Of all the wise man's words, I suppose that some of my favorites are these: "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding" (Pro. 17:28). 

There's just something about a man who knows when to say his piece, and hold his peace. The fact of the matter is, those who are more selective with when they speak are often taken far more seriously than those who always have something to say. 

This morning I read a story about a man by the name of Luigi Tarisio. When he died, he left very few worldly possessions behind. That is, with the exception of nearly 250 fiddles which he spent a lifetime collecting. He's not the only collector to have hidden away the melodious sounds by resigning the instruments to an attic. In fact, ". . . when the greatest Stradivarius was first played it had had 147 silent years."

I'm not suggesting that you be Monk like and hold your tongue for years, or forever. Rather, choose more carefully when you do speak.

Holding your tongue will keep you out of trouble (Pro. 21:23), and it will also cause the words you choose to speak to have a greater impact. 

Remember that "He who is a man of silence is a man of sense."

I hope you have a great day!

Henry Varley said, "The world has yet to see what God can do with and through and in a man who is fully consecrated to him."

Imagine what our homes, places of business, and even the church would be like if we had men and women who were willing to separate themselves completely and totally to God's business rather than their own. I mean all of us!

What if we all admitted our wrongs and vowed to change?

What if we all were willing to listen to one another and recognize that their input was/is valuable?

What if we all decided to be less selfish and more selfless?

What if we all made the effort to be kind to others, even when others aren't so kind to us?

What if we all committed to making the best of what ever situation we find ourself in, and if we don't like that situation, what if rather than complain about it, we change it?

What if we all held ourselves to a higher standard first, before expecting the same from others?

What if we all chose to talk to one another about issues we may have with them rather than talk about them to others? And, what if we simply chose not to have so many issues with others and learn to accept the fact that "not everyone is just like me"?

What if we all agreed that we would commit to treating others the way we wanted to be treated?

What if we all decided to tell just one person about Jesus this week? 

What if we all committed ourselves to truly being the Christian that God, from His word, has called us to be?

Seth Wilson said, "It doesn't take such a great man to be a Christian; it just takes all there is of him."

One of the things that controls human destiny, and we might add our eternal destiny, are these words from Solomon: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might . . ." (Eccl. 9:10).

What if we all did that?

I hope you have a great day!

If I'm honest with myself, I would have to admit that there are occasions when my prayer life is not as it should be. So, I'll ask God to forgive me on those occasions and then make an effort to do better.

Prayer does such great things for Christians. And why wouldn't it? It's the only way we can call upon the creator of the universe to assist us in our times of need.

Marriage problems? Pray about them.

An enemy that constantly distracts you from being the Christian you need to be? Pray for him.

The fear of the unknown--whether job security, the future of your children, or retirement? Pray about those things.

Philip Melanchthon said, "The great tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer." 

I like how one person put it. "A lot of kneeling keeps you in good standing with God. If your knees are knocking, kneel on them."

The Bible says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us" (1 Jn. 5:14).

I hope you have a great day!

While I hate the cancer that destroys the body, I also hate the cancer that kills the spirit. Fred Smith said, "Cynicism is cancer of the spirit. The bad cells of sarcasm attack the good cells of hope and, if undiagnosed, will eventually destroy them."

Distrusting others without cause--and by "cause" I don't mean the gossip of a third party. Disparaging the motives of another without truly knowing their character. Believing the worst about people, charging them with selfishness without really trying to understand them. All of these are cynical attitudes and behaviors. 

Rather than having a pessimistic view toward others, why not look for the positive? Reminds me of the boy who came home with his report card full of poor grades. "What have you to say about this?" asked his father. "One thing for sure," the boy replied, "Dad, you can be proud. You know I haven't been cheating!"

We would do well to remember that as Christians we are to be a flavoring influence to those around us. Part of that must be a positive and optimistic attitude, and one void of cynicism. 

The Bible says, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good of nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men" (Mt. 5:13). 

Have a great day!

All of the miracles of our Lord are impressive, but the one where Jesus healed the paralytic is especially so to me. 

In Mark 2:1-12 we are immediately taken back to a first century home located in Capernaum. It was likely just a small flat, rectangular in shape with an open courtyard in the center area. There would have been one door to enter the home, and through the door an enclosed porch area where the Lord would have been as he preached to the people. The roof of the flat would have been made of tiles.

The man whom the Bible calls a paralytic (sick of the palsy), was carried by friends to the home where Jesus was preaching. Since there was a massive crowd hindering this sick man’s friends ability to carry the paralytic near to the Lord, they made their way to the rooftop and began to break away those tiles and then lowered their sick friend to Jesus’ side. As a result of their faith the man was made whole.

What can we learn from this remarkable miracle? I only want to mention two things. First, we learn that there was one who was helpless; and second, there were some who were helpers. The helpless was obviously the paralytic. Anywhere he wanted to go, he had to be carried. Add to that, he had no ability to heal himself. Like the paralytic, there are countless souls in the communities in which we live who are helpless. They are lost in sin and do not have the ability to heal themselves (Micah 6:7; Eph. 2:8-9). Our job as Christians is to reach out to the helpless. 

Secondly, there were some who were helpers. Friends of the paralytic each took a corner of the bed upon which the sick man lay and carried him to be near the Lord. It’s obvious that the paralytic was not the only one who had faith that Jesus had the power to heal. The text says that he was healed because of “their” faith. Those who are lost in sin need Christians to be their friends. They need people like you and me who will care enough to show them the way to Jesus.

Let's help the helpless. Have a great day!

One researcher said that the average child laughs 150 times in a day. In contrast, the average adult only laughs 15 times a day.
Sometimes our lives become so serious that we forget to take time to laugh and enjoy life. Laughter does a body good, and it does something for the spirit of man as well.

