Our words have so much weight…they bring Life and Death (Proverbs 18:21), they affect people daily; physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. So we should watch what we say. We should make sure that the truth and love of God is in our words. Our actions, of course, are important too. Action has to back up words. Think about it, Jesus never said one thing that he didn’t prove via his actions.
Yes, everything we do and say affects the world and people around us. We need God’s wisdom to understand what to say, when to say it, what to do, and when to do it.
Now, I’m not exceptionally gifted in theology or anything, so I’m not going to write a big long thing about how to obtain wisdom or quote every scripture about wisdom (because there’s A LOT of them). What I want to talk about today is: Ideas.
i·de·a // noun
1. any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity.2. a thought, conception, or notion: That is an excellent idea.3. an impression: He gave me a general idea of how he plans to run the department.4. an opinion, view, or belief: His ideas on raising children are certainly strange.5. a plan of action; an intention: the idea of becoming an engineer.
I have a million ideas. Some are brilliant. Some are hilarious. Some are sinful. Some, are not worth mentioning.
Maybe I should go talk to that person. Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should say this to a certain person. Maybe I should go to that school. Maybe I should give up on this business and do something else. Maybe I should join Christian Mingle……HA. Not.
Point is, a million and one ideas creep into my head every day. Usually it’s easy to tell which ones are bad and which ones are wise, but sometimes it’s really hard!
And you have ideas too. Between the wealth of knowledge stored in your head from TV, magazines, school, books, and internet, your life experiences, and the situations around you, you’ve got a thousands of ideas, decisions to make and goals to pursue.
So how do you know if an idea you had is from God, your sinful nature (flesh) or man?
How do you really know if the big life decisions you make are full of wisdom and truth, or just whims of your flesh?
Talking to a hurt loved one, taking a new job, quitting an old one, how to raise your children, which friends to have at school, what to say in a school speech. What to preach on Sunday morning, what to say to a friend who’s in trouble.
Essentially, being wise is knowing the TRUE or RIGHT thing to do or say. As if you’ve got a direct line to God (which you do) and he’s instructing you in his special all-knowing-I’m-God kinda way, on what’s best for your life and the life of others.
I was surprised last night, reading James, because I struggle all the time with knowing whether the choices I make and the ideas I have for New Wine are WISE and from God or bad and from my own tricky little brain. So when I read this, I was like: YES! finally a sure-fire way to tell if an idea is from God, or me.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. – James 3:17 (KJV, emphasis added)
- First of all, check to see if your idea is PURE. Complete, free from contamination, clean. Did someone mention something that began this idea? Did you change it because of something someone said? Do you have a sinful motive for this idea? Is it HOLY? meaning will it cross a line into doing or saying something un-Christlike? Is it SINCERE? Do you mean it? For example, if your idea is to tell your girlfriend you love her, well, first you’ve got to analyze if that statement is true. Do you love her in a proper and holy way? Do you feel obligated to tell her just because you’ve been dating for a while, or did you decide on your own with God’s help? Or maybe you’ve had a fight with your best friend – your gut reaction is to insult her. But is that Christlike? is it PURE? and do you mean what you’re saying? No, you’re just mad. And revenge is definitely not HOLY. So you can toss away that idea because it’s not wise, and it’s not from God. A wise, pure idea has no ulterior motive, it isn’t sinful; it is holy, and it is sincere.
- Second, make sure your idea PEACEABLE. Do you intend to stir up trouble? Do you know that by saying or doing this idea, you’ll create an environment of strife and separation? Part of the Greek translation for ‘Peaceable’ is a word which means ‘salutary’, and that means it’s something that BENEFITS someone else. Something that gives them good health, that helps them in some way. For example, if one of your friends walks out of the bathroom with toilet paper on their shoe, is it a wise idea to laugh at her and tell her in front of everyone she’s got something on her shoe? Or is it better to pull her back into the bathroom and help her remove it, so she’s not embarrassed? That’s the difference between a wise, peaceable idea, and a horrible mean one. A wise, peaceable idea will help the person, benefit them, without separation, division, or chaos (which is the opposite of peace). Like, it’s not wise to make fun of your mother’s cooking; all you’ll do is upset her and cause her to be mad at you – which is not peaceable at all. It doesn’t do anything to improve her cooking or make the situation better – so why do it?
