All you need is LOVE

Heart treeAnd thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)

Life has been so busy, I fully intended to write this post soon after and as a follow up to my post, Idol Talk, which I just realized I posted a month ago!

I’m sure you all can identify.

So, going back to my post of a month ago – remember I said that to me, it seems that all sin is a form of idolatry? Because, idolatry is when we turn to anything else but God through His Son Jesus Christ for fulfillment or satisfaction in this life.

So, what is the answer to this “sin which does so easily beset us”? The answer is the next verse in Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus”! When we look to Jesus for fulfillment or satisfaction in this life, we allow His Holy Spirit to guide and control us, and when we “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16), we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh. A little later in that chapter 5 of Galatians, Paul lists the works of the flesh, most of which we talked about in my previous post, and then he lists the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22 & 23.

Fruit”, like grapes, is what grows on a branch that is connected to a vine. That vine, through the branch, sends the nourishment, water, and the genetic makeup to that fruit in order to determine what kind of fruit it will be. If the branch does it’s job, and stays connected to the vine, it will produce good fruit. Spiritual “fruit” is what grows when we are abiding in Christ, the True Vine, we are the branches that will bear much good fruit if we stay connected and yielded to Christ through His Holy Spirit Who dwells in us once we are saved or born again (John 15).

So, let’s look briefly at those sins we talked about last time, and see how if we love God and walk in His Spirit, we can show forth the fruit of the Spirit which is the opposite of those sins – or, the antidote.

Remember: Greed, envy, lust, sloth, gluttony, anger, and pride?

The Spirit-filled opposite of Greed would be Love, self-sacrificing, agape love. Being content with what you have, and generously sharing it with others. “…It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

The antidote for envy is gentleness (kindness) and joy with thankfulness, helping others and putting their needs above your own, receiving the joy that you can only have from giving of yourself, and being thankful and content with what God has given you. Philippians 2:2 & puts it this way, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves”.

Goodness is the spiritual answer to Lust, Control your passion to desire more for yourself and use it to serve and help others. Let God’s goodness fill you as you yield more and more of yourself to His Holy Spirit. Renew your mind with His Word, meditating on it constantly and His goodness will fill you and flow out from you. Romans 12:2 saysAnd be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

If you feel slothful, ask the Lord to fill you with patience and faith to see the end results that come after putting in much hard work, and also with zeal and diligence to do a good job. Many times our hard work is not rewarded with instant gratification, but God encourages us in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Overcome Gluttony with temperance, letting God control your desires so you can do what pleases Him, and not feed your flesh. Be healthy in body so that you are fit to serve God and others, so you are not limited by being overweight and out of shape. “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things…But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:25,27).

Anger is eradicated with longsuffering, faith, gentleness, and peace. Take time to understand the needs and desires of others before acting and speaking. Forgive as you have been forgiven. A soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1), so keep a soft answer on your lips to keep you from angry words. Be patient and wait on the Lord for His timing and working in situations.

And of course, Pride is overthrown by humility or meekness. Get rid of that inflated ego, after all, everything we have and are was given to us by God (1 Corinthians 4:7). Replace it with a servant’s heart like Jesus’ (Matthew 20:28). Glory in God not yourself, edifying others, not yourself. Galatians 6:14,But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

So, fellow Christians, let’s yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit who lives inside us, so that He increases and we decrease (John 3:30).

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

The root determines the fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

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Precious Jewels

Precious jewels“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her … She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:10,11)

Let’s imagine for a moment that a family has entrusted a banker with a box full of beautiful, expensive jewels. They have been in the family for generations and are priceless and irreplaceable. Now imagine that, rather than quietly locking those jewels in the bank’s vault, the banker puts them out in the middle of the bank’s main lobby in a glass case with no lock on the door. He takes great pains to display them very attractively and put up colorful signs that draw the attention of all who walk by. Would that be wise? Do you think that the owners of those jewels would appreciate it? I think that we would all certainly agree that that would be the height of foolishness and that the owners of the jewels would be horrified.

