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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


Have you ever been really thirsty, so thirsty in fact, that you began to feel the effects of dehydration. Dehydration can be harmful to the body. The human body can survive for up to 21 days without meaningful food, but only a couple weeks without water. Water is essential for survival.

Not just any water will do of course. Water can look crystal clear yet contain harmful bacteria or chemicals that can make one sick, or even lead to death. People learning survival skills know the importance of testing water in a variety of ways to make sure, as much as possible, that the water is safe for human consumption.

It’s no surprise to me that Jesus refers to himself as ‘living water’. In John 7:38, he says “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Living water. When I think of living water I think of a rushing stream cascading over a waterfall. Crystal clear. Beautiful, yet powerful. A never ending sign of strength yet in some strange way, serenity.

In the physical sense, water is beneficial to the body in many ways. It helps to cleanse your organs. It refreshes you. It gives you strength. It satisfies.

In the spiritual sense, a personal relationship with Jesus does the same thing to our souls. In the midst of the wilderness, a refreshing drink of water helps us to carry on. When our souls are in the wilderness, Jesus becomes that source of refreshment that helps us carry on. This living water becomes a source of strength when we don’t think we can carry on.

Jesus is the source of purity. There are other religions. There are other philosophies. There are other ways of thinking. But only Jesus offers the guaranteed love and forgiveness of sin that is available through his sacrifice.

Water refreshes the body, but Jesus refreshes the soul when you don’t feel you can go on.

It’s no wonder the psalmist writes, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2)

Is your soul thirsty? Do you long for some relief from the wilderness you are in? We were created in God’s image and the only way to fill the void in our souls is with the living water of his Son, Jesus.


Eeyore, the always negative donkey in the children’s story, “Winnie the Pooh” has an incredible knack for seeing the negative in everything. I remember chuckling at some of his statements while reading to my children. In his world there was nothing good. There was no hope. Expectations always fell short.

We can chuckle at this fictional character’s outlook on life, but reality is, it’s easy for us to do the same. It’s easy to live trapped by our past. I’m grateful for a relatively boring childhood, but many are still grappling with abusive homes, dysfunctional families and sometimes, as a result, mental illness or addictions. It’s been said ‘our past can kill us or make us stronger’, and while there is some truth to that, its easier said than lived.

It’s also easy for us as believers to lose hope when we look around us at the direction society seems destined for. Often our belief in Jesus Christ is construed by society as intolerant, out of touch and irrelevant.

Peter wrote his book to Christ followers in a society that, believe it or not, was more brutal to the things of God that the one we live in. Yet he wrote of great expectations. Not because of his past, but because of his future. Not because of who he was, but because of who Jesus is.

Don’t base your hopes, aspirations and expectations on who you are or what you can do. Don’t allow the actions and accusations of others deter you from expecting great and mighty things in your life. Success by God’s standards comes from a live lived rich in integrity and holiness. Success by societies standards is like flags in the wind, being tossed by every new idea. Jesus gives you stability in an unstable world and hope among the hopeless.


Light is an amazing thing.

On those bright sunny days we wear sunglasses to protect our eyes from the sun. Where I live, it’s especially necessary in the winter when the sunshine reflects off the bright snow. Almost unbearable light!

On the other hand, too little light is also a problem. For those of us with waning eyesight, low light makes it impossible to read. Driving at night is always more confident with high beams than low beams because you want to see the road ahead as well as any critters deciding to cross in front of you.

So, light appears to be relative to the person or the situation. That sheds a whole light on Jesus claim that he is the light of the world. (Yeah, I know. Bad pun. Live with it. 🙂 )

With Jesus as the light, he illuminates my life just the way I need it. Light should never be used as a weapon as some have done by beating people over the head with the gospel. Light should never be hidden (I don’t want to offend. Religion is personal business.) Since when is offering someone life saving measures a personal issue.

Shine your light in a way that is attractive, illuminating and beneficial. Jesus never wavered from the truth, yet he attracted those who were living in darkness.


What are we here for as believers? What was the constant message Jesus tried to instill in his followers? What task did he leave for us? What parting prayer did he offer to the Father God before his death?

Judging from what I see in social media today and hear spoken from the pulpits of some of our churches, our goal is to defend God and his word. Now, before you stop reading, let me say that Paul and others are very adamant about standing firm on the Word of God. It’s not only important, it’s a requirement.

However, in reading today’s verse, it occurred to me that perhaps our error is not in the standing, but in how we stand; it’s not in the message, it’s how it’s delivered; it’s not in making things ‘right’ but in being God’s light.

Paul seems to be stating here (and I encourage you to check the context) that his goal, and ours should be to present people to God as perfect. I envision the opportunity to present to God a brightly colored package with your name on it. Here is ‘suzy’ God. I’ve shown her your love. I’ve used the wisdom you gave me to bring her to you. I’ve relied on your power to make the change within. She is my gift to you.

Jesus attracted people by the thousands because he showed them God’s love and God’s truth in a perfect balance that couldn’t be resisted. That’s why the woman at the well, when her faults were exposed, ran to the village and said come and see the one…!

What gift are you working on today?

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