Category: Responsibility


July 29, 2013
Taming the Tongue
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare (Proverbs 15:1, NLT).

Friend to Friend

It had been one of “those” mornings and I was behind schedule in preparing to teach the women’s Tuesday morning Bible study at our church. I am fairly certain I did not exude peace and joy as I rushed around – as my Mama would say – like a chicken with its head cut off. The auditorium was set up correctly. The soundman had my power point ready to go and was waiting to do a sound check. The coffee pot was plugged in and doing its thing. Smiling ladies gathered to greet the Bible study members as they arrived. I paused and breathed a sigh of relief. It looked like everything was ready – everything except my heart.

I knew I needed to spend some time alone with God before standing to teach His Word, so I found a quiet room where I could escape for a few minutes of solitude. As I began to pray, the door flew open and crashed against the wall behind it as the husband of one of our group leaders burst into the room. I could tell by the look on his face that he was not happy and that whatever was wrong was definitely my fault. In a very loud and very angry voice, the man began to explain the problem, ending his tirade with the question, “And just what are you going to do about it?”

Sidebar: Guess what lesson I was teaching that particular morning. Remember, God definitely has a sense of humor. The lesson title was “How to Tame Your Tongue.”

I knew what I wanted to say to the man. I also knew God didn’t want me to say it. In a rare moment of wisdom, I faced my accuser with a smile and whispered, “I’ll tell you exactly what I am going to do. I am going to do whatever it takes to make you happy.”

I was completely unprepared for the man’s reaction. His mouth fell open, his eyes widened in surprise – no, make that shock – and he stumbled backwards as if I had hit him. The silence was deafening. We stared at each other for what seemed like an hour before he finally whispered back, “Thank you!” Without another word, the man turned and literally ran out of the room. The most amazing part of this story is that from that day on, he has been one of my strongest encouragers.

The Bible works, girlfriend! When God says that a gentle answer “deflects” anger, He really means it. In this verse, “deflect” means “to change course” or “to force the alteration of plans.” When anger is met with love, it is forced to change its destructive course. The plans of the enemy are altered when they are forced to comply with God’s truth. A sweet response yanks the fuse right out of an emotional time bomb that is set and ready to explode. We need to choose our responses instead of allowing our reactions to dictate the words we speak.

Godly responses begin in the mind. I believe that our thought life is the front line of battle for the control of our entire life. Psalm 34:13 warns, “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.” The word “keep” indicates action on our part. We decide. We choose what is allowed to take up room in our minds. It is literally the idea of a guard standing at the gate of the city, stationed there to keep watch. He is there by invitation only. If we want to live right and speak right – we must think right.

Godly responses come from the heart. If there is something wrong with our words, then there is something wrong with our heart. The truth of Proverbs 16:23 is profound in its simplicity, “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth.”

A judge utters a few words and a guilty man is taken to death row.

A friend speaks a word of encouragement and a desperate heart finds hope.

A mother lashes out with angry words and the light in her child’s eyes is gone.

A wife offers a word of forgiveness and a marriage is restored.

A gossip makes a phone call and a reputation is destroyed.

A teenager says “no” and changes the course of her life.

Words are powerful. Words can destroy or build. We need to make the choice today – to respond in the right way to those angry words that are surely headed our way tomorrow.

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To the parents of Trayvon Martin, I don’t personally know you, but I pray that this message somehow finds its way to you. You have had thousands of people offer their condolences over the past year, and I am sure that you have received many sentiments concerning the verdict.

I would like to offer some sensitive but much needed advice. As much as you may not be up to it, you need to put your legal & business hats on. There are a lot of people that are going to attempt to take advantage of your misfortune. As you have already seen, Trayvon’s name and image is popping up on everything from baseball caps to t-shirts. Please make sure that you have his name and image copyrighted and licensed. There are people with little to no moral turpitude and they will surely capitalize on the current momentum.
With that being said, there is nothing wrong with mobilizing and rallying behind the Martin family, because the issue is so much greater than this one moment. It was a similar situation in the summer of 1955 when a young boy named Emmett Till was brutally beaten and murdered for whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. The men who did this were tried and acquitted, even with eyewitnesses. Yet, his death galvanized the black community across America when his mother refused to have a closed casket funeral because she wanted the world to see the type of hatred that permeated America.

