Faith Blog

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

“Do you see someone who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”  Proverbs 29:20, New English Translation

 

Perhaps there is no other book in our Bibles that word for word, pound for pound and ounce for ounce, delivers more practical Godly instruction for living our daily lives than this collection of writings we call Proverbs.

 

Given the often short and to the point directness of the Proverbs, no time is spent in getting to the “meat” of the matter. The problem for many of us is not that we don’t understand the proverb, the problem is that we are often cut to the bone by the word as it brings conviction to our lives.

 

The English translation of our Proverb for today consists of a total of only 20 words. However, the Spiritual weight of their combined meaning unlocks an understanding of eternal significance.

 

At first reading we can reach the conclusion that we need to be careful and not shoot our mouths off to quickly. That is true. We shouldn’t. I think, if we press in a little deeper, that there is a much broader application to be taken from this powerful little proverb.

 

As I write this blog I have just finished watching several documentaries released to commemorate the life of President George Herbert Walker Bush, who passed away on November 30th. In each of these documentaries it was noted that the late President’s life and subsequently his lost bid for re-election were tied to six simple words, “READ MY LIPS. NO NEW TAXES.”

 

History did, and will continue to hold 41 accountable for those six words. They were not spoken in a quick or unthoughtful moment. Speech writers and consultants carefully perused over that statement weeks before the President stood and delivered them. In the end he did not stand behind his statement and history attributes this to his lost re-election.

 

Our passage today uses a Hebrew phrase translated as “in haste.” It means “to be pressed” to be pushed in tight, to be forced through. The laws of hydrodynamics dictates that when an external force of greater pressure is applied to a weaker force the weaker reacts in compliance to that force. This is the principle used in hydraulic machinery. A few quarts of fluid can be used to lift tons of mass.

 

When we, under the pressures of life, open up and say things in “haste” it exhibits what we are truly made of deep down inside. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 15:18, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a person.” His response came as result of a discussion about what a person eats. What He wanted them to understand is that He was more concerned with their hearts than with their diets.

 

So, the next time you feel compelled to speak on anything, to get your two cents in, stop and ask yourself “from whence cometh these thoughts now as words?” Perhaps an adjustment in your heart will sweeten the words you are about to speak. Remember, we will give an account for every idle word.

 

Posted by Tim Parker with

WALKING IN THE TRUTH BY SERVING THE SERVANTS

The third epistle of John is one of the shortest books in the Bible, but it sure provides a big helping of great spiritual “food”. Here are just a few observations. For starters, I love how John acknowledged and encouraged his dear friend Gaius. John makes a point of identifying that Gaius had been walking in the truth, and how overjoyed he had been to hear of this. Not only that, but he went on to elaborate more specifically how Gaius was conducting himself in the truth. To wit, he was showing his faithfulness to the truth by showing love, hospitality and support toward his visiting brothers in Christ who were involved in ministry. And some of these brothers were even strangers! 

In verse 9, we learn of another man named Diotrephes who loved to put himself first and who, by his arrogant slanderous talk and refusal to assist the aforementioned traveling ministers, was displaying behavior diametrically opposed to that of Gaius and of another brother in the church, Demetrius (mentioned briefly in verse 12).

Verse 11 begins with the following words from John: “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.” We can clearly take instruction from the examples of the three men named in this book. 

On the one hand, we need to beware, lest an attitude of loving to put ourselves first creep into our hearts by stealth. Or, as can often happen as well, that attitude can rear its ugly head in full force when the occasion arises where our pride is challenged. In reading about Diotrephes over the years, I have been repeatedly convicted by the fact that while I might not have behaved specifically as he did, I nevertheless have had to admit the humbling reality that I do love to put myself first. I suspect that I’m not alone in this. 

Contrast this with the spirit of humility and the desire to love others who are themselves servants by selflessly serving them and seeking to meet their needs as God gives us the opportunity. This would be showing faithfulness to walking in the truth. My prayer is that I will continue to grow in faithfulness to walking in the truth in love.  Will that be your prayer today as well?

Posted by Chad Mankins with

12345678910 ... 177178