Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Gift of Powerful Words 9-15-09

Good morning, Lord Jesus. I simply, but deliberately look to You alone in these first moments of my morning. ... "(Elisha) went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came of the city and jeered at him, saying, 'Go away, baldhead! Go away, baldhead!' When he turned around and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys" (2 Kings 2:23-24). Lord, this is one of those stories that I wish weren't in the Bible. Though I know it's just as true as all the other stories, and teachings, and principles of Your Word. The man of God, anointed by Your Spirit as Your prophet had just been an instrument of Your grace to bring great healing to the land (v. 2:19-22). And then, almost in his very next breath, he lost his temper; and with that same authority You entrusted to him to speak words of blessing to bring life, he spoke words of cursing to bring death. Yet all that the people of Israel did and experienced under the Old Covenant are written in Scripture "to serve as an example" for us, to teach us and convict us of the nature we see in our own souls, even as we try by Your grace to lead lives that honor You under the blessings of our New Covenant in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:11). So Elisha's sin, between one mighty experience of kingdom ministry and the next, teaches us much: Even men and women of God, anointed by God and moving faithfully in their gifting and calling and destiny, can still sin. Even their spiritual gifts, given sovereignly by God, can be tainted and distorted to be used for evil instead of good, out of the free will of a human heart and out of the sinful nature of human flesh. None are righteous, apart from You, and all of us always continually need the mercy of our Savior and the leading of Your Spirit (Romans 3:10). And whenever we first turn to our own will and ways in self-centered pride, instead of first turning to You in God-centered humility, we are likely to sin in our flesh rather than following the leading of Your Spirit. Then even our God-given gifts can be used against us and others, releasing the kingdom of darkness on earth instead of the kingdom of heaven, "for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29). One of the gifts You've given us is the power of our words. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21). It's one of the ways, in a sense, You created us "in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27). But You call us to continually allow You to sanctify this gift You've given us as we allow You to continually purify this new nature and new heart You've given us in Christ. "But no one can tame the tongue -- a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who were made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so" (James 3:8-10). Only You can tame our tongues, as we entrust our hearts and words to You. Then the words we speak can be led by Your Holy Spirit -- for building up and not tearing down, for encouragement and not discouragement, for comfort and not torment, for godly edification and not ungodly destruction (1 Corinthians 14:3). It's true that You are our ultimate example, as You walked this earth as Son of Man, in perfect relationship with the Father and perfect submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We are to follow "in (Your) steps" (1 Peter 2:21). And without sin, You cursed the fig tree that did not bear fruit, using it an example to teach Your disciples the power of their words spoken in faith (Matthew 21:18-22). Perhaps Your words were a confirmation of what was already true -- that what is unfruitful is already cursed, failing to embrace all the blessings of God to be a blessing for others. And we all need Your grace to change our curses into blessings. But You only did what You saw the Father doing (John 5:19); and You only spoke the words the Father gave You to speak (John 8:28). That way, Your words were always "spirit and life" according to the purposes of our Father (John 6:63). And so should ours. Lord, thank You for the gifts of God You've given me. As with each of us, You want us to discover the gifts You've given us to live into the purpose and calling and destiny for which You have created us. But I admit my need for You to convict me of my sin when I misuse the gifts You've me out of my flesh instead of Your Spirit, for my purposes instead of Your kingdom. Keep purifying my heart and sanctifying my tongue, that my words may be more and more like Your words and my nature may be more and more like Your nature. "His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Thus He has given us, through these things, His precious and very great promises, so that through Him (we) may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.... For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for (us)" (2 Peter 1:3-11). You've given us the gift of powerful words. Let us use them well as You lead to live fruitful lives for the glory of Your kingdom, speaking abundant blessings into the lives of those created in Your image. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen. Be encouraged today! In the Love of Jesus, Tommy Hays Friends, please Come to The Fountain this Friday Night, September 18th at 7pm. The Fountain is a monthly gathering our ministry leads on the 3rd Friday Night of every month in the unity of the city-wide church for praise and healing worship. Come drink deeply the Living Waters of the One who wants to fill our hearts and flow through our lives by His Holy Spirit. This month, Jeff Green will be leading in worship and I will be leading in prayer. Hosted in the Chapel of Centenary United Methodist Church, 2800 Tates Creek Rd; Lexington, Kentucky. Contact Marilyn Walker, our Messiah Ministries Director of Ministries at DirOfMinistries@aol.com or 859-422-1794. All are welcome! Please come and spread the word! If you would like a copy of our recent Messiah Ministries Newsletter, Messiah's Messenger, in hard copy or by email, please send me a note at MessiahMin@aol.com Subscribe by email to me at Messiah Ministries --MessiahMin@aol.com -- "Preparing the Way of the Lord ... Ministering the Healing Love of God" www.messiah-ministries.org 2800 Tates Creek Rd; Lexington, KY 40502 Devotional Archives at: www.morningbymorning.blogspot.com