Control Your Tongue

<strong>Control Your Tongue</strong>

We all know that it’s important to control what we say, but that doesn’t make it necessarily easy to do!  The Scriptures have quite a lot to teach us about this subject.

  • Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.  (Pro 4:24 ESV)

Crooked can mean dishonest, corrupt, twisted or unscrupulous.  Devious means sneaky, cunning, or scheming.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we can understand why neither of these would be admirable behavior for us.  The Holy Spirit would never lead us to act in such a way, particularly in light of Matthew 5:37; Colossians 3:9 and 4:6; and Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Eph 4:25 NIV)

  • All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them.  (Pro 8:8 NASB)

The psalmist is laying his heart before the Lord concerning the use of his tongue.  Let us each remember Psalm 12:6, The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. (NIV)  In imitating our Savior, we should speak pure words, full of righteousness.  Short of that, we should choose to be silent.

  • But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.   (Col 3:8 RSV)

This Bible verse (above) clearly tells us what type of behavior and conversation that we should reject.  And we are given a clear instruction of what we should communicate in Ephesians 4:29, 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.  (NIV)  Our words should encourage, comfort, and bless other people.  In this way, we become ministers of the love and presence of the Lord to other people.

  • If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is useless.  (Jam 1:26 CEV)

In the book of James, we’re reminded that controlling our tongues is a basic requirement for believers who represent the Lord Jesus and the kingdom of God. 

  • Obscene language, silly talk, or vulgar jokes aren’t acceptable for believers. Instead, there should be thanksgiving.  (Eph 5:4 CEB)

Thanksgiving is always appropriate.  Having an attitude of gratitude will improve our daily lives and generate a pleasant atmosphere for those around us.  Being thankful to other people, as well as to God for His many blessings, is always appreciated.

To sum up today’s article, here is one more Bible passage:

Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit . . .  (1 Pet 3:10 ESV) May God give you good days and continual blessings!

Reject Anger

Reject Anger

As followers of the Lord Jesus, we have to make a decision to reject anger as an option in our dealings with one another and with the Lord.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm.  For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.  (Ps 37:8-9 NKJV)

Anger and wrath only cause harm and heartaches.  But all who wait upon the salvation of the Lord will inherit the earth. 

He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.  (Pro 14:29 NKJV)

A person who hardly ever gets angry is called understanding by the Word of God.

You know this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; 20 for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God.  (Jas 1:19-20 NASB)

Our human anger doesn’t bring about the righteousness of God, so it is a weapon that we need to abandon.  A person’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is to his credit that he ignores an offence.  (Pro 19:11 ISV)

In every way, it is best to seek the Lord and to rely upon Him to lead us and guide us in our responses and our reactions. Glory to God.

Peace Between Parents & Adult Children

Peace Between Parents & Adult Children

One area where we need to apply our faith as believers is to our relationship with our grown children.

Thus says the Lord:  Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work (raising of your children, prayer) shall be rewarded, says the LORD, and they(your children) shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope (something that you can expect) in your future, says the LORD, that your children shall come back to their own border (place of peace and safety and well-being).”  (Jer 31:16-17 AMP, emphasis added) 

We as parents must always provide a place of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual peace, safety and well-being.  When we fall short, and most of us fall short in some way at some time, we need biblical solutions and practical help.

And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers . . .  (Mal 4:6 NKJV) The Lord is the only Being who is able to change a person’s heart.  The hearts of parents should ALWAYS be in favor of and in support of their own children.  Our hearts should always yearn for the best things for our children.

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation . . .  (2 Cor 5:18 NKJV, emphasis added)

As followers of Jesus Christ, our desire should always be for reconciliation in our relationships.  If it doesn’t exist at the moment, it’s something that we should take to the Lord in fervent prayer.

It may happen in some families that after children have grown, they choose to disconnect totally from their relationship with their parents.  In some cases, the parents may not have a clue as to why this has happened.  In other scenarios, one or the other parent does know the reason.  It can be the result of one parent who was harsh, overly strict or critical of the child or children as they were being raised.  Or it can be as serious as some form of abuse.  Whatever the situation, it can result in grown children having very painful memories and deep anger and resentment against a parent.  In some cases, the adult children may be in counseling to deal with the emotional and mental pain they are experiencing and have experienced in the past.

Parents who find themselves in this situation need to scrupulously review their past behavior in their relationship with their child (or children).  They must take full responsibility for their own actions, and openly admit their faults to their family. 

If there is a pathway to open communication, the parent should apologize and repent directly to the child (or children) whom they have hurt.  Additionally, whichever parent was responsible would need to promise to change the way that they relate to their adult child, so that in future the relationship would be based solely upon positive and healthy input from the parent.  Then the parent should pray for God’s grace and help in fulfilling this goal. 

Copious prayer is needed in this situation by both parents!  The offending parent should ask God to correct them, give them wisdom and insight, and to reveal what their child (or children) truly needs right now.  Praying for God’s peace to reign in the relationship is also key.

If there is no communication between parent and child, then the one hope and solution available to the parent is to continually pray for God to bring healing and reconciliation into the relationship between them and their child.  In this case, it is also good to ask God to reveal to the parent where they made mistakes and how they sinned against their child.  Repent wholeheartedly to God for whatever He reveals, and determine to change the behavior.  Read books on good parenting of adult children, and seek counseling if possible.  Counseling can come through licensed counselors, group counseling, pastors, psychologists, or 12-step programs such as AA. 

