control of what I say, O Lord,

    and guard my lips.

Psalm 141:3 (TLB)

3 Help me, Lord, to keep my mouth shut and my lips sealed.

he was saying, “God, I have a lot of people coming against me, and I know I’m going to be tempted to be rude, sarcastic, argumentative, so God, I’m asking You in advance; help me to keep it zipped up.” what a great prayer; every morning when we wake up, “God, help me to not say things that are going to get me into trouble, to not be disrespectful, argumentative, condescending. Lord, help me to keep my lips sealed.” this is especially important when we’re in stressful times: the traffic is bad, you’re dealing with a difficult coworker. when you’re in these pressured situations, when you know you’re going to be tempted to say things that you shouldn’t, you need to decide ahead of time that you’re going to watch your words carefully. all through the day, like David, “God, help me to keep my lips sealed.” 

this is what Jesus did. toward the end of his life, he knew he was coming into one of his most difficult seasons; he knew he would be betrayed, sold for 30 pieces of silver, arrested, mistreated, and crucified. he said to his disciples:

John 14:30 (NIV)

30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming

he was smart enough to realize that he was going to be under incredible pressure, so he let them know, “I’ve already made up my mind; I’m not going to be talking a lot.” he was saying, in effect, “I’ve already decided; I’m not going to complain when I’m betrayed, be rude to Judas, argue with the soldiers, be condescending to my accusers. I’m going to be careful with my words.”

when you know you’re going to be under pressure, a stressful situation at work, before you leave the house, you need to decide; “I’m not going to say everything I feel today. I’m going to be extra careful.” when you’re going to be discussing a sensitive issue with your spouse, decide ahead of time, “I’m not going to lose my cool, open the door to strife, arguing.” if Jesus, the son of God, who has all power, said, “I’m not going to be talking much in this pressured situation,” how much more should we be careful what we say when we’re under pressure?

it’s easy to make excuses; “I was rude to them because they were rude to me. I said some things I know I shouldn’t have, but it’s because I was under a lot of stress.” no, you have the grace to be where you are and not be rude, complain, say hurtful things. you can either feed the flesh and say what you feel, or you can you feed your spirit, and keep your mouth closed. the problem is, if you keep feeding the flesh, saying everything you want, you won’t grow up; you will stay a baby. the scripture says, “even though you’re an heir, and God has an incredible inheritance that belongs to you, joy, peace, favor, promotion, abundance; as long as you stay a baby, that inheritance will not be released.” (I was unable to find this passage in the Bible.)

taming the tongue is not just about being disciplined; it’s about growing up, seeing the inheritance that has your name on it released in your life. I know people, they’re 47 years old, but they’re still a baby; they haven’t learned to control their mouth. sometimes, it’s not big things that keep us from God’s best, it’s small things: in the big picture, it’s a small thing to not argue with a spouse, to not be sarcastic, put people down. God’s not asking us to give away our belongings, move to a difficult place, He’s simply asking us to tame our tongues, use our words to bless and not curse, build people up and not tear them down. 

this is one of the reasons the Israelites didn’t make it into the Promised Land. God brought them out of slavery, they were headed to the land flowing with milk and honey, but along the way, when they came under pressure, instead of taming their tongues, they started complaining, criticizing Moses:

Exodus 14:11 (NIV)

11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?

it was an 11 day journey to the Promised Land, but because of their negative words, they went around the same mountain for 40 years, and never did make it in. 

if you can’t say something beneficial, that’s going to edify, build up, do yourself a favor, and zip it up. it’s not only affecting the other person; that’s keeping you from your destiny. God will put us in situations to test us: if we’re harsh, critical, complaining, condescending, we have to take the test again, we have to go around the same mountain. don’t do like they did, and go around that mountain for the next 40 years. next time you’re tempted to say something that you shouldn’t, pause for a moment; under your breath, “God, help me to control my mouth, keep my lips sealed.” if you’ll be slow to speak, and ask God to help you, you’ll start passing these tests. as you grow up, God will release more of the inheritance that belongs to you; you will see more of His favor. the point here is, you can’t be critical and make it into your Promised Land. you can’t be disrespectful to the boss or your spouse and become all you were created to be. that’s why Proverbs says:

Proverbs 18:21 (HCSB)

21 Life and death are in the power of the tongue

are you speaking life over your future, or are you speaking death? 

one time, Moses’ sister Miriam didn’t like the woman that Moses married. this young lady didn’t meet Miriam’s approval; she was an Ethiopian girl, came from a different nationality. Miriam started talking bad about Moses, stirring up trouble, sowing discord. what’s interesting is, the scripture says:

Numbers 12:1-10 (NIV)

12 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite…. And the Lord heard this…10 When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow.

(Only Miriam was punished because she was the instigator, and because if Aaron had been struck with leprosy, he could no longer have functioned as a priest, and could not have interceded for Miriam to get her healing.)

leprosy was contagious; she immediately had to leave the camp. it will help us to have the right perspective when we remember that God hears what we say, when we bless people and when we curse them, when we encourage, compliment, push them forward, and when we’re harsh and disrespectful. Proverbs said:

Proverbs 18:21 (NIRV)

21 … those who love to talk will eat the fruit of their words.

this means, if you sow disrespect, you’ll reap disrespect. if you sow discord, sarcasm, judgment, you’ll reap those things. but when you sow kindness, compliments, encouragement, mercy, people are going to be good to you.

James said:

James 3:5 (PHILLIPS)

5 … A whole forest can be set ablaze by a tiny spark of fire, and the tongue is as dangerous as any fire

one word can start a major problem, or a major blessing. I’m asking you to start some good fires; ignite people’s dreams, hopes, passions. your words have the ability to put people on their feet, to breathe new life into their spirit. be a healer, encourager, lifter. and when you’re tempted to say things, and we all are, to be condescending, sarcastic, argumentative, be disciplined enough to zip it up. put that sword down; don’t go through life cutting people up with hurtful words, go through life building people up with encouraging words. if you’ll do this, because you’re taming your tongue, you will enjoy your life more, you will have better relationships, you will receive your inheritance, and become everything God’s created you to be.

Read Full Post »