Friday, February 3, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - February 3, 2017

Today's Reading:

Luke 24:1-12

Genesis 43

Psalm 34

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In Psalm 34:12-13, we find one of the biggest and most important secrets to a long and good life. 
"What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile."
This verse, in the Psalms, caught the attention of the apostle Peter also. We know this because he wrote:
1 Peter 3:10  "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile."  
The Psalmist wrote that the only way to really have LIFE and many good days was to keep our tongues from evil, and our lips from speaking in any deceptive or reviling manner. James went even farther saying plainly that anyone who controlled his tongue was a "perfect" person.
James 3:2-10  "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be."  
Words... speech... speaking...  Wow! It's really a big deal. And maintaining righteous speaking (by God's Grace) is the definitive mark of sanctification. So, how many words are we talking about bringing under the Father's control. What volume of words need to be bridled and harnessed?

In 1984, British writer, Gyles Brandreth, wanted to know how many words the average person spoke in a lifetime. After doing some interesting research on the subject, he estimated that the average person speaks a whopping 860,341,500 words in a lifetime. Brandreth wrote about it in his book, The Joy of Lex: How to Have Fun with 860,341,500 Words.

If Brandreth is right, 860.3 million words certainly sounds like a lot. But we really need a bit more perspective to fully appreciate it.
20-volume Oxford English Dictionary set

In one lifetime, the average person speaks the equivalent of the entire text of the complete 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary (OED) more than 14.5 times.

The books in this picture aren't Bibles... But you get the idea...

In one lifetime, the average person speaks the equivalent of the entire 32-volume Encyclopedia Britannica (EB) 19.5 times

Or put yet another way, the average person speaks the equivalent of the King James Bible (Old and New Testament) more than 1,110 times.

Okay, that's a lot of words to bring under the Father's control!
So, what does it look like to have our words "under the Father's control"? What is the "guile" that Peter and David both instructed us to refrain from speaking?

1) We are not to speak evil of another (no slander). Slander is an evil use of the tongue.

James 4:11  "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."

2) If someone yells at us, or has an outbreak of temper, we are not to shout back at them, or respond in the same evil manner.

1 Peter 3:8-9  "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

3) If someone curses us or swears at us, we are not to respond in kind.

Matthew 5:44  "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

4) Guileless speech is without any deception. Our speech is to be according to the Law of God. We are to be careful not to provoke others with our words.

Proverbs 8:7-8  "For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness (speech that is counter to the principles of God's Law) is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward (words that provoke or pick a fight) or perverse (false) in them."
Pure use of the tongue also involves speaking in a manner which is always governed by the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. It is edifying speech. It is encouraging speech. It is loving speech. 

No wonder James said that if anyone could control his tongue, he was a perfect man! It seems hopeless! No one can follow the injunction of the Psalmist to "keep thy tongue from evil"!

But if taming the tongue is impossible, so is sanctification. And thankfully, this "impossible" work (which is truly impossible for any person to do on his own) is possible through the power of God.

A fun party game lends a good illustration to the effective method for taming the tongue. At parties, sometimes children (and adults - it's great fun!) play a game of hitting air-filled balloons, trying to keep them from falling to the ground. Like I said, this is a great game. And it's great physical exercise. But, for the purpose of analogy, let's compare the process of keeping the balloon aloft to keeping our words from evil.

If we think about it, we can keep from shouting at someone who's shouting at us. We can stop ourselves from indulging in the latest gossip about Susie (or pick a name). And we can, with concentration, take the effort needed to bridle the tongue, at least a bit. Hit the balloon! Hit the balloon! Hit the balloon! Hit the balloon!

But it just isn't effective because it isn't sustainable! At some point, we're going to tire. We simply cannot keep up this effort forever. Some can keep the balloon aloft longer than others. But, at some point, the balloon inevitably falls to the ground and we have - yet again - used our tongue for evil. Why can't we do it? Because we've filled the balloon with our own air! 

With the air in the balloon representing the "breath" - or spirit - inside it, a balloon (a life) filled with our own air (our efforts) cannot be kept from evil by sheer willpower alone. Ultimately, the "breath" - what's really in our hearts - comes out in our words.
Matthew 12:34  "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."
But while a balloon that is filled with air from our lungs cannot be kept continuously in the air (complete victory), a balloon filled with helium can! In our analogy, helium in the balloon represents our lives being filled with the Holy Spirit. In such a state, our attitudes, words, and actions are no longer our own, or kept by our own willpower or failing efforts. Now we are empowered by God. And the balloon goes up and stays up!

So how can we have "helium-filled" balloons in the use of our tongues? This is a prayer matter and one of meditation. When we meditate upon God's Word we are strengthened to live in victory.
Psalm 119:11  "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not (have strength to not) sin against Thee."
Psalm 19:14  "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy Sight, O LORD (Yahweh), my Strength, and my Redeemer."
Let's start off today by praying for God's Help - His "helium" to infuse us, so that we may keep our tongues from evil, by His power. If this is your desire, please pray the following prayer:

Yahweh, You are the most high God who supplies all my needs. I can rest assured knowing that anything I ask for, will be given unto me, as long as I am faithful to You and it is in agreement with Your Will for my life. For I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread.
Proverbs 21:23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Let my lips be used to give sweet, joyful praises unto Your Name. Oh Yahweh, deliver me from criticism, negativity, corruption, pride, arrogance, gossip, bitterness, resentment, hate and spitefulness. Let not these words ever leave my lips, nor these spirits dwell in my heart. For life and death are in the power of the tongue.
Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord (Yahweh), over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! 
Oh Yahweh, let no evil befall me as I live my life serving You. Let any negativity spoken against me, or that I might be tempted to speak against others, be destroyed in Jesus (Yahshua's) Name; for I am covered and protected under the precious Blood of the King.
Break that chain of negativity, Oh my God. Allow me to not only speak words of wisdom, edification, healing and love towards others, but also, let my actions follow through.
In Jesus’ (Yahshua's) mighty Name I pray, Amen and Amen!

Be sure to add a COMMENT on this blog, sharing with us anything you found meaningful in your reading of today's Scripture passages. We will all love to hear from you (please keep the Comment relevant to today's reading - Thx!)