Tuesday, March 15, 2011


So my most recent blog is personal to me as it comes on the heels of approximately 8 weeks of studying the power of words in my small group that I'm leading. We meet once a week up at Rosa's house (for those of you who've been here, it's the yellow house in the Mangoes we can see from our porch...Lester's house). We've talked about the power of words in our personal lives, with our families, and with our friends. Last night we talked about the power of words in our relationship with God. I'd like to share what I learned:

We started in Psalm 103. In the Bible study we read just verses 1-6, but I've included the whole passage, because it's REALLY encouraging:

 1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
   all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
   and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
   and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
 6 The LORD works righteousness
   and justice for all the oppressed.
 7 He made known his ways to Moses,
   his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
   slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
   nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
   or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
   so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
 13 As a father has compassion on his children,
   so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
   he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
   they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
   and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
   the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
   and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
   and remember to obey his precepts.
 19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
   and his kingdom rules over all.
 20 Praise the LORD, you his angels,
   you mighty ones who do his bidding,
   who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
   you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works
   everywhere in his dominion.
   Praise the LORD, my soul.

This Psalm of praise is completely mind blowing!! David reminds us to do two things, two verbs, Praise (some versions say Bless) and Forget not. Why?!? Because of ALLLLLL the verbs the Lord DOES for us...Forgives. Heals. Redeems. Crowns. Satisfies. Renews. Works righteousness and justice. Has compassion and grace. Is slow to anger. Abounds in love. Will not always accuse. Will not harbor anger. Does not treat our sins as we deserve or repay the wrong we do....etc., etc., etc. Our praise helps remind us of all the blessings the Lord has for our lives. But praise is not always easy. The next passage we looked at is from Hebrews 13.

15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise
—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
The fruit of lips singing praise... :)
Hebrews also talks about the same two verbs, Praise and Forget not. But Hebrews also reminds us that praise is a sacrifice. To sacrifice means to “surrender”,  to “give-up” , “to offer” something of value that we would rather hold on to. Our praise and worship is most valuable to the Lord, it is a sweet smelling aroma to Him.  No gift is greater than that of praise and worship from the lips of his children.  To withhold Praise does nothing for our lives. We see no blessing. But it is the “letting go” that truly reaps great benefits (ALL the benefits mentioned in Psalms 103). Rather than murmur and complain over life circumstances, rather than weep and moan, rather than give into despair and hopeless, rather than becoming angry with God for allowing bad situations to happen, we should instead begin to PRAISE!  Begin to offer up to the Lord, the “Sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.”  When we do this our words reaches the ears of a Father who is delighted by it. And it can seem like such a sacrifice at times, especially when we don't want to, don't feel good, have a bad attitude, life is poopy, but that is when the sacrifice costs us the most and is most pleasing.

On the flip side, what happens when our words are just words? Isaiah 29 puts it this way:

 13 The Lord says:
   “These people come near to me with their mouth
   and honor me with their lips,
   but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
   is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
   with wonder upon wonder;
the wisdom of the wise will perish,
   the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
Lip Service

Wow. This is harsh. And yet so true. How many times in our lives do we give lip service but not have our heart in what we're doing? We go to church because that's what we've always done. It's what's expected. But this is not a sacrifice. It's hollow and empty. This is what happens when we blah, blah, blah with our mouths but there is no connection to our hearts. We speak without thinking or do it because it's become a routine. What God desires is true worshippers who worship and praise in spirit and in truth. When we have a reconnection between the few inches of our mouths to our hearts, that makes all the difference in the world.

PS: Nobody likes a potty mouth.

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