A Little Encouragement

Psalm 39:1-3. “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.”

The bridle in this verse is like a muzzle you would put on a dog to keep it from barking.

If we can muzzle our mouths so that we don’t sin with our words, we will also reduce the likelihood of sinning in other ways.  The tongue is such an unruly member, and has created worlds of hurt.Even when we are speaking truth, we need to be careful not to sin. Truth can be spoken with malice, and with the intent to do harm.

In this awful political season here in America, words have filled the airways, print journalism, and cyberspace. Words have been used to slander, to accuse, to participate in petty name-calling. It’s shameful.  I will be SO glad when it’s over, although no matter which candidate wins, I don’t imagine the carping and complaining will stop.

Christians  need to be careful, even when our hearts burn within us, that when we speak, we speak with both grace and truth.  There is much in this campaign to stir up my own desire to come roaring out of my corner and set everything straight, believe me.

Sometimes, though, it is better to put a muzzle on my mouth so that I avoid sinning.

Proverbs 20:1 says that the heart of the king (ruler, leaders) is in the hand of God, and He can turn that heart wherever He chooses.

Trust that. God is not at the mercy of politicians.

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Goals

Yesterday was a big day.  I didn’t do my Friday Counseling post, just wasn’t in the mood for it.  However,  may this post will take its place.

Two things.  Yesterday I did 30 laps in the pool.  Three more, and I’ll be doing a mile.  That’s a very big deal for his not-so-young non-athlete!

(This isn’t me 🙂  She’s got my by almost 20 years, and she’s still swimming. Awesome!)

The second goal I’m happy about is that I’ve now gone over 100,000 hits on this blog!  I’m amazed, thankful, very happy.  I’d continue writing even if there were no hits, because it’s important to me and I believe it honors God.  But it’s very gratifying to know that others are reading and, I hope, being blessed.

So while I was swimming yesterday (it took me 75 minutes!)  I had a lot of time to think. I thought about how wonderful water is.  We would die without it. Our bodies are largely water. We need it to drink, to cook, to clean ourselves and our possessions; we need it to grow food and flowers, and often we use it for transport and sports and just for fun.

I thought about the therapy I use for trauma.  EMDR is something I’ve written about before. One of the things we do is to establish a “safe place” in the client’s mind.  He can use his safe place any time, but in session we use it as a place for him to calm down, relax, and regather himself when the therapy becomes too difficult.  The safe place is anywhere that, when you go there, you feel calm, safe, at peace.  People choose a variety of places, but the most popular by far is the ocean.  The rhythm of the surf, the beauty, the water.  Water is in almost everyone’s safe place, whether it is a lake, river, stream, pond, or waterfall.  Water is relaxing.

Jesus gave living water to the woman at the well.  He told her that if she would drink of the water He gave her, she would never thirst again.  He is the Living Water.  In Him there is peace, safety, calm, and healing for the soul.

Water of Life.  And those are some of the things I was thinking about as I swam yesterday.

Pause

The next few verses in ourEphesians study need some careful research.  I’ve heard and read these verses taught several different ways, and I want to give them the most accurate treatment I can, so I’m going to put a hold on that until next week.  Also, I don’t want to start on this passage and then not finish it until next week, so I’m stepping away from it until Monday.

Here’s a meme that caught my eye and my interest this morning: Tired

I have commented many times that there are two things people are seeking when they come to my office:  Hope and peace.  Hope that things can and will improve, and the inner peace that will allow them to rest, to sleep, and to get through their days without falling apart.

The hope I can offer them is Jesus Christ.

The peace I can offer them is Jesus Christ.

Of course, there are many ways I go about it.  We are what we think (Proverbs 23:7).  It is what we believe, what we think about, that motivates our emotions and behaviors.  If one believes that life is dire and nothing but trouble, then he will be Eeyore.  In the story illustrations, Eeeyore is actually kind of cute and loveable.  Believe me,  cute and loveable are not the characteristics that a persistent Eeyore is known for.  So I try to help those people examine their negative thinking patterns and learn to control them in a more positive (biblical) direction.

Peace comes only when we accept a few basic principles:  You can’t control what other people say or do.  It’s not your job.  You can only control how you react to others.  That is your job.  What other people say about you is none of your business.  What a relief it is to really get hold of that one and to quit wondering and worrying about what other people think.  Not your job. Stop it!

Finally, true peace comes from learning Philippians 4:4-8.  We are told that when we stop worrying and start praying about everything, with grateful hearts and a begging demeanor, we will have the peace that passes understanding.

There will always be trouble.  There will always be people in your life who have no good will toward you. There will always be loss and heartbreak.

There will always be Satan’s attempt to thwart the purposes of God, and sometimes believers bear the brunt of Satan’s evil.  Don’t worry.  Our future is secure with God, and He will have the final victory.

Isaiah 26:3.  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”

Psalm 119:165. “Great peace have they which love Thy law; and nothing shall offend them.”