Nothing may be more difficult in the Christian life than avoiding sin in the things that we say. James diagnoses the tongue as a “restless evil, full of deadly poison” (3:8). We experience plenty of circumstances and emotions every day that can easily set off a powder keg of demeaning and destructive words. And while we can’t control many of the negative things we encounter, the Bible says that we can experience increasing success in restraining our negative words. Consider the scene depicted in Proverbs that presumes a frustrated heart, a personal offense, or the pressure from a group of friends venting their own set of caustic words. We are told, “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent” (11:12). As James put it, that kind of restraint may be akin to the challenge of “taming” a wild a beast, but God expects us to be men and women of understanding who with God’s help learn to shut their mouths. Our minds may quickly amass plenty of fuel to add to the fire of words, exposing more dirt, “slandering,” and “revealing secrets” as the next verse in Proverbs says, but “he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered” (11:13). May there be more trustworthy spirits among us who honor Christ and display the power of God’s Spirit by keeping a careful guard on their mouths (Ps.141:3).
-- Pastor Mike
A grateful heart recognizes God’s grace and blessing at every moment, in every circumstance. We could consume all of our time and attention focusing on life’s difficulties, but the Bible says that would be a mistake (not to mention a good way to make ourselves miserable, bitter, envious, and faithless). Because God is great and most worthy of praise (Psalm 96:4), we are never short of good and awesome things for which we should take note. In obedience to God’s Word, we must turn our hearts and our voices to Him in joyful thanksgiving.
In Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy. Nancy Leigh DeMoss talks about the why, when and how of giving thanks according to God’s Word and how gratitude has the power to change our lives. The book also includes helpful bonus materials, including a list of thanksgiving hymns and a 30-day devotional guide to gratitude. Make sure you get a copy for your home. Request Choosing Gratitude with your donation of any amount this month.
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