Wednesday, September 25, 2013

TAMING THE TONGUE

Suggested Reading: Psalms 38-39

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Here is an "arrow loop" in the wall of Jerusalem's Zion Gate. These were slots in the walls through which defenders would shoot arrows in ancient times. We may not shoot literal arrows, but Jeremiah 9:8a says, "Their tongue is as an arrow shot out." Zion Gate is located in the southern part of the Old City. This gate was used by the Israel Defense Forces in 1967 to enter and capture the Old City. The stones surrounding the gate are still pockmarked by weapons fire. This entrance leads to the Jewish and Armenian quarters.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: Psalm 39:1

I said, “I will guard my ways,

Lest I sin with my tongue;

I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle,

While the wicked are before me.”

 

There’s a very big word here which has only one letter, the letter “i.” In these two Psalms “i,” or actually the capital “I,” appears 19 times. Could it be that we focus on ourselves too much and not enough on God? Our tongues provide the most obvious indication of what’s going on inside the “I.” David, Solomon, Paul and James all wrote about the problem we have with our tongues. James even wrote that our tongues can start a forest fire (read James 3:1-10). Dangerous or what? David writes that he can stop sinning with his tongue by guarding his ways and restraining his mouth with a muzzle. We muzzle dangerous dogs, but is this the best way to keep us, as humans made in God’s image, from backbiting and attacking one another? Self (the big “I”) control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). The Spirit produces this fruit of self-control in our lives, not the big “I.” The Apostle Paul follows his description of the fruit of the Spirit with these words, “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh (the “I”) with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). Therefore, controlling our tongues is possible by yielding daily to the Spirit of God. It will take time for good fruit to grow and ripen, so that if someone takes a bite out of us, they will taste the goodness of Jesus, who dwells in every believer.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, Your servant David, twice in today’s reading, compares our lives to “vapor.” Like the morning mist, my life seems to evaporate. I ask, “Where has time gone?” Therefore, Lord, I pray all the more fervently that You will make every moment and every word I speak or write count for good. Fill me up to overflowing, I pray, so that from the overflow of Your Spirit I will bless others with the words my tongue speaks. Amen!!!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

For some reason the sitcom which featured Archie and Edith Bunker comes to mind. I remember that when Edith would be making her point rather emotionally, Archie would say, “Stifle yourself1” I’m laughing as I imagine the scene, but in reality it was no laughing matter to be a part of such a dysfunctional family. Perhaps the essence of comedy is the difference between what I am as a person and what I know I should be. It’s much easier, and more fun, to laugh than to cry. Archie’s instructions to his wife, “Stifle yourself,” never worked. Edith’s tongue kept right on upsetting Archie in every episode.

By God’s Spirit, who according to the Scriptures lives in me, I can have a tongue which follows the instruction given by Solomon, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).

During the 1990s up to the year 2000, I watched the Sunday morning telecast from the famous People’s Church, Toronto, with Dr. John Hull, the People’s Church Pastor. Dr. Hull used words very well indeed. I’m delighted that he has now joined Crossroads as our Chief Executive Officer. He spent the last 12 years as President and CEO of Equip, developing it into mighty world-wide ministry. I put “Dr. John Hull – Equip” into Google on my computer and found a press release about his coming back to Canada and to us at Crossroads (click here). Actually there’s much more there about John. You may want to do the same with your computer.

Yours for words “fitly spoken” to people around us and in prayer to God!

David

A wider view of the Zion Gate described in the photo above.

17 thoughts on “Wednesday, September 25, 2013

  1. “You are confronted again and again with the choice of letting God speak or letting your wounded self cry out. Although there has to be a place where you can allow your wounded part to get the attention it needs, your vocation is to speak from the place in you where God dwells.” (by Henri J.M. Nouwen)

  2. Paul said that if a man or woman is a believer and the spouse is not, if the believer chooses to stay with the spouse, maybe the spouse will also become a believer. However, we are also not supposed to let ourselves be put where, or with people, from which or who we would be corrupted. The rituals of puriffication in the old testament are paradoxical to a spiritual truth. A believer should not be in a bar where he or she will be tempted to commit adultery. However, if Edith could be patient with Archie and Archie was not a snake or a dog, it was a blessing that they stayed married and loved each other. But, if Archie would cause Edith to fall away from God, she should leave. Satan is always trying to muddy the water to blur the truth but Jesus can still show the truth.

  3. I most often forget to cry out to God with my needs. I also have problems with my tongue when people cut me off on the highway (which is quite often on the 403 in the Hamilton area). I’m always asking for forgivenness for that. Lord have mercy.

    • Think I know the spot Doreen. 403 at the link near Ancaster just before Stone Church Road? I”m almost positive that God would forgive you Doreen. haha! The Hamilton Department of Public Works that is responsible for tjis roadway? Maybe not so much! haha!

