The Difference!

The Difference!

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 NIV

The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale. Proverbs 18:11 NIV

Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12 NIV

To answer before listening— that is folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13 NIV

How can a person respond to anyone–intelligently–before hearing what is said or asked?  When they respond without hearing the whole matter, it creates confusion and in many cases, after a person has had a chance to think about what they said–before hearing–they end up back-pedaling or switching positions on an issue or the question posed to them.

If a person has knowledge about a subject or is at least willing to seek knowledge from those who are wiser than he/she is–they might respond without hearing the whole matter out of anticipation. But if they anticipate the wrong question, the answer won’t make any sense at all. The wise course of action–hear a matter–in its entirety before speaking and when an answer is not known–don’t try faking knowledge because the truth will be exposed and that’s when the back-pedaling begins.

We must check our hearing to make sure we understand every nuance of every word before we attempt to respond to questions. We must be aware of our surroundings and check our sensitivity monitor. We cannot say the same things in every venue without regard for those who are listening to us. This does not mean we cannot speak truth–we simply need to be mindful of who is listening and phrase the truth without offending the hearer.

Of course there are those who are so arrogant and high-minded in thinking whatever they say is appropriate they never think before speaking. As a result, they always have to pull their foot of their mouths within hours of speaking rashly. It is this arrogance and haughtiness that will eventually expose them for who they are and then–they shall be humbled before the masses.

In certain venues or circles–those who have great wealth tend to think their wealth entitles them to say anything that comes to mind. They believe their economic status provides them with fortification/safety not afforded to others and they won’t suffer any wrong they do. Not so–the wealthy and the high-minded shall fall prey to their own arrogance and then some–if not most–will blame the media and anyone else for their downfall. They will whine louder than a petulant toddler who has been allowed to have their way about everything. Wise parents teach toddlers that they cannot have their way about everything and they must follow rules. When we see overage toddlers acting out–pouting, and whining–we know they never learned that lesson; but the lesson will be learned.

The difference between thinking one is fortified by economic status and those who know the name of The Lord is a strong tower–the righteous run into it and they are saved–from themselves and those things over which they have no control. When a person does not know The Lord–they don’t realize the measure of surety and safety they have in Him. In the midst of the storms–regardless of how devastating the damage from the “natural” storms or the spiritual storms–Believers know–everything will be all right. We can stand on our faith in The Lord and face whatever storms come–knowing we’ll be victorious.

Let’s pray for wisdom and then carefully listen to God when He responds so we’ll know how to respond to others–after we’ve heard the entire matter. That’s the difference between the wise Believer and the foolish faking they Believe.

Things Which Have The Appearance of Wisdom!

Things Which Have The Appearance of Wisdom!

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. Colossians 2:20-23 NIV

Just yesterday, a poster was circulated on social media proclaiming that knowledge speaks and wisdom listens and it was getting a lot of attention. Whoever originated the poster missed understanding the bible. “Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?” (Proverbs 8:1) And there are other passages that extol the virtue of hearing wisdom. The thing is that we are told that “wisdom” is the principle thing to obtain and with wisdom, get knowledge. So, it would appear to me that wisdom speaks and knowledge is obtained by listening.

Perhaps, it is this kind of thinking–turning around the words in scripture that has led to our society being deceived by those things that appear to be acts of wisdom.

I’ll attempt to break it down this way:

Wisdom (based upon God’s intent for mankind) says marriage is between a man and woman in order to perpetuate the continuation of mankind. Man’s knowledge claims that people should be whoever they want to be with regardless of what God says.

Wisdom says when it comes to acts of nature–women should use the bathroom for women and the men use the bathroom for men–exercising common sense which, regrettably is not so common anymore. Man’s knowledge (yielding to the choices of the few) claims, “whatever a person feels they are, that’s the bathroom they should use.” Considering “feelings are fickle” and change frequently, how could anyone think this is anything more than a ploy of the enemy?

