Truthful Tuesday: The Gift of Gab – Blessing or Cursing?

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Choose words carefully, for each one can affect the destiny of another.

Scriptures of the Day:

Exodus 20:7

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold guiltless anyone who takes his name in vain.”

Psalm 10:4, 7

4 “The wicked man is so arrogant he always thinks,“God won’t hold me accountable; he doesn’t care. 7 His mouth is full of curses and deceptive, harmful words; his tongue injures and destroys.”

Proverbs 15:2,4

2 “The tongue of the wise treats knowledge correctly, but the mouth of the fool spouts out folly. 4 Speech that heals is like a life-giving tree, but a perverse tongue breaks the spirit.”

Matthew 12:36-37

36 I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 15:11

“What defiles a person is not what goes into the mouth; it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles a person.”

Ephesians 4:29

“You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Ephesians 5:4

4 “Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting–all of which are out of character–but rather thanksgiving.”

Colossians 3:8

“But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth.”

James 1:26

“If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile.”

James 3:10

“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.”


 

I know what you are thinking – with the litany of Scriptures I have on speaking blessing instead of cursing that a mighty sermon is coming. 🙂

Well, not really. I hope today’s post will be an encouragement and a reminder of how God wants us to communicate and the sheer joy of it all. And I figured we could use some reminders from God’s word in case anyone tries to rationalize cursing, gossiping or speaking ill of another person as ever being ok.

Words are amazing. They can really encourage or discourage another person on toward greatness, apathy or destruction. It is such a gift to be able to communicate to another person, to praise our Creator or cheer someone on. Sometimes we forget that it is indeed a gift.

Sometimes my heart is so full of joy it could burst. This happens often when I am reading God’s word and culminates in tears flowing, full of gratitude as all I can mouth are the words, “thank you, God”!

With so many words in the human language, it would seem we have a lot of terms in our arsenal to be able to effectively communicate, but alas, words often cannot convey fully what our heart really intends.

Sometimes there are no words that could fully express the soul’s joy, ire or sorrow. It is in those times that my spirit cries out to the living God and I know He understands, even though I have not spoken a word.

With such a tremendous privilege of speaking and writing, it would seem we would have a God-given purpose in it. If ultimately every word is known by God before it is even spoken, wisdom encourages us to carefully consider each one.

He made us to communicate with Himself and with others for the purpose of edification, fellowship and loving one another. But sometimes communication is hard. Sometimes it seems impossible to say anything edifying when our hearts are hurt. Perhaps we shouldn’t in those moments.

One thing I know God did not intend is for us to misuse the gift of language. Like every tool or thing in creation has a God-given purpose, so does our language.

Today it seems there is a carelessness to our communication. Almost like a knee jerk response, we can spew something out of our mouths that brings no glory to God and does not benefit those who listen. Curse words are in most movies, television, music – even spoken by those who profess Christ. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

People who mistakenly profess freedom in Christ yet let vile words flow out of their mouths at whim are deceived. They claim that people are judgmental or perhaps not “enlightened” or legalistic if they would say that cursing is wrong. Hmmm. Maybe a Top 10 David Letterman style list will help here . . .

Top Ten Reasons People Curse, Gossip, Slander, or Speak unkindly:

  1. The person does not fear God or believe His Word when God commands us to bless and not curse.
  2. The person is not respecting their audience and wants to use words to hurt.
  3. The person is not respecting themselves and is insecure.
  4. The person lacks intelligence, using the same word repetitively which does not mean what they think it means. :0)
  5. The person has forgotten why they are given the gift of communicating.
  6. The person thinks they are cool? No, probably not.
  7. The person lacks self control and is led by emotions rather than reason.
  8. The person is deceived and does not think cursing is a sin.
  9. The person did not receive a good education.
  10. The person wants to be part of our culture – they want to conform to society and their brain rewards them for such behavior (contributed by one of my daughters).

The point is, there is no valid excuse for cursing ever. Nada. Never. We can choose not to let them fly out of the mouth. If we will remember the original purpose of words, perhaps we will consider how to spur one another on and glorify God. We don’t know how long we will be able to tell the people in our lives how much we love and cherish them. Use words to bless, heal, minister and spread God’s Word – it never returns void and reverberates throughout all eternity.

LORD, thank You for giving us the ability to share with others our innermost thoughts. Please grant us grace to speak love and grace to those around us and to overcome the temptation to “vent” when we are hurt.

The Secret Treasure Within

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infinityconcepts.net

Ephesians 1:7-9, 3:1-6, 8-12

7 “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 that He lavished on us in all wisdom and insight.  9 He did this when he revealed to us the secret of His will, according to his good pleasure that He set forth in Christ.

