Many years ago, I was told that good speakers have at least three characteristics in common: They stand up, speak out, and sit down.
The book of Proverbs is full of good principles for you and the way you speak. Proverbs 4:24 is a good example: “Remove dishonesty from your mouth. Put deceptive speech far away from your lips.”
When you consider the underlying principles of this verse, you see that:
- Dishonesty needs to be removed: Whenever it moves in you need to move it out.
- Dishonesty is a nasty dish of lies that should never be allowed to nest in your mouth.
- You should never be receptive to deceptive speech: Put it far away from your lips.
In Proverbs 10, Solomon highlights the benefit of wholesome speech:
- The mouth of a righteous person is a fountain of life (verse 11).
- The tongue of a righteous person is pure silver (verse 20).
- The lips of a righteous person feed many (verse 21).
If you’ll take the time to compare the words of Solomon to the teachings of James, you’ll see a well-defined contrast:
- Solomon likened the tongue of the righteous to pure silver.
- James said the unrighteous use of the tongue will “defile the whole body.”
Listen to the manner in which you speak and the tenor of your conversation. When you become more aware of what you say and how you say it, you get a better idea of the real you. This is because your speech or your tongue is the index of your heart.
What is the significance of the number 51? If you are counting to 100, it means you are over half there, or that you still have 49 numbers to go. If you are celebrating a birthday, you can now say: “I’m more than half a century old.”
If you are among a special class of mothers, it means your heart is broken. It means that the precious child you held in your arms as a baby is now gone—killed in the line of duty.
51! 50 +1 police officers gave their lives in 2014 as they did their best to protect and serve the people and communities where they lived. In 2013 the FBI reported that 27 officers died in the line of duty. This was the smallest number in a single year since 1980.
When I think of these sad and startling statistics, I’m reminded of the words of Paul to Timothy:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
~I Timothy 2:1-4
Is our society void of a “peaceful and quiet life” because “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings” are not being made for our government officials and on behalf of our law enforcement officers?
Please join me in praying for their safety and protection and for the collective mindset of our nation as a whole.
An article in the Saturday edition of the Washington Post caught my attention: “The U.S. military has boosted security at all of its stateside bases and stations, broad recognition that the United States has heightened its awareness of a possible attack inspired by the Islamic State militant group, U.S. officials said Friday.”
With this report following on the heels of the recent incident in Garland, Texas, it was a frequent topic of discussion on Saturday morning. When the security level is raised it gets a person’s attention.
Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren said: “The military believes there is an increased and predictable security threat at home, with extra precautions, ID checks and searches launched across the country. It does not mean that an attack is considered imminent, however.”
How would your behavior change if you were told the danger is most certainly “imminent”? You may not be aware of it, but here is a statement that warns you are in grave danger!
Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour. Be firm in the faith and resist him, knowing that other believers throughout the world are going through the same kind of suffering. ~I Peter 5:8-9
Watch your back, there’s a lion on the prowl.
There are times when the burdens of life are incredibly heavy. When I experience these times in my personal life, I’m reminded of Hebrews 12:1-3: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Heartache, sickness, and grief can present circumstances that are difficult to endure. While these hurdles may slow you down to the pace of the turtle, don’t let them sideline you: Finish the race.
To finish the race:
- Consistently engage in “cross” training by walking in step with Jesus.
- Focus on your goal.
- Keep your eyes focused on the next step and not the hurdle three steps in front of you.
When troubles and trials come into your life, do you see just the mountain, or do you also consider the Creator of the mountain? When the storms of life shake you at your core, do you see just the storm or do you also see the rainbow? When you feel trapped and think there is no escape, do you hear the roaring lions or do you feel the presence of Daniel’s angels?
When it comes to endurance, you don’t have to walk alone. Jesus extends an invitation to walk with Him, and He offers to help carry the load: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30 ~The Message).
When David wrote Psalm 62, he was in a desperate situation. Men, who were full of evil, were scheming against David, and even threatening to kill him.
David did what he usually did when he found himself in dire straits, he looked to God for help. Psalm 62:7-8, gives you a glimpse into the mind of this troubled king, and reveals his concept of God:
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
Notice the first word in each of the last three lines:
- Trust: You are to trust God in the good times as well as the bad.
- Pour: Instead of trying to fight your battles by yourself, confide in God and pour your heart out to Him in prayer.
- God: To really comprehend this verse, you need to make four sentences out of it, and contemplate each one of them:
- God (Creator of Heaven and Earth)
- God is (Not was; He is a present tense God)
- God is a refuge (Fortress and place of safety)
- God is a refuge for us. The Creator of all is always present as a fortress to meet your personal needs)
Celebrate the goodness of God today and praise Him because He is your salvation and your glory; the rock of your strength, and He is your refuge.
There’s a passage of Scripture in the book of Isaiah that speaks about God’s wonderful love, care, and protection of His people. In Isaiah 43:1-3, it says:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—because I am God, your personal God, the Holy of Israel, your Savior.”
When I read this Scripture from Isaiah, a couple of thoughts came to my mind, and I want to share them with you:
- You can have confidence in God, this is why he said: “Don’t be afraid.”