Wisdom says we should get knowledge and understanding of the knowledge we obtain. Man’s knowledge (especially those in elected offices) seems to think that education is not important for all and allocate more funding for prisons and wars than education. And then we wonder why other countries outperform our students–hands down–when those countries place education as a priority.

Wisdom says if two people are doing the same job–regardless of gender or race or age–they should receive equal compensation. Man’s knowledge–thinking men need more money than women–has managed to keep women underearning in the same position as men. There is no equality when things are obviously unequal.

Wisdom says parents should discipline (part of the training) a child while they are young so when they are older, they will have learned valuable lessons. Man’s knowledge–utilizing court systems–has proclaimed that spanking a child leads them to being violent and mentally ill. Using small case studies–compared to the number of people who exercise discipline when needed–so-called researchers have convinced a foolish society that children should not be spanked and then we all sit back and wonder–what’s wrong with the kids today.

There are efforts–influenced by the enemy–to change what is right by saying what God has said is wrong, that have an appearance of wisdom, but are not wise at all and in fact–oppose God’s Word. So, here’s the bottom line, when wisdom speaks, we better listen and then use what we hear to make this world a better place.

 

 

 

To See The Promises, We Must Meet The Conditions!

” I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.” (Psalm 91:2,9, 10 NIV)

Before God can make a move to fulfill His part of the promise, we must fulfill our part of the promise. When we don’t, He won’t. And we see the truth of this in a number of places in scripture. Even though the qualifier to receive, the “if” is always there, we must see the “if” and then get mad at God because we refuse to obey.

Remember what was told to Joshua? “If you keep my commandments, then whatever you put your hands to shall prosper and you’ll have good success.” (Joshua 1)

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14)

In the NIV translation, the word “if” appears 1640 times–and much of it to do with God’s promises to us.

A covenant–an agreement between two people–is a promise to do something and if both sides keep their word, then both sides will enjoy the conclusion of the matter. Within the covenant of God’s Word, He promises to do certain things if we keep our part of the agreement to keep His commands. His commands, as summarized by Jesus are very simple–love Him and love others. If we love Him, we will do nothing to oppose Him; if we love others, we will do nothing to harm them.

Have we kept our part of the covenant? If not, why are we so surprised at the constantly unfolding consequences in our lives? Instead of blaming God, as the naysayers who claim they don’t even believe in God, we should look to ourselves–under a microscope–and see if we are truly keeping the covenant.  Are we obeying God in all that we do or say?

From the looks of things–on a daily basis–as they are reported in the media, I would venture to say we have a long way to go to get into agreement with God before we can start to think we can receive the promises. We are out of agreement with God when we promote or encourage others to live in opposition to His Word. We are out of agreement with God when we waste our time debating His Word with those who have no relationship with Him. He never tells us to “debate” with others what He means. God said what He meant and He meant what He said. That is the totality of the matter.

In fact, He tell us through Paul not to engage in strife over The Word, debating genealogy (the ancestry of our Lord) with those who are simply looking for opportunity to stir up strife. When we are promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ–the good news about repentance, the Work on the Cross, and salvation, we are told if people won’t receive it–to shake the dust off our feet and keep it moving. I find this to particularly true of instigators in online forums. The naysayers will randomly select a person talking about Jesus and interact with a seemingly innocuous question to engage our attention. DON’T ENGAGE! They hope to get people rattled and then sit back and laugh at the confusion they start and they garner assistance from others who think the way they think.

Hmmm! Confusion stirred in the minds of Believers–doesn’t that sound like the devil at work since we know that God is not the author of confusion? If we are truly in Christ, we have the mind of Christ, and we have the discernment of Him who guides us and we can know when the enemy is at work.

