In memory of Meagen
The Spirit Has the Words
Read Romans 8:22-26
“ . . . For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
-Romans 8:26 (NKJV)
I prayed at her bedside for healing of the cancer that ravaged her body. At the age of twenty-eight, she had the promise of life, and three small children who needed their mother. Assembled in the surgery waiting room with family and friends, we held hands and prayed. When the test results returned, the tear-soaked eyes of her husband pleaded for something more promising than the treatments offered to his wife, so we prayed again.
There are moments in life when words evaporate, times when we yearn to tell the Lord how much our heart aches, but we feel as though we have used all the syllables. We try to call out, but our language doesn’t contain the words that our tongue can use to express our anguish. During this time of weakness the Holy Spirit speaks to God for us. The Spirit of Christ takes our silent groaning, the thoughts and feelings we can’t put into voice, and places them at the feet of the Almighty. So when you don’t know what to say—just pray.
Heavenly Father, hear the cries of your children through your Spirit. Comfort us with your tender hand. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, amen.
Rory C. Keel
Come on, you’ve said it before, or a least thought it. I have the right to say what ever I want, right? The Bible describes this as the attitude of one who refuses to surrender their speech to the Lord.
“Who have said, with our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” Psalm 12:4
As Christians, Jesus Christ is Lord over us, and as those who have “tasted His goodness,” then we are commanded to put away “all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings…” 1 Peter 2:1-3
No, I cannot be the lord of your lips, but simply a messenger bringing this word, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:” 1 Peter 3:10
My prayer today is that you will let Jesus Christ be the Lord of your lips. “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. ” Psalm 141:3
It seems too easy to hurt the people closest to us, the people we love the most. Many times people only realize this when they see the tears of pain fall from the eyes of their spouse because of hurtful words. A lifetime of friendship can be severed for years, and church brethren destroyed simply by speaking evil about them.
God has always taken speaking evil against brethren seriously. His anger was kindled against Aaron and Miriam when they were not “afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” Num. 12:8
The Evangelist Timothy was told not to even receive a charge against an Elder “but before two or three witnesses.” 1 Tim. 5:19
So serious is it for brethren to speak against another that when we do, we dethrone the Lord lifting ourselves into His place and presume judgment. “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.” James 4:11
When you speak evil against one of your brethren, you are speaking like the devil.
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Rev. 12:10
Don’t speak like the Devil. Consider what the Lord did, when the Devil stood before him and accused YOU!
Have you ever heard the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me?” Sure you have, and you probably heard it the same time every one else heard it – After you were hurt by someone’s words.
You see, this saying isn’t true! We only use it to try and sooth the pain and hurt that already exists.
Did you ever tell a lie or say hurtful things about someone else, then when they’re clearly in pain you tried to “Fix it” by saying, “I was just kidding!” or “I really didn’t mean it!” –It’s too late, your words hurt them.
The Bible says that words can be as hurtful as throwing a flammable substance on someone to burn them, or as deadly as shooting them. The Bible describes it this way, “As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, 19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?” Proverbs 26:18-19
The word of God teaches, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29
When you open your mouth to speak, you are the deliverer of words that can deliver pain and suffering or words that can build someone up!
A saying I frequent hear is “You can’t judge my heart!”
While only Jesus can gaze directly into the deeply hidden recesses of your heart and soul, there is at least one way every one else can determine what kind of heart you have.
That is by what you say when you open your mouth. Jesus said, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:” Mt.15:18-19
When you open your mouth to speak, YOU uncover your heart and reveal it to the world.
Ask your self these questions: Am I a picky eater? Am I afraid to taste certain foods because they look “NASTY?” If I put in my mouth nasty and smelly things, would my friends declare me “weird” and stay away from me?
Jesus said, “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.” MK. 7:15
You see, it’s not what goes into us that pollutes us, but what come out of our mouths revealing our hearts, who we really are inside.
If only we were as picky about what we said, as we are about what we eat. Think about it.
Rory Craig Keel
Phil. 3: 18-20 “(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” (kjv)
Tears flooded her eyes, then ran down the young woman’s cheeks as she begged her husband not to leave, “This is your home, not over there with her!”
“I’ve got it and I’ll flaunt it, because I’m HOT!” the young girl screamed at her father when he pleaded with her to put on more clothes and cover herself. With the fear that her world would be crushed by some boy who didn’t care, he said, “This is not who you are!”
“When you’re around your friends, you are so rude and arrogant. All you think about is that car!” The mother told her rebellious son.
