Posts Tagged ‘James 1:19’

Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger

May 25, 2018

James 1-19

Found in James 1:19, Verse of the Day for May 25, 2018 offers these words of wisdom in the New King James Version:

[Qualities Needed in Trials] So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;

Here are two additional renderings:

New Living Translation (NLT):

[Listening and Doing] Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Amplified Bible (AMP):

19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.

A previous blog post connected this verse with a discussion based on the expression “Think before you speak” where the verb “T-H-I-N-K” formed an acrostic of questions we should ask before opening our mouths to speak.

In addition, Proverbs 17:28 in the Amplified Bible makes this astute statement regarding speaking, or rather, not speaking:

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent;
with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent

Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) also speaks of the center of our thoughts:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. As one who reckons, he says to you, eat and drink, yet his heart is not with you [but is grudging the cost].

This verse is coupled with this sobering reminder from Luke 6:45 in the Amplified Bible:

The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

Philippians 4:8 instructs believers as to what they should think:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

Every believer is to be conscious of what that individual thinks. We are reminded to control our thoughts. Paul exhorts us to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We must never forget that “thoughts are the seeds to our words and deeds.” We should be very concerned about the words that we speak since “life and death” is in

The Power of the Tongue

But the tongue can no man tame;

it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison

James 3:8

 

We know the tongue has power to generate life,

To produce seeds that will eventually take root

And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:

Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife

Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.

With his hand, the helmsman easily turns great ships,

So we covenant to guard the gates of our lips,

For words can heal or pierce the heart as a sharp knife.

We desire life and long to see good all our days,

So we speak the truth and refrain from speaking lies.

Like Jesus, we want our tongue to speak what God says.

We seek to be wise but never in our own eyes.

Pressing toward the finish, the coming of God’s kingdom,

We seek not just a word but the spirit of wisdom.

Indeed, James 1:19 offers sound advice for us to heed, so aptly stated in a three-prong approach to life:

Be quick to hear [a ready listener],

Be slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words . . .]

Be slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

Taylor McCall offers a musical rendering of James 1:19-27 from which the Verse of the Day is taken.

 

 

 

 

Great peace: Perfect peace

August 25, 2017

Psalm 119--165

Verse of the Day for August 25, 2017 is found in Psalm 119:165 in the Amplified Bible:

Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them (cause them to stumble).

The King James Version declares:

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Jesus Christ clearly states that offenses are inevitable:

Luke 17:1 (NKJV)

 [Jesus Warns of Offenses] Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! And [Jesus] said to His disciples,

Anything that causes one to stumble is called an offense. As believers we are exhorted neither to give offense nor to receive an offense. In other words, we are encouraged neither to become a stumbling block nor to receive an offense which causes us to stumble. The old gospel song says, “I don’t want nobody stumbling over my life.”

As we renew our minds, we change our attitude to view what could potentially become a “stumbling block” and transform it into a “stepping stone.” With the mind of Christ, we don’t allow anything anyone does or says to disturb our peace or cause us to stumble into sin.

Francis Fragipane mentions that, as believers, we have all been hurt or encountered situations that left us wounded:

 “. . . Yet, in seeking justice for ourselves, we must guard against the voice of self-pity. Indeed, self-pity keeps all our wounds alive. Instead of carrying the cross, we carry the offense. We must rebuke self-pity and command it to leave. We are followers of Christ! Therefore, forgive the offense and let it go. This is not a deep truth; it is the basic path of Christ!”

James 1:19 in the Amplified Bible offers this reminder

Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry

The Psalmist declares nothing offends those who love or adhere firmly to the Word of God, for they manifest “great peace.” If we are going to have great, abundant peace, we have to sow peace first.  In order to have an abundant harvest, we must first plant seeds and nuture them and bring them to maturity.

We note that peace is one of the fruit of the spirit. Of course, fruit is cultivated, the result of a cultivated life; it is mark of maturity.  This particular fruit may not be borne in abundance in the early years, but as we grow in the knowledge of God and the application of His word, peace will abound in our lives, as we follow the exhortation of Isaiah 26:3 (NLT):

You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you

You will be kept in perfect peace—literally peace, peace–a double dose of peace, as you trust in the Lord. He will keep you and so shall you

Hold Your Peace

So shall they fear the name of the LORD

 from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun

When the enemy shall come in like a flood,  

the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

Isaiah 59:19

 

The LORD will fight for you,  and you shall hold your peace.”

