Watch your mouth!

As a young girl, I loved Karen Carpenter. Her warm, smooth, contralto voice was incredible! I thought she was such a beauty with her chocolate chip colored eyes and long brown hair! I owned the Carpenter’s album, or one of my older sisters did, and I have memories of staring at the cover. Their song “We’ve Only Just Begun,” I’ve sung many times decades ago for weddings.  I also fondly hold dear the song “Close to You.” But by far “Rainy Days and Mondays” I recollect best and it has come to mind most recently because of the rain.

Right now it is a bit cloudy, it makes for an excellent blogging day. Boy, we’ve sure had some “rainy days” in the past fortnight! Go figure, it’s April. Do you recall this short rhyme, April showers bring May flowers? It is funny because a few of these wet, dark, gloomy days have been, wait for it… Mondays. While I stood in my kitchen one particularly gloomy Monday morning, I stirred my almond milk chai and sang, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down!”

Here’s a portion of those lyrics:

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit                                            
Nothin’ ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down                                    

What I’ve got they used to call the blues
Nothin’ is really wrong
Feelin’ like I don’t belong
Walkin’ around
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

What I feel has come and gone before… *

Yes, the song continues, but on purpose I’m not going to continue.

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You see, I realized after I had sung the line Rainy days and Mondays always get me down, it clearly affected me. (I had set the course of my day with my own words. I mean, it was more than weather related.) I didn’t feel invigorated for the day, quite the opposite. I felt discouraged and low. DUH! I had just informed myself, through song, with my own lips, Rainy days and Mondays always get me down. I began to believe the words and proceeded in a downward spiral. I grabbed a tissue, was teary eyed and felt depressed. I began to text the same song lyric to a friend who says jokingly, “Im allergic to Mondays!” But I stopped rapidly and thought for a moment. What am I doing? (the song prophesies, I feel old, I’d like to quit, I don’t fit, I don’t belong, nothin’ to do but frown, I’m lonely, I’m blue, AND Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down? Is that truly the message I want to send a friend?)

Stop! Rachel…“Watch your mouth!”

The Psalmist gives, instead, a spoonful of truth over ANY day with quite a different prescription for declaration. Psalm 118 starts: Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!  Psalm 118:24 says This is the day the LORD has made I will rejoice and be glad in it. (Wow! Now, there’s a great example to speaking a prophetic word over yourself, your day and your life.)

I’ve reminded myself, and now you, it’s really crucial to observe the words that we declare! I mean it, watch your mouth! The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 NIV. We must beware of what we declare and prophesy over ourselves and others because there’s a big difference between life and death, right?

Scripture says that King David, when he was greatly distress encouraged himself in the LORD his God. (see 1 Samuel 30:6) David calls things to mind. So he brought things that are in the back of his mind and called them forward. He strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

It’s really vital that we mind our minds also because we often say what we’ve thought. This Biblical author writes, Yet this I called to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are  not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21.

The apostle Paul penned this in one of his letters, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Words can surely build up. So, watch your mouth!  Wonderful things can be declared over ourselves, our future, our children, each other, every situation and our troubles.  Let’s be ready to declare those things. We are told that we can speak to the mountains and they’ll be moved. (Mark 11:23)

We may never be perfect in our speech, but its clear according to scripture that we set the course of our lives with our words.  Indeed, we all make mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go where ever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turned wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. James 3: 2-5 NLT  

Here are a few declarations to try, say them aloud over yourself, with the power of LIFE in the tongue:

  • Today is a good day I will rejoice!                            (see Psalm 118:24)
  • I prosper in relationships, just like Jesus.               (see Luke 2:52)
  • I am love by God forever!                                           (see Psalm 118:29)
  • God supplies my every need.                                      (see Philippians 4:19)
  • I am not anxious about anything.                              (see Philippians 4:6)
  • God’s peace will guard my heart and mind when I present Him my requests with thanksgiving.                                                                  (see Philippians 4:7)
  • I’m dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.     ( see Romans 6:11)
  • I say peace be still to any raging waters in my life, body, family, mind or emotions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (see Mark 4:39)

Okay, now from the song “Rainy Days and Mondays” Let’s reflect on one truth that can be applied and declared from the chorus.

