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.
For the most part, I love the spring season of the year. I did say, “for the most part.” When it comes to the “part” that requires me to trim the 100 foot of hedges, I rethink my love affection for spring. There are some days that I work all day in the yard, and I am bone-tired by the time I finish.
When I read 2 Corinthians 7, I get the idea that Paul was bone-tired physically as well as spiritually: “In fact, when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest. Instead, we were troubled in every way: conflicts on the outside, fears inside.”
The remedy for Paul’s affliction was encouragement:
But God, who comforts the humble, comforted us by the arrival of Titus, and not only by his arrival, but also by the comfort he received from you. He told us about your deep longing, your sorrow, and your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more . . . In addition to our comfort, we rejoiced even more over the joy Titus had, because his spirit was refreshed by all of you (2 Corinthians 7:6,7,13).
Paul said that both he and Titus were encouraged and refreshed by their interaction with other believers. Does your presence encourage or discourage other people? Solomon said:
- A twinkle in the eye delights the heart. Good news refreshes the body (Proverbs 15:30).
- Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25).
This could be one of the blessings of the golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When you refresh and encourage others, it refreshes and encourages you.
Even though he was in prison, Paul was not imprisoned by his circumstances. In Philippians 4:4, he said: Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
As I thought of the remarkable attitude of this wonderful servant of God, I thought of several places in the Psalms where you are encouraged to rejoice:
- In Psalm 9:14 the writer said that salvation is a reason to rejoice: I will rejoice in Your salvation.
- Mercy is the subject of rejoicing in Psalm 31:7: I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy.
- The faithfulness of God is another reason to rejoice. Psalm 33:21: For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.
- The writer of Psalm 119:14 said the promises of God’s
- Word were a source of joy to him: I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.
As Paul closes his first letter to the Thessalonians, he instructs them to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
To embrace the will of God for your life, I encourage you to consider how Paul made a connection between rejoicing and giving thanks. He did it in the verse above as well as Romans 12:12: “…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…
How can “rejoicing always” can make a difference in how you you pray and how you give thanks?
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.”
When Jesus was crucified, there was a message written in three languages that stated: This is Jesus the King of the Jews. You may know these three languages were Hebrew, Greek, and Latin; but, do you know how many languages exist in the world today?
There are some 6,500 spoken languages in the world today, and the language most frequently spoken is Mandarin Chinese. Due to China’s large population it is estimated that 1,213,000,000 people speak this language.
There is a country much smaller than China and it lies just south of the equator, and 99 miles north of Australia. It is Papua New Guinea, and it is smaller than China in both land mass and population. What’s interesting, however, is that with a population of just over 7 million, this country is incredibly diverse when it comes to languages. The Linguistic Society reports that Papua New Guinea has 832 indigenous languages.
Even though there are thousands of languages spoken in the world today, there will be a day when everyone speaks the same thing. There is coming a day when people will hear the name of Jesus and bow their knees to Him, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).
There’s no need to wait for some future day to confess the goodness of God. In whatever language you choose, you can follow the example of the Psalms, and do it now:
- Psalm 7:17: I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
- Psalm 9:2: I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
- Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
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?”
The question of the title is a focus on the difference between complement and compliment. Even though the difference between the spellings of the two words is nothing more than a single vowel, there is a significant difference in their meaning:
- A complement completes, enhances, or perfects.
- A compliment is the expression of praise, admiration, or in some cases it is used in regard to a free gift.
Both words offer an appropriate expression of your relationship with Jesus:
- Because salvation is a free gift to you from God, Jesus is a compliment: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).”
- Salvation is also the complement through which He completes, enhances, and perfects you: “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority (Colossians 2:9-10).”
As you start your week, I encourage you do so with a spirit of thanksgiving for the manner in which God has complimented you and continues to complement you.
I can remember my dear old dad telling me: “Son, if there is any job worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” I didn’t get the job done yesterday, so I’m going to finish it today.
In my post to this blog yesterday, you might remember that I focused on 2 Corinthians 9:8:
God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. ~NKJV
Because my post was starting to get a bit lengthy, I found a stopping place and concluded it with the thought that I would finish it today.
I want to finish by going back to where we started. Notice again, the first three words of our verse: “God is able.” These three words are the key to understanding the verses below:
- Daniel is proof that God is able to deliver you (Daniel 3:17).
- Jude wrote to say that God is able to keep you from falling (Jude 24).
- Paul wrote to the church of Ephesus and said God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (3:20).
- Timothy heard Paul say that God is able to keep what we’ve committed to Him (2 Timothy 2:12).
Yes, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).” You are not limited and restrained by your resources: You are sustained and re-sourced daily because your God is able!
There are three short verses in the fifth chapter of Thessalonians that leave me full of wonder: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Every time I read these verses, I wonder how it is possible to fully embrace their principles:
- I rejoice, but I must confess I do not “always” rejoice.
- I pray, but I do “cease.”
- I give “thanks,” but I have to be honest: There’s quite a few times I do not give thanks for “everything.”
When I read these verses yesterday, I gave a little more attention to “in everything give thanks.” It occurred to me that I have never given thanks to:
- Ben Franklin for the eyeglasses that sit atop my nose and help me to see.
- Thomas Edison for the light bulbs that brighten my house and my office.
- Henry Ford for his ingenuity in manufacturing the automobile.
- Sir Alexander Fleming and his life-saving discovery of penicillin.
Let me challenge you to join me in do something different today. Every time you have a negative thought, replace immediately by giving thanks for something in your life. Any inconvenience you experience today is to be used as a reminder to give thanks for something that makes your life easier.
By the end of the day, we might be giving thanks for more things, if not everything.
This has been one of those weeks where the minutes don’t drag on; they race by, and it there doesn’t seem to be enough time to get things done. When I realize I’m rushing from one project to the next, I try to slow down by spending some time in the Psalms.
One of the Psalms that helps me manage the pace of life’s dizzying race is Psalm 103:
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
There are four things that I think about when I read this Psalm:
- I need to get the right start by saying : “Bless the Lord, O my soul”
- I need to take an inventory so I don’t “forget” my resources.”
- I need to total my assets or “benefits.”
- I need to see God at work: He forgives, heals, redeems, crowns, and satisfies.
- I need to gauge my power: I am “renewed like the eagle.”
I encourage you to read the Psalm again and use the list above as a guide. I hope it helps you as much as it does me.