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!

How to Give Joy to Your Parents

How to Give Joy to Your Parents

Most children would like to give joy to their parents.  Not only small children, but adult children also wish to give enjoyment to their mother and father.

I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to the truth.  (3 Joh 1:4 CEB)

The father of a righteous child will celebrate greatly.  One who fathers a wise son will find joy in him.  (Pro 23:24 EHV)

The proverbs of Solomon:  A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.  (Pro 10:1 NKJV)

A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.  (Pro 29:3 NIV)

These various Scriptures all refer to the subject of giving joy or gladness to our parents.  These are the ways, according to the Word, that we can give true gladness to our mom and dad:

  • To live according to the truth (of the Word of God);
  • To live a righteous life with wisdom;
  • To gain wisdom (the best source of wisdom is the Bible); and
  • To love wisdom and embrace it in all of your ways.

Not only will these acts bring joy to your parents, but God will bless you as you obey His Word.  Glory to God!

Our Lives Are a Message

Our Lives Are a Message

Would it surprise you to learn that the life of each and every follower of Jesus Christ is an epistle (letter) to the world?

. . . clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.  (2 Cor 3:3)

The word epistle means:  letter, communication, or message.  Every person who has accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord is a message to the world!  The Holy Spirit, who has sealed us for the day of redemption (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 4:30), has been given to us as our guarantee or promise that we are born-again.

I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.  (Ps 40:8) 

The verse above teaches us that every human being [saved or unsaved] inherently knows the moral law of God. (Rom 2:14-15)  One reason that this is true is that all mankind has been created in the image of God. (Gen 1:27)

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart . . . (Pro 3:3) 

Mercy and truth are bound up in the Scriptures.  When we memorize and meditate upon God’s Word, we are cooperating with “writing” them upon our hearts.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  (Heb 8:10) 

The Holy Spirit will bless every believer with grace to enable us to memorize passages of the Bible, thereby putting God’s laws in our minds and sowing it into our hearts.  Only the Spirit of the Living God has the necessary power to “write” God’s moral laws upon the heart of a believer.  This Bible passage says that God has made a covenant with us to do these things, and also to be our God. 

The Lord calls us His people, and what an awesome blessing that is.  God bless you!

The Right Way

The Right Way

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He teaches sinners in the way.  (Ps 25:8)

I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths.  (Pro 4:11, emphasis added)

Thus says the Lord:  “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.  But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’  (Jer 6:16, emphasis added)

They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness . . .  (2 Pet 2:15, emphasis added)

From the Scriptures shown above, we can clearly understand that God has given His people the “right path” and a “good way” in which we should walk.  He gives us direction and guidance through His Word, and our Lord Jesus served as our highest example.  (See Isa 30:21; 58:11; 1 Pet 2:21-22)

The Word points out to us that the right way is a narrow and challenging one.

Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.  (Mt 7:14)

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”  (Joh 10:1)

The gate is called narrow and challenging because the gate into the right path is through Jesus Christ, alone.  He is the only “door” into the sheepfold.  Let us look at what more Jesus said about this:

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  (Joh 10:7)

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  (Joh 10:9)

Even in this day and age, there are those who don’t want to hear the name of Jesus.  There are many who speak against Christianity and Christians.  The Good News of the gospel of salvation is unwelcome in many places, therefore following the Lord isn’t always popular.  If you’re known as a Christian, it may bring about harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination against you. 

Nevertheless, as long as we stay on the right path, God promises to bring us safely to His eternal kingdom.  (2 Tim 4:18)  And He will bless and prosper us along the way.

Power Belongs to God

Power Belongs to God

All power and all authority belongs to God.  That also means that any power or authority that anyone exercises in any position of authority comes FROM God!  That’s why the Word instructs us to obey governing authorities. 

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  (Rom 13:1 NIV)  We’re instructed to obey all who are in authority.

By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, all the judges of the earth.  (Pro 8:15-16 NKJV)  The Lord reminds us that He is the One who establishes kings, princes, nobles, judges, and all who are in positions of authority.

God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.  (Ps 62:11 NKJV)  This verse is yet another reminder from God that it is always to Him and to HIS POWER that we submit.

For all power belongs to God, now and forever. Amen.  (1 Pet 5:11 VOICE)  God holds and owns all power FOREVER.

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  (Rom 13:2 ESV)  If we resist authority, we resist God Himself, and we invite judgment from God.  Doing such a thing is not a wise move.

Titus 3:1 implies that being submissive to rulers and authorities is the same as being ready for every good work!  If you would like the Lord to credit you with performing good work, submit to and obey those who have authority over you in the world—whether in your family, your church, your community or your work environment. 

God loves to bless the obedient because to Him, obedience is better than sacrifice!  (1 Sam 15:22b)

Sweet, Kind Words

Sweet, Kind Words

What do you think about people who always speak kindly, and who treat others with the respect of using kind and gracious words?  Such people are rare, but we must surely admire and respect them. 

Pleasant [gracious] words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.  (Pro 16:24 NKJV, definition in brackets added)

A gentle response diverts anger, but a harsh statement incites fury.  (Pro 15:1 ISV)

A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!  (Pro 15:23 NASB)

Wholesome speech is a tree of life, but dishonest talk breaks the spirit.  (Pro 15:4 CEB)

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  (Pro 31:26 ESV, emphasis added)

As we can see from these Bible passages, kind and pleasant words bless all those who hear them as well as those who speak them.  Good-humored, pleasing words and conversation can bring about unexpected benefits.  Here are just some of them:

  • Joy to the soul and good health for body, soul, and spirit (Pro 16:24)
  • Turning anger away (Pro 15:1)
  • Delight (Pro 15:23)
  • Lengthens our lives and enriches them (Pro 15:4)
  • Wisdom and kindness go hand-in-hand (Pro 31:26)

It is always a source of awe-inspired wonder to me that there is such a richness and depth to the teachings of the Word of God when we take time to study them and to understand them in their fullness. 

