Idle Word vs. Directed Words

Matthew 12:33-37 (NKJV) 33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

(First let me say that today is my wife’s birthday. If you know Pastor Elaine Kiefer, send her a note, a text or give her a call. She had been an example to many in the body of Christ and a better wife an mother has not yet lived. She personifies this verse. Proverbs 31:29 (NKJV) 29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”)

This week we have been studying the principle established by the Lord in creation. God created by speaking faith filled words that originated in the realm of the spirit. God gave this authority to man when he said “Have dominion over creation.” Jesus displayed the truth of this principle in his ministry. Yesterday we looked at the cursing of the fig tree and the calming of the storm. In the latter, the disciples make a statement that perfectly describes this principle. “Even the storm obeys him.”

There were many more times that Jesus used words to change the physical reality. Maybe the most powerful of all was the raising of Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus was at the tomb of Lazarus and ready to raise him up, he did not go down and lay hands on him. He did not do some ritual. He did not burn incense or sprinkle the body with herbs. John tells us what he did.

John 11:43 (NKJV) 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”

When it came time to change the physical reality of death, Jesus spoke words. Even death had to obey the voice of creation from the mouth of the Son of Man.

Today let us look at what Jesus taught concerning words. In the scripture above Jesus reveals a number of things. First, he tells us that the words we speak are indicative of where we are in the spirit. Proverbs 23:6-7 says that the motivation of a person is determined by what he thinks in his heart. In verse 34 above, Jesus tells us that out of that heart abundance a man will speak.

We may want to apply this to others to see where their heart is but I think we must also apply it to ourselves. Listen to your own words. We can sometimes deceive ourselves into thinking we are in a spiritual place that we are not. Our words well not lie. However, to what words should we listen. Jesus tells us. We will be judged by the “idle words” we speak.

What are idle words? When a car is idling, it is running but it is not going anywhere. It has the potential to do what it was designed to do, but it is not producing anything. It is idle. When we allow our words to be unproductive they are idle. They have potential but they are doing nothing to bring life. I believe we should be aware that our words are precious and endeavor to use them to build up others and the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:4-6 (NKJV) 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

If you go back to the 1st verse of this chapter, you find that this is a list of some very bad things. Paul includes how we use our words in the list. Do not use your words to damage or destroy. Use your words to build up and to give God thanks. You can never go wrong if you make these verses your guide.

That said, there is another meaning to idle words. One of the definitions for this word in Greek is lazy. Although this could go to the idea of being unproductive, I believe it can also mean unguarded. The words that we will really be judged for are those that we speak when we are idle. When we are not trying to say the right thing or when we are not trying to make the right impression we use unguarded or lazy words.

We speak one way in church but another outside of church. When we are speaking to the pastor or a brother we will use guarded words. We do not want to say the wrong thing. The words that we need to listen to are the ones we say when our mind is in idle. They will tell us where we really are in the spirit.

When I first got saved I was 14 years old. I did not grow up in the church. I was an athlete and spent time in locker rooms. The language there was quite “colorful.” When I was with my Christian friends I did not use that language. However, when I was with my locker room friends, my mouth was as bad or worse than any of theirs.

When I was 17 two things happened. I made a decision to serve God in the ministry and I got filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke with tongues. Up to that time it was a challenge to make sure the wrong thing did not come out of my mouth around my future wife who led me to the Lord. It was natural to use the locker room language. That was where my heart really was. I was saved but I was not yet fully given my life to Jesus.

After the experiences in the summer of my 17th year, I found that my idle words were different. It was not a challenge to say the right things around my Christian friends. I stopped saying the other words around my locker room friends. My idle words had changed because I had changed.

Idle words are not just curse words. Idle words can be words of doubt. They can be words of hidden unforgiveness. They can be words of fear or lack of trust or any number of heart problems that all of us, even born again Christians, can have. As we listen to our idle words we can determine where we are and what we need to work on. That is why it is for these words we are judged. They are the ones that tell us what we believe.

Listen to what you are saying when you are not guarding your words. If you cannot seem to help speaking about how bad things are, there is some unbelief there. If you cannot stop telling how bad someone is, there may be unforgiveness. Whatever you cannot help saying is what you really believe and where you really are in the spirit.

The good news is that can change. We can decide to make our words productive. We can change what we say and what we thinking. That is why God told Joshua what he did.

Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

God told Joshua how to change what his idle words would be. If he kept the book of the Law, the bible, in his mouth he would change what he thought. As he changed what he thought his words would begin to reflect the Word of God. When our words reflect the Word of God it means we have changed and our words with us. When our idle words change we begin to do the will of God and his power is released to enable us. We enter into God’s realm of possibility

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Say Unto This Mountain

Mark 11:22-23 (NKJV) 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

Words spoken by faith are an important tool used to release the power of God’s possibilities. When we speak words of doubt and unbelief we reinforce the power of the impossibilities we face. When we limit our discussion to natural possibilities, we limit our expectation to natural possibilities. When we choose to speak the Word of God over the impossibilities we face, we access the realm of the spirit in which dwells a whole range of possibilities that the natural world cannot understand.

This week we have been going back to the method God used in creation. He spoke words that contained both the blueprint of what he wanted and the power to bring it into existence as the natural world we live in. He continued through Genesis 1 to use the spirit filled words to reshape the substance of what he made into the world we see around us. Everything from the seasons to the animals came forth because “God said.”

In Genesis 2 we find that God formed man’s body from this substance called “earth” and breathed a spirit into the empty shell. The spirit of man gave life to the body of man. God gave him the authority and duty of “keeping” the garden. Since he had no tools or technology, I believe it is logical to assume that he cultivated and protected the world using the same method God had used to make it. He used his words.

Man was vitally joined to God. He was a spirit being clothed in flesh; the substance of the natural world. He was a bridge between the two. He was in fellowship with God. He had the nature of his Father. When he spoke his words carried the authority and the power of the creator. The world was designed to respond to them and did.

When man fell, this connection was broken. God used various other means to speak into his creation but the direct link was no longer available. God undertook to change that. In Bethlehem of Judea, God himself took on the form of sinful flesh by inhabiting a body formed in the womb of a virgin girl. The one who was born was the son of man because of his mother and the son of God because of his Father. The bible tells us in John 1 that the Word was with God and the Word who was God himself became flesh. God once again could speak directly to his creation through a human voice.

If all of this is true, then we should see it in the ministry of Jesus. In today’s scripture as well as many others, we do. The story of Mark 11:23 requires a little background to be fully understood. On the surface it almost seems that Jesus was being mean to the poor fig tree because it was not the time for figs. Just because it looked like it should have fruit and did not was no reason to kill the thing. That is not what is happening.

Jesus spent a whole day in Jerusalem looking at the temple practices. He said nothing. He simply observed as the money changers cheated the people and the priests went through the religious motions without any real faith. He went home to pray about what he saw. He did not simply react either to the scene at “his Father’s house” nor when he spoke to the fig tree.

On the way back to Jerusalem he saw a tree that had green leaves on it. As you look into the history of the time you find that it was before the fig harvest. It was not yet time to pick the figs. Nevertheless, this tree looked fruitful. Harvest time is the season when the most fruit is ripe and ready to pick. However, in the period leading up to harvest there is generally some fruit that ripens early.

When Jesus got to this one it looked good but there was not a single fig on the tree. What he saw was Jerusalem and the temple. It looked good on the outside but the religion was empty. There was no fruit. Jesus cursed the tree. Better to drive the life out of a fig tree than out of all the priests, scribes and money changers.

When they returned the next day the tree was dried up from the roots. Peter could hardly believe what he saw. Everybody says things like that. We do not expect them to come to pass! He pointed out to Jesus that what he said had actually happened. I am sure he thought, “What a coincidence.” Jesus might have said to them, “It is no coincidence.”

He proceeds to give them a lesson. This lesson is the same one we have been studying. He starts by exhorting them to have faith in God. Faith in God is what caused the fig tree to wither and die. The vehicle for that faith to get to the fig tree was the same vehicle that created its ancestor in Eden. Jesus said words that were born in the spirit and spoken by faith from someone with a vital connection to the creator.

I want you to notice something. Jesus did not say, “I was able to do that because I am the son of God. You, of course, cannot because you are just human beings.” What he said was “If you say to the mountain.” He tells us that if we speak words of faith and believe that they will come to pass, they will. We will have what we say. This is not just for him but for anyone who will walk by faith in God.

