What TD Jakes, Oprah Winfrey and Shari Johnson Have in Common

Oh to be fishers of men like this…

Proverbs 30:7-13

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.  Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty. There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

I got myself in a big way of thinkin’ this morning as I read a post about Oprah Winfrey who had once attacked a Christian woman on her very well-known talk show because she said Jesus was the only way to Heaven. And then when one of my favorite preachers, T.D. Jakes, invited her on the platform with him, my heart sunk a little. I feared that it was a ratings ploy. ‘Hello’ self-righteous judgment. But that’s the truth of where my heart was.

On this same post a Christian woman said that Oprah had supposedly repented and turned back to Christ and I hope that’s true. It would make my heart leap in absolute joy if I witnessed her praising the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven. Do I think that’s necessary, Yes Amen! The scripture is truth from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, every word, period, comma and semicolon is truth and there are no secret servants in the Lord’s army. If it’s real, it should be vocalized every bit as much as her railing of the dear woman of God on her show. Oprah has been given much by God and Luke 12:48 lay it out pretty clear on what God expects: But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Solomon’s words in Proverbs, the wisest man to ever live convicted my heart on Oprah this morning. The same self-righteous vanity that over took Oprah when she verbally attacked the Christian woman is the same self-righteous vanity that is within me when I say Oprah has no place on the platform of TD Jakes church. What do we have in common: The Judgement of God. When I stand before Christ in Glory, He will not call me to the Judgments of TD Jakes and Oprah, and allow me to weigh in on their salvation or service, but He’ll have plenty to say to me about my own. How many times have I failed to defend Him or His honor? How many times have I damaged His cause with my critical spirit? How many times have I failed to witness to a lost soul because it wasn’t a convenient time?

When someone lies about the Lord I feel it’s my responsibility as a Christian to correct their error to the unsaved who may take it as fact and may remain unsaved because of it, but it’s not my job to tear down the person who lied, they need to be saved too. As for what I spend my time vocalizing, should it not be every bit as loud and as long as those who talk against my Lord? If we spent as much time talking about Jesus as we spend talking about the people who talk against Jesus we’d see more people saved.

I need to be less interested in the platform of TD Jakes and more focused on the platform of Shari Johnson, the Jesus Chick. Amen?

A Tale of Tricky Seas & DC – Stay in the Ship

In Acts 27 is the story of Paul’s harrowing ocean trip to Italy. He’d warned the navigators that they should not go, but the unnamed centurion who was to deliver Paul to Caesar assumed that they who were experts in the field knew more than Paul, not even a novice shipman, so away they went. Paul was a preacher for cryin’ out loud what did he know about sailing? Not long into the journey the winds begin to blow a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon; (Vs. 14) a whirlwind much like that of Jonah’s journey, both out of the treasuries of God, (Psalm 135:7), designed to make God’s point. As the centurion of Augustus band set in the dark ship many days without sun or stars to shine, and all hope being lost, I have wonder if he didn’t spend much time thinking about the angel band that had forewarned the preacher of the coming storm.

The centurion, much like todays political hires took the messengers of God far too lightly. After all, what do they know about the climate (political or meteorological conditions?). Our Pastors keep warning the DC-ites that a storm is brewing and that we should abandon this liberal journey, but the ship continues out to sea with total disregard for the spiritual signs. The “experts” have this under control.

Stay in the Ship

These are dark times in America, although the sun appears to be shining in many cities. I’m not a naysayer, I’m not even a very good realist. I like happy endings! But the writing is not on the wall, it’s in the Book; that God has stirred up a Eurocydon among the political climate worldwide. Their arrogance that they have this under control is about to get real.

(2Ch 16:9For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

America battles war after war, not even our own, but just as it was in the early days, God takes care of His own (those whose heart is perfect toward him)

Paul advised his shipmates to stay in the ship, it was there that they would have salvation. Such is the case with the modern day church. Political know it all’s can unload the ship of every supply we have on hand but the Word of God is within. The shipmasters threw out the rigging, the food and anything else they could find trying to lighten the load of the ship while the winds kept tossing them to and fro. And Paul said “And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship” (vs. 22)

Our government has thrown out practically every tool of the trade our forefathers left in the ship (the constitution, the laws, etc.) But God’s still in control and He abides within the believers of this nation and so long as we abide in Him, we’re going to be okay. It may get dark, rough and rocky, but God’s going to get us to our appointed destination.

