The Power of the Tongue . . . Choose and Use Your Words Wisely

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” James 3:1-12

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Our words . . . the words we say . . . the words we type . . . the words we repeat (i.e. share) . . . the words we put out there in person or on social media . . . whether they be spoken or written . . . matter. They carry so much weight.

We like to downplay them. They’re just words after all. How much damage can they really do?

Don’t ask me. Go straight to the book of James. He had some pretty strong feelings on how we use our mouths and control our tongues. He says our tongues are “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison”. That’s pretty strong language. And then he goes on to address what seems to have been an issue then and continues to be an issue now. “With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things out not be so.” Let’s be totally honest. This whole passage is incredibly convicting.

I’m good with words. I’m a words person. Words matter a ton to me. But the thing about being good with words is I can also be very dangerous with them. I can weaponize them easily and use them to utterly destroy . Given the right circumstances, I will take you down with my words. I’m not saying that as a point of pride. Quite the opposite. But I think we need to acknowledge the power our words hold. We need to understand that we are called to choose and use our words carefully. Because words, once put out there, can be apologized for, but they cannot be taken back. They cannot be retrieved and put away as if they were never spoken.

“See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

I think we get lost in the simplicity of this scripture from Proverbs. We overcomplicate it and try to make it mean something it doesn’t. We need to take it at face value. Our words can destroy. They can tear down. They can do immense harm. But they can also heal. They can build up. They can encourage and strengthen. So simple. And yet, it is so difficult.

But no man can tame the tongue.”

The thing is, I can’t tame my own tongue. Without the power and the leading and the enabling of the Holy Spirit, I’ll utterly fail at controlling my tongue. So I have to turn it over to Him. I have to let Him speak to my heart, “Don’t repeat that . . . Don’t share that . . . Don’t say that . . . Don’t think that” but also “Do say this . . . Do share this . . . Do give encouragement . . . “. I have to submit to Him in order to ever have any hope of taming my unruly tongue.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Never Good Enough

My righteousness is like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) . . .

And I’m okay with that.

Nothing I do will ever cause me to measure up . . .

And I’m good with that.

I am not, cannot be, good enough (Romans 3:10) . . .

And I actually find peace in that.

Not because I want to be bad . . . to sin . . . to mess up . . . quite the opposite is true. I want to be clean, right, and good. But the reality is, I could outwardly be the best person in the world, and my heart and soul would still be stained with sin.

Paul called himself the “chief of all sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15), and in Romans 7:15 he said, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

So how can all this be good? How can all this bring peace? It can’t. The fact that we can never do enough, perform well enough, be clean enough to earn our way into God’s favor is not the “good news”. But here it is. Jesus . . . Jesus wiped all the sin away. Hanging on that cross over 2000 years ago, He took it all and redeemed us. The weight He carried, the sins of all of mankind for all time, wasn’t just a tremendous weight, it was utterly and completely crushing. It separated Father from Son as our Savior cried out “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). But while it may have killed Him, it did not defeat Him. In that moment, my sins and your sins were covered by the blood of our Savior, and on the third day, He rose again.

That is the “good news”!

That brings enormous peace.

That is why I’m okay with not being okay.

Because when that, not so quiet, voice starts echoing through my mind, “You’re not good enough . . . if only they knew . . . you mess up and then mess up again . . . ” I don’t have to stand in defense of myself. Jesus stood for me. I don’t have to fight it or try to justify. I don’t have to perform more or try harder in hopes that the good will somehow outweigh the bad on some great cosmic scales of justice. Spoiler alert: it will never happen. I just acknowledge it. My own righteousness is as filthy rags, but I know a man, who is also God, who gave all to redeem me. And where my good-ness utterly fails, His perfection and righteousness forever triumph.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:23-26

The grace and goodness of my Savior cover every fault and every sin, and spur me on to do better and be better. Not because I’m trying to earn my way, but because I’ve been given so much and loved so deeply despite my filthiness. It’s that grace and goodness that cause me to desire to live a life marked by redemption and obedience . . . a slave not to sin but to righteousness.

“Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:15-18

Our goodness starts not with us but with a Savior.

