Monday, July 28, 2008

Facing The Music

"That to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess."
—Isaiah 45:23

The term "face the music" originated long ago in Japan with the Imperial Orchestra. It was very prestigious to belong to this particular orchestra, and there was a certain man who desperately wanted to join. He wanted to play for the emperor, but had no musical talent. This man happened to be very wealthy, so he offered the conductor a large amount of money if he would allow him to join the prominent orchestra.

The conductor accepted the man's offer and gave him a flute. He told him that when the orchestra played, he was to simply hold the flute to his lips and move his fingers so he would convince people that he was playing. So the man became a member of the Imperial Orchestra. He pretended to play his flute, everyone thought he was a great musician, and his dream of performing before the emperor had been fulfilled.

But one day, a new conductor took over. He wanted to find out how good the musicians were, so he announced he would be auditioning every musician in the Imperial Orchestra. The man was terrified, because he could not play a single note. His pretending had caught up with him, and he was forced to admit he was a fake. He couldn't "face the music."

A day will come when we will stand before God himself. And though certain people may have done a brilliant job of fooling other people, they will have to face the music. If they are not the real thing, it will show.
It’s one thing to fake it at playing the flute and quite another to fake your relationship with Jesus Christ. The great news is that Jesus already knows your life’s condition. To some that may not be good news, but that’s because of your perception of Jesus. He is not this mean guy in the sky ready to bring wrath upon you the first time you do something wrong. He’s not out to get you. In fact, the Bible says He loves you.
John 3:16-17 says this: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Jesus purpose is not to condemn you. His purpose is to liberate you!
A good dad loves his kids regardless of what they have done. He may not approve of their wrongdoings and even has warned them about it previously, but a father forgives the children and receives them into his arms with love.
Jesus wants you to be real with Him. What bondage it is to try and keep up a false identity. Holding up a mask and performing is tough work. Be upfront. Trust me, He’ll still love you. Ask God to forgive you if you’ve been faking it. Be real with Him. You may say, “But if He really knew what was going on in my life or what I’ve done…” The irony is that we try and hide it, but He already knows and still desires a relationship with you.
Jesus was real with you and I when he gave all His live on the cross. He didn’t hide or fake anything. He willingly gave it all despite the humiliation or shame He received.
What about you? How will you play? Perhaps you think you can fool other people, and maybe you can. But you cannot fool God. Be real with God and watch your life flourish.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Say, “Ahhh.”

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.
—Psalm 141:3

A man working in the produce department was asked by a lady if she could buy half a head of lettuce. He replied, "Half a head? Are you serious? God grows these in whole heads and that's how we sell them!"
"You mean," she persisted, "that after all the years I've shopped here, you won't sell me half-a-head of lettuce?"
"Look," he said, "If you like I'll ask the manager."
She indicated that would be appreciated, so the young man marched to the front of the store. "You won't believe this, but there's a lame-braided idiot of a lady back there who wants to know if she can buy half-a-head of lettuce."
He noticed the manager gesturing, and turned around to see the lady standing behind him, obviously having followed him to the front of the store. "And this nice lady was wondering if she could buy the other half" he concluded.
Have you ever noticed that God gave us one mouth and two ears? Do you think there is a reason for that? Maybe God wants us to listen more and to speak less. Have you ever wished you could take something back you said? Words can bring life or words can bring death. Just think of how often we jump to conclusions or pass judgment in a situation. The Bible says, "He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him" (Proverbs 18:13). That means, we should get the facts before we say and do things we could regret. Nevertheless, we hear something and immediately conclude that a person is as guilty as sin—and there is no explanation that can help, even if it is theirs. What you should do is go to that person before you believe the words against them and get the facts from them.

In the old days when you would go to a doctor, he would ask you to stick out your tongue. Then the doctor would pull out his depressor and tell you to say, "Ahhh." Why did doctors do that? Because the tongue can be an indicator of what was going on inside of you. By observing your tongue, a doctor could tell what was wrong with the rest of you. In a sense our tongue or our words are the table of contents to our lives. What we say gives away who or what we really are. That means, if all that comes out of your mouth is negative words, you more than likely have a negative spirit deep inside you. If you are quick to repeat gossip before checking your facts, then you need a heart check.
Maybe its lying that gets you in trouble. Regardless, your words are powerful and can hurt others and your reputation.

In Psalm 141:3, David is saying, "Lord, set a watch over my mouth. I can't stop other people from speaking evil about me, but I will not do the same to them. I will not be guilty of it, Lord. But I need your help. I can't do this in my own strength." David was literally asking the Lord to put a lock on his mouth. What comes out of your mouth is an indicator of what is inside your heart. Don’t be someone who is quick to spread gossip or give into lying. Don’t let anger take hold of your life to where you have to “tell someone off” or speak negatively of someone to get back at them. Follow the lead of David. Pray that the Lord will set a guard over your mouth and keep a watch over the door of your lips. Ask yourself, “Who can I bless today with my words? Who needs to be uplifted and encouraged today with the love of Christ?”

Pray this, “Lord, help me to be a person who chooses words of life. Set a guard over my mouth and cleanse my heart from any evil. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to