At the end of that journey they landed on shore, part of the ship was damaged but they made it! And the centurion who once looked to the experts, turned to Paul. The soldiers were going to kill the prisoners rather than see them escape, but the centurion kept them from their intent because of the man of God.

I believe there’s still time to save America, but we are indeed sailing on some tricky seas right now with political nit wits at the helm of the ship steering us right into a storm. We need to stay in the ship. Keep the church doors open every Sunday morning and evening, Wednesday night and any other day or night to allow safe haven for the lost. We don’t need a new navigation guide, the King James Bible will do just fine, it is still intact, unlike the other versions which took out a few pertinent pieces to the map. We need to stay faithful and wait for the trumpet that surely will sound soon…

Glory! for We Serve a God like that

Psalm 115:1-11 ~ Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?  But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.  Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. O Israel, trust thou in the Lord: he is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield. Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.

It’s only by mercy that I “get it.” That I have an understanding of the Word of God and that the Creator of the Universe speaks to my heart and guides me along the way. I don’t take that for granted, or maybe I do. Had I been born in another Nation, I could be the one who worships an idol of silver or gold, the work of men’s hands, or one who worships nothing. I could have been brought up in a culture such as those who worshipped Baal Peor with filthy acts of an unbelievable nature, but by His grace I am here in this place. A country that was founded on the freedom to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. The living God.

The God Who Speaks – Through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit I hear the truth revealed to me. How awesome is that! How marvelous is it when you “get” something that you know your finite mind shouldn’t get. When the bells and whistles go off inside your head saying “that’s it Shari, that’s what I wanted you to understand! I did that just for you. He may speak to me through the man of God, or like Elijah through the still small voice but I know it’s Him. Jesus said in John 10:27 ~ My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: That’s a promise of God; if we are His we know when He speaks.

The God Who Sees – Psalm 33:13 ~ The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. Matthew Henry’s commentary explains further that “that He looks narrowly upon them, so narrowly that not the least thought can escape his observation.” That is both wonderful and scary when I think how often that I behave foolishly.

The God Who hears – 1 John 5:15 ~ And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.  When my children came to me with a request I always heard them, I didn’t always have the answer they wanted, but it was the one I thought was best. (I was sometimes wrong). O how wonderful to know that God knows just how to answer!

The God Who Smells – 2 Corinthians 2:15a ~ For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ. How much sweeter the scent of the salvation through His Son that was a final atonement for all who sinned. Where in the sacrifices of the Old Testament were but a temporary fix but through His Son final atonement was made. Every time we worship Him in spirit and in truth, when we serve Him as the example set before us in His Son, God smiles and remembers. Have you had an aroma bring back a fond childhood memory? I have to wonder if that’s not what it’s like when God sees His children serving; and He inhales long and deep and smiles, remembering that’s why He did what He did.

The God Who touches – He touched the blind and brought them sight, He touched the sick and brought them healing, He touched the untouchable, He brought the dead to life. God is a God that still touches people like that today. The gods of this world are not touchable, they’re dead. When they were alive they were only touchable by those in the room with them. God is omnipresent – He is everywhere! There is no place that you are that He cannot touch you.

God walks with us in the cool of the day, and in the bearing down heat.

I loved this thought today. Because it reminds me that when the world is falling down around me, I’m in the hand of Almighty God. He is evident and real to those who have accepted Him by faith. Though man may fail me, God will never fail. Glory!!! For God’s mercy is everlasting.

