The Power of Words: Adding in the Concept of Sowing and Reaping

Last week we looked at the powerful effects of positive (life) and negative (death) words, both on and in our lives, bodies, and spirit. Today I want to talk about the sowing and reaping aspect of our words.

As I mentioned last week, the Lord has placed on my heart to watch my words, but it’s really a much larger issue. I believe the Lord is calling us all to fortify our spiritual roots and clean our houses (body, soul, spirit), to refine our tuning into God and the Holy Spirit, and to prepare a clean environment for new giftings to manifest and be developed. We simply aren’t able to grow a healthy gifting in a polluted environment.

Do you know or understand the tremendous spiritual weapon you possess with your words? Did you know that your mouth is like a machine gun and that your words are like bullets that can pierce someone’s soul and spirit? Did you know that when you wish ill on others or speak ill of them you can actually be putting a curse in place that comes back on you? Yes, you can, and here’s how.

I think we’ve all heard of the notion of reaping and sowing. Non-Christians sometimes talk about Karma or a sort-of universal cause and effect. We followers of Jesus with a Biblical worldview say, in effect, that we reap what we sow; not just crops, but words, actions, thoughts, and influencing behaviors. If we’re sowing negative or curse-sending words, we’ll reap that (and worse) back on ourselves and our families – sometimes for generations.

In Job – the “poster book” for having troubles heaped upon people – Eliphaz the Temanite tries to justify Job’s predicament based on the seemingly commonsense notion of reaping and sowing, even though Job rejects this based on what he knows of his own life. And, indeed, the concept or reaping and sowing (like that of blessings and curses) weaves throughout the Old Testament, but not always as directly as when it is found in Proverbs with writings such as these: “The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward” (11:18); “He who sows wickedness reaps trouble, and the rod of his fury will be destroyed.” (22:8); “The faithless will be fully paid for their ways, and the good man rewarded for his.” (14:14), Most relevant to our words, Proverbs 13:3 states: “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”

The reaping/sowing notion continues into the New Testament. Second Corinthians speaks of the measure of sowing: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Cor. 9:6. Hosea, on the other hand, links sowing to positive benefits we can see in our daily lives: “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12).

Together, though, these two notions – the power of words (life and death) and the spiritual law of sowing and reaping – should give us great pause. For it is words, more than anything else, that can so quickly escape and become sown. Certainly, if we sow good or bad words generously versus sparingly, the Bible says we will reap accordingly. But the nature of words should remind us of the nearly impossible task of gauging what even a single negative word can do to a single person. That one bad word, spoken with malice by you or by me, might actually equal a lifetime of words spoken by someone else. In this case, given the power of words and the unmistakable surety of the law of sowing and reaping, I would treat how we speak to others in this world like one might treat philosophy of God through the lens of Pascal’s wager: do not bet your life on uttering a single bad word – whatever finite gain there may be (and I doubt there is any), it is simply crushed by the weight of potential infinite loss.

ACTION: Do you wonder why some people seem always to have difficulties and troubles? Look at what they have coming out of their mouths. Are they curses, slurs, or statements of unbelief? If you look closely, you may just be witnessing the double-whammy effect of the power of words and the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. This week make a conscious effort to speak blessings to and about people, even if you don’t agree with them. If you have done so in the past, make an effort to watch labels you have assigned to people like “stupid,” “ignorant,” etc., especially on semi-anonymous forums like social media. Give people a chance to know our God through your uplifting and positive speech that reaps unlimited benefits. Ask the Lord to reveal any unforgiveness on your part and ask for extra blessings on any people to whom you may have used any negative words. Finally, ask for those curses you have spoken on others to be recalled and canceled. Then thank God for helping you to improve this one really important part of your life!

Your Spiritual Footprint

Some time ago, I was studying the Word and I was distressed over our climate and how we seem to be gradually destroying our environment. In particular, I was thinking about those articles that talk about reducing your carbon footprint to help out the environment. Now, I try to be a good citizen and neighbor and I’m constantly trying out more energy-efficient and earth-preserving things, like fancy light bulbs (and solar power for the house, which we have), recycling, growing food, pesticide-free gardening to help the bees, but it all seems overwhelming. I mean, after all, who am I but just one person? Do I really make a difference?

Then I heard the Lord say, “Okay, I get what you’re thinking about your carbon footprint, but what about your spiritual footprint? What are you sowing for others in our kingdom? What are you doing to spread my love and my word?”