Once again, America, your slip is hanging. You are showing the world your true colors. You are letting those that you preach human rights to see that your platform of perfection is not so perfect.

The black community in 1955 rallied behind Mamie Till (Emmett’s mother) and the civil rights movement was ignited. Several months later in December of the same year a Lady by the name of Rosa Parks decided enough is enough and refused to relinquish her seat to a white man. She was arrested, but she just happened to work for the NAACP, and the organization organized a boycott, and in the process, recruited a young black minister by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. to head the movement. At the time all those involved were ordinary people living ordinary lives, but they met their moment with faith, courage and determination.

This was not a racial flare-up, no, this was a stand. This was not a moment in which riots would be followed by silence. This was not a moment where blacks were concerned about the opinion of their white associates. This is where the ordinary became extraordinary when the faith (revealed through their actions) of common people met the power of God and created the perfect storm.

God has been presenting opportunities for us to stand for years, but people and organizations sought to use them for personal and political gain. We are upset because of the injustice we witnessed with the Martin family, but black families have been experiencing this same pain for years. We all have stories of racism and hatred.

I am not preaching hatred of any race; that would make me worse than those I speak out against. In fact, I must admit that even right now, some of my strongest supporters are white. With that being said those who are truly my friends and my family in Christ will support me supporting my people.

In his “I Have A Dream” speech Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the “Urgency of Now”. He warned against taking “The tranquilizing drug of gradualism”. Martin warned the nation that the discontent of the black man would not subside until his concerns had been addressed. He asserted that there could be no tranquility in America as long as the black man was still not free. Dr. King gave his life in pursuit of this dream. Medgar Evers died in pursuit of this dream. Blacks were beaten, sprayed with fire hoses, and bitten by dogs in pursuit of this dream.

Somewhere along the way, we lost our focus. Somewhere along the way “kind of” became good enough. Somewhere along the way we became satiated with minimal progress. I would suggest the dream has faded. I would suggest that the vividness of this dream that once drove our people to stand, even to the point of death, has been darkened by the lethargy of a generation of mediocre people. It has become acceptable for the black man to meander through the maze of mediocrity. It has become the common course of action for blacks to settle for dwarfed goals and colorless dreams. It has become the way life for blacks to be patted on the back in lieu of fair compensation.

We are a people that descend from royalty, our pedigree is that of aristocracy. We have the blood of kings and rulers coursing through our veins. I want to believe that Trayvon Martin did not die in vain. I want to believe that we have finally come to a point where enough is enough. I want to believe that we will not be willing to go quietly into the night having made some noise but receiving no response. I want to believe that we are ready to show America that this mobilization was more than just a hand full of black people looking to blow off some steam.

Just as Dr. King implied, we cannot allow this nation to return to business as usual.  We cannot allow another injustice to be swept under the rug. We must come together and collectively determine what we seek. We must be willing maximize our economic power and refrain from patronizing anyone that does not support us.

Yes, the majority of us are Christian people, and you may be concerned about what this means for you, but Christianity has never been a passive movement. We must be willing to stand and take what we rightfully deserve. This movement is not about hatred, and it is not antithetical to the Christian faith. This is about understanding that prayer without faith is powerless and faith without works is dead. We have been praying to God and He has been telling us to stand. Not riot, stand; not whine, stand; not finger point; stand; not pass the buck; stand.

I am not speaking of grasping at entitlements. Entitlement have crippled our race and made us easy prey for those who would seek to manipulate and exploit us. If we would unite and stand as one, not one of us would have to ask the government for anything. We have been conditioned to cheat ourselves. This is where it ends. Trayvon Martin cannot be just another dead black kid in America. Trayvon Martin has to become the battle cry of a restless people. Trayvon Martin must become the icon of solidarity that drive us to a place of discontent. We must wake up and remember the feeling of emptiness that we felt when that verdict came down.

