Monday, February 23, 2015

Control Your Tongue as Jesus Controlled His


Dear Friends,
Think about how Jesus wonderfully bridled his own tongue.  Think of all the times it must have been hard for Him to keep quiet.  The last time He saw the disciples in the upper room, for example, He said to them, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear” (Jn. 16:12).  He told them that when the Holy Spirit came, He would explain things further.  Can you imagine if you or I had knowledge that today was the last time we would be with those closest to us?  Our first inclination would be to talk our heads off, whether or not those listening were able to understand us.  Jesus, out of love and concern for His disciples, knew there was “a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:7), and that this was a time to keep silent.  And so He did.  His Spirit, which He sent to live in us, can help us to do the same!
All through Jesus’ ministry, people wondered at the gracious words that came out of His mouth.  No bitter water sprang from the lips of the Lord Jesus!  Maybe strong words, maybe fierce words or righteously angry words, but above all, they were gracious words.
So Jesus in me can help me bridle my tongue, control my temper, and choose fitting words for me to speak that meet any and all situations.  When our tongue starts to lead us into rough waters, we have to allow the Pilot to turn our ship about and steer us to safety (Jas. 3: 2-6).
If we do not want our words to cause a shipwreck, we need to give Jesus the rudder.  Have you ever done that?  You can kneel down and say, “Jesus, it says in the Bible that all my members must be yielded to You.  My hands, my feet, my heart, my mind, my ears, my eyes, and my tongue.”  If you think about each of the parts of your body, especially the tongue, and give them one by one to God and ask Him to control them, He will.
God takes seriously the words of all His followers:  not just teachers, but listeners and learners too.  Jesus said, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken” (Matt. 12:36).
Blessings,


Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fighting the "Me" Trap


Dear Friends,
Erma Bombeck (one of my favorite prophetesses), commented wisely in a newspaper column I clipped more than thirty years ago:

“During the last year, I have dissected my marriage, examined my motives for buying, interpreted my fantasies, come to grips with midlife, found inner peace, outer flab, become my best and only friend.  I have brought order to my life, meditated, given up guilt, adjusted to the new morality, and spent every living hour understanding me, interpreting me, and loving me.  And… you know what?  I am bored to death of me.”

The results of being egocentric instead of Christocentric are boredom, lack of fulfillment, and a bad self-image.  It stands to reason that God’s creatures living in God’s world, sustained by God, intended by God to live for God, will be pretty miserable divorced from God.

In his book titled The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis wrote about sin coming between God and humanity.  He believed that the remarriage of God and man through Christ’s death and resurrection brought reconciliation between the divorced parties.  Yet some Christians seem to flirt with the world for the rest of their lives, thus falling into the “me trap” and putting their relationship with God on hold.

God says that reconnection with Him will never be boring, for at His right hand are “eternal pleasures” (Ps. 16:11).  Those who have experienced this relationship will tell you that its pleasure will far outweigh any transitory pain.

How, then, do we get out of the “me trap”?  We can start by asking the Lord to lift the steel spring and set us free.  Christ has the strength not only to liberate us but also to keep us free!  But first we have to recognize that we have made the choice to follow Satan’s deception, to eat the cheese he offers.  We can start by looking at our reaction to suffering.  If we ask angrily, “What is this trouble doing in my life?” we have not realized that the trouble we are suffering is acceptable to the Lord and therefore should be acceptable to us.  If we continue angrily fighting against what God has allowed, we are well trapped into an attitude of mind that can only add to the trouble that has already invaded our lives!

Look to the Lord for a relationship of reconciliation that will keep you far from the “me trap.”

Blessings,


Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine