Hold Your Tongue

“Do not say bad things about servants to their masters” (Proverbs 30:10).  I love how God’s Word is so practical.

 

When I first started going to church, I did a new believers’ course, and one thing I learnt was that as a Christian, I didn’t rule my own life.  Jesus was the Master and I was His servant.  If I think of myself in that way, surely other Christians are servants too.  Now do you see the challenge?  When we’re told not to say bad things about servants to their masters, if Jesus is our Master, it means we shouldn’t say bad things about one another when we’re praying to God.  That sounds a tall order if you ask me, but it can be helpful.  If instead of rushing to talk about somebody’s faults, we ask for God’s perspective on that person, it could completely change the way we see them.

 

This verse in Proverbs is similar to one in Romans:  “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?  To their own master, servants stand or fall.  And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand” (Romans 14:4).  God knows those who are His, and just like He’ll finish what He started in us, He’ll do the same in them.  Let’s let Him do the judging while we get on with serving.

 

Linking again with Holley’s Coffee for Your Heart.

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Lies or Truth?

“A witness who lies will not go free” (Proverbs 19:5, 9).  It’s rare for a phrase to be repeated like that, but there seems a lot in this chapter about lying.

 

“It is better to be poor and honest than to be foolish and tell lies” (Proverbs 19:1), “so it is better to be poor than to be a liar” (Proverbs 19:22).

 

In an earlier chapter, we’re told dishonest words crush the spirit.  I don’t know if lying has got you into trouble:  Maybe it’s to get attention, or to get something you want … but though the reasons might be very complex, please remember the people it affects, and remember their deep sadness/their crushed spirits.  Maybe they long for you to trust them with the truth.

Beware Your Words

“Spoken words can be like deep water, but wisdom is like a flowing stream” (Proverbs 18:4).  What we say can be as dangerous as being thrown in to the deep end of a swimming-pool, but a flowing stream?  A flowing stream’s not dangerous at all.  It’s pleasant to listen to, and you can spend hours being soothed by it.

 

“The words of fools start quarrels” (Proverbs 18:6).

 

“The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food” (Proverbs 18:8).  If I’ve eaten smoked bacon in a sandwich, or some nice potato dauphinoise (sliced potatoes baked with cream and garlic), the flavour tantalises me long after I’ve finished eating.  A sobering thought, but gossip can be just as lasting.

 

“The wise person listens to learn more. …  The person who tells one side of a story seems right, until someone else comes and asks questions” (Proverbs 18:15, 17).  Words are important – other people’s, and the way you use yours.

 

“A brother who has been insulted is harder to win back than a walled city” (Proverbs 18:19).  I know the truth of this one.  I’m not very likely to want to spend time with someone if I know they think badly of me.

 

So, remember the longevity of your words, and be careful what you say.

Wield Those Drivers

No, I’m not talking about golf clubs, though there is a similarity.

The other week, a lady told me I had so much to give to the church (those we worship with on a Sunday).  I’m on the worship-team and sing upfront every couple of weeks, but she said:  “I meant the wisdom.”  Wisdom?  I don’t have a responsible, highly-paid job, or a young family who need my input.  I feel like lots of people have had steep learning curves and therefore are wise because of them.

But people’s encouragement, their compliments really, can be like a driver is to that golf ball:  They can launch something inside you.  In my case, it reaffirmed that yes, I do have something worthwhile to say (and who doesn’t need that reassurance).  I’m grateful that through this blog and the Facebook-groups I’m in, I can share my thoughts with the world.

Of course, the tongue can have the opposite effect.  People’s fears and doubts can be like seeds if you let them, causing fear and doubt to sprout in your own heart.  Please, use your words to motivate people, and drive them towards being all they were made to be.

Tell Them About Me

I just want to let off steam with this post.  I’ve been part of a discussion tonight about whether an organisation should mention God to people at a crisis time in their lives.  Someone very firmly in the no camp told me she had read a quote from the Bible (Matthew), saying that when we do things for God, we should do them quietly.  Only when I came home and had time to think about what she’d said did I realise she had taken the quote totally out of context!  Let me explain.

