Gossip


images6XD07613“I am just telling it how it is!

—I’m not making things up; this is the truth!”

A friend this week gave me this response when I told him that maybe I wasn’t being a help to his situation by listening to his deluge of gossip.  Somehow he failed to recognize that God does not excuse gossip even if that gossip is true.  Whether or not it is true is not the only issue.  Our speech is still gossip (and still sin) when we degrade someone by discussing his faults with those who are not a part of the situation.

  • Proverbs 16:28, “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
  • Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

 

We would do well to follow the advice of the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  He listed many root causes for gossip.  Let us make sure that these roots are not the motivation for our speech.

Gossips may be motivated by envy, jealousy and pride. Those tempted to gossip should look within themselves. What is the real truth? Are they genuinely hurt and concerned by someone’s wrong conduct, or is there a spirit of jealousy smoldering within? Do the victims of their gossip have advantages in life which cause jealous anger? Do the victims have a degree of acceptance and fruitfulness which arouses the envy of gossips, who proudly think they should have those blessings? Jealousy and pride make virulent gossips.  

Gossips may be motivated by a general discontent with their lot, or may be suffering the result of personal failure, or under threat of loss. Instead of looking to God for help and drawing on spiritual ­comforts, some people develop a ­complaining, bitter spirit, hitting out at others through malicious gossip. The devil is always on the watch for dissatisfied and vulnerable people through whom he may mount a ‘moral’ crusade against others.  

Gossip may be stirred by resentment. Perhaps at some time other Christians have brought necessary and kind words of reproof, but they rankle. To resentful people vengeance is sweet, and gossip is a ‘knife shaped for the back’…. 

Gossips are sometimes motivated by the absence of anything better to say. These gossips (unpleasant as it sounds) have empty heads. They cannot think of anything worthwhile to say. They never read or talk about anything of substance, and so, apart from commenting on the weather, all they can do is criticize others. They are too selfish to think of taking an interest in the circumstances of the people with whom they speak. They are too insubstantial to be anything other than retailers of distorted, hostile stories.

People so often become gossips because they are worldly in their tastes and outlook. After all, gossip is the stuff of worldliness. What are television soaps but dramatized gossip ­administered in massive doses for addicts? If Christians watch serialized television gossip, their attitudes and tastes are bound to be shaped by it. They will become highly ­inquisitive about the minute twists and turns of the lives of others  and especially about their failings and faults. They will focus on the old life, rather than the new life; on earthly gain, rather than heavenly gain. The world of soaps is a world where ­human behavior is everything, and spiritual behavior is worth nothing. Here is the ideal mental training of a malicious gossip. 

Gossips are produced by the old disease of self-righteousness. One might say that the Pharisee who (in the Lord’s parable) went into the Temple to pray, betrayed the marks of a gossip. He prayed with himself, denigrating the tax collector who stood nearby.  By tearing down others, self-righteous people build up themselves. If others can be denigrated, they feel so much better. And by slandering people in the church, the self-righteous gossip succeeds in promoting himself above them. He effectively convinces himself of his ‘high standing’, and at the same time he attempts to convince those who listen to him. For self-righteous people, gossip is a ladder to self-satisfaction… 

We would do well to consider these causes of gossip!

 

Be Sober!


untitledI Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

Have you ever seen a small cat with lots of fur blow itself up in indignation? If you didn’t know that it was a tiny kitty, you would be downright afraid of it, wouldn’t you, as it hisses and spits? But the fact is that that cat is almost all fur at that moment, capable of intimidating us because of its appearance. It appears much bigger than it actually is.

The Lord makes a comparison in the above verse, comparing the devil to that largest of cats, the lion. Compared to us, the devil is indeed big and fierce. That is no optical illusion.

If that were all there were to it, our situation would be dire indeed; but that is not all there is to it. We are clothed in Christ and in His righteousness, extended to us in His death on the cross and in His victory over death. As Christians, we don’t battle the devil alone.

Remember that. Many Christians are defeatists, seeing only how big the devil is in comparison to humans. We need to remember how small he is in relation to our infinite God.

Satan is a created being, a fallen angel. His power is limited; God’s is limitless.

