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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


She was lonely. She most likely had a real problem with self-image and commitment. She’d learned something about men and relationships through the years: they don’t last. Men used women and tossed them away like an old sock.

That’s why she found herself at the well at midday. Her plan worked most days. There was no one at the well. But not today. Today, of all things, a man was there. This time was different. This man was different. He didn’t judge her event though he knew her deepest secrets. He didn’t get caught up in the arguments that she’d learned to use to alienate others. Instead he offered her life!

The world seeks for satisfaction in the physical. When Jesus fed 5,000 men that day on the mountain, the Bible says they were filled….satisfied…content…perhaps uneasily comfortable like I am after Thanksgiving dinner.

But once the food wore off they sought Jesus for more. Not more of Jesus, not more of the spiritual food he offered, but of physical comfort. Many were disappointed when he explained to them that the food he offered was food from heaven and not earth. They were more interested in the temporal filling rather than the eternal fulfillment Jesus had to offer.

You can find temporary comfort in many things. Relationships. Money. Status. Friendships. Entertainment. The list goes on. But nothing satisfies like Jesus.


In our humanity we often tend to think God only uses those who have their act together. We look for pastors and church leaders that have squeaky clean records, are financially stable and have 15 children, all of whom are on the ‘A Honor Roll’ and in the ‘Who’s Who of American Scholars’.

Especially in our culture that is harder and harder to find, or maybe it’s always been harder to find now that I think about it. Looking back in Biblical history, few, if any of the ‘great men of God’ were all that great. The list is made up of murderers, adulterers, cheaters, and those who struggled with mental health issues (to name a few).

We are never expected to ‘clean up our act’ so God can use us. Peter demonstrated amazing faith when he stepped out of a boat during a storm. David chose to go into battle without any armor. Issac followed his dad to the mountain for sacrifice when they had no animal and then allowed his dad to tie him up! The Apostle Paul did some of his best writing strapped to a couple of Roman Guards!

The point is, God seems to use do his best work in people who are at their worst and bless them in the process. With the power of God’s Holy Spirit within us we can plant seeds of love, mercy, forgiveness and grace in those around us. How we react to life’s struggles are an amazing testimony to the God we serve.

When He puts you in a place of struggle keep one hand in his and reach out to someone else that needs to see the way through the darkness and tears. You’ll both be better off!


Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

It amazes me how many times the challenge to be patient and have courage occurs in the Bible. It’s almost like our Heavenly Father is trying to tell us something!

When you think about it, the two go hand in hand. When we are impatient we tend to react instead of act. We lash out verbally. We take action without seeing all the possibilities or ramifications of our actions. We take unnecessary actions and later need to suffer the consequences. Think about it. It was one act of impatience the forced Moses to flee into the wilderness after his outburst of anger killed an Egyptian. It was one act of anger (impatience) that led him to strike the rock rather than speak to it as God commanded him. One forced him into the wilderness, the other forced him to stay in the wilderness.

While impatience can be thought of as acting too quickly, fear keeps us from acting at all. God often seems to link patience and courage together for a reason. One (patience) allows us time to listen to him. The other (courage) requires action! We don’t serve a stagnant God. He doesn’t change in character but if you’ve ever noticed a sunset you realize he rarely does things the same and always does them with excellence.

Courage is waiting for God’s timing and moving forward as he moves us.

Patience and courage. One gives us time to seek God’s wisdom, the other moves us forward with his blessing.


The story of Joshua is one we should all learn from. As a young man he watched and learned from Moses, whose story is equally amazing. Born with a golden spoon in his mouth, he blew it all in a fit of rage. Then he ran for his life only to be called into service by God to lead a rebellious, stubborn people to a land he would never enter himself because of … a fit of rage.

Enter Joshua. He’d stood with Moses through much of the wilderness wandering In the midst of seeing Moses’ failures, he saw a God of power, strength, provision, holiness, and most of all, grace!

Chapter one of the book that bears his name is, in a sense, God’s motivational speech in the locker room before the big game.

He reminded Joshua that he should be strong and courageous. Not because of Joshua’s strength but because he was chosen by God for this task. ““Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Joshua‬ ‭1:6

He was reminded Joshua that his power would come through his obedience to God’s directives, not because of any knowledge or wisdom he had within himself. Be strong and very courageous. Success in God’s kingdoms comes from obedience. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Joshua‬ ‭1:7

He reminded Joshua that no matter how bad it gets on the field, God is by his side reminding him of the game plan that would never fail. No matter how hopeless the situation, Joshua was God’s man and was never alone. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua‬ ‭1:9

God reassured Joshua that there would be those who would rise up against him. Whenever you are doing God’s work, there will be those who oppose you. The closer you grow to God, the more his power will be evident and the more his power is evident, the more people will try to pull you down. But don’t spend your time defending yourself. God’s got your back. Just do what you do. Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”” Joshua‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭

Are you up against a struggle? Does the future hold lots of questions and possibilities? Are you being oppressed by fear?

Be Strong. Be Courageous. With God on your side, failure isn’t an option.

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