This got me thinking hard about the term “spiritual footprint”? If our actions, in this world, create a physical “carbon footprint,” doesn’t it make sense that our actions, thoughts, behaviors in the world also create a “spiritual footprint?” More importantly, our spiritual footprint affects not only the supernatural aspect of things, it can also definitely affect how you continue to participate in the natural world. Think about it, spirituality is largely invisible and so is the supernatural world, and so, of course, what we do spiritually is going to have some effect there. But we also see the manifestations in our physical world of things we do in and for the spiritual world. In fact, there’s a huge overlap. For instance, prayer is activated in the physical world and the spiritual world at the same time when we pray out loud or silently, but then the answer to prayer, which might be immediate in the supernatural, becomes part of our natural world manifestation of the whole act. Thus, our spiritual footprint is affected in both realms.

We create our spiritual footprint by everything we do in the world, — whom we touch, whom we are kind to, how we act toward all of God’s people (saved and unsaved), how we share the pearls of wisdom given to us by God, whether we act selflessly instead of selfishly. In fact, every seemingly insignificant thing can affect your spiritual footprint. Moreover, each of those things can have enormously good or devastatingly bad consequences. By the way, watch out for the bad stuff – it’s like throwing a tiny cigarette butt out of a car window that can’t even be seen from the road, but that leads to an enormous forest fire. Every tiny, seemingly insignificant action forms at least a part of our spiritual footprint. Because these actions can be positive or negative, it’s up to us to constantly see what we’re doing in the natural world and thinking about ramifications in the spiritual world.

And sometimes it’s not the action itself, but the motivation behind it. I might give to the homeless, but if my motivation is one of glorifying myself, then I’ve messed up my spiritual footprint even though I’ve done something that the world might say or think is good.

Lately I’ve been taking an inventory to write down what I’ve done for others or when I’ve shown or talked about God to others, along with my motivations. Also, I’ve been writing down the instances when I can remember being unbecoming of a follower of Jesus. I try to do it daily, and then I ask, “Which list is bigger?” When I have things on the negative side – the list messing up my spiritual footprint – I ask the Lord to forgive me and to bless anyone on that list whom I have harmed. Then I tear it up. That’s how I remind myself of God’s forgiveness, which is a reminder of God forgetting our sins as an act of grace.

One day we’ll meet the Father and we’ll become instantly aware of the entirety of our spiritual footprints. Let’s work together to make sure they’re the kinds of footprints that reflect our belief in God and our following of Jesus Christ.

What Does Your Lake Look like?

Wow, there’s so much happening in the U.S. and the world these days it is hard not to succumb to the prevalent negative mood and attitude. But this week my Pastor talked about how we need to silence the noise. He said we need to get into a quiet place to detox from the things that are polluting our minds and hearts with the natural world view and to obscure our Christian world view. I was pleased that he reminded me that words themselves have spirits behind them that are either good or evil and that promote life or death, health or illness. Watching the words you allow into your brain is key.

So, as an exercise, think about going to a crystal-clear lake in which you want to take a swim. You can see to the bottom and the water is blue and clear and smells fresh. This embodies an environment of kind, loving, healthy words circulating in our atmosphere. Then think about going to a lake that is polluted, putrid smelling, filthy, with scum floating on the top and dead fish washing up on the shoreline. This is a lake of hatred, unhealthy words. Is this the kind of lake in which you want to swim? Well, if you surround yourself with hate, ugly talk, negative thoughts, misinformation, and an overall lack of love, you may as well be swimming in exactly this sort of scum.

I don’t know about you, but I want the clear, beautiful, fresh smelling lake as my environment, and so I’m making a constant choice to keep my lake (home/environment) clean and clear. I admit, though, that sometimes I have to take a net out and scoop out some leaves or the occasional dead fish, but overall, I want to keep my environment welcoming and loving. I want the kind of environment that glorifies my Lord and makes Him smile and proud of me as His child.

Take a look at your individual lake – the environment in which you swim each day. Close your eyes and try to notice how you feel when you envision your lake. Do you feel anger? Do you have vengeful, ugly thoughts or feelings about a person or topic? Do you feel depressed and hopeless? If yes, your lake might need a good scrubbing.

If so, take a break from social media and the news and pick up your Bible. Look up the words “blessing” or “hope” in the back and read the scriptures it references. Then remember who you are (a child of God, a saint) and how much our Lord loves you. I pray that all of us who follow Christ as our example will have clear, clean lakes. If enough of us do, then others will want to be around us and use us as an example. Together, we can make a real difference.

