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Showing posts from February 23, 2014

Weighing Our Words

A good conversationalist is not necessarily a person who speaks a lot but one who knows when to speak when to be silent. This saying, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise," (Proverbs 10:19) speaks volumes. Disciplining your tongue is a true sign of your ability to discipline your whole body. Charles Bridges in his exposition of this passage says the following: "It is surely wisdom to refrain our lips, not indeed in silence, but in caution; to weigh our words before uttering them; never speaking, except when we have something to say; speaking only just enough; considering the time, circumstances, and person; what is solid, suitable, and profitable…Light words weigh heavy in God's balance." The tongue is a small member of the body but has a large impact on our being. It can calm or inflame a situation. It can educate or incite. It can honor or disparage. It can praise or blame. We decide what our tongue will do. Reviewing …

Right and Wrong

There is a thought within us that says if we do the right things then we will be right before God. This assumes that we have the ability within us to do what is right. In the book of Leviticus God explains the standards for holiness for the people of Israel and for their priests. Here He makes this statement, "…I the Lord am holy—I who make you holy." Leviticus 21:8  This phrase is repeated four times in chapters 21-22. It changes our idea of how we become holy. It is not by doing works of righteousness that we are made holy, it is by God's works and His declaration. He defines holiness and He alone can declare us holy. So to think of your works as what brings you into a state of holiness is to think backward about the process. It is God who has set us apart (the definition of holiness) through His Son Jesus Christ's work on the cross. There is no good work we can do outside of His working in and through us. So, we can't decide what makes us holy; neither can we…

Hoping

Barack Obama ran his campaign on "hope and change." It created a stir but many Americans decided to put their hope in this man. We know down the road that there was little hope created and the changes made were focused on beliefs that were untrue. He disappointed many. What do you put your hope in? We can put our hope in another person, such as a spouse or a leader. We can put our hope in our bank account, our mutual funds, our inheritance or our job. We can put our hope in a drug, a doctor, or an operation to heal us. We can put our hope in our feelings and/or our intellect to guide us. All of these will leave us discouraged. The psalmist said, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.." (Psalm 42:5) God offers us a new kind of life with eternal perspective. He gives us joy not based on circumstances but deep within us. He provides rest for the weary and strength for the weak. There is no one, no thing, no feeling or intelle…

Need

There are things we need and then there are things we NEED. As life moves along we understand more completely our real needs. Electronics, food and music are nice but don't compare with what God can provide for our soul. The psalmist stated, "Do not withhold your mercy from me, O Lord; may your love and your truth always protect me." (Psalm 40:11) An act of mercy comes out of compassion and forbearance from another; in the legal sense mercy may involve such acts as pardon, forgiveness, or the mitigation of penalties. It is absolutely, without question an essential for us from God. If He were to withhold His mercy we would be left without forgiveness and pardon. This would be hard to bare. Love and truth are linked together. Love, as seen in agape love, is the deepest of devotion to another without relation to their actions. Truth involves dealing with the reality. Truth describes the quality of a person who is genuine, loyal, or filled with integrity. The psalmist recog…

Share Your Life

Our American culture of independence causes us to try to live life on our own. We hide our lives from others and do not share the ups and downs we experience. If we are asked, "Is everything alright?" we reply, "yes" no matter if the true answer is "no it's not alright!" The psalmist reveals the importance of sharing life. He said, "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." (Psalm 40:1-2) He shares the way life was like a slimy pit, soaked clay with no ability to gain a footing; moving back and forth but still sinking and unable to move forward. This was his situation and he shared it openly. He did not keep his struggles to himself. But more than just sharing his struggles, as some tend to do, he shared God's response to his life. "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our G…