Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Eating Your Words

It was a wise person who said: “Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them.”  Have you ever choked on some words that you spoke too rashly?  Have you ever regretted hitting the “send” button on a verbal missile launched in cyberspace?  Have you ever used your words as a weapon?  Chances are, each of us can think of times when we have done all of the above.  We quickly learn that ill-chosen words are never palatable as leftovers.
James certainly knew what he was talking about when he described our tongue as one of the most dangerous and unmanageable parts of our bodies.  “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way” (James 3:8-10).
The Bible has much counsel regarding what to say as well as when and how to say it.  “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).  “He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:27).  “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 29:20).
Having a sharp tongue is not a virtue.  Verbal abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse.  Although it is difficult, it is always best to “let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth…” (Ephesians 4:29).  We may have to bite our tongues.  We might have to count to ten.  But it sure beats having to choke down unsavory words later.  Let’s choose our words carefully!

God loves you!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lord Of The Schedule

If the Lord permits 2014 to run its course and we live to celebrate New Year’s Day 2015, we will all have had the opportunity during the year to choose how to use 8760 hours of time.  For the sake of discussion, let’s say we use seven hours a day on average for sleeping.  That means that we will use 2555 hours of our 8760 hours, leaving us with 6205 hours.  Now we need to carve out some time for eating.  Let’s be generous and allow 1 hour each for 3 meals a day.  That’s a total of 1095 hours for feeding ourselves.  That leaves 5110 hours in the year.  Let’s assume we are not independently wealthy or retired, so we also need a job.  If we work forty hour a week for 52 weeks, we will be busy at making a living for 2080 hours for the years.  Now we are left with 3030 hours after eating, sleeping, and working.
So we are talking about roughly 3000 hours of “discretionary” time in the coming year.  When you look at it that way, it doesn’t seem like much time, does it?  No wonder the year appears to go by so fast!  Of course there are other important and necessary claims on our time, such as family and friends.  Each of these (and more like them) also subtract various amounts of time from the total.  And for people of faith, we also want to make sure that God gets His share of the minutes, right?
Rather than merely giving God His “slice” of the time pie (or worse yet, the leftovers), let me encourage us all to view every hour of the year as “God’s hour.”  Every second, every minute, every hour is a gift from Him and can be devoted to His praise and glory.  God is not just another entry among others on our calendar.  He isn’t content with just being “worked into” our hectic schedule.  He ought to be the first consideration in all that we do or say (Colossians 3:17).

God loves you!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Until Death Do Us Part

“I heard of a couple who, as they were paying for groceries in the check-out line, were discussing their soon to be 50th wedding anniversary, when the young cashier interjected by saying, ‘I can’t imagine being married to same man for 50 years!’  The wife wisely replied, teaching the young girl a lesson at the same time, ‘Well, Honey, don’t get married until you can’” (
That’s very wise advice!  It is also very biblical.  A marriage is more than just a mutually beneficial living arrangement.  Its not just something that will do until something better comes along.  It is a covenant based on a commitment (Malachi 2:14).  That’s why at least older versions of marriage vows usually included words like this: “I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded(husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”  Am I prepared to honor my marriage commitment when things get worse, when the money runs out, and when health begins to fail?  Those are fair questions that everyone considering marriage should ask themselves.
I understand that marriages fail for a number of reasons, even for those who were committed at the start.  God’s forgiveness and redemption is just as effective for those of us who have failed at marriage as it is for those of us who have failed at anything else.  We are ALL failures in one way or another.  But the remedy for marriage failure is not found in watering down the commitment.
“Until death do us part” should still be the goal.  May we never view our marriages like a cell phone contract that allows for an upgrade every two years.  We live in a “throw away” culture that doesn’t encourage hanging in there for the long haul.  But in spite of our failures and cultural pressures, let’s encourage marriage longevity, not disposability.

God loves you!