Wisdom for Daily Living #18: The Deadly Sins of the Tongue

PROVERBS DAY #18: THE DEADLY SINS OF THE TONGUE

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Prov. 18:21).

The title for today’s devotional is adapted from a chapter in Robert Morris’ book The Power of Your Words. There are so many challenging nuggets of wisdom in Proverbs relating to our speech, so today we are going to look at a few of them.

Deadly Sin #1: Lying – Telling the Untruth:

In the list of the seven things the Lord hates, the second one is a lying tongue (Prov. 6:16-19). Even though this is one of the most common, widespread sins that people commit, that doesn’t mean God approves of it. Proverbs 12:22 tells us that “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” God hates lying!

Deadly Sin #2: Strife – Stirring Up Division:

Another item on the list of the seven things the Lord hates is one who sows discord among brethren, or stirs up strife. Proverbs 6:15 warns us that these people will be destroyed suddenly, broken beyond all hope of healing.

Deadly Sin #3: Gossip – Dishing the Dirt:

A gossip is a person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts. The Bible warns us about such people: “A gossip tells secrets, so don’t hang around with someone who talks too much.” (Prov. 20:19). Don’t gossip!

Deadly Sin #4: Slander – Passing Along False Information:

Slander is worse than gossip because it is a false, malicious statement about someone. Proverbs 10:18b says, “whoever spreads slander is a fool.” The Bible warns us not to keep company with a slanderer (1 Cor. 5:11).

Deadly Sin #5: Talebearing – Breaking Confidences:

“A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.” (Prov. 11:13). In the church, people should feel safe to confess their sins to one another and know that what they share will be kept in confidence.

Deadly Sin #6: Contentious Speech – Habitually Speaking Strife:

Someone who is contentious is argumentative, combative or quarrelsome. “It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a contentious wife in a lovely home.” (Prov. 21:9). God doesn’t want us to be argumentative.

These are only a few of the ways that we can speak death into other people’s lives. But don’t forget that we also have the power in our tongue to speak life, encouragement, affirmation and blessing into people’s lives, too!

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #17: From Facebook to Face-to-Face – #Proverbs

PROVERBS DAY #17: FROM FACEBOOK TO FACE-TO-FACE CONNECTIONS 

“A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.” (Prov. 17:17).

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Prov. 18:24).

I can still remember the best friend I ever had in elementary school. His name was Jamie. His dad was the coach of our little league baseball team, and we did everything together. Friends have always been such an important part of my life, and I think that’s probably true of most people.

In the world today, it seems like people are more isolated from one another than ever before. People may have 500 friends on Facebook, but how many of those connections are real life friends? It seems that in our social networking age, we’ve lost the art of face to face communication. Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here: I enjoy Facebook just as much as the next person, but we can’t allow our online friendships to become a substitute for real world interactions.

So how do those of us living in the 21st century maintain our important face to face friendships? By going back to the Book of Wisdom – Proverbs – and learning God’s keys for healthy relationships. We see three of them in the above Scriptures:

1.     A Friend Loves at All Times:

Did you ever notice that on the bottom left hand corner of your friends profile pages on Facebook that there is an “Unfriend” button? What a sign of the times! If your friend does something you don’t like, you just unfriend them. This is not how to keep and maintain healthy relationships. We must learn to love at all times and be loyal friends who stick closer than a brother. Jesus gave us that example of friendship when He said that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Let’s love at all times…

2.     A Friend Helps His Friends When They’re in Trouble:

Solomon said that a brother is born for adversity. What does that mean? The New Living Translation says, “A brother is born to help in a time of need.” A true friend will help their friends when they go through difficult times. Jesus is a great example for us in this: “Jesus didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out.” (Romans 15:3, msg).

3.     If You Want Friends, Be Friendly:

I love the common sense wisdom of the Bible: If you want to have friends, then simply start by being friendly! If you want to have a good friend, then be a good friend. Wisdom to live by…

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #16: Avoiding Deadly Strife and Anger – #Proverbs

AND ANGER 

“A perverse man sows strife, And a whisperer separates the best of friends.” (Prov. 16:28).