Hand Me Down Genes

Jeans heart blue denim texture Stock Photo - 14576987

As a youngin’ in hills of West Virginia, our family grew up the way most every other family did; we had hard working parents that provided for our every need. They loved on us, fixed cornbread and milk for a bedtime snack, took in strays (kids and dogs), handed down our clothes from sibling to sibling, and it never occurred to us until we were teens and the world told us so, that we were not rich. Over all it was a pretty charmed life when I look back. Many of their characteristics shine through in us, we all look a tad alike, we’re a compassionate non-confrontational lot, we have a love of music and art and for the most part we are similar in many ways, but different in a thousand others. So my question this morning to myself was, how do families with “bad genes” break free from the mold and become something outside the norm of their family? While I don’t understand the scientific side of it, or if behavioral tendencies are even an inherited lot or trained, I’ve seen enough “hand me down” characteristics to make me wonder. But no matter we are without excuse in Christ.

2nd Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I do not want to make light of the life of someone who was brought up in less than ideal circumstances. I know how blessed I am because I’ve witnessed countless times those who were not so blessed. Probably some of my worst days when working with the court system were the days I dealt with parents, who came in and degraded their children for being arrested and in such a predicament, when I knew I could pull the parents file and it would likely look much worse. I’ve also seen the flip side where good parents were broken into a thousand pieces because of their child poor decisions.

The point that I want to make in all of this is be it nurture or nature it’s a moot point in Christ! Upon the acceptance of Christ as your Savior the Lord creates within your soul a whole new heritage. While we are still the biological children of birthparents, our new birth has made us a child of the King. We have a new nature!

  • So that cranky woman who is cranky because her mother was… she is without excuse.
  • The son of a thief, does not have to steal…
  • The daughter of a harlot, can be as white as snow…
  • The child of abuse, can know and show love…
  • The child of neglect, can be an awesome parent…
  • The child raised in wrath can have a home of peace…

So whether your “genes” are blue (depressed), torn (stressed), holy (missing pieces), designer (unique) or even hand me downs of another sort you received a brand new pair in Christ. He now lives in you! You are without excuse. Live and love well friend!

A Dozen Promises for Your Day!

In 2nd Timothy 1:1-2 Paul said to Timothy “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There’s a song on my heart this morning! Titled Jesus is Coming Soon

Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear
Freedom we all hold dear now is at stake
Humbling your hearts to God saves from the chastening rod
Seek the way pilgrims trod, Christians awake

Jesus is coming soon, morning or night or noon
Many will meet their doom, trumpets will surely sound
All of the dead shall rise, righteous meet in the skies
Going where no one dies, heavenward bound

It’s a peppy little tune our choir sings that has your toe tappin’ and your eyes toward the skies because we believe in the twinkling of an eye we truly could be standing in the presence of God. But for now we are here… in this wicked place, with heartache and trouble on every side, and yet…(pause for special effect) there is unspeakable joy within my soul because I have that promise of life that the Apostle Paul spoke of. And as Christ said in John 10:10 it’s life abundantly!

Believe me when I say that I can get down in the dumps, crazy depressed because of situations in life. I’m not a millionaire, I have bills too. Lots of them! I’ve made mistakes, and not just a few. And if I focused on that I’d stay depressed, but it’s in verses like this that I find glory! Paul gave Timothy that threefold blessing that every believer owns and yet so many refuse to take the title.

Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what we do deserve. And Peace comes from knowing that God controls both and that He loves you.

I don’t deserve anything. I came into this world with nothing, and I’ll leave with nothing but God has sure been good to me in the meantime. I could tell, but it takes much too long, of the times that God has pulled my proverbial hinder parts from the fire in amazing ways! That’s called grace. I could also tell you of the times that I was sure my head was on the chopping block and as I cried out for mercy, He answered. And about that peace that Paul mentioned? You often don’t experience peace until you need it. As a young person I tried to imagine what it would be like when I lost a parent. That thought was so painful I couldn’t even fathom it. And then in 2003 my Dad went to Glory and the sweet peace that I experienced in those hours of grief were amazing!

Life’s tough, but we have a promise. How wonderful it is that in these troublesome times to have a promise that is far more sure than anything you’ve ever had your hands on. What is that promise? Here’s a dozen for your day, but there are countless others!