Funny, but it seems I always wind up here with you
Nice to know somebody loves me
Funny, but it seems that it’s the only thing to do
Run and find the one who loves me (the one who loves me)

So let me encourage you to run and find the one who loves you. His name is Jesus.  If you are a believer it’s not a difficult task to run and find him because He lives in you by His Spirit.  Here’s another good word to declare over yourself today. God is good. God loves me. So it’s all good. So let’s remember to think this, watch your mouth and see what happens when we speak life.

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*Song: Written by Paul H. Williams, Roger S. Nichols • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Get your hopes up!

Spending time with my honey is one of my favorite things to do. Yesterday Michael had the day off  and he had scheduled a morning meeting. “Bye, Babe!” I cried. I waved as he pulled away on his motorcycle. Okay, get moving!  I decided to take my walk alone to maximize our time together later. I donned my exercise clothes leggings, long sleeve shirt and jacket, next a black puffy vest, bright pink walking shoes, complete with a winter hat and mittens. Yes, mittens in April! You see, I have one fear, the fear of being cold. I mean I hate to be cold. It makes my bones ache. I giggled because most people I passed on my walk were wearing shorts and a T-shirts. I finished my walk, closed the walking app on my phone, “Work out complete!” the automated voice kindly informed me of the elapse duration and distance. Phew! that felt good.

I looked around, no motorcycle in the driveway. Hmm? Michael’s not home yet. I decided to begin a little of the yard work. I grabbed some gardening gloves from a tote they’d been hidden in during the winter and a small green handled clipper, which was too flimsy for what I needed, but I used it anyway. I cut away the dead sedum plants making way for the new green leaves that had emerged from the ground in clusters. I also pulled out multiple flat, yellow, stringy, dead leaves and was pleased to find multiple hosta heads, pointing to the sky, at attention, as they erupted from the earth… Rebirth! I didn’t clear every fall leaf or dead piece on purpose. Something about the juxtaposition of death and life brought hope.

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I plopped my fanny down in the grass as I cleared away dead plant debris, pushed around the rocks and made way for the plants which announced their arrival. I picked up twigs and tossed them in a round bucket. Then at one point a thorny branch from bush we have poked through my gloves. Wow! That hurt like a son of a gun! I quickly whipped off my glove tried to find the thorn in the tender piece of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Man! That tiny thing hurts like the dickens. I saw the spot that was poked, shoved it in my mouth and sucked on it for little while. The pain or a hot flash, I’m not sure which, caused me to feel like I was burning up. I sensed abrupt action must be taken. I immediately ripped my winter hat from my head and threw it, I peeled off my black vest, and quickly stood to get more air circulating around me. Well, finally I’m hot!   I glanced down at my hand and decided I didn’t need a Band-Aid so I put my gloves back on and continued.

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Multiple neighbors walked by with dogs on leashes, others waved at me with children in strollers. The hum of an electric sander, coming from the garage of a neighbor working on a refinishing project overpowered the music I was listening to so I pressed my ear buds in and I turned up the volume a bit. I listened over and over to become familiar with the music for Easter’s worship service at my church. The more I listened to get my part secure the more I worshiped and the hope of God filled my heart.

Rachel, just few short weeks ago there was snow on the ground, but now trees are beginning to bud, plants are poking through, some flowers are blooming and the grass has turned green. Spring has sprung! I heard a preacher say God works in both “the gradual process” and in the “and suddenly.” I believe it and I see it manifested in my yard and my life. The God of hope is working in me as he fills me with His joy and peace. I am so thankful for the hope that He gives. Hope is all around me in creation, in people of promise and in my heart. Yes, I’m still waiting for the “and suddenly” in some areas of my life, but I know they will occur, it’s called HOPE.

