Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Stability in the Storm {Part 3 of 4} Speak Good

In the early 90’s Martha Stewart had her own cooking and crafting show which she always ended it by saying, “It’s a Good Thing”.  She had all of us viewers instantly agreeing with her that what she said was a good thing.  That is a powerful phrase that Martha Stewart coined.  It was positive and it got everyone to think positively about what she had just demonstrated and said to us.  Words have the power to change our world for the good of mankind or for the worse.

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.”

Are we speaking good or are we speaking evil?

When I pondered this, I certainly didn’t think that I ever spoke anything evil.  When I think of evil, I think of images of the Dragon in Sleeping Beauty trying to destroy everything beautiful, or impish demonic creatures running around trying to lure people into temptation, or people who pre-meditate murder.  No, I’m not like these things, I’m sure I don’t have anything to do with evil.  But, when I broke down the Greek meaning of the words for “good” and “evil” in this passage, I find something different than what I considered “evil”.  It’s not as distant from my life as I first thought.


Good/Agathos:  1. Of good nature 2.  Useful, salutary 3.  Good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy 4. Excellent, distinguished 5. Upright, honorable

Evil/Poneros:  1. Bad, of a bad nature

The key to this passage is found in the last part of the verse “For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.”   To find out what’s in our heart, good things or bad, all we have to do is listen to what we are saying.  In the King James’ version of Luke 6:45 it is expressed this way, “…out of the good treasure of his heart…out of the evil treasure of his heart…”

Our mouth is the gauge to our treasure room

What is your heart speaking today?  What has it said in the past?  It’s time to re-evaluate the treasure room.  Clean out the areas holding onto the evil and release that to Jesus and fill up our hearts with “Good Things”. 

How to release those dark areas:
-Begin with a relationship with Jesus by asking him for forgiveness, believing that you are forgiven and ask him to change you.
-Whether you’re a brand new follower of Jesus or not, say these words, “Jesus, I give you permission to clean out the dark areas of my heart and I release those areas to you.”

How to fill our hearts with “Good Things”:
-Read the Bible (It’s full of good words for our lives)
-Pray these words, “Lord Jesus, fill me up with more of you and the good things you have for me”.

Now when the storms of life come, I’ll already have my heart full of good prepared to encourage not only myself, but others.  “It’s a Good Thing”.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stability in the Storm {Part 2 of 4} Live a Giving Life

Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Luke 6:38

I’ve heard this passage preached on several times and from what I remember it has always been used in reference to finances and wealth.  Although that is not totally inaccurate, because that verse does hold true concerning wealth, I believe Jesus is touching on something broader. 

Give and it will be given to you

This giving, is giving to others which is different than giving to God. God is good to us regardless of our giving to him.  

Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

In the previous verses in Luke 6:30, Jesus says to give to everyone who asks you and then in verse 35 he says to give without expecting to get anything in return.  Jesus is specifically referring to what he was just speaking about, which is loving others without expectation. Then in verse 38 Jesus explains this supernatural law: when you give, it will be given to you in the same measurement you originally gave.

Since God’s word is true and this is one of his laws, then ask yourself, what measurement am I using to give and what can I give to others?  Here’s what I’m working on:

Now consider reading this list as what you will receive back, in the very same amount that which you gave.

This week, I’m challenging myself to use a bigger measure to give out to others.  Will you join me?  Make your own list of what you are able to give and what you want to receive back.  

This is a life of balance.  This is a life of stability; the life we are meant to live.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Stability in the Storm {Part 1 of 4} Live a Life Free of Expectation

This is a tough one.  

I have been in friendships that have had unrealistic expectations placed on me, and I’ve placed unrealistic expectations on friends.  

I’ve been in churches big and small that have had unrealistic expectations placed on me, and I’ve had unrealistic expectations that I’ve placed on leaders at churches and church structures.  

Oh in my mind, my expectations were very realistic…as I’m sure that’s what others would say from their perspective as well.  

We all expect that if we do something for someone, then we deserve to be treated the same way if not equal, then more so.  The problem with that formula is that it breeds disappointment.  If our friend doesn’t meet our expectations or that church leader or church structure, then we feel hurt and unimportant.  We feel discarded and so we start over again seeking out a new friend and a new church that will meet all of our expectations.  Like I said, I’ve been on both ends of this cycle and have learned that these expectations are one of the traps that the enemy, the Devil, loves to use to cause us as a people pain. 

In Luke 6:32-36 Jesus is speaking about this very subject.  In verse 35 he says, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

Jesus himself is letting us in on something that is key to stability in our lives.  Not only are we to love our enemies, but we are to lend to them without expectation.  Even though Jesus is speaking of our enemies, you could easily substitute the word “friend, church, church leader, neighbor, co-worker” anyone really.  Our enemy is so much harder to love, so start with the people who aren’t your enemy, because that’s super easy…right?  –I think you get the point.

When we lend to others without expecting to get anything back, what does that really mean? 
                -lending my “things”
                -lending my time
                -lending my money
                -lending my emotions (caring for others)

When we do these things, Jesus says that we will be rewarded greatly!  (Glance back at verse 35)  One of those rewards is freedom When we don’t place expectations on others to return what we’ve done for them, the enemy cannot bring disappointment and THAT is freedom!  Another reward is a spiritual reward, that we will be sons/daughters of the Most High.  Jesus is saying that when we do these things, we are displaying our spiritual family traits.  Our rewards go much further and they are given to us in this lifetime on earth and beyond into eternity. 

What other ways can we lend to others without expectation?  Let’s challenge ourselves to live a little bit more free this week.

I welcome all comments posted here or on my Facebook page Tasha Johnson, Author, Path of the Blessing