- Thirdly, is your idea GENTLE? The actual word for ‘gentle’ means “patient” or “appropriate”. Is your idea appropriate? Will it hurt someone? Will it step on your beliefs? Is it patient? meaning it isn’t rushed or hastily thought up and put together. A wise, gentle idea is one that isn’t spur-of-the-moment or un-Christlike. A gentle or wise idea is one that Christ would make. The Greek for ‘gentle’ is derived from another word which means “to be faint as a copy”, we should be “as faint as a copy” of Christ. We should mirror him in our decisions and actions. Jesus was extremely wise, and he was always two steps ahead of everyone else. He never made snap decisions, he always prayed and reflected first. Now, sometimes you’ll be in a situation where you have to act quickly, but you can still pray about it and listen to the Spirit of God that is inside you for guidance. You should think “How does this action or word affect me? the people around me? and what would Jesus think about it?” Like if your friends invite you for a hike but you’re supposed to be working that day. Your gut (actually, your flesh’s) automatic reaction is to call in sick and go with your buds. They’ll never miss you at work and you didn’t have anything important to do that day anyway. But is that a wise idea? No! It’s not thought out, it’s a lie, and it could potentially cause you to lose your job. Definitely not gentle at all.
- 4th, for it to be wise, your idea, action, thought, or words must be EASY TO BE INTREATED. I’ve read tons of interpretations of this one, and basically this means that your idea should be able to yield to others. It should be considerate of others and willing to obey. Your idea should be able to take correction. It shouldn’t be stubborn or prideful. For example, if you have the idea to run off to California and become a pop star, and you tell your pastor, when he tells you how difficult that will be on your mind and faith, do you become jaded and rebellious? When you get the idea to go to college out-of-state and tell your parents, when they express concern about the cost and you being so far away, do you get mad and stomp off? Your idea shouldn’t be so big and bad in your mind that it can’t accept correction or criticism. Wisdom will listen to Godly counsel, it will listen to reason. ‘Intreated’ means “easily negotiable, with trust, confidence, to ‘make friends’, GOOD, convincing, believable.” With a wise idea, you will know when to retract and re-evaluate. Perhaps you should go to an out-of-state college, but wisdom knows it makes more sense to try an in state college for a few years first. Perhaps you are called to ‘make it big’ in music, but wisdom knows that it isn’t about you making it big, it’s about God making it big. If your idea causes you to be disobedient, prideful, arrogant or causes you to stomp on others or become rebellious toward God, it is definitely not wise.
- 5th, A wise idea is FULL OF MERCY & GOOD FRUITS. It’s gotta be tender, caring, full of love and Godliness. It might even be sacrificial. For instance, bringing a neighbor soup when they’re sick, even if it inconveniences you – that’s kind and compassionate, and it can only bring good fruit in return. It must produce GOOD spiritual FRUIT. If in any way your idea will produce strife, sadness, hatred, confusion or sin, it’s not wise. With every word or deed we sow seed. Some seed is for good, and some is for bad, and we reap the fruit according to our actions! For example, if you have the idea to talk to your friend about tutoring her in math, because you’ve seen her grades are slipping. If you’re kind and respectful about it, her grades go up + your friendship grows stronger = good fruit! But if you just tell her that her grades suck, you’re not producing anything good, and you’re not being kind. A merciful, good and wise idea will involve compassion, tenderness, love, good deeds and will only bring about GOOD things! So when you’re pondering an idea, ask yourself “Will this do good? Is this kind? Am I just doing this to benefit myself?”
- And lastly, a wise idea is WITHOUT PARTIALITY & HYPOCRISY. This means that your idea isn’t partial to anyone or thing, that it has no division or judgment. Say, for instance, you get the idea to start a Bible group at school. But you’ve made up your mind you won’t let in a certain kid because you don’t approve of them for whatever reason. You’re favoring other kids over that one. You’re judging their eligibility based on your own opinions. You’re excluding that person. A wise idea should not exclude anyone, it should allow all those who would benefit from it. A wise idea also should be honest and sincere. You shouldn’t put up a façade or fake face. Maybe you get the idea to be someone’s friend who doesn’t have many friends. That’s a good idea – if you’re sincere. Don’t pretend to be that person’s friend, actually be there for them for real. Does your idea exclude or discriminate against someone else? Like inviting your best friend to church, but not the girl who sits next to you in class. Bringing your co-workers lunch, but not bringing your boss lunch. Just because it’s a good deed, doesn’t mean it’s wise. Do you have to keep secrets or be fake to accomplish this idea? Like, lying about your age to enter a contest. Paying a compliment to a teacher to get a good grade. Making friends with every outcast at school, except for the one kid who you’ve always been kind of creeped out by. Wisdom includes everyone, it doesn’t separate or divide. Wisdom welcomes everyone and doesn’t keep secrets. It doesn’t have to put on a fake face to get the job done.
