Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This is Real

There are homeless whereever you live. You can pretend they aren't there.. pretend they aren't real.. but they are. God loves them and we are to love them too. They are the "least of these" He calls us to serve in Matthew 25.

Song written and performed by Luke Campbell
Photos by Katherine Campbell

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Controlling the Tongue

I've been studying a tough subject this week... the tongue. Does anyone really like James 3? How can you not feel convicted when you read... "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be" (v. 9 - 10). It is important to understand that to curse doesn't just mean to slam and talk vulgar or nasty about someone... when I criticize, make sarcastic remarks, offer unsolicited advice, gossip, etc. those are ways I curse men with my tongue.

So my prayer is for God to take the sharpness from my mouth. Sarcasm is a big thing for me. I have a fairly quick wit and it shows up in sharp retorts and sarcastic remarks. I think sarcasm can be funny, but often it is hurtful... and really it never fulfills Eph. 4:29-30's exhortation to speak words that build others up. Sarcasm is not a building block.. it is a wrecking ball.

As I prayed this morning for God to take the sharpness from my mouth, I found myself saying "and from my heart." That really is where it all begins isn't it? Luke 6:45 tells us that "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." So what is inside us... our attitude... our thoughts... this is what comes out in our speech.

That is why when someone makes a rude or hurtful remark and then says "I didn't mean that" we don't believe them. We know that somewhere deep inside they meant it.

Mark 7:20 - 23 tells us that "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' "

Now it is easy to read this list and think.. well I'm safe. I don't steal.. don't murder.. am not lewd... etc. but you just might be. Words can steal someone's joy.... murder their confidence...we can be greedy by grabbing attention for ourselves with the use of words...that little white lie is deceit... that slightly rude joke is lewd...bragging, even about your kids, is arrogance... and folly? This is all the idle chitchat in your life. Like it or not, we can have all sorts of evil in us and it will come spewing forth if we don't deal with it.

How do we deal with it? 2 verses come to mind... Romans 12:2 tells us to be renewed by the transforming of our mind. We do this by being in the Word.... and by getting the Word into us. Phil. 4:8 gives up a plumbline as to our thought life... think about things which are Pure, Right, Excellent, Praiseworthy, Lovely, Admirable, Noble or True. How can I think on those things if they aren't in me?

It really does come back to the Word. We have to be in the Word and have the Word in us in order for our words to be God honoring. It is as simple as that.