Archive for the ‘Spirit’ Category



September 25, 2013

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”  Psalm 141:3

A guard tower at Eastern State Penitentiary.A state penitentiary lights the night sky along the horizon of my little valley.  I have several friends who work as correctional officers in this penitentiary.  Their days begin and end with one primary purpose – to keep the bad guys in.  As they have explained, the activities within a prison are governed by routine.  Policies and procedures dictate almost every interaction of the residents.  Everyone follows a rigid schedule from the moment the inmates rise until they fall back to sleep.

The work of correctional officers is complicated by the fact that there are many people who daily pass in and out of a penitentiary.  There are the correctional officers that come and go at shift changes but there also administration, medical, and maintenance staff that work at the facility.  In addition, there are visitors and suppliers that come and go every day.

English: Prison guard at Parramatta Correction...

It is the correctional officer’s job to make sure that the bad does not get blended in with the good as all these people pass through the doors of the penitentiary.

The correctional officers are especially alert during times of heightened tensions.  They will even close the doors of the prison during those periods.  However, only a foolish inmate will try to escape during a lock-down.  A clever inmate will seek his freedom in the routine, when the correctional officers are numbed by the sameness of everyday.  If the correctional officers are not continually vigil,  an inmate could easily slip through with the routine.

Therefore, a guard is necessary to check the door of the prison at all times.

In comparison to some people, I do not speak a lot of words during a day.  However, there still is a lot that passes the door of my lips.  Most of what I have to say is mind numbingly routine.  I rarely say anything profound and the vast majority of my words are to my family, friends, and colleagues.

I have gotten in trouble with my words more in the routine than any other time.  The bad has easily slipped in with the good as I have mind numbingly spewed forth the mundane.

When I speak with someone I don’t know; I am very aware of what is passing from my mouth.
When I speak to a client, I am very deliberate with my words.
When I am in a conflict, I try to be careful about what I say.
When tensions are high, I try to pick my words with intention.

I try to increase the number of guards over the doors of my mouth when tensions are high.  Sometimes, I have even gone on full mouth lock-down when my guard could not discern good words from bad.


prison (Photo credit: kIM DARam)

I realize that there are some who allow anger to kill the guards of their mouths and let all of the bad flow out in their rage.  Their worlds are always impacted just as if the local penitentiary were to release a bus load of criminals into my small town.  It can take years to clean up the mess of the unrestrained release of unkind and hurtful words into a person’s life.

However, a person with the self-control to guard his mouth in times of tension is not free from a life of vigilance.  The bad is still trying to get out.  We are all susceptible to being distracted by the routine of life.

I have spoken the most unloving words to those I love the most.
I have been misunderstood more often by those who understand me the best.

We always need a guard over our mouths.  We need someone to inspect every word that is sent through the doors of our lips.  Our problem is that our word generator is broken.  The words of our mouth reflect our heart, which is broken.  That is why God gave us His Spirit.

One of the functions of the Spirit is to guard our mouths. 

It is not a surprise that our words get us into trouble when we are not walking in the Spirit.  We are relying upon our self-will to guard our mouths when we are not living within the power of the Spirit.  That will never work out well since our self-will is a co-conspirator with our fallen heart.

If you want to double the guards of your mouth, then set your mind on the Spirit.  Everyone will benefit from that.

PRAYER: Lord, protect me from myself.  Guard my words.  Give me self-control and wisdom in all that I say.  Help me to speak words of reconciliation.  Fill my mouth with words of kindness and love.  Lord, I know what is in my heart; set a guard over that brokeness.  Fill me with your Spirit and help me to bear the fruit of your Spirit, particularly in what I say.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.



September 16, 2013

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion”, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.”  Lamentations 3:21-24

Craigslist facilitated the purchase of my dream bike, a Cervelo tri-bike, otherwise known as a time-trial bike.


I have had my eye on this bicycle since my decision to start training for a triathlon.  This is the style of bike that all the really serious triathletes ride.  This bike style is popular because drafting is not allowed in most triathlons.

Aside from a rider’s own mass, air is the greatest yoke of a cyclist.  I am always amazed at the effect of just a slight head-wind.  The smallest of breezes in your face can feel like a burden of pounds being added to your load.  There has been many an occasion where I turned a corner and was accosted by a bully of a head-wind that stole my speed as if it were lunch money.

The vanquishing of the head-wind bully is the promise of the Cervelo P2.

English: Simon Lessing in the bike portion of ...

English: Simon Lessing in the bike portion of a triathlon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cervelo has designed a bicycle with the primary purpose of slicing through air.  Every aspect of the bike is shaped to ease the grip of air as it flows around the frame.  However, the most effective design element is what the bike does to the rider.  A tri-bike puts the rider in the most aerodynamic of positions; bent over, elbows in, and pushed forward over the front wheel.

My Cervelo does its job very well.  I easily gained about 2 mph by riding my Cervelo rather than my road bike.  However, my experience has not been what I had expected.  I have watched triathletes ride their tri-bikes and they make it look so easy.  They seem to comfortably slice through the wind.

US Navy 061020-N-4856G-018 Special Operations ...The first time I took my Cervelo out for a ride, I realized that going faster does not equate to comfort.  This bike is very aggressive and stiff.  While that is great for transferring energy from legs to wheels, it is also equally effective at transferring jolts and vibrations from asphalt to skull.  The only really comfortable position comes by acquiescing to the frame and staying bent down onto the aero-bars.  This keeps your head down and in the best position to efficiently slip the yoke of the wind but it is not comfortable.

Appreciating the scenery is not part of the tri-bike experience.  Leisurely pedaling through the country side is not why you would buy this type of bicycle.  I have found that easing my Cervelo onto the road is a good way to ruin a nice bike ride.

However, it is the perfect bike to cast off the burdens of riding.

I think that we all have a tendency to want a life that is the equivalent of a nice, leisurely, ride through the country side.  I often revert to a mentality that assumes that the Holy Spirit was given to me to make my ride through life more comfortable.  I have been stunned when the discomfort of life’s burdens have weighed me down and ground me to a halt.

It seems to me that the Holy Spirit is more like a tri-bike than a comfort bike.

Obedience to the Spirit forces us into positions that are the most effective at slipping the burdens of this world.  However, that does not mean that they are easy or comfortable.  The last thing we should do when yoked with the cares of this world is to sit up and seek our comfort.  Those are times that we need to lean into our Lord, feel the power that comes being on our knees, knowing every jolt and vibration are burdens passing by us, and trust the Spirit to carry us through.

We all have burdens of different kinds.  We can try to stand under the weight of such a yoke and be stunned that the Spirit would allow such a thing or we can acquiesce to the mindset of the Spirit and allow Him to carry us through it.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the gift of your Spirit.  Thank you for giving me all that I need to overcome the burdens of this world.  Help me to REMEMBER that my comfort does not come from this world.  Help me to TRUST You when I feel burdened and weighed down.  Help to to LEAN into You when all I want to do is pull away.  Lord, KEEP me in the position of obedience through all my days.  Your steadfast love never ceases; your mercies never come to an end; they are new to me every morning; great is your faithfulness.  Lord, you are my portion; I don’t need anything else, therefore I will HOPE in You alone.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

%d bloggers like this: