|© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.|
It reminded me of one of my first ministries. I got a burning desire to read the Bible to someone in a Nursing Home. So I found an organization that would match me up. When I got to the Nursing Home, the lady told me, "We're going to try you out with Isabel. She hates people and won't let anyone visit her, even her family. You seem like a nice person."
Yikes! I prayed and walked over to where she was resting. The first thing she said was, "What are you doing here? Did THEY send you? I don't want you here!"
You see, I wasn't very nice to Christians before I accepted the Lord and these thoughts came to mind. So, I sat down in a chair, smiled, and looked up to Heaven. I could feel God's laughter, so I silently responded, "Ok Lord, I know this is where You want me." Then I could feel His love.
Isabel calmed down and asked what I wanted to do. So I told her, "Whatever you want to do. I can just keep you company. Or we can read the Bible."
"I hate the Bible."
So I sat silently. Finally, she said, "Well I guess it's ok for you to visit."
Our relationship lasted for several months. We were in Washington state at the time. She described living in the untamed Cascade Mountain range, in a cabin, with her husband. She told me stories of bears, and trains. How she loved her husband and what a great man he was. I can still see images in my mind from our talks.
I had to paint a portrait for college. She let me take photos so I could paint her. Isabel always wore a bright yellow visor and multi-colored gown. The painting turned out great (I only have a slide or I'd show it to you).
One day the Lord prompted me to share the Bible with her. He let me lead her to Christ. We read the Bible for several weeks. I was able to take her to my Church in a wheelchair once. And then, the Lord prompted me to help her with her family. I told her, "Isabel, I've loved this time with you. But, I think it would be better if you could meet with your family. I'm sure they miss you."
She agreed. I stepped out of the way and let the family re-unite. The family wanted the painting so I gave it to them. With our mouths and a little silence, we can bring great blessings, healing, and hope to others, with God's help.
David starts out with an outcry to God. He feels alone, like God isn't listening. Hmmm I know that feeling. He asks God to make his prayer like incense, a sweet aroma. David always acknowledges the power and might of God. I ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me through the Bible, and for words to say to others. I've never thought of asking Him to give me words to pray.
1 Lord, I cry out to You;
Make haste to me!
Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.
2 Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Oh man... here's the part about the mouth. It's very important and very hard to control. People don't understand what we mean, we don't speak the same language, we argue, we cut down, humiliate, but we also bring great blessing, hope, love and healing to others. Such a mystery.
3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice wicked works
With men who work iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.
It reminded me of what James wrote about our mouths:
5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
It seems besides traffic jams, what we say is a great test of our faith... It's so true. I've met people that appear so handsome or beautiful, then they speak and they aren't at all. I've said things that I wish I could erase somehow. But we still have hope : )
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...This is a good way to think of it. If we get corrected it's better to be corrected by a Christian in love, than without love. I was taught early on that if you're anxious to get out there and fix someone, you should stay quiet. Pray first, examine your own heart and then ask for the words to say. When you'd rather not do it, then you're ready to correct someone else. Guess that applies in marriage too.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
5 Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.
This sounds horrible. Another reminder of how awful it must be to fight in a war. I know it's necessary, but it sure can be brutal.
For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.
6 Their judges are overthrown by the sides of the cliff,
And they hear my words, for they are sweet.
7 Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave,
As when one plows and breaks up the earth.
8 But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge;
Do not leave my soul destitute.
9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
And from the traps of the workers of iniquity.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I escape safely.