Monday, June 9, 2008


Yesterday at church, my pastor preached a message from James 4:7-10. He specifically focused on two words in that passage; submission and resistance, from verse 7.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

He took the time to point out numerous verses that speak of submission to His Lordship, and how in the Christian life this act on the part of man must come first - before ever being able to rest in the power of God is even possible. It was a really good message, and I took lots of notes. At the end of the service we sang this closing hymn:

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

I absolutely love this hymn, as it outlines what should be the desire of any Christian, to offer their entire life to Him, without reservation. It is my hymn, as it definitely speaks for me, even though I know I fall extremely short in every area. The one line that stands out to me personally (because it's the one area that I am so weak in) is this one: "Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee." Yep, my speech - both written and oral.

I've written before how prior to becoming saved, I had what we call gutter speech. Not only did I use the profane words of the world, I was often (and easily) quite sarcastic, insulting, condescending and disrespectful. Somehow I justified speaking this way to people because they "deserved" it. It's somewhat creepy to look back at that now and see how twisted my own thinking once was. While I certainly haven't 'arrived' at the place I want to be with my speech, the Lord has brought me a very long way from where I was just 15 years ago. And still, it grieves my heart often that my lips are not filled messages from Him.

Yesterday afternoon the weather delivered quite a powerful punch to most of southern Ontario. Several storm systems rolled through, complete with torrential rain, hail, thunder & lightning, insane winds, and even a few tornados.

a sign of hopeBetween storms, I went outside with my camera to take a little stroll around the yard and I saw this as soon as I went out on the deck. I don't know about you, but I find rainbows simply breathtaking. I don't see them as often as I'd like, but when I do see them there are certain words attached to them that always and immediately come to mind. Words such as hope, promise, faithfulness, peace and encouragement. When God told Noah in Genesis 9 that the rainbow would be for a token of remembrance of the covenant between Him and man, that He would never again flood the earth, that meant something. God being God, was under no obligation to leave a token in the skies for man to remember this promise, but He did it anyway, and when I see one my thoughts always turn to God and His grace, and promise.

As I stood there yesterday looking at this rainbow, and still thinking about the sermon I heard yesterday morning, and the closing hymn we sung, I wondered what it might sound like if every time I opened my mouth, my very words would carry the same impression as the rainbow does. Words only of hope, of grace, of peace and of compassion. Some days, I secretly wish God would simply flip off the snarkasm switch in me and allow me only to speak words just like that, but it just doesn't work that way. Sanctification isn't a flipping of a switch, but an ongoing process.

While I fully understand the need sometimes to say things that might be hard to hear (those things can still be said with grace, with truth and with courtesy and respect), the more I become convicted of my own attitude behind the words I use, and the more I notice the not-so-sanctified, blustery, damaging, thunder and lightning attitude behind the words that others use. When I see (written) or hear these kinds of words and this kind of attitude I immediately point my finger back at me and "please Lord, don't let me be like this" becomes my prayer. I'd much rather speak like a rainbow, and I know He'd rather I do that as well.

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