Our salvation is not our own to earn but His to give, and ours only to accept.

It’s that simple, and yet, it’s that complicated. Nothing we can do . . . no performance . . . no good deed . . . will get us where we want to be.

Only Jesus.

So the question is, “Do you know my Savior?”

Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

100% Guaranteed

My husband and I are coming up on 23 years of being together (18+ married). If you’ve been around here for more than a few minutes, you know that I’m a big believer in marriage . . . God ordained, thriving marriages. If you were to ask me if I have a good marriage I’d respond that we have a “great marriage”. If you were to ask me if I have a perfect marriage I’d laugh . . . not by a long shot because the reality is we are two very imperfect, very stubborn, people. But perfect and great are not equivalent.

There’s another reality that isn’t as often addressed. We are not lucky. We are not lucky to have found one another or lucky that we just happened to have married our “soul mates” (I don’t buy into the idea of there being one perfect soul mate for everyone). We ARE very blessed to have been given one another, but our great marriage? It takes work and partnering with the Holy Spirit day in and day out to be the best spouse we can each be.

Jimmy Evans, the founder of XO Marriage, can frequently be heard saying, “You’re marriage has a 100% chance of success if you do it God’s way.” Did y’all catch that? Not 95%. Not 98%. Not even 99.99%. 100%. It’s one of my favorite truths.

But here’s the other part of that truth, it only works if you’re both willing to do it “God’s way”. If you’re both willing to put Him first and your spouse second only to Him. If you’re both willing to put in the work. Not that you’ll do everything perfectly. You won’t. Not that you’ll never fight. You will. But you keep coming back to God, putting Him in His proper place at the forefront of your lives, and seeking to love and serve, to honor and respect one another above everything except God. That is a 100% guarantee of success.

Maybe you’re on board, but your spouse? Not so much. Unless there is abuse and unfaithfulness (in which case you need to get to safety and get professional help), I encourage to do your part. Put in the prayer, make the effort, continue to love and honor and serve your spouse, and trust God to change your spouse’s heart.

And so coming up on 23 years of being together, this is what I’m pondering. I’m very thankful for my husband and my marriage, but I’m also incredibly aware that I have to continue to put in the work and the effort on a daily basis in order to not only maintain but also grow in my marriage. I’m also incredibly aware that not everyone has this, and that’s why I share. Not to say, “Look at us. We’re so awesome! We have it all together.” Because we don’t. But because I know that God is no respecter of persons, and what He has done for us, He’ll do for you. But only if you’re willing to submit yourself to His way of doing things. I encourage you to start by putting Jesus in the proper place in your life if you haven’t yet done that, and then ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you work toward have a great (or even greater . . . as the case may be) marriage.

Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

The Hardest Words . . .

I was wrong.

I am sorry.

Six simple words.

Two basic phrases.

Why are they so hard to say? Why is it so hard to admit when we’re wrong? Why is saying “I’m sorry” so difficult?

I’d venture that 95% of it is pride, plain and simple.

Or maybe it’s just me?

Because y’all these words, these phrases, are HARD for me.

If you read my last post, Pride and Destruction, then you know I know (that’s a mouthful) how dangerous pride is, but at the same time, I think it’s a constant battle that most of us face. And it’s only through the power of the Holy Spirit that any of us are ever going to win that battle.

Three things I’m learning about being wrong and apologizing . . . about not letting pride win.

First, we can be totally right and still be very wrong. We can have the right moral stance, yet have the wrong attitude. Our outward actions can look so good . . . so pious . . . while our hearts and our motives are anything but.

Second, just because something is different doesn’t make it wrong. I know that one is so obvious, but it’s ironic how often we pass judgment on things that just don’t matter. Yes, there are moral absolutes. But a lot of times we go to battle over differences of opinion, over preferences, that have absolutely no moral implications.

