Hey BCU family,
As usual, please enjoy the audio podcast (click on the icon below), the written transcript, or both! In either case, God bless you as you read, hear and apply the Word of God.
As we begin, think about a crowded refrigerator—I don’t know about you, but cleaning out the fridge is my least favorite chore! If you don’t stay on top of it, things start to accumulate! Things like the containers with the leftover ziti, or a half of rotisserie chicken, or the package of ground turkey–those are big, up front and easy to see. Then, there are some of the other things, like that half carton of pork fried rice, the small bowl of cooked carrots you intended to eat or the carton of flavored creamer that was not your favorite. And let’s not forget the old orange or dried up potato that rolled in the back, the spilled milk, the mystery packages that have cake from the last church function (somehow that fell between the 2nd shelf and veggie crisper), the soggy veggies in the Ziplock bag, the half sandwich you brought home from work or the orange juice from last month.
And of course, you go to shop for NEW groceries—more milk, yogurt, produce, eggs, bacon, etc. I mean it’s a big fridge and you can sort of shuffle some things around for now. Then it gets late and you JUST do not feel like fooling with it at the moment. Rather than cook, you all may decide to go out for dinner and that is okay—you’ll have leftovers because the restaurant serves HUGE portions. And they go in the fridge.
You may not feel like a big meal the next night so you have some cereal, the night after that you have Bible study, so you get something on the road. Next thing you know a month goes by and when you go by the fridge–it has a slight stench. Someone is going to clean it out right?! It doesn’t smell THAT bad. Plus, you are working late all this week, so you have NO time to clean it out. Then after that late work week, you know you need to get in there, because the stench is getting worse and when you open the refrigerator door—BAZINGA! Since no one else sees how crowded the fridge is, or is complaining about the fridge, or you live alone, you have to muster up the courage and go in to clean it properly.
When you first start, you are hesitant! I mean it STINKS and just looking at the green/white “fur” on some of the items, like the rice, the withered up orange, the cake and half-sandwich is a bit gross—ugh! You have to clean out the container with the ziti and cooked carrots, never mind the sour milk and orange juice containers, the slimy pork fried rice and withered produce. EWWWWWWWWWW! It’s difficult, and takes some time and a lot of scrubbing, rearranging and tossing things, but once you get in and get it done, you look at the finished work and you’re like, this looks MUCH better and feels good to complete the task.
What’s the point of my long fridge story? At some point in our lives, we’ve all had a fridge that has been been neglected to a point where out of necessity, overcrowding or the stench –you were URGED you to tend to it. The first step #SpeechTherapy is evaluating what is in your heart, since the Bible says out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). Just like there are SO many things in that fridge, there are MANY things in the heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful above ALL things and desperately wicked: who can know it? Additionally, Matthew 15:18-20(a) says, but those things which proceed OUT of the mouth comes from the HEART and they DEFILE a man, for out the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man.
These passages of Scripture are NEEDED reminders that our speech is a reflection of what is going on inside the heart. And THIS is the point of necessity—with God’s help we have to deal the overcrowding, the things hidden, covered, obvious—the stench of a heart that comes out in impatience, hurtful words, slaying someone (even with your words or a look), sexual immorality, taking things (maybe from work), blasphemies (talking the Lord’s name in vain)—all these things defile (spot, stain or soil) or as my niece says “wrinkles up” your garment. We all (myself included) need to be spot and wrinkle free. Since God is giving us the time to do that, we want to get on it and stay on it. Time to clean “heart”.
It behooves us to pay close attention to what we feed and dwell on in our hearts. Of course, and I mention it every broadcast, we NEED the Holy Ghost down on the inside on order to even begin this task, hence the need for salvation through Acts 2:38—we HAVE to start with repentance, baptism in the name of Jesus and being filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost. As we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, we begin to understand why the Word warns us about the “accumulations”of the heart.