I tell you my brothers and sisters: If we don’t see change, we have no one to blame but ourselves. ~

Dr. Rick Wallace

Marriage Tip of the Day: With a twist –

This tip of the day is not only to those that are married, but to those desiring to be married, as well as believers in general.

We wonder why things seem so distorted and enigmatic in today’s culture. There are women saying there are no good men and there are men who cannot decide what they should be looking for in a woman.

This happens when we conform to a secular culture in which the only Gospel that we hear consistently is that which is at the top of our playlist. Confusion with self is easily obtained when the media becomes our Bible and the scriptures we read are from secular magazines. God has been removed from the equation.

In the grand design, the Christian is to make an impact, create paradigmatic shifts in the culture that surrounds them, and take ground for the kingdom; however, believers have allowed the secular paradigms of this western culture to infiltrate our minds. We have become selfish and egocentric to the point of corporate narcissism.

Women, there are good men, but they are embedded in the trenches of Christian service, they are not in the clubs or at happy hour. Men, there are good women, but their hearts are hidden in Christ, so that nothing less than a man bearing His character can reach them.

For those of you that are already married, stop believing the cultural lie that it is about you. Stop believing the tenets of hedonism and secular humanism which tell you that you determine what is right and that your ultimate goal in this life is to accomplish happiness. My friend, it is not about you. Your marriage is an institution designed to reveal, reflect and glorify Christ. Your mate is not to be exploited, but honored. Your service is not only to your mate, but to God.

When we begin to stand out as a peculiar people, unwilling to compromise our Christian values, our ability to impact the world around us will once again be recognized. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

Marriage Tip of the Day:

Men, be men of action. As much as your wife monitors the words you say, she is even more attentive to your actions. I was once told to always say what I mean, but more importantly do what I say. I don’t think there are too many things more disconcerting to a wife than to see her husband being praised by others because of his Godly words and presentation when she knows that it just a facade. Know that anyone that observes her will soon learn the truth because she is a reflection of you. Let your actions reflect a heart of love toward your wives.

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Wives, respect your husband’s desire and need to be the “man”. We as men have an innate desire to feel needed, much in the way you desire to feel wanted. Deep inside the innermost recesses of a man is the need to be respected and needed. As the one person that knows your husbands weaknesses it is easy to find yourself complaining and murmuring, subsequently developing and ungrateful spirit. Are we perfect? Far from it. No one knows that better than a man’s wife; however, he grows and becomes more favorable to his design when you accentuate his strengths while helping him strengthen his weaknesses. Your husbands greatness is inextricably bound to your support. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

Marriage Tip of the Day:

Marriage is not about you; in truth, it is not about your mate. Marriage is about God. Marriage is a biblical institution designed by God for two primary reasons:

1. To reflect the relationship between God and His people (Christ and the Church). When the marriage is functioning optimally it reflects the unconditional love that Christ has for His bride, the Church, and it reflects the undying loyalty and surrender of the Church to Christ. It reflects total sacrifice and selflessness.

2. To develop Christ like character within us; to conform us to the image of Christ (this is a day by day process that continues until we die and pass into eternal life). The marriage is a place that exposes our areas of weakness, such as selfishness, and the inability to honor commitment. Marriage requires that we endure through inconvenience and discomfort.

*As a secondary function, it sets the proper context for the perpetuation of the human race.

When we view marriage as our greatest service to God, it will make it easier to love and honor our mate, because our relationship will not rest on the frailty of romance, but on the foundation of our faith. I’m not saying that there is no room for romance, but that romance is secondary to the responsibility of marriage. In fact, learning to honor God in your marriage will enhance the romantic experience within your marriage.

When you truly grasp this it will place you in a position in which you will look more to change yourself than your spouse. You will see your fallibility more than their faults. You will recognize that it is not reasonable to expect perfection when you are unable to offer it.