Third, a lot of times the faults we see in others (both in our day-to-day personal lives and in society as a whole) are also issues we struggle with personally. Not so much when it comes to black and white, right and wrong, issues, but more when it comes to opinions, pervasive attitudes, and character flaws. We can see those flaws . . . that person is too picky, rude, selfish, judgmental, easily offended, argumentative, the list goes on . . . as clear as day in those around us, but we are blind to it in ourselves. In short, we tend to be hypocrital, to say the least.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

In case you were wondering, those words are in red . . . straight out of the mouth of Jesus.

A lot of times we throw around two parts of this, “judge not lest you be judged” and “remove the plank from your own eye”. But we really have to take the passage as a whole. We do not judge by our own standards. We do judge by the standard set by the word of God, but before we can do any of that, it starts with ourselves. We first have to do the work on our own hearts, our own attitudes, and in our own lives. Then we can help others not from a place of judgment and self righteousness, but from a place of love and grace and mercy.

It starts with admitting that sometimes we’re wrong and sometimes we need to just say the words, “I’m sorry”. No matter how hard that might be.

Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Pride and Destruction

Reading Ezekiel 30 the other day, I was struck by these two verses regarding Egypt:

vs 6a – “Those who uphold Egypt shall fall, and the pride of her power shall come down.”

vs. 18b – “And her arrogant strength shall cease in her; as for her, a cloud shall cover her.”

While I recommend reading the entire chapter for context, two words in these two specific verses jumped out at me, pride and arrogant. A simple word study leads you realize that they are actually both the same word in the Hebrew, gaon* meaning “exaltation“. Egypt exalted her own power and strength over all else. It caused her to sin. It caused her to become exceedingly evil so much so that in chapter 29 verse 3 of Ezekiel pharaoh is referred to as a “great monster”. And ultimately it was her pride and arrogance that also led to her destruction.

Just six books before Ezekiel you’ll find the book of Proverbs. A book full of well known wisdom and guidance, and some of the most oft quoted scriptures of all can be found in chapter 16 verses 18 and 19, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

Pride . . . once again the exact same word is used, gaon. Once again we’re warned against self exaltation. And I couldn’t help but wonder, “How often do we blame everything but the right thing for our falls? How often do we seek to blame those around us . . . do we give satan credit where it absolutely is not due. . . do we cast responsibility on anyone and everyone else . . . when in actuality we should be blaming our problems and our falls on our own pride and arrogance?”

Pride is such an insidious sin. It’s not always front and center. It sneaks its way into our hearts. It often presents as moral outrage and masks itself as false humility. Too often we use the guise of righteousness to justify arrogance, pride, haughtiness, and downright meanness. And the problem isn’t with our morals. I will stand on biblical principals and morals until my last breath. The problem is in our hearts. It’s a haughty and arrogant spirit, and I believe that all too often that spirit, that attitude, is our downfall.

I am convinced that God is far more concerned with the character of our hearts than with seeing our earthly plans come to fruition. That’s not to say He doesn’t want good for us or have good plans for us. He absolutely does (Jeremiah 29:11), but ultimately everything we do is supposed to be for His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.

Make no mistake, I’m not throwing any stones here. When I say “we” I completely mean me. I keep returning back to Proverbs 16:19, “Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Humble and lowly are hard. And I think we often confuse humble with compromising. Humble in no way equates compromising. But it does mean that we’re steadfast, not only in our beliefs but also in our love, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. It means that we daily walk out Galatians 5:22-23, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”. It means that we take no pleasure in the hurt and fall of others and want what is good and right for them. It means that we look at others through the eyes of Jesus and seek to love as He loves. And love, true, agape, Christlike love is never rooted in pride.

I don’t think there are any words that better express this than the following, and I believe that they should serve as our guide for not only our outward actions but our inward thoughts:

“Though I speak with tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rude, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

* https://biblehub.com/hebrew/1347b.htm

I See Color . . .

I see the color of your eyes, your hair, and yes, your skin.

I don’t say that because I’m trying to be relevant or woke or politically correct . . . or not. Maybe saying that is none of those things. Maybe this post will offend a number of people, and that’s never my intent, intentionally bringing offense. But it’s the truth . . . a fact . . . I see color.