“Take care!  Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, for then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.  When you give a gift to a beggar, don’t shout about it as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity!  I tell you in all earnestness, they have received all the reward they will ever get.  But when you do a kindness to someone, do it secretly—don’t tell your left hand what your right hand is doing.  And your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.

 

“And now about prayer.  When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who pretend piety by praying publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them.  Truly, that is all the reward they will ever get.  But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and your Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-6).

Those verses are all about the motives behind our actions.  They teach about being humble and not showing off, but they’re nothing whatsoever to do with the message of God’s love!  Jesus wouldn’t want us to keep that quiet!  Have a look at this:

“You are to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone, everywhere” (Mark 16:15).  What’s Jesus saying?  Spread it around!  Put it in your leaflets!  Get on the streets!  Wear your “I Believe” sweatshirts!  Do everything you have to – just tell them about Me!

Of course people want to be helped in a crisis; they don’t want all words and no action, but our words are important.  “Has the Lord redeemed you?  Then speak out!  Tell others he has saved you from your enemies” (Psalm 107:2).

And a sobering thought:  If you maintain you don’t want God involved, maybe you should consider this.  “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).

Giving Is … Using What You’ve Got

What does it look like to give Biblically in today’s culture?  We looked yesterday at Biblical giving, so let’s think about the second part.

 

How are you when it comes to modern technology?  Mainly I’m thankful for the people God’s placed in my life – the family; the friendships, but if you were to ask me what thing I treasured most and would struggle to do without, I’d definitely say my computer.  For me, modern technology has made it so much easier to give.  I haven’t forgotten someone sent me a card to welcome me when I first started at church.  Before the Internet, if I’d wanted to do that kind of thing, I would’ve had to ask someone to write the card; write the envelope …  Now I can just send an E-mail.  If I want to buy a Christmas present, I can go on a website and look at different things myself; I don’t have to rely on walking round a shop with someone and them spotting the exact thing I’m looking for.  Sometimes I don’t know myself what I’m looking for until I find it!

 

Maybe you preferred giving before all this modern technology came in.  Does it take away the personal touch?  I’ve read several posts about how handwritten letters and kids’ drawings are more special to people than E-mails, but I’ll tell you I know more about my extended family and how to pray for them since being on Facebook.

 

I think giving through our computers can be as personal as we want it to be, and here’s a challenge for you:  I’ve challenged myself with this one too.  You know all those verses in the Bible about how important our words are – “Do everything without complaining or arguing”, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other”, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”?  You have an ‘Online tongue’ as well.  When you comment on Facebook or E-mail another person, you’re communicating to them what’s in your heart, and God can read those comments.  I’ve got a friend in South Africa.  As she lives 12 hours away and we’ve only met online, she doesn’t know anybody here, and it can be so easy to talk negatively about someone.  Doesn’t have to be much; just a couple of sentences, and I’ve felt really bad afterwards.  I wrote to her once that I thought I had opened my E-mail mouth more than I should.

 

Giving is using what you’ve got.  If you’ve got money, how about using it for the good of others, maybe through donating to Compassion or another organisation you feel drawn to?  And if you have a computer, why not use your online voice for God’s glory?

The Power of Words

I’ve written before on the importance of church.  Just thought I’d tell you an up-to-date story:

 

Last Sunday, a lady I don’t know very well said to me:  “You’re always smiling.  Do you know that?  You really shine with the Lord”.  I knew it was only half-true.  I’m not always smiling; for one thing I don’t smile much when I’ve really hoped for that job and it didn’t materialise, but the thought that somebody else could see Jesus in me!  That’s what church should be:  A group of Christians encouraging each other.

 

During the week, the things people say – even positive things – can fill you with questions sometimes.  I just saw one person comment to another on Facebook:  “Look at the glory of God in your life now”, and straightaway I’m asking myself:  Can people see the glory of God in my life?  And into my mind come that lady’s words from Sunday:  They’ve lasted me the whole week.

 

I love church.  How do people survive without it?  I know it isn’t always what it should be, but that’s why the Bible tells us to be patient and allow for one another’s faults (Ephesians 4:2).

 

Do you go to a church?  Would you recommend it to your friends?