Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Wildfire

It is wildfire season in Arizona and our very dry winter has created the perfect conditions for dry forest lands which can quickly burn out of control. Already many fires have taken out way too much forest land, burned down homes and structures, and tormented animals seeking a safe place to find food and shelter. Fire is a devastating force. The words of our mouth are more powerful than a small spark that can set an entire forest on fire – or so scripture tells us. If our words are this powerful, just imagine the extreme power of the words of God! His words are instruments of grace, love, healing, direction, and even chastisement, if warranted. Regardless of the types of words he speaks, they are filled with power - power not matched by any other power in this world or in the heavens above. They are spoken to hearing ears and responsive hearts. Those who will listen intently to their meaning will be blessed by these words, but one must apply themselves to listening and being open to what is heard. 

How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you, don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, GOD, train me in your ways of wise living. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth; I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you; I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it. (Psalm 119:9-16 MSG)

We think of a word as something said or expressed. Words do a great deal to reveal intention and inner thought. They can declare meaning – proclaiming truth not before evident until the meaning was given. They are also spoken as a form of promise – opening the possibility of hope afresh in the heart of the hearer - giving a hint of something that is to come, but may not be fully realized yet. Words are a valuable possession or a resource at our disposal in times when we need to impart wisdom, change the course of an event, or challenge someone to consider a new perspective on a matter at hand. Words carry an abundance of supply in them – they can build up, create vision, give perspective, challenge movement, increase faith, and impart hope. They are worth a great deal and should be handled accordingly.

Words are most valuable when they are openly shared, not locked up or shut up in the recesses of our minds or hearts. As a believer, we have a responsibility to be free in the expression of wise counsel that is granted or revealed to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit has deeply affected our lives, the words that we speak will be so pure that there is no need to conceal them. We will be able to use them in an unrestricted manner, in just the right way that God prepares those words to be expressed. God’s words to us are made known to us through divine inspiration and instruction. His wisdom has been made open to us through is words. In turn, we are called upon to make known what was once concealed or hidden to us – the deep truths of his love, his compassion, and his grace as we have come to know them through his words and actions on our behalf. We are called to share even the small pieces of truth contained deeply in the Word that we find helpful as others may be as deeply affected as we have been.

It is God’s intention that our words spoken to him be something that makes clear the intentions and desires of our hearts. As we are transparent with him, he is transparent with us in the discoveries of the deep truths in his Word that make clear to us the essential qualities of his character, set forth the meaning of his actions, and define with clarity the path we are to walk. As we reveal our desires, we aren't just telling him our wants - we are openly admitting where our heart struggles and where our mind wanders. His words give meaning to our lives – helping to show the importance of our actions, the value of our deepest thoughts, and the danger in concealing anything from his tender touch. In the spoken or written word, meaning is conveyed. We often cry out for our lives to be filled with meaningful pursuits – desiring to know the purpose of it all. God declares the significance of a life in the power of his words. It was by a word that he created all that we see around us today – and by that same word, he holds everything in order today.

Words are indeed God’s way of conveying to us in limitless ways that he works to define and make distinct our significance in his kingdom. There is nothing “magical” in a word from God, but there is something creative and liberating in each word declared by him deep within our hearts. If we take in the word and make it part of who we are, the word of God will impact our lives. The Word of God is indeed sharper than a two-edged sword or the skilled use of a scalpel in the hand of the surgeon. It defines us, reveals hidden things within us, supplies abundantly what we stand in need of, and helps us to stand assured in even the most uncertain of times. The power of a word – in the hands of God, one word is worth more than any material treasure we could possibly desire. We should not be stingy in our exchange of words with God, and we should not limit our intake of his word in our lives. Both are powerful ways to set our world on fire! Just sayin!