Exodus 14:14

 

These days when the enemy enters as a flood

With distress and intense pressure on every side,

Despite signs of defeat, the Lord God is still good.

In the thick of battle in peace we will abide.

The Spirit of the Lord raises a bold standard:

Lord of Hosts bears His arm, as Jehovah Nissi

Covers us with His love; though foes may have slandered,

His royal banner is displayed for us to see:

Faithful Adonai has never slept nor slumbered.

He is not slack but hastens to perform His Word.

Despite outward signs, we are never outnumbered,

For we know that the battle belongs to the Lord.

On the battlefield, fierce attacks seem only to increase,

But as God told Moses, “Stand still and hold your peace!”

We close with “Perfect Peace” Scripture Memory Song based on Philippians 4:7 and Isaiah 26:3

 

 

 

Watch your mouth

July 11, 2017

Instead of the usual Verse of the Day, today we are going to examine the “Phrase of the Day” for July 11, 2017: “Watch your mouth!” This idiomatic expression means to take into consideration what you say before you speak. It is sometimes used as a warning to become aware of the words that one is about to speak.This expression also brings to mind the often-quoted statement attributed to Frank Outlaw, former President of Bi-Lo Food Stores:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

What Mr. Outlaw encourages individuals to watch could be seen as part of an acrostic in that we are to “Watch our. . . Words-Actions-Thoughts-Character-Habits.”

Regarding watching your mouth, out of which come the words you speak, Ephesians 4:29 in the Amplified Bible states:

Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it

The Message Bible puts it this way:

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

A previous blog entry on Ephesians 4:29 offers these comments:

Throughout the Scriptures believers are exhorted to be mindful of the words they speak. For the words that we speak are expressions of what is in our hearts. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,” says Solomon. With this in mind, John Bunyan recognizes that individuals must become guardians of “every gate that opens in our heart.” Howard Morgan speaks of “gates” in this way: “They are the places that we have to monitor diligently so that we allow only that which is positive and healthy into our lives.” Three such gates are the “ear gate,” “eye gate,” and “mouth gate.” The picture of the three wise monkeys comes to mind to remind us that we must consciously seek to “hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

We are encouraged not only to watch what goes into the mouth but watch what comes out of the mouth. Paul further reminds us: “Let your words always be seasoned with salt that they may minister grace to the hearers.”

James 1:19 (AMP) has this to say about the matter:

19 Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

We must be very concerned about the words that we speak since the “power of life and death” is in the tongue. This message is reinforced with this reminder:

The Power of the Tongue

But the tongue can no man tame;
It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison
James 3:8

We know the tongue has power to generate life,
To produce seeds that will eventually take root
And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:
Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife
Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.
With his hand, the helmsman easily turns great ships,
So we covenant to guard the gates of our lips,
For words can heal or pierce the heart as a sharp knife.
We desire life and long to see good all our days,
So we speak the truth and refrain from speaking lies.
Like Jesus, we want our tongue to speak what God says.
We seek to be wise but never in our own eyes.
Pressing toward the finish, the coming of God’s kingdom,
We seek not just a word but the spirit of wisdom.

As born-again believers, we are encouraged to make positive confessions and to speak words of positive affirmation regarding ourselves and others. The Phrase of the Day and other related scriptures remind believers that we should be concerned about the words we speak, as we are encouraged to let our words always be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers.

TobyMac expresses our desire that the words that come from our mouths will build up and not tear down, as we “Speak Life”:

Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger

May 25, 2017

James 1-19

In the Verse of the Day for May 25, 2017 we find further directives for Godly people:

James 1:19 (AMP)

Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

In reflecting on this verse of the Day, I divided the instructions into three essential commands for believers and added a poem related to each topic.

Be quick to hear [a ready listener],

The first part of the verse in the Amplified Bible mentions hearing in light of being “a ready listener,” implying a difference between “hearing” and “listening” which are not synonymous. Hearing is perceiving sound waves that are received on the ear. On the other hand, listening involves interpreting and evaluating what is being said with intent to respond.  Hearing is passive, whereas listening should be active. Keith Davis comments, “Hearing is with the ears; listening is with the mind.”

This discussion also brings to mind that listening is an art that is perfected over time by conscious, consistent effort to improve, especially in a spiritual context as we learn to listen to God. As we continually place our ears near to the lips of God, we develop our proficiency in listening to hear the Master’s voice, as we practice in order to perfect this art:

The Art of Listening

God has something to say to you,

God has something to say.

Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.

God has something to say.

Children’s Song

     

The Lord GOD has given Me
the tongue of the learned,

That I should know how to speak
a word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.

The Lord GOD has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.

Isaiah 50:4-5

 

Listen, listen, and learn: hear with the inner ear.

Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.

Understand to listen is not same as to hear.

To listen intently and to learn is an art,

Practiced and perfected day by day.

As you hear and listen in the center of your heart,

I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.

In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,

For to walk in love is the more excellent way.

Partake of my promises and consume my Word.

As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear

And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.

Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.

Listen, listen, and learn: hear with the inner ear.

This message reinforces the Irish Proverb: “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we ought to listen twice as much as we speak.”

Be slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words . . .]

Throughout the Scriptures believers are exhorted to be mindful of the words they speak.

Ephesians 4:29 in the Message Bible states:

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

We are encouraged not only to watch what goes into the mouth but watch what comes out of the mouth

Paul further reminds us: Let your words always be seasoned with salt that they may minister grace to the hearers.

We must be very concerned about the words that we speak since “life and death” is in the power of the tongue.

The Power of the Tongue

But the tongue can no man tame;

it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison

James 3:8

 

We know the tongue has power to generate life,

To produce seeds that will eventually take root

And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:

Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife

Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.

With his hand, the helmsman easily turns great ships,

So we covenant to guard the gates of our lips,

For words can heal or pierce the heart as a sharp knife.

We desire life and long to see good all our days,

So we speak the truth and refrain from speaking lies.

Like Jesus, we want our tongue to speak what God says.

We seek to be wise but never in our own eyes.

Pressing toward the finish, the coming of God’s kingdom,

We seek not just a word but the spirit of wisdom.

Be slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

This last section brings to mind encouragement to change. Where we once were quick to respond angrily or impulsively, we should now strive to become more patient, reflective and forgiving. This section of the verse causes us to recall that as we change our attitude, we can change our world. We can become “change agents” who by our very presence can impact where we interact with others. As agents of change we transform our environment; we give no offense and remove every stumbling block. We have salt in ourselves, and make peace with one another. All in all, we can make a difference as we follow

A Different Approach 

2 Corinthians 5:14-17                                 

Because of Christ’s undying love, we choose to love

Based on the love of God, not on what we can see.

Though blindsided by sin with a distorted view,

Through the lens of God’s love we now have a new creation reality.

We longer know Christ or anyone from a human viewpoint

And refuse to imprison others because of their last offense.

God in Christ forgave us each time we would fail or disappoint.

Each day provides one more fresh start, another day to commence:

The old life is gone; a new life has begun so that we

Can take a different approach: To love, see, and know differently.

Indeed, James 1:19 offers sound advice for us to heed, so aptly stated in the more familiar rendering in the King James Version:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

Taylor McCall offers a musical rendering of James 1:19-27 from which the Verse of the Day is taken.

 

Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger

May 25, 2016

James 1-19

Revised and re-posted below is the Verse of the Day for May 25, 2016. These comments are based on an Examiner.com article: “Positive Attitude Month: Guarding 3 Gates of Your Heart.”

James 1:19 in the Amplified Bible offers a stern reminder as to why God designed people to have two ears and one mouth:

Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

The familiar King James Version offers this statement:

James 1:19

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

The Verse of the Day also brings to mind a comment from writer John Bunyan, who recognizes that individuals must become guardians of “every gate that opens in our heart.” Howard Morgan speaks of “gates” in this way: “They are the places that we have to monitor diligently so that we allow only that which is positive and healthy into our lives.” Three such gates are the “ear gate,” “eye gate,” and “mouth gate.” The picture of the three wise monkeys also comes to mind to remind us that we must consciously seek to “hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

Three_wise_monkeys_figure

As guardians of the gates of our heart, we must:

 Watch what we hear: Hear No Evil

Whenever possible, individuals should consciously and consistently make every effort to listen to words and music that edify and encourage rather than words and music that tear down and destroy. Positive generates positive, while negative produces negative. We must learn to listen attentively that we might not only hear but also understand. We should consciously make a concerted effort to listen to hear words of life and hope, for as K. Eubanks noted, “It is faith that breathes life into hope. It is hope that fuels a positive life-giving attitude.”