There was a time when I thought not seeing color was the right thing to do. And I stand corrected. Judging, treating others as less than, based upon skin color (or any other trait) is always unequivocally wrong. I want to be very clear about that. But acting as if we’re all the same, as if our differences don’t exist, is also not right.

I see color because I’m a (very) white (thank you to my Irish heritage) mother of a child with beautiful deep brown skin. Denying we’re different is ridiculous. And I see color because she sees color.

She notices freckles and shades of skin . . . eyes and hair, both texture and color . . . She looks for those that look like her and those that do not. Never in a judgmental way. Always in an observational way. What she has taught me is that our differences aren’t things to be ignored, as if they don’t exist, but something to be celebrated. Each of us uniquely created, our skin, our hair, our eyes . . . the list goes on . . . and so when she notices that her skin is “brown” and mine is “white”, I don’t shy away from that. I don’t hush her saying it’s “something we don’t discuss”. As if different equals bad. Instead, I take the opportunity to teach her that we are all special and beautiful and unique, carefully crafted by and made in the image of the Master Creator. We aren’t just a result of a genetic lottery but have each been formed and created with so much love.

So yes. I see color. And I will celebrate every single beautiful shade of color God has given us.

“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.”
– Psalm 139:13-16

Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Pride and Priorities, Intangible Idols

Until very recently, I’ve spent the entirety of this year re-reading every book of the new testament. Not necessarily in order from Matthew through Revelation but taking the time to study every book, chapter, and verse in the new testament . . . taking the time to dive into the history of the early church, the epistles, and the life of Jesus . . . making sure that I read it in context rather than pull out bits and pieces here and there. And I’m more convinced now than ever of the immense grace of God in the face of my own unworthiness. I don’t say that in a self deprecating way, but as I’ve written before, Paul talks at length about our sins, our human faults, and our desperate need for God and His grace. None of us are righteous (Romans 3:10). None of us are good enough. And we all need the power of the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and transform.

While I don’t think we’re ever really done reading any passage of scripture . . . I have no doubt I’ll do this all again sooner rather than later because I learn more every time I re-visit any part of God’s word . . . I wrapped up my current study of the new testament with the book of Mark (I know, unusual to save Mark for last) about six weeks ago and then wondered where I should go from there. And seeing as how I had just spent months in the new testament, it only seemed natural to dive into the old testament.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I somehow landed on the book of Ezekiel. If you’ve read any of the books of the prophets, you know they can be challenging at times. Sometimes it takes me days to get through just one chapter because I have to stop, dissect what is happening, look up the history for context, and search for the meaning in the symbolism. But the books of the prophets, and the old testament in general, are so rich with lessons for the people of God, followers of Christ. And I think we all too often discount the old testament as not being necessary. However, there is a ton to learn if we are willing to take the time.

As I was reading chapter 14 of Ezekiel a couple weeks ago, these words jumped out to me:

“Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?” Ezekiel 14:3

To give you a frame of reference, God is talking to Ezekiel here in regards to the elders of Israel. He’s not talking about the people that don’t follow Him. He’s not talking about the lost of the world. He’s talking about His people and even more, the leaders. And it was one of those moments when the Holy Spirit put something in my heart, and I knew, in the deepest part of me, that He’s also talking to me, right here, in the year of our Lord 2021.

We think of idols as something tangible we can touch and see. A little statue sitting in someone’s living room. Another god we worship . . . something obviously contrary to God and His word. And absolutely, an idol can be those things. But an idol is anything that is held in our hearts in the place that is only meant for God. If we look at a man or a woman, whether it be a president or a pastor or our best friend, and they can do absolutely no wrong in our eyes, if we can find a justification for every single word and action, that’s an idol. Our kids, our spouses, our jobs, even our churches and ministries . . . can all become idols. Our politics, our beliefs, our opinions . . . all lend themselves to idolization. Social media, television, entertainment, material possessions, appearances (or keeping them up as the case may be) . . . pride, refusal to be teachable . . . the list goes on.

these men have set up their idols in their hearts . . .

