Hold Your Fire (pause it)

A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire.  A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.

Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.

Watch your words and hold your tongue; you'll save yourself a lot of grief. 
-James 3:5, Proverbs 13:3, 15:1, 21:23

Have you learned to hold your fire?  I'm still learning!  We have to constantly hold back our words, or we can do damage with them.

I felt hurt and offended.  I needed to tell on someone.  It was only fair.  Then I heard, "hold your fire".  So instead I prayed for that person.

When we are upset or hurt, our words might be careless.  We might lash out and pay back.  We say that is not what we intended, but little words can yield big power.  Once something is spoken, it's hard to take it back.  It is much better to hold back and measure our words, being careful what we say.

The wise ones say nothing, while listening to everything.  We use timing and give it time by pausing and holding our fire.  We want immediate vindication and relief, but a better way is forbearance, forgiveness, praying even for our enemies and feeding and caring for them. 

We are learning not to react.

I am a being.  I act, based on who I am.  I don't want to react.  Wisdom responds and does not react.  Reaction is immediate, response takes some thought.  If our thoughts are captured or governed by love, grace, and wisdom; then they will filter what we do in response.

The wise men and women I've known are careful in their speech.  I have also witnessed other very gifted individuals lose their tempters and let go of words.

If we would listen twice as much as we talk, that would be a good start.  If we took everything to prayer, our suffering would be sanctified rather than carnal or sanctimonious.  Suffering is a part of life.  Even tolerating foolishness.  In our lives here, there will be trouble.  But, He has overcome and we are overcomers in our weakness, through him.  He gives us the grace to control our tongues and pause it, holding our fire.

You're a Pioneer

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out without knowing where he was going.
-Hebrews 11:8

This is one of my favorite Bible verses. If I have life verses, this is one of them.  My life has been a life of walking off the map and following God. What does that mean? It means that while I have made many plans and executed those plans, God's direction for me has been different or in a different dimension that supersedes my plans. Leaving many different good opportunities behind looks stupid, to be blunt, until you have your eyes opened to the reality of following God. What is really important is who you are following and who is leading you.

When you really "go out", it seems illogical and defies common sense.  You have "gone out", but you don't know where you are going, but you know that God knows what He is doing(1).  As I go out I find that, "my idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast"(2).  The more you commit yourself to pursuing God's call to you to go out toward the unknown, as a lifestyle, the harder it is to explain your life to others(3).

As the Kierkegaard wrote, "life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards".  We live, walking forward, without understanding, as we walk by faith, following God.  It might take a lot of faith to understand the past and we may never have understanding of the tragedies that happen in life.  When you get to your inheritance, the time of hardship, as you pioneered through uncharted territory; does not seem so bad.  The long time it took seems shorter and worth it.

There is the big, "went out", when we obey, or we may seem to have no choice but to obey, perhaps with tears; and go.  Then there are the little, "went out's", that are daily.  Daily we go off our maps and follow God on an adventure that is sometimes more a "wild ride" than a slow walk.

Going out and off the map means more dependency on God.  It means you have to use your spirit more.  You have to learn to hear God.  You have to grow in faith.  You have to learn how to dig wells, to get your water, if there are none dug by someone else.

Going out will gracefully force you to grow.  The big going out is a call to growth as are all the little going outs that happen daily.

Pioneer, Pioneer
Keep pressing onwards beyond your fears
And only your Father goes before you to your own frontier
Youʼre a Pioneer
Uncharted wilderness stretches before you
And you thrive on going where no one has gone
Still it gets lonely when darkness rears
So sing by the fire until the dawn

You travel light and you travel alone
And when you arrive nobody knows
But your Father in heaven, He is glad you can go
Cause those who come after you will need the road

And what you have done, others will do
Bigger and better and faster than you
But you canʼt look back, you gotta keep on pressing through
Thereʼs a wilderness pathway and itʼs calling you
Calling you, calling you clear
Keep pressing onwards, you can't stay here...
And only your Father goes before you to your own frontier
Youʼre a Pioneer

Footnotes: 1. My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers.  2. A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis.  3. Third Day Churches Our Principles: Our Practices #9, Gary Goodell.


Hanukkah means "dedicate" or "re-dedicate". Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that was started between the Old and New Testaments as a commemoration of a time when the Jewish people regained control of the Temple.

Hanukkah has been practiced in a secular fashion as the Jewish alternative to Christmas, but it actually has much more in common with Thanksgiving.