Dr. Rick Wallace

A Part of the “When Your House is Not a Home” series.

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Marriage Tip of the Day

Marriage Tip of the Day:

Husbands, as mature men of God, we must assume our roles of leadership in order to stabilize the home. No matter how much conflict is in your homes at the moment, your wives are looking to you for leadership. When I say lead, I don’t mean dominate. You lead by aligning yourself with God’s will for your life; by honoring your wife. Engage your wife with a love and gentleness, that is expressive of your faith. Let the reflection of Christ be seen by your wife first, because your wife will be the ultimate reflection of you. 1 Corinthians 11:7 says that woman is the glory of man. This means that she is his greatest accomplishment; she is the greatest reflection of who is. I once asked one of my spiritual mentors what he thought of new minister that had just joined the church. He said, “I’m not sure, I have not met his wife yet.” He told me that if you want to judge the character of a man observe the countenance of his wife. Her eyes will reflect his gentleness, and her smile will reflect his love and honor. Men, your wives are observing your every action, looking for confirmation of your love. It is your responsibility to make it easy for her to see.

 

Wives, your strength and fortitude is exceptional. No one has the power to affirm a man and help him to activate and actualize his potential in the manner and magnitude that his wife does. This also means she has the greatest potential to tear him down. Wives, your husbands, though they boasts a tough exterior, are extremely vulnerable to you. They thrive off of respect, adoration and reverence. They need to be affirmed and respected. When these things are absent, or worse; irreverence, disrespect, and contempt are present, it will cause your husband to shut down, become defensive and behave unloving. Behind every good man is a great woman. Why is she great? She is great because she is aware of his weaknesses, but instead of exploiting them, degrading him, and berating him, she comes along side of him and girds him. In doing this, she gives him the strength and confidence to function is his God-ordained design. Ladies, your husband needs to have the confidence that his home is his refuge. He needs the confidence to be vulnerable without being exploited and deprecated. He needs permission to be imperfect without being judged. I promise you that the benefits will be multitudinous. Proverbs 12:4 says, “An excellent (worthy, noble) wife is the crown of her husband…”. What are you?

Dr. Rick Wallace

Worth Saving

No one believed in people more than Jesus did. He saw something in Peter worth developing, in the adulterous woman worth forgiving, and in John worth harnessing.

He saw something in the thief on the cross, and what he saw was worth saving. And in the life of a wild-eyed, bloodthirsty extremist, He saw the apostle of grace. He believed in Saul.

Don’t give up on your Saul. When others write him off, give him another chance. Stay strong. Call him brother. Call her sister. It’s too soon to throw in the towel. Talk to your Saul about Jesus, and pray.

God is at work behind the scenes. And remember this: God never sends you where he hasn’t already been. By the time you reach your Saul, who knows what you’ll find.

God used Saul, who became Paul, to touch the world.

Has God given you a Saul?

From Cast of Characters
Listen to UpWords with Max Lucado at OnePlace.com

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I love reading the work of other men of God and Max Lucado is one of my favorites. His ability to simplify the most powerful of truths is extraordinary. His installment today is no different. Max points to the fact that Jesus sees the potential in the wretched and reaches out to touch that wretchedness with a transforming love that produces the exceptional.

Max appeals to his readers to not give up on their “Saul”. When Christ met Saul on the Damascus road he was the enemy of the church. He was the one who consented to the stoning of Stephen. He was inexorable in persecuting Christians and on his way to do more damage. Christ looked through the wretchedness and validated the potential. Saul (Hebrew name) became Paul (Greek name) and he became one of the greatest champions of the Church.

There are those in your life that have yet to actualize their potential in the Kingdom; don’t cast them away. They need your love. They need your support. They need your encouragement, and they need your prayers. I know that it can be frustrating as you attempt to help birth the new man within your Saul, but when you are tempted to give up, remember that Christ did not give up on you and sent Christian soldiers to usher you into your anointing.

