Your Lying Tongue Shakes Things Up

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:

  1. haughty eyes,
  2. a lying tongue, and
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that devises wicked plans,
  5. feet that make haste to run to evil,
  6. a false witness who breathes out lies, and
  7. one who sows discord among brothers.

Source: Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV – Bible Gateway

This is post three in the Hating what God Hates series.  First and second post can be found here and here.

A lying tongue is the second of the seven things here that God hates.  This one is pretty straightforward, right?  We all know what lying is, don’t we?

Let’s start with remembering what hating what God hates includes:  loving what God loves.  Those who want to follow God will be lovers of the truth.  Because the lying tongue, lying dormant and silent, is still what it is:  a lying tongue.

In contrast, listen to Psalm 15 (emphasis mine):

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
    and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

The second bolded phrase, “does not slander with his tongue” is the obvious one, right?  It uses the word “tongue” so it jumps out.  It’s about the “do not” part of what God hates…but there’s always a “put on” to go with the “put off,” a “do” to go with the “do not.”

More than that even, it starts with what’s going on in your heart more than what’s on your lips.  Putting off a lying tongue means speaking the truth, first and foremost, in your heart.  This is the kind of person God invites over for tea (see Ps. 15:1 above)…one who speaks truth even in his heart.  It’s easy to lie to yourself, or worse yet to rationalize what you’re saying as OK even when you know it’s not true.  Or not quite true.

And that brings us to the last bolded phrase:  “who swears to his own hurt and does not change.”  Sometimes telling the truth will get you in trouble.  It’ll make your life more difficult, at least in the short run.  Hating the lying tongue means telling the truth even when it appears to be in your best interest (like avoiding pain) to lie.  Doing what God wants, even when it looks uncomfortable in the near future, is the character He loves.   If you’re going to hate the lying tongue, you need to tell the truth even when it’s going to make your life more difficult.

The truth, though, is a bedrock in your life.  God says here “he who does these things shall never be moved” or as the NASB says, “can never be shaken.”

So hate the lying tongue.  Even the silent one.  And tell the truth even to your own hurt, and you will dwell in God’s tents and never be shaken.

 

 

This Too? This Too.

My wife has been having some health struggles lately. Serious struggles.

This is on top of a life that’s above average on the crazy difficult scale of late.  Work has been harder than it’s ever been, and I’m not wearing the stress very well (at least until my recent vacation).  And even when I was in school, I was able to make it through because Theresa kept things running at home when I wasn’t able to find the attention span.

And when life is at a pace where I’m tempted to give up and say “I can’t take it anymore” God has added this to the pile too.  When I’m saying “no more” God says “actually, this too.”

1Thessalonians 5:18:

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

If you look up the word “all” in your concordance the Greek word there mean (wait for it) “all.”  Give thanks in ALL circumstances for this is God’s will for your life.  This one too?  Yup.  Give thanks for everything.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not hard or that you can handle it.  There’s another all to remember in 1Peter 5:

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Cast all your cares on Him.  There’s not a single one you should try to carry on your own.

If you’re anything like me you forget that.  Pretty much every day.  I try to handle it on my own.  And God’s the One who handles it.  And you’re thinking, again if you’re like me, do I cast this anxiety or care onto Jesus too?  And what does He answer?  Yes…this too.

His burden is light, and yours is hard.  And He wants to trade.

And this is why you can give thanks in all things:  because every hard thing He sends your way is a reminder that He’s got this and that He wants to take it off your back.  So let Him.  Walk in His grace, giving thanks for the hardest of the hard, and He’s got this.  This too.

 

Proud Eyes Can’t See 

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
  1. haughty eyes,
  2. a lying tongue, and
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that devises wicked plans,
  5. feet that make haste to run to evil,
  6. a false witness who breathes out lies, and
  7. one who sows discord among brothers.
Source: Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV - Bible Gateway

(previous post here)

I mentioned last week that I’d be writing a series of 8 posts, including the introduction, on this passage from Proverbs chapter 6.  The first on this list is “haughty eyes.”  Webster’s defines haughty as:

having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people

or 

blatantly and disdainfully proud

Pride is a hard thing to root out in your life.  This haughtiness, or pride on steroids, is all about a false self-image.  Those of us who have been won over by the grace of Jesus should know one thing as central to that Gospel:  there’s nothing good in you or me.  Nothing worth boasting about.  What did we bring to the table for our salvation?  Sin.  And that’s it.  A self-image based on truth is humble, not proud.  There’s nothing in yourself or myself that is worthy of esteem except what Jesus brings to the table. Continue reading

Consequences (Change takes time)

What follows is a deeply personal post with some hopeful application for some of the readers.  I’m being transparent here in admitting struggles and sins.  But my main desire is to show forth the graciousness of a Savior who helped me, and my family, survive and grow out of a difficult time where my sinful patterns set the tone for my household.

