Wednesday, June 25

Let 9 TRUTHS make YOU an "OVERCOMER"!

Are you tired of being "overcome" by satan and his lies?

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4)


Keith, with such lawlessness coming at us from all levels of government, the oppression in the land, the depression people are feeling that is leading to financial brokenness and broken families all over the world, the wars, and rumors of wars (as the scriptures have told us), how do we, as believers, not only protect ourselves from all of it, but stand steadfast against the enemy and his wicked spirits that come against us?
Find this, and more, in Keith's book OVERCOMING INTIMIDATION.
Truth #1  We must always keep in mind that we are at war, and wicked spirits never, I repeat, never show up to play.
Wicked spirits show up to try to steal, kill, and destroy the great things that God has for each of us. On this very crucial point, the Apostle Paul wrote the following warning,
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”  (2 Corinthians 2:11)
In this verse, the Greek word rendered “devices” is usually translated “mind.” The important thing here is to not be ignorant of the way our enemy thinks. Concerning this, Jesus said: “The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10)
Therefore, our enemy is constantly thinking of ways to accomplish those goals. Jesus also said this regarding those who follow the father of lies, that is, the Devil. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
Truth #2  Wicked spirits will work on a person until that person either believes their lies, or fights back in the Spirit using the Whole Armor of God.
Combining the two passages above, we see that Satan and his demons steal, kill, and destroy using lies. In order to achieve their goals, they attempt to persuade a person or persons to take up their cause by manipulating them with lies. Since the Truth makes us free, believing lies makes us prisoners of war.  This fight against all that is false is why the Armor is made up of Truth, Righteousness, Faith, and so on.
When we are empowered by the Holy Spirit of Truth and are clothed in God’s Armor, we can quench the fiery darts of falsehoods. Conversely, if we believe the enemy’s lies, then we have set ourselves up as a means by which the enemy may bring harm to ourselves and even to those around us. That is why it is imperative that we diligently and earnestly pursue the Truth, so that our hearts and minds will be protected from all deceptions and the destruction they bring.
For in this pursuit is to be found the Liberty of Christ, and from this knowledge comes the victory of the overcomer. The Apostle John teaches us this concerning overcoming:
For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5)
From this passage we learn that faith is essential for overcoming the world, including the wicked spirits. This should come as no surprise,
For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)
Moreover, it is THE FAITH that is needed! We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Truth #3  We must be born again by the Spirit of the Living God. There is no other way to overcome the world and the wicked spirits.
There is, of course, much more to the subject of overcoming. In addition to being saved, the Apostle John reveals to us this three-part means by which we overcome wicked spirits,
And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11)
The three essentials are the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and not loving our lives unto the death. Not surprisingly, each of these require the proper use of the Whole Armor of God. However, before proceeding with those discussions, let us first consider the more general topic of overcoming Satan, because this lays the foundation for the other three.
Read one of Keith's life-changing encounters in Overcoming the Devil.
"When this truth became alive in me, it changed my life. I was working as an outside sales representative for a Maryland-based graphics company. I was scheduled to do a presentation before a group of wealthy corporate executives; and frankly, I was terrified!
Satan knew full well that landing this account would mean a nice increase in my monthly income, and I could tell that he was not going to let me walk out of there without a fight. As I was on my way to the conference room, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, 'before you enter the room, pause for just a moment and bind, in Christ’s name, all spirits of intimidation.' All I could say was wow! When I entered the room after binding the spirits, even though I did not know a soul there, I felt as if I were among friends. I did my presentation without a hitch and left the meeting with a new and rather lucrative account."
Notice how this exemplifies the Great Partnership? God and I walked to that room together, and as we did, He instructed me what to do. I obeyed and He brought the victory. The Apostle James described this in his General Epistle: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Regarding overcoming the Devil, the Apostle Paul included the following in the passage on the Whole Armor of God,
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Here, the Apostle uses the Greek word that refers to the type of fighting we call “wrestling,” which is a form of hand-to-hand combat. In the same passage Paul prefaced those words with these,
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)
Notice that this form of fighting also includes “stand against.”
Truth #4  In order to overcome the Devil, we must stand against him and wrestle against him and all the wicked spirits in the heavenlies.
This war is real. And the stakes could not be greater. The words “wrestle” and “stand against” imply that the battle is not far off, but rather that the enemy is an invader, bringing the struggle into our very midst. We must not turn back in the face of ridicule, the taunts of those who are the enemy’s witting allies or who are themselves prisoners of war.
Part of his strategy is to mask this reality behind caricatures of demons, legends of vampires and werewolves, stories of haunted houses, etc., to frighten people or to belittle those who are engaged in true spiritual warfare.
We must always be mindful of the fact that we can never win this fight in our own strength.  The Apostle James wrote similar words concerning spiritual warfare,
Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
This, then, is the proper order: first we submit to God, then we resist the Devil. So what does this Scripture mean by submit? Strong’s provides this explanatory note for the Greek word rendered “submit”:  “A Greek military term meaning 'to arrange troop divisions in a military fashion under the command of a leader'. In nonmilitary usage, it was 'a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden'.” In the context of spiritual warfare, submitting to God means to assume your proper place within the ranks. This also means you are fully prepared to execute your assigned duties faithfully and without hindrance or distraction.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4)