I know this has been super long, and I thank you for reading! If you’d like a smaller, condensed checklist to carry in your bag or wallet, I’ve got one here you can download and print. That way you’ll be able to reference it and know if your idea is wise or not, all the time!
This checklist is the size of two Post-It notes side-by-side, so it should fit nicely as a bookmark, in your purse, or in most wallets.
New Wine Christian Tees began as a God-given idea in my head about two years ago. That’s when I started designing a lot of the shirts you see today. Over the years, the more design practice I get, and the more my design aesthetic develops, I’ve noticed things I wanted to change about the old, original designs. Nothing major, just some tweaks here and there…still the same Gospel message.
I just thought I’d post a quick blog about the shirts that have changed and let you take a look at the new and (in my opinion) improved designs. So, let me know what you think!
REPUTATION Tee for Women
For this tee, based on the book of Ruth, I just added white to the frame, changed the banner and font on ‘reputation’ and added a smaller ‘Ruth 2:11′ in the center. The arrangement has changed, but the message still remains. Do you have the reputation of a woman with noble character? Wear it proudly, and encourage others to examine themselves.
DESTINY Women’s Tee
This is the second time I’ve re-tweaked this shirt, and I must say I am definitely satisfied now. Based on the book of Esther, this was the second shirt I ever designed. Originally, the font used for the magenta portions was a destroyed, eroded type-deal. That wasn’t really working for me any more, and neither was the flow of the text overall. So I tweaked a bit, chose a cleaner, substantial yet slim font, and voila! Perfecto Same message as before. Never forget your God-given purpose. You have a destiny to live out and you need some courage & A LOT of faith to get it done. In the end it’s all worth it for the Kingdom of God!
I changed Rope out of necessity, really. But I am thrilled with the way it turned out. A slimmer font, full alignment, more pops of red, and new rope graphic really step it up a notch. I was inspired by this quote I read in Voice of the Martyrs (which helps persecuted Christians all over the world) and had to make a shirt. It’s an extreme and beautiful declaration to wear on your body, and it’s an attention grabber for sure. On top of that, the profits from this shirt (about $2 per shirt) will go directly to Voice of the Martyrs so they can continue their life saving work. (http://www.persecution.com, #SaveSaeed)
Our most popular shirt, I always felt like something was off with this football jersey. I wasn’t 100% in love with it anymore. Making the change from royal purple, to a neutral white color, clears up any confusion people may have as to your team preference and making the text larger adds to the overall design and makes it seem more authentic. Same message, though, You can only serve one master so you better be on team Jesus I like that the white color means you can wear it to any football game for any team but still represent Team Jesus.
We’ve all felt like less than enough. But here, in 1 Timothy, Paul tells ‘Lil Tim (who’s actually in his forties!) not to let the opinions of others get him down.
See, Timothy was younger than some of the other teachers and prophets of the day. Back then you had to be fifty, sixty or maybe even seventy to be taken seriously. Guys that had a lot more ‘life experience’ or ministry experience thought that young men hadn’t lived or learned long enough to be respected theologians.
It was unheard of for a ‘young man’ like Timothy, who was in his forties, to go around preaching to older men, telling them the ways of God and the path to heaven. It must’ve ruffled their feathers, some inexperienced guy coming along and teaching them about righteousness and Scripture.
And obviously, kind Timothy, who was just trying to preach the Gospel as God had called him to do, was upset by this. So good-and-wise Paul, wrote him this letter.
So many times in church we use this scripture for the youth, teenagers and young adults. But really it’s applicable to everyone. Baby Christians, young people, adults, toddlers, everyone!
Paul was saying, just because you’re a kid doesn’t mean you should be counted out. You may not have the years of age that the elders have, but you have enthusiasm and zeal for the Lord and his holiness. You don’t have a lifetime of trial-and-error, but you have a vision and purpose for God. You can’t let the laurels of others trap you in a box of what you can accomplish, or can’t accomplish.
You may not be extremely educated, but God can use you to teach. You may not be a classically trained musician, but God can use you to minister in song.
The point is: you don’t have to be someone else’s idea of qualified in order to work for God.
I heard once, that when God does something one time he lets you know it’s possible, and if he does it twice, he’s established it.
Well, King Josiah, in the book of Kings, was a respected, passionate, good king. He was 13.