- You can have a relationship with God because He has redeemed you; He knows your name; and, He claims you as His own.
- When times are tough, and you feel like you’re in over your head, remember that Jesus knows something about water. He walked on top of it, so He can certainly walk you through it.
- When you encounter the raging rivers of life, Jesus can see around the bend. He will chart the best course, and He still knows where the still waters are (Psalm 23:2). “You
To claim this verse as your own, speak it to yourself: “You are my personal God. I know you have redeemed me and know my name. I know you claim me as your own, and I give thanks to you for You are the Holy One and my Savior.”
There’s an interesting piece of conversation in I Chronicles 28 between God and Solomon that occurs after the rule and reign of King David. At the start of Solomon’s reign, God set some standards to help guide the new king: “The Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”
There are a few principles in this passage that may help you:
- God doesn’t just single you out. He mingles in with all of His creation: “the Lord searches every heart”
- God understands because He stands over you every moment of your life, and He aware of every one of your thoughts and desires.
- Even though God detects sin, He doesn’t reject the sinner who asks to be forgiven. From the heights of His holiness, there flows a river of mercy.
- If there is anything God does not do well, it’s playing hide and seek: “If you seek Him, He will be found by you.”
When you seek God and find Him, you will also discover:
- The fountain of life (Psalm 36:9).
- The river of delights (Psalm 36:8).
- The water of eternal life (John 4:14).
- His great love and rich mercy (Ephesians 2:4).
- The perfection of beauty (Psalm 50:2).
I’m not sure how you arrange your schedule, and plan each day of your life, but let me make a suggestion for the rest of this week. Make it a priority to seek God. When Asaph wrote Psalm 50, he said: “The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.”
Have you ever been subpoenaed or received a summons to appear before a judge? If you don’t follow the dictates of that summons, you are in contempt of court. How serious is it, if you refuse a summons from the Mighty One?”
Success and failure are the topics of many discussions. In the Proverbs, Solomon draws a contrast between the “God-loyal people” and the “wicked” and how they manage the difficult times they face:
“Don’t interfere with good people’s lives; don’t try to get the best of them. No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces.” ~Proverbs 24:15-16
When a person is successful, he hears the cheers of the crowd; however, when he fails, the whispers of the same people are heard as an agonizing shout. Failure is, however, a normal part of a person’s life.
With this in mind, let me share my Top Ten Failure Quotes:
- Failure is not falling down: It is staying down.
- “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden
- “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
- “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
- “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
- “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar
- “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
- Try again. Fail again. Fail better. ~Samuel Beckett
- Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed. ~Lloyd Jones
When I think of a God-loyal person, I think of Tim Tebow. This young man had a stellar career as a college quarterback. When his professional career came to an abrupt halt, some people labeled him as a failure.
Tebow refused ti sit in a corner and sulk. He decided to invest his life in the lives of others, and he does this through the Tim Tebow Foundation that “exists to bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”
Tebow is a living example of Solomon’s words: “God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet . . . “
When I woke up this morning I was thinking of the word “follow” and the several times Jesus spoke this word. I did a quick scan of the four Gospels, and I found a couple of interesting concepts.
In Mathew 4:19-20, Jesus said: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men, and they immediately left their nets and followed Him.”
- Principle: If you do not follow Jesus you will be snared by the net of the world.
- Principle: Fishing for fish is good, but fishing for men is better.
In John 8:12, Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
- Principle: If you don’t walk with Jesus in the light, you will stumble without Him in the dark.
- Principle: Jesus does not HAVE the light of the world, He IS the Light of the world.
In John 10:27, Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
- Principle: Obedient sheep hear His voice and make the choice to follow Him.
- Principle: When you deny and won’t comply, you are easy prey for the wolf.
Here’s the simple truth: You can follow or be hollow. When you are hollow, you will search for fullness, satisfaction, contentment, and love in all the wrong places. When you follow Jesus you can be fully holy.
The wisdom of Solomon is a fitting conclusion: “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But He loves him who follows righteousness (Proverbs 15:9).”
As I was watching the nightly news, I became curious about TV statistics. Based on research by statistics brain, I found that:
- 99% of households in the USA possess at least one television.
- The average child will spend 1,480 minutes a week watching television.
- By the time a child is 18, he/she will have seen 150,000 violent acts and viewed 16,000 thirty second commercials.
With these statistics in mind, answer the following questions:
- Who or what is having the greatest influence in the life of your child or grandchild?
- If 1,480 minutes are being spent in front of the TV, how much time is being spent reading the Bible, praying, or engaging people in a positive way?
There are two warnings from Paul that are worthy of mention:
- He said you should not be like a child who is “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every false wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14).”
- Make sure that “no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ (Colossians 2:8-9).”
The 1,480 minutes of TV wouldn’t be so bad if it was healthy and wholesome; however, I think much of it is detrimental to a person’s well-being.
Look at the language Paul used. How much of the 1,480 minutes is captivativing philosophy that can be describe as the “trickery of men, craftiness, deceitful scheming?”