The example he gives is something he had never done and to my knowledge no one else has ever done. “If you say to this mountain be removed and cast into the sea, it will obey you. If you do not doubt you will have what you say.” Why use such an extreme example? I believe it is to let us know that this power is only limited by what we can believe. Anything in creation will respond to faith filled words or words that flow from a connection to the creator. It is just how the creation is designed.

We see this same thing in the book of Mark.

Mark 4:41 (NKJV) 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

We know this story as well. The disciples were told to go to the other side of the lake. While in the middle of the lake a storm arose. Jesus was in the back of the boat asleep. The disciples spoke words of fear that enforced the status quo and declared its outcome. “Master we are going to die!”

Jesus stood up in the front of the boat and did something that defies logic. He spoke to the wind and the waves. The storm ceased immediately. The disciples could not believe what they saw and Jesus told them that was their problem. Their response is interesting. The wondered who this really was because the creation obeyed him! What they did not understand is that the creation was simply responding to its programing. Words that originated with the creator were spoken by a human voice who spoke out of his faith connection with the same creator. The creation obeyed.

You are probably saying, “It cannot be that simple. If I just say the right things everything will happen the way I want it too?” Of course not. If you say what God is saying and you say it by faith, everything will happen the way God wants it to. The thing to remember is that God is for you not against you. God desires to bless his children. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him not a punisher. If you speak God’s word you open up God’s possibilities. They may not happen as you want them to and what you want may not happen at all. What will happen will be greater than anything you can ask or even think. (Ephesians 3:20)

Words are not the only key but they are a major part of how God intends us to have dominion over the earth by walking in the power of God’s possibilities.

Creative Vessels

Mark 11:20-23 (NKJV) 20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

Yesterday we journeyed back to the book of Genesis to observe a principle set in motion by the creator. This principle is stated in Hebrews 11:3. God created by releasing words filled with his power into a void. Those words made all that we perceive as the physical world. God used the same principle to shape what he had released into the heavens, the waters, the land and all life on earth.

God then changed the format of what he was doing. He formed man’s body out of the substance of what he had created. Man’s body was fully functional but empty. There was no soul within it. God breathed into man and he became a “living soul.” What God breathed into man was his own life. Man became a living “soul” when God put a spirit being into his body. Man is the link between two worlds. He is a spirit. God is a spirit.

Man is not God. That must be understood. There is no one like the Lord our God (Ex. 8:10.) However, man is like nothing else God created. God said that man was to have dominion over all the earth. Man had no tools that we know of. He had no technology. How was he to have dominion. I believe he was to rule the earth using the same principle by which God created it. The physical world was designed to respond to a God’s word. It was designed to respond to words that originated in the world of the spirit, the creator world, spoken by a spirit being.

When man choose to commit the sin of high treason his connection to that world was severed.

Genesis 2:17 (NKJV) 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

In the Young’s Literal Translation, this verse says “for in the day of thine eating of it—dying thou dost die.” God is telling Adam there will be two deaths. He did not die physically when he ate. He died spiritually. Spiritual death is to be cut off from God who is life.

When this happened, man could no longer be God’s conduit for creative words. The creation was designed to respond to words that originated in the world of the creator. Man no longer had that connection. God could override the dominion he gave man but in doing so he would lose all of his children. The love of God would not allow that.

God did not stop speaking. He changed his method. God raised up prophets who would speak his words just as he gave them. He anointed people with messages that they often did not understand. However, they spoke them just as God gave them. They did not editorialize nor interpret. They simply said what God said. This is why the channel had to be protected with some outwardly harsh penalties.

Deuteronomy 13:5 (NKJV) 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.

Earlier in this chapter, God tells Israel that even if a word spoken by a prophet comes to pass, they must not follow that prophet if his word leads them to other Gods. In verse 5 it says that this kind of prophet had to be put to death. I wonder how many prophets today would fail this test.

The underlying message of all the prophets who spoke to Israel was the one spoken by God himself to the devil in Genesis 3:15. There is one coming who is going to put right what is wrong. That prophecy was fulfilled in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) when the virgin of Isaiah 7:14 gave birth to a son when she had not yet had sexual relations with any man. Jesus, the son of man and the son of God, was born.

Paul calls Jesus the last Adam in 1 Corinthians 15:45. This means that whatever Adam was to the world the man Jesus was to the world. Nevertheless, Jesus was more than Adam. Adam was created by God. He was a spirit being in a physical body. He touched both realms and as such could be the conduit for God’s creative power to the world.

