Tag Archive | Bible

Wussy and Powerful Words (Or, The Power of Life and Death)

Oh Lord, let my words be pleasing to you.

Imagine if you will, you are a newly hired travel guide in the desert. You position yourself at a fork in the road, where travelers have a clear choice to go in one direction or another. Two choices: to speak life or death (according to Proverbs 18:21). You are happy in your new role as travel guide. You make conversation with the caravans as they pass, greeting them, and telling them to “be blessed” and “be well” and “God bless you.” You tell caravan after caravan to “turn right onto the path of righteousness and truth, life and light.” Turn right. Turn right. Turn right.

After a while of standing in the hot desert sun you become thirsty.  The next caravan draws near and you shorten your pleasantries, simply saying “Right,” and point in the direction the travelers should go. You ask them for water as they pass, but they have none to spare.

Time passes. The road is empty of travelers. You grow weary. You’ve not had a drink in far too long. You grow angry. “Why won’t someone bring me water,” you think to yourself. Night falls and morning rises. No travelers.

Time passes. On the horizon, you see a caravan. You are beyond weary. You’ve had no fulfillment of bread or water. You are grumpy, beaten down, confused by the enemy. The caravan grows closer and closer still. You ask if they have water, but they have none to spare. Out of spite, you tell them to “Turn left,” even though you know that path leads to destruction, unhappiness, darkness, and death. You don’t care. It’s not really your problem. They still could have chosen to “Turn to the right.”

_____________

Isn’t it easy to get sucked into negative things we can do with our words? Take for instance – in our modern world- gossiping, lying, name-calling, sarcastic “joking,” and disrespect. The Bible tells us “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Proverbs 18:21 That means all of those things we dismiss as “no big deal” are actually a very big deal. If our words do not invite the light of Christ to permeate the atmosphere, then we are not speaking life.
Imagine what our workplace, families, and Bible study groups would be like if we spoke life into people instead of death? What if we complimented instead of judged? What if we encouraged instead of criticized? “The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.” Psalm 37:30

What if, instead of complaining to God, we praised Him? “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Oh Lord, I pray that our words reflect your light and glory.  Let us choose to speak life, and not death. “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord: keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

Advertisements

Potter’s clay

“…I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’” Zechariah 13:9
2009
I am kneeling on the floor, my elbows propped on my bed. I have just given my life to Jesus and asked him into my heart, and now sit for the first time at the potter’s wheel:
I am not the Potter and don’t claim to be, but I am sitting in the lap of Jesus, his arms reach around me to show me how to handle the wheel. Together we are starting to mold the clay of my life. I drop the clay down onto the wheel, slowly adding water to make it soft enough to center and mold. God presses the pedal with his foot, speeding up the wheel. I trust Him fully. I hold my hands firmly against the wheel, cupping the clay in my hands.
I don’t yet know that my clay will take various shapes and forms. I don’t yet know that a few times I will walk away and get distracted by idols until I realize my clay is drying up completely. I do know that with a little water (the word, the voice of the Lord, worship, prayer) my clay will come back to life again.
Sometimes my clay loses its shape altogether; a lumpy or flat mess with imperfections, air bubbles, or pieces of dry clay strewn throughout. Again, with a little cleansing from the Lord, my clay soon grows taller and smoother, taking great shape.
2011
My hands are stained from the constant work with the clay, and my eyes are weary from the late nights in the art studio. My artwork (hardly a masterpiece) has finally reached a desirable shape in the Lord’s eyes. My clay is now a lovely jar- an alabaster jar. He says to me, “My daughter, it is time.” And into the kiln it goes.
2013
Now that my alabaster jar has been fired in the kiln, it no longer smells like smoke. It did not burn, it did not explode. It was able to withstand the heat, because the Master and Creator of the Universe was the one who helped me form it. (Daniel 3:27)
I offer my jar to The Lord. He looks at me, then looks down at it, seemingly telling me that there are things I don’t yet know about my own jar. So I run my fingers over it, but recognize the grooves, the chips, and the spots that are worn down. I swirl it around and am surprised to hear liquid inside. When I thought I was empty, God filled me up with the fountain of eternal life. (John 4:14). God tells me that there is still more to the jar, and I lower my nose to the opening. Inside is the most luscious and pure perfume I have ever smelled. It is not a smell of Roses or lilacs, but it is the sweet fragrance of flowers of which only God knows the names.
I tap it firmly but gently against the ground to crack and break it until the liquid pours out. I then proceed to wipe Jesus’ tender feet with the sweet perfume inside. These are the feet that pressed the Potter’s wheel faster and slower, forward and backward. These are the feet that he told me to trust and to follow. These are the feet that carried me through the fire when I could not rely on my own strength, (Philippians 4:13). These are the feet that walked a bloodied and beaten body carrying a wooden cross up a hill- a cross with my name on it, my sins on it, my heartache on it. These are the feet that were pierced with nails to that same cross. These are the feet that walked out of the tomb three days later, and will never return to the grave. (Romans 6:9).
I take my small sacrifice, my most prized possession -my alabaster jar, my life- and I break it at the foot of the cross to bathe the feet of The Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is The one who knows all I’ve done wrong, who died for me, who forgives me, and who loves me still. I do not deserve to wipe his feet, but he is proud of my jar- imperfections and all. He is also proud of the sweetest perfume held inside, and asks that I reserve some to share with others. That, my friends, is what I am doing.
With love and blessings,
Cait