 

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Even as I write I can hear doubt want to wiggle its ugly head in because we’ve all heard people say, “Yeah, but don’t get your hopes up.” It’s said to cushion the blow if something bad were to happen or in case we face disappointment. I just don’t think that’s the best way to think.  I’m called to be a believer not a doubter.  If God is for us who can be against us. It says in the book of Romans chapter eight, who hopes for what he already has? If we already had it, it wouldn’t be hope. It would be reality. I think we are supposed to get our hopes up. We are to believe Jesus who says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” Matthew 19:26  

Let me ask, what are you hoping for right now? Is it:

  • a new job
  • the change in a health condition
  • a restored relationship
  • a financial turnaround
  • some peace and quiet in your day
  • a deeper walk with the LORD
  • courage
  • a lift in your spirit
  • the salvation of a spouse
  • the change in diet and exercise to reap rewards
  • the words to be given you
  • direction and guidance

I say, get your hopes up! May you be filled with hope. This verse has been my mantra for the last few years as I’ve gone through hope’s “gradual process” and still await the “and suddenly!” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13  I believe something good is coming because God is good and he works on our behalf. May you be encouraged today with spring in the air, with the resurrection of the Lord Jesus as our focus this Easter and may we all get our hopes up!

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As long As It Is Called “Today,”

A vivid picture of five ladies seated around a cozy fire-side cabin’s room flooded my mind as I awoke this morning. This past November, I was privileged to retreat with and speak to these amazing women! As I opened my eyes, I saw each seated in their chairs around the familiar room. I knew God was impressing on me… Rachel, send an email of encouragement. A brief download of what to say to each person entered my mind. I wondered, should I grab a piece of paper and quickly scribble down what I heard God say? Not fully awake, I lay in my bed instead and just reviewed what the email should say.

My own agenda included to write this blog today so I was a bit confused. But I knew I needed to get the email written and sent. God wanted me to encourage few women. So in my heart I said, Okay God, I will write it. I just need to accomplish these things first.

Before I wrote and sent the email I did these things:

  • Read my Bible
  • Snarfed down a bowl of cereal
  • Wrote in my journal
  • Warmed my coffee
  • Listened to a voicemail of a friend’s encouragement
  • Started a laundry load of darks
  • Posted on Instagram
  • Dressed for a walk
  • Decided not to take a walk
  • Ate a no bake cookie
  • Stopped by the Cobbler’s Bench to pick up my boots requiring heel replacements
  • Ran to the post office to mail a package
  • Warmed my coffee again
  • Ate another no bake cookie
  • Fiddled around on Instagram
  • Sat down to write the email God had impressed upon me earlier

Yes, I wrote the email. Phew! SENT

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  Hebrews 3:13  Who can you encourage today?  Hurry up, it is still “Today.” 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11

I find it interesting that in the middle of writing this blog regarding encouragement, I received a call from a buddy who plans to pick me up in a few hours. She wanted to confirm the timeframe then said, “Hey, while I have you on the phone I want to encourage you…I understand what you were saying last night… I’m here for you!”

Too funny! As I was praying about the blog post I received the encouraging voicemail. I was also encouraged from what I read in my Bible from Hebrews 13:20-21. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Next, while posting I got the phone call of encouragement. Plus my entire day began when God impressed upon me… write to encourage those beautiful ladies!

So as long as it is called “Today” let me encourage you now reader:

  • God is a God of peace.
  • He will equip you to do things that you are called to do today according to his will.
  • God is a God of the impossible and raised Jesus from the dead.
  • God is for you he’s not against you.
  • Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.
  • God’s name is Emmanuel which means God with us – so whatever you’re facing today you do not face alone.
  • God has good plans for his kids… His plans are not for harm or for calamity, but to give you a future and hope.

Who can you encourage today? Hurry up,
it says as it is still called “Today.” 

I gotta go I need another no-bake cookie as long as it is still called,” Today!”

Recipe: I never measure so these are the rough ingredient amounts:

  • 1 1/2 cups toasted oatmealFullSizeRender 2
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup honey, maple syrup, or  agave nectar
  • 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

(*If it’s too dry or not goopy enough add either more butter or more honey… If it’s too goopy add some more oatmeal! )