  1. That God is with me wherever I go – Joshua 1:9
  2. If I keep my mind on Him, I’ll have that perfect peace – Isaiah 26:3
  3. He’ll never leave us or forsakes us!  – Hebrews 13:5
  4. His peace will pass all understanding – Philippians 4:7
  5. He cares for me – I Peter 5:7
  6. All things work together for my good – Romans 8:28
  7. In this world I’ll have trouble, but in Christ we have victory over it or through it– John 16:33
  8. I can escape temptation – 1 Corinthians 10:13
  9. God will supply all my needs – Philippians 4:19
  10. If I ask for wisdom God will supply it – James 1:6
  11. I’m forgiven of all – 1 John 1:9
  12. I will have eternal life – I John 5:11

There are so very, very many more, that’s just a few! I even provided the links so you can read them yourselves. Isn’t God’s Word grand! These are troubling times, but God is faithful. Do you have a need that I can lift to the Lord for you? It would be an honor if you’d let me know!

Do you love like that?

I John 5:1-2 ~ Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

Making Light of a Dark subject:

Two men are standing on a bridge, one is about to jump off and the other is trying to talk him out of it.
The man asks the jumper, “So are you a Christian or a Hindu or a Jew or what?”
The jumper replies, “A Christian.”
The man says, “Small world, me too! Protestant, or Catholic, or Orthodox?”
The jumper answers, “Protestant.”
The man replies, “Me too! What denomination?”
The jumper says, “Baptist”
The man replies, “Me too! Southern Baptist or Northern Baptist?”
The jumper answers, “Northern Baptist.”
The man replies, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
The jumper answers, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
The man replies, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern region?”
The jumper answers,” Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
The man replies, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region council of 1912?”.
The jumper answers, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region council of 1912.”
The man then pushes the jumper off the bridge and screams, “Die Heretic!”

If you ask a Christian, “Do you love God?” Their answer would most certainly be a jubilant “Of course!”

If you ask them, “Do you love the brethren?” Again I would expect an affirmative reply.

But put two denominations in a room together, throw in a few doctrinal questions and you’ll see the love of both fly out the window. As funny as the afore written joke was it rings too true for my taste and entirely too close home.

I don’t ever want to be a painted saint. One that stands before her peers dolled up with hypocrisy. I’ve shoved my share of the brethren off a bridge. Just yesterday. Praise God they didn’t know it! It was only in my head, but God knew it. I was sitting in our local football stadium watching my grandbabies play ball. I don’t know how hot Hell is going to be, but if it’s any hotter than that stadium I’m glad I don’t own any part of it. It was miserable hot! Maybe that’s why my mind went cranky, or maybe I just got in the flesh, but regardless, before long I noticed that that stadium was full of hypocrites. All kinds of people that I knew for fact weren’t living the way God wanted them to. They didn’t dress right, talk right, or walk right.

Hello? Enter reality check here. When did God give me the assignment of Christian checker?

He said that we’d know we were His if we loved the children of God. Not if we loved the Baptist. While there are certain doctrinal points that I believe and are a foundational part of my faith they belong in the church, not on the playing field. Yesterday I brought them to the literal playing field. Praise God I didn’t voice them. John also said we’d know we were children of God if we kept His commandments.  Jesus said there was a new commandment in John 13:34 – “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

Today is Sunday. I’m going to the church I love with the people I love. I’m going to sit on the front row, right up next to the altar where I sit every Sunday. Not because I want to be seen, but because I don’t want to see anyone else. I’m too weak to keep my mind on Christ when looking at other people, in the church or out of the church.

I believe that it’s not what’s over the door that will get me to Heaven, but do I love like that? I mean really love? I need to love better…

A Trip to the Station

Isaiah 22:13-19 ~  And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die. And it was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord God of hosts. Thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say, What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock? Behold, the Lord will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee. He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house. And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down.