 Watch what you see: See No Evil

Without question the mind can be flooded with negative images of all sorts, but we can choose to focus our attention on the positive aspects of life as revealed in the Word of God. In the same way that David determined: “I covenant with my eyes to see no evil,” we must determine to dwell upon positive mental images rather than negative ones. We can use visualization techniques to see ourselves successfully completing the tasks set before us. Paul J. Meyer maintains that “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass.”

Watch what you speak: Speak No Evil

Since “life and death are in the power of the tongue,” we must carefully choose the words that we speak, as this poem states:

We know the tongue has power to generate life,

To produce seeds that will eventually take root

And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:

Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife

Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.

We are encouraged to make positive confessions and to speak words of positive affirmation regarding ourselves and others. The Scriptures remind believers to let our words always be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers.

The essence of the importance of guarding these three gates is captured in a simple children’s song expressing profound truths:

 

Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to get angry

May 25, 2015

James 1-19Revised and reposted below is a blog entry based on an Examiner.com article related to Positive Attitude Month.

Found in James 1:19, here are two renderings of the Verse of the Day for May 25, 2015:

New Living Translation (NLT):

[Listening and Doing] Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.

Amplified Bible (AMP):

Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.

The wise advice given brings to mind a comment from writer John Bunyan, who recognizes that individuals must become guardians of “every gate that opens in our heart.” Howard Morgan speaks of “gates” in this way: “They are the places that we have to monitor diligently so that we allow only that which is positive and healthy into our lives.” Three such gates are the “ear gate,” “eye gate,” and “mouth gate.” The picture of the three wise monkeys also comes to mind to remind us that we must consciously seek to “hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

As guardians of the gates of our heart, we must:

 Watch what we hear: Hear No Evil

Whenever possible, individuals should consciously and consistently make every effort to listen to words and music that edify and encourage rather than words and music that tear down and destroy. Positive generates positive, while negative produces negative. We must learn to listen attentively that we might not only hear but also understand. We should consciously make a concerted effort to listen to hear words of life and hope, for as K. Eubanks noted, “It is faith that breathes life into hope. It is hope that fuels a positive life-giving attitude.”

 Watch what you see: See No Evil

Without question the mind can be flooded with negative images of all sorts, but we can choose to focus our attention on the positive aspects of life as revealed in the Word of God. In the same way that David determined: “I covenant with my eyes to see no evil,” we must determine to dwell upon positive mental images rather than negative ones. We can use visualization techniques to see ourselves successfully completing the tasks set before us. Paul J. Meyer maintains that “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass.”

Watch what you speak: Speak No Evil

Since “life and death are in the power of the tongue,” we must carefully choose the words that we speak, as this poem states:

We know the tongue has power to generate life,

To produce seeds that will eventually take root

And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:

Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife

Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.

We are encouraged to make positive confessions and to speak words of positive affirmation regarding ourselves and others. The Scriptures remind believers to let our words always be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers.

The essence of the importance of guarding these three gates is captured in a simple children’s song that expresses profound truths: “O Be Careful Little Eyes:

THINK before you speak

June 28, 2014

Think before you speakRecently the Office Manager at Carolina College of Biblical Studies, Pam Recod, shared an intriguing acrostic based on a statement that she has shared with her children as they were growing up. The words of wisdom that she imparted centered on this statement: “THINK before you speak.”

When written as an acrostic, the word “T-H-I-N-K” was broken down into a series of questions.

Instead of reflecting on the Verse of the Day for June 28, 2014, I have composed a devotional based on the statement: “Think before you speak.” I then looked for scriptures related to each of the questions asked in the acrostic.

“THINK before you speak.”                                            

This particular statement immediately brought to mind James 1:19:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

The Amplified Bible renders the verse in this way:

Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry

Proverbs 17:28 in the Amplified Bible makes this astute statement regarding speaking, or rather, not speaking:

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent

Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) also speaks of the center of our thoughts:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. As one who reckons, he says to you, eat and drink, yet his heart is not with you [but is grudging the cost].

This verse is coupled with this sobering reminder from Luke 6:45 in the Amplified Bible:

The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honorable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

Philippians 4:8 instructs believers as to what they should think:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

Every believer is to be conscious of what that individual thinks. We are reminded to control our thoughts. Paul exhorts us to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” We must never forget that “Thoughts are the seeds to our words and deeds.” We should, therefore, always “Think before you speak” and ask these questions:

T     Is it true?