The bottom line for us is this–if we are not seeing God’s promises fulfilled in our lives, we need to do a thorough investigation of self–to see where we may be falling short and we may discover–we are in agreement in all things and it is simply a matter of being in God’s timing to receive. Hallelujah! Let’s choose to dwell with Him and say, “He is my refuge.”

How Words Demonstrate Our Faith!

“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” (Mark 11:23 NIV)

Jesus responds to Peter’s amazement about the dried up fig tree He cursed–merely speaking over it. The first part of His statement to Peter was, “Have faith in God.”

When our faith is firmly entrenched in God and what He has said, our hope is never-ending because we know that God is not a man that He should lie. Man–on the other hand–not only lies, but changes what is to what God never intended and then proceeds to deceive and manipulate others into believing the lie so they won’t feel alone in the judgment already decreed in God’s Word.

Think about that! If the gangs recruit other members after they prove they can do stupid without thinking about it. They “jump” other people into gangs by fighting them, they lie, the convince to steal, kill, and destroy lives and property. Now, really, who influences that? Satan–just doing his job and the weak and vulnerable, the insecure and the foolish, fall in line believing the lies perpetuated by Satan who does not want to be thrown into the lake of fire alone.

The same can be said of those who advocate for political correctness rather than Godly righteousness and hatred and bigotry in the guise of “freedom of speech.” They don’t want to be judged by themselves and be held up to the Light alone, so they convince others to join in the melee of confusion and unrighteousness, influenced by none other than Satan himself. This is what happens when our faith is in man and his limited ability and short foresight.

When our faith is in God–we know what He has promised and we understand His great love for us. So when we “say” something about the events or circumstances in our lives, if we don’t doubt and what we say aligns with His Word, He will bring it to pass. God has no limits and He knows all–from the beginning to the end–and His Word will never pass away. When our faith is in Him–we don’t have a problem being held up to The Light for all the world to see–His righteousness imputed in us, and we are doing all things right before Him and man.

Whether we speak curses or blessings–faith brings it to reality.

I speak healing and wholeness to all who know and love God in Jesus’ name, right now.

I speak deliverance from things that are not of God and hearts filled with His love so all can know the joy of the Lord.

I speak love overflowing onto all people because the love of God overflows our hearts.

I speak truth that dissolves the scales of blindness for those who do not know Truth is Jesus Christ.

I speak abundance for all who lack the resources to live a life that is bountiful in blessing others.

I speak unity for all peoples of all nations so hatred and violence will end.

I speak peace in the heart of every person in every nation so lives will be saved.

I speak desire to know Jesus in the hearts of every person who does not know Him so they will know Him and have what He desires us to have.

All these things I speak over the lives over all who are willing to receive the corresponding result in Jesus’ name, believing it will come to pass.

This is what I’m saying today. What are you saying that will come to pass? Our words must be carefully uttered so we see that we can have what we say.

Writing, Believing, Speaking!

“It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,” (2 Corinthians 4:13 NIV)

Sometimes, what we say we believe is not necessarily true. It doesn’t become true for us until we see it, in writing so we can analyze what we see, especially when it comes to living The Word. What we see that has been written, we believe and therefore have the courage to speak what we believe and to write even more to expound on that belief.

When we read something for the first time, we may understand the letters on the page, but do we really understand the context and inference those letters are alluding to?

Every time I read a passage of scripture, God reveals something new to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the words the first time, but the more I read, the more I believe, and the more I speak what I believe, greater revelation comes to me because I am reading even more.

The perfect example to illustrate this is when I read John 17. I had always heard, “The Lord’s Prayer” and even sang it on more than one occasion. However, when I read the entire chapter, more than once, I began to realize that what we call His prayer is not and this chapter is. What is amazing to me is that not many people reference this chapter as His prayer, they are not memorizing it, and most don’t even realize that in the 20th verse, He’s praying for those of us who were not present with Him then, but for those He knew would follow those who taught His Word. How long is going to take for others to get a “revelation” about what is truly His prayer?

