Sacrifice of Praise

Christ has offered the greatest sacrifice that could ever be offered … His life! And what does God require of us? Acknowledgement of the gift through prayer, praise, and adoration to God alone. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Truth is that our hearts often turn in worship toward many other things – much like our Old Testament brothers. Material things, the world’s success, etc.

If you want to give the sacrifice of praise, you can’t wait until you get to church – you have to do it every day from your heart! Give God praise in the name of Jesus as you work in your office; as you wash your car; as you care for the children; as you drive … all day!!

He deserves it!

Tame That Tongue!

My dear friend and mentor, the late Brenda Waters, wrote a song that she taught me before we relocated to Ghana — the chorus says,

“You talk about who’s been sleeping with who; and you talk about who’s been cheatin’ with who.  You talk about the preachers and the way they preach, you even think you want to try to impeach them.  You talk about whose been smoking that stuff, and you talk about whose been shootin’ it up. And you talk and you talk, and you talk and you talk, and you talk and you talk!

Don’t you know that God wants to use your tongue for glory?

You know that He’s worthy! Give Him the Glory!”

There are many days when what I hear (or read) coming from the hearts of my Christian brothers and sisters just breaks my heart. I hear (and read) words of hate, deception, anger, disdain and judgment and it leaves me concerned for the world – because if the Body of Christ is not getting it right, who will? Whether in response to that person that cuts you off on the freeway; that driver that seems to be going just a little to slow when you’re trying to get somewhere; in response to the blatant injustices happening in America; in response to political decisions that we do not like; in response to a loved one being hurt by another; in response to being taken advantage of; in response to the feeling that our rights have been treaded on; in response to sin in leadership that seems to have been overlooked — in response to the myriads of things that can cause us angst; we must be careful not to allow our mouths to be used as a tool of the enemy.

When we open our mouths to speak what is evil/sin/wicked/hateful/not godly — we open our lives up to evil/sin/wickedness/ungodliness. The old Dracula movies said that he could not come in unless someone opened the door and invited him; our enemy Satan is the same way. The Word of God tells us that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Don’t you want your life to be blessed? I do! I’m not trying to create hell here on earth for me to live in.

I made the decision long ago to speak life into my own life; into the lives of the people around me; into this world. What is life? Life is God. What is God? God is Love!! Love!! Love!!!

If you want to live a life that is marked by His blessings – choose to open your mouth and speak love and life. Don’t malign someone just to make yourself feel better. Don’t gossip and say it is a call to prayer. Don’t repeat something that you know is not true and use the excuse that so and so told you. Don’t spread falsehoods and use the excuse that you found it on the internet. Don’t let the media form the message that comes from you. Make a stand for love and for truth.  You see, it is a sad commentary when the world can’t tell us from them!

Some of you are dealing with serious issues that will require divine intervention — it would seem that if you need the divine power of God in your life, you would live, act and speak in ways that invite His power in to your life. I want everyone who encounters me in this world to know that I am different. As a new friend said to me recently – I want them to be attracted to the Jesus glow in me. I want to walk in the favor and blessing of God.

I will NOT be used by the enemy to bring hate into the world. I will NOT spread the story when I don’t even know if the story is true. I will NOT invite the enemy into my life, my heart, my mind, my home. My yes will be yes; my no will be no. I want my life to bring God glory. I want my tongue to bring God glory. I want to experience the blessed life that believers have been promised. May the Holy Spirit work in me to make it so.

‘For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. ‘

1 Peter 3:10

Giving Up The Right to be RIGHT

Even the most humble among us has a desire to be right – or to be defended.

Our right to be right can totally overshadow our privilege to be loving!  Laying down our rights – It’s not natural — but it is godly. 

When we were on home assignment some years ago, there was a misunderstanding between a local pastor and what he thought was the intent of our youngest son to insult his son.  The principal of the school knew our son and knew this was a case of a missionary kid not understanding the culture of the USA – it happens!!  The boys were fine – but the father of the other child, a local pastor, was quite upset – so the principal suggested that we go to him and talk about what happened; perceptions versus reality. We went to this pastor to apologize for the misunderstanding and to keep this issue from escalating – this pastor’s response to us was, “I want my pound of flesh!”  And he said this with a SMILE!!!  It all worked out but this highlighted for Lloyd and I the depravity of even the best of us.  Oftentimes an apology is not enough! We want the wrong to be made right according to our own standards.   I’m so glad Christ didn’t feel that way!!  Oh Lord — can you imagine!!??!!

If you call yourself a follower of Christ you must – MUST be willing to take the hit.  If they call you a liar, it needs to be enough that you know you didn’t lie even if they print it in the paper and post it on Facebook.  If they take what is rightfully yours – you need to have enough faith in the Lord that He will provide what you need and that if there is to be be any vengeance, it belongs to him.  If they do cheat you (or cheat on you) – you have to forgive and not give in to your desire to spread the news far and wide that they are a cheat, instead praying that God will forgive and cleanse them from all unrighteousness.  It’s that whole concept  of giving them both your cloak and your coat – when they want to take your coat. 

We are known in America to be a litigious nation.  But as members of the Body of Christ — we need to decide to actually live like we were just in this world (sojourners) and not of this world (citizens).  Novel idea.  This really good looking preacher I know says these words to me and to his children often – “You have no right to be right and no one’s reputation matters but His.”  Think about it ..

My prayer is that my own heart will long for the world to see only Him in my actions and that I will be willing at all times to take the blame; take the fall; carry the weight — knowing that He will uphold me with His righteous right hand!!

Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?  1 Corinthians 6:7b