As followers of Jesus, we must seek peace in all of our relationships.  (Rom 12:18)  Parents never stop being parents, even after our children are grown.  So it is pleasing to God for us to continue to pray for our estranged adult children, and to ask God to bless them and to continue to protect them and to fulfill His will in their lives.  It would be wisdom to also pray earnestly for healing and for reconciliation in the relationship with the estranged child or children.  May God’s peace reign in your life and your family in Jesus’ name.

Put Away Anger & Envy

Put Away Anger & Envy

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.  (Job 5:2 KJV)

Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.  (Eccl 7:9 NKJV)

 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?  How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?  23 If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.”  (Pro 1:22-23 ESV)

Don’t be silly or foolish (as described in the Bible verses above), but put away anger and envy.  Anger gives a foothold to the devil in your life, so try to avoid it.  Envy is another word for bitterness, jealousy, resentment or spite.

Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you how to control your emotions as you study God’s Word.  The Lord wants to help you so that He may bless you.

The Bible tells us repeatedly not to envy other people.  You may study this by looking at these passages:  Proverbs 3:31; 23:17; 24:1, 19.  The Bible lists envy among a list of vile things in Mark 7:21-23.

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.  (Pro 19:11 NLT)  When something happens that hurts or offends you, your first option is to ignore the aggression.  In other words, take no notice of another person’s attack.  Other people will respect you all the more when they see how you handle it.  And the Lord will be pleased with your response.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  (Eph 4:31 NIV)  Sometimes, due to the nature of the wrongdoing against you, it can’t be overlooked.  In that case, give yourself time to calm down and to gain control of your thoughts and feelings.  Plan out what needs to be said, and what you’d like to see happen.  Then take an objective, wise person along with you to speak with the person who offended you.  Try to resolve the issue between you and to restore peace.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.  (Eph 4:26-27 NLT)  Don’t allow your emotions to control you.  You are in control of them because you have the Holy Spirit living within you.  The Holy Spirit within you produces the fruit of self-control.  (Eph 5:22-23 NLT)

Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.  (Pro 16:32 NLT)  As this Scripture reminds us, it’s better to be patient than powerful!  It’s far better to have self-control than to be in search of fame.

Overcome Evil with Good, Part 1

Overcome Evil with Good, Part 1

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Rom 12:17-21, emphasis added)

The Lord doesn’t want us to use our emotions to get even, to get revenge, or to punish other people!  The Bible says that we must not repay evil for evil. When we allow anger (or any other negative emotion) to rule us, it means we’re not allowing the Holy Spirit to direct us so then we inadvertently become a puppet/servant for some being other than our Savior.

Yes, life is full of hurts.  Someone may have hurt your feelings; another person perhaps lied to you; you’re skipped over for a promotion or a raise on your job; or maybe you’ve even been abused or disrespected.

The Message version of the Bible says it this way:

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”  (Rom 12:17-19 MSG, emphases added)  God is the judge over humanity.  Judgment belongs to God—not us. 

Even though a response to these unpleasant things that I mentioned isn’t wrong, did you ever notice that anger doesn’t improve your situation or how you feel?  When we’re so angry over something, we may allow ourselves to say things that we can never take back.  Another evil that anger can create is that instead of lashing out in anger at the person who actually hurt us, we lash out at other people unfairly.  Anger can beget more and more pain.

Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  (Ps 37:1-2)  Psalms remind us that God will deal with those who act wickedly or cruelly.  God will vindicate us when we obey His word by forgiving and praying for those who hurt us.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute that you may be sons of your Father in heaven . . . “ (Mt 5:44-45a)  Jesus wants us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, and to even pray for those who malevolently use us!  He says, then we are children of our heavenly Father.  God pours out His grace and blessings upon us as we live obediently to Him by overcoming evil with good.

God’s ways are the only way to overcome evil.  (Isa 55:9)

Joy Comes in the Morning

Joy Comes in the Morning

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  (Ps 30:5)

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.  (Ps 126:5)

These verses of the Bible have been a great comfort to me many different times in my life.  I understand that the challenges and sorrows of life haven’t been a result of God’s anger, but rather because Satan is the enemy of our souls.  He and his minions are at work in this world and manifest themselves as evil works, heinous crimes, and calamitous events.

This verse reminds me that God’s favor is upon me forever; and it surrounds me as a shield. (Ps 5:12)  This truth encourages my faith when difficulties arise. 

In another way, these verses remind me that I may experience weeping (sorrow; sadness) for a season, but it will be surely followed by joy.  In fact, whenever I DO cry, the Lord tells me that He saves my tears in a bottle.  (Ps 56:8)  This indicates that God does not consider my tears wasted, and that they’re very important to Him.

In Hezekiah’s story (Isa 38:5), the Bible clearly states that God saw Hezekiah’s tears and extended his life due to Hezekiah’s tearful prayers. 

Let’s remind ourselves in times of trial, pain, or sorrow, that God sees our pain and our tears.  We sow our prayers in tears before the Lord.  They are very important to Him; and as we pray to Him and trust Him, He will reward us with deep and abiding joy.  Praise the Lord!