Jesus of Nazareth, a dynamic and powerful teacher, Rabbi, Son of God, and Savior of the World, was in his 30′s.
So according to God, it’s perfectly acceptable to be young, and to be on a mission for him, sent by him.
And the way that you make friends out of enemies, allies out of haters, is to show them by character and deed that you are up to the task of the calling you have been appointed to. You take your zeal for the Lord and your determination and you show them a life of purity and faith. A controlled tongue, and a loving heart.
By doing so, you honor God, respect yourself, and show others that God can use anyone. Young, or old.
This bracelet is a wearable reminder of 1 Timothy 4:12, available at http://newwine.bigcartel.com/product/1-tim-4-12-leather-bracelet. They’re hand-stamped in California using a custom plate. The design is the workmanship of leather-stamper-extraordinaire Carmen. The leather has a cherry stain, and gun-metal snaps. Comes in two sizes: Regular (fits most wrists) and Large.
In John 8:1-11, we read a story about a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Like, caught while she was in the middle of sinning. Crazy, right?
And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery;
and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto Him, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, the very act.
Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such a woman should be stoned: but what sayest thou?”
This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him.
And worse than being caught in the middle of her sin, which I’m sure she was embarrassed by, they threw her out into the middle of the Temple (filled with a huge crowd of people) and shoved her in front of Jesus.
That’s right. Jesus. The Savior of the world.
He was later going to die for the sin she just committed, and they threw her in front of Him! How mortifying. They told Jesus that she was an adulterer, and reminded Jesus of the law. A woman who has committed adultery is automatically required to be punished by death.
But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not.
So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up himself and said unto them,
“He that is without sin among you, let Him cast the first stone.”
And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
I wonder what Jesus wrote on the ground those two times? Was he taking an account of her sin? …or theirs?
She was left standing in front of the only person in the universe that could accuse her. Blameless, righteous, and holy in every way possible, Jesus could have easily stoned her for her crime.
When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her,
“Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?”
“No one, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
He let her go. He forgave her.
From the moment she was put before him, Christ was the only rational and reliable ally. They smacked judgments on her before she could even defend herself. They didn’t know the circumstances. They assumed she was foul and gross, they didn’t care about her or know her. They just wanted to catch Jesus in a bind. To throw him off His game so they could have a reason to sentence Him to death.
In the same way, the minute you wake up, before you even arrive at school or work, you know that people are judging you and labeling you without truly knowing who you are. You know that when you walk through the door, people are instantly throwing silent labels at you, Velcro signs being thrown at your chest that stick to you all day long.
Whore…Stupid…Ugly…Gross. She’s probably got an STD, they say. He’s probably a cutter. Pathetic. Loser. She’s slept with everyone. He’s going to be a drunk like his dad. She only wears that low-cut shirt to get attention from the boss.
It goes on and on. In our destructive chaos we label ourselves and others. And those words stick. They’re written on us our whole lives.
And in the midst of our actual sins, and our accusatory sins, we’re shoved in front of a holy man who is writing in the sand.
I imagine that he wiped the words that were written and said about this woman away. I imagine those lies and regrettable truths were sent into the air as dust particles. I imagine my Lord, writing on that clean slate “FORGIVEN.”
That is what this shirt is about.
These are words that have been said about her (and you) either to your face or behind your back at one point or another. These are the words that have become your life because of destruction and sin. Loneliness has gotten us all, we’ve all been scared, we’ve all felt used or hurt. We’ve all sinned.
But those words have been wiped away, and, written in the blood of Christ is the proof that we are “FORGIVEN”.
You can start over. Jesus will forgive you of every sin, and silence every person who tries to accuse you, label you, or bring you down. The blood of Christ is pure and holy, capable of washing away any and all manner of sin. Sometimes the sins are not sexual, but bad just the same. There is nothing you can do that Christ cannot forgive.
If Christ has wiped away your mistakes, this is a great shirt to wear around and show others. It’ll give you a chance to share your story and help other women/men who may be going through the same thing.
If you haven’t received Christ’s forgiveness, I encourage you to talk to Him today. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Heck, the woman caught in adultery only said three words to Him.
This shirt is available at http://www.shopnewwine.com
Also, if you’d like to talk about salvation or forgiveness, or anything at all, just email firstname.lastname@example.org
9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;
11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.
— John 12:9-11
Here’s a quick note for you to remember who you are, where you’re going, and who’s taking you there.
