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WORD FAST ANYONE?

 Word fast???  What’s a word fast?  Most of us are familiar with the concept of fasting and it’s also probably something few of us attempt on a regular basis.  And, when we do think of fasting, it is most likely a food fast.  As the New Year starts, some of us may have overindulged over the holidays, so we might be thinking of a healthier diet, eliminating certain foods completely, or even starting an exercise program.  But, how does a person start a word fast?

 I recently read an article by Sylvia Gunter entitled, “Fast of Words: A Different Kind of Fast” (Fast Of Words: A Different Kind of Fast | by Sylvia Gunter (thoughts-about-god.com).  In this article, she states that God has led her to fast from critical, complaining, judgmental, and negative words. Wow! This might severely restrict our vocabulary. For most of us, it will be much harder to do a word fast than it would be to do a food fast. At some point in our lives, we may have already decided that we will never write harmful words down on paper that could come back and haunt us. We have all heard the chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We also know this is definitely not true. Even though we may apologize for our words (spoken or written), our careless, unkind words do indeed hurt, leave scars, and are often remembered longer than a physical wound.    

 While we may be making progress in the spoken and/or written word areas, most of us will have to admit we have a really hard time controlling our thoughts and making them obedient to Christ. A person cuts us off on the highway, a clerk is rude to us in the store, someone says something unkind about a member of our family, we remember a past hurt or an insult, or any other attack Satan decides to send our way—and immediately our thoughts take a wrong turn.  The battle is lost or won in our hearts before we ever speak or write a word. We sometimes forget that God not only sees and hears all—He also knows every thought we have.

 God’s Word has so much to say about our hearts and our words, and I challenge you to read all of them.  The following verses are just a few of His instructions in this area:

 Proverbs 4:23-24: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.” 

 Proverb 12:18: “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” 

 Jesus tells us in Luke 6:45: “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

 Colossians 3:8: “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these:  anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”

 Colossians 3:12-14: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

 Philippians 4:8:  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

 Most of us are familiar with this anonymous poem: 

 A careless word may kindle strife; 

A cruel word may wreck a life;

A timely word may level stress;

A loving word may heal and bless.

 In 1988, when the late president George H. W. Bush gave his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for president, he voiced a desire for a “kinder, gentler nation.”  In my opinion, we were kinder and gentler in years past. Unfortunately, again in my opinion, this past year 2020 strongly surpassed all previous years with constant displays of uncontrolled anger, criticism, condemnation, ridicule, sarcasm, and all the other behaviors God hates.

 What can a believer do?  Let’s consider a “word fast.”  Don’t expect it to be easy, and don’t expect Satan to take a vacation and leave us alone while we try to follow God’s commands about the words we think, speak, or write. Remember, we cannot do this in our own strength—we need the Holy Spirit to strengthen us. Ask Him to convict us immediately when our thoughts take a nose dive, a wrong turn, or we fret and stew about past offenses. Confess this wrong thought or attitude to God, receive His forgiveness, and start all over again. While we cannot change the whole world, we can work right where we are.  Let’s resolve to do our part and work together to help make our country a “kinder, gentler nation,” our church a “kinder, gentler church,” and our family a “kinder, gentler family.”  Let’s amaze our families and friends!

 May the words of my mouth

And the meditation of my heart

Be pleasing in your sight,

O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

 

 

 

 

Posted by Dee Schneider with
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Wow, what a year! Seems like I was just in Colorado, spending Christmas 2019 at my parents’ new house. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I never could have imagined how crazy 2020 has been. Covid-19 came out of nowhere. People rioting in the streets, burning down buildings. Lockdowns, for months. Brutal political season. People still not sure who our next President is going to be, with some screaming “Election fraud!” Others don’t think it occurred.

People arguing if we should all be wearing masks or not. If vaccines should be mandatory or not. It just felt like this country needed some joy to fill our lives. Something to get our minds off all the chaos that’s occurred this year. Something to remind people of what really matters in life.

Christmas season is just what we all need right now! This is my favorite time of the year.

Who doesn’t love driving around, seeing all the beautiful Christmas lights? Decorating the Christmas tree, while drinking hot cocoa and eating some cookies. Fireplace on. Christmas music in the background. People happily shopping for that perfect gift for someone special. In what in many ways has seemed like a dark year, Christmas 2020 has brought a huge light that this world really needs right now!

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, though? The Light coming to this world? We often think of the Star of Bethlehem at Christmas time, when the three wise men saw the star in the sky that led them to where Jesus was born. But what was even brighter than that star? Jesus, of course! He was born into this world to ultimately grow up and save mankind. John 8:12 says, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; the one who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” In fact, the light of Jesus is so bright that Revelation 21:23 NASB says this about the future New Jerusalem: “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

I sometimes wonder if heaven will sort of be like the feelings we feel during Christmas, but 24/7! Joy all the time. Christmas is a time when many feel closer to those around them than any other time of the season. An awesome reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for all of us by leaving His kingdom in heaven, to come and be a servant on this earth, and to die for our sins. All of this so that we can live with Him forever in heaven.

It took us all 11 months to get to the Christmas season, which for many starts December 1st. For fun, I even like to start the countdown June 25th, and give people a reminder the 25th of each subsequent month. But before Jesus was born, people were waiting centuries for the birth of Jesus. Many wished to see the birth of their Messiah. They counted down, eagerly anticipating the coming event.

It’s neat to look at the bible verses in the Old Testament that predicted the birth of Jesus. Here are some of those verses. Genesis 3:15, NASB says: “And I will make enemies of you and the woman, and of your offspring and her Descendant; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.”

Isaiah 7:14, NASB says: ‘Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will name Him Immanuel.”

Isaiah 9:6, NASB says: “For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Micah 5:2, NASB says: ‘But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

Hosea 11:1, NASB says: “When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.”

Numbers 24:17, NASB says: “I see him, but not now; I look at him, but not near; A star shall appear from Jacob, a scepter shall rise from Israel, and shall smash the forehead of Moab, and overcome all the sons of Sheth.”

What a great way to end this crazy year of 2020. No matter how much chaos has occurred this year. No matter how dark things might have felt for some. No matter how divided this country has become, this Christmas season gives us a little hope of things we can look forward to. Jesus was the light of the world, and this Christmas season is a great reminder of that.

 I pray that everybody has a great Christmas celebration this year. 2021 is right around the corner, and I can’t wait to see the awesome things that are going to happen in this country and around the world! With God, we know we don’t have to fear anything that comes our way. So, may we remember 2020 as a time when, through all the darkness, we were reminded of the Light Jesus was, is, and will be forever in our lives. God bless you all. Merry Christmas. And have an awesome New Year Celebration! Godspeed, my friends. And may the peace of Jesus be with you, no matter what comes our way.

Posted by Adam Alb with

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