Hanukkah celebrates an event when God kept the lights going, when they should have gone out. The lights were fueled by oil, so oil is an important part of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is the feast of lights.

In times of scarcity and darkness, God will keep the lights going. I believe that food multiplication and miraculous longevity of material items will take place. I believe that God will miraculously win our battles to retake the temple, bringing many to a dedication of their faith in Christ, while providing oil that does not run out to keep the lamps burning.

Souls will be won by God and many people who's very temples of their bodies have been taken over by things other than God, will be given back to and re-dedicated to God. There will be many dedication and re-dedication celebrations in the days ahead.

I believe that there are testimonies that will be told of, "a great miracle happened here", as personal Hanukkah's happen in people's lives.

Surrender, Prayer, and Peace

Have you surrendered to God lately? I remember when this was "the word" for me. I needed to surrender. Yet surrendering is not just an event, but a way of life.

Have you prayed? We sometimes needlessly suffer torment because we neglect to pray. When something happens that upsets us, it is like all the horses getting out of the barn. 

We need to beckon those horses back, gathering them back. Prayer is when we invite God to the equation. God already knows and God is already with you. 

But in prayer, we invite God to come closer and and we are intentionally asking God to bring His peace that passes all understanding to bear on us. When we are shoved into the deep end of trouble, we are not going to be in a place mentally to pray any kind of eloquent prayer and that's okay. 

The idea is to turn yourself towards God, like putting your face to the sun or heading towards north. If you are curled up in a ball, and the wind is knocked out of you, just call out from your weak and tiny voice in the bottom of your heart. It may be a whisper or just a thought of the Father or Christ, and that is still prayer that God notices.

Are you abiding in God? One of my favorite prayers is, " I don't understand, but I trust you". I have often reflected on Job's words, "though he slay me, yet I will trust him" (Job 13:15). I have never gone through anything like Job did, but I am helped by his words when he suffered. When God gives us peace during a catastrophe, he does it. We just receive it.

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that somebody hid in a field, which someone else found and covered up. Full of joy, the finder sold everything and bought that field. Matthew 13:44

I Surrender All

Text: J.W. Van Deventer, Music: W.S. Weeden 

All to Jesus I surrender; all to him I freely give; 
I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live. 

I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all. 

Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares about you. -1 Peter 5:7

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Text: Joseph M. Scriven, 1820-1886, Music: Charles C. Converse, 1832-1918

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created. -Romans 8:38-9

It Is Well with My Soul

Words: Horatio Spafford, Music: Philip Bliss.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

God is our refuge

God is our refuge and strength,
    a help always near in times of great trouble.  -Psalm 46:1 (CEB)

When you are discouraged, when you feel like giving up, and when you are short on hope; that is when God is there for you.  When you feel alone, when you feel victimized, and when you feel stuck; that is when God is there.

Earthquakes, fires, floods, and any other troubles: God is there for you.

All you have to do is be aware of this.  Shhhhhhh.  He's there with you.  Take a step closer to him.  Step into God's presence.

Psalm 90

Lord, you have been our help, generation after generation.

Before the mountains were born, before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world— from forever in the past to forever in the future, you are God.

You return people to dust, saying, “Go back, humans,” because in your perspective a thousand years are like yesterday past, like a short period during the night watch.

You sweep humans away like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning.

True, in the morning it thrives, renewed, but come evening it withers, all dried up.

Yes, we are wasting away because of your wrath; we are paralyzed with fear on account of your rage.

You put our sins right in front of you, set our hidden faults in the light from your face.

Yes, all our days slip away because of your fury; we finish up our years with a whimper.

We live at best to be seventy years old, maybe eighty, if we’re strong.

But their duration brings hard work and trouble because they go by so quickly.

And then we fly off.

Who can comprehend the power of your anger?  The honor that is due you corresponds to your wrath.

Teach us to number our days so we can have a wise heart.

Come back to us, Lord!  Please, quick!  Have some compassion for your servants!

Fill us full every morning with your faithful love so we can rejoice and celebrate our whole life long.

Make us happy for the same amount of time that you afflicted us— for the same number of years that we saw only trouble.

Let your acts be seen by your servants; let your glory be seen by their children.

Let the kindness of the Lord our God be over us.

Make the work of our hands last. Make the work of our hands last!

Sky Links, 9-27-17