You already know that love conquers everything. As Philippians 4:8, encourages us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” That passage is especially relevant today, and if you think about and focus on those more positive things, your lake in life – the place where you do all your spiritual swimming – will be a clear one.

What’s Up? Week of 6/9/2020

During this time of being “quarantined,” I have absolutely LOVED having extra time not commuting to work and, instead, using that time to really press into our Lord, to ask Him to show me His ways and revelations in his word and the supernatural Kingdom. I’ve found tons of resources, by the way – from YouTube videos, to scholarly writings, to television and radio shows – that you can also find to help you with your own walk.

I personally see this time in my life not as a burden or restriction for me; instead, I see it as a way to work with our Lord to cleanse and heal my soul, open my spiritual eyes/ears and senses to see/understand what is really going on in the natural and supernatural realms. Between you and me, I’ve actually been praying that my office will allow me to keep working at home for a while longer. I counted it up, and I have a total of three extra hours each day by not driving to and from work. That’s three hours to spend working on the most important relationship in my life (don’t worry, Tim knows he’s second banana in this sense, and he’s working on his relationship with God, too!).

Tim and I tend to go different directions with our time – he spends a lot of time reading about philosophy of religion and I’m more attuned to the softer, “walking in the spirit” types of teachings. But it’s always amazing how often those paths cross. The other day, I found out he was deep into the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and I was, too! He was dutifully reconciling some seemingly contradictory statements from R.C. Sproul and William Lane Craig had (he managed to do it) and I was doing exercises designed to learn about the supernatural action/interaction of the Holy Spirit in our lives and how to get to know Him and free Him to work more and reveal more to us.

When I wrote my book, I said something like, “God will talk to you in the way that you listen.” I might have even used the example of a billboard, saying that if you’re likely to seek messages from God by looking at billboards, don’t be surprised when one of His messages pops up on a billboard. If you’re thinking about how better to hear from God, remember that He’s already trying to speak to you in the ways in which you are comfortable. If that’s through videos, then watch more videos. If it’s through reading scripture, then do more reading. But my point is that I encourage you to try to find the same silver lining to this quarantine that I have found. If you suddenly have more time due to skipping other odds and ends, like driving, consider pressing in and seeing what all God would like to say to you today.

Keep pressing in, Saints!

What’s Up — Your Library

Over the weekend, Tim read an obituary in which the writer said, “Every time a person dies, it’s like a library burns down.” The gist of that statement was that each person, at any particular time in their life, has a huge amount of knowledge, skills, talents, gifts, and revelations – provided to them by God – that don’t necessarily get experienced by anyone in this world after the person’s death. Think about yourself. You have this huge amount of knowledge – true gifts that nobody else has – that we would lose if you were to die tomorrow. This struck me as an even bigger tragedy based on the high cost of our losing over 100,000 people to Covid-19, seeing innocent persons murdered by police, and noticing the unnecessary loss of life for any other reason on any particular day.

The good news is that as followers of Christ, this information – these skills, talents, gifts, and revelations – are not lost when we die, but continue on as we get to live in eternity with Christ. Nevertheless, I’m interested in seeing the things in your library in this life. And to make sure I walk the walk, I’m going to start putting more information on this blog (like shorter pieces) just to let you see a bit of what’s in my library. I’ll probably just title these things “What’s Up,” like I did above.

So, over the weekend, I started watching free online classes from Dallas Theological Seminary, which you can find here. There are about 16 of them so far, but I’m going through the one on Revelation while I also press into a bunch of my more, shall I say, “spirit filled” materials. One thing this pandemic has done is open my eyes to all the resources out there from which you can press into God. Lots of seminaries are doing lots of great things, so check it out. I asked Tim what he watched yesterday, and he said he “went off on a tangent” by watching one of his favorite apologists – William Lane Craig – in a fascinating interview about all manner of things by a guy named Matt Frad on a show called “Pints With Aquinas,” which you can find here.

What was interesting about the two things was that we had a short discussion on miracles, modern-day prophets, and healings, and realized that we came up with the same answers on various theological issues despite our different paths.

Keep pressing into God, Saints!

Am I Bitter?

This past week I’ve heard some teachings on bitterness and the peril in which we place ourselves when we harbor it, feed it, and participate in sharing it with others. As you may know, I always ask the Lord for confirmation on what to share with others, and this one has come up many, many times over the past few weeks.