Can you see the parallels between those jewels and you? Do you realize that those jewels represent your body? Your jewels also belong to another and should be kept safely locked up for him. If you are single, would your future husband wish you to be careless with these treasures? If you are married, do you think your husband wants you to be careless with his treasure? Would he enjoy knowing how many other men had seen, been attracted to, and enjoyed gazing at them; to know how many other men had dreamed of owning what was rightfully his alone; to know of the potential risk to the safety of his jewels? I think we can safely answer all of these questions with a resounding, “No!”

Proverbs 31 asks “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her … She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Let us be such women, whose “price is far above rubies!” Let us not present ourselves as being cheap and of little worth, but rather as those who have been bought with a great price (1 Corinthians 6:20). Protect the treasures that belong to your husband, so that his heart may safely trust in you. Do your husband good all the days of your life; even if you don’t know yet who he might be.

Think again of the analogy of the jewels. Most likely the majority of the people passing by those unguarded jewels in the bank lobby would not be thieves; but more than likely most people would be drooling at the thought of owning those jewels! They would be dreaming of what they could do if only those jewels belonged to them; they would feel tempted by how easily within reach those jewels were; they might start to imagine how they could actually go about taking those jewels and how much they would enjoy owning them. Many would stand and stare at the jewels, admiring and enjoying their beauty. Most people would not actually take the jewels, but many would entertain thoughts of “what if?” Perhaps, eventually, a man who had never really thought he would steal something would be overcome by just how easily in reach those jewels were and would give in to the temptation to steal one. “Surely it would not be wrong to take one; they must really not be all that valuable–after all, they are sitting here out on display and unguarded!” Or, perhaps a professional jewelry thief was passing by and, with no qualms of conscience, simply stole them all away, leaving the owners devastated by a loss that could never be recovered!!

Do you know that when you dress in a revealing, sensual way, you are treating your jewels as carelessly as that banker treated those entrusted to him? You are sending the message that your jewels really aren’t all that valuable and are free for the taking; you could even be catching the eye of a “jewel thief”!

You owe it to the Lord who has bought you with a great price to dress as though you belong to Him and not to the Enemy. You owe it to yourself to dress as though you are not cheap and free for the taking, but are a valuable child of God. You owe it to your future husband to save yourself for him in every way.

I hope this little analogy has been helpful to you and has prompted you to examine yourself and how you are treating your “precious jewels”. You are His jewel!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

“And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels” (Malachi 3:17)

Idol Talk

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John 5:21) idol

Dear Readers,

My daughter just came home from a summer internship /missions trip to Guam, and as a joke to her brother who is just finishing seminary, she brought him back this little idol. Of course, it’s not a problem to him, he’s not going to bow down to it or worship it, that would make him an idolater.

Do you think of yourself as an idolater?

I don’t like to think of myself as one, I know I don’t bow down and worship statues, but, let’s talk about idols. I have been studying sins and virtues these last few weeks, and have come to a very convicting conclusion:

All sin is a form of idolatry.

So (talking of idols) idolatry is turning to anything other than God for our happiness, satisfaction and contentment. Now, I can’t speak for you, but I know myself and I know we humans all fight the same battles, and I know that my biggest idol is “ME”- what makes ME happy!

Think about the following sins:

Greed – If only I had more money, material things, could go shopping and buy whatever I want, then I would be happy!

Envy – If only I had the house, husband, money, lifestyle, children, or body that so-and-so has, then I would be happy!

Lust – If only I had my sexual or physical desires satisfied, then I would be happy!

Sloth -If only I could relax and watch TV, play video games, read, or sleep all day, then I’d be happy!

Gluttony – If I could just get my fill of that delicious food, then I’d be happy!

Anger – If people would just do what I want them to do, the way I want it done, then I’d be happy!

Pride – If people would just give me the respect, admiration, and attention I want, then I’d be happy!

