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Tuesday Thoughts 3-6-18

I absolutely detest when someone puts words in my mouth!  Communication is difficult enough, given all the brokenness we bring to the relationship table, and it doesn’t just add to the confusion, it multiplies it.  The very essence of communication is all participants being free to express what’s going on inside.  When words are put in someone’s mouth it’s like saying, “I don’t care what you feel or think, you should feel and think the same way I do”, or an arrogant, “I know better than you do.”  I’m sure most of you are in agreement and, in fact, are thinking of the last time this happened to you.  It’s frustrating when it occurs one-on-one and it’s way worse when you are communicating to groups of people (as a pastor, it is not uncommon to have someone kindly relate to me what I really meant after preaching or teaching).  My reaction is always instant, probably defensive, and eventually whiny if I don’t feel my “clarifications” are having any effect.  But, as King Solomon said, “There is a time and place for everything under the sun.”   The circumstances that are very desirable to speak someone else’s words are recorded quite succinctly, in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations…Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.”  (Jeremiah 1:5, 9 NIV84).  I know what some of you may be thinking, but this is not meant only for Jeremiah and/or prophets!  Notice what we all share in Christ.  God knew each one of us in the womb, set each one of us apart, and appointed each one of us to something specific (if you don’t believe it, check out the New Testament passages in Romans 12:6-8 and Ephesians 2:10).  Where the Creator calls, He ALWAYS equips, so, like Jeremiah, when you said yes, His words “have been put” into your mouth…past tense!  It is a result of our spiritual linkage.   Oh, by the way, you ought to know (or be reminded) that Jeremiah was raised on the Word of God.  He had much fewer love letters from God than we do, but he knew them well before this happened.  There is a direct relationship between how deeply we reach into the Word, and how exhaustive our God-speak will be.  If you already feel a big conviction, you have my blessings to stop reading and go ask Jesus for help.  If you are forging ahead, here’s the ‘more’.  While we are called to take in the Word in order to be prepared, there is also a position of rest out of which the Holy Spirit will fill our mouths with His words.  Check this out, “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” Luke 12:11–12 (NIV84).  It is what we dread the most (sometimes anyway), being under pressure to speak out our Christ-following to a hostile crowd (or person).  What a relief valve!  Jesus removes the burden of cramming for a public test.  We know the Word (right?), and live the Word so don’t be anxious, just be open.  Exactly what needs to be spoken is what you will speak.  So, whose words are you speaking?  Out of what vocabulary are you communicating?  What will you do today so that God can put His Words into your mouth?

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