Archive for August, 2011

Empty out your head.


My thoughts are a mess most of the time, like a liquid waiting to be poured into a mold. The mold is my words. We don’t really form our thoughts fully until we open our mouths to speak them, or write them. In fact, try to image everything that you would want say before you speak. You can’t do it, because thoughts only take shape as they are combined with words. It’s a mystical meeting designed by God.

Though God isn’t bound by our limitations in this respect, interestingly He chose to use words to complete His work. In Genesis, clearly God knew His own mind, but no action took place until he spoke. Then creature occurs. Jesus is the “Word of God” not only because He is the vehicle of communication, but because he is the embodiment of God’s most perfect action. He was in that sense “spoken” into human form and human history – “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. When Jesus speaks people are healed, the dead are raised and demons flee.

Likewise, we are condemned or acquitted by every careless word since each word is an action. From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks and thus gives form to the formless thoughts inside us. We are saved when we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, (Romans 10).

This works in our favor. In the praises of God spoken aloud there is power that does not exist when they are kept inside. Once they are spoken, they exist in the objective sense that they moved the air about us, entered our own ears and the ears of others, and rose to heaven as a testament. While we keep our thoughts inside, God still sees, but only he can discern their meanings. Once we speak, then we, and others, can too. It makes a difference when we speak our praises, and sing to one another in hymns, psalms and spiritual songs since the enemy, and the angels, can no more read our thoughts than men.

Words, spoken or written, give life to the raw materials of thought swirling about inside, bounced back and forth by feelings and circumstances; interrupted, forgotten, fleeting or profound.


Temper, temper.


I “lose” my temper in a moment and later berate myself for my lack of self-control; but the lack of self-control was watching TV the night before, ignoring a habit of meaningful prayer and gulping five minutes of morning Bible reading and thinking, “I’m covered for today!”  This is where I “lost” my temper…in the quiet opportunities to store up good in my heart so the overflow would be good.

And speaking of overflow… people with tempers (like me) should just forget the whole “venting” argument. When I lose my temper I am not venting anything. I am not “letting off steam,” I am training myself to explode more quickly the next time. I am reinforcing my anger while excusing it, and feeling justified about it all at the same time. It’s healthy, we tell ourselves. I know different. I know that indulging in a bad habit only entrenches that habit.

So now I have to “find” my temper before I “lose” it, and that means God and I need more time together. Then if I feel things boiling up for any reason, at least He will have a shot at me before I take a shot at anyone else. Or the dog. Or inanimate objects.


Give God something He’s never had.


I think that because God is all-powerful and sufficient in Himself, without need or deficit that we forget we can still offer Him something valuable. God may know all things, but He hasn’t done all things. God can have new experiences.

As a father, I know what it means to be with my kids as they learn new things, as they discover things around them and inside themselves. I get great pleasure from those shared experiences though many of the activities in and of themselves were irrelevant to me – it was the time spent with my kid that made it meaningful to me. And it didn’t matter that I had already done many of those activities with one kid when the next one wanted to do it. It was always a new experience since it was shared with someone different.

If you are uniquely made by God, then you alone can offer God the experience of your company. And as a father myself, I know He’s looking forward to it.


roughly true #5