Truth #5  Being entangled in the affairs of this life will prevent us from experiencing the success of the overcomer.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus stated plainly that the cares of this life choke out the Word of God and prevent it from bearing fruit in a person’s heart (see Matthew 13:1-23 and Luke 8:5-15). The crucial question before us then is this, "What must we do to extricate ourselves from the affairs of this life?" This should not be taken as a call to a monastic way of life, nor should it be understood as a condemnation of mundane or earthly activities. Nevertheless, it is one thing to engage in earthly activities, such as, work, sports, or hobbies, and it is quite another to be entangled with such pursuits. Indeed, there are very few people alive who are not entangled in earthly matters.
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:14)
To begin with, submitting to God must become our lifestyle. Otherwise, we will easily fall back into our old ways. Instead of becoming overcomers, we will be undone and overcome ourselves. To avoid this trap, we must submit to the Lord so that His will would be done on the Earth in answer to the Lord’s Prayer. His will includes having our souls transformed into the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This involves the working of the Great Partnership. As God’s partners, one of our most urgent responsibilities is to examine our hearts, and to repent of any sin that we have allowed into our lives.
Truth #6  We are the ones who must have our eyes opened concerning the reality of our souls.
Examining our hearts includes comparing our thoughts and actions to the Scriptures, listening as The Person of The Holy Spirit gently corrects us, and accepting the correction of the Lord. For God will not reject us nor condemn us. He already knows everything about us. We then must humbly acknowledge the errors of our ways before Him and accept His mercy through the cleansing of our souls.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
We cannot experience lasting victory apart from the transformation of our souls, and this means we must be cleansed from all unrighteousness. So if we want to experience the power of God operating in and through our lives, if we want to be true overcomers, then we must pursue purity!
Truth #7  We must first draw close to God, and then He will draw close to us! Once we have done this, out of a pure and passionate love for God, it becomes tremendously difficult for Satan to convince you that you are not all that God says you are, and that you cannot do all that God says you can do in Christ’s name.
The pursuit of purity includes meditating on God’s Word day and night. This means continually being in a state of prayer.  As the Scripture says,
Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
In using the Whole Armor of God, prayer involves pressing INto God’s presence. When we are one with Him, we can see ourselves through His eyes, the way that He sees us! When we do this, it is totally amazing what we see! (For more on this, see our book Keep the Faith - Keep Your Vision.) As James also wrote,
Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:8)
I must add that most Christians to whom I have ministered, who struggle with intimidation, do so because they do not know who they are in Christ Jesus. Why do they not know? Simply because they do not spend their time with Jesus and His Word. They are not abiding in Christ, and His Word is not abiding in them. That is why so many in the church today are living lukewarm and defeated lives.
For this same reason Satan does not want us anywhere near God and His Word! One of the popular questions I've been asked is, "Can the devil follow us into the presence of God?"  Satan knows full well that once we are abiding in Jesus, with His Word abiding in us, that we will be infused with the power and the strength to fight through anything that the wicked spirits can throw at us. Consequently, we must be prepared to encounter stiff resistance as we press INto God’s presence and endeavor to study the Scriptures!
For instance, we can expect intimidating or distracting thoughts as we start to study or pray. There will be thoughts such as, “I must call so-'n-so,” or, “I have to run to the store,’” etc. Perhaps the most obvious form of deterrence is extreme sleepiness as we attempt to study the Scriptures and spend time with Jesus. Remember, the cares of this life are like thorns that choke out God’s Word, keeping it from bearing fruit in our lives. The cares and entanglements of this life are also the means of subduing and imprisoning those who do not press through distractions and who do not persevere in pursuing the Truth.
Truth #8  The victory comes through submitting to God, and those who have done so stand in their rightful place within the ranks of the forces of Heaven ready to resist the devil.
So what does the Scripture mean by “resist the devil”? Webster's defines resist as “to withstand, fend off; to oppose actively, fight against.” The Greek word for “resist” is anthistemi, meaning “to stand against, to oppose, resist, withstand, to resist by actively opposing pressure or power.” The word anthistemi is made up of two words. The first part is ant, a form of anti which means “opposite, instead of; often used to denote contrast.” The second part of the word is histemi, meaning “to stand, used in various applications literally or figuratively.” It is translated as “abide,” “appoint,” “bring,” “continue,” “covenant,” “establish,” “hold up,” “lay,” “present,” “set (up),” and “stand (by, forth, still, up).” To “stand” means the opposite of sitting, reclining, or moving. To “resist” would mean that we are not only not to stand with anything that Satan and his hoards are remotely a part of, but that we are to aggressively fight against them using the spiritual weapons of God.
In sum, resisting the Devil according to James, and wrestling against the Devil according to Paul, both describe spiritual warfare. It should be obvious that this warfare requires spiritual armor, because the opponents are wicked spirits. Furthermore, according to both Apostles, the battle is set within the context of the Great Partnership.
The “Great Partnership” of which Jesus spoke certainly include being made conformable unto His death that His life would be revealed through loving and serving others. For “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.” Jesus, even though He is Lord of lords and King of kings, did not come for others to minister to Him. He came to minister to others. He came to be the servant of all. Greatness, then, in the eyes of God means expressing His love through selfless service to others. We can only do this by being conformed to the image of His dear Son, and as we are so transformed, the service of true love characterizes our being.
Truth #9  Then we live by the faith of the Son of God, we are able to stand in the Victory that the Lord Jesus Christ has won for us. Love is the essence of that Victory. And we know that Love never fails, because God is love!

