A Valentine’s Day Thought or Two

I always get a card for John that makes me cry – it’s the one that reminds me what’s in my heart, way deep under the crud that’s not real, and not really me.

This year, I vow, I will speak much more often like that card.  “A smart girl,” I reason, “should be able to do this.”

So, that thing that I’ve spoken (groused, grumbled, murmured) so often about, and thereby made it a real thing, needs to just go away.  Because experience teaches me that until I put it away, and give it to God entirely, it’s here to stay.  I’m talking about a little thing, because so much of the time it really is the little stuff.

It’s the little bad stuff crowding out the REALLY BIG good stuff.  In my case, it’s like packing my wicker picnic basket with fried chicken, devilled eggs, potato salad, artichoke dip with radishes and celery sticks, plus nut-filled brownies, thermoses of both cold milk and hot coffee, a bottle of Moscato, and taking it all to the river with my lover, and then . . .  letting one mosquito spoil the day.

SMASH THE MOSQUITO!!!!  SAY “NOT JUST ‘NO’, BUT HELL, NO!!!”

How again, does a smart girl smash her mosquitoes?  With her tongue.  I read Proverbs every day, and I read the tongue scriptures out loud, so my smart self can HEAR and BELIEVE and RECEIVE them.  Amen!

Like so:  Proverbs 6:2 – You are snared by the words of your mouth, you are taken by the words of your mouth (not anymore!!!!); 8:9 – All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them; 10:19 – In the multitude of words sin is not lacking; 12:18 – There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health; 13:3 – He who guards his mouth preserves his life (and marriage!), but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction; 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger; 15:28 – The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil; 16:21 (especially for parenting) The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning; 17:18 (perhaps my favorite) Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

I vehemently exhort you to read Proverbs 17 and 18 for yourself, and as I have, highlight each tongue scripture, and then put a big black “T” next to it.  Then in Proverbs 20 we find that “any fool can start a quarrel (verse 3), and let us not forget the squirm-inducing verses 9 and 19 in Chapter 21:  Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman; and, Better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.

If that “angry woman” describes you (I think at times it describes all of us), get with God and get free.  “Free indeed” freedom is one of the many treasures Jesus purchased for us on the Cross. (you might begin with singing a little ditty such as, “I’m so free cause it SO aint all about me!”).

Oh, and Happy, Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day.  It’s yours for the saying.

Jesus the Homemaker

The Word of God tells us to “guard our hearts” and that sounds like a defensive posture, which sounds, well, defensive.  But it’s actually a preparation and strength posture.

I think of it in physical terms as the Keep of the Castle.  Guarding our hearts means keeping our hearts.  “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

The Keep is where the goods are, the sustenance, the abundance.  For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.

What is spoken will be.  Proverbs 18:21 tells us that there is the power of life and death in the tongue.  Focus on the word “power” there, and let’s ask ourselves this question:  Who has the power here – are we going to speak for Satan, words that will destroy our own lives, or are we going to speak for the Lover of our souls, the author and finisher of our faith?

James 3:2 says, “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body.”  The only thing more amazing to me than how little Christians know about the tongue’s power of life and death, is how often I speak as though I am a total tongue-power ignoramus.

I know and believe the Word’s admonitions regarding the tongue.  I have read and re-read Joyce Meyer’s Me and My Big Mouth. I know that I guard my heart, indeed my entire life, when my tongue is harnessed to the Holy Spirit via prayer and diligent attention to the Word.  I know and believe and have experienced the devastation wrought when I go ahead and wound my very own soul by speaking death words.

Death words are words of darkness and doom, of doubt and dismay.  Words with the power to open my heart right up to fear.  Then comes the physical manifestation – an actual poisoning of my entire system, also known as stress.

We guard our hearts with our tongues, and we guard our tongues when we guard our hearts.  A lovely life circle.  Or, we can go our own way . . . and say whatever the HELL (that’s where it’s from) we FEEL like saying.

What would Jesus have us say?  “Poor poor pitiful me?”  “Woe is me, I’m so misunderstood and unloved?”   “Why does this always happen to me?”

The answer is “none of the above.”  He would have us say, “God is my refuge, God is my strength, a very present help in trouble.”  He Himself would say, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” and “Where’s someone I can love and bless and heal and help?  Come unto me!” (John 7:37).

“Come unto me all ye who are weak and heavy laden.”  We weaken ourselves when we SPEAK the weakness.  Weakness is only a temporary fact, but it is not the truth of the matter.  The truth of the matter is what the Word of God says about it.  He is my shelter (Psalm 61:3), my strong tower, my very present help in trouble.  Sing the song I Will Arise (listen to Phil Driscoll do it first), “I will arise and go to Jesus.  He will embrace me in His arms.  In the arms of my dear Savior, oh there are 10,000 charms.”

What again, would Jesus say?  He would speak from a guarded heart, words of life.  His heart was guarded by his focus on and love for others.  He freed Himself to the beautiful life that is a life of caring for others.

Like, um, well, a Homemaker.