Stand confidently in the stance Christ has merited on our behalf when we could not do it. We never kept the law and gained God’s favor. Christ did that on our behalf. Glory!

 

A Little Girl Who Believed


7e37f752f2602322b8c66f9ec99ee4af“And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captives out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife” (2 Kings 5:2).

I have always wanted to call this little Jewish maid, Faith. You see, her faith is what caused her to be included in the cannon of Scripture. Although she is not named; and I am not really free to name her, she is remembered for her faith.  We are given the name of all the other characters in the story. Even the servant Gehazi, who lied and secured for himself gold and two changes of garments, is named.

There are a lot of lessons in this account. Our little maid, or should I say, God’s little maid, teaches us the lesson of faith and selflessness. Here is a little person with a mature Christian look at a serious situation. She had been taken from her home and brought to Syria by the very person she was about to help. Not only is she sound in the faith, but she is also willing to help this man. Her faith is real, and her Master listens and is moved to action.

As you read the following chapter, think of your life. How have you responded in some unusual circumstances? In this chapter we see how everyone but the greedy Gehazi is victorious. Naaman is healed and says, “There is no God but the God in Israel.” Today exercise your faith and be a blessing while you are being blessed. Show others by your faith that God is real.

Read and study 2 Kings 5: 1-20

 

 

 

A Better Way


untitledPaul, in 1 Corinthians 12, is teaching the church about both unity and diversity. He says in verse 27:

27        Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Essentially, Paul is telling us that while we are all one in Christ, we are still individual members within the body with differing functions. He goes on to list a few of those functions:

  • Apostles
  • Prophets
  • Teachers
  • Healers
  • Speakers of tongues

Can every member share the same gift and the body work properly? The obvious answer is “no.” So Paul tells the members that he will show them a more excellent way. In I Corinthians 13, the famous “love chapter,” Paul teaches us three attributes of this better way.

Love is essential

13:    1     Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

          2     And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

          3     And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Love is entire

         4     Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

             Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked.       

        6     Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

        7    Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love is eternal

        8     Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.          

        9     For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

       10    But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.      

       11     When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

       12     For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.      

      13     And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The lesson to the Corinthian church is the same as today. We ought not covet the gifts of our brother, rather we should all participate in the gift that is available to the whole body, namely, loving each other. Remember today that even if you cannot move mountains with your faith, or speak in multiple tongues, or preach, or ________________ (whatever gift you wish you had), you can play a part in God’s church that is most essential, entire, and eternal. Jesus told his tongue speaking, dead raising, sick healing disciples that there was one thing that would set them apart as true disciples of Christ:

John 13:35       By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

“Desire the best gift. There is a better way” – Paul 

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made


shutterstock_119339392Psalm 139:14 ~  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Over the past year, I have patiently waited while our (almost four year old) son Clayton started therapy for his speech delay. I waited and waited to hear him talk, carry on conversations, and say, “I love you, Momma!” While I waited, I was often reminded of how fearfully and wonderfully made we are – most people just know how to do certain things; but for others some things don’t come so naturally…and even that is by God’s design. I don’t know why that is; I don’t understand why God chose Clayton to struggle in this area. I don’t understand why we had to wait so long for him to succeed, but I have come to realize that God has made each of us in a wonderful way – we aren’t all the same; we all have different struggles; yet God puts us together with just the right people that he has also wonderfully made to help each other succeed in life. I am so grateful that God made Clayton’s speech therapist with a loving, tender heart and with an enthusiasm and excitement every time Clayton is in her presence.  She has an interest and intelligence in helping little kids like Clayton be all he can be! What a difference a year has made for Clayton and our family! I’m thankful for the road we have been down and continue to travel, and for a loving Heavenly Father who uses a struggle in my son’s life to show me and remind me that we are all special in our own way…each fearfully and wonderfully made in the eyes of Jesus!

Let your light Shine!


imagesIM48JM3OMatthew 5:14-16

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.   

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  

  16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

May and June are the big months for commencement services on all levels of education.  All kinds of speeches are given to help boost the morale of the students, point them in the right  direction, and give them some advice on how to get there.  Christ’s Sermon on the Mount was not a commencement speech, an inspirational, or a motivational speech.  It was the Savior giving us as His disciples what we are to do not just at commencement, the beginning, but in the middle and at the end of our lives—and that is to shine our light for HIM!

We are not a light, or one of many lights; but Christ says we are THE LIGHT and are to make sure that HE is seen through us and not ourselves.  HE uses the “city on a hill” analogy because in the darkness of night, that city would shine across the valleys and ravine and light the way and lead a person to their salvation,  safety, food, or shelter.  We being the city on a hill as a Christian will lead people to their salvation in Christ, keep them safe from hell,  and give them spiritual food through His word.

Also, who would hide a light in darkness? No one in their right mind—you would want all to see.  We must light that path to God, heaven,  and the spirit-filled life as bright as we can to fulfill our ministry as a Christian.

And finally everything we do should reflect Christ and our love for Him.  Christ was all about His father and doing His father’s will so God would get the glory; we should be doing the same.  So as we go through our Christian life beginning, middle, or end, it must be about shinning our light for HIM!

 

 

 

Questions? – Answers!


untitled“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17).

If you are willing to listen, people will ask you questions.  I have learned this principle as a teacher.  Sometimes I must prompt students’ interest by provoking their thinking.  What are these questions people often ask and from where do the answers come?

Some of the questions are basic to every individual who even thinks.  From where did I come, why am I here, and where am I going?  Other people have questions about such practical areas of education, careers, choice of a spouse, choice of friends, and on it goes.  Some other questions are why did this or that happen to me, loss of employment, an accident, loss of a loved one, conflict in the home, what should I do in this situation, and the list goes on.

Where do we get the answers?  The Bible has these answers.  The Bible is not usually the first place we search.  Some people refuse to face the problem and run from it.  Others find a friend and ask.  Why not pray first and ask God for help?  Then go to the Bible and search for the answer.  If the Bible does not give a direct answer to your direct question, it will give you principles to follow to limit the problem and direct you to solutions.  Many times people know God will not lead them in the direction they want to go so they seek for someone to agree with what they want to do over the Bible solution.  If we desire to know the Truth that will deliver from every dilemma, we need to go to the right Source.  (More to ponder:  Mark 12:24; John 5:39; Acts 17:11; II Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17; Hebrews 4: 12; II Peter 3:16).

Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me


thJesus, Savior, pilot me

Over life’s tempestuous sea;

Unknown waves before me roll.

Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.

Chart and compass come from thee;

Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

From Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, The Sailor’s Hymn

Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).

 

He Became Poor


untitledFor ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.   II Corinthians 8:9

Christ became poor – He left the riches of heaven for us. His poverty is not just His descent from heaven, but can also be seen in His earthly life. At His birth He had no cradle – He was born in a borrowed manger. At His triumphal entry – the King had to borrow a colt to ride into Jerusalem. At the Last Supper with His disciples – they met in a borrowed upper room. And in His death – He was laid in a borrowed tomb. He became poor. Why? That we through His poverty might be rich! Christ gave up so much that we might be rich in Him. What have you given up for Him? In Frances Havergal’s hymn, I Gave My Life for Thee, the thought-provoking question is posed – I gave, I gave My life for thee, What has thou giv’n for Me?  What is your answer?

Justification in Christ


imagesVHAFZBXJRomans 3:21-26

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Recently I have been studying the book of Romans.  The theme of the book is God’s righteousness. Before a person is saved, he must recognize his severe inability to reconcile his own sinful condition with a righteous God.  God’s righteousness magnifies a sinner’s sinfulness.  As I have been studying this book, I am reminded that before I was saved, I could in no way of my own bridge the gap between His righteousness and my sinfulness.  The answer to that impossible situation can be found in one word – justification!  Warren Wiersbe defines justification as “the act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous in Christ on the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross.”  As I contemplate that definition I realize, I could do nothing to make myself righteous before God, but when I placed my faith in the redeeming work of Christ on the cross, He stepped in and declared me righteous in Christ because of what Christ did for me!   What a blessing that my salvation rests in nothing but the finished work of Christ!  Take some time today to consider what Christ did for you and thank Him for your imputed righteousness because of Calvary!