If You Can’t Say Something Good . . .

Today is Friday, Marcy 27, 2020, in the fourth week of Lent. Peace be with you.

Day 22,660

Sixteen days until Resurrection Sunday.

There’s a lot going through my head, this morning. Unfortunately, not much of it is coherent enough to come out through my fingers. So I’ll leave it at that. We have a birthday coming up Sunday, but we won’t be able to celebrate it. Our oldest daughter, R, was born on March 29. I guess a celebratory phone call will have to suffice. We have gifts for her, but I don’t know if we will be able to get them to her. I guess we could mail them, but they won’t get there by Sunday.

Does anyone else feel like we are in a Science Fiction movie?

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
(Psalms 100:3)

Today I am grateful:
1. To be part of the sheep of Your pasture
2. That You are the strength of Your people and our saving refuge (Psalm 28.8)
3. That with You, “all things are possible” (Matthew 19.26)
4. That You can help us control our tongues
5. That You are still in control

Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.
(Psalms 5:8)

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
(Psalms 118:26)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.
(Psalms 69:6)

And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
(Luke 5:33-35)

Of David. To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary. Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts. Give to them according to their work and according to the evil of their deeds; give to them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward. Because they do not regard the works of the LORD or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more. Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.
(Psalms 28:1-9)

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

“Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep me both outwardly in my body and inwardly in my soul, that I may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)

“Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Concluding Prayer of the Church)

What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!
(Psalms 116:12-19)

“God treasures the death of His people, for in their passing He welcomes them home. . . . When our trust is in God, our departure from this life is precious in His sight.
(Remi Oyedele, Our Daily Bread)

“Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”
(Isaiah 7:11)

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26)

When I was much younger, and going through a very difficult time in my life, I was spending some time at my grandparents’ homes out in east Texas. One morning, I was in front of Grandmother and Granddaddy’s house, where there used to be an old swing set. In desperation, I cried out to God, “Am I really Your child?” He answered. Oh, how he answered. I suddenly received the greatest outpouring of God’s love that I have ever experienced in my life, even to this day. And I get chill bumps, even now, as I write about it. It was like I got a huge hug from God. He felt so close to me.

I looked down on the ground, and there, right at my feet, was a most beautiful blue jay feather. I still have that feather. Doubts still arise, just as they do with anyone. But whenever they do, I immediately look back to that day and shove them aside. “We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)

My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die and his name perish?” When one of them comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it around. All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying, “A vile disease has afflicted him; he will never get up from the place where he lies.”
(Psalms 41:5-8)

The Kellers associate these verses with the sin of gossip. Gossip is not just spreading untruths about someone. The things we say might be completely true. But it may be information that should have been kept confidential.

It seems that David is speaking of enemies who come to visit him while he is sick, “only to spread news that puts him in the worst possible light.” Sometimes, gossip is telling the truth in a way that makes someone look bad. “it is giving news about a person intended to lower him or her in the regard of the listener.” And while we might think gossip is harmless, “the New Testament lists it along with envy, murder, strife, and hating God (Romans 1:28-30).”

Prayer: Lord, I pass along a bad report about someone because it makes me look better than they are. Lord, you lost your reputation in order to give me an everlasting name. How can I hurt the good name of anyone else? Forgive me and help me. Amen.”

Father, we seem to be in a time of unprecedented gossip-spreading. May we, Your children, the sheep of Your pasture, refrain from spreading gossip, whether true or false, about anyone. May we remember the old saying, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.”
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Here’s an old song by Second Chapter of Acts. “That’s Not Nice To Say”

Grace and peace, friends.

2 thoughts on “If You Can’t Say Something Good . . .

    1. I have always loved Matthew’s voice, as well. I was blessed with the opportunity to see SCoA many years ago, and then Matthew Ward appeared with Dennis Jernigan one time, so I’ve seen him twice.

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