Trouble Trap

Proverb 21: 23         God’s Word

Whoever guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

What do we need to say about this verse? Most of us, when we think back on occasions where we have gotten ourselves in trouble, will acknowledge that it usually was from something we said. We are more likely to offend someone by what we say than any other way.

I think the secret to guarding one’s mouth is in getting some help. Psalm 141: 3 is just such an entreaty, “Set a guard, Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” In my case, it takes the power of the Almighty to keep my mouth out of trouble and even then, it can still be a challenge, but this is a worthy subject for prayer. If we don’t actively set that guard over our mouths and tongues, we are sure to stumble into trouble.

Words, Deeds and Seeds

Proverb 12: 14

A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, and the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him.

You will see this proverb again. Because there were so many good verses to choose from, I will return here after Labor Day when we resume our normal schedule. I have added a link for the entire proverb again so you can see for yourself how rich it is.

God’s kingdom works differently than the world system. The Bible is an instruction manual leading us into the truths of life. In today’s verse we are given a great insight but as we look at it closely we find that it stands in direct opposition to the way most of us have been taught.

This passage reveals that success comes from our words, rather than our hands. Our hands, it says, are sowers of seed. Now, of course, seed bears a crop. That crop will be good if the seed was good or bad if the seed was bad. So, I am thinking of this verse as identifying that what you sow with your actions will return to you. Sow kindness, reap kindness. Sow selfishness, reap selfishness.

Your success, though, is in your mouth. What are you saying??? We cannot be overly cautious about the words of our mouths. I know sometimes we use phrases in a joking manner but honestly, why would we do that? Why would we say stupid stuff even in jest?  When I read that a person’s life is filled with the fruit of his words it warns me that I should guard my mouth and ALL the words I speak. For example, I am never “scared to death.” And, you may be annoying me but I don’t need to say, “You’re killing me here.” There are dozens of examples in that vein but let’s shift gears a bit. We do the same thing with our health and our welfare. “I’m so broke I can’t pay attention.” Look again at the verse. We are filled with good by the fruit of our words. Therefore, we must speak good, and that means speaking good about our financial wellbeing, our health, and every other aspect of life. “God blesses me in everything I do. The blessing of God is following me around. God blesses my pocketbook. God meets my every need.” Those statements are just as easy to say as anything else and they are not only true, but they are ultimate truth.

Tune in to the power in your words. Speak prosperity, health and wholeness. Meanwhile sow good seed with your actions. Be kind to others considering their needs above your own (Philippians 2: 3). Sow generosity, tolerance and patience. These shall return to you.

Proverb 12

 

Mouth Guard

Psalm 141: 3

Set a guard, Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.

We all have our weaknesses, and this is mine. There are other good verses in this psalm, but I have to preach to myself this morning. When I am stressed, tired, frustrated or haven’t spent enough time with our Father, it shows in my language. When my threshold for dealing with pent up frustration or stress is breached, the pressure relief valve is my mouth. And believe me, I need the power of God to curtail my speech.

I imagine a cave entrance with a large angel standing watch over it. He checks everything going in or out of that portal. He is a strong angel and the more I picture him at his station the more entrenched he becomes. I do need to feed him, though, and it seems that he gains his strength through the time I spend with my Father and time spent with God’s Word. I guess I am really nourishing myself and my angel is fortified through me. When I am weak, his strength may fail because he gets his strength through my well-nourished spirit. I don’t have to bolster the angel; he knows how to do his job. In other words, I don’t have to do help him stand guard. I don’t have to help him at all. I just need to do my “one thing” and he will do his singular task. In fact, I do not even need to think about the angel and his mission if I am fulfilling my own. So many things simply fall into place when I seek the Lord and ponder His Word.

Pray, asking the Lord to set a guard. He will then guard your lips for you. It is one less thing you will have to wrestle with. Do your part to keep him healthy and strong, though. Make sure you are nourishing your spirit because that is the well of living water, the source of life and light. Life and death are in the mouth (Proverbs 18: 21) so we are well advised to set a guard over it for from it spring the issues of life.

Melting Away

Colossians 3: 8 – 9

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech from your mouth, do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.
As we set our eyes on those things above, we must take care that we do not resurrect those things from our old self. But the good news is that as you keep your eyes on Jesus, those old things will feel foreign. They are inconsistent with your new self and soon they become uncomfortable. Then they will begin to melt away from you.

