Say Whatcha Mean…and, by Gosh, Mean Whatcha Say.

We’ve all done it.  We know it the moment it happens.  And we cringe inside.  Our internals knot up.  Sometimes…we feel physically ill.  We allow words to pass ((or fly)) through our lips without first consulting our heart and mind…or perhaps we choose to ignore the messages of those two, vital organs altogether…

“Everything is going to be okay.”  ((but we don’t believe it will))

“I don’t know why I said/did that.”  ((but we really do))

“I’m sorry.”  ((but we’re really not.))

“I forgive you.”  ((but we really don’t))

“I will pray for you.”  ((but we know we won’t))

…And then there are those times we believe something so strongly that our mind is shouting, our heart is pounding, and their shared message is at the door of our lips, but we allow fear or pride to kill our voice.  Resounding, painful silence.

There is a situation that begs for truth.  ((silence))

There is a relationship that yearns for reconciliation.  ((silence))

There is a legitimate offense that needs our apology.  ((silence))

There is a need to forgive another…or even again.  ((silence))

There is someone who needs our prayers…now.  ((silence))

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Sunsets are one of my favorites…this is one from a while back.

These are the things that resonated in my spirit when I was meditating on what is now my favorite salvation call in all of the Scriptures…Romans 10:8-13 (NKJV):

But what does it say?  “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

I asked God, as one who had already been born again and adopted into His kingdom, I asked Him, “God, why believe and confess?  Why is it not enough For someone to believe in their heart?  Why is it not enough for someone to confess with their mouth? Why both?”  Now, I wasn’t asking God out of doubt or challenge of His sovereignty.  I really wanted to know.

El Yeshuati:  Do you remember times when you have spoken things you didn’t believe and how that felt?

Me:  …uh…yeah…😕

El Yeshuati:  And do you remember times when you believed something so strongly and wanted to say it, but you didn’t?

Me:  …(groan)…yaaaaasssss…😩

And there was His breath of understanding.  The fingerprint of His Word.  He knows how distracted (on a good day) our hearts and mouths can be, and He knows how deceitful (on a really, really not good day) our hearts and mouths can be.  When we enter that moment of surrendering our lives to His Lordship, He wants our heart and mouth to meet and agree on who Jesus is and what Jesus did for us.

When we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, we are acknowledging, agreeing, and making verbal covenant that Jesus is who He is revealed to be in the Gospel.  When we believe in our heart that Jesus was crucified for our sins and resurrected from the dead, we are demonstrating faith in God and entrusting our very self – our spiritual and physical life – to His deliverance, protection, healing, preservation.

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God loves you infinitely and immeasurably more than I love ((COFFEE))…now that’s  a lot of  L❤️VE❗️

This is available to anyone.  ANYONE.  It says so in the above verses.  Twice.  It’s even available to that co-worker who acts so ugly.  It’s available to your momma’s-friend’s-son who stole something very precious from you.  Anyone has access to salvation while on this planet…even and especially those who abuse, mistreat…deal harshly or speak lies…murder and thieve…and also those who live good, moral lives without regard for God.

Whoever..WHOEVER…all, any, every, the whole and as many as choose Him…

Will.  Be.  Saved.

Saved from what?  I’m so glad you asked.  Saved from spending eternity separated from God…saved from spending an eternity in ultimate,  indescribable darkness with gnashing of teeth and torment and punishment and unrectifiable awareness that you denied Christ because you did not believe and confess when you had the opportunities and ability.

I was rescued from that end in October 1995 on a Sunday night in a pile of brokenness on my daughter’s bedroom floor.  There was no “repeat-after-me prayer”…no Romans Road…no formulaic prayer.  It was just a very transparent me bringing the overflow of my fractured and surrendered heart through the honest confession of my mouth to a holy, forgiving, loving, compassionate, merciful, patient, kind Father who received me with fullness and rejoicing.

You can have this assurance, too.  All you need is a heart and a mouth.  Even if you can’t articulate audible words, God hears your thoughts and reads your heart.  Just confess and believe.

Learning and Growing with You ~ Tammy

Pray.

((This is an excerpt from a Bible study I’ve written: “G.R.O.W.  U.P.: Six Disciplines in Sowing Spiritual Maturity”)).

James 5:13-16…”Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing psalms.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

photo cred: www.mygraceumc.com
photo cred: http://www.mygraceumc.com

Prayer.  Every book in the Bible devotes some portion of itself to prayer.  From Genesis to Revelation, you will see something mentioned about prayer or as a prayer.  In fact, the whole Book of Psalms is made up of prayers and songs!  Some books dedicate whole chapters or sections to the topic or discipline of prayer.  Throughout the Gospels, it is documented that Jesus took time away for Himself to pray.  We will find prayers of thanksgiving and praise, prayers of distress and laments for God’s help, prayers of intercession for the deliverance from calamity or demonic possession, prayers for healing, prayers for needs to be met, prayers seeking Gods guidance or direction, and prayers after prayers after prayers for an unlimited number of human conditions – physical, emotional, spiritual.