I’ve written about John 17 before and how we have mistakenly, used the model prayer as a foundation for praying. Here’s the truth of the matter–if Jesus had meant for us to pray the model prayer at all times, for all things, He would have said the same prayer, when He was in garden, knowing what was about to happen to Him. Our foundation for prayer is simply this: “Whatever we ask of the Father in Jesus’ name, He will do.” We are limited to a few trite phrases, most of which have already been fulfilled, in order for God to hear us and act on our behalf.

What we read from what is written, we believe and what we believe we speak (or write) to the glory of God so others may also come into knowledge and truth about Our Risen Savior.

Why Faith In God? Part 3

“Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21 NIV) “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:10 NIV)

Notice how important it is to use “our mouths” to proclaim our faith. Jesus said, “You can say…” and Paul tells us, “With your mouth you profess your faith…” So, conversely, if we don’t “say” we won’t see our faith exercised or receive what we won’t say. This is why it is important for us to watch those things we say. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” We can use our tongues which are in our mouths–to speak life to our lives with our faith in God or we can speak death to our lives with negative confessions, expressing doubt. It’s up to us–remember–according to our faith–it will be what we say it will be.

Understanding the power we have with our tongues and expression of our faith, why would we contribute to having no ability to do anything worthwhile for others?

We can exercise our faith in God, by saying–“No weapon formed against us shall prosper” when we get that negative report from doctors. “By His stripes, I am healed.”  “There is no name above the name of Jesus,” and sickness and disease have names that are covered under the blood. And then we do everything we can to live a healthy life. There is no point in saying something, just to say it, now we have something we need to do.

We don’t have to be afraid of anything, so when the enemy attempts to ignite fear in us, we say “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” and then move out in the power of His might!

We never have to accept defeat in any endeavor when we say, “I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me,” and then keep trying to accomplish whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish, until we do it right.

We can have what we say, when we refuse to allow negativity to enter into our minds and we keep professing we have what it is we need, no matter what things look like. Don’t allow what you see to determine what you speak! God created the world in seven days and there is nothing too hard for Him to do for those He loves and for those who complete faith is in Him!

Hallelujah, Jesus! Thanking Him for our needs being met, over and above anything we need so we will have surplus to assist others. Thanking Him for healing bodies with the same healing virtue used to heal the woman with the issue of blood. Thanking Him for protecting the vulnerable, and comforting hearts, and speaking to the hearts of those who commit evil. We may not see it the evidence, but we can rest assured that God hears us and knows everything about everything.

The one thing He will not do–is force anyone to do anything they do not want to do. So, while our faith in God is assured, we must also know that He gives free-will choice to the saved and unsaved, leaving all to the consequences of their choices.

Part 4 tomorrow!

Just Curious!

If The Word tells us “we can” do all things through Christ who strengthens us, why is it that many have become so comfortable with, “I can’t” that they don’t even try?

Either God is lying or those who say, “I can’t” are lying. I’m willing to stake my life on the fact that God is not lying, but people are lazy and complacent. Or they do not know how to say, “I don’t know how” or “I don’t do things as well as..” or “I simply do things differently.”

Can’t–the four letter word that keeps people from trying has become an excuse for Christians who say, “I can,” but never try and then their voice echoes with, “I can’ts’ for others to pick up the rhythm and sing the chorus,

“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t

Even though God says I can,

With all my aches and pains,

I’ll take my ill-informed stand

Allowing the enemy’s lies to reign,

I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.”

Okay, I think the point has been made. I don’t know how to drive a stick-shift well, but you won’t hear me say, I can’t. My artwork consists of mostly stick-people, but you won’t hear me say, I can’t draw. There are so many things that I probably don’t know how to do, but you won’t hear me say, I can’t–if I’ve never tried, I don’t know what I can do in my own power, but with Him, “I can do all things” to His glory!

Just Curious–what are your thoughts?