 Stations in Life

I will confess to you that over my lifetime there have been countless stations that pride factored in. I loved the title, I did not always love the job. When I left my job with the courts, I left because I was absolutely miserable. When I received the job it was a blessing and an appointment from a Circuit Judge, a job of prestige of sorts; but with it came heartache and sorrow of families, personal information about the lives of people in my community and day by day it tore at my heart. Coupled with the politics of the place I was not a happy camper. Station meant nothing at that point, I just wanted out.

This was not the case with Shebna. His position had gone to his head and he began to think himself so important that, while his city lie in ruin around him, he had built, or engraved for himself, a house in stone that Isaiah referred to as his own sepulcher. Nice huh? A house that looked like a grave plot; my spine just shivered. Mainly because I’ve witnessed much of the same in society today when they build huge houses of enormous cost and then fill it with misery and death. But God sends Isaiah with a message in verse 19 that says “I will drive thee from thy station.”

I don’t know at what point God’s going to get there with the American political faction but He will. I don’t know if I’ll get to see it, but it will come to pass, because God detests prideful acts where people live with total disregard for others. I don’t think God’s going to take care of it on the political realm only, but on the spiritual as well. For too long church leaders have set in their stations of life enjoying the prestige that the role carries while their communities lie in shambles. Wicked television evangelist squander every dollar they can from their fans with total disregard for the hardship it caused, proclaiming that it was for God’s glory when in reality it fueled their jet. I’m not lumping them all in the same category. There are some good television ministries, we have some awesome leaders in our churches, we have a “few” decent political allies. It must only be a few, else they’d be more done in Washington.

My point of this blog is this. We need to be more aware of our surroundings. Those within and without. I speak very personally now. I waste so much. I could do so much more with what I’ve been given. I don’t live in a mansion, or drive a Cadillac, but I’ve got some poor priorities. Today for myself I just want to examine my “station” in life lest God sends me a messenger…

Children of the Wind

Ephesians 4:14 ~  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

As Christians go I am likely on the mouthier end of the spectrum. I have lots of opinions, most of which are Bible based, but I can occasionally throw my own in there for bad measure and have to take a trip to the woodshed to get it beat out of me. Paul through the Holy Spirit gives sound advice to the body of believers in Christ Jesus.

Children of the Wind

The bible says to study to show thyself approved. Speed reading won’t work, I’ve tried. There’s a reason God wants us to stay in His word; so that we’re not swept up in the nonsense of the world that’s out there today. Even the slightest of things can skew your judgment. There are popular sayings that I’ve heard all my life and quoted many times thinking there to be bible foundation only to find out later that it was an interpretation of the scripture and often a bad one! Just the other day I referenced the lion laying down with the lamb in scripture. It ain’t in there, why I thought it was I have no idea. Mostly because I’ve heard well intentioned folks quote it, and just picked it up as truth. It makes me wonder what else I may have “picked up.” The verse actually reads “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6.

So you may say that it’s apples and oranges, different yet the same. That won’t fly either.

Let’s look at Mark 10:24 in the King James version of the Bible.

“And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!”

Now let’s look at the same verse in the NIV. “The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!”  I read that this morning and my stomach rolled over. Christ said it was hard for “them that trust in riches to enter the Kingdom,” The NIV left the riches part out. Apples and oranges? Not so to an unsaved soul that hears “it is hard to get to heaven.” And says to themselves, “then why try.”

Misquoting scripture can cause a doubt to be cast onto the Word of God. Not understanding it for yourself can cause a doubt in your life. Don’t assume that every good intentioned Christian knows what they’re talking about, for certain don’t assume I do. Read and study it yourself. Most of them don’t misquote scripture or say things with the intent to harm, but you can believe that Satan can use even the most subtle of things to twist the Word of God as he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:1-3

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Eve added “neither shall ye touch it.” Satan’s words of doubt caused her misquote the Lord. And while it seemed such a small matter, we all know how that story ended…

Grafted & Grateful!

grafted and grateful copy

Romans 11:19-21 ~ Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

I have very few Jewish friends, and although there are no synagogues close by (only 0.1% of our entire state of West Virginia is Jewish) it does not lessen my burden for the Nation of Israel and my responsibility to pray for them. I do not understand much about the Jewish culture, but that’s okay; I don’t have to understand all there is to know about the modern day Jews to understand there was an olden day plan that’s still in effect. It makes my heart quiver when I see the government leaders of the United States turn their backs on Israel; I may not know a lot, but I know how God feels about His elect and those who fail to help them. I know from a mother’s perspective how I would feel if my children rejected me, it would more painful than I could possibly imagine and I know that God’s hurt is much deeper than that. So, when I think about God grafting the gentiles into the nation of Israel, I don’t take it lightly. He also knew how we’d treat Him, by the way.