Dennis Wholey, author of Are You Happy? reports that according to expert opinion, perhaps only 20 percent of Americans are happy (Our Daily Bread, October 11, 1994).

Speaking to the subject of happiness, the apostle Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice” (Phil. 4:4). If anybody should be happy, it's a Christian. But, what makes Christians happy? 

Several years ago, while listening to a sermon on the topic of Christians and happiness, I wrote down the following items:

Having children makes Christians happy. “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them” (Psa. 127:4,5).

The ability to work makes Christians happy. “For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee” (Psa. 128:2).

Being obedient to God makes Christians happy. “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he” (Pro. 16:20).

Practicing compassion makes Christians happy. “He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he” (Pro. 14:21).

Learning to help others makes Christians happy. “If ye know these things [how to be a servant], happy are ye if ye do them” (Jn. 13:17).

Are you a happy Christian? If not, why not? God has given you reasons to rejoice.

Francis Marion once asked, "Do we really know anybody? Who does not wear one face to hide another?"

In the book, Simple Church, the authors use the phrase "fancy coffins" to describe the Jewish leaders for their blatant hypocrisy in spiritual matters. Describing the scene of Matthew 23:26-27, they write, 

Everything looked good on the outside, but inwardly everything was disgusting. . . . [The Pharisees] were like whitewashed tombs or top-of-the-line coffins. On the outside everything was shiny. Everything was presentable. But beneath the surface there was death. Beneath the surface there was emptiness.

Churches specifically and Christians in general can sometimes be like fancy coffins--beautiful on the outside, but covering up the truth that lies within--death and decay. We are often very clever at pretending to be something we're not. 

We smile for those around us, but our insides are torn apart because of disfunction at home.

We sing "Oh how I love Jesus" on Sunday, but on Monday no one has any idea that we're Christians.

We tell our children to keep themselves sexually pure for their future spouse, but we watch TV programs that glorify pre-marital sex--often in front of our children.

We encourage our little ones to "get along with your brother/sister," but so many times we hold a grudge toward our own brother or sister in Jesus.

You see, we're often not much different that those old Pharisees. We paint a pleasant picture of ourselves on the outside, but on the inside we're "dead bones full of uncleanness"--to borrow Jesus' words.

Let's be careful to "be real," and to make sure that our reality is in fact one that pleases God everyday. 

Have a great day!

Has something ever laid such guilt on your heart? You know, to the point that it consumes you and you can hardly think of anything else? Such was the case for a young immigrant who nearly failed her citizenship exam.

As an immigrant, my mother lived in constant fear of deportation. you could miss up to four questions on the citizenship test, Mom missed five. The question she flunked on was: "What is the Constitution of the United States?" The answer she gave was: "A boat." Which wasn't entirely wrong. The USS Constitution was docked in Boston. But the judge instantly denied her citizenship. My father stormed up to the judge. "What is this? Let me see the test! She's not wrong--the Constitution is a boat!" The judge rolled his eyes and said, "No, the Constitution is our basic governing document. My father responded, "But it's also a boat in Boston! The Constitution! Same thing! Come on!" The judge finally couldn't take any more. He said, "Fine. She's a citizen. Now get out of here!" So my father said to my mom, "you passed!" "No, I didn't pass," she whimpered. "They're going to come after me!" From then on, any time my mother was even in the proximity of a policeman, she quaked with fear. When I took her to Scotland in 1983, she asked me, "Will I be able to get back in?" "Ma! Don't worry! That was 50 years ago!" It never ended." --Jay Leno

Perhaps what weighs heavily on your heart is your eternal citizenship. Maybe you question with frequency whether or not God has truly forgiven you of some sin in your past. Well, the great Judge, and Savior of mankind has promised to forgive us when we repent.

I think it's often difficult for us to let go of our sins even years later. There's the fear that someway, somehow, God is still going to hold it to our charge. 

Here's what God says:

I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins (Isa 43:25).

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more (Heb 10:17).

See, if God will let it go, you should too! This is one devotional point that needs repeating over, and over again. So many live their lives dwelling on the forgiven past. God promises that if we sin, and if we repent and ask God to forgive us, He will.

Have a blessed day!

In a book I'm reading the author shared, "...the worst dust storm in history would happen if all church members who were neglecting their Bibles dusted them off simultaneously."

During our Sunday morning Bible class, one of our good elders passed around an image that he printed off Facebook. On it were these words: "You are always opening your Facebook, to see if there are new messages . . . But the Bible has a lot of messages, you are not opening."

I suppose that for any of us there are times that we either don't read our Bible as often as we should or when we do read it we do so to simply check that "assignment" off our daily list. Isn't it strange how we put daily Bible reading second, third, or even further down the list of important matters. 

One would think that if faith comes by hearing God's word (Rm. 10:17), and that righteous living is directly related to reading God's word (2 Tm. 3:16-17), we would make it a daily practice to spend time in the Book. 

Author John Blanchard wrote, "How often do we face problems, temptation and pressure? Every day! Then how often do we need instruction, guidance and greater encouragement? Every day!"

I hope you have a great day!

Whitney, Donald S., Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, p.p. 32-33. 

How do you get your exercise? Chasing after toddlers? Running errands? Maybe you go to the gym, or go for walks in the evening with your family. 

I read that some get their exercise by "...jumping to conclusions, running up bills, stretching the truth, bending over backward, lying down on the job, sidestepping responsibility, and pushing their luck."

I'm all for good exercise programs, and try to keep a routine going myself. Yet, I know that godliness is the best exercise of all. The Bible says, "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation" (1 Tm. 4:7-9).

Now, go have a good workout!