A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. —Proverbs 15:1
On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in response to the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie. Within 90 days, other European countries had taken sides to honor their military alliances and pursue their own ambitions. A single event escalated into World War I, one of the most destructive military conflicts of modern time.
The tragedy of war is staggering, yet our relationships and families can begin to fracture with only a few hateful words. James wrote, “See how great a forest a little fire kindles!” (James 3:5). A key to avoiding verbal conflict is found in Proverbs: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (15:1).
A small comment can start a large fight. When we, by God’s grace, choose not to retaliate with our words, we honor Jesus our Savior. When He was abused and insulted, He fulfilled the prophetic words of Isaiah, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth” (Isa. 53:7).
Proverbs urges us to speak the truth and seek peace through our words. “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, . . . and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” (15:4,23).
A careless word may kindle strife,
A cruel word may wreck a life;
A timely word may lessen stress,
A loving word may heal and bless.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
THE WORD FROM THE TOP (3)
‘Honour your father and your mother.’ Exodus 20:12 NIV
In the fifth commandment, God says, ‘Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.’ That means children must respect their parents, and parents must prove worthy of respect. Abraham and Lot were from the same family, but there was a big difference in their parenting styles. And it showed up dramatically at the destruction of Sodom. Concerning Abraham, God said, ‘I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him.’ (Genesis 18:19 NIV) Before God destroyed Sodom, we read: ‘The two men (angels) said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here…Get them out …because we are going to destroy this place”…So Lot went out and spoke to his sons–in–law…He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons–in–law thought he was joking.’ (Genesis19:12–14 NIV) Do you have credibility with your children? Do they take you seriously? Here are two quotes from history every parent needs to think long and hard about. The first is from evangelist Billy Sunday: ‘The tragedy of my life is that although I’ve led thousands of people to Jesus Christ, my own sons are not saved.’ The second is from Lord Houghton: ‘The Christian home is the Master’s workshop where the processes of character moulding are silently, lovingly, faithfully and successfully carried on.’
THE MORE YOU DOUBT, THE MORE YOU WILL HAVE TO LIVE WITHOUT :
Complaining is one of the worst traps that many Christians fall into. A complainer thinks, “I can’t stand my boss. If she would only treat me better, I’d be happy. I hate this traffic. Why can the government improve traffic flow with all the tax money I pay?” This is a deceptive trap because it leads one to believe that life would be better if something would be different. However, it is far more productive for to believe that God can change the situation than to doubt him.
This trap of complaining is the same trap that the Israelites fell into. They were not satisfied with what God had given them and they continually wanted more. Psalm 106:12-15is a great example of what happens to people who are unthankful and always want more: Then they [Israel] believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them.
That passage refers the Israelites’ persistent request for food, water, and other basic resources. They didn’t trust God; they doubted his ability to provide and tested him. So, because of their doubt, God sent a wasting disease upon them. Furthermore, for forty years God withheld the promised land from them. Their doubt caused them to live without.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT TOMORROW HOLDS, BUT I KNOW WHO HOLDS TOMORROW :
Obviously, we have no way of knowing what our future will be; however, as Christians, we know the one who knows–God.
We should not worry about the future, because our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15). In other words, God will give you what you need when you need it.
Therefore, it is no surprise that Jesus repeatedly tells us not to worry: “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34).
Again, Jesus emphasized that God loves and cares for us, and we therefore should not worry about our life: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25-27).
Although you don’t know what God has in store for you, be assured that He has a good plan for your life (see Romans 8:28).Because He has such a good plan for you, there is no need to worry about life. Although you don’t know what tomorrow holds, you have the opportunity to know the one who holds tomorrow!
‘NOW I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE ME’
“Lay down the knife; don’t hurt the lad in any way,” the Angel said, “for I know that God is first in your life—you have not withheld even your beloved son from me.” – Genesis 22:12, TLB
The story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac is really about God sacrificing His Son, His only Son, whom He loves. God gave up Jesus on Mount Calvary on the same mountain range. So when you read about Isaac going up the mountain with the wood on his back, see Jesus going up to Mount Calvary with the cross on His back.
Isaac said this to his father: “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham replied, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:7–8). And God did provide a ram for the sacrifice.
Again, this is a picture of Jesus Christ, the Lamb that was provided by God to take away the sins of the world. Instead of us dying for our sins, Jesus died in our place!
Now, look at what the Angel of the Lord said to Abraham when he was about to slay Isaac: “…don’t hurt the lad in any way, for I know that God is first in your life—you have not withheld even your beloved son from me.” God was in effect saying to Abraham, “Now I know that you love Me, because you have not withhold your son, your only son, from Me.”
Beloved, today, when you look at the cross and see Jesus bleeding and dying there, you can tell God, “Now I know that You love me because You have not withheld Your Son, Your only Son, from me.” The cross demonstrates His love for you. Live life knowing how much God so loves you because He willingly gave up Jesus for you!
OUR SUCCESS IS IN GOD
Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. – Matthew 26:33
Just like Peter, we are often more confident of ourselves than God is. Many Christians are devastated when they fail in some area that they thought they had long since grown past. We need to realize that as long as we are in this mortal body, we cannot fall asleep at our battle station against the works of the flesh. If we do, our flesh is just as capable of sin as anyone else’s. If we fall, it should concern us but not surprise us. We should simply realize with Paul, that “in my flesh dwelleth no good thing,” get back into the spirit through confession and forgiveness, and go on with Jesus.
The Lord has never had anyone who was qualified working for Him. Peter wasn’t qualified, and even at our best, neither are we. If we realize that we are nothing and have nothing, then we are prime candidates to be used by God.
Peter went on to become probably the best known of the twelve apostles. The Lord used him mightily. But He didn’t want him, or us, to forget that it was Christ in Peter and not Peter himself who was great.
This also illustrates the extent of our Father’s love and forgiveness. If God not only forgave Peter for his sin, but also reinstated and advanced him, then surely we have not pushed God’s grace beyond its limit. Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more.
God doesn’t see us as a failure – just a learner. God can redeem the worst “failure” and work it together for good (Rom8:28). We need to think like God
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