These are the words that have stuck with me even weeks later. In the case of the children of Israel, they were openly rebellious and sinful, and their idols were obvious. But so often it’s not the obvious that gets us, and the things we idolize are often necessary and even good things in our lives. The issue is a heart issue. There is nothing wrong with holding someone in high regard, with having a deep respect for a person and availing yourself to their wisdom, but we must remember we are all human and none of us will get it right all the time. There is nothing wrong with loving your spouse and your children. You are actually called to do just that. We should be showing up to work and doing our best, and we’re called to serve with excellence in our churches. Politics, opinions, and deeply held beliefs all have their place. And if our beliefs are moral absolutes of the bible then they’re non-negotiables. So do not hear me saying that in and of themselves any of these things are wrong. But when they cause us to spin out of control, when they cause us to be filled with anxiety and need to control rather than be filled with peace, when they cause us to treat others with a lack of compassion and grace, it is all a sure sign we’re holding them above God. When they cause us to act in a way that is contrary to His word, to the fruits of the spirit . . . “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) . . . we’re putting that person or thing or idea ahead of our Savior. We have to be so careful that we aren’t setting any of it up as an idol in our hearts. We have to make sure that our priorities are in order.

For me, it’s a never ending process of daily seeking and asking God to show me what needs correcting, and when I’m not consistently in the word and praying, things can go sideways real fast. It’s about having a teachable spirit, and that’s not always easy for me . . . being teachable. It’s learning to admit when I’m wrong, that those I follow can be wrong, that I’m holding something or someone or even myself and ultimately, my pride in a place that is meant only for God because I want to be right all the time. But I’m not. And pride, even when it’s pushing for what is right, is devastatingly destructive.

“Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

Whether correction comes directly from the Holy Spirit, or as it more often does, through the words of another, I’m learning to stop and reflect and ask myself if there’s something that needs changing. And I’ll readily admit, I haven’t arrived. I’m 100% a work in progress, but if there’s even the tiniest idol in my heart, it needs to be toppled. Sometimes that takes days, weeks, or even longer to accept. Most of the time, it’s a hard and uncomfortable process. But I also know it’s necessary, and it’s all part of growing and growing up in Christ.

Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Wise Authenticity

We live in a world of filters . . . of staging and editing and careful presentation . . . a world where people would much rather post the life they wish they had than live the life they actually have.

Inauthentic . . .

Fake . . .

Doctored . . .

I think most of us could do with a dose of authenticity and reality. I always appreciate a person willing to share their very real struggles whether that be face to face, in real life, or on social media. I always appreciate an unfiltered and honest post on Instagram or a real life story shared over a cup of coffee. And I think it is so important that we’re willing to share who we really are and the challenges we’re really facing.

But there is a vast difference between being authentic and real and putting all your personal business (that is meant to stay personal), every single argument, thought, and opinion out there for the world to read, see, and hear. There’s a fine line between authenticity and reality and oversharing and saying far too much. Some things, some thoughts, some feelings, and yes, some arguments, are meant to stay within the confines of your actual life with those with which you are the closest and trust the most.

Once you put something out there, you may be able to delete it, but the damage done is not always easily rectified. Words spoken, typed, and shared can not just be taken back. And if you’ve put it in front of an audience of tens or hundreds that only multiplies the hurt. The five or thirty seconds it took to type, say, share, or post those words can make for days, weeks, months, or even years of heartache.

I think social media is the worst in this regard, and we must be so cautious because we too often forget that behind the receiving end of that screen is a real person . . . a real person with very real feelings . . . a real person that Jesus loves deeply and that we’re called to love. And those words that are so easy to put out there can do such immense harm to others and to our witness.

We have such an amazing tool in social media, in the internet, in technology, in the ability to reach tens, hundreds, thousands, and even millions with just a touch of our phone screen, tablet, or computer. But it is also a very dangerous weapon if not used properly. And the rules haven’t changed y’all. We’re called to love God and love others . . . and if the things we say and do are pointing others anywhere but to Christ, we’re missing the mark.

“And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

We should not be calling out our family and friends on social media. If you have an issue, talk about it, in person. But don’t air all of your dirty laundry in front of 500 of your closest friends.