So, when you love someone, you are not intimidated by them. When you have died to your old nature, you are not afraid of death.  Examine your heart and your relationship with God, repent of anything that has separated you from Him (namely, the old flesh nature), trust in Him, rest in Him, and wait on Him, and BE an OVERCOMER!  Selah.

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Wednesday, June 18

PLEASE... Stop Stinkin'!

"And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor." Ephesians 5:2

Are you aware that everything we do or say in life, like rising smoke from a campfire, either goes up before the throne of Almighty God as a sweet smelling fragrance or a putrid stench?  Paul, commending the saints in Philippi for their obedience to the things of God, wrote,
"For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.  Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.  But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God."  (Philippians 4:16-19)
Paul made reference again to a sweet smell when he was encouraging the Ephesians to love others in the same way that Jesus does.  He said, And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor. (Ephesians 5:2)  Can this be said of you?  Does the smoke from your life that continuously rises up before the throne of Almighty God put a smile on His face or does it turn His stomach?  If the latter is the case, I have a message for you straight from God Himself,  "Please... Stop Stinkin'!"
Sadly enough, each of us at some point in our lives has been exposed to someone that, how shall I say this, just outright stunk!  Whether in school, at work or somewhere else, most of us can recall having had suffered the discomforts of being subjected to the likes of the hygienically challenged.  The fact is, if we do not daily apply the necessary time and effort needed to maintaining physical cleanliness in our lives then we will inevitably offend the vast majority of those that we come in contact with, especially those who practice good personal hygiene themselves.  The same can be said of our spiritual lives.  Paul, emphasizing the utter importance of purity in his instruction of  the men of Ephesus on how they should treat their wives said,
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
As I read this scripture, I was drawn to the word blemish or blemished especially since it is something that we are not to be if our lives are to give off a sweet smell.  I grabbed my trusty old dictionary and started digging.  As I read through the various descriptions of the word blemished I discovered something rather interesting.  As one of its definitions I found the word soiled.  I then looked up the word soiled and found as one of its definitions the word sully.  Having never heard the word sully used in any conversation that I have ever been a part of, I almost ignored it.  Curious about its meaning, I went ahead and looked it up as well.  I was glad that I did!  I found that the very first definition of sully was, To soil; to dirt; to spot; to tarnish. Sullied yet with sacrilegious smoke.  I was immediately draw to the term sacrilegious smoke especially since it ties so well into the context of our letter.
What is sacrilegious smoke?  Since we all pretty much know what smoke is I once again referred to the pages of my trusty dictionary to see what it had to say about the word sacrilegious.  It simply said, The violation of sacred things.  So then, keeping in context with the first paragraph of our letter it would stand to reason that sacrilegious smoke would in fact be something that smells terribly offensive to God.  Now, if the violation of sacred things (meaning disobedience to God's Word) is displeasing to Him, then what would it take to please God?  That's simple, obedience to His word and His word alone!  If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 1:19-20)  Throughout all of scripture obedience to God's word has been the key to bringing joy to His heart!
In keeping with the tradition of this study thus far, let's take a look at the word "obedience."  In that same dictionary, "obedience" is defined as "submissive to authority; yielding compliance with commands, orders or injunctions; performing what is required, or abstaining from what is forbidden."  Question: how can we be submissive to authority if we do not invest the necessary time and effort to familiarize ourselves with the will of the One in authority? Paul teaches us,
"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God." (Colossians 3:22)
How can we truly obey a master that we are not familiar with?  It is simply not possible if we do not have an intimate knowledge of both our Master  and his commands!  The same is true where our relationship with Jesus is concerned!  John teaches us,
"He that says, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1 John 2:4) 