So I lost my temper the other day. It was months ago now but the memory hasn’t faded much.  Considering historical norms it was an outburst of smaller magnitude and a shorter time to repentance than most of my past. And it had been weeks or perhaps months since the last time I yelled at one of the kids. But it didn’t really matter.

I have had a temper for a long time.  Sanctification, by God’s grace, has led to improvements.  Huge improvements by comparison, but God’s still not done rooting out this particular sin.  Doug Wilson (who I don’t unequivocally endorse) had a really great post about angry men a while back:

Some of what I am going to say will seem hard or harsh to you because for years you have used anger to keep any real criticism far away from you. So while I know it will seem hard, please know that every word here is written with your best interests in mind.

Source: An Open Letter to an Angry Husband | Blog & Mablog

This is something I wish I’d had someone around who could give me the practical help I needed earlier in my marriage.  Some of my children have grown up with similar anger difficulties and struggles, bearing testimony to the Proverb:

Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

Source: Proverbs 22:24-25 ESV

God has finally been working on my temper long enough that I can see the progress.  I know that I got in the way (“don’t quench the Spirit“) quite a bit and my pride kept me from both repenting in some instances and from seeking help in other instances.  But as I said above, it doesn’t happen near as much anymore.

The older children, though, can still see when it’s close to happening.  When I’m about to “lose it.”  And sometimes, even if, by God’s grace, I am able to moderate my response I can see the look in their eyes of the reaction almost identical to when I actually did lose it.

That bothered me for a while, because it made it feel like they didn’t see progress or that it wasn’t worth changing if no one would notice.  And then I figured out that it was something to be expected.  I had a volatile, unpredictable response queued up most often when they were younger, and I lost my temper often enough that I should expect them to expect me to lose it this time.

I figured this out one day when we needed something at the dinner table and I asked if someone could grab it.  Realizing that I was just being lazy and that I could get it myself, I jumped up when no one else responded immediately.  But the reaction on some of the kids’ faces was one like I was mad, instead of joyfully doing what needed to be done.  And it hit me that too many times I’d jumped up in anger to do something, selfishly thinking that someone else should have done it first, and made self-serving comments in the process.  And it was wrong for me to expect that the kids would realize that this time I was doing it because I knew I was lazy and self-serving and I needed to get up and do it myself instead of asking them.

We had a good conversation about it that night, and I was able to let my kids know, again, that I know it was hard for them to have me as a father.  And to point them to the Father who never loses His temper, never acts sinfully, and always loves and is gracious to us in all things.  We spoke as siblings in God’s house, not as a dad to his kids.  And someday they’ll, instead of reacting with fear about what might be about to happen, be along side me, encouraging me, and rejoicing in that change that has seemed forever to take root.

Whether it’s anger or some other sinful habit pattern that you’re caught in, God has grace for you.  Grace of forgiveness, and the grace of sanctification.  Forgiveness and peace in knowing that Jesus, if you’ve trusted in His life and death and resurrection, has paid the penalty for that sin.  Grace of sanctification knowing that God is working in your heart and your life to make you more like Jesus.  He can change you, and what often starts that process is your realizing that you’re powerless to change yourself.  It’s all grace.

May God continue to purge both your and my sin from our lives, and may He use even our sin for His glory as He works out His plan in His providence.  

Peace.

I mentioned in the last post that there’s been a lot of life in my life lately, and that it’s been unbelievably stressful. More than I could handle (which needs to be a whole post sometime, but read this to start) to be sure.

I had a trial come up in one of the jobs. It was pretty major, and it centered around some things I’d done, not done, and allegedly did. Controversy isn’t anything new for me…my particular personality has (usually via my sin) caused more than a little of it over my career. Because of the issues around this trial, there was a lot of uncertainty.

I think uncertainty is one of the worst things for me personally. It’s easier for me to handle a certain high pressure situation than an unknown one. Anticipation of problems tends to be worse than the problems themselves. Another part of my psyche, I’m sure, and one that is occasionally humorous after the face.

One good thing about trials is that they can help you see your soul more clearly. There’s always more than enough sin in my soul to be worthy of an accusation, and there’s always more than enough sin in my actions to cause problems for others. And the same is true for you. This one in particular led to some great conversations with people who love me about places I’m succeeding and others where I’m failing…and dissecting both the “why” and “what do we do next.” While painful in the moment it’s extremely beautiful as God, in His grace, points out the filth, helps you to pick the dirt off yourself, and washes you with His Word. In this particular trial I am immensely thankful that my pride rarely got in the way of hearing the correction and encouragement of others.

