Thoughts & Words

Thoughts & Words

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.  (Mt 5:22 NIV)

The sixth commandment from the Lord states:   You shall not murder.  (Ex 5:17 NIV)  This command also includes our thoughts and words, including emotions of unrighteous anger and damaging insults. 

Raca is an informal expression of contempt for a person’s mental ability, similar to “dope” or “witless.”  To call someone a fool is a way to show disrespect and scorn for a person’s character.  Both negative words in this verse suggest that the person being criticized should be doomed for eternity.

Our words proceed from the thoughts that we have hidden within us, as the Bible reminds us. 

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  (Lk 6:45c NIV)

Here again, we need to guide our lives by what the Lord teaches us.  But God considers critical words to be “corrupting,” and He instructs us to speak things that will encourage others and bless all who hear our conversation.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Eph 4:29 ESV)

Another aspect of calling other people condemning names is that notion that in some way, we have judged the person or persons and have found them wanting.  How can we criticize another person who has been created in the image of God?

But God is aware of our words.  His advice is clear:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  (Mt 7:1 NIV)

I tell you that people will have to answer on Judgment Day for every useless word they speak.  (Mt 12:36 CEB)

Don’t misunderstand me.  What I’ve been describing is all too human and something that we all fall prey to from time to time.  But this is our reminder to guard our thoughts diligently so that our words will be kind and encouraging to others.  If we can’t speak something positive, then it’s best to say nothing at all!

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  (Jas 4:6 NASB)

The Lord gives us the ability [grace] to be at peace with all human beings.  He gives us the grace to forgive and to be kind. 

Let us ask the Lord for His grace for every situation and relationship in our lives.  God bless you!

Jesus Reveals the Father

Jesus Reveals the Father

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father.  Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Mt 11:27)

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Lk 10:22)

As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  (Joh 10:15)

Jesus has a distinctive and unmatched relationship with the Father.  Since His relationship with the Father is personal and direct, ONLY Jesus can accurately disclose God the Father to us. 

How has Jesus revealed the Father to us?  Through His life and through His acts, He has displayed His Father’s character and heart for all to see and understand.  Here are just a handful of gifts that the Father has given to believers:

  • Love (Joh 3:16; 1 Joh 3:1)
  • Freedom from Guilt (Rom 8:1)
  • Health, healing (Ex 15:26; Isa 53:5; Mt 12:15;Lk 5:17)
  • Daily benefits [blessings]  (Ps 68:19)
  • God hears and answers our prayers  (1 Joh 5:14-15)

As we study the Word of God and think deeply about it, we gradually learn more and more about the character and nature of God.  And the more we learn of Him, the more confident that we can be in the fact that He loves us; that He enjoys blessing us; and that He’s always with us.  Have a wonderful day!

God’s Fierce Love for Us

God’s Fierce Love for Us

Chapter Eight of the Song of Solomon is a representation of God’s fierce and jealous love for people.  Not just His people but for ALL people.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.  If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.  (Song of Sol. 8:6-7 NIV)

Here’s the way that I understand and meditate upon this passage from the Bible:

“Father, I am loved affectionately by You; lodged deep within Your heart; owned and acknowledged by You; and protected by Your powerful right arm.  My love for You is mightier than loss, bereavement or death.  Oceans of water can’t smother Your love for me nor can floods ever drown the power of our mutual love. If someone tried to buy our love with unimaginable riches, we would disdainfully reject it.”  Praise the Lord most High!

If you would insert the first name of your spouse or fiancé in the place of the word ‘Father,’ you would begin to comprehend the depth and breadth and intensity of God’s ferocious love for human beings. 

God’s love for us is His reason for sending Jesus to earth to purchase our salvation.  It’s His motive for inserting so many miraculous and precious promises into His Word for us to discover and to rely upon.  His promises are a priceless treasure given to us—we, who are the object of His potent love. I encourage you to meditate upon and to mightily rejoice in God’s fierce love for you! Glory to God!

BRIGHTEN SOMEONE’S DAY

BRIGHTEN SOMEONE’S DAY

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.  (Pro 12:25 NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine . . . (Pro 17:22a NIV)

We all experience days when we feel a little down or maybe worried or stressed out.  On days like those, we all appreciate a cheerful word or a phone call from a friend.  We all need encouragement, and we need other believers to come alongside of us occasionally to strengthen us.

We need a fellow believer to encourage our faith, to remind us of God’s goodness and glorious attributes, and to let us know that we are loved by God.  Only another person who follows Jesus, and has experienced life’s challenges and victories is able to help us in this way.  I encourage us all to cultivate friends who are fellow believers and who have been serving the Lord longer than we, ourselves, have.

Jesus taught us to love one another, and to be kind to one another.  He gave us His own example of how to live like this.

Offering hope, support, and cheer to one another is a wonderful and practical way to spread God’s love in this stress-laden world.  It’s important to encourage yourself first, in the Word of God. Another way to encourage yourself in the Lord is to remember all of the answered prayers you have experienced, and to remember all of the miracles that God has performed in the past in answer to your prayers. Rejoice! Thank and praise the Lord for these past testimonies and victories. Once you have done these things, you will have the strength to minister to others.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.  (Joh 16:33 NIV)

The Good News is still true.  The Lord is always reliable, and we can depend upon His Word and His matchless love.  He has overcome! 

So take a little time every day to share joy and cheer with everyone around you—with your family, friends, and co-workers.  Hallelujah!