Check Your Tongue

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Colossians 3:19

This is one of those verses that I’d love to have seared into my head. Why? Because it’s so practical and pertinent. When I get stressed I tend to have “an edge” to my tongue. My tongue gets sharper and I offend much more easily. The first person I take things out on is my wife. I’ve curbed that as much as possible but it still rears its nasty head when I get stressed.

The other thing about this verse is something I’ve noticed with guys in general. We tend to “compartmentalize,” which means we turn our emotions on and off rather quickly and leave our mates behind. If we are having a heated discussion with our spouses and then decide to get romantic, it doesn’t quite work for the women. In other words, if you tell your spouse you love her and the next ten minutes berate her for not doing something you thought she should, there is a disconnect between your “I love you” and your belittling her.

Bottom line: We need to keep our tongues in check around our wives.

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Wait a Couple of Days

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. …Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. John 11:1-46

There is so much in this story that can be discussed. The very fact that Jesus stayed where He was for two more days must have driven Mary and Martha absolutely crazy. There was a reason for it but they didn’t know it. It took a great deal of trust for them not to push Him to go to their village right now! Even before he started his journey, He told them that the sickness wouldn’t end in death.

What is God saying to you? Is there something right now that He is trying to drill into your head that you question? Do you have the patience to hear the same thing over and again until YOU get it right?

I guess the bigger question is, are you going to obey what he’s telling you?

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A Good Night’s Rest

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalm 1:6

So ends our jaunt into Psalm 1. It was a “study” of right and wrong, good and evil, wicked and righteous. To be certain, there is good and there is evil. Very few honest people question that. The “post-modernists” might say that truth is relative and that there is no right and wrong. I don’t know that they are living in reality.

There will always be a struggle between the righteous and the wicked as long as man is alive. There is even a constant battle within man regarding good and evil (Romans 7 clearly lays out this struggle). Those who deny that battle are probably giving in too easily. Those who claim they have reached “sinless perfection” every day just might be pulling your leg. The Book of Romans seems to indicate a different struggle (Romans 6-8).

One day, however, there will be an end to the strife, an end to the evil, and an end to the wicked. Until then we can rest in His peace. We can sleep with a clear conscience at night. The wicked probably don’t have such a pleasant night of rest.

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A Solution

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. Psalm 1:5

This is a merely a continuation of the previous verse. There will come a day, and quite possibly in the not-too-distant future, that the wicked will be judged. We don’t look forward to that day necessarily but we shouldn’t shy away from it either.

In Genesis, the Bible states that “the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become.” When we see the word “wicked,” we don’t always equate it with us! But it’s true. Romans 3:23 teaches us that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We’re wicked; we’re sinners; we’ve fallen short of the glory of God. And what do we get for this being all of this? “For the wages of sin is death.”

Ouch. Seems harsh, doesn’t it?

But wait!

“What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24

The sin, the sinner, the solution, and the Savior.

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Stand Firm

Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Psalm 1:4

Throughout Scripture and throughout history there has always a contrast between good and evil. Entire libraries are filled with books and philosophies trying to solve the problem of evil (mainly “how could a good God permit evil?”). Likewise, there are good and evil people. Other Scriptures warn us not to be seduced by  evil people who enjoy the good life. They seem to get away with everything! It’s not fair. It really isn’t.

Doing the right thing day after day, month after month and year after year seems like it’s getting you nowhere. You don’t cheat. You don’t cook the books. You keep your thoughts pure. You hold your tongue. You’ve become accustomed to it and you’ll always do it that way. It’s probably even a boring routine. Don’t fall for the lie. Don’t be seduced by those who “get ahead” in shady and deceitful ways.

Stand firm in what you know to be true. It is not in vain.

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What Did You Eat a Month Ago from Today?

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. Psalm 1:3

Have you ever had the feeling that sometimes the sermons you hear and what you read goes in one ear and out the other? And those of us who are growing older each minute (all of us!) have that feeling even more so. Some
times you can’t even remember the sermon from that same morning!

I have one question to ask: can you tell me what you had to eat on the second Thursday of last month? Odd question, you say, but bear with me. Why can’t you remember what you had to eat? Does it matter why you can’t remember? If you’re still here today, you probably had something nourishing to eat. The important thing is, you ate and were filled and nourished. You get through another week or two.

Scripture is like that. I don’t remember what I had to eat a month ago but I did get nourishment from it and moved on. So, go easy on yourself when you can’t remember the finer points of a sermon or a teaching. Take it in and let God help you nourish it.

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Over and Over Again

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2

There is a great wisdom in the adage inscribed in many Bibles: This Book will keep you from the Devil or the Devil will keep you away from this book. Someone showed me that in his Bible even before I became a Christian. At the time, I thought it curious at best. I really didn’t know what it meant.

Now, twenty five years removed from that situation, I can say the adage is as fresh now as it was then. The main idea behind it and the idea of today’s verse is to saturate yourself with the Word of God.

Know it.

Memorize it.

Feed on it.

Snack on it.

Read it right before you rest your eyes at night.

Read it at the height of your day.

Get it into your system.

Meditate on it.

Quote it out loud.

Pray it.

Write it in letters.

Memorize entire chapters.

Repeat it over and over again.

Then, in heavy and burdensome times, God will bring those verses to the forefront of your mind. For your benefit so that He gets the Glory!

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Who Do You Hang Around?

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. Psalm 1:1

I’ll admit it: it’s difficult not to take the advice and counsel from those who have lived in the world longer than I have. We all want to gain an advantage on the next guy or the next project or the next job in this life. It’s a highly competitive world in a very tight economy.

I think the true meaning of this first verse is deeper than that. There are certain people in this world who do not have your best interests at heart. They would seek to destroy you and tear you down any way they can. Sometimes they mean to; other times it’s just who they are. When it comes to your spiritual growth and satisfaction, we need to avoid them.

Who are these people? They are well-meaning friends who want to go out drinking and carousing with you. They could be parents of your children’s friends who constantly criticize and berate their mates. They could even be Bible-believing Christians who find fault in everybody and everything. Jesus himself walked among these types of people (and worse) but he didn’t hang around them regularly.

I guess the bottom line to this first verse is this: who are you getting your marching orders from?

The next few verses should shed some light on who we should be getting them from.

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Supreme Good Samaritan

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road…So, too, a Levite…But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was. Luke 10:25-37

The parable of the Good Samaritan always give my chills. Why, you ask? I’m too much like the priest and Levite. Let me explain. Jesus told this story to reveal our own hypocrisies. We say we’re more like the Samaritan but for the most part are like the other two. Our stated enemies of the United States are Iran and North Korea. I cannot picture myself stooping down to help someone like President Ahmadinajad if he were hurting alongside the road. My first reaction would be to take him out! And then to pay for further care in case I don’t return? No way.

But isn’t that the point of this entire passage? Have we become so politically insensitive and myopic that we are not able to see truth when it hits us in the face? Someone like that doesn’t deserve our help. Exactly.

We, too, were sworn enemies of God. Then God reached down to us by sending Jesus. He could have ignored us or zapped us from Planet Earth. But he didn’t. In fact, he took it several steps further by taking care of us when we hurt.

He’s the Supreme Good Samaritan.

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