It is not enough to say we love Jesus.  We must show our love by keeping His commandments.  Jesus said,
"He that hath My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. (John 14:21)
In order to become pleasing to Him we must first, love Him with our whole heart and secondly, fall passionately in love with His  Word as well as regularly studying the scriptures and putting them in to practice in our everyday life! This must be our way of life! James wrote,
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was.  But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." (James 1:22-25)
You see, doers of the word will be pleasing to God because their lives will, by nature, give off smoke that rises up before His throne as a pleasingly sweet smelling fragrance.  On the other hand,  being a hearer of  God's written word alone and not a doer of it will generate from one's life the "sacrilegious smoke" or putrid odor that we mentioned a moment ago.  Paul said, "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." (Romans 2:13)   Disobedience to God's word fuels the fire that produces sacrilegious smoke or an offensive odor from our lives.
Now, let's take this a step further up and further in!  What is the word of God?  Whenever I  ask or have asked this question in various group settings, except for the very few who truly understand, the response is always the same.  They raise their Bibles in the air and shout, "THIS is God's Word!"  As true as that is however, it still falls short of God's original purpose for gifting us with the scriptures to begin with.  God's written word was never intended to be an end in and of itself, but a means to an end!  That end being our intimate relationship with Him.  Paul said in his letter to the Romans, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
Just as Paul told his disciples, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1), we are to follow this same example where the written word or the scriptures are concerned. 
"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:8)
In other words, as we are faithful to meditate on the written word of God, the time will eventually come when we will enter the place where we will actually hear the Spoken word or Voice of God.  This is where the fullness of life really begins!  You see, it's really very simple, reading the written word of God prepares us to recognize and hear the voice of God!  This is what Matthew meant when he said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'." (Matthew 4:4)  The primary reason that much of the Church is in the impotent condition that it finds itself in today is because so few of her members have realized that the written word of God is simply the doorway into our being able to recognize and hear the spoken word, or voice of God Himself.  This enables us to possess the most valuable prize of all, a close and intimate relationship with the true and living God!
Do you see why it is so important that we learn and obey the written word?  Because it lays the groundwork for our being able to hear God when He speaks to us.  It is only by His Spoken word or voice that we can receive His anointing and leading into all good things.  "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalms 119:105)  Sure, a life lived solely by the written word of God will by nature be beneficial to anyone who lives by it.  But if we want the abundant life that Jesus came to provide, we must diligently seek Him with our whole heart, listen for and obey His every word!  "The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)  We must know His voice!  Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27-28)  Those who hear and obey the voice of God will always send up a sweet-smelling savor that will bring pleasure to the heart of our wonderful King!
I would like to point out that the power that is contained in God's voice is the most wonder-filled power, period!  So much so that there are no words that can even begin to adequately describe it.  I believe if you were to ask David just how accurate his description of God's voice was in the 29 chapter of Psalms he would probably tell you that he wrote it down in the best way he knew how.  And I'm also pretty sure that he would follow that statement up with, Truthfully, it cannot be done, God's voice cannot be described with words!  Keeping that in mind, read how he tried to described it, The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
"The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; yea, the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD makes the hinds to calve, and discovers the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory." (Psalms 29:4-9)
Don't forget, it was that same Awesome Voice that has spoken everything that ever was, and will speak everything that ever will be, into existence -- *Stay tuned!*  And you be sweet now, ya hear?!