Why do we find it so easy to satisfy the fleshly desires? Why do we take such glory and pride in things that reveal our shame? Why do we place such importance on the things of this world? Perhaps, it is because we find it so easy to forget who we are and where we belong.
Remember who you are, and where you’re from, “For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:”
In the past few years identity theft has be come a rapidly growing crime. People take your information and use it for their advantage, leaving you with a mess to deal with. There are many forms of identity theft occurring with many more being discovered, yet there is one that is most dangerous. We read in Isa 14:12-14 “…For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will be like the Most High” From the beginning of time Satan has attempted to take God’s place and he uses the Word of God deceitfully, as illustrated in Gen 3:4-5. Satan caused Adam and Eve to commit sin by lying to them about what God’s commandment meant and what the punishment for disobedience would be. Satan continues to deceive many people for his own benefit and does not care about the damage done to others. You don’t have to go very far to see Satan’s handiwork, simply open your local phone book to the ‘churches’ section.
The Holy Spirit taught in 1Cor 1:10 “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you ; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” In a perfect world, everyone would believe and obey God and belong to only one church: His church. Unfortunately this is not the case and as in the Garden, God’s commandment has been subtly changed. It’s not really THAT bad if people go to the church of their choosing and practice however they want, right? Many people are comfortable with this idea and believe that as long as they are serving under the banner of Christianity they are safe. But Christ says in Mat 7:21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” The stipulation to being a true Christian is “he that doeth the will of my Father”, otherwise we will be considered as “ye that work iniquity”. Sadly though, instead of relying on the Bible, many people rely on feelings of spirituality as a standard. That is one reason Christ says in Mat 7:13 “..for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat..”.
Thousands of “Christian” books have been published with the intention of helping others and the reality is that these books may be hurting others. I’m not saying that all books are bad, only that we need to be careful about what we are reading because it could be filled with subtle error. Don’t be fooled by something that ‘feels’ right or ‘seems’ good. Remember that Satan has even tried to make Christ fall (Mat 4:1-11) by twisting the scriptures.
Luke 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
In the last devotional on Martha, we read the story and looked at a proper perspective of hospitality, and how Martha was worried over the little things in that moment in time, and needed to realize the importance of listening to the words of the Master. We mentioned briefly that the lesson we could learn goes beyond hospitality but also in every aspect of life. In this devotional, I would like to deepen our thinking, and cause us to really judge whether we are more like Martha, or Mary.
First of all, I can sympathize with Martha, because as the keeper of my home, I find myself running around like crazy cleaning an otherwise messy house before a friend will stop by. I often get looks from my husband like I’m trying too hard to impress, and maybe I should just let them know who we really are… But we do that, don’t we? We will do whatever it takes to appear to have it together. We will stress ourselves out over things that do not matter because we feel it defines us.
Let’s examine Mary just a little closer. Why was she ignoring her sister’s need for help? Was it because she was lazy? No. On the contrary, Mary had it all together. As mentioned before, she realized that the little things didn’t matter, but the conversation and lessons she could learn from Jesus did. What did Jesus mean when he said that one thing was needful? He told Martha that Mary had chosen it, and it would not be taken away from her. What does that mean for us? Let’s put these ideas and attitudes to the test in our daily lives.
What do we value more, volunteering in the community and giving to charities, or inviting people into our home for a bible study, doing what we can to teach people how God wants them to live? What will be more beneficial in the long run? Both are great, but there is one thing that separates them. It’s the state of mind, the priorities. One is carnally minded; the other is spiritually minded. Don’t get me wrong, volunteering in our community or giving to charities is a great work, and can be used to glorify God, but if that’s all we are doing with our time, then we are missing the point. One thing is needful, and that is that the gospel is spread and people are saved by it.
Mary is a great example to remind us to keep our focus on things above, not on things of the earth. It is completely one hundred percent unnatural for us, but that is why we are told to renew our minds.
Rom. 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
I don’t believe this verse is just simply talking about how we change our way of life, and put away sinful behavior for Godly behavior, but it says to renew our minds, meaning it goes beyond our works to our thought process. After all, Martha wasn’t acting in some sinful way, she was doing a good work in her serving, but her priority wasn’t where it needed to be.
