Words of Life and Light
2 Timothy 3: 16-17 says: All Scripture is ( breathed) inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
At the beginning of June, my mentor and great friend and Pastor, Linda Blessing died. She went home to be with our Lord. She was always an inspiration to me and still is today. Before she started to preach she would always say to us, “ my sermons are more for me, than for you! “ In other words she was preaching to herself! I am like that too. God shows me things about WHO HE IS through my life and then I want to share what I have learned about God with others. We should all be busy sharing God’s story however we can, whenever we can and wherever we can. He equips us in different ways to reach many different kinds of people.
Last weekend I went to a renewal conference and while there I heard a wonderful speaker repeat these words from Ezekiel to us: “ Eat this scroll!” She said it in such a way that made me want to dig in deeper than ever. The scroll is God’s Word.
Last week we looked at
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
In this verse we see where God breathed his Word into existence through a human he created called Adam. He created something from nothing. He took a hand full of dusty dirt and breathed His very own breath, the breath of God, into the nostrils of Adam. The thing I realized is that I have overlooked the meaning of the two words “breathed” and “ breath.” They are the similar, but not entirely the same.
The first word “ breathed” comes from the Hebrew word, “naphach” ( H 5301). It means a puff of air, to blow or breath. It is the action or movement of the second word, “breath.”
The second word “ Breath” comes from the Hebrew word: “ neshamah. ” ( H5397) It means a puff of wind as well as a vital breath of divine inspiration. The breath itself was a violent expression of God’s love for what he had created. It had to be powerful enough to raise this man to up from the dust and to fill him with life. It is more than a puff- it has substance to it. Not only did it cause Adam to breath-it imparted life, wisdom , and knowledge into what God had created. It gave man FORM and SHAPE.
For most of us this was the first story we were told as a child! These are some the first WORDS of God that we read when we open the bible.
In the beginning….
These little tidbits are why I read IT, Eat IT, Devour IT. There is so much more when we look beyond the page and that creates a hunger inside of us for more. It is food for the soul, our spiritual manna.
When we read and study the Word of God it changes us from the inside out- just as Adam was shaped and formed through the breath of life. This scroll is our breath of life and we become intimate with God when we partake of it. Over time, we become more like Him.
Let me share a story…
Back in April I attended a workshop called “Life in the Spirit.” This workshop was a teaching on the Holy Spirit. During the workshop we had to get into small groups for discussion. In our discussion we were talking about what it meant to be a unified – the Body of Christ. We went around the group and each of us said a few words. When it came to my turn, I said all the wrong words. My heart aches for people in churches that have divided themselves from one another and have not healed. ( another sermon another day) It feels personal to me and I take these things seriously because of my love for God. Little did I know- I wasn’t over my own past issues of being hurt in the church. We all have them, don’t we? My pain was coming out of my mouth!
I immediately began to feel the conviction of the HS!
“ Donna! You should not have said that!” I wanted to crawl under my chair! Of course I didn’t and the group leader talked to us about love and how we are called to love God with ALL of our heart, mind and soul. ESPECIALLY when it is hard ! When things are hard and we call on God – that is when the strength of Christ rises UP in us and works THROUGH our weaknesses. Phil. 4:13 says, “ I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!”
It is God who lives IN us and it is God who will guide us to speak the truth in love when we choose to love others as we want to be loved. It’s a choice we have to make. An intentional act of love. Christ was intentional when he went to the cross and I don’t think it’s too much to ask for us to be intentional with the words that come from our lips. Our words should build up the body, not tear it down. I needed help in that area and God knew it.
Our leader told us that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. What does that mean?
It means that I wouldn’t say to myself what I had just said to the group. If I want people to see the love of Christ then I need to keep my mouth shut just as Jesus did! I was under great conviction.
Our group broke up and we went back to the sanctuary.
Well, we were then told to get into another group. This next group was with different people and we were discussing another topic-which I can’t even remember now what it was because my conviction was so great.
Well, don’t you know these words came out again in this next group? The pain of my past became evident to me. I knew it was wrong and like a child who has been caught, I wanted to hide my face. For the rest of the evening my heart was heavy with the despair of my own words.
When I got home it was late and I went to bed. I was exhausted. I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned all throughout the night. I finally got up and went to the scriptures. In my reading I began to realize that I needed to get to the ROOT of my problem. God told me that I needed to be rooted and grounded in love ( Ephesians 3:17) and in this particular moment I wasn’t.
This is what I wrote in my journal:
I am always defending what God is doing. I always rise up in his defense and get myself locked into the place where satan has a toehold. Arguing! Arguing leads to dissension which leads to a stumbling block for others. I must walk in the Spirit and speak the truth in love. What is the truth? Scripture. Not my words, but God’s words. My words must be God’s Words. They must speak life and light into others and if they don’t-I shouldn’t say them at all.
In the movie Bambi-the little rabbit named Thumper says this: “ If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” How many times have I told my own children that? Now I was hearing it too!
I went to Matthew 12:19 where the prophet Isaiah is quoted to say: “ He ( Jesus) will not quarrel or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.” Jesus didn’t defend himself with words. His actions showed great self-denial, dignity and humility. I cannot tell you how many times my words have gotten me into trouble! If I would just look a little deeper and EAT this SCROLL I wouldn’t get myself into so much trouble! I needed self-control and self-denial.
2 Timothy 1:7 says this: For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. When we call on God’s power inside of us- the Holy Spirit- then we can answer people in love and with self-control. But before we can do that we must be filling ourselves with the Word of God. When we know what the Word says, we will know how to respond and if we aren’t reading our bibles then how can we know what to say? We can’t.
God’s Word is not a snack- it is the bread of heaven-our manna-our sustenance. It’s not a piece of cake that we eat every now and then-it is food that we are to live by day in and day out. Some people live in it minute by minute. I want to be one of those. Don’t you? When we start to devour God’s Word we begin to see and hear that it brings Life, Light and Truth into our lives.
John 6:63 says this: The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
In the beginning when God said, ” Let there BE” He wasn’t kidding.. His Word is True, Right, Saving, Rejoicing, Kind, Mercy FULL, Disciplining as well as DISCIPLING. Are YOU standing in it?
Once God showed me that I needed to repent-he forgave me and he also healed my pain. I thank God that He never gives up on us! I’m not perfect and my words come out a little better now, but it’s still not easy.
God gave me a vision in my head to help me stand on and in His promises. Here it is:
I began to see myself standing on God’s Word. When I say that- I mean I had a picture in my head of myself, literally standing on the Word of God-an open bible. The Words, or the breath of God , began weaving their way through my body-up my legs, into my veins, in every crook and cranny of my being, out of my hands, my feet and my mouth. They swirled all around me like a fine mist. I heard God say to me, “ Your words need to be MY WORDS.” It was like He was raising ME to new life!
So, since then I have become more intentional about what I say, how I say it, and what my motives are for saying it. God knows the heart and we can’t hide anything from Him. The only way we can change our words is by changing what we put into ourselves. When we are so filled with Him, that’s what will come out of us!
So let me ask you this: What are you filling yourself with? Junk food or Soul food? God wants us to limit our diet to more of Him and less of the world. He wants us to make wise choices that will build up the Body of Christ-not the choices that tear people down. He wants us to pursue Him with passion everyday of the week-not just on Sunday! Let me encourage you to find a version of the bible that you ENJOY reading! This will change how you read and how MUCH you read! So this week, I want to challenge you to spend 15 minutes a day reading about the Words of Life, Light and Love from our heavenly Father and let Him refresh your soul! And if you already do—then I dare you to double your time! In fact, I double dog dare you!