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Grace (study) pt 4

Grace_wordleI am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
John 15:5

God intends for his grace to be the only source of my ability to do anything.

The greatest blessing you can pray for someone is to pray for grace & peace from the Father be upon them.

 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:   John 1:12

The power is God’s GRACE to live!
We notice that there’s a colon at the end of that verse, so we must continue on….

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

If Jesus is full of grace and truth, what should we also be full of?

And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. John 1:16

The more we yield to the will of God, the more grace He provides. He only uses what we yield to Him. It isn’t God’s will to wrestle with us until we give in to His will. He is seeking those that will just let go.

What have we to fear in letting go? The devil?

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19

The devil can’t do anything to me that the Father doesn’t allow (remember Job?). We aren’t vulnerable to the devil. Our God is not frail and weak. He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). So anything that the devil throws at you is intended to grow you toward God.

God loves us so much that He will allow things to happen just to get rid of the parts of our nature that separate us from Him. Those attacks should be reminding us to humble ourselves, to seek God and to live a repentant lifestyle.

You can’t fear God & the devil at the same time.

Job was doing fine as long as he continued to worship God, but then he began to claim he didn’t deserve what he was going through.  Saying, “why me, I don’t deserve this trouble” is a way of blaming God for it.

We blame God when we can’t see past what’s happening to see what God really is doing.

How do I love God during trouble? Grace through faith.
Grace helps us to have the right attitude during the worst storms.

Credit to Bishop Chester Wright. This study can be found on YouTube by searching his name and “grace”

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Day 6: Taming your Tongue (The Argumentative Tongue)

The difference between being a divisive person (Day 5), and an argumentative person, is that a divisive person seeks to break up the unity between 2 or more people having the same point of view, and a argumentative person argues for the sake of enjoyment. It is almost like a “skills game” to them-if they run out of facts supporting their view, they (might) ultimately decide to attack the character of the person they are having the argument with, thus continuing the argument. Argumentative people enjoy the “bait and hook” of having someone on the defense side.

For many years I had prided myself on being able to win almost any argument. I honestly do not recall if I resorted to any “Character Assassinations,” but most likely I did. Shameful behavior, I admit. Now, I sit and wonder WHY did I spend all that time in an argumentative state. Looking back, being a “quarreler” did not enhance ANY relationship I was in, in fact, it caused the demise of quite a few.

It turns out, many people who are habitual arguers are born into families where that is a central form of communication. These children soon recognize that by winning an argument, they get some validation or boost to their (low) self esteem, by out arguing  their siblings or relatives.  This form of communication is as natural to them as regular conversation and positive feedback is in other families. The major problem with this pattern  is these children grow up, and they’re exposed to the diversities of other cultures and societal norm’s which they do know how to handle.  Given no guidance on how to conduct themselves in the “real world,” they generally follow one of two path’s.

The first, (most beneficial to them), is to realize that people can “agree to disagree,” and the world does not cease to exist. They learn that people have different perceptions of situations/objects/relationships..just about anything, and they learn to accept that it is OK not to agree, or argue about everything.

The second, (and least fortunate group), still carry on the destructive patterns they learned growing up. These quarrelers seem to stay primed and ready to fight day in and day out. If someone remarked “The sky is a beautiful blue today,” the quarreler would come up with a reason (sound or not) to dispute this. What saddens me is that winning an argument just for the sake of arguing, is the only way this adult has learned to receive validation, and the only way they feel good about themselves is by belittling or attacking another’s beliefs and point of view, pushing them into a corner where the “Victim” of this attack is forced to defend their opinion. The ultimate outcome for the quarreler is not to help others gain insight into a different perspective, or enrich their lives in any way. It is quarreling for self gratification, and has no societal benefits at all. These individuals generally get shunned early on, because let’s face it, who want’s to argue ALL the time. So, they are left with nothing but a small sense of self worth, about being “right” all the time. Small comfort in this world we live in.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 20 v 3, “It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.”  Also, Proverbs 17 v 14, “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.” (KJV)  In the NLT, it is summed up as “Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.”

Most children are taught to avoid fighting by “just walking away,” but this is generally advised where physical violence might happen. “Walking away” verbally can consist of saying “I see your point, however I disagree with it.” Now, to someone who is a quarreler, this might  nip their strategy in the bud, however, you might have to repeat it to get your message across.

Another way to avoid an confrontation is to partially agree with the quarreler. Now, this will completely throw them off their game. As I mentioned before, the quarreler is not trying to help you discover a new and interesting perspective on a subject, their goal is to just make you change your mind. So, if you were to agree with them, this would effectively end the argument.

King Solomon advised “A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.” (KJV) NLT explains, “Beginning a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” Wonderful advice from a mighty, knowledgeable King.

Jesus cautioned “Agree with thine adversary quickly….”  (KJV) Remembering that it takes 2 to argue, makes it easier not to let yourself get bound in the web of contention that a quarreler spins to trap you in. Some times, it would be prudent to say “OK, that is your opinion…” and then make a quick exit.

