Speak No Evil

Wednesday

That which is on the heart comes to mind and that which is on the mind is spoken from the mouth. It is often said think before you speak, but perhaps we should remember to pause before we speak. Many thoughts travel through our minds constantly throughout the day. If we spoke every thing that came to mind we might find that we are not as knowledgeable, compassionate or in tune with our own environment, as we think we are. It doesn’t take much to display social inadequacy. Accept to agree or disagree, Jesus barely spoke a word in his defense before the Council or Pilate. While it didn’t save him from the cup he was about to drink (crucifixion), it did not prevent the manifestation of God’s glory. In the end, allow your wisdom to reflect the Word of God and the time we take to pause will allow the Holy Spirit to speak on our behalf and God’s glory will manifest in our lives also.

Mark 15:1-11 But Jesus made no further reply…

James 3:1-12 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.

1 Kings 9:24-10:13 Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her.

Integrity Of The Heart

Tuesday

Who among us lives a perfect life? Who among us has not had moments of prodigal living, either briefly or for extended periods of time? The only perfect thing in the entire existence of the earth is God’s love. We however are perfect only in our imperfections, which God forgives and forgets, leaving them in the past where they belong. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Peter and Paul were all anointed and imperfect. Ultimately, it was their heart for God that mattered the most. It was their desire to do what is right before God once wisdom was brought to light and restored. Our imperfections affect our present when we allow ourselves to continually repeat them. They affect our future when we allow these prodigal moments to turn us away and abandon God’s faithfulness and toward someone or something else. The continued desire and integrity of the heart (whole and undivided), for the perfect will of God, will eventually lead us to act in faith towards God’s righteousness, rather than react in fear towards man’s prodigality.

Psalm 26 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you…. I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me.

Psalm 36 …in your light we see light. O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart!

1Kings 8:65-9:9 …if you will walk before me, with integrity of heart and uprightness doing according to, all that I commanded you, and keeping my statutes and ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised your father David…

Mark 14:66-72 Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Entertaining Angels

Monday

Favoritism is an act of disobedience against God. When we show favoritism we don’t trust God’s purpose or authority for the impossible (David and Goliath; Mary’s Conception; water into wine). We believe that the person or persons with the most resources has the best opportunity to provide what is needed. On the contrary, who has greater resources than God who has chosen shepherds, women and carpenters to the glory of his name? Radical hospitality includes not only the entertainment of all of God’s people with food (physically and spiritually) or drink, but also the idea that God can and will choose any one of us to carry his message of the gospel, fight God’s causes, or provide for one another’s needs. We must be ready to receive from those we least expect it, lest we miss the blessing because we’ve ignored the possibility.

Luke 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.’

James 2:1-13 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

Hebrews 13:1-3 Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.

2 Chronicles 6:32-33 ‘Likewise when foreigners, who are not of your people Israel, come from a distant land because of your great name, and your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm, when they come and pray towards this house, may you hear from heaven your dwelling-place, and do whatever the foreigners ask of you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built. 

Are You My Enemy?

Sunday

I enjoy British sitcoms. One of my favorites is As Time Goes By. There’s an episode where the ex-wife of the main character (now newly wed) pays a visit to show off her new life of privilege. As the evening progresses it becomes obvious that she is a heavy social drinker and causes an embarrassing scene. Before she leaves for a trip to Barbados she stops by the next day to apologize not for her life, but for her behavior. She realized that her performance was a wasted effort on the newlywed couple that recently found each other again years after the Second World War. The ex-wife’s intentions were selfish and mean, but the lost relationship regained by the couple helped her to realize that her ex-husband’s new life, a display of everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3-5; Psalm 100:5; Psalm 136:1-3, 10-26) was as wealthy as hers and without a doubt far healthier. As time went by they both got what they treasured. Sometimes we don’t know who our enemies are. But if by our actions we are steadfast in our love for Christ, it never really matters.

Romans 12:9-21  ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Psalm 110 The Lord says to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.’