Do you see how all of these sins make it “all about ME” instead of all about Him? THAT’S idolatry! They are all works of the flesh. This is what happens when we let the flesh rule us, the flesh takes a natural need or passion and takes it to excessive, abusive levels. When I turn to anything else but God through His Son Jesus Christ for fulfillment or satisfaction in this life, it is sin- IDOLATRY! God’s Word tells us to “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16).

And the sad thing is that all these things don’t satisfy us, oh they may for a short time, but it’s never enough, we always want MORE! Jesus is the only One who satisfies our longings because what we all are really longing for is Him! Wow! That went full circle, didn’t it? It’s no wonder John ended his epistle of 1 John with a warning about idols! (See 1 John 5:21 above)

So, how do I overcome this idolatry that is rampant inside me?

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”. Romans 7:24-25

By Turning to Jesus, being close to Him, and allowing myself to be complete in Him, letting Him be my portion, and the fulfillment of my needs; and then allowing His Holy Spirit to work in and through me to serve and minister to others.

As the songwriter so aptly put it:

Complete in Thee—each want supplied, And no good thing to me denied;

Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be, I ask no more, complete in Thee.”

Next time I’ll talk about some Christ-like virtues and how, by walking in the Spirit, He will be manifested in us and these are the antidotes to that sin that so easily besets us (Hebrews 12:1).

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

When we talk about idols, our biggest idol is ourSELF

Eagle or Buzzard?

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (I Corinthians 10:12-14)

Dear Readers:

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Perched high above the city

 

Have you ever watched bald eagles? They are a majestic bird. They seem to exude an air of royalty, honor, virtue, beauty, and power. Whenever we see an eagle around here in Southeastern Pennsylvania it is a rare sight and people stop to observe and take photos. It’s no wonder our forefathers chose the Bald Eagle to be our national bird. It is symbolic of our national pride and honor. The eagle is featured on many state flags, national emblems and logos. Outwardly, it looks like an impressive bird, they have the appearance of beauty and perfection.

We recently took an amazing trip to Juneau, Alaska. It was the trip of a lifetime! We marveled at the glories of God’s creation: The mountains, glaciers, trees, wildlife, MOUNTAINS everywhere! We did a lot of exploring, learning, and observing the local scenery and habitats. One of the things that amazed us was the number of bald eagles! Apparently, Juneau is one of the most densely eagle-populated areas in the world! They were beautiful, we never got tired of watching them soar overhead, or taking photos of them perched on different objects. But we noticed something…

Those eagles were not so regal, in fact, upon close inspection, they were not perfect creatures! Whilst we did see them swooping down to the water and snatching fish from their natural habitat, they were also scavengers, along the lines of those buzzards we see by the roads here in Pennsylvania, chewing on roadkill! We saw them by the waterside, and in the dump, looking for some dead critters to eat. The locals call them “beach varmints” or the “state pigeon” –

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Scavenging a dead salmon

because they’re so prolific.

Ben Franklin, who wanted the national bird to be the turkey, had some things to say about the eagle, In a letter to his daughter, he wrote: “I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen as the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly.” One of our tour guides said that it is not unusual to find several small dog collars in an eagles’ nest — and you know what that means!

 

So, while Bald Eagles have the illusion of being perfect and honorable and majestic, they have a carnal side. And so do we! As Christians, we tend to try to appear perfect and honorable. But the truth is, we have a carnal or flesh nature that we constantly battle. We are tempted to go hang out by the “dump” or “by the roadside” looking for scraps from the world around us, hoping nobody sees us, when we could be soaring like eagles. We are not perfect. We should never think we are. When we see someone who is down and out, we should think, “there but for the grace of God go I”, and lend a helping hand. I hope someone would extend the same grace and mercy to me. Let’s not fool ourselves.

