Good morning. It is Monday, November 25, 2013.
Yesterday was simply a wonderfully, relaxing day. After I got through writing my blog entry for the day (after sleeping until 11am), we got out for a bit, taking a stack of books to Half Price Books (got a whopping $6.50 for them!), and then picking up some BBQ for lunch. That was it. The rest of the day, we basically lazed around in front of the TV. It was very nice. Now we’re only one week behind on “The Voice.” We also watched the first episode of NBC’s “Dracula.” It seemed to be well done, but I’m not quite sure what’s going on. Hopefully, we will watch the series premier of “The Mentalist” tonight, if the OT in last night’s football game didn’t cause them to preempt it with another rerun!
At this point in time, at least where I live, there is no ice on the roads, and the temperature is 35-36 degrees! Thank you, Lord!!
Today’s birthdays are Franz Gruber, 1787, Carrie Nation, 1849, Joe DiMaggio, 1914, Ricardo Montalban, 1920, Poul Anderson, 1926, Percy Sledge, 1940, Joe Gibbs, 1940, Ben Stein, 1944, John Larroquette, 1947, Amy Grant, 1960, and Christina Applegate, 1971.
Franz Gruber was the man who composed “Silent Night.” I immediately thought of this classic rendition of the song, by Simon & Garfunkel.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, Psalm 103:1-2
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” Psalm 16:1-2
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11
Today’s reading in A Year With God is called “Taming the Tongue.” The scripture reading is James 3:1-6-11.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
Sins of speech are very prevalent in our society, and they were, apparently, very prevalent in James’s day, as well. He offers wisdom to church leaders on how to avoid unruly speech issues. If we teach, we need to be even more careful, as we will be “judged with greater strictness.” Teachers should “weigh their words with care.” But all of us, as Christians, should be careful with our tongues. Just look at all the things the tongue is compared to! I think the best analogy is that of the forest fire. All it takes is one tiny spark to burn down an entire forest! Going along with yesterday’s topic on not belittling others, “a Christian’s speech should bless, not berate or abuse.” Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 15 when he tells us that it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. (v 11) Later, he says, But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. (v 18) Our tongues will eventually betray our hearts.
The book offers this prayer:
Father God, show me where I hide behind words or fill silences with them.
Help me to know when to speak and when to keep silent, during my day of
silence and throughout my life. In your name I pray. Amen.
Father, in order that my words may be pure, make my heart pure. While I don’t want to belittle, berate, or abuse with my words, I also don’t want my words to be projecting a false front of who I am. In other words, I want my words, like my self, to be transparent. Let my words be the true image of what is in my heart. This is why I pray for my heart to be true and sincere. I pray that the Holy Spirit will catch me before I can berate someone with my words. May my tongue be a vessel of blessing, not cursing, regardless of who or what I am speaking of. Teach me your ways, Lord. Teach me silence. Teach me when it is more important to listen or say nothing than to speak.
I pray for this day. Grant Christi and me safety on our trip to work. Even though there seems to be no ice on our streets here, the weather report shows it being colder where we work. So keep us safe, please. I pray that our work day will be smooth today, and that Christi will get some news today, which of course will require a decision to be made. Give us wisdom, in that event. I also pray, as always, that you will look with favor on Stephanie and guide her into the path that you desire for her.
I think the biggest lesson for today is that the tongue will betray our hearts. You can deceive for only so long. What is in the heart will, eventually, make its way to the tongue.
Grace and peace, friends.