Jesus differed in a very important way. His body was made in the same way that all human bodies were made since the creation of Adam and Eve. There was a difference of course. His body was made of the flesh of his mother only. He had no human father. He was just as fully human as Adam. God formed his body from the “dust of the earth.” God formed Jesus body from the substance of humanity in Mary. The main difference is in what spirit God put into the body. In Adam’s case it was a human spirit. God did not put a simple human spirit into Jesus. He clothed himself with flesh.

Hebrews 2:14 (NKJV) 14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,

The theological word is “incarnation.” God became man. Jesus was God in the flesh.

John 1:1 (NKJV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 (NKJV) 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

God, once again, had a conduit through whom he could speak to the creation directly. He had a voice that did not require a sinful human to speak precisely as directed. He could speak himself. The creation once again heard the direct voice of its creator.

Romans 8:29 tells us that Jesus was to be the firstborn of many brethren. Romans 5 tells us that as Adam’s disobedience brought death to the earth, Jesus obedience would bring life to many. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 tells us that any who are “in Christ” are new creatures. What Jesus was, we become in salvation. We do not become God. There is still only one. Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. We are not that. What we are is what Adam was.

When I am born again my spirit is made new. I am vitally joined to Jesus.

1 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV) 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Adam was joined to God because he was a spirit put into a physical body. We are joined to God through our connection to Jesus our savior and Lord. Adam was able to have dominion over the earth. It follows that he exercised that dominion by using the words of God spoken to the natural world.

If Jesus was the last Adam we should see evidence of this in his ministry. If we do, then we must conclude that, since we are one spirit with him we must also have this same authority. Let us look at the ministry of Jesus and find out. Join me tomorrow.

Creative Words

Hebrews 11:3 (NKJV) 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

We have been looking the role our words play in releasing God’s possibilities. We tend to be a little skeptical that what we say is really important in terms of shaping our lives. However, we know that words can carry inspiration or fear. We know that words can change the course of history and we know that words can bring love into people’s hearts. Words spoken in the natural by parents, friends and teachers have shaped who we are. If natural words are so powerful, words spoken by faith in the supernatural are much more powerful.

Proverbs 18:20-21 tells us that our words carry the power to produce either death or life. When we choose to speak words that exalt the negatives around us we reinforce those negatives. We allow death to reign. When we speak words that declare what God says about our circumstances, a power is contained in those words that can change the circumstances.

We must remember that the words that bring life are not just any words. They are words that flow from God himself. We can find those words in the Bible. They become life giving when we fill our heart with them. When our words reflect God’s words God’s possibilities result.

I want to look at today’s scripture from the standpoint that it is a revelation of a principle that was set in motion at creation. This verse says that the worlds were framed by the word of God. It says that what we can see, all of the physical world, was made from something that does not appear. It does not say that the physical world was made from nothing. It says it was made from a substance that cannot be seen. There is a difference.

When we look at Genesis chapter 1 there is one thing that stands out. It begins in verse 3 and the pattern continues throughout the chapter.

Genesis 1:3 (NKJV) 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

God said. Everything created in this chapter was created by what God said. Words created the physical world we can see. God took what he wanted to create and “framed” it by his words. A frame contains the picture. It sets its limits and defines it. God took words that contained the power to create what he wanted. When he spoke those words the power in them was released into what Genesis 1:2 calls a formless void. When the words came forth they created what God desired. The physical world began to take shape.

I find it very interesting that even those who do not accept the idea of a creator God cannot get past the fact that the universe as we know it did not always exist. If it did not exist it had to have been created. If it was created, it had to be created by someone or something. It had to come from someone or somewhere.

I also find it interesting that the term science has adopted for the most likely scenario for the “formation” of the known universe is “the big bang” theory. They are speaking of some cosmic explosion but sound seems to be at the heart of what they believe. I totally agree. Sound is what created the universe. That sound literally translated from the Hebrew was, “Light be!”

God spoke from the world where he lives, the world of the spirit. He released words that were filled with the power of the spirit. He perfectly framed what he wanted to create by using a specific term. Another interesting scientific principle is that light is the basic building block of all matter. The “big boom” occurred when God released the basic building block of everything we can see and touch with the simple word, “light.”

The creation of the physical word occurred when God, who John 4 says is “a spirit” released his life contained in words to create physical light. The rest of Genesis 1 tells us that God used his words to take formless light and further define it.

