"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
January 18, 2017
I'm pretty sure that I've probably written about the tongue and our words at some point during the past (almost) ten years that I've been writing these newsletters. But once again, it's something that has been on my mind. Maybe, it's because God has to keep reminding me over and over again to watch my words!
Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences."
Then in James 3:7-10 tells us: "People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!"
James 3:2 says, "Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way."
These verses pretty much sum up the power that our words have. What we say can bring death or life, blessing or cursing. And some days, the words that we speak may bring both. As James wrote, "This is not right!"
I daresay that many Christians would proclaim that they never speak words of death or cursing. I'm not necessarily referring to using profanity, although that's not a good idea, but rather about speaking words that inflict harm or punishment or misery to someone.
It seems as if in the past couple of weeks, numerous times I've heard or read sermons or quotes about the power of our words. When that happens, it tends to get my attention.
What we speak about people or situations shows our expectations. Our words can make a difference in our attitude, they can make a difference in how we view people, they can affect how we see situations, and express our expectation of others. They can affect the atmosphere of our homes.
There is something that my niece speaks over her kids every morning. She hugs each of the children, individually, and says, "Be kind, be smart, be blessed. You're the head and not the tail; you'll rise above, you will not fail. I love you very much!" She is speaking words of life into her son and daughters. This is her expectation for them.
My sister, who is this particular niece's mom, would say similar to her kids when they were growing up. Each morning before they left for school, she would tell them, "You're the head and not the tail; you rise above and will not fail." All three of her kids were successful in school. Maybe they would have been without her speaking these words over them each day, but it let the kids know what their parents expectations were.
What my sister spoke, and my niece is now speaking, over their children is taken from Deuteronomy 28:13. "If you listen to those commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.
My sister has a 15 year old adopted deaf son, who struggled for many years in his learning, due to lack of language development in his early years. He has greatly improved, but still has difficulties in some subjects. Everyday, Janie tells him, "You are so smart! I let you do challenging work, because I know that you can." She lets him know her expectations and speaks life to him.
When parents focus on the problems their kids may be having; whether it be in learning, behavior, rivalry, temperament, etc.; and that's what they post on Facebook and talk about in the home and talk about to other people in front of the children, then the kids will feel that that is the parent's expectations for them. They will think that their parents must expect them to fight and argue and not get along, or make bad grades and struggle in school, or have behavioral or emotional issues..... because that's what they are hearing spoken to or about them; or reading on Facebook posts. If you want peace in your home, then speak peace in your home. If you want successful children, speak words of affirmation over them. Stop the negative words and speak life and blessing! Pray and prophesy God's Word over each child.
I recently heard a sermon where a minister (I think it was Joyce Meyer) was speaking on this topic. She said that often we don't like the atmosphere in our home. We don't like what our spouse or kids are doing or how they're acting and think, "If only they would straighten up! If only they would listen to me and let me fix them! My life would be so much more peaceful and much better!" But the problem may not be our spouse or kids; it may be us. We may need to change our attitude and outlook. We may need to change our expectations and perception. Our words may need to change. Instead of praying, "Lord, change them," we need to pray, "Lord, change me!"
A few days ago, I watched a video clip of Pastor Bill Johnson, from Bethel Church in Redding, CA, preaching about, 'I'm Anointed to be a Dad'. He said, "I'm anointed to be a dad! That's what I've prayed about more than any other thing." When his kids were still at home, he would go into their room every night, after they had fallen asleep, and lightly lay his hands on them and pray for them. This wasn't just a one time or occasional thing that he did when he remembered; but he did this every single night, unless he was out of town. He would prophesy over them, saying, "God has given you a heart to know Him. You will impact nations." He would talk to them when they were awake. Two things that he would say to them were: "You are part of a team that is here to change the world"; and "Ask God what is impossible, that you want Him to do." He would then tell them to go to sleep with that on their mind. He would study the Bible to find promises specifically about family. He wanted to succeed at home, then let that be the inspiration for everything else. Bill Johnson was pastor of a large church, but that wasn't his main goal. In this sermon, he said, "I don't want to succeed everywhere else, except at home! That's not success for me. I want to succeed at home, then that spill out to everything else."
Godly parenting doesn't necessarily come naturally. It takes a lot of prayer. It requires a lot of time. It also means that when you make mistakes, you get back up again and keep trying. You learn and grow, and teach your children by being a godly example -- in your actions, as well as your speech.
Bill Johnson quoted an African proverb that says: "If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others." Families need one another. Dads and moms need one another, they need their kids, children need their parents, kids need their siblings, they need grandparents; and they all need God. Members of a family can't have a "loner" mentality, but they need to depend on and help and encourage and love one another. If each person tries to succeed alone, they may go fast, but their not going to be successful and will have a very lonely existence. But if they want to go far, then they do so together, as a family.
I knew a couple of parents that frequently complained about their kids. Someone confronted this particular couple, and said something like, "Your poor kids, it must be hard knowing you feel like that." Their answer made perfect sense to them: "Oh, we never say that in front of them."
Wow. Okay, first of all, what if the kids ever overheard them by accident? That would be heartbreaking to know that your parents talked bad about you behind your back.
And second, even if they don't, every time they say something bad, it reinforces and strengthens their bad attitude. It's a little like someone who is afraid of water. Just thinking about getting into a boat can scare them so much they can get even more afraid of the water. And getting out of a boat ride will be such a relief it will reinforce that it was good to avoid the boat. The more bad someone says about others, the more they expect to see bad in them.
And lastly, words have more power than just communicating. Even if the parents only talk bad about their kids in the privacy of driving alone, their words are still damaging. In a way, it becomes something like a prayer.
So, please be careful. Not just about your kids, but about yourself and anyone else.
Fried Pork and Rice
Pork, cut into bite-sized pieces or small strips
egg & milk mixture
(I used pork steaks) Cut the meat off the bone, if not a boneless cut, and cut into large bite-sized pieces. Whip together 1-2 eggs, depending on the amount of meat being cooked, with a couple tablespoons of milk. In a separate bowl, mix together flour with salt and pepper, or a seasoned salt (I used Lawry's Seasoned Salt) Dip the pieces of meat in the egg mixture, then into the flour. In a skillet, heat some oil. Place the breaded pork into the hot grease and cook until browned on both sides. Remove the meat from the skillet and place in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes, or until meat is tender and cooked all the way through.
Soy Sauce & Seasonings
Cook amount of rice desired. In the skillet that you cooked the meat in, melt 1 stick of butter (less if you're making a small amount) in the meat drippings. You can saute onion, if desired (I didn't). Scramble 2-3 eggs in the butter/meat dripping mixture (there will be quite a bit of excess butter!). Pour the rice in a large serving bowl (I used a smaller roaster pan), pour the egg/butter mixture over the top. Add in onion powder, garlic powder, and soy sauce, to taste. Stir well to coat the rice.
Place the pork pieces over the top of the rice and serve.
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Today's Sermon: How Much Can a Man Drink?; with hymns from a full choir.
Ushers will eat latecomers.
Direction is so much more important than speed.
Many are going nowhere fast. - Christine Caine
We love you!
Loretta & Jon