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Matthew quotes some rather sobering words of Jesus in his gospel. Matthew 15:18 states, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.”

Those words hit hard for me because my mouth is often my biggest enemy. I think it safe to say that most of the time I’m in trouble it’s not because of my actions, it’s because of my mouth. Jesus’ brother, James offers no help. He points out the dichotomy of both fresh water and bitter water coming from the same well.

Cleaning up our language is treating symptoms, not causes. The root of a foul mouth is a dirty heart. There. I said it. I don’t like it, but from my knowledge of scripture I believe it to be true.

We use God’s name in vain because we fail to see him as he is. We ridicule others because we fail to see them as creations of God. Yep. Even the guy who cut you off. Even the sports official who is totally oblivious to the rules of the game. Even the server at the restaurant that is more interested in their phone than your empty drink glass. We make off-color jokes because our brand of holiness is governed by culture, not the plum line of a Holy God.

The worst part about words unwisely spoken is that you can’t reverse the results. You can be forgiven, but poorly chosen words are like a cancer to the soul. They can lie dormant for years but are always lurking in the memory banks of time.

Holy God, forgive us for the wounds unwise words have caused. Cleanse our hearts so that the words we speak build up where lives have been torn down. Heal the wounds we bear at the tongues of others. Amen


He HAD to go through Samaria (John 4:4). Well, geographically he didn’t HAVE to go through Samaria. In fact, the more politically correct route for any self-respecting Jew would be to go on the east side of the Jordan River. It was a longer route but avoided Samaria all together. If you did choose to go through Samaria you certainly wouldn’t stop for lunch, or talk to a woman.

But Jesus did.

He had to go through Samaria because someone was ready to hear his message. That someone was a woman that had gone through five divorces. Five. One is devastating enough. Two raises eyebrows. Five? There are words for women like this but none of them are appropriate for this space.

Take a moment to put yourself in the woman’s place. Hopefully you will have a hard time with this, but imagine how rejected you would feel. Remember the first time you broke up? The first time you were dumped for better pasture? Multiply by five! And now, the guy she was ‘with’ didn’t even respect her enough to marry her.

That’s why she went to the well during the hottest part of the day. She no doubt suffered in silence and this was her coping mechanism.

But Jesus went out of his way to meet her in her comfort zone, on her terms to share the one thing she needed above all else…acceptance and true life.

He does the same today. You don’t need to suffer in silence. He wants to hear from you. He wants us to see those who may be suffering and offer the fresh water of his grace. Silent sufferers never escape the notice of Jesus.


The important things in life are those things that last longer than you do! Whether it be athletics, science or social involvement, the things that really count live for generations to come.

How ironic then that most of us spend our time and energy on today. There is always one more toy to buy; one more book to write; one more deal to close; one more obstacle to conquer.

Regardless of the motive behind the action, reality is, few of us will accomplish something great on a global scale. Even if we do, as we’ve seen in recent days, there is nothing that guarantees our accomplishments of today won’t be snuffed out in later generations because something we did or said will be scrutinized and attacked.

Jesus said to strive for the eternal. Paul states it plainly. Everything you do will be tested by fire. Work then for things that will last.

The noble deeds of many are long forgotten, but the things Jesus did have been remembered for centuries. Why? Because his efforts were not to bring a better name to himself, they were to better the lives of mankind. 100 years from now people won’t remember how many toys you had or how many likes you had on some social media post. What they may remember, however, is how you made life better for others.

Build for tomorrow, not for today. Don’t be content to stay where you are. Move forward!


“Don’t forget to do good…”

I’ve often heard people misquote this verse and others with a similar message to justify their social activism and political agendas even though their ‘actions’ are completely contradictory to the context and whole of the Bible message.

‘Good’ can not be defined in human terms because ‘good’ in human terms is relative to the situation at hand and the mindset of the person or group defining it. Is the good you are doing helping the good of the majority of people who think like you do?

On the other hand, ‘good’ defined by God’s standards is impossible to attain without the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The guidance of the Holy Spirit will never contradict God’s word. It is what empowered Jesus during the wilderness temptations to stay true to his mission and resist satanic influences. Each of the things Satan tempted Christ to do were not wrong in and of themselves but the motive behind them was!

When we consider our ‘good’ actions measure them according to the standards God instituted. Then thank him profusely for grace because even at your best you can’t do everything perfect. Thank him for his inner peace too because if you stand with God, you will ultimately stand against culture and society.

You’ll fair better in the long run when you stand with the one who holds your eternity in his hand that you will standing with those whose future is limited to this world. Your good deeds should be done according to God’s standards, not the whims and fickle ways of culture.


It seems like an unfortunate reality, at least from my perspective, but people whose main goal in life is to serve people tend to be scrutinized more deeply and misunderstood more often than others. Those on the front lines are more easy to shoot at!

This seems to be especially true for those in ministry and that can be discouraging, debilitating and destructive. I read an article recently documenting the increasing number of pastors who for mental health and physical health reasons have left the ministry.

A personal friend and fellow minister recently left the ministry for this very reason. He’d had a thriving ministry for years until a few people with thick pocket books and strong opinions began to grumble. As he said to me, “It really only takes a few crabby people to destroy a ministry.” He finally left…heartbroken.

While we may not be able to change the target on our chests as servants to the masses (and I refer to those in and out of ministry), we must remind ourselves that even when our actions are misunderstood by the masses, God knows our heart. I remind myself of this truth every once in awhile.

Father, help my motives be pure and my way straight in spite of those who may seek to do me harm through misrepresentation.

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