In every situation we want always to speak the truth, and so we ask this question before we open our mouths in response: “Is it true?” We are always looking to the Word of God as our standard for what is true:

Psalm 19:9 declares:

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

Psalm 119:160 reiterates this truth:

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Whenever we open our mouths to speak we want to be a “true witness,” as Proverbs 14:25 indicates:

A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.

Jesus Christ made this statement in John 17:17:

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.

H   Is it helpful?

The words that we speak should be helpful, as Romans 14:19 reminds us:

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Colossians 4:6 also offers this encouragement regarding the words we speak:

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Ephesians 4:29 reinforces the same message:

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.

I   Is it inspiring?

The words that we speak can build up or tear down; they can encourage or discourage. Before we speak, we should ask, “Will what I say inspire and motivate those who hear me?”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 offers these words of encouragement:

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do

Believers are also exhorted to “admonish one another” in Romans 5:14

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

A similar expression is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:14:

And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.

A Bible study from Xenos Christian Fellowship explains that to admonish is to “apply moral correction through verbal confrontation which is motivated by love.” We should always endeavor to speak the truth in love which involves “Communication of God’s truth in love in ways that strengthen Christians to go on following God’s will.”

N Is it necessary?

Although the Scriptures encourage us to always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks (I Peter 3:15), we may encounter situations whereby we should “hold our peace” and say nothing. Indeed, there are occasions when it may not be necessary to say what we have in mind. Indeed, Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time to speak and a time to refrain from speaking.

In exercising the grace of God, some believers may feel that they can say whatever they think whenever they want to. 1Corinthians 10:23 calls to our attention this truth:

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

In life we all may encounter situations where it may be better to say little or nothing, as we ask, “Is it necessary?”

K Is it kind?

Most remarkably, what we put into our minds is what comes out of our mouths. Colossians 3: 12-14 (AMP) exhorts us:

12Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

 13Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

 14And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

If we put kindness into hearts and minds, then the what we say and what we do will clothed with kindness, as we follow Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:32:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

If we are endeavoring to speak the truth in love, we can be assured that what we speak will be kind because “love is kind.” (I Corinthians 13:4)

And so we have endeavored to answer the five questions which form the acrostic based on the statement: “ ‘T-H-I-N-K’ before you speak.”

The essence of the message of this post is captured in this song by Fernando Ortega, “Let the Words of My Mouth”:

 

Guard the gates: what you see, hear, speak

May 25, 2014

James 1-19

The Verse of the Day for May 25, 2014 is found in James 1:19 rendered in this way in the Amplified Bible:

Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.

The passage brings to mind a comment from writer John Bunyan, who recognizes that individuals must become guardians of “every gate that opens in our heart.” Howard Morgan speaks of “gates” in this way: “They are the places that we have to monitor diligently so that we allow only that which is positive and healthy into our lives.” Three such gates are the “ear gate,” “eye gate,” and “mouth gate.” The picture of the three wise monkeys also comes to mind to remind us that we must consciously seek to “hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.”

Three_wise_monkeys_figure

As guardians of the gates of our heart, we must:

 Watch what we hear: Hear No Evil

Whenever possible, individuals should consciously and consistently make every effort to listen to words and music that edify and encourage rather than words and music that tear down and destroy. Positive generates positive, while negative produces negative. We must learn to listen attentively that we might not only hear but also understand. We should consciously make a concerted effort to listen to hear words of life and hope, for as K. Eubanks noted, “It is faith that breathes life into hope. It is hope that fuels a positive life-giving attitude.”

 Watch what you see: See No Evil

Without question the mind can be flooded with negative images of all sorts, but we can choose to focus our attention on the positive aspects of life as revealed in the Word of God. In the same way that David determined: “I covenant with my eyes to see no evil,” we must determine to dwell upon positive mental images rather than negative ones. We can use visualization techniques to see ourselves successfully completing the tasks set before us. Paul J. Meyer maintains that “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass.”

Watch what you speak: Speak No Evil

Since “life and death are in the power of the tongue,” we must carefully choose the words that we speak, as the lines from this poem states:

We know the tongue has power to generate life,

To produce seeds that will eventually take root

And will bring forth two very different kinds of fruit:

Love, joy and peace or envy, confusion and strife

Can build or destroy a brother, a friend, a wife.

We are encouraged to make positive confessions and to speak words of positive affirmation regarding ourselves and others. The Scriptures remind believers to let our words always be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers.

The essence of the importance of guarding these three gates is captured in a simple children’s song that expresses profound truths: “O Be Careful Little Eyes: