Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The tongue and the word

Last night, I joined Tony and his crew for the down town ministry. Until now, I've only been going up to the coffee shop at 9:00 for the Dream Team.

I didn't want to participate in the down town ministry. No particular reason other than. . . I didn't want to be bothered.

One day as I prayed, I realized God was not limiting me, I limited myself. I cannot grow in love without extending beyond my comfort zone.

The down town ministry was birthed out of Tony's self-extension, realizing he needed to get out of the four walls of the church. For over a year, he met with a team down at the beach to witness of Christ, cold, to passers-by.

Then, God put on his heart to go door-to-door in one of the worst neighborhoods - an old apartment complex - and ask people if he and our friend Ted could pray for them.

Two years later, a team of people meet in down town house churches and prayer walk the area.

Subtly, God spoke to me about going. You know, one of those ways where I could've said no as easily as saying yes.

I decided to say yes. So, last night, sitting in a hot apartment with interesting smells, I studied the book of James with men and women who were down but not out.

I instantly loved them, felt their pain, and wondered at what point they made the decision that brought them to the life they now led - out of work, fighting drugs or alcohol, apart from their families.

And I learned from James. For over a decade now, I've been on a word diet, watching what I say and how. God seriously impressed on me the power of my words and how I cannot tear down those He wants to build up.

So, look at what James writes in chapter three.

"Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire."

A horse is our individual destinies we set with our tongue - good or evil. A ship represents the destiny of many. Our tongue can hurt others as much as hurting ourselves.

Sticks and stones can break our bones, but words can destroy us and those around us - friends, family, co-workers.

So, with my new friends, I was reminded of the power of my speech and to guard my tongue. Speak life and hope, not death and despair.

I remember when I first signed with Thomas Nelson. I was so excited. Then hit with panic. "I can't write for them," I said. "I'm not good enough."

The Lord gently tapped me on the shoulder. "Hey, keep prophesying that to yourself and don't be surprised when bad happens."

Oops. I repented and began to declare good things. I was the "little writer that could" and I said it over and over.

Besides, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Don't agree with the negative feelings and circumstances. While they may be real and need confrontation, don't agree with every bad or negative thought and feeling. It will get you nowhere!

Figure out what God says about you and declare it over yourself.

Okay, more later on Sweet Caroline behind the scenes. I know I promised to write it and never did!

Peace, peace!


Sharon Hayes said...

Rachel, what a testimony. You are such a Godly example to me.

Love Mom

Rebekah said...

good post, sistah