Tag 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).
Like vs. Love
I like coffee, but I wouldn’t say I love it. My wife and kids, on the other hand, are worth dying for. I love them. I only like coffee. I’m not going to jump in front of a moving train to save an espresso.
Now, it must be said that I also like tea. Thanks to the influence of certain English folk, my tea consumption has increased a thousand fold! Yet, tea is not coffee. Sometimes I want coffee more than tea. Sometimes tea needs to leaf me alone. There’s a big difference between loose-leaf anything and some medium roast Jamaican Blue Mountain. That’s real coffee, and I really like it.
What is Real?
But wait! That raises a question. What is real coffee? What is the difference between freshly brewed coffee and let’s say, uh, freeze-dried instant? Both are real, aren’t they?
Fake coffee. Whoever still drinks that stuff on purpose should be psychologically evaluated. Coffee is only coffee if it comes about as the result of gently ground coffee beans being caressed by steaming hot water. Chicory is of the Devil.
Instant coffee. It comes packaged in a jar, but it is made from real coffee. It may not taste as good as fresh-brewed, but it’s real, nevertheless. The worst instant coffee is still better than dandelion tea, believe me.
Nasty coffee. Even the stuff you find in a gas station, an army mess tent, or a crazy relative’s thermos is still coffee. Coffee is coffee, even if it tastes like road tar.
“Unleaded.” What I don’t understand is decaffeinated coffee. Sure, it tastes the same to most people, but why would anyone want it? Without the caffeine coffee is…well…it’s just not coffee. It has the look and taste, but no umph, no kick, no power.
Decaffeinated Christianity is the same way. It looks like the real thing. It smells like the real thing. It tastes like the real thing. For crying out loud, it even outsells full-strength, real Christianity 10 to 1! People love it! They wear t-shirts promoting their favorite brand. Yet, decaffeinated Christianity is no better than decaffeinated coffee without the Power.
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! – 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT
What are you drinking?
If a fruit fly was asked to submit a list of things he’d want to accomplish in life, it would probably be pretty short and sweet.
If he could write, it would go something like, “Eat, procreate, and die.”
I am not a fruit fly. Yet, back in 2012 while in seminary I was asked to provide a list of my personal ministry objectives. Wasting no opportunity, I wrote a blog post about them and even incorporated them into my resume (where they remain to this day).
But as I was reviewing them this morning, I realized they were points that defined something more than just ministry: they are my life!
Ministry (including preaching, teaching, counseling, etc.) is more than just a job, a career, or a chosen field of service; it is my calling, my personality, my way of life. It’s who I am.
The following “objectives” shouldn’t only describe the things I want to accomplish; they should be a description of the man God has molded me to be.
The only question, then, is how well am I being ME in the context in which I’ve been given?
When people say “Just be yourself,” it’s good to know who yourself is.
My ministry objectives:
- To bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ in all that I do, and all I go through.
- To “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” and “to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”
- To affect future generations yet to come as children are grounded, parents become responsible, singles are emboldened, and the aged get a second wind. 
- To be known as a humble and consistent husband and father whose household serves the Lord;  a forgiven sinner who understands grace; and a fearless soldier of the Cross who never compromises the truth.
- To promote the preaching and teaching of the Gospel in every part of the world.
Update: Literally, just minutes after I posted this, a friend sent out a group text (which I received) that included the following sermon by Tony Evans. Awesome.
 Psa 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
 1Pe 1:7 – That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
 1Ti 4:13 – Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
 Act 6:4 – But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
 Jos 4:21-24 – And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What [mean] these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it [is] mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.
 Pro 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
 Jos 24:15 – And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
 1Cr 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
 1Ti 1:15 – This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
 Mar 8:34 – And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
 1Ti 4:16 – Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
 Act 1:8 – But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
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!