Posts Tagged Journey Through the Bible

Lip Tripping

2 Timothy 3: 1 – 3

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips.

Well, this verse alone ought to convince us we are in the last days. Paul warned us that difficult times would come. What is interesting is that, for the most part, the behaviors listed in these verses are not even reviled in our modern culture. For the most part, all of these, previously detestable, acts are accepted. These truths strike grief in the heart.

Worry not, however. God is in the business of transforming hearts. He remakes us into the beautiful creatures of design. The world has stained and molded us but God, through Jesus, has restored us to His glory. Wherever sin and evil abound, God’s grace does so even more (Romans 5: 20).

Obviously, this is a list of behaviors that are abhorrent to God. These are signs that we are falling into destruction, signs of decay. It is worth a moment to re-read the list and ponder the deeds which God has highlighted as signs of our downfall. Each is a lesson in itself but I want to focus on one in particular because most of us fall into this trap and must be reminded that God finds this habit repulsive.

Gossip makes God’s list of reprehensible acts, acts that are indicative of the decadent and fallen state of humanity. The concern that challenges me most is that I am just as guilty in this regard as any unsaved heathen in the world. Really, how many Christians fall into the trap of gossiping? The answer is sure to alarm us. The truth is, though none wants to say, and no one wants to hear it, gossip is a sin.

How would you define gossip? We normally think of it as talking about a third person in a way that is not edifying to them, although gossip doesn’t edify us either. The Jews have a clear perspective, one that informs my thinking. They teach the doctrine of Loshon Hora. In a general sense it means malignant or derogatory speech about another. Paying close attention to this description, it becomes clear that the speech can be true and yet still be prohibited. It is speech which, even if true, tends to cause harm or potential harm to the person about whom the speech refers. In other words, gossip.

In this I will say, as Paul once did, I am chief among sinners. I know, however, that I am not alone. This is a good time to remind ourselves that talking about others is detrimental to ourselves and harmful to the reputations of others. We should, in the least, be concerned about the stain we leave on our own spirits by spewing vileness from our lips.

The cure is simple. Just don’t tell tales about others. Don’t talk about others. If we take advice from the Word, we would practice “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord,” (Ephesians 5: 19). We should talk about the Lord and glorify His name rather than run down the name of others. Do it for yourself. Edify yourself by speaking holy words rather than gossip. It is important for your sake.

If you really wish to edify yourself, look up the doctrine of loshon hora, Google it. You will be surprised. Some describe it as evil speech and claim it to be even worse than murder, immorality or idolatry. Also, for a brief discussion, see my book Journey Through the Bible, chapter 64 (this book may be purchased at: https://iveyministries.org/product/journey-through-the-bible/.)

Wait, Wait

Lamentations 3: 25

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.

I did an interview in the spring about my book Journey Through the Bible. Since the book is a day by day sojourn through every book of the Bible the interviewer asked me if there were any particular books that I did not look forward to as much as others. I will have to say that the book of Lamentations is not up there with Isaiah on the list of Bible books I migrate towards. None the less, one of the insights that I believe is gleaned from the Journey Through the Bible is that every single book of the Bible has great wisdom and inspiration for today. Just look at this golden nugget hidden away in Lamentations. For the full interview please visit, http://www.christianbookshow.com/interviews/journey-through-the-bible.

Yesterday we read Psalm 40, verses 1- 4. The passage begins with, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me.” Couple that with “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,” and you have a powerful insight. Those who have been reading the Word of the Day for a while have come to know that there is substantial benefit to those who seek God. Certainly that is a part of today’s message, but we are also learning that waiting for God has benefits.

So many times I have gotten out in front of God. That never works. There has been an entire category of transformation in my life which is about letting God do the heavy lifting. In other words, we can work with God in our daily lives so that He is actually making things happen while we do the praying and whatever else He directs. At the root of getting in front of God is a profound lack of trust. In my case, I didn’t really believe down in my heart that God was a proactive, everyday, involved kind of Father. Therefore, my response to situations, even after praying, was to throw the full force of my personality and effort into accomplishing everything in my own strength. Now I recognize that as spiritual immaturity but that is where I was. Reading a passage like today’s verse encourages me, as I hope it does you, to have more patience and to trust God.

Remember the old saying, “Good things come to those who wait”? Who knew that was biblical? So take a deep breath; brew yourself a cup of coffee, sit down and relax. Talk to your father and allow Him to speak to your situation. Wait on Him and good things will come to you.