*** This post was accidentally deleted. Sorry for the confusion and thank you for taking the time to read it!

There are many times in life where we come to the end of ourselves. We realize we can’t make our hopes, dreams, and plans a reality. It is humbling. And it is often in this place that we see God.

My father once told me about something Watchman Née calls “the thing in hand.” He told me, “you have to open your hand and let go of the thing you’re holding onto in order to get what God has for you.”

Isn’t this what Abraham had to do when he laid his son Isaac on the alter? Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” (Genesis 22:8) Could Abraham have known then what God had in mind, and how by being willing to lay down Isaac, God was bound by covenant to do the same?

About a week ago I planted a shade garden in my yard. It doesn’t look like what I had envisioned. I keep staring at it thinking, “grow!”

And in this moment I heard God teaching me something. I realized that all I can do is plant the flowers. God is responsible for the rain, sun, and time that are necessary to make my plants grow. My efforts, my good works, my dreams all amount to nothing without God’s grace.

We have an excellent example of what this looks like in the life of Jesus when He laid down His life on the alter and trusted the Father to resurrect Him. Even Jesus had to know when to say, “it is finished.” (John 19:30) - Thanks, Pastor Tim, for this reminder!

I’m learning to let go…of control. I’m opening my hand, giving my dreams to the Lord. Laying my life down to let God be God. I can only plant my life in the Vine, trusting the Father to provide. (John 15:1-8)

When we let go of our control, we get God’s grace.

"Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.". 1 Corinthians 15:36

"He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39

"For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord…" Proverbs 8:35

For further reading: http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/nee/5f00.0638/5f00.0638.3.htm

Does your mouth get you into trouble?  Oh man, mine does! 

I remember a prayer my father taught me on how to use my mouth, "Lord, help my mouth to be an instrument of your righteousness."  I believe this is a good way to submit my life and tongue to the Lord each day, something I need to put into practice!

If your tongue behaves as badly as mine, here are some verses we can look to for direction on how we should and should not use our mouths…

"If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body…the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.  See how great a forest a little fire kindles!"  James 3:2,5

"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

"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."  Ephesians 4:29  (note words "necessary" and "grace")

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."  Colossians 4:6

Have you read the warnings in Proverbs about our speech?

Wisdom says, “the perverse mouth I hate.”  Prov. 8:13

"In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise."  Prov. 10:19

"A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart."  Prov. 18:2

"He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him."  Prov. 18:13

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."  Prov. 18:21

"…a flattering mouth works ruin."  Prov. 26:28

"Do you see a man hasty in his words?  There is more hope for a fool than for him."  Prov. 29:20

What does Proverbs say we should do with our mouths???

"The lips of the righteous feed many…"  Prov. 10:21

"Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones."  Prov. 16:24

"He who has knowledge spares his words…"  Prov. 17:27

"Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles."  Prov. 21:23

I’ve been spending a lot of time in front of the TV and computer over the last several days while Chad and I have been house-bound fighting the flu.  I have a constant stream of information right at my finger tips between the two computers we have, an iPad, an iPhone, two Twitter accounts, Facebook, my Tumblr, email, etc.  It’s like having an IV drip connected to my arm!

On a recent visit to my parents, I was sitting on the couch talking with my father while the news played in the background, spouting some negativity about another Hollywood startlet’s life in the toilette; hardly news-worthy information.

He said, “I don’t think we need to have an opinion about everything and everyone.”

I’ve been considering these words while being glued to the couch over the past few days because I’ve noticed a lot of talk about Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins.  I have not read it and so I have no opinion on it.  But my concern is to see so many Christians jumping all over him with their opinions.  I wonder if the world is watching, what they think of our negative criticism toward one another? 

In one of my all-time favorite sermons by Charles Simpson entitled “Call Them Pearls” he says, “Sometimes Christians give each other trouble.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could focus on the devil?  But the poor devil, he has to stand in line to get to us there are so many Christians in front of him.” 

As sons and daughters of God we are called to bring Him GLORY, to be His ambassadors, and a light in the world.  Certainly we can do this better without tearing each other down and knowing the latest gossip about Charlie Sheen.  I have not perfected this pursuit, but the Bible is my guide on this journey toward grace.

I love this Scripture in Joel about the army of God:  “Every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks.  They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column.”  Joel 2:7-8

Shouldn’t we pay more attention to the words of Jesus in the way we treat one another, like this:  “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”  Matthew 5:22

"…let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another."  Romans 14:19

"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:35

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."  Matthew 5:14, 16