So, your mind and heart are linked together. The ancient Greeks believed that the heart, the most noticeable internal organ, was the seat of intelligence and memory, as well as emotion. As we truly think about our anchor Scripture, let the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14), looking at the latter part of the verse, what idea are you mediating or thinking on? What’s occupying your seat of intelligence and memory? What do you dwell on day and night? Whatever that is comes out of your mouth and that can get defile you as Jesus mentioned in Matthew. Did anyone’s meditations cause trouble? Yes indeed!
One HUGE example is in Genesis 6:5 where God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. God destroyed EVERYONE except for EIGHT people: Noah, Mrs. Noah, their three sons Shem, Ham & Japheth and their wives. That’s serious business, Family–let us not have this testimony names among us!
In another example, in Esther 3, Haman got this BIG promotion—in fact all the king’s servants at the gate bowed and reverenced Haman at the king’s command, all the servants, except Mordecai, older cousin of Queen Esther. Notice in verses 3 & 4, the servants on a daily basis kept asking Haman why he didn’t bow. The Word did not mention that Haman even noticed Mordecai not bowing– until the servants brought it to Haman’s attention.
First off, this tells you where the thoughts/hearts of the servants were. “If we bow, why doesn’t he bow?” “If I listen to the music and it doesn’t bother me, why can’t you listen to it?” Someone bugged me at work years ago—and told me I could wear pants, like I was 19 and it was my first job ever. I know what I CAN do, I had no intention on doing it (that’s MY personal conviction). The person even got other people to notice and mention it to me in passing. “Do you know Blenda never wears pants?” “Why don’t you dress up for Halloween (as if) in pants and shock everybody?” What did my attire really have to do with anything? Would slacks help me answer the phones better? Why try and “slack-shame” me? The fact was, with God’s grace, I wasn’t bowing to that pressure to be like the crowd and they didn’t like it. On the same wise, Mordecai did NOT give into the pressure—he KNEW who his God was and he was not about to bow to a mere mortal.
Next, the busybodies went to TATTLE on Mordecai to see if this behavior would stand, AND they got to telling about him being a Jew. If we go the the 5th verse, Haman payed attention this time, now noticing that Mordecai was not bowing or reverencing Him and the Word says Haman was FULL of wrath.
See how the thought was planted in the mind? Haman could have rejected the thought, but he entertained or mediated on it until he was FULL of wrath. The mediation of his heart continues because in verse 6, it says “and he THOUGHT scorn to just lay hands on Mordecai—no…that wasn’t good enough—since busybodies had told about his nationality, and they likely would behave in the same manner (meaning dedicated to God) and not bowing, now Haman sought to destroy ALL the Jews.
Verse 7 says Haman even went so far as to cast Pur or “cast lots”to carry out his plot…daily and monthly from month one to month 12—just to find a good day to carry out his plot. Let’s stop here. Historically, in all likelihood, lots or goral originally referred to a bunch of small pebbles or similar objects used to make decisions by chance: they would be cast down on the ground or put in a vessel of some sort, from which one would be drawn at random. The casting of lots expresses the idea that one has passed beyond the realm of motive and reason–whatever matter must be surrendered to forces that are beyond one’s control and comprehension. Mediations of the heart.
Haman’s mediations went into a ESCALATION mode when went on to involve and DECEIVE king Ahasuerus (Aa-soo-Rare-Us) by telling him about ALL these people whose laws were different, they did not keep the king’s laws and they did not profit the king, they needed to be destroyed Haman would pay to get it done. Next thing you know, the king agrees (without asking for the whole story, he likely trusted Haman), letters are sent, for the day to be set for these people to be destroyed. All because of two busybodies planted a seed of contention planted in a heart with pride for soil, (Haman thought off himself more highly than he ought to have thought (Romans 12:3), and sprung up deceit and murder. Meditation of the heart. We’ll stop here for now.
This week check out Esther and pay close attention to Haman, his actions and his end! Also, let’s start to think about how Psalm 19:14 applies in our general lives, and ask God to help you clean out the things in your heart. Next time we’re together, we’ll plan to keep the #SpeechTherapy conversation going in the next post/podcast.
Thank you SO much tuning in, may God bless you and until the next time we’re together, #StayOnTheWall.