Remember in the book of acts after Paul’s encounter with Christ, the Spirit compelled Ananias to go visit Paul and pray for him. Ananias remembered what Saul had done and wanted no part of it, but the Spirit assured him that there was purpose in Saul and he needed to go pray for him. There is also purpose in the Saul in your life. There is a Paul within them that is struggling to come forth. Don’t write them off. Don’t give up on them. Don’t look down on them. Christ believes they are worth it; who are you to think different. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

Calling All Men

Marriage Tip of the Day:

Men, I spoke with the women on yesterday and so today I want to speak with you. As always, I do not approach you from a place of condescension, nor do I preach or teach from the platform of perfection. The words that you read and hear come from the transformed heart of a man of God that chose to surrender his cloak of selfishness, pride, and arrogance in exchange for the quiet, yet unwavering, confidence of walking in his anointed purpose.

As men, it is important that we understand that it begins with us. No matter what this secular society attempts to convince you of, you are designed to be leaders, providers, protectors, coverings for your women and so much more. You were molded in the hands of God to influence generations, forge meaningful alliances, and build lasting legacies. However, as a collective we have failed in our responsibility; we have abdicated our God-ordained roles in lieu of self.

You may be asking, what does all of this have to do with marriage? Well, in order to be Godly husbands you must first be a Godly man. A Godly man has surrendered to the will of God and he has committed himself to the building of the Kingdom.

Yes, we have failed. We have found it to be an acceptable course of action to procreate and then abandon our progeny. We have concluded that life is about us and subsequently emerged ourselves into a perpetual state of narcissism. We have abandoned our roles as husbands to seek selfish ambitions that feed our egocentricity. We have bought into secular world views such as: ethical relativism, hedonism, nihilism, pantheism, relativism, secular humanism and many others while denying the call of God on our lives.

Listen to what Paul had to say to Timothy:

2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.
3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.
4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.
5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them]. (2 Tim. 3:2-5, AMP).

How much of what we read here are we seeing in men, not just men, but men that have professed the faith? Paul told timothy that these type of men have a form of Godliness, but they deny its power and are strangers to it. Why are we powerless to impact our environment? We only need to look at our behavior, which is a reflection of the condition of our heart.

I’m challenging men to rise to the moment. The moment demands leaders that will stand for God at all cost. The moment yearns standard bearers that will not compromise in order to please the majority. The moment yearns role models who refuse to ponder at the pool of popularity. The moment is crying out for fathers to instill identity and self-worth in their progeny. The moment is crying out for men who are willing become masters of their God-ordained destinies. The moment is speaking to the souls of women who need their husbands to lead them. Will you rise?

In our Men of the House meeting yesterday, the theme was “Stir Up The Gift”. Men, my desire is to stir up a revolution. A revolution that will see mean returning to their rightful places in the home and community. I envision a revolution that will see men coming out of the maze of mediocrity and ambling into their destiny of greatness and kingdom living. This revolution will create the foundation on which believers will begin to claim and take back ground that the enemy has stolen through deceit and treachery. The power of Christian influence in a secular culture will once again be realized.

It all starts with us. We have to rise above self and live in sacrifice.

Over two-hundred years ago, a simple man of faith determined within himself that he would make a difference. He made this bold statement: “Give me 100 men that fear nothing but God and hate nothing but sin and we will change the world.” This man was John Wesley; the man known as the ‘great revivalist’ and the father of the Methodist Movement.” Wesley understood the power of Men to impact their environment and their designed ability to influence generations. I believe that we are resting on the cusp of the next great revival. Give me 100 committed men and through the power of the Holy Spirit we will change the world.

Who will join me?

Dr. Rick Wallace

Other sites for Rick Wallace Ministries:

Christian Impact, The Invisible Father, Anointed Inspirations, Battling Obesity,

P.S. This started out as the marriage tip of the day and as the spirit moved, this is where it ended up. The marriage tip of the day is an extension of the “When Your House is Not a Home Series”. To read more on the topic simply click the marriage tab.

