Thursday, March 7, 2013
My Morning Prayer
Lord, I have to thank You for all the things that You give me to say. You have called me to a ministry that includes church and work where I have to have a lot of things to say, both in spoken and written word. Whether it's the meetings I run, the documents I write, or the people I lead at work; or whether it be the sermons I preach, the lessons I teach, or the online ministry things I post. Those are an awful lots of words, especially considering that You have chosen me, a quiet person by nature. Lord, You know better than anyone else that I much prefer quiet over noise, solitude over social, and silence over talking. But true to the pattern You established in Your word, You have chosen the most unlikely candidate to do Your work, so that when it is done it is not me but You who gets all the glory, and You deserve it. So I have to thank You for all the things that You give me to say.
But Father, I also have to thank You for holding back the words when its necessary too. You have been teaching me that just because I have something to say, or I feel like saying something, doesn't mean that I should. We in this country hold dear our freedom of speech, which we should; but Lord You are trying to show us all that the right to say something doesn't always make it right to say it. So just as You through Your Holy Spirit give me words to say, You also sometimes hold back the words I already have. And for that I am grateful.
Father, I am reminded of an illustration You led me to which I shared in a sermon some time back. It was about a little boy whose father caught Him saying a bad word in a very negative way about another kid. The little boy was terrified that his father was going to spank him. But instead the father explained to the him about how hurtful words can be and how serious we need to take the words we use. He told the boy that every time he said a bad word or a negative comment about someone, he should go down to the fence around the pasture, and drive a nail in the corner post. This would be a reminder of what he said every time he walked past it to school. So he did. Just a few days later, the boy came back in tears to the father, and through his sobbing explained that he was so ashamed of himself because that fence post was full of nails. The father told him all he needed to do was for each thing he said, to ask the person and God for forgiveness, and when he did, he could use the hammer and pull the nail out. So he did. After a few days, all the nails were gone. But...the boy came back crying again, explaining to his father that even though the nails were gone, he could still see all the nail holes that were left, which was still a reminder of all the bad things he had said. The father explained to the son the valuable, biblical lesson of being slow to speak and quick to listen, because the marks they leave can last forever. The boy left still sad, although wiser from the truth he learned.
The next day after school, the boy ran into the house smiling and happy, because he saw that all of the nail holes were gone, and he felt totally forgiven for all the bad things he had said. What he didn't realize was that his father, with strength in his arms and love in his heart, when out while the boy was at school, pulled up the old fence post and put in a new one.
Lord, thank You for giving me the words to say, and sometimes holding back the words I already have. I believe You when You taught in Proverbs 18:21 that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Thank You for forgiving me of bad and hurtful things I have said in the past, and thank You for changing out my fence post so that I can live a life without shame and regret. You are awesome, and I love You. In Jesus name. Amen.