Master of Restoration
When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. (Luke 22:49-51 NIV)
Emotions are an essential part of our lives. Every day we experience them, but have you ever felt overwhelmed by pain? Or that you were drowning in anger?
Sometimes we find ourselves immersed and under great pressure. There may be anguish, anxiety, and deep pain—whether at work, church, or with family and friends. It’s right at this point where our emotions can overtake and consume us. The reality is that dealing with our range of emotions and feelings throughout the day can lead us to make decisions that can either be for our well-being—or cause even more pain.
This happened precisely to Simon Peter when he was with Jesus. The soldiers and officials came to arrest the Master, but Peter was ready to fight. He drew his sword and cut off the right ear of the servant Malchus. It seems like a great feat of love and protection, don’t you think? However, Jesus tells Peter “Stop!” He touches the servant’s ear and heals him. Here, Jesus carries out His last healing in the midst of a great moment of pain because He already knew the bitter suffering that lay ahead.
On many occasions when I meet people, especially boys and girls who are vulnerable to abuse, I want to stop their pain and suffering immediately—to cut them off from further harm. Many times, I too have “drawn my sword” and wounded someone thinking that it was the best defense. But the “still, small voice” of God has reminded me that I have been called to restore others and to seek peaceful decisions. I know that I have been called to put away the sword, restore ears, and trust in His perfect will. All of these truths help me to be a better project coordinator while working with Orphan´s Promise children.
In many situations we want to step in and save the people we love from great pain and loss. We may think the correct action is to defend and cut off ears, but the truth is that God has called us to put away our sword, to restore ears and confidence in His perfect will.
Drop your sword. God already knows what is going to happen. Even if it hurts us, even if we feel anger or concern, even if anxiety and fear invades us, drop your sword. Because He has promised to be with us always.
What will your decision be today: to swiftly react to pain and anger, or to become a restorer—trusting in the perfect will of our Father?
Today you can decide to trust and accept the will of God. Decide to restore ears even in the moments of greatest anger, pain and frustration.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Guarding Our Words
by Laura Bailey, Crosswalk.com
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.” Psalm 141:3-4 NIV
Recently my mother “gifted” me with a slew of keepsakes from my childhood: trophies, cards, papers, pictures. Eager to dive into their mom’s past, my girls spent the afternoon with me rummaging through the boxes. Holding a plastic trophy, my eldest daughter, squinting at the label, “most outspoken award.” “Mom, what does outspoken mean?” Cringing, I began to explain, someone outspoken tends to give opinions without thinking about how they might affect other people’s views. My middle daughter piped up, “Oh, yeah, that describes you perfectly.” Ouch.
In my teens, I wore my brashness as a badge of honor. I said whatever I wanted to whoever I wanted. I didn’t care whether it was received well or not. That was not my problem. My classmates nominated me for the reward, and the day I received it, I swelled with pride.
It had been almost twenty years since I’d received that award, but it is an ongoing struggle to tame my tongue, as my daughter pointed out. For years I blamed my lack of self-control and brashness on my temperament. My personality is bold and my words blunt. I excused my frankness by claiming clarity and honesty. In hindsight, I realized I cared more about my opinions and having my voice heard than I cared about others.
James 3:5 tells us, “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” Unfortunately, my words have set fire to relationships over the years, leaving nothing but ashes. Our words, like a real fire, burn everything in their path. Eventually, the flames are extinguished, but the damage and scars are beyond repair.
I began to study the Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit started to convict me when I started to let my words run wild. Thankfully as I matured in my relationship with Christ, I realized that my words carry tremendous weight. I came across Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Yes! That’s exactly what I need—a guard over my mouth. Maybe even a lock and key option?
Psalm 141 gives us a glimpse into the heart of David. He cries out to God, confessing his wicked ways and sinful desires and asking that God redeem and rescue him from his sin. David knew that the product of his words was what was in his heart. He didn’t just ask the Lord to guard his speech, but his heart as well.
For some of us, watching our words proves impossible. But, I’ve learned to prevent potential heartache by pausing before I speak. It seems trite, but it’s necessary to help us guard our hearts and keep a diligent hold on our speech. I like to take a minute to think through my response. Will my words bring hurt or harm? Or will they encourage and edify?
We have choices in how we use our words. Fire can be deadly and destructive. But it can bring warmth and sustenance. Let us be people who keep a close watch on our tongues, renewing our hearts and minds daily, as we seek to be life-giving in all we say and do.
Spurgeon at the New Park Street Chapel: 365 SermonsBy: Charles Spurgeon
“Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?” Matthew 20:15
Suggested Further Reading: Luke 19:11-27
There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of divine sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children of God should more earnestly contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of his own hands—the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by unbelievers, no truth which they have kicked about so much, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on his throne. They will allow him to be in his workshop to fashion worlds and to make stars. They will allow him to be in his treasury to dispense his alms and bestow his bounties. They will allow him to sustain the earth and bear up its pillars, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends his throne, his creatures then gnash their teeth; and when we proclaim an enthroned God, and his right to do as he wills with his own, to dispose of his creatures as he thinks well, without consulting them in the matter, then it is that we are ridiculed, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on his throne is not the God they love. They love him anywhere better than they do when he sits with his sceptre in his hand and his crown upon his head.
For meditation: Do you have to think twice before addressing Jesus as Lord? Judas Iscariot could never bring himself to do it—the other disciples could say “Lord” (Matthew 26:22); Judas could only say “Rabbi/Master/Teacher” (Matthew 26:25,49).