It is only by God’s grace and helping hand that we can escape a temptation that Satan puts in our way. God WILL allow things in our lives that we can’t handle (by ourselves), so that we will turn to Him for the “way of escape” that He and only He can offer. If there is any good in us, it comes from God, so give Him the glory:

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7)

I am thankful that our God is a God of second chances (and third and fourth…), that He loves me unconditionally. He highly values humility, and He will humble me if I don’t humble myself, so I need to be sure that I am NOT prideful and glorying in myself as if I had something to do with it, anyways. He will cause me to “mount up with wings as eagles” in His time, and in His way.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

So, reader, let’s choose to be like the Eagles, but remember that we are still buzzards without God’s enabling grace, and let’s be ever thankful to Him for that Amazing Grace.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

And it’s all because of God’s Amazing Grace…         

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“Lady Baltimore”  a female who was injured and cannot live on her own in the wild.

          Here’s a few more eagle photos for you to enjoy…

 

 

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This guy was sitting by the water looking for salmon
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This couple lived on an old fuel dock right outside our hotel room window.

Consider the Lilies

Lily1Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? … Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Matthew 6:27-29)

Are you a worrier? Do you find yourself going over and over in your head something that has happened, or something that is going to happen? I have to admit that sometime I do!

Worrying is not only unproductive, unhealthy, and causes undue stress, but do you know that God considers worrying a SIN?

The term “taking thought” in Matthew 6:27 is from the Greek word merimnáō , which Strong’s defines as: “to go to pieces” because pulled apart (in different directions), like the force exerted by sinful anxiety (worry). It is the same word used for “careful”, like Martha in Luke 10:41, and also in Philippians 4:6. James 1:8 tells us that a double-minded person (one who is worried and pulled apart by anxiety) is unstable in all her ways – trusting God one minute, not trusting Him the next. I know we all worry at times, and we think that we can’t help it. But, HELP IT!

Jesus tells us to “consider the lilies”. The word “consider” is the Greek word, katamanthánō, which Strong’s says means: to properly, thoroughly (exactly) learn; to grasp something conclusively by considering it carefully. So, God wants us to study the lilies, and learn from them. Well, the lilies don’t worry about how they look, or how they will get water or food, and look at how beautiful they are! God takes care of them, and the sparrows, and He certainly can take care of His children who are made in His image, and who He sent His Son to die for because of His Great love for us. We are valuable to Him. Especially when we have put all our trust in Him for our salvation and have received the FREE GIFT He offers.

In my Ladies Bible Study group we are going through a book called, The Secret of Contentment by Juanita Purcell, and the topic this week was “Learning to be Content without Worrying”. It was very convicting.

The author tells us that someone has called worry the “God can’t” disease, because God has promised us that all things are possible with Him (Luke 1:37), and that if we don’t believe God we make Him a liar (1 John 5:10) and are saying “God can’t”. So, when we worry that things won’t turn out well, we are calling God an impotent liar! WHOA! I don’t want to do that!

She also let us know that worry is NOT a disease. A disease is a disorder of structure or function in our body with specific signs and symptom, it is destructive and makes us sick, but we CAN’T help it! Worry DOES make us sick, but it is a choice, it is self-induced, so we CAN help it! So, HELP IT!

Worry distorts our thinking, disrupts our work, disquiets our soul, disturbs our body, disfigures our face, destroys our poise, depresses our friends, demoralizes our life, defeats our faith, and debilitates our energy.” William A. Ward

Worry means that we don’t trust God to work things out for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28), and He tells us NOT to do it, in fact, He tells us to pray and be thankful, and then He will give us peace (Philippians 4:6,7) –  if we don’t we are disobeying God, which is sin!

My favorite passage that we looked at for how to overcome worry is in Isaiah 40:27-29, and 41:10,13), here is my paraphrase of it:

Why are you worrying as if you have to handle this all by yourself?

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?

The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth and everything in between is with you, holding you by the hand! He will never get tired, He will never leave you, He will give you the strength you need when you need it most, He will help you! So don’t be afraid, just give it all to Him, He’s in control of it all anyway!