I have to admit that the first teaching I heard really convicted me because I realized I was doing all three things that I mentioned above – harboring, feeding and participating or sharing bitterness. If I can compare it to something, I would compare bitterness to a spiritual yeast dough. If you give it enough time and the right circumstances it will completely take over the bowl of your soul. I’ve also lately been increasingly distressed by the hateful attitudes, selfishness, and overt lack of concern for others, especially during this time of pandemic. I’ve mentioned more than once for us to put aside our political leanings and to love each other as the beautiful beings our God created and yet, I found myself getting worked up and feeling bitter over what people are saying (political and otherwise), especially when those people claim to be “Christian” brethren when what they’re sharing seems anything but something Jesus would have us share.

For those of you who might not know, I’m considered a charismatic Christian and I have a fabulous Pastor who only moves on the word/command/prompting of God. Lately he’s talked in several sermons and coffee talks about how and what are we doing to keep our Spiritual wellbeing guarded, nurtured, and healthy. He has mentioned several times for us to step out of the fray of world of negative politics, he said-she said bickering, conspiracy theories, social media, etc., as an easy method for managing our mental wellbeing. He’s encouraged us to focus on using this quarantine time wisely – to learn more about God and to press into getting to really know Him better.

It wasn’t until I found myself cursing out loud when talking about the news of the day (if you knew me, you’d think that pretty crazy) that I knew something wasn’t right with my soul. You know what the Bible says: the things that come out of the of mouth come from the heart, and out of the overflow of our hearts, our mouths speak. (Matt 15:18 and Luke 6:45). So, you can imagine that if I heard myself cursing out loud, I must have some pretty toxic overflow going on. About the same time, I heard a teaching on bitterness and, as I listened, I thought, “Hmmmmm… I might have a real issue here.”

That’s when it hit me. The instructor said that when we hear about someone/something and the first thing that comes to our minds is something negative or unlovely, it’s a sign that we need to deal with bitterness. I was convicted. Ephesians 4:29-32 tells us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” So, it’s pretty clear that outright bitterness must be suppressed. And yet, as followers of Christ, there are times when what we hear sparks righteous outrage that causes us to seek or administer correction. That’s the dilemma we face. I think the whole thing is settled by what you allow into your brain to begin with.

First, recognize how delicate and yet important the line can be between lashing out in bitterness and responding or even correcting with love. On the one hand, correcting is to be done out of love and encouragement. Bitterness, on the other hand, is a root that can destroy people, families, and even whole nations. Did you know that we actually defile ourselves and others by carrying it around? That’s because it is tied not to love, but to hatred. Because of this, we are advised in Hebrews 12:14-15 to pursue peace with all people and to be holy because without holiness no one will see the Lord. It says to see to it that we do not fall short of the grace of God to be sure that “no bitter root grows up” to cause trouble and defile many. These verses go on to remind us of the bitterness of Esau who sold his inheritance rights for a meal and then regretted it and wanted it back. Bitterness. Regret. They’re connected, and they can divide your family, too. So, we should constantly ask ourselves, “Is this thing I want to say out of love or something else.” Just asking that question will help rid us of bitterness.

Moreover, did you know that bitterness is treated like an open door for the enemy to lay siege to us or worse yet, for witchcraft? Why? Because bitterness, which turns people away from God, is sinful. Bitterness rarely acts alone, and often couples itself with judgment, jealousy/envy, unrighteous anger and finally, perhaps the worst yet, pride or self-seeking. If you’ve read the Bible, you’ve definitely heard about pride, as it’s mentioned some dozen times (and they’re always biggies) and implied about four dozen more, and never in a good way. We’ve at least heard that it triggers destruction (see Prov 16:18), and is usually mentioned in connection with judgement of ether Israel or Israel’s enemies. At its core, though, pride means relying on yourself and not relying on God. It’s a way of saying, “I know better,” at least when it comes to the folks that might find their way into your bitterness root camp. So, being prideful has to go if we want to be truly open to the fullness of the blessings and relationship with God. In short, consciously getting rid of pride will help rid us of bitterness.

I mentioned judgment, and that’s another thing that bitterness causes us to do. When we get so angry (like I was) at people that we start to judge them on their spirituality, their integrity, mental capacities/capabilities, that’s never a good thing. Empathy is a good helper when it comes to being non-judgmental. Think about something you’ve done, and then think about all the reasons for why you did it. I’ll bet there are plenty, and nobody else really knows what they are. Well, that’s the way we need to act around others. My husband said he used to get pretty peeved about things that an old friend of his would say, and then he learned that his old friend lost his only son that year to cancer. I think that’s why God makes it pretty simple to actually do the work of Jesus. It really only boils down to a few things, which include loving others and not judging them (for example, see Matthew 7:1-2). Once again, in short, consciously getting rid of any judgmental attitude will help rid us of bitterness.

