Hating Evil

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9

A story is told of a Queen who was interviewing Royal coach drivers. She asked, “how close to the edge of a cliff do you think you can safely drive?” After several confident and bold drivers gave measurements in the inches, one driver responded, “Your highness, I will make it a point to drive as far away from the edge as I can.”

I think we are very similar to the other drivers. We sometimes ask, “how close can I get to a sin without actually sinning?” when the question we need to be asking is, “how far away from sin can I stay?

Hating evil and the consequences of sin is a big step in the right direction.

Perhaps we need to ask God to help us hate, abhor, and detest sin and evil.

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What Comes Out

Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of the mouth, that is what makes him unclean.” Matthew 15:10-11

The tongue. James talks about “taming the tongue.” I think you can tell a lot about a person by listening to that person speak. And even more so when the pressure is on in any given situation. We often say things we wish we could take back in the passion of an argument or heated discussion. All of us are guilty of it.

But here’s something to keep in mind: the world is watching. They are listening to every single foul word or unkind word or damaging word we say. And they are also listening to how we react.

Back in the day before I became a Believer, I heard someone rattle off a string of profanity followed by every blasphemous word you could think of. Another bystander simply asked the person, “Do you kiss your mother with those lips?” It was a fitting rebuke, and the person apologized.

Jesus even cut to the matter quicker: it’s what’s inside that matters.

So, here’s the question we need to ask ourselves regularly: what’s in my heart that would make me cuss like a sailor?

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Consider

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. . . Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Luke 12:27

Consider the lilies. Whenever the Bible says we should consider something, perhaps we would be wise to do it. Consider the lilies for instance. Look off into a field where lilies (or other flowers grow). Marvel at the ease at which they grow (forgetting the hard work that went into gardening).

Or Scripture elsewhere states: consider your life. Think about it. Ponder it. For a few minutes focus your entire attention on it.

We would do well if we took the time to stop and smell the roses, as it were. It’s a time to reflect on life itself. We lose that in all our busyness.

Don’t let a day pass you by without stopping and considering the beauty around you. In a world tends to be ugly and uncaring, certainly you can stop to find beauty (and it may even be your life that’s the beautiful part!)

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Up From the Pit

“For the roots of the mountains I sank down, the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God.” Jonah 2:6

Jonah was in the belly of the fish when he said that. He realized that he could no longer run from God and had to give in to what He wanted Jonah to do. It was painful, but in the end, he could say, “you brought my life up from the pit.”

Perhaps you’re wondering about your own life. It doesn’t seem to be going the way you had planned. There are obstacles in the way. Often. Always. But one thing you know and one thing you have going for you: God brought your life up from the pit. Where would you be now if He hadn’t?

The world may end tomorrow, but that’s one truth I can cling to: He brought my life up from the pit.

Sometimes we just need to reflect on the essentials.

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Is Your Lamp in the Closet?

He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.” Mark 4:21-22

As I write this, I know that the room I am in could use another light so I take out a small lamp. Now I have a couple of choices. I can put it near where I am reading or I can put it on the floor. Placing it on the floor won’t do me any good because, well, it’s on the floor. There’s nothing there but carpet. The higher I put it, the more widespread is the light that goes out. Why would I put it on the floor anyway?

I suppose that it’s similar to my faith. I tend to hide my faith, sometimes to the point of burying it. What’s the point of that? Back in the day, I was bolder and confrontational with my faith.

What happened?

What changed?

Why is my lamp now on the floor, or worse yet, why is it in the closet with the door closed?

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