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Wednesday, June 11

A Prophetic Word to the Church

DEDICATION:  It is the heartfelt prayer of all of the Toward The Mark Team,
that this blog will serve to—in a big way—encourage, preserve, and
insure the role of Godly integrity in the lives of all who read it.

A Prophetic Word to the Church
"I am dismantling the Church as you have known it, and am raising up a new breed of leader." - Keith Shealy
Dr. Myles Munroe once made this very sobering statement: 
Wouldn’t it be terrible to wake up one day and realize that you spent forty years pastoring a Church when you should have been driving a bus for a living? Or how about waking up one day after driving a bus for forty years to realize that you should have been pastoring a church?
Please, never accept a leadership position in God’s Church for the pay or the recognition. Accept it only because it is your divine calling! God always provides for the fulfillment of His vision for our lives! This is especially true for those who have been called by Him to love and to feed His sheep. Based on the present condition of not only the church, but also the massive amounts of people that are going unreached in this country, I am of the opinion that about 95% of those occupying leadership positions today should be doing something else with their lives. As harsh as that may sound, here is why I say it. America has within just the last 30 years made the tragic transition from being a Christian nation to becoming a religious and an extremely materialistic society. This situation can only turn around as the right people, folks who are operating inside of their gifts and callings, assume church leadership. But how are we to know the difference?
In 1990, totally grieved about the treatment that I had seen so many of God’s people having to endure at the hand of “professional religious leaders,” I began to earnestly fast and to pray for them all. While in prayer, I received a timely word from the Lord. Remember, this Word came to me back in 1990. This is what He said:
“Be encouraged; it won’t be long now. I am dismantling the Church as you have known it, and am raising up a new breed of leader. The pruning process that is occurring even now will yield a fresh, new and abundant crop of men and women who love and seek me with their whole hearts. Their affection will not be divided! They have both seen and endured the painful wrath and tormenting flames of religion’s harsh taskmasters, and through it all have emerged victorious. This will be that generation that will be called my bride. They will walk in purity and will be without spot or wrinkle because I will remember their sins no more. Untainted any longer by sin and the terrible stench of religion, they will be a sweet-smelling savor to me and all who receive them. I will take pleasure in all of their exploits and will bless all they put their hands to because I know them intimately and because they know me intimately (Because I am in them and they are in me). Just as I called forth Lazarus from the grave, I will soon call these forth from the factories, from the offices, from the job sites, from their homes, and from all four corners of the earth. I will call all of those who have endured deafening loneliness for my name’s sake, and while I have had them hidden in caves, they have trusted in me, rested in me, and waited on me without fail. These are the joy of my heart and will be easily recognized by all who see them. They will be girded about in the spirit with the towel of loving and selfless service to others!”
*Find this Word to the Church, along with more of what we find when we look between the lines, in our book, "THE CRISIS OF ERODING INTEGRITY."  More info and availability @ Toward The Mark's website.  In Christ Jesus, Keith & Brenda Shealy