On day six, we looked at seven things that the Lord hates, and it’s interesting to note that three of those seven have to deal with sins of the mouth – a lying tongue, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord. As we are working on building healthy relationships, God warns us about two deadly traps to avoid: strife and anger.

Solomon tells us that strife comes from a perverse person. A godly man on the other hand will not stir up strife. Strife is so deadly that it can even separate the best of friends. It is very dangerous cause strife, by gossiping about and slandering another person. Proverbs 6:15 warns us about the consequences about being a person who sows discord: “But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken beyond all hope of healing.” We must be ever-vigilant to guard against strife. Proverbs also warns us: “The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.” (Prov. 17:14). “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.” (Prov. 26:20). Want to stop the deadly fire of strife? Stop gossiping!

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” (Prov. 16:32).

Not only does the Bible warn against the dangers of strife, but it warns us against anger also. If you can control your anger, you are better than a strong or mighty person who could win a city! Here again, Solomon contrasts a wise person with a foolish person: “A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back.” (Prov. 29:11). People who say, “I can’t control my anger!” are denying the truth of this Scripture. If you are a wise person – someone who loves the Lord, and walks in righteousness – then you can hold back your anger if you want to. When the Holy Spirit controls your life, you will produce the opposite of anger, which is peace, patience, kindness and gentleness.

“And don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.” (Eph. 4:26-27). If you want to shut the door to the devil messing around in your life, then guard against anger.

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #15: Your Tongue is a Flame of Fire – #Proverbs

PROVERBS DAY #15: YOUR TONGUE IS A FLAME OF FIRE

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. The wise person makes learning a joy; fools spout only foolishness. The LORD is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Prov. 15:1-4).

Have you ever thought about how powerful your words are? Solomon tells us that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Prov. 18:21). Think about that for a minute. Every word you speak to someone can bring life or death to them. In the above passage of Scripture, we learn that our words can diffuse the most difficult fights or arguments. If we speak gentle words, we can turn away wrath. But if we respond with harsh words, we will only stir up that other person’s anger. We also learn here that gentle words can bring life and health to someone, and negative words can crush someone’s spirit.

James gives us a great word picture to help us see the power in our words when he writes: “The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” (James 3:5-6).

I think it’s interesting that James uses fire to represent the power of the tongue. Fire is a tool, and it can be used for either good or evil purposes. The same fire that can be used to cook your food or warm your house can also be used to burn down a building. Likewise, our words can be used to bring encouragement or comfort, or to bring death and destruction.

In his book, The Power of Your Words, Robert Morris gives three suggestions for how we can begin the process of taming our tongue.

Pause: Hold on there just a minute. Before you open your mouth, pause for a minute. James exhorts us to “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19). God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we talk!

Ponder: Let’s give that some thought. The Bible says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Eph. 4:29). If your words don’t fit into that category, then don’t say them!

Pray: Appeal to a higher power. If words are so powerful, then we should pray that God would give us the ability to tame our tongues. Let’s pray that God would set a guard over our mouths.

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #14: Control Your Anger and Relax – #Proverbs

PROVERBS DAY #14: CONTROL YOUR ANGER AND RELAX 

“Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes. A relaxed attitude lengthens life; jealousy rots it away.” (Prov. 14:29-30).

The Book of Proverbs gives us a smorgasbord of wisdom that applies to every area of our life: It gives us wisdom in our relationships, family life, dealing with finances and walking in righteousness. But it also gives us a window into our heart, and helps us to consider our emotions as well. In the above Proverb, Solomon addresses two different emotions: anger and jealousy.

Anger is not necessarily a bad thing. It is an emotion, and when we are treated unfairly, we are going to get angry. However, what we do with that emotion is what makes it good or evil. If we can control our anger, it proves that we have great understanding. But those with a hasty temper will make mistakes.

Solomon also tells us that we can choose one of two different attitudes to approach life – to be relaxed, or be jealous. A relaxed attitude will lengthen our life. So lighten up a little bit! Enjoy life. Be content with what you have, and don’t worry about what you don’t have. If you do this, you’ll enjoy the journey so much more. The alternative attitude is to be jealous of what other people have, and the end result is that it rots your life away.

