Author: Rita Moritz - Blog Post for March 7, 2018
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A Way in the Wilderness Blog Post.

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God will make a way even where there seems to be no way.
"I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19


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Mach 7, 2018:   

I Can’t Believe I Said That!
#guardmylips #guardmyears #ritamoritz

  Deut 1:28 "Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart..."

Discouragement is an exhausting state of mind. Unfortunately, those of us who are facing a difficult time are quite familiar with it. Where does discouragement come from and, even more important, is there anything we can do about it?

The first chapter of Deuteronomy tells us about the final words Moses said to the Israelites before his death and their crossing Jordan into the Promised Land. He recounted their forty-year journey in the wilderness, their rebellion, their distrust and also their discouragement.

As I read this story again this morning, I was surprised to find Moses also reminded them the things they and others had said were often the source of their discouragement. It wasn’t the difficult journey, it wasn’t the lack of water, and it wasn’t the hardships they had left behind in Egypt.

The words of their brothers had “discouraged [their] hearts.” Words are very powerful things, aren’t they? They have the power to build up, and they also have the power to tear down. There are two parts to the use of words…the words I say and the words I hear others say.

The first thing I thought about was the words that come out of my own mouth. I was reminded again how important it is for me to say things to encourage and build up rather than adding to the already heavy burdens my friends and loved ones are carrying. They don’t need to hear a litany of complaints and negativity from me. They probably have a list of their own legitimate complaints.

While I might need to vent from time to time, my hurting family might not be the ones who need to hear it. I have a few trusted friends, who not only listen compassionately but also encourage me to see my part in any situation and challenge me to change what I can and let go of what I can’t. I need that counsel even when I don’t like hearing it.

That takes me to the second part, which is what I listen to and accept as fact. If I’m going to not only survive this journey but also to walk it in joy, I’m going to have to set limits. I can’t afford to listen to negativity all day long and expect to be filled with hope and peace and joy. It just doesn’t work that way.

On the one hand, I want to and need to be available to others who are walking a hard path. However, if they consistently dwell on the negative instead of trying to help themselves, I may have to limit the time I spend with them. It’s important for us to surround ourselves with people who want to be part of the solution instead of wallowing in the problem.

Neither can I accept the words or agree with people who think everything that’s happening in my family or my own life is completely my fault or the result of some secret sin. It isn’t logical, it isn’t true, and it isn’t helpful.

At some point, I might need, like Job, to conclude some “friends” are actually “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2). Just because someone, whether family, friends or a Christian leader, thinks I’m to blame for everything since the Korean war doesn’t mean I have to accept it as fact.

Most important of all, I think, is that while I am the only one responsible for the choices I make, I need to remind myself my own words and the words of others can easily “discourage the heart.” So, I’m responsible to ask God to set a guard my own lips and guard my heart from the false conclusions and negative words of others.

Challenge for Today:  What might happen if we, just for today, chose our words carefully and surrounded ourselves with people who both speak positively and hold us accountable to do the same?


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  It’s tough trying to walk the hard path of loving a prodigal alone, isn’t it?
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