There was a cute little song that was popular a few years ago called, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!by Bobby McFerrin ~ watch the video, it will make you smile, in fact, you’re probably singing and whistling it now 🙂 I think there is a lot of truth to that phrase – “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” The KJV Bible uses the word “Blessed” instead of what we would today say as “happy”, so we could KJV-ize it and say, “Don’t Worry, Be Blessed!” Don’t you think we would be a lot happier if we weren’t so worried and anxious about so many things like Martha was? (See Luke 10). And wouldn’t you like to stand before Jesus and have Him say that you did what Mary did instead “…also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word…one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part”. I hope that He will commend me for doing the needful and good thing, and that I will not be ashamed at His coming (1 John 2:28) by being needlessly anxious and worried about things that I have absolutely NO control over anyway.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Don’t worry – Be Happy (blessed)!

 

 

Jockeying for position

jockeysAnd he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.” (Mark 9:33-34)

Have you ever watched a horse race? I’ve really only seen them in movies like Secretariat or My Fair Lady, and sometimes we might catch the Kentucky Derby on television. It can be exciting, especially if the horse you are rooting for is close to the front. To those of us watching from the sidelines, the last few minutes are the most exciting as we get to see who wins! But I understand that there is a lot of planning and positioning done by the jockey at the beginning of the race – which gate they come out of, how close to the rail to get, who to keep an eye on, who to avoid, how to get to the front of the pack, what to do once you get there, etc. That’s called “jockeying for position”. The horse itself just runs and does what it’s jockey tells it to do, but the jockey is the one doing all the planning and scheming to make sure that they end up in the best place in the end and cross the finish line first, so that they get that prize.

There were two of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s disciples whom he named “Boanerges”, or “Sons of Thunder”(Mark 3:17) – they were James and John, fishermen, brothers, sons of Zebedee. They were part of the inner circle of the disciples. I’ve tried to research why he called them “Sons of Thunder”, and have found conflicting ideas. I like to think that he (knowing all that was, is, and is to come) affectionately nicknamed that because they were rough, tough fishermen whose methods may seem a little brash and boisterous, but who will one day be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to preach with boldness and to sacrifice their lives for Him: James was martyred and John was exiled for their faith in Christ.

These two “Sons of Thunder” had a mother who was no shrinking violet either, she came to the Lord and asked Him a favor:

Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” (Matthew 20:20-21)

I get the feeling that the disciples had all debated this amongst themselves before (see Mark 9:33,34 above), and then there must have been some discussion around the Zebedee family dinner table about the coming kingdom, and who was going to have the highest seats (before you judge the too harshly, remember that at this point the disciples did not have the full counsel of God’s Word and they did not have the Holy Spirit, and they did not understand what the kingdom was going to be like). Mother Zebedee was taking matters into her own hands and trying to get her two boys the best seats in the house in Jesus’ kingdom. She was trying to do some “jockeying for position” for her boys. What they didn’t understand, Christ tried to explain:

Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. (Matt 20:22,23)

He had previously explained to them three times that He was going to suffer and die for the sins of the world, and now He is telling them that they were going to have to suffer also. They still didn’t get it. And what’s more, the other ten disciples were now angry at them for their “jockeying”.

And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.” (Matthew 20:24)

Well, I guess they did it wrong! So, what’s the answer? How does one become great in the Kingdom of Heaven? I’m glad you asked, because the Lord Jesus answered that in His next sentence:

…whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28).

It’s not “jockeying for position” that makes us great in Christ’s Kingdom, it’s servanthood! It’s lowering ourselves, humbling ourselves, denying self, taking up our crosses, and following Him (Matthew 16:24).

As some have put it: The way up is down.

  • Greatness to the Lord Jesus is service, as He washed the disciples feet.
  • Greatness to the Lord Jesus is sacrifice, as He gave His life as a sacrifice for many.
  • Greatness to the Lord Jesus is giving, as He told the rich young ruler.