I was in a teleconference on Monday that settled some things around this trial. Tuesday night, after a particularly emotional and full day at work (I’m really behind and that just adds stress, you know) was date night. On date night, no matter how much work I have to do I leave the laptop at the office. And I realized, halfway through a bowl of chips and salsa (have I mentioned here how much I love mexican food) that I wasn’t feeling weighed down as much. My spirit felt light and unburdened and I had a relaxing conversation with my beautiful wife, uninterupted by my whiney stress-filled soul.

God gives grace in the moments, and He gives peace. Nothing around me had changed in the least…there were still undone projects that needed me to go into the office early the next day. There were still all of the undone things on “the list.” The people I love all still had the same problems. But God gave me peace in the moment.

And this is peace that surpasses comprehension (Phil. 4)…peace that calms your soul when storms continue around you in your life. It doesn’t make any sense to be calm right now, but you are. That’s when you know the peace is a gift from God’s hand and not something you conjured up in your own soul. And God gives you peace because He loves you.

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God’s Provisional Surprises

“I didn’t need one more thing to worry about.”

I actually caught myself saying that after our bus broke down in Iowa.

It started Friday night as we were heading out for dinner to celebrate Margary’s birthday. The bus felt like the tire was flat so we pulled over to look at it. Over half the lug nuts had broken off on one of the rear tires (see pic below).

AAA wasn’t going to tow it. Not a standard vehicle they said. I was able to get them to see the light and they sent out a tow truck to take it to a shop that was open on Saturdays to get fixed, which hopefully was going to get us home. We had friends at the same conference who were able to shuttle folks back to the hotel and we got takeout and picked up Margary’s cake and still had a wonderful celebration albeit crammed into a hotel suite.

God was good to us. The wheel could have fallen off before we’d stopped. We could have been hurt. We could have had to rush around finding someone to shuttle people back to the hotel but had friends following us to dinner.

When the bus was fixed on Saturday we made it 30 miles up the road before it was having problems. We pulled off, after driving on the shoulder for a few miles at 10MPH, in Colfax Iowa. I knew I needed to be back in the office and that my family didn’t need to be spending more time in hotels and so we had decisions to make. Thankfully again we were able to get a friend who hadn’t left Des Moines yet to rent a car and bring it to us and another friend take two people home when passing through so the rest of us could fit into the rental. An added expense, but not much more than two more nights in a hotel would be to hope it was fixed Monday.

So we fedexed a key and got the bus towed and then the next phase of this special providence happened: it’ll cost more to fix the bus than it’s worth. So before I left on vacation I mailed the title to the mechanic in Des Moines so that the bus can be hauled off for scrap, and we’re starting over on a vehicle with nothing to show for the previous one. It’s a hard thing to adjust to, but God has been with us every step of the way.

God knows what you and I need better than we do. Like a good coach He pushes us beyond our comfort zones because we need to learn to trust Him more. The oft-repeated lie is that God will never give you more than you can handle. It’s not true. God always gives you more than you can handle on your own. He just doesn’t leave you alone in that…He wants you to depend on Him. And He always knows and does what’s best.

We have a vehicle to borrow indefinitely while we figure out what we’re doing for a new vehicle. We have some savings that gives us better options than if we didn’t. I have a work-provided vehicle so I haven’t had any interruption in the freedom to get to the office and back when needed. All of these details are a part of the plan, too.

So when you’re tempted to say “I don’t need one more ______”, stop. You actually may. God knows that, and He loves you and wants what’s best for you…which means trusting Him in everything.

I’ll let you know what new vehicle we get when we figure it out!

First pic here has the tow truck drivers taking a picture of the bus, the biggest thing they’d ever put on the back of the truck:

The Trap of Worry

I stray into the sin of worry all too often.  Especially of late with the busyness of life and the struggles I was having with the Marketing class.  Last Wednesday Paul Tripp’s weekly post was on worry, and I found it helpful:

Here’s the problem with worry – like doubt, it’s God-forgetful. Doubt forgets God’s goodness, and worry forgets His presence.

Look at those four questions above: Why did this happen? I don’t know, but God does. Could I have prevented it? Maybe not, but God could have and chose not to. What will the outcome be? I don’t know, but God does. Do I have what it takes to make it through? No, but God is with me every step of the way.

You see, worry assumes that it’s only you vs. suffering. Worry finds a foothold in the lie that you’re alone in your suffering. Meanwhile, the Lord names Himself Immanuel – “God with us.”

via The Trap of Worry.

It’s worth a read.  I hope you find it as helpful as I did.