In Matthew chapter six Jesus says not to even think about food, or drink, or clothes, because our Heavenly Father is aware of our need. Verse 33 says to seek first the Kingdom of God, and all else would be given to us. How many times do we worry about our carnal lives, and seem to forget that our neighbor is without the gospel? Now it’s perfectly natural to think about what we will eat tomorrow, and consider the new clothes Junior needs. We are human beings with real problems and issues to deal with, but first of all, God knows our need and He has promised to provide for us. Secondly, how many times do we get caught up in little things like when no one will agree on what restaurant to eat at, or how to please everyone with what temperature to put the air conditioner on? Have we really renewed our mind?
I believe we can learn a great lesson from Mary. If we will learn how to put away our worldly thoughts, we will be able to be a light in our community. So which sister are you most like? Is there an area in your Christian walk that you can improve? Think about it.
Many Christians justify their interaction with ungodly friends as being a form of outreach. They say, “Jesus hung out with all sorts of bad people.” But is that a true statement? Do we find Jesus seeking the “wrong” crowd for social interaction?
Mat 9:10 “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
There is a common misconception about Christ’s relationship with beggars, prostitutes, crooks and thieves. When you look at Christ’s example, we find him hanging out with his disciples! Yes, ungodly people came to him, but notice, when they came, they came with a repentant heart.
Luk 7:37 “And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. ”
Jesus did not seek those who were unwilling to repent to join his entourage. He surround himself with those who strived to be godly.
We are told in Rom 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” How are we Christ-like when we spend most of our social interaction with those of the world? In 1Co 15:33 we read “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” The Bible teaches that evil associations corrupt good morals. You are more likely to conform to the image of those around you than to maintain the image of Christ if you are unequally yoked with unbelievers. In 2Co 6:14 we read “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
Can you have ungodly friends? Maybe, but you really need to decide why you have that friendship. Is it to lead them to the Lord? Is it so you can blend in? Is it because you like their lifestyle and want to experience a taste of worldliness without all of its side effects? If you think you can work off the sin calories on Sunday, you are mistaken.
Rom 1:28 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. “
I learned a principle many years ago that has always stuck with me: “you are who you hang with.” So why put your soul in danger? Maintain and build healthy friendships with those in the Lord.
Luke 10: 38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by everything that needed done, especially when entertaining someone in your home? Daily life requires a certain amount of cooking and cleaning anyway, and when you have company, you feel that burden so much more. You want the house to look perfect; you want your food to be tasty, and hopefully not burnt, so you are running around like crazy trying to prepare for and serve your guest.
I love Martha’s hospitality that we see in this text. She welcomes Jesus and his disciples into her house. The impression we get is that she is not only serving them, but is busy with all the preparation. I believe her heart is in the right place, so why does it appear that Jesus rebukes her?
Well, notice Mary. She is sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to whatever He was saying, instead of helping Martha to serve. I can imagine the annoyance that would be. You are busy trying to serve and do a good thing, but the burden is heavy and you are left to do it alone, while your sister sits and does nothing. Again, from first appearance, Martha seems right on track, and Mary seems to need a little kick in the right direction. So why is it that Jesus doesn’t see it this way?
I believe Jesus is trying to teach Martha a bigger lesson here. There are little things in life, and then there are big things. Although it is wonderful and important to be hospitable and to want to serve others in our home, in this case, Martha was so concerned over what needed to be done that she failed to see the big picture.
Mary saw and realized the value of listening to the words of the Master. The housework could wait. The food didn’t have to be perfect. The lessons she would learn at Jesus’ feet were more important than anything else. Jesus is gently trying to make Martha understand that to get caught up in the little things will only overwhelm you, and you will miss out on those that are more important.
Although we do not have the pleasure of physically welcoming Jesus into our home, we have plenty opportunities to be hospitable to others, whether it be to an evangelist, an elder in our congregation, or our neighbor across the street. I encourage you to take those opportunities to serve, but in doing so, keep in mind that the conversations, the friendships and the company you keep is more important than if your house is perfectly presentable. How wonderful it is to visit with someone about biblical things, to strengthen each other’s faith and test each other’s knowledge. The conversation we can have with our brothers and sisters in Christ can help us grow spiritually. We can gain so much wisdom by a simple conversation around a dinner table. And I believe the lesson we can learn from Martha goes beyond keeping hospitality in perspective, but in every aspect of our life. In the next devotional we will look deeper at what that means for us today. We need to know and realize that the mission is before us. There are souls to save. There are more important things that our daily activities. So let’s spend our time with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Whether it be to receive help when we feel down, or to strengthen others in their walk, it is amazing what we can accomplish in the Kingdom when we are working together. Sometimes it’s better to leave the dishes for later. After all, they’re not going anywhere!
Prov. 15:7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
Prov. 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.