To our fleshly, mortal selves this doesn’t seem to make sense. But it works! In God’s Kingdom those who are “chief” are those who humbly and sacrificially gave and served on earth. One day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and when we give and serve in His name He is well pleased with us.

It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) – click here to read my blog post with this title.

Most importantly when we are loving, kind, humble, giving, and serving, THEN we have the opportunity to share the Gospel with others – the Greatest Gift that any can give: Peace of God and Peace with God for eternity. Click here to read my post on this Free Gift.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

The only “position” we will be in when we see Christ is flat on our face at His feet!

Wrinkles and Pimples!!

think-2…My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (James 3:10)

The other day I was looking in my magnifying mirror, checking out how deep my wrinkles are getting and if my new anti-wrinkle cream was working, when I noticed something: I had a couple of pimples!! If I am old enough to have wrinkles, surely I should not have to have pimples, too!! That just doesn’t seem right! Now, being the spiritual person that I am (lol!), a Bible verse came to my mind:

…these things ought not so to be!” (James 3:10).

Absolutely! These things out not to be so!! I shouldn’t have to suffer those marks of mature old age (wrinkles) and at the same time suffer those humiliating reminders of immature teenage skin (pimples)!

Then, I thought, well, I ought to look at that verse and see what it is really talking about, because I know that’s only part of the verse. And guess what!! It’s about the tongue! Oh my! No wonder I remembered THAT verse, because it’s one I have to remind myself about often:

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body…But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (James 3:2, 8-10)

…these things ought not so to be!” is referring to mature Christian talk and immature worldy talk coming out of the same mouth. Like having pimples and wrinkles on the same face! James is telling us that it is hard to avoid offending people with our words, because we are all sinful and all lack maturity and self-control in some areas, especially our tongue. But he rebukes his audience by saying that we should not speak maturely and immaturely out of the same mouth! These things ought not so to be”!

After spending some time talking with another, we may think to ourselves: Most of what I said was true, most of it was helpful, most of it was important, most of it was necessary, most of it was kind. Only a little of what I said was gossipy, exaggerated, mean-spirited, hurtful, unnecessary, prideful, and self-exalting.

James goes on to use the example of a bit in a horses mouth, the rudder of a ship, and a match that starts a fire – meaning that a “small thing” like the tongue can cause BIG damage!

bit rudder match

He then states that out of the same mouth we pray and sing praises to God, and then we use it to “curse” or speak badly to or about other people who are made in the image of God, as we are, whether saved or unsaved.

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t wish to offend people, I know sometimes I do, without realizing it with what I say, or how I say it. So, how do we become this “perfect” man (think ‘mature Christian‘) who doesn’t offend people with their words?

So, he told us it involves wisdom, which, he affirms at the beginning of his letter, we can have if we just humbly ask God for it in faith:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” (James 1:5,6)

Then he explains what this wisdom looks like:

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:17,18)

That sounds good, doesn’t it? So wisdom is shown by:

Good conversation, Meekness, Pure, Peacable, Gentle, Easy to be intreated, Full of mercy and good fruits, Without partiality or hypocrisy, Righteous. That sounds a lot like the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22,23.

So the answer to our problem is wisdom. How to deal with wrinkles and pimples? Wisdom – knowing that God is in control and that He wants me to have those natural signs of getting older and mature (wrinkles), but still remind me (with pimples) that I am immature in some areas, and He’s not done with me yet!

And, how to avoid both good, mature Christian talk and sinful, immature worldy talk coming out of the same mouth? Wisdom—asking God to help me control my tongue, fearing the Lord (Psalm111:10, Proverbs 9:10), yielding to the Holy Spirit so His fruit is manifested in and through me, and just LOVING GOD and LOVING OTHERS. Let’s be a good influence on others by using our tongue, a small member, to “…be always with grace, seasoned with salt…”(Colossians 4:6).

Well,  I’m feeling convicted, are you??

~ Graced and Grateful Grammy

A bit, a rudder, a match, and our tongue are all small things with BIG influence.

The tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body, use yours to lift someone up today.