It is interesting how many of the above offenses are committed with our mouths. Getting our mouths under control is the bulk of the battle but with our eyes fixed on Jesus, he lends his strength to us so that in our weakness, we are strong. As we focus our attention on seeking Jesus and our Father, his power is made alive in us. Our worship and love of him draws us away from our old behaviors. They will eventually become as repugnant to us as they are to Him because we are drawing closer to Him every day and becoming more like Him.

Deep Pit

Proverb 8: 8

All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them.

King David wrote in Psalm 17: 3 that he purposed that his mouth would not transgress. That is a noble goal. Maybe setting that goal was enough for David to be able to accomplish it. For others of us, though, some tools may come in handy. Today’s verse is just such a tool and it might be a good one for one of those index cards.

The eighth proverb is a message from wisdom. She is crying out in the streets trying to get our attention, trying to help us. We are to seek wisdom, only a fool wouldn’t. Well, when we seek and find wisdom we get all that she is and she tells us that her mouth only utters righteousness. Surely that is wisdom, speaking nothing but righteousness. Now here is how you can use this verse as a tool for yourself even though it is wisdom speaking. Because you seek wisdom you can make this same declaration. If you have purposed in your heart that your mouth will not transgress then confess that all of the utterances of your mouth are righteous. After a while your brain will catch on. Then it will begin to regulate your mouth. 

Honestly, if you do not transgress with your mouth then you are a holy person indeed. Our mouths are deep pits into which we fall. Keep your mouth straight and you will find your paths straight too. Let God’s power help you to cover over that deep pit and make a straight way for you.

Heart & Mouth

Psalm 19: 14                      Index Card 1

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

I am beginning a new series today. Many times I recommend that you take really meaningful verses and write them out on 3 X 5 index cards then put them in plain sight so that you can review them frequently. Well, it may please you to know that I take my own advice. Today’s verse is the first in a series of Ivey’s index cards. I hope you enjoy seeing which verses I have recorded in my scripture deck of cards.

This verse is first and foremost in my mind and, in my stack of cards, because my failures so often come out of my mouth. In truth, it is what is in our hearts which bubbles up and out of our mouths (Matthew 12: 34) and often in the most inconvenient of times. So, this verse reminds me to check the content of my heart and set a guard over my mouth (Psalm 141: 3).

Fruit that Satisfies

Proverb 18: 20

With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips.

A friend of mine says that I should write a Word of the Day about the power of the tongue at least every month. Well, I should, perhaps, be reminded even more frequently than that. I am amazed at how little we guard our mouths. Even the secular world recognizes this spiritual law. Read self-help books or listen to PMA teachings and you will hear these teachers over and over again educating people that their mouths determine their futures. If secular instructors recognize this spiritual law, how is it that we Christians continue to spew doubt and negative confessions out of our mouths day and night? We really should know better.

I think part of the answer is that we really do not pay attention to what we say. Listen to yourself for a day. Then take every single thing you say literally. For one day do not give yourself poetic license. Presume that when you are “tickled to death” you are going to die. What if you were literally “blown away” (one of my personal favorites)? Now those are some examples of the innocuous things we say but what of the more significant ones? Do you constantly say that you are having senior moments? Guess what, if you keep saying that you are going to have more. Do you ever make negative statements about yourself or your future?

I know some people argue that words are not really that important, that they will not carry out the purpose of their meaning. People say, “Well, I didn’t mean it literally or I didn’t mean it like that.” Well, how did you mean it? If a word has a specific meaning then why does it not mean what it is supposed to mean?

Now here is the point. Why even use those negative or fruitless expressions? Will you die if you stop saying that you were tickled to death? Is there no other way to express that you thought something was funny?

That is the negative side of the coin. The positive side is that you can improve your present and your future by changing your language. Your business is inspired by positive affirmations, not negative. That is why God tells us that our stomachs will be satisfied by the fruit of our mouths. He is trying to teach us that we can fill our stomachs and even our pocketbooks with the fruit of our lips. And here is the thing, this is a free service. It costs you absolutely nothing to speak well of yourself, your business, your family and even your church and pastor. You can even talk yourself into happiness. Watch what you say. Police your language and then thoughtfully speak. Make a determined choice about the things you let come out of your mouth. Listen to what you are about to say before you open your mouth and let it fall out. I promise you that you can change your life.

One last thing, if you have already passed this class, then begin to watch what you think about yourself, family, etc. Begin to police your thoughts. You can fend off depression, worry and a whole lot of other negative experiences if you will watch what you say to yourself internally.