Jeremiah 15: 19-21  If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them.

Matthew 16:21-28 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life?

Bread For Thought

Saturday

There’s a song called Lord I want to be a Christian in my heart. But what the heart feels isn’t always enough. The head has to want to be a Christian too. When our heart is filled with fear our head tells us to flee. When our heart is filled with anger, our head tells us to lash out. When our heart is filled with greed our head tells us we’re never satisfied. To be a Christian the heart has to be filled with Love and the head has to be willing to trust its power that we may stand firm (endure), remain calm (at peace) and be content (fulfilled). Then, no attack, silver, gold or privilege in the world will take the place of the Christ within the heart because to be a Christian simply means that we let Love reign within, in spite of everything else.

Mark 14:43-52 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. All of them deserted him and fled.

Matthew 6:1-29  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… I tell you, do not worry about your life,… Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.

1 John 4:7-12  Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Bread For Thought

Friday

…on leadership and authority

A short strip of material at the beginning and end of a reel of film or recording tape for connection to the spool; a length of filament attached to the end of a fishing line to carry the hook or fly; a shoot of a plant at the apex of a stem or main branch; all three definitions we don’t often use to characterize a leader. However, metaphorically, sometimes our purpose as leaders in the church is as preparation for something greater (movie, fish or bloom) yet to come. The strength of the leader depends on how well it is connected to its foundation. Paul’s journey to Rome, plagued with storms, and his subsequent house arrest never weakened his obedience to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. In fact several of his letters to the churches were written while he was in “captivity”. Today 2000 years later the message of the gospel endures. We cannot be dismayed when God’s use of our ministry for his purpose seems to be non-functioning. On the contrary, our sure foundation in Christ is always at work leading the way.

Psalm 22 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.

Mark 14:27-42 And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’

Acts 28:1-16 The believers from there, when they heard of us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage… When we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

Bread For Thought

Thursday

…on relationship with God

It begins with discipline. Discipline comes from the heart not the head. Parents don’t discipline their children only for what is wrong, but also for what is right. Parents do what is believed to be the right thing; love, encourage, support and punish, all forms of discipline. Even when we see that the road our children take is a crooked one we wait, hope and pray that they will come into themselves, the self that remembers the discipline in all its forms. It is at that point where the parent is recognized as the teacher and the child is ready to listen.

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Proverbs 3:12for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Bread For Thought

Wednesday

To render, to help, to provide for, to work actively for, to pay homage to, to go through; are all forms of service. Like the parent who provides for the child, God renders, helps, provides for, works actively for, favors and goes through with us. Like the child, in return we worry, fight against (rebel), test the boundaries, dishonor (refuse to submit) and ignore (refuse to listen). By grace it is a relationship that grows into its fullness in due season, when we begin to understand that God sees our potential and knows our heart. Like Moses, David, Peter and Paul, God loves us unconditionally. This I believe is really one of the best parts of life in Christ, that God loves us unconditionally.

Luke 22: 24-30  … But I am among you as one who serves. ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Psalm 91  Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.  

Psalm 139  O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away… Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?

Philippians 4:6,7  Do not worry (be anxious) about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Luke 12: 8  ‘And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God

Bread For Thought

Tuesday

One can never really know that something is going to happen, but we can expect certain things to happen based on the process or preparation we believe is taking place, which leads to the manifestation of the event. If we believe that we have done all that we can do then we must believe that what we have prepared for will manifest itself in due season knowing that even in the midst of the darkness we may currently be experiencing, the light is always at work. Wait with hope and expect the reward or wait with fear and expect the worse. The choice is ours.

Mark 13:28-37 ‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near… Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.

Habakkuk 2:3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.

Psalm 145:15-16 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.

Isaiah 64:4    From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. 

Galatians 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.

Bread For Thought

Monday

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked…, They are like trees planted by streams of water which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper (Psalm 1).  The beginning of this first Psalm really sets the foundation of our lives. Every day you have a choice to make. Choose to be happy. Make the good choices and enjoy the fluffy crumb.