It was God’s choosing to cut Israel off for a season because of their rejection of His Son, and it was His choice to allow a rag tag bunch of gentiles to come into His table and sup with Him as one of His own. Israel was, still is and forever will be God’s chosen people. What has changed is that they are no longer “exclusively” His people. Gentile believers are “grafted in” to His Chosen People Israel through the gift of the Holy Spirit upon our acceptance of His Son. It’s an honor, and one that is yet to be fully comprehended on how great it is. But when we gather in glory we’ll get it. Today I’m just grafted and grateful and I know that I don’t want to break my Lord’s heart.

Being a grafted part of the tree makes me want to have my roots by the water’s edge. Psalm 1:1-3 says “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also will not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

A Threefold Promise from being grounded in the Word of God.

Fruit – Strength – Prosperity. They do not come to the slothful or those inattentive of the things of God.

We’re not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Be careful where you get advice. Matthew Henry said that “God knows His people by name, but we must know them by their character.” We’re called to witness to the lost not to walk with them until we look more like them than Christ.

We’re not to sit in the seat of the scornful – those who make light of faith and talk against Heaven. There are some jokes that I’m pretty sure God doesn’t laugh at; such as those that make light of sinful acts or of the holiness of God.

We are to meditate in the Word of God. Not just read it and move on, but mull it around for a spell! Take a verse and consider how it applies to your life, search and see if your life matches up with the Word of God, or are there some areas that can use some work. I know what the answer is in my life.

It’s a privilege to have the Word of God, it is through the Holy Spirit that we have understanding of it. We have the Holy Spirit because God loved us enough to adopt us into His family and graft us into His family tree. Don’t take it for granted…

Damage Control

James 3:5-10

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

I know this will surprise many of you but I have occasionally shot my mouth off when things would have been better left unsaid. I truly believe that I have been called to be somewhat of a cheerleader of the faith, to encourage believers young and old to continue in their fight of faith by using my mouth as weapon of warfare for the Lord’s work. And then there are those times…

The times that I have to pray that the Lord will shut my mouth because it will say things that “ought not so to be.” I don’t always heed my mother’s advice. As a child in the Strange Creek Grocery store in Braxton County, WV I once corrected an old man’s grammar. My mother wasn’t long about lining me out that she could correct my grammar because that was her job, it was not my job to correct anyone’s. God and I had that same talk this morning…. I’m still a slow learner.

It generally happens when I’m frustrated because of circumstances or hurt. I sometimes am my own cheerleader. “Who do they think they are? Here I am trying to encourage the believers and do the will of God, I’m the one down in the trenches, the one who’s been committed to the Lord’s work for the last 17 years, the one who’s fought Hell with a water pistol and they have the audacity to…” Yea… that’s godly right? So I have to pray, God give me the bridle, put the bits in my mouth and yank them tight or I’m going to do damage.

I heard God say, “That’s not your job.”

James’ words convicted my heart this morning, my prayer was answered. God bridled my tongue and I understood what James meant when he said “and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” The old nature shouts, “Give’em a piece of your mind.” The new nature says “you’re supposed to have the mind of Christ.” The old nature says, “Curse them.” The new nature says, “God made them, you have no right.”

There’s a war within me, you too for that matter; and I don’t want to set a fire with a course for hell. Did you catch that in James’ words? I sure did. I believe that it was God’s way of saying to me this morning. Those piddley things in life don’t mater… unless you allow Satan to use them to blind the eyes of a sinner and they go to Hell. That I’ll lay to your charge.

Bridle me Lord! Amen.