There are 17 times in Genesis chapter 1 where God speaks creative words and aspects of the natural world are the result. This is the same principle that is stated in Hebrews 11:3. God created all that we can see by using words filled with his life which we cannot see but is, nonetheless, real. God’s words created the natural world. God’s words spoken by faith formed the world into what we see today. The created substance responds to God’s word when it is spoken by faith. That principle has not changed.

When God created man he altered the Genesis 1 pattern. In Genesis 1:26 God did say, “Let us make man in our image.” He did express his desire in words and those words carried creative power. However, Genesis two details the creation of man. The way he used that power is somewhat different than in the other creatures he made. Their life came with the creation of their bodies but man was different.

Genesis 2:7 (NKJV) 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

In this verse we see that god formed man’s body out of the dust of the earth. He took the substance of the physical realm that he had released when he said “let there be light”, and organized it into the body of man. However, that body was not alive. When God created man there was a second step. He “breathed into him the breath of life.”

It was not until God breathed into man that he became a living soul (KJV.) What did he breathe into him? I believe he took something of himself, of the world of the spirit, and injected that into the lifeless body he had created. God is a spirit. His life is spirit life. God breathed into man a spirit. Man is a spirit in a physical body. Man is not of this world (John 17:14.) Man is vitally joined to God’s world. Man was created to be a child of God in his image and likeness.

Matthew 6:26 (NKJV) 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Despite modern thought, we are of more value than the birds, the animals, the fish the trees or any other created life. The reason is not our intelligence. It is not what we have accomplished. The reason is that nothing else in the created world is a spirit. The rest of our world is physical. Animals do not have spirits. They do have souls, but God did not breathe something into them to make them “living souls.” That process was reserved for man.

This is one of my favorite things to think about and talk about. However, the real point I want to make is how man’s creation relates to the power of words and how they work on the creation God made. God made all we can see by speaking words. God organized what he had made by speaking words. He made man a spirit by putting his own life in his body. Then he said, “Have dominion over all I have created.”

How was man to rule the creation? Man is a spirit. God is a spirit. Man is not God. There is only one God. However, God put man in a position whereby he could access the creator world from with the created one. He had a physical body. He was part of the physical creation. Contained in that physical body was a person made of the same “stuff” as the creator world. Man had dominion the same way God created. He used words containing power from the creator world, more accurately from God himself, to shape and control the created one.

In Genesis 3 something went wrong. Man sinned and broke the connection. God already had a plan in place to correct the situation.

Setting a Course

James 3:2-4 (NKJV) 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.

Yesterday we made the case that God’s word in believing hearts is a tool that he has given us to release the power of God’s possibilities. God’s word are not just philosophical or even theological statements of truth. Jesus said the words that he spoke are spirit and life. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the word of God is alive and powerful. Proverbs 4 it tells us that they are life to those who find them and health to all their flesh (Proverbs 4:22.)

Yesterday we found from Proverbs 18 that the right words bring a satisfaction to life. In the next verse we find that words release either life or death. I do not believe this is talking about physical death, although can also be true. I believe it is talking about spiritual death or the power of sin that came into the world through Adam’s rebellion. That force transformed the Garden that God meant to be man’s home into the place of strife, suffering and death it has become. In this verse the Lord is giving us insight into a way to stop the force producing death and release the force of life.

Words have power. The words we choose to speak matter. That is not at issue. It is clear in the Bible. One of the problems people have accepting this is they do not feel it can be as easy as just speaking the right things. They are right. It is not just speaking the right things.

First, it is speaking the Word of God. That sometimes gets lost in the debate. It is not positive words alone that have power. Both positive and negative words do have the power to create atmospheres and mindsets in the natural. However, I am talking about making a connection with the world where God lives. To do that we must speak his words.

Even if we speak God’s words, we must speak them in faith and according to the principles he lays out in the bible. We cannot live ungodly lives and expect speaking the word of God to change everything. I pointed out early in the study of “all things are possible” that one of the most powerful statements that will release God’s possibilities is the statement made by Jesus in Gethsemane.

He did not want to face the cross. He did not want to bear the sin of mankind and the separation from his father that it would bring. He declared that all things were possible but then he made the statement for which the devil has no answer. “Nevertheless, not my will but your will be done.” If we want life to be released as we speak God’s Word, that must be the place from which we speak it. God’s will must be more important to me than my will.