 

**Physical incapacity–must include the inability to sit on your own or the inability to stand on your own. If you can do these two things, there are many things “you can do” without thinking about, “I can’t.”***

Can You Hear Him?

Shhh!
Can you hear Him?
Shhh!

Listen closely!
He speaks in a whisper,
In the roar of a storm
Or the quiet of night,
From beyond the natural,
Into the Spiritual realm—
Love flows and overwhelms
As He speaks—
Words of comfort
Words of encouragement
Words of instruction
Words that give life
Words that speak volumes,
In various translations
And languages of all nations,
To the remnant
Who will listen
And obey His voice.

Shhh!
Can you hear Him?
He’s speaking to
Our hearts—even now!

“My sheep know my voice and
Another they will not follow!”
“Love me with all your heart,
Soul and mind, Love your neighbor
As you love yourself.”
“You can do all things
Through Him who loves you
And is always with you!”
“Greater is He—Holy Spirit—
Who is in you than he—the adversary—
Who is in the world!”

“Did you not know?
Did you not hear?
I am not a man
That I should lie.”
“I am The Lord,
Your God; and I
Do not change my mind
Like fickle, unstable man!”

Shhh!
Can you hear Him?

He speaks what is already written
All we have to do is study
To show ourselves approved
Unto Him, teaching His truth
And not our own,
As we promote the Gospel,
The Good News to everyone
With an ear to hear!

Shhh!
Can you hear Him?

© 2014 Mary M. Hall-Rayford

 

He Knows!

Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely” (Psalm 139:4 NIV).

When we say, we have a relationship with God, we have no excuse to do those things or say them that are contrary to His Word.

Psalm 94:11 tells us that He knows our thoughts, and in this verse, He knows what we will say before we say it. Whatever is in our hearts, usually comes up and makes itself known when we speak. If evil is in our heart, this is what others will see. If righteousness is in our hearts, this is what others will see.

Changing how we think and what we think, will change what others think of us and we will be more effective in promoting the Gospel.

If we have a filthy mouth, it is because our thoughts are filthy.

If we only think of lust, we will only speak of lustful things and ideas.

If we think about unconditional love and what that means, we will speak and promote love.

Whatever we think about the most, is what we’ll become and do. We cannot fool God at any time, and we can only fool man for a moment. Our thoughts become our deeds and deeds our ways and before we say anything, God already knows what is in our hearts and what will come out of our mouths.

God knows, we cannot hide from Him. The psalmist goes on to ask a question in verse seven: “Where can we go that God will not be there?” There is no running away, but we can run into His arms and know we are safe from the enemy. However, it is our choice and before we can even say anything to justify our choices, God knows.

God is Yet Speaking

For whatever reason, there are many who say that God “is not speaking” to anyone these days.  I stand ready to refute that claim, by anyone who makes it.  If someone truly believes that God is not speaking, I would have to question their relationship with God.  Before the arrival of Jesus on the earth, God spoke “through” the prophets and the law.  When Jesus walked the earth, He “spoke what His father said”, using parables so the people could relate.  Now that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of His Father, He sent His Spirit back to remind us of all things said, and to show us those things to come.  The Holy Spirit will also “speak to our hearts” regarding any matter–whether it is a small matter or a great one; He still speaks.  As a matter of reference, I would refer to my latest book.  I cannot take credit for the idea of the book, but do proclaim–with everything in me–that God spoke to it to my heart, and the writing flowed without great effort on my part.  Those who have read it–agree that God’s hand is in the plan.  The Word tells us that He is never without a witness of His goodness and I declare Trapped to be a witness of His goodness through the works of my hands.  “Nothing the enemy attempts to do shall prosper or have any place in my life” is my constant proclamation and it so because The Word confirms it!  Read the book–and if you cannot see God in it–I will respect your position! Mary’s books.misc and trapped 010

Readings from Trapped are available on YouTube on my channel–Mary HallRayford.