May your life be enriched, lengthened, and blessed by the kind and pleasant words that you speak to others, and which other people speak to you.  All glory to God!

Unfailing Love

Unfailing Love

God, alone, is capable of bestowing UNFAILING love upon a person or a group of people.  Since God is love (1 Joh 4:8), we can see why this would be possible as well as understandable.

Here are three different versions of the same Bible verse about God’s love:

Because your faithful love is right in front of me—I walk in your truth!  (Ps 26:3 CEB)

For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth.  (Ps 26:3 NKJV)

. . . for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.  (Ps 26:3 NIV, emphasis added)

There are many more verses in the Word that talk about God’s precious, beautiful, unfailing love (all NIV):

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.  (Ex 15:13)

Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.  (Ps 6:4)

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  (Ps 13:5)

See also Psalm 18:50; 21:7; 32:10; 33:5, 18, 22; 36:7; 44:26; 48:9; 51:1; 52:8; 62:12, and many more!  Further research into this truth will strengthen and support your faith in all circumstances.

What I hope to accomplish here is to remind us all how very deeply and how faithfully God loves each one of His children.  God’s love is unfailing, and it is unconditional.  There is no love anywhere else in creation like the love of God for His people.

God’s love is dependable, constant, consistent, unshakable, and enduring.  His love is more important than anyone else’s.  When you are the object of His love, His love for you makes you a better, kinder, and more loving human being.  His love enables you to love others in a more mature way than ever before. 

Meditate upon His unfailing love. Make it a practice to have an awareness of His constant, abiding love.  It will bless your life and faith immensely.

Yield to the Lord

Yield to the Lord

The Lord reminds us to “submit to Him” which means to relinquish or hand over control of our lives to Him.  This can be a real challenge for us to do while we live on this earth.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  (Pro 3:5-6 NIV, underscoring added)

Let’s look at several more passages from the Bible in order to get a clearer picture.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.  (Pro 16:3 NIV)  When we commit our actions to the Lord, we place them in His hands and trust Him to:

  • Bless these actions;,
  • Bring Himself glory through them; and
  • Uphold our plans.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.  (Isa 30:21)  This passage reminds us that the Lord leads us and guides us by the voice of His Spirit.  He will bless us and prosper us as we yield to Him, and obey His voice..

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.”  (Isa 48:17)  The Lord wishes us to defer to His leading and guidance; and as we do, He will cause us to prosper.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  (1 Cor 10:31)  In accepting God’s will for our lives by being obedient to His leading, we will actually bring Him glory and honor.  This is the goal to which we have been called.

A believer who will bow down in humility before the Lord, responding with submission and yieldedness to His guidance, will be blessed greatly by the Lord.

But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”  (Lk 11:28, underscoring added – see also Jas 1:25)  Our obedience to God is blessed.

Seek the Well Being of Others

Seek the Well Being of Others

As children of God, our actions will naturally imitate the actions of our Heavenly Father.  God cares for each and every person.  He is pleased when—instead of being selfish—we look for opportunities to help and to bless other people.

Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.  (1 Cor 10:24)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus  . . . (Phil 2:4-5)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth . . . (1 Cor 13:4-6, underscoring added)

God is love (1 Joh 4:8) so the passage of Scripture above outlining the nature of love gives us a very good picture of the nature of the God whom we serve.  This reveals how the Lord deals with each person individually, and helps us to understand His love for mankind.

In these verses from the Bible, we can see that working on behalf of other people in order to bless their lives will also result in bringing glory to God.  This is what we who serve the Good Shepherd are called to do.  We’re called to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ; to bring glory to God; and to spread the Good News.  In so doing, the very works of God will be revealed in us.  (Joh 9:3) Have a blessed day!

How Much More?

How Much More?

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”  (Lk 11:9-13, emphasis added)

The Lord Jesus is speaking here about the generosity of our heavenly Father, in that He wishes to bless us in many different and varied ways!  Jesus also encourages us, based upon everything that He has said up to this point, to ask the Father to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit!

What I want to ponder today is the heart of the Father who wants us to come to Him when we’re in need of anything at all.  He outlines that:

  • When we ask, whatever we request will be given;
  • After seeking for a specific answer to prayer, we will find (receive) the perfect answer; and
  • That when we knock at a door, that it WILL be opened to us. (This can be a spiritual, figurative, or physical door—a door of access, welcome, or opportunity.)

Then Jesus continues by reiterating that when we ask, we receive; that the one who seeks a blessing or benefit, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will conclusively be opened!  Then our Lord reminds us that when a child asks for bread, fish, or an egg, that any good parent would give their child exactly what they desire.  And if human beings, who were born in sin, are so good and kind and generous to their own children, then how much more good, kind, and generous will our heavenly Father be to us?

In making these simple yet affirming statements, Jesus opens up the entire world of God’s generosity right before our eyes. 

. . . but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.  (Ps 34:10b, underlining added)

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.  (Ps 51:12)

. . . no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  (Ps 84:11c, underlining added)

According to God’s own Word, He has a generous Spirit and He withholds NO good thing from us.  What a great basis of faith—to enable us to trust in God’s love, mercy, and generosity.  He has promised that He has given us all that pertains to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him.  (2 Pet 1:3)