"But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."  (John 4:23-24)

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Wednesday, June 4

THE POWER OF THE TONGUE

It is Out of the Abundance of a Person's Heart that the Mouth Speaks


Where godly integrity is absent, death is inevitable!  You may ask, “Why do you say that it's the lack of integrity that is ‘deadly’?” In reply, let me draw your attention to the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me!”  Believe me, no statement has been or could be further from the truth!  While sticks and stones in the hands of the wrong people can break bones, words spoken in the wrong way can cause even worse damage to a person’s heart!  Consider the following Scripture verses.  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21)  “My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.” (Psalms 57:4)  “There is that speaks like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” (Proverbs 12:18)
In the Ten Commandments, God says, “Thou shalt not kill!”  Don't be deceived into thinking that this command applies only to physically stabbing or shooting somebody to death.  On the contrary, as Jesus, Himself, said, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, (as defined in Vine’s Expository Dictionary to mean: “utter contempt, empty, intellectually rather than morally, empty-headed, vain, fool, a godless moral reprobate") shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
You see, you don't need a knife or a gun to commit murder! All you need to do is sow the wrong word seed into the life of a person and, if not rooted out, death will soon follow. Luke teaches us that, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)
There is a great example of this, during the Second World War, as our troops were fighting to gain control of the islands in the Pacific theater. The Japanese unleashed a rather unconventional and very deadly weapon. They used a number of English-speaking Japanese women, collectively dubbed “Tokyo Rose” by the Americans, to broadcast messages intended to undermine the American war effort. As the American troops were listening to their radios, “Tokyo Rose” would break in and read from a script that the Japanese military thought might inflict the greatest psychological damage. For example, she would say things like: “Boys, while you are suffering for a lost cause in these hot jungles, your wives and girlfriends are back home in the arms of other men,” or, “Your government does not care about you! That’s why they have sent you here to die in this fight that you can never win!” Like my own grandfather, anyone who was there can tell you that these “fiery darts” inflicted emotional torments that resulted in many physical casualties.
Deadly word seed, if not rooted out, will yield a death crop wherever it is sown! “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Contrary to the beliefs held by many, this verse pertains not only to our sowing money seed when the plate is passed in Church, but is also equally applicable to word seed we sow.
If you sow good seed, you will reap a good harvest. Sow weed seed and what do you get? Weeds! It IS really that simple. Practicing godly integrity where our speech is concerned will always minister life to the hearer.
Check out a statistic I learned from a Pastor friend of mine some time ago. He shared with me that he read the results of a study explaining where, on average, it takes seventeen positive words of encouragement to negate just one harshly spoken word (discouragement) in the life of a person. He said that, in some cases, it will take even more than that, if the person ever recovers at all. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21)
We all have a wonderful opportunity to turn the tide of destruction in the lives of those around us!  We need to truly understand this:  LIVES OF PEOPLE CAN EVENTUALLY BECOME WHAT WE SAY, so ...  SPEAK LIFE!
  


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