3:1 For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you gentiles 2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you.  3 that by revelation the divine secret was made known to me, as I wrote about briefly.  4 When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret of Christ.  5 Now this secret was not disclosed to people in former generations as it now has been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit.  6 Namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus.  8 To me – less than the least of all the saints – this grace was given, to proclaim to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.  9 And to enlighten everyone about God’s secret plan – a secret that has been hidden for ages in God Who has created all things.  10  The purpose of this enlightenment is that through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms.  11  This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.  12  In whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ’s faithfulness.

In today’s day and age where people have a McDonald’s mentality, I must apologize if the scripture reference is a bit lengthy – ok, I do not apologize – I really wanted you to see the key verses in context!  Take a deep breath and take 5 minutes to bask in His Word.

We’ve all been there – curious with wonder over a supposed secret being kept.  In our self-absorption, we contemplate that perhaps the secret is about us.  Or perhaps it will change our lives forever.  Some secrets break your heart but unbeknownst to you, deliver you in the same moment.  I don’t much care for secrets; it is much more peaceful to not hide things, rather than participate in the tantalizing glory of the image of secrecy – perfection – only to have your own folly exposed later.

When I was a child, (ok, as an adult, too), I loved watching movies that were about adventures various explorers were on, as they were uncovering some amazing secret.  Indiana Jones’ discovery of the lost ark was probably one of my favorites, with the National Treasure movie series close behind.  There was something about being the keeper of a secret – the privileged one to whom a secret was entrusted that made you feel special, chosen.  Rather than merely living a mundane existence, you were part of an amazing plan.

I remember when I was first told the greatest secret of my life.  I was 19.  The year before, God had sprinkled people across my path who were born again.  Odd people, I felt at the time.  Suddenly, my eyes were opened to the secret of God’s plan – and I was to be part of it!  Me – why me?  Usually a secret keeper is charged with keeping the coveted hidden treasure unknown to anyone else.  Sometimes the secret keeper serves as a safe place for someone to share their burdens, and sometimes a confidant serves a malicious purpose of sharing slander.  But the secret God shares with His people is completely pure and has now been made evident to mankind and all spiritual beings.

Just like Paul, it takes revelation by God for us to be able to see the treasure.  The treasure is laid out for all to see, but unless God opens our eyes, we cannot fathom, understand or see it at all.  The vessel for the secret?  The church.  Now I begin to understand why the enemy has attacked the church so very much.  She holds the most precious secret of all time, and if her character is in question, people will not be able to see.  If there is a legalistic mentality, or a denominational preference, people who do not fit into those categories will be left outside, wondering what is so special about the secret.  We, the church, share the greatest mystery of all – that God predestined from the beginning the Jewish people to be His and grafted the gentiles into His plan.  The entire world can know the living God

This secret was first hinted at in the garden of Eden, but the people could not fully comprehend God’s plan, nor did He reveal it completely to them.  Now, here we are, recipients of this amazing grace and I daresay we have grown so familiar with it that we do not see it for the treasure it is.  Perhaps our eyes need to be opened again, afresh, so we do not lose our zeal in being the secret sharers – not keepers – with any who will listen.  The revelation of this secret was set forth in Christ – a couple thousand years ago – but many tripped over that revelation, and many refused to believe it.

That is the second crucial piece to secret keeping and telling – belief.  We can errantly believe a secret that is a lie, but sometimes we can be blind to see the validity of a true secret, when it is right in front of our eyes.  To hear the secret is not enough, no, we must apprehend it, believe it, accept it and apply it to our lives.  How we live will display whether or not we have truly believed and understood the greatest secret of all time.  Not perfect vessels, God in His infinite wisdom chose broken pottery to display His beauty.  But it is in our recognition of this fact that His secret becomes all the more precious.  We, the recipients, are not worthy, will never be, but He lavishes His love and grace on us so we can lavish it on someone else.  What a loving God!

So, secret bearer – you have been grafted into the greatest club of all – the body of Christ!  You have been trusted with a secret that is life changing.  Don’t let the weight of this world keep you so preoccupied that you forget that this secret has been entrusted to you for the purpose of passing it on!

Lord, thank You for sharing Your secret plan of salvation with me and so many others.  Please open the eyes of all who read this blog and help us all to share Your most Holy, magnificent secret with all who have ears to hear. 

