2/6/06

Encouragement for Today

 

“What Did He Say?”

Wendy Pope, Director of Development, Author, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

Ephesians 5:1, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children." (NIV)

 

Devotion:

My husband and I teach our children what most parents teach their children:

 

·         We don’t hit others.

·         We must share.

·         We must obey.

·         We treat others the way you want to be treated.

 

We try so hard to teach them how to act that we sometimes forget to show them how to act.  I learned this lesson from my son one day as I drove home from preschool.

 

I consider myself a patient driver.  One of my favorite things to do in the car is listen to praise and worship music.  Most days I can handle any traffic difficulty, because the music keeps me calm; however, there are days when even worshipping and praising can’t make my natural instincts subside. 

 

The traffic is moving slow, I am running late, and a car pulls out in front of me and does not accelerate.  On days like these, I have a tendency to talk to cars, and the love of Jesus is not flowing from my lips.  One day, while as I was ranting and raving, my son heard me and asked, "Mom, who are you talking to?"  I told him I was talking to the cars because they are going too slow.  Little did I know that my actions would come back to haunt me.

 

It was a beautiful day.   The sun was shining; I was on-time to pick my son up from preschool and I was just loving Jesus.  The traffic light ahead turned yellow warning me to prepare to stop, so I began to slow down, like the cars in front of me.  All of a sudden, out of the back seat came shouts of anger and ugliness.  My sweet little three-year old was yelling at the cars slowing down.  I said to myself, "What did he say?"  The Holy Spirit whispered, "Exactly what he heard you say."  OUCH!

 

Today’s key verse flashed in my mind:   "Be imitators of Christ."  I asked God and my son to forgive me for the way I acted.  This entire incident made me stop and reflect on the way I conduct myself.  I began to ask myself some tough questions.  I hate to admit it, but I did not like the answers.  What my son imitated was a reflection of my heart.  Matthew’s gospel challenges our speech by teaching us the relationship between our heart and our mouth, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (12:24, NIV)   What my son saw was what the world saw.

 

I fell under conviction. I began to pray for the Lord to infuse me with Himself to the point that others would only see a reflection of Him when they looked at me.  I invited Him to change my heart and to use me to change the hearts of others with same "heart condition."  I told Him I wanted to bring the fragrance of His love to all those I meet each day, but especially to those I love.

 

Our walk must match our talk.  What are your actions saying about you? 

 

My Prayer for Today:

God help me yield to Your Spirit today instead of my own instincts.  If I follow my own instincts I will not reflect the greatness of Who You are to others.  It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit in me that I can change.  Thank You in advance for the changes You are going to make in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps: 

Ask a very close and godly friend to help you honestly answer the reflections points for today.  Record the answers.  Ask this friend to pray for you on a daily basis and to hold you accountable.    Give God permission to change your heart.  Make a date with your friend to celebrate God's answer to this prayer.

 

Reflection Points:         

Am I a Christian?

 

What is my first reaction when something "unscheduled" happens in my day?

 

Do I reflect Jesus?

 

Does my walk match my talk?

 

What changes can I make to insure others see Christ in me through my words and deeds?

 

Power Verses: 

Romans 8: 12, "So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do." (NLB)

 

Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)

 

Philippians 4:13, "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]." (AMP)

 

2 Timothy 1:7, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

Out of the Mouth of Babes, by Wendy Pope

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_mouthBabes.htm

 

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, by Deborah Smith Pegues

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_tamingTongue.htm

 

Sandpaper People, by Mary Southerland

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_sandpaperPeople.htm