And let’s not forget unforgiveness. Bitterness and unforgiveness go hand in hand, and yet forgiving others is a hallmark of the Christian faith. Indeed, the Lord’s prayer itself mentions it, and Jesus, when further explaining it, even says, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt. 6: 14-15). This may seem harsh to outsiders, but we followers of Christ understand what we call “the holiness of God,” which is a righteousness that is so extreme that it simply doesn’t allow sin in its presence. When we say God is just, we mean that he is the maximally great expression of justice – perfect justice – and you simply don’t allow anything sinful around that. Does it mean you’re not saved? Absolutely not, but unresolved sin like unforgiveness might be closing your communication to the Holy Spirit and thus to certain blessings; you know, like losing a signal from the supernatural radio. In short, forgiveness of the sort urged by Jesus will help rid us of bitterness.

Finally, Proverbs 10:18 says that whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool. So, I know I need to stop posting things (spreading slander) on Facebook or other places that further my fleshly/worldly cause or justify my political position. I know that I need to remove myself from the fray of the deceit, lies, and overall time-wasting that goes on with that sort of stuff. I know that because it all leads to bitterness.
Now here’s the tough part. Sometimes you absolutely must – with a sense of righteous desire correct the church on something that really matters – say something that someone else might tell you reeks of bitterness. For example, I think some people looked at my last blog and thought “bitterness” simply because likely saw the word “Trump” at the very beginning and thus skipped through it. But my last blog wasn’t done from hatred or bitterness. It was done from love, and a sense that people in the church were propping up idols at the expense of God. It was warning about idol worship in all its forms, with an example that just happens to be in the news every day.

Like I said, it’s tough, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t cross that line between righteous correction and bitter rebuke.

First, stick to the Word. If you’re addressing action that is clearly unbiblical, then you’re on the right track. Along those lines, research it to determine Truth. Again, the Bible will help you immensely in this effort; for example, I didn’t have to go far to see the negative aspects of idol worship. Then try to make sure that whatever correction you give is rooted in love, encouragement, and exhortation. That’s a tall order (which I don’t always do so well), and writing stuff down automatically means that some people will likely take it the wrong way. But we must do our best. Finally, ask God what should be said. If you keep getting the same answer, then you better say it (or pray it; a lot of the time, you can just intercede through prayer rather than actually confront anyone). Sometimes God has you say stuff that just has to be said, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But whatever you say or do, try to visualize Jesus saying or doing it. Jesus – the one person who, if it were in him, could rightfully express the most bitterness – never did, going so far as to ask forgiveness for those who put him to death. If we all develop our empathy, we’re going to start seeing people the way God sees them, and that will automatically make us less bitter.

Ok, now what? I admit that I’ve lapsed into bitterness lately. I’m ashamed that I’ve allowed unwholesome things to take up time and space in my brain. I’m not happy that I was reading everything going on regarding the political situation and the virus, all of which was triggering deep, negative thoughts, including anger toward people I barely knew.

So, I repent of all that. I repent of the bitterness that I allowed to defile my soul. I repent for feeding the agendas of the world and basically repeating the ugly talk that is so prevalent in our world. I repent for showing pride by thinking that I knew what was really happening to someone and what was truly in a persons’ heart. I repent for being unforgiving. Finally, I repent for judging people and I now ask for every negative, unwholesome word that I have spoken against/about people to be taken back and removed from them. I ask for God’s abundant wisdom, mercy, and blessings to be bestowed to those people in place of anything sent their way by me with bitterness as its root. I also pray for all people to know our Lord and accept the free gift of salvation so they can experience the peace that I am re-claiming as well as the love of the one True Living God.

So, Saints, let’s check our hearts, and start paying close attention to our thoughts, words, and deeds. Let’s ask the Lord to reveal any root of bitterness, any related hangers-on (judgment, selfishness, unforgiveness, pride), and any strongholds put in place for bitterness we may have shown in the past. Let’s ask Him to remove that root and instead replace it with mercy, love, humility, and forgiveness. Finally, let’s thank God in faith for doing all these things that we know he will do whenever we humbly seek His guidance.


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