The most challenging thing for God’s children is to “learn to disagree without being disagreeable.” Not compromising our testimony is key when we disagree with someone. We must be careful to honor and glorify God by our words and actions. With our heart and tongue grounded by the Holy Spirit, we can lovingly disagree, and gracefully guard our opinion without setting a bad example. Surely we could stop a dispute by being mean-spirited, but this would only accomplish putting a stain on our testimony, and a lost opportunity to glorify our LORD and Savior.

Today’s Affirmation: I will resist becoming contentious by respecting everyone’s right to have his/her own values and views.

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Day 2: “Taming your Tongue”

Good morning my lovely friends! I am so excited after reading day 2 and day 3, that I woke up early and cannot wait to start on them!

Day 2: “The Flattering Tongue”

“These people…flatter others to get favors in return.”   ~Jude 1:16 (NLT)

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  Flatter: verb

1) To please by complimentary remarks or comments.

2) To praise or comment, INSINCERELY, effusively, or excessively.

3) To represent favorably; gratify by falsification. (That portrait flatters her.)

4) To show to an advantage. (That haircut flatters her face.)

5) To play up the vanities or susceptibilities of; cajole, wheedle or beguile. (They flattered him into contributing a large amount of money for the foundation.

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Jude 1:16 (KJV)  “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”

Proverbs 28:23 (KJV)  “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that flattereth with the tongue.

James 2:18 (KJV): For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.”

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I had a hard time with this study.

I write in my books-(colorful pens, today it is RED) in the margins, underlining, starring, exclamation points, circling passages..my study guide looks like it is bleeding from all the red ink in it!

I have written, edited, and rewritten this day’s study over and over. I am still not sure if it is exactly what I want it to convey, but if not, expect some further editing in the near future!

I think the problem stems from my own perception of what is flattery, and what is giving a compliment. My opinion was that there was very little difference between the two. That is, before I really began to investigate what the true meaning of the words were, and what they imply.

Admittedly, when I changed churches, and knew no one there at all, I felt isolated, and wanted to integrate myself into the congregation. I found that approaching the Worship Director with a sincere observation,  “I really enjoyed the choice of songs during worship and praise,” helped me get to know him, his wife and family sooner than if I waited until the next fellowship event at the church. But, the key here is that my words were/are not “A lie covered in a bed of flowery words.” They were/are a sincere description of how I felt/feel. But, I can also honestly say that my intent was to gain an intangible favor; and that was acceptance. The words I spoke had nothing to do with any feelings of “low self-worth,” I was just trying to make friends to fellowship with. As with the Sisters in church, I tried to find some common ground, whether it be our Bible covers, our clothing, our family life, whatever, to gain some meaningful friendships that allow me to fellowship beyond the perimeters of the church.

The author talks about how engaging in flattery is clear evidence of a lack of faith in the LORD’S ability to give favor to his children. Many times, it is clearly a Satanic attack. One remark said to us on a day we might be feeling emotionally fragile, can set off a whirlwind of self defeating thoughts, even if the remark was an innocent observation. This is clearly where the gift, and the use of discernment is valuable to us. We must be able to use our knowledge that the simple act of uttering the name “JESUS” will rebuke the intentions of Satan to destroy our faith in our LORD and SAVIOR. We must use our knowledge that only good things come from GOD, and not let our faith weaken even when we are ruled by our emotions-emotions of unworthiness, feeling unappreciated, unattractive, even unloved. We are vulnerable to flattery when Satan strikes at our insecurities and our hearts with all the negative emotions he has to offer.

Philippians 1:6 (KJV)  ” Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Je’sus Christ.”

Psalm 5:11,12  “But let all those that that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”

The Bible is full of examples of the LORD giving favor to his FAITHFUL children, with absolutely NO ACTION on their part. The example of the LORD giving Joseph favor in Egypt, even after he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, Joseph was not forgotten. The LORD rewarded his faithful servant with stewardship over Egypt’s entire food resources. What an honor. This man went from being a slave, to being held in high esteem by the King of Egypt.

So, what does this message tell me? It clearly shows me that no matter what the circumstance, the LORD has not forgotten me. He is till my stronghold and fortress in any and all storms.  That in my times of insecurity, when my eyes are downcast, Satan will rush in and pile all the negative emotions he can on me.

Knowing this, it is to my benefit to continually and without ceasing raise my eyes and ears to the heavens. I must use the discernment He has given me to sort the good intentions from the bad, to use words to glorify our LORD and not to deceive others, holding close the knowledge that Jesus always has my back, as long as I keep my eyes, ears and heart centered on Him.

Psalm 12:3:  The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips and the tongue that speaketh proud things.

As the author states “Is flattery worth being cut off from the blessings of God?

Today’s Affirmation: Job 32:21-22 (KJV)

“Let me not, I pray you, accept  any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.”

As I stated earlier; this day’s study was a real challenge. But like everything that has value, I had to work hard to get a complete understanding of the scripture.

To me, it is definitely NOT WORTH IT to be cut off from GOD for flattering someone. Nope, No WAY!!

Father, I am so blessed that you allowed me to open my mind and heart to gain knowledge of your word. I am also blessed that I am allowed to share my thought’s with others, and it is my prayer that someone, somewhere would draw closer to YOU by reading my thought’s and your quoted words. In Jesus name..Amen