I pretty much promised a bit of pontificating for the New Year, but if I restrain myself I think I can do this without getting out of hand. I wanted to offer up a little bit of testimony, sort of to let you know a little more about the real me (as if you really wanted to know), but at the same time, for the sake of time and space, and interest, let's be honest, I want to just sketch out the outline and not dump all the details in. If this makes it to the Blog page, you'll judge for yourselves (are there more than one out there?) how well I succeeded.

This actually begins years ago, about the time of the failure of my first marriage. I managed to escape alive, barely, but in pretty bad shape emotionally. I began saying and believing some pretty awful things about myself and about life in general. I would say things like, how old I felt (I was 37 at the time of the divorce, and felt like 50); I believed that I was going to die in obscurity, though why I thought that was important is still a mystery to me. (I would say, "Fifteen minutes after I die, no one will know I was ever alive." And mean it.) I would go over my life and list all the things I thought would have made me happy, opportunities I had missed, or projects I had attempted and failed to succeed at, like parenthood, or learning to fly an airplane, etc. I could write pages of this stuff, but it would bore and depress you, and I promised just a sketch.

One day, about a year and a half ago, I suddenly realized (I credit the Holy Spirit with this; He has an arsenal of two-by-fours with which to get this old mule's attention -- I still have the headache) that the devil has for years been speaking curses into my ear, and I've been agreeing with him out of my own mouth! Talk about self-destructive behavior!

As soon as I realized what was going on, I determined to set about changing the situation, and I knew that my first step was to counter the spoken curses with the confession of faith. After some prayerful thought, this is the confession I came up with: "I'm going to die RICH, OLD, and FAMOUS!"

I'm not recommending this confession for anyone but myself; these words are meant to counteract and contradict specific curses that I had allowed the devil to infect my life with. You fight fire with fire. A short time later, the Lord brought to my attention a passage of Scripture that promises certain blessings to the person who "fears the Lord and delights greatly in His commandments;" in other words, if I maintain a proper relationship with God, I can expect to die rich, old, and famous. I now had God's Word that the confession I was making was completely in line with His will for me. (The Scripture, BTW, is Psalm 112.)

Side note here: The word "famous" gave me a bit of trouble at first. I was sure in my heart that this was right, but emotionally, it sounded sort of egotistical, if that's the right word. But as I contemplated it, it occurred to me that certain people, like the Apostle Paul, or Mother Teresa, never set out to achieve fame or notariety, but because of their submission and obedience to God, their contributions to the kingdom of God became so significant that they became conspicuous on the world's stage. And there is nothing wrong with making a significant contribution -- God encourages it, in fact!

Do I need tell you that, as a result of this confession, this change of attitude, my entire life has changed? I have as many chances to get depressed as ever, but I pass them up. Simply changing what comes out of my mouth has made all the difference. And it isn't enough simply to stop saying the bad things, you need to start saying good things. Whatever it is that you face on a daily basis, you overcome it first by changing what comes out of your mouth.

On a related note, James tells us in his epistle that the winds and waves of life are what propel us, get us moving, but it is our tongue, like a ship's rudder, that sets the course. And that's my advice for you, my friends, as we embark upon a New Year:

"Grasp the handle firmly, and allow the adversities of life to drive you to the destination of your own choosing!"

That's the word from St Enoch's Pulpit. God bless you all,

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