Browsing Tag

The tongue

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Temptations

Mine are mostly of the tongue. I am not tempted by alcohol. I am not tempted to commit adultery, at all. I am not tempted to steal or to bow before a statue. But I am tempted to answer my husband sharply. I am tempted to speak flattery (“minimal” falsehoods (that really aren’t minimal), to lie, to gossip, to speak the words of a busybody, to spend more time commenting on Facebook than contemplating in His book.

The writer of James tells us that, if we can control the tongue, we can conquer the whole body (James 3). Conversely, what that tells me is that, unless and until I can have the mastery over the tongue, the whole “rest of me” is vulnerable. The way the devil gets to the rest of me is through deceit, gossip, slander, disrespect and malice of the tongue. 

I can see how this works. If I am comfortable hurting someone with my tongue (or my  keyboard) then I am hardening my conscience about malice, and soon, I may lose my self control in other, more physical ways. If I lose control of my tongue in disrespect to my spouse, I am leaving my life vulnerable to disobeying him and/or publicly disrespecting Him. It’s like a wildfire growing out of control and hurting those in its path. (I think I read that in a book!) 

See, sin never lies dormant. It grows. I have waited three weeks for my heirloom tomato seeds to sprout something green in those little cups in my window. The plants are just not going to happen and I am sad. I coddled those little seeds, watering just the right amount and leaving them in the sunlight. I could not wait to show my friend in Missouri, who gave me those precious seeds, my sandwich-sized tomatoes! 

But, can I ever grow weeds! You don’t have to coddle sin. You just throw it somewhere in your world and it can grow anywhere. That’s why it’s called the “tares” (Matthew 13:25,26). I wish you could get a green thumb award for growing weeds. I can grow weeds like nobody’s business. That’s how sin is. Just let one weed get in your garden out there and you’ve got enough to “pull out” or eliminate to keep you busy for the whole growing season.

It’s especially true with a lie. I know people who cannot stop. I really do believe they have lied so very long that they have hardened themselves to truth. They have all but lost the ability to discern the difference between speaking a lie and speaking truth. Sometimes they convince themselves that the lies upon which they are building their lives, are truth. I’m sad for these people because it is a miserable way to live, wondering about exposure all the time and worrying about who knows what. I want to live so that, when I hear that someone has said something awful about me, that I am not worried about exposure, but rather I want the truth about my life to be laid bare. I want the truth about my life to be fully exposed. 

There are just some passages that you believe, in theory, when you are twelve years old. You believe them then because they are in the Bible and the Bible is true. But when you’re 64, you have come to “believe” them in a whole different way. You believe them in a practical way, You have seen the tangible, palatable, real-world effect of both the reverence for the passage and the disregard of the scripture. That’s why James is often called the most practical book of the Bible. And what James 3 says about the tongue is some of the most applicable, practical truth in all of the striving Christian’s world. The fire can rage in your world. Or the fire can be doused every time before it spreads. I want to have my Lord’s truth, His water of life to douse my fire every time before the damage is done.  

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Six, Yea Seven

In Job five, we find Eliphaz opining about the “six-yea-seven” things from which the Lord will deliver His people. I do not believe Eliphaz was speaking from any kind of Holy Spirit inspiration. Yet, it is interesting that he placed the “scourge of the tongue” right in there with famine, dearth, early death, war and the danger of the beasts of Job’s day. I don’t think we have to be inspired with revelation to understand that the tongues of wicked men are often our greatest enemies. The tongue of wickedness is a worse enemy than famine, war or dearth (all of which can make us poor and destitute), because the tongue is not just destructive of health or safety; it can be damaging to a Christian’s good reputation. A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches! (I read that in a book!) Here’s Eliphaz on “six, yea, seven”:

For he maketh sore, and bindeth up;

He woundeth, and his hands make whole.

He will deliver thee in six troubles;

Yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.

In famine he will redeem thee from death;

And in war from the power of the sword.

Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue;

Neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.

At destruction and dearth thou shalt laugh;

Neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field;

And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.

And thou shalt know that thy tent is in peace;

And thou shalt visit thy fold, and shalt miss nothing.

Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great,

And thine offspring as the grass of the earth.

Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age.

In fact, it’s interesting to notice that other “six-yea-seven” passage over in Proverbs 6:16-19—the one that chronicles the things the Lord hates— has at least three things that derive from wicked tongues: a lying tongue, a false witness and one who sows discord. 

These six things the Lord hates,

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.

No wonder, marvel or surprise at all that James, thus, says, in 3:6-8: 

And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beasts and birds, of creeping things and things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed by mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison.

It’s also pretty interesting that James, in this short paragraph about the tongue, credits its danger directly to hell. He’s very clear in the assertion that the devil can use my tongue to accomplish his purposes. The tongue is a great and lively tool. We can restore the tool to its Owner and Maker or we can let it be taken by the thief and deceiver. Awareness of our jobs in tongue-taming is a great step toward true success. Master the tongue and avoid the arson of the wicked one. Recognize the disastrous effects that come on the righteous from someone’s wild tongue as a pretty direct attack from Satan—and get your shield up (Ephesians 6:17)! The darts are appropriately termed “fiery.”

(Both James and Job figured out the tongue. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1:22). James, according to good history,  gave his earthly life to gain the reward, by repeating a brave confession of Jesus as the Christ.” I pray I can figure it out, too. Tongue-taming is a life-long challenge.)

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #27: Proverbs 12:16–Control your Temper

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs: Control your temper. 

“A fool’s wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame” (Prov. 12:16).

Humans are unique from one another in what tempts them to sin.  What tempts one man may hold no appeal at all to another man. It behooves us to always remember, when degrading someone because of what tempts them, that we all live in the same world…a world in which all are tempted by the same Devil.  I may not understand the temptation another person fights, but I can surely sympathize with it.

Remember what James said about temptation and how we’re all different:  “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).  

For some, the number one temptation is that of losing their tempers and saying or doing things that damage, even permanently. It would be a mistake to underestimate the challenge some have controlling their tempers.  Sometimes growing up with outbursts of temper leaves a permanent impression that a child will never escape. James goes on to describe a life lived going from one problem to the next because of this sin:  “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (James 3:5-6). 

Today’s proverb says that a “fools wrath is known at once,” which means he makes a habit of speaking his mind without ever pausing to think about the consequence.  It’s so easy in a moment of frustration to use large and crushing words such as, “You always….”,  or “You never…”,   I hate everything about you,” or “My life would be so much happier if I didn’t have to be around you.”

I heard of a husband saying to his wife, “I always speak my mind. It may not be pleasant, but you always know where you stand with me. If I’m mad, I’m like a shotgun. There’s a big blast, but then I’m over it.”  His wife responded, “You may be over it, but it always leaves this big hole in my chest.”

Do you live with someone whose greatest temptation to sin involves temper—someone who lives life from one problem to the next because of words ill-spoken? Is that someone you? Scripture anticipated this problem and offers us insight. Today, take some time to meditate on our proverb about temper.  Be sure to add the ones below, and then spend time in prayer for strength to control yourself when you are stressed and angry.

He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction (Prov. 13:3).

He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly (Prov. 14:29).

A soft answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). 

Bible Time With Glenn and Cindy

The text for our Bible time tonight is 2 Samuel 11:26-27.

When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

The deed was done. Lust had turned to adultery. Deceit and murder followed and now there’s no going back. No setting it right. As this passage, in so many words states, David and Bathsheba moved on. Bathsheba mourned and then married the adulterous partner and moved into the palace with David, awaiting the birth of their baby. But the last phrase of this chapter is the most important commentary on the events that precede it:

The thing that David had done displeased the Lord. 

That’s the phrase for our study tonight.