Prayer is the discipline and function that threads through and binds other spiritual disciplines together to produce a beautiful life-tapestry that glorifies God.  Prayer is the line of direct communication with our Father.  It is a powerful tool, it is a privilege, and it is proven; however, it is also and often misunderstood, neglected, or misused by a large number of Christians.  I remember a season early in my marriage with Mr. Husband when I was jealous for his attention.  In my mind’s imagination, we would meet each other at home after a long, driven day at work and collapse in the solace of each other’s company.  After a brief recap of the day’s events, we would prepare dinner together and sit at the table with our five, very well-mannered ((ahem…cough, cough)) children and enjoy a peaceful, uplifting meal with conversation.  Once the kids were all bathed and tucked into bed by the respectable time of 8:30 p.m., and without a single child’s protest, Mr. Husband and I would sit on the couch with worship music playing softly in the background.  We would talk about our hopes and needs, read some Scripture, and seal every evening with praying together.  Yes, I know.  I hear you laughing and humph-ing.  Perhaps you are sighing with chagrin because you have had the same delusion…uh…I mean – image – in your mind.

Our dining table...it has hosted thousands of meals and about as many belching contests. Now, with the kids grown, it mainly just collects stuff.
Our dining table…it has hosted thousands of meals and about as many belching contests. Now, with the kids grown, it mainly just collects stuff.

The reality for me did not match the expectations…not even remotely.  Instead, we often found ourselves bringing the day’s frustrations home and allowing it to spill into our family interactions.  We often met without words and went straight to the tasks of managing a home and raising five children.  I cooked dinner by myself because – honestly – I don’t share my kitchen easily.  Even though we did succeed at intentionally eating at the table as a family most nights, our precious children’s behavior did not match that of the children I envisioned.  Mr. Husband and I would often find ourselves wedged in the middle of a belching competition at the dinner table, or an argument over whose turn it was to unload the dishwasher, or a hashing out of the day’s events.  HA!  Then bath and bedtime would come.  😳 Whoo!  By the time we wrestled with kids over who was going to bathe first, wash your hair, USE SOAP, quit popping your brother with the towel!, who got water all over the floor?!?, get into bed, stop picking on your little sister, no you cannot have a another drink of water, get into bed, I love you too, get back in that bed!, turn the light off, stay in bed, I hear you talking and quit playing because you have to get sleep before school tomorrow, don’t make me come in there again…Mr. Husband and I were ready to retreat into ourselves.  I would go my way in the house, and he would go his.  This routine persisted for several years until I found myself utterly isolated from my husband and desperately craving fellowship with him.  I remember distinctly the day God spoke to my heart so clearly about this.

Even though they are all grown up, we still can't persuade them to get sufficient sleep, and they still belch and pick on each other. They ARE better about using soap.
Even though they are all grown up, we still can’t persuade them to get sufficient sleep, and they still belch and pick on each other. They ARE better about using soap, though.

At a friend’s house, I was lamenting the condition of my marriage and how I was jealous for Mr. Husband’s attention, but I could not compete with where his focus was in that season.  God heard my petition and spoke truth through my friend.  She said, “Tammy, the thing you are wanting from your husband is the very thing that God desires from you.  Just as you want to take your hand and turn your husband’s focus to you, God has His finger under your chin and wants to turn your attention from your husband to Himself.”  Wow…immediate conviction.

This is a pearl of truth, precious friend.  God desires to have a relationship with us.  I believe Scripture supports that He does not desire our religion, but our very and whole selves.  He wants to spend time with us…He wants to hear from us…He wants to speak to us…He wants to love on us.  He wants an open and dedicated line of communication with us, which is facilitated through His Word and through prayer…prayer that sounds like us.  Even though God is omniscient, He revels in hearing us verbalize our concerns, praises, needs, frustrations, victories, and doubts in our individual, distinctive voice.  What am I suggesting?  God sees our every behavior, hears our thoughts, knows our attitudes, and listens to every word we think and speak.

Consequently, He knows our vernacular, but does He “recognize” the way we speak to Him in prayer as the same way we speak in the course of our daily life?  I am not suggesting that God has trouble recognizing some of us when we pray; rather, I propose that many of us are ourselves with people in the way we speak, but when it comes time to talk to God, we have difficulty finding our voice.  Many experience anxiety because they feel they should pray formulaic words and phrases that “are sure to reach the ears of God,” others believe their inflection should suddenly take on some serious and “holy” tone, and there are those who communicate with ease to the people around them but absolutely become tongue-tied when approaching the Throne of Grace in prayer.

My war room...er...closet corner.
My war room…er…closet corner.

Allow me to exhort you to put aside every anxiety and every preconceived idea that prayer should sound the same universally or generically.  We are each far from generic.  Release thoughts and belief systems and self-doubt that hinder your prayer life, and permit yourself to be you when you talk to God.  Present your very self to Him:  your words, your voice, your personality.  It took me many years to discover my personal sanctuary and comfort in talking to God and listening for His voice…especially since I was raised in a religion that only prayed memorized, recited prayers and doxologies.  I tried different styles and voices of prayer I had witnessed in the women around me as a new Believer, but none ever came with ease.  It kind of felt like putting on someone else’s tennis shoes…nothing ever really fit or felt comfortable.

Dear friend…just as we desire for our children, our spouse, our friends, and our peers to talk to us openly and honestly, so God desires for His children to speak with Him.  He desires our words of prayer coming out of an honest, open, and surrendered soul.  When we pray like that, we will pray with ease and confidence, and it will not sound carbon-copied or strained or rehearsed to the ears of God.  Your candid and sincere prayers are an offering and a fragrance to Him.