So what is the antidote to a person who struggles with anger and jealousy? It’s easy to say, “Stop being so angry! Quit being jealous!” But it’s another thing entirely to try to control those emotions in your own life. What is the answer then? I believe it’s found in a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to a church in Galatia. He starts out by identifying the problem: “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5:19-21).

He then gives the solution: “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23). How do we get more of this fruit of the Spirit in our lives? Spend time with Jesus in prayer! Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #13: Discipline Your Children

PROVERBS DAY #13: DISCIPLINE YOUR CHILDREN 

“He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” (Prov. 13:24, NKJV).

“If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.” (Prov. 13:24, nlt).

In addition to general wisdom dealing with all of our relationships in life, the Book of Proverbs also has much wisdom that applies to family relationships as well. There is wisdom for children, parents, husbands and wives, all designed to help us have a strong and healthy family. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that the family is under attack today, and that our enemy the devil has launched an all-out attack against family. Marriages are failing. Children are wandering away from the Lord. All in an effort to destroy the God-ordained institution of the family. If we want our family to succeed, then we must turn to the wisdom in God’s Word to build our home.

In addition to writing the Proverbs, Solomon also wrote two of the Psalms that we have in the Bible. In Psalm 127, this wise king wrote:

“Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

Only a fool, or a very proud person, would think that he or she could have a strong healthy family without God’s wisdom! In the above Scripture, God gives us one of the important principles for parenting: Discipline. If you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them. However, this seems to contrary to the modern philosophy of parenting that says, “Children should be free to discover the world around them without boundaries or limits. Don’t give them rules, or you will hinder them from growing and learning.” What a stupid thought! If we love our children, we are going to give them rules, to protect them from danger.

A parent who tells their child, “Look both ways before you cross the street” knows that if a child doesn’t do this, they could be seriously hurt by oncoming traffic, or even killed. Therefore, if we love our children, and want the best for them, we will give them rules, and we will discipline them when they disobey, so that they can learn that there are consequences for negative behavior. Children – hear wisdom! “A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a young mocker refuses to listen.” (Prov. 13:1).

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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Wisdom for Daily Living #12: Choose Your Friends Wisely

PROVERBS DAY #12: CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (Prov. 12:26).

One of the things I love about the wisdom in Proverbs is that it is very practical, and applies to the important areas of our lives that we care about. First and foremost, life is all about relationships. The book of Proverbs gives us wisdom for having good and healthy friendships.

The above Proverb tells us that we should choose our friends very wisely. If we choose righteous and godly friends, they will help motivate us to seek after and pursue a relationship with God. But if we choose wicked and ungodly friends, they will ultimately lead us astray. It is a true principle that we become like those we hang around with! Another Proverb says, “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm.” (Prov. 13:20).

I first started attending church in the fall of 1990. This church, Solid Rock Ministries, had a great youth group, and a number of us became really good friends. Some of my closest friends were Steven, Wade, Tricia and Shauna. As a new Christian, they were such a positive influence on my life, and helped me to get excited about serving the Lord. We would go to church together, but we also spent a lot of time together doing other things as well. I remember one time the five of us hopped into Steven’s Isuzu Impulse (a cool red sports car) and drove from Regina to Edmonton for a Michael W. Smith and DC Talk concert. The day after the concert, we met Michael S. Smith at the West Edmonton mall. We always had so much fun together.

I thank God for those friends, because of the positive influence they had on my spiritual life. They encouraged me to attend church, to seek God, and to live for the Lord. They were a great support to me as new Christian when I was learning what it meant to follow Jesus. I remember one time going to my pastor, Erwin Dyck, with a question about speaking in tongues. I had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but had never spoken in tongues, and I didn’t know why. So my pastor took me to the Bible and showed me the Scripture in Acts 2:4 which said, “And they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them the utterance.” I realized that I had to open my mouth before the Lord would fill it. That night, my friend Steven drove me from the church in Regina to my home in the small town of Rouleau, Saskatchewan, about a half hour drive. The whole way home, Steven and I were speaking in tongues together, and I found such an incredible release of this gift of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Friends are so important, so choose your friends wisely!

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS CHAPTER TWELVE.

Pastor Chris Jordan

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