  1. After reviewing the story up to this point by asking your children questions, emphasize to them that this last phrase of chapter 11 is pivotal. Whatever thing we may do, in this life, cannot be a good thing if it is a thing that displeases the Lord.  Think with them about how this is illustrated in this chapter of David’s life.

a. Have your children recall if they have ever moved into a new house. Remind them, if so, how busy and exciting that time is–when they see everything new and all the boxes have to be unpacked. Bathsheba is moving into a beautiful new house–the palace! Do you think it is a fun and exciting time for her? Make your children understand that when we displease the Lord, it ruins everything. Of course, Bathsheba’s life was not really happy right now.

b. Bathsheba and David had a new baby, too. If you have more than one child, remind them of the excitement of the time when a new baby is born. There is a new baby in the palace. But David and Bathsheba know, in their hearts, that everything about their lives is wrong right now. David has stolen Uriah’s wife and then made sure Uriah was killed. None of the things, that might ordinarily be wonderful and fun, are fun when God’s people do things that we know are wrong. The palace is not a very happy place right now. People in the palace have guilty consciences.

c. David thinks his big sins are secrets. But Who knows about his sin? Who always know whether we are doing right or wrong?

d. It’s important to remember three things tonight about God. See if you can remember these three things and tomorrow night, we’re going ask you to name these three things again.

  • First, God knows everything. There is nothing that God does not know. (Think of a number between 1 and 100 and ask your kids to tell you what number. Emphasize to them that God knows. He know everything.) Read to them Psalm 139:4.
  • Second, God is everywhere at all times. It is impossible for us to hide from God. (Do one round of hide and seek. Emphasize to them that, while you did not know where they were, God did.) Read to them Jeremiah 23:24.
  • Third, God can do anything He wants to do. He has all power. Ask your children to tell you something from the Bible that shows God’s amazing power. They might tell you about the plagues in Egypt or the fire from heaven at the altar of Baal or about Jesus walking on the water (Alternately, you can ask them to tell you something about creation that shows the infinite power of God.) Read to them Matthew 19:26.

(For teens, you can give the names of these attributes: omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence. With all children talk about these three characteristics of God and ask them, at each juncture, if any man can do what God can do. For younger children explain that these are real true-to-life super-powers; that God really can do all of these things. That’s how he knew every detail about what David had done.)

2. Tell your kids that, tomorrow night, you will find out how God is going to let David know that he knows about all of his sins and that he is not pleased. God was there when David called for Bathsheba, because he is everywhere at all times. God knew what was in the envelope that Uriah took to Joab; because God knows everything. God can punish David anyway He wishes because God has all power.

 

Quote together God’s ideal for marriage: One man and one woman for life.

Quote together the Kidsing rule: Do the right thing.

Quote together the definition of true success: Living your life and going to heaven.

Pray with your children.

Lastly, ask them to tell you, one more time, the three things we are remembering about God.

(You may shorten to: knows everything, is everywhere, has all power.)

 

 

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

What I’m Reading…

…and I’m so excited about this book! I’m three chapters in and I already know it’s going to make me better and  stronger for the battle I constantly fight, and often lose, with the devil, over how I use my tongue.  Oh, so many times in my life, my dragon has come unleashed. One of my biggest regrets, in fact, is a day a couple of years ago when I was coming off a few sleepless nights, a family funeral, and a medicine that was affecting me in some negative ways, when my dragon came unleashed and breathed its fire at Celine Sparks, this book’s author. So many times, when things like this happen, you can ask forgiveness till the cows come home (or the dragon takes a nap), you can be assured it’s been given, but you will still be filled with regret. If only we could be prepared BEFORE the dragon awakes…BEFORE those days when we have so many excuses (That’s right…excuses) to set on fire the course of nature, as James said it.

That’s why I’m loving this book. It’s full of tools to help me be the dragon tamer I want to be. It’s Biblical in a way that forces me to confront the dragon–to realize His mighty destructive nature–and to do practical things to recognize, at the right moments, how to keep him from ruining relationships, especially the relationship most precious: the one I have with my Father.

I can’t wait to finish. If I can do this one thing, I’ll will have arrived. I mean, if I can control my tongue, I can manage the rest of me. That’s what James said in 3:2. If I can just get the bridle in that dragon’s mouth…

If  you’re working on that bridle and leash, you could use this tool. There are many places to buy the book, but I’d order it directly from Celine by emailing her at sparksremarks@hotmail.com.