Posts Tagged ‘Oh be careful little eyes’

Watch your mouth

September 19, 2018

Earlier this week, I announced that my new book is scheduled for release on October 15, 2018. In Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs, I share my holistic strategy to overcome prostate cancer. Part of my approach involves going to the Bible and looking for principles that I can apply to my situation. The Verse of the Day for September 19, 2018 brought to mind Chapter 2 which opens with Ephesians 4:29 in the Message Bible:

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

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2:

Watch your mouth

In my situation, I recognized that I had to become a guardian or watchman of what John Bunyan calls “every gate that opens in our heart.” Howard Morgan speaks of “gates” as “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 “the ear gate,” “the eye gate,” and “the mouth gate.” The picture of the three wise monkeys came to mind to remind me that I must consciously seek to “watch what I hear, watch what I see, and watch what I say.”

With regard to the mouth as a gate that I had to watch, I had to monitor not only what went into the mouth—what I chose to eat—but what came out of my mouth–what I chose to speak as well. Since “The power of life and death is in the power of the tongue,” I carefully chose the words that I would speak, as this original 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.

Throughout the whole process of responding to the diagnosis of prostate cancer, I had to encourage myself to make positive confessions and to speak words of positive affirmation. The Scriptures remind believers to let our words always be seasoned with salt, that they may minister grace to the hearers.

Most amazingly I did not have to look in the mirror to watch my mouth, but then again, I did! I looked into the mirror of the Word of God and made sure that what I said lined up with what the Word of God says. The Book of James speaks of not just being one who hears the Word but also one who does the Word: “a hearer and a doer.” Indeed, my actions speak louder than my words in this instance.

To sum up what I learned about watching in a strategic way, I came across this statement attributed to Frank Outlaw, founder of Bi-Lo Stores. Each line opens with an exhortation to “watch.” What we are to observe closely could we arranged as an acrostic that can be rearranged to spell “W-A-T-C-H”:

“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.”

Each chapter of Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs concludes with a psalm of remembrance of God’s goodness and faithfulness. As the journey continues, I am

Watching, Waiting, Seeking

Wait on the LORD; be of good courage,
and He shall strengthen your heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD!
Psalm 27:14

We are strengthened by the Word of God where we find
Courage to endure while seeking to watch and wait.
Those who watch and wait are never left behind,
For God has always been faithful and never late.
We trust in the Lord, as the Word of God extols.
Like Job we wait until at last our change shall come,
Assured that in patience we now anchor our souls.
May we not faint and fall by the wayside as some
But follow in Christ’s steps, as we quickly obey
And bear up under and yield fruit of endurance.
We must walk in God’s love, the more excellent way
And through faith and patience claim our inheritance.
In these perilous times we are yielded and still,
Watching, waiting, seeking to fulfill all God’s will.

The essence of the importance of “watching your mouth” and guarding the gates of our lives is captured in a simple children’s song that expresses profound truths: “O Be Careful Little Eyes:

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: