Do You Murmur?

I know I sure do sometimes. There’s a whole host of things we might murmur about. The weather, our jobs, our bosses, our churches, our families, our neighbors, what’s on TV, poor service, money etc. I could go on and on.

Sometimes we murmur because it just seems normal. Everyone else is doing it. You stop at the grocery store and the conversations around you might be something like, hot enough/cold enough for you? Man, is it ever going to stop/start raining? Can you believe the price of groceries? Why do they never have enough registers open? You know how we can get caught up in those conversations.

I guess in today’s language we would say we complain. We grumble. We mutter, we gripe, we moan, we whine. Ever do that? Or is it just me?

What makes us do it? A critical spirit? Perhaps. Sometimes it’s because we are just plain ungrateful. Other times we may be caught up in a group of people who are griping and complaining. Co-workers or family members perhaps, one person starts complaining and everyone else has to join in with their complaints and opinions.

We are certainly not the first to gripe. The Bible has lots of examples of those who murmur. Yesterday I was reading in Exodus, about the Israelite’s murmuring and complaining to Moses because they had no water and no food. Seems like a legitimate complaint. How many of us would keep silent if we and our children were hungry and thirsty? Then I read Exodus 16:8: “Also Moses said, “This shall be seen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”

Wow. That puts it in a different light. When we complain that things are not the way we want them, or we don’t have what we want, or feel we need, or should have, we are complaining against God. We are saying You have not provided for me well enough. You have not done the things that I want you to do. Like we somehow know better than God. I’m not sure. Perhaps it was the way the Israelite’s complained. They didn’t trust God to provide, even after all He had done for them. Instead of just asking Him for provision, they complained. 

One problem with complaining is we can drag others down into it with us. We want others to know what injustice has been done to us, so we murmur and complain. The problem is this can lead to gossip. And we know the Lord hates gossip. We can lead others to sin. Then they may go and share what you told them about this person or that situation and the gossip continues on. 

We can also be sowing discontent among others. We start complaining about our job or our family or our church, and those who never had a problem with those things all of sudden start seeing only faults. Now they are looking at people and situations in light of what we may have complained about, not the way they saw it before.

Proverbs 6 talks about the seven things the Lord hates, and one of them is one who sows discord among brethren. (Prov 6:19). Is that what we set out to do? Most of the time this was never our intent when we started complaining. We wanted sympathy, or understanding. Someone to agree with us. We were unhappy and we wanted others to know it. Our intent was not to sow discontent or to gossip. Yet it might have happened anyway.

That does not mean that sometimes we will not have legitimate complaints about situations. But instead of complaining to others around us, we need to take our complaint to the one its about, or to someone who can fix the problem. Sometimes, all we are supposed to do is pray about it and keep it to ourselves.

The Lord knows our weaknesses and He knows that sometimes we will be in situations that are unfair or unjust. And He knows that sometimes we will be unhappy about things in our lives. Instead of murmuring to others, we can go to Him as it says in Psalm 62:8: “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah”. 

We can trust God that if something needs to be worked out He will help us. Yet, there are also times the Lord has us in a particular place, or in a particular situation because He wants us to learn something. Or, He wants to work something out of us that is not pleasing to Him. As long as we continue to gripe and complain instead of trusting the Lord we will stay in the same place. And who wants that?

Thankfully, we don’t have to stay the way we are. We have God’s Word to renew our minds and change us. I love 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. And Hebrews 4:12: “ For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Let’s let the Word start doing it’s work in us today. 

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What’s That You Say?

I was thinking about my Mom yesterday and some of her crazy sayings. My mom had more sayings than Carter had liver pills. In fact she had more than you could shake a stick at! Lol. Suffice to say she had a bunch. Some she made up, but many of the sayings she used were probably as old as the hills.

It’s funny when I think about it, because although she died 13 years ago, when we her children and grandchildren get together we still laugh about it as we use many of those sayings and remember her. They have become part of our family history. Things that we say without even thinking about it.

Then I thought about some of the other types of sayings we all use, or have used probably during our lives. Things we also may say without even thinking. Just harmless sayings we may think. But are they?

What are we really doing when we say things like my feet (or any other body part) are killing me, or it, or you, or she or this situation is making me crazy.  Or any number of variations on that theme. What about when we make statements like oh, I get the flu every year and I know I’ll get it again this year. Or, all the men in my family died by such and such and age so I’m sure I will too. Our words have creative power. Are those the things we want to create?

Do you find yourself sometimes using sayings that were said to you as a child? Things that perhaps fostered a poverty mindset or a mindset of lack? Sayings like, money doesn’t grow on trees. Or, what, do you think we’re made of money? Our words are seeds. What kind of things would grow from seeds like that planted in a child? Not ones we would like to plant I think. 

Just look at the work we are saving the enemy if we are cursing ourselves and others with our words. He can just sit back and laugh and watch as we get what we speak. Just listen sometimes to the things people say without a thought in the world as to the power of their words.

We laugh and we joke about sayings and meme’s we see on Facebook about aging or relationships or any number of things. By laughing and saying to one another, that’s so true, are we coming into agreement with those things for our own lives? Before we pass it along do we think, is this something we really want to be true for our lives or our friends lives? 

So many verses in the Bible warn us about our words. Matthew 12:36 says “ But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” Or Colossians 3:8 ” But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” Something to think about. We may not always think much about the way we speak but it is important to the Lord. 

What about the words we use to speak about others? The things that we may call the driver that cut in front of us in traffic, or the things we say about politicians or people in the public eye with whom we disagree? Just because they aren’t there does that give us the right to say what we want about them? Will we want to give an account of those words one day?

What about when we hear parents say things to their children like, you’re a slob or you’ll never amount to much. You’re going to end up in jail one day. He/she is just like their father/mother (and not in a good way). What kind of seeds are being planted in those situations? Then when these children get older and become what was spoken over them the parents wonder what could have happened to cause such a thing. 

No wonder James had this to say about the tongue, “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” James 3:8-10.

I was reading someone else’s blog recently about words. He said he was in his car one day and someone near him almost caused an accident. He was alone in the car and called the person an idiot. He figured it was no big deal as no one was there to hear him. But the Lord did. He said immediately he felt the Lord say to him in his spirit “I have created no one—no human being—by that description”. Yikes.

How easily we sometimes make those offhand comments about another person. We forget that the Lord created them also and He loves them. When I think of the things I may have said about others in the past it makes me cringe. I’m so thankful that when we do say something we realize we shouldn’t have, we can go to the Lord and repent and He will forgive us.

He can also help us in our battle to watch what we say. We can ask Him daily to do what Psalm 141:3 says. “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” Or Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

I have also found it helpful to give my family and close friends permission to point out to me anytime I am speaking a curse over my life or over anyone else. To be held accountable. 

The Lord warns us so many times about our words because He knows what can come of us speaking things we shouldn’t. He wants us to be sowing good with the words of our mouths so we can blessed. Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

We have the choice of what to speak. May we learn to think before we speak and speak only that which is good and true. Its tough sometimes I know. After all, old habits die hard. For those who may say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, the good news is, that only applies to dogs! 

 

 

 

Idols

Often when we hear the word idol we think of statues that are worshiped by other cultures, or altars dedicated to false gods. While those things may be true, those are not the only things that can be idols.

I have been taught that an idol is anything that we put ahead of God. Something that we spend more time doing or thinking about, something we treat with more value. It could be different for everyone. For some it might be endlessly watching their favorite sport or just watching TV. Pornography. Video games, Facebook, shopping, junk food etc. Our relationships could become our idols. Maybe our relationship with a spouse or significant other, or family members. People pleasing can be a big idol in our lives.

Though some of those things are always bad, most of those things are not bad on their own. But anything we magnify ahead of God can become idols in our lives. In the 1913 version of Webster’s dictionary one of the definitions of an idol is “That on which the affections are strongly (often excessively) set; an object of passionate devotion; a person or thing greatly loved or adored.”

I believe that if we are constantly thinking (worrying) about a situation whether it may be family relationships or jobs or finances or what have you, it can be setting those things up as an idol in your life. I know there have been times, even recently, that I have done this in my own life. If we are constantly worrying about a situation are we not magnifying that problem above God? As if it’s greater than God?

When we are in that situation, where we are constantly worrying, we are in essence fearing that this problem is something that the Lord cannot possibly work out. We fear things will never change. Maybe we entertain all kinds of scenarios in our heads as to what we think will happen, or we think things we should not be thinking, instead of taking our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.

The Word says in 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 

It is not that the Lord doesn’t want us to enjoy our lives, nothing could be further from the truth. John 10:10 tells us “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Yes, He wants us to have abundant life but God wants to be first in our hearts and lives not just an afterthought. 

Those other things that we put ahead of God and seek after are not really what our soul is desiring. The Lord made us so we would seek Him. He longs to have us fellowship with Him. Acts 17:27: “ for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.” How then could anything else take that place in our lives?

Why is it that we hold so tightly to some of those other things? For some, perhaps they don’t know the Lord or the value of a personal relationship with Him and with Jesus. Or perhaps they think there’s no rush, they want to enjoy their lives now and wait and turn to the Lord before they die (bad idea by the way). For others of us could it sometimes be fear again? Fear that if we don’t have enough wealth or power or fame or popularity or love, then maybe there’s something wrong with us and maybe we are just not good enough?

What we fail to realize is that the one thing that we are made for and the thing that would give us the most joy, putting God first, is the thing we sometimes think of last, if we think of it at all. 

When we listen to the lies of the enemy, or the flesh that tell us we don’t have time to seek God, or, God doesn’t mind if I just keep Him in His little box so He doesn’t really affect my life, we are being stolen from. Robbed of a relationship with the one true God, robbed of the peace and the joy that that would bring to our lives. Robbed of the happiness we could have following the path He has for us, instead of the one we may think will bring us happiness. 

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Is there anything in our lives more important than that?