  4. We are to give thanks to God in all things , Help meto speak words of encouragement and keep my lips from dirty words and speak love and peace , and speak little and listen twice as much for having one mouth , and two ears
    Help us Lord to speak your words , and hear your voice to help our brothers and sisters , and to help our brothers and sisters to keep from sin
    Amen

  5. I think we all forget at times the power our words have. Words can build up a person or tear them down. Words can encourage or discourage a person’s heart. Words can inspire a nation or lead them down to wrong path.
    So yes I agree it is important to try to watch what we say and why we say them, but I found it equally as vital to protect your ears to what we listen to. Sometimes the two are link. I find if I compromise and watch a popular movie or television show that contains a lot of cursing, I notice the next day I have a harder time not cursing. If I listen to gossip it becomes harder not to gossip. If I listen to degrading remarks I find it harder not to degrade others.
    So although not a complete solution to the problem, I discover a good starting point for trying to tame my tongue begins with protecting my ears.

  6. I give thanks for, and cling to the Psalms. They really hit home! To think that David wrote these Psalms thousands of years ago, and they fit exactly to what we deal with in our everyday lives, now, is mind blowing. That is our God–knowing everyone, every thought, every feeling, and everything, that exists for all time.

    I will be as the dew unto Israel. Hosea 14:5

    ‘In the dew of the morning, I come down to refresh and revive your soul. In the light of the morning, I dispel the darkness of your mind. In the joy of the morning I dispel the sadness of your spirit. You do not make these things happen. They are My gift and My work in your soul. I am still doing “a new thing,” and it is My will that you be blessed in it. Bless Me in your heart–sanctify My name within your heart. Turn aside from every wicked thought and seek Me more faithfully and more frequently as your day goes on. Weariness comes, not from fighting, but from surrendering to the blandishments of the adversary.’

    Echoes of Eternity, Listening to the Father, Vol 1., Hal M. Helms, September Twenty-fifth, p. 207.

  7. I always try to pray when I’m about to enter into a situation for God to help me to listen to what God would want me to say before I speak. Also there have times been a time when I come up to a friends who is about to tell something like a joke, and
    said “Lianne I don’t think you would like to hear this” then I go some where else.
    Have a good day blog buddies
    Lianne Hogg

  8. How often we forget to trust that “He who began a good work in us is faithful to complete it”

    Thank you Lord that you are faithful and do all things well… keep my tongue from slipping I pray, and my heart to hear You.

  9. It is an awesome thing to say the least that God in dwells in us , flawed vessels. God is in us but we still main tain our inner self with in the gift of free will.
    There have been times when I have been angery with my self for some thing I have said I wished I’d never said . I have prayed to the Lord and asked for his forgiveness and asked that his will would be done through me. I have prayed that he would speak through me ,not me speak through me. I never want to hurt any one.
    And yet I confess that there is a little part of me that needs to die. It is the voice of selfishness that says…………
    “I want to jump in ,all in, but I don’t want to get my hair wet.”

    I am so greatful to you David and to all of you who assist David in preparing this wonderful blog each and every morning, you are all Rocks . Thank you!! And thank you for getting your hair wet. 🙂

    Dear Lord please remove from me that little part of me that doesn’t want to get my hair wet. In Jesus name Amen!!!!
    Love and prayers to all, have a blessed day.
    M.

    • So, now that I have read over that quote again, yes I see how surrender to the blandishments of The Adversary would make a person weary at best.

  10. May His grace be sufficient for us all, that we may be able to listen to the Holy Spirit in us before using our tounge every min of our lives, Amen! May God bless us all and lead us all in the right path according to His riches in glory !

  11. I love the Psalms as there are so many verses, God can make Himself real to us. The key verse today is exactly my experience yesterday as I took my car back to the repairman to get some of the bodywork redone. I knew it was not going to be easy but I asked the Lord to help me and He answered my prayer. I was not going to write this but the key verse was so real to me. I had to be firm but I wanted to be a good testimony to this man. God is our” ever present help in time of need.” Trust that is your experience today. God bless.

  12. I try to remember “silence is golden” but I don’t always remember that. When I lash out with my tongue, I am quick to apologize and I am learning to wait patiently before I answer or speak out.

    Jesus does do all things well and let’s be still and know that He is God.

    The Psalms are so uplifting and as Beverlee said so up to date for us today.

  13. Wow this is a good one for me. Having grown up with a mother who spoke her every thought I struggle to control my tongue even though my heart so desires a different reaction. With 4 young children it is very easy to speak when we shouldn’t and react when we need to stay calm but it is encouraging to read that it takes time for good fruit to grow and ripen! Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself but just continue to turn to God for grace and strength. Thank you for this blog, it keeps me on track to spending time alone with God daily, even with the constant distractions and fatigue of young children. You are a blessing and I am really enjoying your book.

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