My wife at times is my designated apologizer. She often follows up on my hasty jokes before I even realize that they might have been too cute and inconsiderate. Several of Solomon’s proverbs have much to say about the difference between a wise person and a fool. Often they have to do with a hasty (rash; unduly quick) tongue. “Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Pv 29:20) “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.” (Pv 29:11) King David puts it this way, “ Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Ps 141:3) Today we might say, “Think before you blurt.”
Most of the time silence is golden. However, if one really does need to verbalize something, use the previous verses as a guide. Are the words measured, kind and helpful or demeaning and hasty? We should put ourselves in the position of the recipient of those words.
Jesus once told a crowd, “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean’ (Mt 15:11) He also spoke of hasty vows and said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Mt 15:8) We could also do that in our songs and prayers.
Someone might ask, “Didn’t Jesus use very harsh words when speaking to the Jewish Leaders?” In Matthew 23 he called the scribes and Pharisees, “blind guides and hypocrites.” In Luke 11 he called them, “…full of greed and wickedness and killers of the prophets…” Of course Jesus could read the minds and knew the intent of their hearts—we can’t!
Hasty words can morph into angry words if not properly monitored. An unknown Sunday School Teacher wrote these wise words in 1867, “Angry words! O let them never from my tongue unbridled slip; May the heart’s best impulse ever check them ere they soil the lip.” (Songs of Faith and Praise Hymnal # 719) What a great choice of words—unbridled—if it is needed on a horse, then so do humans need a bridle for the tongue.
How do all those millions of cell phone messages sent nearly every moment keep from colliding with each other or going to the wrong recipient? How does the brain know where to store our visions, audio messages and thoughts and then recall them decades later? How does the earth avoid a collision with other heavenly bodies? How did the human eye know how to coordinate and inculcate so many diverse elements into an organ of sight? These and many “how” questions continue to vex me. Even if I were to live another lifetime, I’d need a skilled and patient tutor to explain the answers.
(The first 50 years would probably be spent teaching me the math!) Continue reading
When asked this frequent question, I often reply, “Poorly, but God treats me great.” The world is a very broad term and how we are treated will vary from person to person. However, when it refers to those who have no respect for God nor any love of the truth (2 Thes 2:9-12), the contrast is quite evident.
The world that is controlled by Satan, “the prince of this world” (Jo 12:31), is an ugly, dark place because he is a murderer and a liar (Jo 8:44) as are his servants (2 Tim 3:1-5). Continue reading
I have been told by several people how they hate their name and in some cases even use their middle name instead. Imagine the stigma of having the family name of BOOTH or OSWALD. When one member of a family becomes a serial killer, as in the Las Vegas
massacre, the family name often becomes tainted. Of course this is extremely unfair, but it does happen (2 Ki 14:6).
Possibly the most notorious name in history belonged to Judas Iscariot. The last name probably indicated the city of Kerioth in Judea. He was a thief (Jo 12:4-6) and a traitor (Lk 6:16). He carried the title of apostle, lived and traveled with Jesus and the other 11 apostles, witnessed the miracles and yet still betrayed his Lord. Continue reading
Signs occur in a variety of situations to: Warn—BRIDGE OUT! DETOUR AHEAD ! Advise—BEST WHEN SERVED HOT! ENTRANCE IN BACK! Advertize –SALE! GRAND OPENING! Inform—EXIT! CLOSED ON SUNDAYS! Brag—BEST FOOD
IN DENVER! MY SON IS AN HONOR STUDENT! Amuse—ROSA’S MEXICAN CAFÉ-PRAISE THE LARD! STOP, DROP AND ROLL DOESN’T WORK IN HELL! SEATING FOR 1,000—13 AT A TIME!
Of course the word sign can also have a variety of other meanings: token, trace, omen, language and writing your signature. It expands even more by adding a preposition: sign in, sign up, sign off, sign on, etc, etc.
There are many written signs in the New Testament that Christians need to heed. Peter advised us to, BE PREPARED (to give an answer to seekers) (1 Pe 3:15). He warns us of a, ROARING LION AHEAD (the devil) (1 Pe 5:8). He also warns us to prepare for the end times, EARTH ON FIRE (2 Pe 3:10-12). Paul says that we can only boast in the, CROSS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (Gal 6:14). He informs us that NO WORK, NO EAT (1 Thes 3:10). Pilate advertized the importance of Christ by having a notice fastened to the cross which read, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS (Jo 19:19). I couldn’t find an example of an amusing written sign, (maybe you can) but Jesus used verbal humor when rebuking the Jewish religious leaders, “You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Mt 23:24) “You look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye.” (Mt 7:3)
Obviously if we look at all the written instruction in the New Testament we would find many, many more “signs” to write about. We could also avoid many of the traps set for us by our enemy the devil. We could also better heed the advice that Paul gave Timothy to teach others so they also could teach others (1 Tim 2:2).