05 March 2016
On Thursday night, someone challenged me not to cut people off or jump into every conversation, because my words have power! But the enemy of our souls would like to use the quantity of my words to distort that power.
What this person spoke was hard to hear, because I know talking too much and interrupting actually hurts him and others—and that is the last thing I want to do. But it was wonderful to hear, too, because they love me enough to partner with Jesus Christ in washing me and cleansing me for every good work! And their words were EXACTLY lined up with what God has been teaching me!
This person approached this “iron sharpens iron” moment with gentleness, and told me not to let it weigh me down, but trust God to change me. Earlier that same night, another friend said she saw a picture of people getting things passed out to them at church, and when it came to me I thought they had run out, but actually I needed to know that I should ask God, and He would give me “a double portion”!
On Friday morning I prayed and told God I wanted my “double portion” to be wisdom! Wisdom is knowledge applied appropriately to the situation! Coupled with the love He fills me with, I can truly LISTEN to others—and bless them far more when He does call me to speak.
During worship at my church several months ago, we asked God what name He had for us. God told me I am His "Pure Mouthpiece". That sounded great, but the very next day I felt condemned and terrible for, yet again, sinning with my tongue. But He brought me to Jeremiah 15:19, where God tells Jeremiah after he was complaining, “If you return, Then I will bring you back; You shall stand before Me; If you take out the precious from the vile, You shall be as My mouth." I didn't ever remember seeing that Scripture before, that a human was called "as My mouth", as the very mouth of God--IF he returned to God! Reading that Scripture on that day was confirmation that God had really spoken "Pure Mouthpiece" over me, even when I felt dejected and awful and like a totally impure mouthpiece! And He was right there, inviting me out of it! Return to Me, my dear! He is so good!
The Father doesn't turn away from us when we sin. Sometimes we feel like He does, but He doesn't. He turned away from Jesus for that terrible moment as He hung on the cross, so that He would NEVER have to turn away from us. Now, He's looking at us when we sin with eyes of love to pull us out. Even when we are right there, even when I'm cutting someone off in conversation or not listening well or dwelling in fear--He's actually extending His hand in that moment and saying, "Come on, my child. You're better than that sin. Come away with Me!"
The Father doesn't identify us with our sins, either! He laid our sins on Jesus for that brief moment so that they don't have to be laid on us! "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2nd Corinthians 5:21). He actually BECAME sin for us! Crazy, right? SO THAT we might become the righteousness of God in Him. I know it doesn't make sense, but even when we feel absolutely horrible and full of shame, God still says we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! We don't have to understand, Jesus finished it!
This morning at the Fountain of Hope in Phoenix as we dropped A. off for a hot breakfast and went off to give out the rest of our gifts, Saturday morning breakfast invites, and “You are God’s Princess!” cards in 85017, the center of prostitution and sex trafficking in the state of Arizona, I heard a voice yelling at me from the bus stop:
“God BLESS you!”
I looked up to see a man yelling fervently, on his knees, rocking back and forth.
“God bless YOU, too!” I shouted.
He wasn’t done.
“You have the BREATH of GOD in you!” he shouted.
“Thank you!” I said, before stepping into the car again. I had only ever seen people get on and off the bus there, and girls wait to be picked up. One day I had actually seen a young teen get in an old pickup truck with a big, burly man because “he would give her a ride”. Today was the first day I had seen someone praying.
“You have the BREATH of GOD in you!” He had said. It could not have been a more timely moment to hear from this prophet of God, interceding right in front of the ministry.
One of the girls we saw walking along 27th Avenue in a red tank top and leggings, crossed the street when she saw us park the SUV and start walking towards her.
I looked at Renee and said,
“Do you think she’s avoiding us?”
“I don’t know!” Renee answered.
We crossed 5 lanes of traffic and started running to catch up with her.
“Hey, good morning! We have a gift for you!” we shouted.
She jumped, looked unsure, but then broke down.
“I was scared of y’all, coming towards me!”
We apologized for scaring, introduced ourselves and asked her name (I will call her “C”) , and invited her to breakfast.
“Thank you so much. I will tell the ladies around here who need help,” she answered—but said she didn’t need it herself.
I felt led to speak,
“God is love, and there is no fear in love… and just as we walked across the street and ran after you, many times in my life I have seen God running after me and pursuing me with His love! And I believe He is doing that now for you, too!”
“Thank you,” she said, and walked off confidently, shoulders back and head held high.
We crossed back across the street and got back in Renee’s SUV. Just as we were shutting the doors to drive off, I saw C. had also crossed the street back to our side, and was walking her original path before we had scared her into crossing.
This time, she had the knuckles from both hands, next to her eyes. I’m pretty sure she was wiping them. Her self-protective exterior had softened a bit. I believe God really is pursuing her with His love and this is just one among many encounters she is having with Him.
One of the ladies we invited understood our invitation, but I could tell she spoke Spanish, so I offered to pray for her in Spanish.
“What should we pray for?” I asked.
“That everything will be OK, and that God will take care of me,” she answered. In my experience, Hispanics have a cultural awareness of God and His protection, although not all have an intensely personal relationship with Him. But as I prayed for B., I prayed that she would know that He is her perfect Father and He takes care of her well, and that He won’t let her down. I saw some tears as we walked away.
One woman, another C., didn’t let us pray for her, and wouldn’t shake our hands because she was bruised and swollen. But she thanked us for coming and looked touched.
Today was the first day we gave out all 15 of the small lotions with the breakfast invitation and “You are God’s Princess” tags—and we even had to go back and fetch 4 more for young ladies we saw right out front of The Fountain!
Only 3 of the ladies we invited came back for breakfast this time, but when we finished handing out everything, we saw A. had finished her breakfast and was still there in the Fountain, and had made 5 bracelets for her 10 year-old daughter. We got to pray with her, and God gave me a picture of a hot air balloon that He was repairing holes in and filling with his Spirit again so that it could soar to the heights again. I told A. anytime she sees hot air balloons in the horizon, to think of this picture.
On the way home, I listened to the Bible on tape, and God blasted me with this encouragement: "If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11
I want to be swift to hear, and slow to speak! When I speak may I be conscious that my words have meaning and power, may I speak knowing that I am God's Pure Mouthpiece!
May I speak nothing more or less than what God Himself is speaking through me! Amen.