Today we read one of the ways that speaking the Word of God will release life in us. What James says uses some very natural illustrations to express a spiritual truth. Let us remember that the truth itself is spiritual and works in the spirit not so much the flesh. The result on our flesh is a result of what happens in the spirit.

The illustration James uses is of a bit in the mouth of a horse and the rudder of a ship. The purpose of both rudder and bit is to set a course. We tend to think of steering in terms of driving a car. Although the steering wheel serves the same basic purpose as the rudder and the bit, our minds tend to think in terms of the action of steering. We always have our hands on the wheel ready to make adjustments that keep the car on the road. We know if we take our hands off the wheel we risk disaster at any moment. Bits and rudders do not quite work that way.

The purpose of both is to set the direction. Although adjustments may need to be made they are not as constant as those we make in a car. We must keep the car on the road. If a car goes off the road it usually means a wreck. A ship has a whole ocean to navigate. The boundaries are not set like they are on a road. The idea is to keep the right “heading.” That refers to a compass reading. As long as we head in the right direction we will get to where we need to go. If we have to change headings slightly to avoid a storm or something else, we have to get back on course but the emphasis is on the heading not the moment to moment direction.

The same is true of a horse. I have done some riding. Horses may need to follow a road but there is a difference between a horse and a car. The horse can see. It does not want to go over a cliff. It follows the easiest path unless there is a real reason not to. Once you get the horse on the path you can hold the reins loosely. The horse will continue on the path. If the path turns, the horse will turn. Not so with a car.

Our words set the course of our lives. The picture here is not the minute and continuous corrections made by the steering wheel of a car. Once we set the course we simply need to continue on it. If we find that we are “off the desired heading” we make corrections to get ourselves back on course. It is not about every little word we speak but about the course we a setting.

When we choose to speak the Word of God over our lives we set a course that leads us to God’s possibilities. When we choose to speak doubt and unbelief or when we choose to declare what we see as the highest truth, we set a course that limits us to man’s possibilities. Which course are you going to set?

I say this because of some of the misunderstandings that arose concerning the power of words. We should speak the Word as much as possible when it comes to the circumstances and situations of our lives. That does not mean that we should not express our needs or ask for help. Some took the teaching about the power of words and made it a message of bondage for themselves and others.

I had one lady who would always come and ask for prayer but would never express the need. The reason she gave was that she did not want to make a “negative confession.” She was so afraid to say the wrong thing that she could not even ask for help. This woman never got any freedom from the bondage in her life. That is not what the bible is teaching.

If you need help, you have to express what the need is or no one can help. You need to understand what is wrong to know what words from God’s Word to speak in order to change the course. It is not about the moment to moment confession of our mouths. It is the pattern of what we say that sets the course.

Let me put it this way. One right “confession” of the Word of God will not negate a life of wrong speaking or wrong living. One wrong “confession” of doubt, fear or unbelief will not negate a lifestyle of right speaking and right living. Our pattern of speaking the Word of God by faith will get us on and keep us on a course that will produce God’s possibilities.

Use your words! God says they have power. Set the course towards God’s possibilities. Do not allow this tool to become bondage. If you find you have been speaking contrary to God’s word, just give the bit a tug. That is all it takes to get the horse back on track. Sometimes they do not like it. Sometimes you have to be a little insistent and keep up the pressure until they go where they should, but they will eventually go where you need them to.

It is the same with the way our words set the course of life. Sometimes we need to take control of the rudder and make the ship change course. If we do, we will get to where we need to go. Just do not let the horse or ship go wherever it wants to go. Then you may never get to God’s possibilities.

Death Life and the Tongue

Proverbs 18:20-21 (NKJV) 20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth, From the produce of his lips he shall be filled. 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Yesterday we looked at the fact that we live in two worlds. God’s possibilities are available because of our connection to the world of the spirit. We live in the natural world but Jesus tells us in John 17 that we are not of the natural world. We are connected by our relationship to Jesus to another world. That world is the invisible world of the spirit.

Because it is invisible to us we have a difficult time accepting the reality of its existence and of its effect on our lives. However, it is only invisible to us because we live in the physical realm. The world of the spirit is the world where God exists. This world was created by that world. Therefore, that world is the higher world. Not only does it exist, since it created what we can see we must conclude that if we make a connection to that world it can also change what we can see.

