Guard My Tongue

Psalm 39:1-3
“I said, ‘I will guard my ways, Lest I sin with my tongue; I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle, While the wicked are before me. I was mute with silence, I held my peace even from good; And my sorrow was stirred up. My heart was hot within me; While I was musing, the fire burned. Then I spoke with my tongue:'”

There are times in life when words seem like a raging fire building within us and we are almost forced to speak. This can be positive, like when Jeremiah wrote of being so discouraged he no longer wanted to share the words of God with anyone, until those words became like a fire within him and he could no longer  contain them. Or this can be negative, like when gossip burns within us, pleading to be passed on to others; or when in the midst of an argument, we lash out with hurtful words that shatter someone we love.

Perhaps we can learn something from the pen of David. He wrote,  at those times he restrained himself by putting a muzzle on his tongue. I doubt David is speaking literally of a mechanism that restrained his mouth from moving. I think, instead, he set guidelines for his life that restricted him from saying foolish or hurtful things. We can do the same. The bible gives us some valuable guidelines which will help us control what comes out of our mouths. We can use the following verses like a muzzle, to keep us from sinning with our mouths.

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

1 Peter 3:9 “. . . not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”

Proverbs 11:13  “A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”

Proverbs 15:1  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Pastor Jim

 

What Are Words For? 

Job 7:11
Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.”

As a child, I learned a simple proverb designed to help when someone said something unkind, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As the years passed, I found, for many, the wounds caused by unkind words are much greater than anything a kick or a stick could ever inflict. The closer the relationship, the more painful it is when the sword of the mouth cuts deep. This seems to be especially true in marriage relationships. It is common for a couple to be upset with one another, and lash out with unkind words. The hurt caused by letting insults fly, may take weeks to repair. In some cases, a person never seems able to get over it. I think we can learn a valuable lesson from Job regarding the unkind words that flow out of our mouth in a moment of rage, pain or confusion. Job declares,

“I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.”

Job realized, much of what he was saying was fueled by the intense pain he was experiencing. He seems to be pleading with his friends to understand that some of what he was saying was more of a reaction to his anguish, than an expression of what he really believed. I believe it is important to be very forgiving of a person who speaks out of pain, sorrow or confusion. Just as when the hammer hits our thumb, and a word comes out that we would never say otherwise. It is common for a person to say things in distress, they don’t really mean.

If in the midst of a heated argument, your spouse said something you are having a difficult time getting past, give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they were speaking from the anguish of their spirit. Be willing to extend the mercy Job was hoping to receive from his friends. After all, when the story reaches its end, we find out how wrong they both were.
Pastor Jim

 

Action

Psalms 15:2

“He who walks uprightly,

And works righteousness,

And speaks the truth in his hear; . . .

We have all heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” The sentiment behind that is simple; our behaviors speak more to our belief system, than our words ever could. Psalm 15 addresses the subject of true righteousness, and in a poetic fashion addresses our walk, works, and words. All three of these speak volumes regarding what we truly believe. Like balancing a check book to determine where all the money has gone, we can examine where we go, what we do, and what we say to determine the real driving forces in our lives. 


If we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, our feet should be taking us daily to the Word of God, and at least weekly to the congregation, where we meet with the people of God. Infrequent or inconsistent time with the Lord, is an indication that we are neglecting to abide in Christ. 


Paul spoke of spending himself for the kingdom of God. When his head hit the pillow, he was exhausted from having spent his days in the service of the Lord. When is the last time your muscles hurt from extending energy for the kingdom? 


According to Jesus, words are indicators of the heart. If I am constantly complaining, criticizing, or backbiting, this indicates that something is wrong with my relationship with God. Two hints become necessary: first, I must ask God to change my heart, and second, I must change my actions. The best way to deal with a critical or complaining mouth is to close it. Every time you are tempted to say something negative about another person, try thinking something good about them, and share that instead. 


Pastor Jim

  



Speak Up

Luke 21:13 
“But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.”

As the world approaches the end times, difficulties will increase. The believer is reminded that these difficult situations are the perfect backdrop in which to share Christ with the world. This is a principle to live by. We do not need to wait until the end to have an impact upon the lives around us. The present circumstances which you face have been designed by God as the best conditions for you to grow as a Christian, and have an impact upon others for the kingdom of Heaven. In addition to reminding the disciples of the opportunities He will provide for them, Jesus also gives a promise of success:

“I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
” (Luke 21:15)

We often find ourselves face to face with an opportunity to share Christ with someone. Perhaps the door begins to open while watching a sporting event together, having a coffee during a break at work, or hanging together as our kids play at the park. Whatever the setting, as we see the door opening, we immediately feel as though we do not know what to say. What a wonderful promise Jesus gives. He promises to give us irresistible wisdom. This is a wisdom you will not find until you open your mouth and begin to testify of Christ.

Pastor Jim

 

I Am With You

Matthew 28:19-20
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

IMG_1389As Matthew 28 opens, we find a few women on their way to Jesus’ grave-site. Filled with despair, questioning how they will get to the body to show their respect, they are met by an angelic messenger with the greatest news they had ever heard. Jesus had risen! Oh, how their hearts must have leapt within, as we read “they went out quickly filled with fear and great joy.” The hope that seemed lost at Calvary, was restored in the garden. Along with the promise that Christ was alive, came the commission, “go quickly and tell His disciple…” When the disciples met the risen Christ, the commission was repeated to them, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” The greatest promise was coupled with the great commission.

Just as the first followers of Jesus were commissioned to tell their world about the salvation available to man through Christ, so have we been commissioned to tell our world. As great as that news is, we often shrink back from declaring it. I am so glad the command to tell others is coupled with the promise, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” What great comfort, knowing that Jesus does not send us alone. He says when we go forth to tell others about Christ, or to show the love of Christ with a kind act or deed, or when we invite someone who has wandered from Christ to church, Jesus promises to be with us. Something caught my eye this morning concerning how Jesus assists us in this great commission.

“And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
Matthew 28:7

“He is going before you…” When we arrive at an opportunity to share Christ with others, it is critical that we recognize Jesus is with us, He is there to help, to direct our steps, and even our words. But it is also important to remember, He got there first. He is sending us into opportunities He orchestrated.

Keep in mind, as you go about your day, you have been divinely sent. God chose you for the encounters you will face because He wants to use your life experiences to have an impact upon the lives of others.

Pastor Jim