Not Stumbling In Our Words

Not Stumbling In Our Words

The Bible tells us something rather surprising in James 3—that the person who does not stumble in word is a perfect man or woman.  This person is one who is able to control everything about themselves.  Wow!

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.  (Jas 3:2-3, emphasis added

Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.  (Ps 34:13)

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.  (Pro 16:24)

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.  (Pro 18:4)

“He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.”  (1 Pet 3:10)

Controlling our words is one of the most difficult things for human beings.  As 1 Peter 3 reminds us, we should refrain from speaking evil.  Do you know that “speaking evil” means some different things to God?  It means:

  • Saying anything that is less than 100% true;
  • Repeating gossip—even if it’s true;
  • Agreeing with other people who spread lies or say unpleasant things;
  • Saying negative or bad things about ourselves;
  • Repeating negative things;
  • Speaking anything that does not agree with God’s Word.

It surprises people to realize that even if they say something negative about themselves, it is unpleasing to God.  God wants us to agree with what HE says about each one of us.  He says that His children are:

  • Fearfully and wonderfully made,  (Ps 139:14)
  • His special treasure, (Ps 135:4)
  • The apple of His eye, (Zech 2:8)
  • Chosen and dearly loved, (1 Pet 2:4)
  • Given His approval, (1 Thes 2:4) and
  • Accepted in Jesus. (Eph 1:6)

From this list, we can understand that the Lord loves us and has said many wonderful things concerning His children—those who love Him and obey Him.  Since our words proceed from our thoughts, a key Scripture to meditate upon regularly is:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  (Phil 4:8)

As we think about God’s blessings and meditate upon His Words, our own words will begin to change and will correspond to what the Scripture has to say about everything.  God bless you!

Treasures

Treasures

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Mt 6:19-21)

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.  (Pro 10:2)

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  (Ps 19:9-10)

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.  (Mt 13:44-46)

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (Col 2:2-3)

We may think that wealth and riches profit us in this life.  In some ways, that is true.  However, we should remember that any so-called treasure that is a result of dishonesty or sinful pursuits will not bring us the joy that truly satisfies.  Such treasures will never profit us in eternity. 

But the righteousness that is born of faith in Jesus Christ will deliver us from many evils in this life as well as from eternal death in the next.

The Bible is packed full of precious promises (treasures) for the believer.  There are promises concerning health, healing, prosperity, the blessings of children, and the joy of relationships.  There are promises about every area of life; and all we need to do is to study them, meditate upon them, and to claim them for ourselves.  Here are several examples:

  • Children are a blessing from God.  (Ps 127:3-5)
  • Great wealth is in the house of the righteous . . . (Prov 15:6a)
  • Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  (Ps 103:5)
  • 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)
  • For I am the Lord who heals you.  (Ex 15:26)
  • . . . who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.  (1 Pet 2:24)

These are the true treasures of life and of eternity in Jesus Christ.

Union With Christ

Union With Christ

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.  (Rom 6:5-6 NIV)

. . . always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  (2 Cor 4:10 NKJV)

. . . even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus . . . (Eph 2:5-6 NKJV)

These Bible passages are discussing a believer’s union with Christ.  Union with Christ refers to the relationship between the believer and Jesus Christ.  It also refers to a willing loyalty of Christ to the believer, as well as a loyalty of the believer to our Lord Jesus. 

The first 14 verses of Ephesians, chapter One, explain some of the blessings that we receive from being united with Christ.  These passages reinforce our understanding that we are blessed and highly favored by God. 

Unity in Christ—a result of our salvation—brings about an ongoing redemptive work in a believer’s life and conduct.  As we come to know and understand our Savior, and through the Bible learn about our untold blessings, we yearn to live in a manner that is completely pleasing to the Lord.  This is understandable. 

Even as a small child who is loved, valued and protected by their parents will choose to please and obey those good parents—so also does a believer desire to please and to obey our loving and merciful Savior.  From His hand we receive forgiveness, favor, health, prosperity, protection, provision, and the gift of grace to enable us daily. 

Our God is a good God.  He blesses people and nations, whether they acknowledge Him or not.  He places people in governing positions for the sake of giving people order and safety in the world.  He blesses believers individually as we love, obey, and serve Him.

In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness. (Hos 3:5b NLT)  As this Scriptures states, in the end times we will tremble with awe because of the Lord’s magnificence and His unimaginable goodness to mankind.  Glory to God!

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!

God Comforts the Disheartened

God Comforts the Disheartened

Our God cares deeply about each and every one of His children.  He cares about every facet of our health, and He ministers His love to us.  But how can we grab hold of His love?  How can we receive His help?

One way is to meditate upon His wonderful promises to us, so that we may come to know Him fully.  Here are a number of Bible passages that speak about how God demonstrates His love to us, especially when we’re downhearted or depressed. 

We need to use our faith in order to rest upon these promises.  Ask God to help you and to infuse you with fresh faith for the battle.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.  (Deut 31:8 NLT)  The Lord never leaves us—nor will He fail us.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.  (Ps 34:17 NKJV)  We need to KNOW that God not only hears our prayers, but responds to them.

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.  He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God;
many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.
  (Ps 40:1-3 NKJV)  We do need, sometimes, to wait for the Lord’s solutions to materialize in the natural realm.  But this verse assures us that our deliverance shall come, and that it will motivate us to sing a new song!  And our deliverance shall be so mighty that everyone will notice it, and rejoice with us in the Lord!  Some people will even be fearful of the Lord, when they see what He has done.

Why are you in despair, O my soul?  Why have you become restless and disquieted within me?  Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.  (Ps 42:11 AMP)  This passage reminds us that we need patience, and that as we wait for God’s solution, we should praise the Him.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.  (1 Pet 5:6-7 RSV)  Throw all of your worries down at the feet of Jesus, and acknowledge that He loves you and is working on your behalf.  As we respectfully wait for God to lift us out of trouble (which is called humility), He loves the fact that we put our trust in Him at all times—despite what things may look like in the natural realm. 

 It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him.  (Heb 11:6 CEB)

Our faith tells God that we believe in Him, in His existence, in His promises, and His reliability.  Our faith pleases God, and He deeply rewards ALL those who find Him in the midst of life’s difficulties!

HOW Does a Soul Prosper?

HOW Does a Soul Prosper?

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.  (3 Joh 1:2)

How does a soul prosper?  What is a soul?  According to the Bible, we each have three parts:  a body, a soul, and a spirit.  (see 1 Thes 5:23) 

Each one of us is a spirit; we live in our own body; and we each have a soul.  Mankind was made in the image of God (Gen 1:26); and God is a Spirit (Joh 4:24).  Therefore we, too, are spirit-beings. 

We can see that we each have a soul that is distinctly separate and different from our spirit:

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  (Heb 4:12) 

Even though the spirit and the soul are joined together, they are still separate parts of every individual.  So, we live in a body (2 Cor 5:6, 8) that has a soul.  The soul is where the emotions, the will, and the intellect dwell. 

Did you see that according to 3 John 1:2, the level or degree to which we prosper, and/or obtain the health and healing of God is directly related to the level or degree that our soul (the thinking, reasoning part of us: The Mind) is prospering?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Rom 12:2)

So our circumstances and situations can be changed once we have changed the way that we think about them!  How may we change our thoughts?  When we renew our minds with God’s promises contained in His Word, we change the way that we think about our situation.  And what naturally follows is that our emotions and will then follow where our thoughts take us.

God has given each one of us the gift of grace (Eph 2:8).  By God’s gift of grace, we may obediently and intentionally place our soul upon the path of prosperity.