The phrase “Full Time Ministry” is in some ways implicit that there is part-time service within the body. I know what it is supposed to mean, but I believe the implications that it presents are dangerous in forming the proper paradigms through which believers live their lives. There is no such thing as a part-time Christian.

Christ did not sacrifice all that He was on a part-time Cross. He did not provide part-time salvation. There is no such reality as part-time justification. Christ definitely does not encompass us with a part-time love. Wherein is the right to offer up part-time service?

It is extremely important to understand that the Christian life cannot be compartmentalized. Everything we do we do unto the Lord and we present ourselves as living sacrifices to the service of the Kingdom. This means that there is no moment of our lives that belong to us.

You may not be on staff at the Church and preaching may not be your vocation, but trust me, you are in full time ministry. The question is: Are you living your life in a manner in which Christ’s reflection is seen in everything that you do?

You expect full-time engagement from God and He is expecting the same from you. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace

26 For [r]consider your(BD)calling, brethren, that there were (BE)not many wise according to [s]the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but(BF)God has chosen the foolish things of(BG)the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of (BH)the world to shame the things which are strong, 28and the base things of(BI)the world and the despised God has chosen, (BJ)the things that are not, so that He may (BK)nullify the things that are, 29 so that (BL)no [t]man may boast before God. 30But [u]by His doing you are in (BM)Christ Jesus, who became to us (BN)wisdom from God, [v]and(BO)righteousness and(BP)sanctification, and(BQ)redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “(BR)LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

 

Paul reveals that God uses those that are lowly, debased, and downtrodden to manifest His power through. He takes those that the world sees as worthless and useless and unleashes his power in a manner that confounds the wise and powerful of the world.

 

God does this so that there can be no mistake of the source of the great works that come forth. God has revealed to me that we are in the midst of a time in which he will use men and women that have very little value by the standards of this wayward world in ways that are unimaginable. We are rapidly approaching a massive international revival the likes that have not been seen since Wesley’s Methodist movement.

 

Men of God are being called to stand on their faith and walk in their divine purpose; they are being empowered to reassume their God-ordained roles. Women are being inundated with a more lucid sense of worth and destiny. Children are being given dreams and visions of a future filled with God’s blessings and direction.

 

Make no mistake about it; this is a time for advancement of theKingdomofGod. This is a time for reclaiming what the enemy has taken from us. It is a time to walk boldly in our callings. This is not a time to meander through the maze of mediocrity or to ponder at the pool of popularity. This is not a place to dwindle into the destitute valley of diminished dreams and dwarfed goals. No, this is a time that the kingdom is to rise up and live in all of its Heavenly Splendor.

 

For far too long we have been giving ground to the enemy as we retreat into the comfort of our temples and church sanctuaries. We have been content with preaching to the choir while neglecting the greater command to go out in the community and share the Gospel of God’s love. We have relegated ourselves to temple ministry and failed the mission. Those days are over. It is time to rise up and live out the true meaning of the Christian Creed.

 

There are many of you that for your entire life have been told that you don’t matter. You have been convinced that the best you will ever be is average. You have struggled with your self-esteem as others have mishandled and mistreated you. You have shed an abundance of tears while wondering what meaning your life could possibly have in this world that seems to be so hostile towards you. I want you to understand that this is your moment. God wants to use you. Where others have doubted you, God believes in you because he designed you with this very moment in mind. I encourage you to come forth. I implore you to stand in the power of the Holy Spirit as God thrusts you into your destiny. You are a part of the Royal Family of God and an aristocratic resident of theKingdomofHeaven; walk in your purpose and achieve your destiny.

 

This is the moment where we as a people stand up and declare our faith through our actions. This is where we step from behind our words and execute the actions that that validate our words.

 

I want every man and woman that reads this to contact me via email, tweet, or Facebook inbox so that we may organize and mobilize in our communities, at our jobs, and in our homes.

 

Remember your breakthrough comes through obedience

 

May you be blessed in all that you do.

 

Bishop Rick Wallace

http://rickwallaceministries.com

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