Jesus Christ rose Lazarus from the dead after four — yes, FOUR days. He loved Lazarus, they were close friends and Jesus hung out with his family. L’s sister, Mary, is the same Mary who anointed him for his crucifixion and death.
So when Lazarus was brought back to life by Jesus, everyone was super excited. It was their friend, Jesus, God in the flesh, delivering them in a tough situation.
Of course, God never does anything without it having a purpose, and here, the purpose was to help people believe in him. That he is God, and he has all power and authority over any situation.
How to I know that? Well, if Jesus was just helping out a friend, with no greater intention, he would have prevented Lazarus’s death to begin with. Or he would have shown up sooner, like the sisters asked him to (see John chapter 11).
But, no. God had much bigger plans. A miracle so huge (FOUR DAYS!) that the people would have to believe in his Son.
And tons of people did believe. In fact, so many people believed after that miracle, that the Pharisees got ferociously angry and plotted to kill not only Jesus, but Lazarus, too!
Lazarus, the recipient of the miracle, innocent and just happy to be alive, like Jesus, was now the target of blood thirsty religious tyrants.
They couldn’t have him walking around, all breathing and whatnot, telling everyone what Jesus had done for him!
And that’s what I’m getting around to with this devotional today. Right now, in your life, you have haters out there who want you gone. They want you to shut up. They don’t want you to tell everyone what Jesus has done for you. They are sick of your blessings, your miracles, and your connection to God through Jesus Christ.
And they’d love nothing better than to break you down. Hurt you and crush your spirit.
But you are a friend of Jesus, and he is using you and your life to draw people to him. He is using your miracle as an example for others who desperately need him.
Those who are out to hurt you are offended by your connection and belief in Christ.
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. –John 15:18
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his lord.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also. — John 15:20
Haters ‘gon hate, but God always wins in the end!
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. —1 John 3:1 (NIV)
So let them hate you, despise you and plot against you. You are best friends with the savior of the world, and he is going to put you on display for the whole world to see his glory!
Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
– Luke 6:22 NKJV
Immanuel (or Emmanuel or Imanu’el, Hebrew לֵאּונָּמִע meaning “God is with us”) is a symbolic name which appears in chapters 7 and 8 of the Book of Isaiah as part of a prophecy assuring king Ahaz of Judah of God’s protection against enemy kings; it is quoted in the Gospel of Matthew as a sign verifying the divine status of Jesus.
Matthew 1:23 says:
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Christmas Eve is upon us, and although I hadn’t planned a post on the subject, when God gives you a super awesome idea, you just have to run with it.
Notice the meaning of Christ’s name: God with us. Now, upon first glance, you’d think, “okay, that means ‘God among us’.”
And that’s true. In fact, it baffles me to think that the Son of God, who could have easily decided to stay up in heaven and alienate or annihilate us, decided to come down from his throne and join us.
He could’ve wiped us out. Jesus could have decided we were too wicked and gotten rid of us, started from scratch. Made new humans, ones that could possibly behave better.
But he didn’t.
He could’ve stayed up in heaven, ignoring our revelry and our cries.
But he can’t.
You see, God is incapable of giving up on us. And like a mother hen who guards her chicks, he will never ignore a cry or leave a need unfulfilled.
He physically can not abandon you, forsake you, or hurt you in any way.
Because he promised not to, and God never breaks a promise.
He was God with us. He not only forgave our sins but he brought himself to our level. He ate what we ate, drank what we drank, wore what we wore, went to the same church we went to.
He didn’t come with all flashing lights and trumpets, he came humbly, and wrapped in a body of flesh that could bruise and break, then bleed for all of us.
He is a God who is with us.
Here’s the interesting part:
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? – Psalm 118:6 (NIV)
Not only is Jesus the God who is with us, (among us), but he is a God who is for us.
He stands with us, fighting for us no matter what may come.
He is ready and able to fight any battles you face, and he will love you at your lowest.
He’s a God who is with us, he’s WITH you. He’s in your corner. He’s on your side. He wants the best for you. He came to earth for you. He LIVED for you. He DIED for you.
He wasn’t just a God who was among us, he is the God who is there for us.
Jesus Christ is on your side. He made you, he loves you, and he will always be there for you, the only thing you have to do is welcome him into your life, your head, and your heart.
Let us all thank God for his son, who was born to save us all those years ago.
Please accept Christ as your Savior today, if you haven’t already. He died for your sins and mistakes, they’ve already been paid for. You don’t have to be perfect, just love him and follow him and he will always be with you.