Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beholding Peace

At the thought of peace our minds are filled with a fondness for its tranquility. Emptied of restlessness and anxiety, peace is the essence of satisfaction. Peace is a sense of rest in acknowledging security, and peace is easily recognized by the calmness and unity it promotes. Composed, a peaceful body is enabled to function discreetly, thus causing order in its surroundings. Peace is the state of harmony where the untroubled abide in fulfilling their purpose with one accord. Absolute peace is found only in the presence of God, Who gave His Son –the Prince of Peace– to save our vexed souls. Trusting, let us place all in the Father's hands, walk in the Gospel of peace, and reflect God's presence in our lives.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Brokenness of Bitterness

How do upright Christians become bitter? Although people may say that they are indifferent toward someone or a situation, a bitter person is really indifferent toward God. Bitterness is the negative response in having our expectations undesirably changed. Ignorant of God's perfect will, many Christians resist God, shackling themselves with bitterness. We must keep our eyes on the Lord, for His grace alone can protect us from our fallen nature. If we continually resist God, our bitterness with strengthen; if we humbly rely on God, His grace will abound. May we as God's children never hinder fellowship with Him by bitterness.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Hebrews 12:14;15

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Perfect Work

Trials in the Christian life are a righteous process of shaping character. Although we would not choose trials, God uses them to test us as gold tried in fire that we might glorify Him more wholly. The flame of adversity detects weaknesses and impurities, and like dross they can be extracted for increased worth. Heat causes elements to become fluent; so do trials. When under the correct temperature, liquid gold is cast into a mold. Likewise, the understanding Christian is transformed for a more fruitful purpose under the burden of affliction. Are trials in life only revealing your character –or refining it too?

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:2-4;12

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In God's Ears

Writing this sentence is only one of the many ways to communicate. The most used form of communication is speech, and God commands that Christians take this seriously. Every word we say –and the time in which we do-- is answerable to God. “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed(1 Sam. 2:3).” “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few(Ecc. 5:2).” According to the Bible, we should well consider our words --He does. However, we will also find in the Bible that no man can control his tongue. Is this a worthless effort? No. God's WORD confirms us what ungodly speech reaps, what words are expected of us, and what victory He can give with our mouth.

James 3 acquaints us with the tongue: “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison(James 3:5;8)”. Even valiant men of the Bible are examples of an undisciplined speech. “Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth(Job 7:11;40:4).” Job experienced unspeakable regret for his unbridled tongue. Jephthah also found himself bound with the drastic consequences of his mouth. “And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back(Judges 11:35).” Such a well-meant promise brought much grief to this man and his family. It is important to acknowledge the chaos of a froward mouth and to pray for a holy hatred of it as in Proverbs 8:13.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved(Romans 10:9).” From the time of Salvation our conversation is ushered into a new calling of righteousness. We daily continue “putting off of the old man” by feeding the “new man” with God's truth. Our speech reveals our depth of faith. Believing God's words, we are inclined to act accordingly. As Christians our speech has the purpose of (1) praising the Lord throughout the whole day, (2) diligently teaching our family God's faithful judgments, (3) edifying -or at times lovingly confronting- brothers and sisters in Christ, (4) and witnessing the Gospel as the Spirit leads. “Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with Thy honour all the day( Ps. 71:8).” “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up(Deut. 6:6;7).” “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers(Eph. 4:29).”

Righteous speech is something learned. “And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do(Exod. 4:15).” Who could be a better Teacher than our infallible God, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth”? Words flow naturally from the thoughts of the heart. Like water spilled on the ground, words are uneasy to recover. “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things(Prov. 15:28).” Set a watch before your mouth, be accountable in conversation, and resolve to glorify God in your thoughts and words. Prayerfully establish a standard you will not regret. Having a godly testimony of speech is not only obedience, but also an implement of ministry. “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand(Ps. 149:6).” In Psalm 119:88 we find that as we more acknowledge His lovingkindness, we are more quickened to speak as He wills.

Placing yourself far from corrupt words, distinguishing what is acceptable, and seeking to honor God with the voice He has given is part of Christian maturity. Closely regarding what God says is important is wisdom. God's Word is faithful and true, never failing. Beholding It can change our character to be more like Christ. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...(Proverbs 23:7).” “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ(Romans 15:6).” Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. “ Ps. 19:14