Further, we must use discretion in what we post and repost, what we choose to share and say. We have must stop using authenticity, moral arguments, and freedom as an excuse for sin (Galatians 5:13) . . . for sinful words, thoughts, actions, and behaviors towards and in regards to others. What we say, what we do, and what we share/repost all matter.

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32

I would be lying if I said I’ve never made this mistake. So I won’t tell you that. What I will tell you is that I’ve regretted it every time I’ve said too much, engaged when I shouldn’t have, chosen to be “loud” and obnoxious rather than use discretion, and with each passing year, I’m more guarded about what I share and don’t share. Yes, I will continue to stand up for what I believe is morally and biblically right. That’s not changing. Yes, I still love to share snapshots of our lives here and there, but some things, some discussions, some thoughts are best left to in person, in real life, sharing where we can look one another in the eye and remember that we’re not just talking to a screen. I don’t want to be a sounding brass or clanging cymbal. I want to walk in love whether it be with those reading what I’m putting online or those in my actual, real life. And sometimes, it’s best to close (or delete) the app, to stop scrolling, put your phone away, and live your life fully present where you are with those you love the most.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1-3‬ ‭

Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

We Have Not Forgotten

Twenty years . . .

It seems like just yesterday . . .

It seems like an eternity has passed . . .

We now have a generation of young people who have no idea what it was like to live in a pre 9/11 world. A world where the threat of terrorism was not constantly at the forefront of our collective minds. A world where an attack on our own soil was unthinkable. We have an entire generation that only knows a post 9/11 world.

I vividly remember that Tuesday morning . . . it was a beautiful day . . . a day that started so normally . . . a day that ended so tragically.

I remember the horror of watching the towers fall . . . the thousands of lives lost, stolen, murdered . . . the tears that fell . . . the slowly dawning awareness that the United States of America was under attack . . . the absolute heartbreak and devastation of it all.

I remember, in the deepest part of me, the heaviness of those days that followed . . . the way we all walked through each passing moment in utter shock . . . trying to process the reality of what had happened.

I remember a nation that turned toward God and one another. A people that united, both physically and emotionally, to stand against the terror that had come to our shores.

I remember.

I will never forget.

We must remember.

We must never forget.

For our nation . . . for our world . . . for every single life lost, family whose loved one did not come home, child who was raised without their mother or father . . .

We remember . . . 9/11/2001 . . .

Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Hearing God’s Voice in a Very Loud World . . .

The word of God doesn’t change to fit me. Instead, as I read and study and seek God and pray, I am changed and transformed through His word. I firmly believe, I cannot be transformed apart from His word.

Ephesians 5:25-26 is speaking to husbands in regards to loving their wives as Christ loves the church, but verse 26 says this, “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of the water by the word.” The word of God washes and cleanses us. It’s not a subsidiary to our ever evolving and growing relationship with Christ. The word of God is an integral and irreplaceable part of our growth and transformation.

People often ask, “How do you hear from God?”

First, I hear from God through teaching and preaching of others. I listen and seek the wisdom of others as they teach God’s word. But it shouldn’t be the only way any of us hear from God. We should also seek to have a personal relationship and walk with Him.

God can and does “speak” directly to me, but it’s not an actual, audible voice. I’m not saying it can’t happen. I’ll just say that it’s not super common. For lack of a better way of putting it, the Holy Spirit speaks to my spirit. Sounds kind of hokey and Christian-ese, I know, but it’s not a feeling or an idea that comes from me. It’s far deeper than that. It’s a knowing that God is speaking through His spirit to me.

But how do you know it’s God? How do you know it’s not you? Or how do you know that the other person, that person preaching and teaching, isn’t just putting their own spin on things?

The bible . . . God’s Word . . .that’s how I know. Everything must line up with God’s word. No exceptions. I must be teachable (we all need to be teachable), and I must take the time to dive into the scriptures, the actual bible, for myself so I am able to know what is and is not lining up with the bible.