It seems the hunger for a knowledge of the existence of another place, a place of power is part of the human condition. The more we try to educate it away the more is surfaces. The more modern technology seems to prove such things do not exist, the more we use modern technology to tell the stories. From Star Wars to superheroes and from The Hobbit to the vampire craze, people want to believe in a higher place of power. This is no accident or coincidence. Man was created by God who does not exist here and man hungers for relationship with him.

One of the more interesting and controversial ideas is the thought that words can somehow connect us to that other realm. We see this is the incantations and spells of heathen beliefs. Again, although our modern world debunks such thinking, it is everywhere in modern literature, movies and television. Words have power. Words can release the power of the invisible world.

In the stories and legends, the words must be specific words said a specific way. Often they must be said by an “anointed” person. This may be a priest or priestess or simply a chosen one among the people. Other times it is the words that are important and anyone who says them will make the connection to the supernatural world. Either way it is the words that make the connection. Where did this idea come from? It came from God himself.

In today’s scripture we read a statement that tells us the power of words. In verse 20 it says that we are satisfied by our words. Let me share this verse from the New Living Translation.

Proverbs 18:20 (NLT) 20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.

When we speak the right words the result is a sense of satisfaction in our lives. What are right words? In this verse he says “wise words.” Wise words are right words. Where do we find the wisest words ever written? We find them in the bible, the Word of God. I would submit to you that the right words in any situation are the words God would say in that situation. When we fill our mouths with those words they produce a satisfaction. It is like the feeling we have after a good meal. We need nothing more to eat. We are satisfied.

One of the things that I deal with as the pastor of a local church is the sense of dissatisfaction most people have where their lives are concerned. It often seems that even in good times, people are not satisfied. Nothing is ever enough. They feel they want more out of life than what they have. There are many reasons for this, but Proverbs 18 seems to indicate that there is something about the words we speak and satisfaction. If I speak the right words, I will be satisfied.

I am not saying that all we need to do is say the right things and life will be great. I am not saying anything. I am quoting the Word of God here. The King James and New King James say this in a little more flowery way, but the truth is essentially the same.

On the other hand, I am not saying that just speaking any good words will produce good things. I am saying that if we speak God’s word and do it by faith, the bible tells us our lives will be affected. This is true because God’s word is not fundamentally physical. God’s words originate in that other place; the invisible world from which God’s possibilities flow. His word is a point of connection between our natural world and his spiritual world.

John 6:63 (NKJV) 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Both of these scriptures point to the supernatural nature of the Word of God. It is not just flesh, it is spirit. It is a living and powerful thing. I am not speaking about magic words, spells incantations or even powerful human words whether spoken or written. I am talking about the words recorded in God’s book. I am also talking about our words filled and dominated with the essence of his word spoken by faith.

One of the misconceptions that grew out of the movement that became known as the “word of faith” is that we simply need to speak positive words and we can “write our own ticket with God.” I highly respect the preacher who used that term and in the context that he meant I think there is nothing wrong with the thought. I think it is better to speak positive things than negative. However, we do not write our ticket, it is already written.

If I want to fly to Nairobi Kenya, I have to buy a ticket to Nairobi. I cannot buy a ticket that says London, England and expect to go to Nairobi. The ticket is written and it will take me where it says it will take me. I have to get on the airplane and trust the pilot to get the benefit of the ticket. The ticket will only take me where it says it is going. I cannot change the destination.

Our ticket is already written. God put it down in a book so we would always be able to find the right destination. The book exists in the physical world but the words it contains originate in the spiritual world. The words in the book spoken by faith can change the natural world but only according to what the “ticket says.”

Verse 21 is the one we most often quote. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Look at how this comes out in the Amplified.

Proverbs 18:21 (AMP) 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].

We might say it this way. The tongue has the power to produce death or life. The words we speak will determine which we get. When we indulge in speaking, we will get the fruit of what we say either for death or for life. This is not my words or my opinion. It is what the bible says.

This is a difficult thing for us to accept. It sometimes feels like legalism to say that we need to “say the right words.” However, if we understand that God has given us a wonderful tool with which we can produce a desired effect, that is not legalism. It is freedom.

We Live in Two Worlds

Ephesians 6:11-12 (NKJV) 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Now that our yearly leadership conference is over, let me get back to the message I believe God has given me for this year. We are meditating on the thought that all things are possible to those who believe. It is important for the church to get back to expecting God to do more than what we see in the natural. I use the term “God’s possibility” as opposed to natural or man’s possibility.

