Category Archives: Faith
Let’s take a look at the following verse from the tenth chapter of Proverbs.
The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. – Proverbs 10:20
When we look at this verse, it is important for us to remember that there is a comparison/contrast being made. An “opposite parallelism” is being used to make a point that one thing is valuable, while another is worthless.
In this case, it is easy to notice that Solomon is contrasting “the tongue of the just” with “the heart of the wicked.” The tongue of the just person (the words that he speaks) is something beautiful and of great value, while the wicked man’s heart is just the opposite. But if we were to look a little deeper, there is more than meets the eye, or first impressions.
What is really being contrasted are the hearts of both the wicked and the just. You see, what comes out of a person’s mouth is directly related to what’s in his heart. Proverbs 16:23 says, “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.” In the book of James (3:11) we read, “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?”
Essentially, you can tell what is in a person’s heart by what comes out of his mouth. Jesus said, “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” – Matthew 15:11 (NLT)
Do you like to tell dirty jokes? Then there must be lust in your heart. Do you always talk hateful? Then there is hatred (and maybe murder – see Matthew 5:21-22) in your heart.
Do you ever talk about God? About Jesus? About your love for Him? If not, maybe He’s not in there.
Do you realize that your heart is on display? No, I don’t mean that your chest cavity is transparent, nor do I mean that everyone can see your bloody, beating heart muscle. That’s sick!
What I do mean to say is that there is no hiding what is in your heart; because your words, the words from your mouth, tell the whole story.
Maybe we should listen to ourselves. Maybe we should ask others to tell us what they hear. Maybe we should be like King David and pray this prayer…
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”– Psalm 19:14
The above commentary was first published in my other blog, Proverbial Thought. It can also be found in Proverbial Thought: Your Daily Word of Wisdom from Proverbs (Parson’s Porch, 2014).
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” – Luke 18:11, 13
Looking for Perfection?
God doesn’t use perfect people; He uses REAL people. Yet sadly, within the church, there are many men and women who have felt inferior and useless because of sinful and broken pasts.
They are the people who sit on the pews, week after week, doing all they can to be faithful in life, but are forbidden to hold positions in the church.
They are much like the Publican, men and women who know they have failed before, but want to be forgiven and start new. They are not the ones that look down on others for mistakes they’ve made.
Genesis of Dysfunction
A while back I read through the book of Genesis in a couple of sittings. Reading a book of the Bible that way, especially in a different translation, can help you see the story from a new perspective. This time I was just astounded at how messed up these people really were! There was so much “stuff” going on that if it were today, it would make an episode of Jerry Springer look tame!
Consider, if nothing else, the sad story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. This was a seriously messed up family with real marital problems. At one point, Leah and Rachel get into a jealous argument over a son’s mandrakes. Just imagine you were a marriage counselor and listened in to the following story…
Reuben went out during the wheat harvest and found some mandrakes in the field. When he brought them to his mother, Leah, Rachel asked, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But Leah replied to her, Isn’t it enough that you have taken my husband? Now you also want my son’s mandrakes?”
“Well,” Rachel said, “you can sleep with him tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” When Jacob came in from the field that evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come with me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So Jacob slept with her that night. – Geneses 30:14:16 HCSB
Check this out…
- Twice Abraham told other people that his wife, Sarah, was his sister so that he would not be harmed.
- Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him to traveling salesmen.
- Jacob and Esau were seriously at odds.
- Leah, poor thing, kept trying to have children so that her husband, Jacob would love her.
And there’s more!
- Jacob’s father-in-law, Laban, got him drunk on his wedding night and gave him the wrong wife – on purpose.
- The son’s of Jacob (founders of ten of the tribes of Israel) lied to a bunch of men about making a covenant, then proceeded to slaughter all of them after they had convinced them to be circumcised.
It just goes on and on. Messed up, I am telling you! MESSED UP!
God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” How is this even possible?
If God can use Abraham and his family with all their problems to bless the nations, then He can use ANYBODY!
That’s probably not a shock to most of you, I bet. If you can log on to a computer, check your email, or read a text, then you are most likely capable of knowing what day of the week it is.
It’s Saturday…just Saturday.
But at least it’s not like that Saturday back in the 30’s – the 0030’s, that is! Back then there were some men and women waking up to a Saturday morning like no other. Their teacher, mentor, leader, and Master had suffered a most horrific death, and now he was in a tomb. This was not the kind of day they expected.
It was Saturday, the Sabbath, and all their hopes and dreams lay cold and lifeless in a sealed grave.
What were they feeling?
How does it feel to go from the top of the world with every expectation of glory, to utter despair and the expectation that at any moment the ones who ripped your leader to shreds could soon find you and do the same?
With despair comes shame, anger, blame, and fear. On what was supposed to be a “day of rest,” hearts must have been restless, tumultuous, and breaking, crumbling to dust.
It must have been a long day, that Saturday.
Have you ever lost someone close, like a parent, a spouse, or a child? Have you ever left the hospital or the morgue, gone home in shock, only to be jolted by the piercing pain of reality when you see your loved one’s possessions?
The day after my father died my mother and sister experienced a moment like that (I wasn’t there, for I wouldn’t go home that night). My dad’s watch had an alarm set – it was the time he was supposed to get up – there was no getting up this time.
How did Jesus’ disciples feel that Saturday night? Their hopes seemed hopeless…their dreams had become a nightmare…the “Way, the Truth, and the Life” now seemed like nothing more than a dead-end road, a lie, and death.
It was Saturday…
But Sunday was coming.
It won’t be long before we will be celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus (April 21).
But what if today we’d take a moment to thank God this Saturday doesn’t have to be like that one back in the 30’s?
Sunday is coming! Rejoice! You don’t have to wait till Easter.
I just finished watching the following video with tears in my eyes. Please pray that God would humble the heart of Penn Jillete.
Today is Monday, but I guess you knew that.
How did you wake up? Was it with a sense of dread? Instead of turning off the alarm clock that woke you up, did you strike it like a mosquito that had been buzzing around your head for an hour?
I don’t like Mondays any more than you. As a matter of fact, Mondays are pretty rough. Mondays should be my day off, but I am (was) what they call a bivocational pastor; therefore, my alarm clock feels like a mosquito, too.
However, the Psalmist (David) says…
This [is] the day [which] the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24
Today…this Monday…every Monday…this is the day which the Lord has made. As a matter of fact, He has made every day. So, what will we do? Will we bemoan the blessing of waking up? Will we cry “foul” even before we enter the game? Will we start the day with the expectation that Monday will be like every other Monday?
This day was made by God. He knows what He is doing. Nothing will come our way that God is not already planning to use for our good – for those who love Him.
Today you may face a storm that leaves you feeling abandoned by God. You may feel like the disciples who were out on the Sea of Galilee all night fighting winds and waves. You may think that your Savior has forgotten you. Just remember that even in the worst storm, on the worst day, Jesus knows where you are.
When the time is right you might even get an invitation to surf the waves of adversity (Matthew 14:27).
So, rejoice! Be glad! Seize the day! It’s been custom-made for you!