The best pastor, teacher, evangelist in the world can give a powerful and amazing sermon, but if I can’t go back to the bible and see clearly that it’s in agreement with scripture then I will not accept it. Bottom line. Further, no one, because we are human, is going to get it right 100% of the time. If you find that you follow, almost blindly, anything another person says, especially if you really have to stretch to try and make it come into agreement with the Bible, that’s a problem. That doesn’t mean they’re not saved or not a great preacher, teacher, etc., but it means that you’re putting that person, that imperfect human, in a place they should never be. You can love and respect a person without agreeing with every single thing they say. On the other hand, if someone you are following is consistently teaching things that don’t line up with God’s word, putting their own ideas and completely different revelations on what has been clear and solid interpretation (based on study of the original text) for hundreds of years, if you’re hearing things like “It has always been taught this way, but that’s wrong . . . ” or “God gave me a fresh revelation about this scripture [that no one else has ever had]”, and it’s takes twisting and turning and a lot of acrobatics to see it their “way”, then alarm bells should be going off. The bible is the most uncomplicated, complicated book of all time. It’s depth and wisdom are unsurpassed (thus the “complicated”), but it is also meant to be read and understood by you and by me. Yes, there are times when I pull up the lexicons and the original text, when I look at commentaries regarding certain, more difficult passages, but also, as long as the translation is solid (again, no one should be adding their own ideas) then it means what it says, and it says what it means. Period.

On a personal level, God rarely speaks to me when I’m not actively studying His word and praying. And when He does it’s usually a prompting to get back into His Word because I’ve neglected it (yep, I mess this up sometimes). I’m not talking about reading a devotional or a book by a Christian teacher or author or listening to a sermon or teaching. Those have their place, but they should never replace time alone with your Bible and God. I often listen to teachings while going about my day, but my time with God is strictly my time with God and His word. No other voices aside from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are allowed to speak into that time, and I only hear God clearly when I’m taking the time to study the Bible and seek Him. I’d say that’s the rule rather than exception.

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word is Jesus y’all. If you want to know what The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, three persons, have to say about something crack open your bible. That doesn’t mean that I necessarily have the bible sitting open in front of me at that exact moment I feel the Holy Spirit is speaking to me, but it does mean that I’m making a point to seek Him regularly . . . to dive into the scriptures on a very consistent basis . . . to get that scripture inside of me (Psalm 119:11) and ask Him to reveal Himself to me through His word.

And if something I’m “hearing”, either from others or in my own head, doesn’t line up with the word, whether that be obvious or maybe it’s just a bit off from what I’m reading, then I know it’s not God. Everything God is speaking, to me and to others, must pass through the litmus test of the bible before I will accept it. Everything.

Reading the bible is both a privilege and a discipline. Little side note: Discipline is not a naughty word.

A privilege because most of us are incredibly blessed to be able to freely read God’s word. There are areas of the world where access to the bible is unattainable at best and criminal at worst, and yet, Christians in those places will do almost anything to get their hands on the scriptures (not a devotional, not someone’s book, but the actual Word of God).

But it’s also a discipline. And it’s not because I have to be disciplined and work to achieve my salvation. It’s not because God is keeping track of how many minutes and chapters I read. Salvation is freely given because Jesus died and was resurrected for us. Romans 10:9 “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” The only thing you have to do to achieve salvation is accept it. But that’s just the starting point. So many Christians are living confused and defeated lives because they seek salvation but stop there. They don’t seek growth and change. And the pathway to growth and change through the Holy Spirit is intricately intertwined with being in His word. If you want to grow . . . if you want to change . . . if you want to be transformed . . . you need to be reading your bible.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

I’ll say it louder for the people in the back. If you want to renew your mind . . . if you want to know God’s will for your life . . . if you want peace and guidance . . . it’s, without exception, found in His word.

Lest anyone think I’m perfect, I often have to discipline myself to sit down with God’s word . . . to take the time to study. And you know what? Sometimes I don’t do it. Like anything else, there are times when I just don’t “feel” like it. There are times, far more than I care to admit, when I’m too busy and need to get all the things done, but y’all every time I neglect to spend time studying and praying, every time I put other things in first place, I find myself out of balance and off-kilter.

* This isn’t the first time I’ve addressed this. For more on bible translations and studying and seeking God click here and here.

Copyright 2021, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved  

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.