For instance, I may get a bad medical report. The natural possibility involves doctors and medicine. There is nothing wrong with using those possibilities. If they work, great! Of course sometimes the cure, as they say, is worse than the disease. Sometimes the doctors and medicine simply have no solution. The choices based on man’s possibilities are live in sickness or die. That is just the way it is if we are limited to natural or man’s possibilities.

Jesus tells us in Mark 9 that, if we believe, there are other possibilities. In our sickness scenario, natural possibility ends with doctors and medicine. If that does not work, we have run out of possibilities. However, if we believe, there are other possibilities. Here are a few.

Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV) 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

This is echoed in the New Testament.

1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV) 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.

In Acts the ministry of Jesus, and by extension the church, is described this way.

Acts 10:38 (NKJV) 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

All of these scriptures point to another realm of possibility. God can heal our bodies. He made them. It only makes sense that he can fix them. Today it seems increasingly difficult to see beyond the possibilities the technology of modern medicine makes available to us. However, there are other possibilities and we need to be able to tap into them.

This same thinking applies to any kind of need or condition we can think of. We need to see beyond natural possibility in finances. We need to see beyond natural possibility in the relationships and interactions of our lives. We need to see beyond the natural possibilities when it comes to living our Christian life. Many people try to do the right thing as a matter of will power alone. You will never overcome sin or weakness by will power. There is another way. There is another possibility.

Galatians 5:16 (NKJV) 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

I do not want to take the time or space to elaborate on this scripture but it points to another way that we can defeat sin and weakness. We can walk in the spirit. We can draw from inner possibilities empowered by the Spirit of God not just on the strength of our own will.

There is a simple truth we must embrace and cultivate in order to walk in God’s possibilities. I am not saying that no one in the church understand this truth, but I do not believe we cultivate it the way we used to. I know I have not but I am stirring it up once again. That truth is represented by todays scripture.

We usually quote this scripture in relation to spiritual warfare but I want to look at it from a more basic point of view. This scripture tells us we need the armor of God to stand against the wiles of the devil. This is not talking about heaven or some other place. It is talking about where we are living right now.

There is an armor that we can wear that does not originate in the natural and does not draw from natural possibility. There is a foe that we must withstand right here on earth who cannot be seen in this world. Both of these things point to a connection between a place we cannot see with our natural eyes and the world we can see.

Paul goes on to say we do not wrestle with flesh and blood. However, we do wrestle! Any being that is of this world is flesh and blood. It may be a person or an animal but it is flesh and blood. What we must defeat is not flesh and blood. What is it then? It is something that is part of another world!

The term “wrestle” is particularly descriptive. Wrestling is a type of combat that involves close contact. It is isometric in nature. That means two forces are pressing together to see which is stronger. Boxing involves punching. It is a type of combat that does not involve constant contact with the enemy. Wrestling does require that kind of contact. Nevertheless, the wrestling we must do is not against flesh and blood.

We cannot see our enemy yet we must wrestle with him. We must push and be pushed back. We must hold onto our enemy, forcing him in the direction we need him to go until we so pin him down so he cannot function in our lives. How can we be in such intimate contact with an enemy we cannot see? The answer is that both we and our enemy live in two worlds.

We live in the natural world but, due to our connection with the Lord, have the ability to affect the spiritual world. Our enemy lives primarily in the world of the spirit but because of the sin of Adam is able to affect the natural world. We both live in two worlds but we are fighting for the future of this world and those who live here but do not yet know the Lord.

The possibilities we are trying to access, God’s possibilities, are not drawn from the world we can see. They are drawn from the invisible world of the spirit. They can affect the visible world because we are part of both. Let me point out one more scripture.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NKJV) 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Paul was not overcome by the things that he faced because he knew a secret we must learn as well. What we see is temporary. That means it is subject to change. It will change! What is unseen is eternal. What is unseen is the world of the spirit. When we learn to access the unseen power available to us, then and only then will we access the unseen possibilities that will take us beyond our natural limitations.

We cannot access what we do not believe exists. We must cultivate the awareness of the world of the spirit until, like Paul, it becomes more real to us than what we see, hear or feel in the world we can see. When that happens everything we see becomes subject to change by the power of God’s possibilities.