In Good Company

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By: Denise Pass © 6/26/14

Psalm 62:4, 12, Psalm 63:11b, Psalm 64:3, 7, 8,10

:4 They spend all their time planning how to bring him down. They love to use deceit; they pronounce blessings with their mouths but inwardly they utter curses. 12 And You, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love. For you repay men for what they do. Psalm 63:11… everyone who takes oaths in His name will boast, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be shut up. Psalm 64:3 They sharpen their tongues like a sword; they aim their arrow, a slanderous charge. 7 But God will shoot at them; suddenly they will be wounded by an arrow. 8 Their slander will bring about their demise. All who see them will shudder. 10 The godly will rejoice in the Lord and take shelter in Him. All the morally upright will boast.

Ever had someone who just did not like you? You try to do everything you can to affect their feelings, but to no avail. Perhaps it is just the position you hold in their life, but making sense of it appears to be impossible. Accepting it is even more difficult.

When I am tempted to be absorbed in self-pity due to the discovery that someone has slandered me or expressed to others their hatred, I find comfort in God’s word. It just is not about me. Godly men in Scripture suffered similarly and had drama surrounding them. David had enemies – Joseph did, too – within their own household. David’s son would betray him, Joseph’s own brothers would be blinded by jealousy – but God would ultimately use it for good. In fact, all throughout Scripture there is a pattern repeated many times within families. Separation due to jealousy, anger, hurt feelings. Sometimes due to faith, too.

Such behavior seems nonsensical, inane, but assuredly most everyone will encounter and have to deal with being the object of scorn. How can we glorify God in that situation? First, bringing the pain to God and asking Him to reveal any hidden sin in ourselves can shed some light. Seeking His perspective, not ours, begins to make things clearer. Asking questions of myself, such as why it bothers me when I am slandered, helps me to understand that I am seeking glory, seeking to be admired and accepted. Did Christ worry about people liking him? Not so much. He embraced the reality of dissenters and prayed for them.

What if I was more worried about God being robbed of glory than myself? Ultimately it is all about God’s glory and He is my Defender. Resting in His deliverance versus striving on my own brings peace and joy. If I lay down the idol of my reputation and seek to glorify Him in my response, perhaps then I can see how something so insidious as someone talking about me can actually work for my good and God’s glory. Lastly, counting our blessings and focusing on all the good in our lives puts the focus where it needs to be.

If you find yourself despised today, know that you are in good company. Our Savior and many amazing biblical characters suffered similarly. He is able to help you take your eyes off of yourself and set your gaze on Him – the only One Who truly was innocent, and Who we all were once enemies of.

Lord, it hurts when we are shunned or when people believe slander about us. Help us to rejoice in those times that we can experience a tiny portion of what You endured. Be glorified, Lord – in our afflictions and momentary hardships – which can never compare to Your willing sacrifice.

 

Judge Not

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By: Denise Pass © 6/9/14

I Corinthians 4:3-5

“So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted because of this. The one who judges me is the Lord. So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition from God.”

You know the feeling – it’s a stare and sudden looking away that leaves you with a distinct impression that you are being shunned. You are not adequate. At once you remember the guilt of your actions, or perhaps are aware of the slander spoken about you.  In that moment you can feel inferior and labeled.

The problem is, you don’t really know for certain that the individual is in fact judging you, but you act as though it were fact.

Well, what if it were fact?  What if instead you acknowledged whatever conviction (not guilt) that you were feeling?  What then?  Instead of denying even the false rumors, perhaps real freedom comes from humbly admitting that while their perception might not be true, certainly there are some things in me that are not praiseworthy.

Then comes liberty. There is no longer judgment in my failures. No more worrying about other people’s perceptions or judgments. We are aware of some of our shortcomings, though we are all myopic and incapable of seeing them all. Our Lord knew that man’s opinion was not trustworthy. ”  But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.”  There is amazing freedom when we know we are guilty and not perfect, but accepted in His sight!  I am free!  I am not condemned.

We all know we are not supposed to judge others, but how about ourselves? Isn’t it liberating that we are not qualified to judge even ourselves? We can think ourselves righteous or a martyr when we beat ourselves up for our weaknesses, but, in fact, it is legalism which is not godly at all.

Lastly, if we can realize that focusing on the perfect One instead of focusing on trying to make ourselves look perfect to everyone else, it is liberation for our souls. Replace the description of us with God’s description of us.

Let go of worrying about false perceptions and thinking of self and lay that burden at His feet.  He is your Defender and our lives are hidden in Him.

Lord, help us to stop judging ourselves or others and to not allow anyone to judge us but You alone. You are the perfect, righteous Judge and I thank you that you shape my weaknesses to make me more like you.