Saturday, April 19, 2014

It get’s people’s attention…

Proverbs 15:4 (LB), "Gentle words cause life and health." 

Ephesians 4:2 (LB), "Be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each others faults because of your love." 

When someone doesn't meet your expectations, when someone disappoints you, are you a raving wind that comes in and starts blowing everyone around, an earthquake that starts shaking people up, a consuming fire that rages all over everybody, or do you respond in a gentle whisper, with gentleness?  There's power in gentleness.  It gets people's attention.  Gentle people have their expectations under GOD's control.

Dads, don't be harsh with your children.  As a parent I think this is the hardest things to do.  When your kids don't do what you think they should do, it's hard to be gentle with them.  But it will destroy their soul if you're not.  We need to be gentle, not judgmental.

Just a thought from the front porch…

Friday, April 18, 2014

Expectations…

We become gentle when our expectations are under GOD's control.

When someone disappoints you are you gentle or are you judgmental?  Your response will determine the health of that relationship. 

Elijah was a great prophet of GOD.  He had some great successes and some great failures.  In I Kings 19 it tells us that Elijah had just had the most glorious day of his career.  He had just defeated 450 prophets of Baal and things were looking good.  Except for one thing.  There was this woman named Jezebel chasing him and for some reason he just lost it and started running from her. 

As he was running through the wilderness, one night GOD came to him and said, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”  Elijah said, “I've been very zealous for the LORD, I've been doing all this work and I just can't take it any more.”  GOD said, “I want you to go to a cave and wait for Me.” 

If you had just disappointed GOD and HE asked you to go and wait in a cave for HIM what are you going to be thinking along the way?  Elijah was a little stressed.  HE was probably thinking GOD was going to come and say, “Elijah, I'm really disappointed in you.  You've had this great victory over all these prophets and then a woman, one person, starts chasing you and you run for cover.” 

“What's wrong with you?  After all I've done for you, you still don't trust ME!”  or maybe he expected, “Elijah, I've had it with you.  You are so weak and so timid I'm not going to be able to use you any more.”  As Elijah was rehearsing these things in his head, the Bible says that the word of the LORD came to him.  God said, “Elijah, go out and stand before me on the mountain.” 

As Elijah stood there the Bible says in I Kings 19 that the LORD passed by, A mighty windstorm hit the mountain.  It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the winds.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.  After the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.  That's where GOD was.  Isn't that great?  Elijah was expecting a flying fist from heaven and GOD comes gently, not with judgements, not with condemnation. 

The same is true for us.  When we blow it in our eyes, GOD is not waiting for you with clenched fists.  HE's waiting for you with open arms.  Just like the prodigal son who came home after squandering half of his father's wealth, with his head hung in shame, fully expecting to get blasted by his dad.  His dad didn't say, “See!  I told you so!  I knew you were going to blow it all!”  No, he greeted him with open arms.  He said, “My boy's home.”  GOD wants us to run to HIM not against HIM.

Just a thought from the front porch…

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How GOD controls our words…

We become gentle when our words are under GOD's control.

All of us know the power in words.  They can be destructive or they can build up. 

James says in 3:6,8 (LB), "The tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness and poisons every part of the body.  The tongue is set on fire by hell itself and can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and disaster.  But no human being can tame the tongue.  It is always ready to pour out its deadly poison."  

No human being can tame the tongue.  That's why we have to bring our words under GOD's control.  Do you know how GOD controls your words?  He first tames your hearts.  Our hearts have to first be changed by GOD in order for our words to be changed, in order for our actions to be changed.

Jesus said in Luke 6:45 (LB), "Whatever is in the heart overflows into the speech". 

Ephesians 4:29 (Msg), Paul admonishes us, "Watch the way you talk.  Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth.  Say only what helps, each word’s a gift." 

Is each word that I say a gift?  I don't think so.  Is each word that we say helpful to other people? 

The Bible is saying that we need to be careful about that.  One of the characteristics of gentle people is that their words are under control.  They know the power of a carelessly spoken word.

Something that works a lot of times:  Before you say something, think first.  Especially when you're angry or really frustrated say what you are going to say out loud in your head first.  When I do that, I don't usually say what I was going to say.  It wasn't going to be very helpful.  Each word is to be a gift.

Just a thought from the front porch…

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The number one way to destroy a relationship…

Philippians 2:4-5 (LB), "Don't just think about your own affairs, but be interested in other's too and what they are doing.  Your attitude should be the kind that was shown to us by JESUS CHRIST."

JESUS is the model.  JESUS, when HE came to earth, had our best interest in mind. The Bible says that without JESUS CHRIST we are separated from GOD for eternity.  JESUS came to bridge that gap, restore that fellowship between us and GOD.

And when your outlook comes under GOD's control you, all of a sudden, start becoming a little more understanding.  That's another characteristic about gentle people, they are understanding of others. They see where they're coming from.  They're understanding of their weaknesses and limitations.

Acts 20:35 (TEV), "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving." 

And 2 Peter 1:6&7 (LB), "Learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly.  This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and finally you will grow to love them deeply." 

Something happens to us when we start reaching out to other people instead of just being concerned with ourselves.  We start becoming caring and loving towards them. 

Gentle people do understanding not demanding.  They are understanding of others not demanding of their own way.  People whose outlook has remained outside of GOD's control are very selfish people for the most part.  The number one way to destroy any relationship is to be selfish.  It works every time, without fail. 

James 4:1-2 (TEV), "Where do the fights and quarrels among you come from?  They come from your desires which are constantly fighting within you.  You strongly desire things but you cannot get them so you quarrel and fight." 

James 3:16 (LB), "Wherever there is jealousy or selfish ambition, there will be disorder and every other kind of evil."

We become gentle when our outlook is under GOD's control.  As GOD begins to change us we become more understanding of others, more sensitive to their needs, not demanding our own all the time. 

Just a thought from the front porch…