God’s Italian Pinch

God’s Italian Pinch

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

When our boys were small, we used to drive down to visit my dad and stepmom once every six weeks. Since it was such a long ride, we generally met at church and of course our sons would run to their grandparents and then snuggle in on either side of their gramma in the pew. Now our sons loved their gramma, and would usually try to be good, but almost inevitably one of them would start poking his brother or talking loudly during the sermon.  That is when my stepmom, would quietly reach over and give a good Italian pinch on whichever one was acting up. That got their attention! Suddenly they would sit straight up, quiet down and at least start pretending to listen!

In today’s verse, David prays for God’s correction over the unruliest part of our anatomy – the tongue. He asks God to put a guard over his mouth and a watchman over his lips.  It sounds to me as if He is asking for a good old fashioned Italian Pinch. But for that pinch to work we must start out by sitting close enough to God for Him to reach us. Sure, He might correct is, but just as our sons decided with their gramma, it is worth the risk. Second, when that pinch comes, we can’t run away. Instead, we have to sit up straight and be quiet! Lastly, try to remember that God is getting our attention for a reason. He has a wonderful message for us to hear and we need to do more than just pretend to listen. His guard is on our tongue because God loves us and guards us because we are precious to Him!

My New Year’s Message

The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’ Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV

17 years ago we used to bring two of our grandsons to church. At three and one years old this was a challenge during the song service, while I was alone with them and Nancy sang with the worship team. Nathan, who was the older, was generally happy to sit and clap his hands – but not AJ. Oh no, he wanted in on the action and decided that I had to hold him so he could see what was going on! Now, I loved holding him in my arms for the first song, but by the chorus of the second, he started getting heavy and by the third I was desperate for some help. Today’s verse talks about God’s everlasting arms and I discovered that mine most definitely were not!

As we enter this new year, with all of its challenges, opportunities and scary unknowns, we need the One whose arms alone can carry us through. If we will trust Christ as Savior, then whatever we face we can know that God’s got us in His arms. They are underneath us even when we are at our lowest and He will never let us go!

Sharing the Message with the Next Generation

Now also when I am old and grayheaded O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, 
Your power to everyone who is to come. 
Psalm 71:18 NKJV

Our opinions about old age change when we begin experiencing the aches and pains that usually come along with the passing of years. Our previous criticisms of mannerisms or styles of older folks, begin to sound hollow now that we are one of them! We value our friends and family more and begin to treat them with care. God has taught us to have a tender touch with others now our hands are bruised by difficulties and worn out from serving. In today’s verse, the man who once slew Goliath, is no longer praying for victory in battle. Now, he asks to share with his children, grandchildren and neighbors, his relationship with God. The crown on his head, now sits on gray hair and the power he wields comes from faith. David prays to have the strength to share the wonderful message of how great God is and God answered it in the Twenty-third Psalm. Many assume that David wrote this Psalm as a teen-ager, but scholars tell us that he actually wrote it at the end of his life. In six short verses David teaches us that the Lord is our Shepherd, He leads us on His path and stays by our side through dark valleys. Then, when we are surrounded by enemies, God prepares a feast for us and invites us to His home forever. Now that’s a message I am so glad David shared! If we know Jesus, He also has a message for us to give. We only need to ask Him how.