Monday, February 13, 2012

Rising and Falling by Words

     Proverbs 13:2-3  A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.  He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

     A wise man will be a man of few words, and those words will be ones of positive construction.  He who is wise well realizes three things. First, the more you speak the greater the opportunity to speak out of turn. Secondly, he who speaks with lips of guile and foolishness shall receive negative consequence.  Thirdly, he who uses his words to brings health and life to the hearers, may increase in favor with God and man.  Words are free and therefore they are spent far more than they should be.  The tongue has such power to change the course of a person's day (so says the apostle James).  Whether it be parting the waters towards the land of despair or setting the helm for the course of encouragement, words go deep into the soul having real and lasting effects.   Let us see our text now.  The soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.  So he that opens wide his mouth to call for strokes shall smart for it.  He who asks in sarcasm to be driven by a fist shall surely find one who will eventually oblige.  Let us suppose this violence is not physical, why then, Christian,  are you in such a hurry to bring another to an emotional hatred of yourself?  We must conclude this: that words proceeding from the deep emotions of negativity bring about troubles we would rather not deal with.  Taste your own words before you speak; and if they seem bitter to your tongue it shall be as fire to others.  
     Now we see the positive declared by the Holy Scripture in this matter of fair speech.  We may ease our life and promote our favor by choice words!  The apple tree's fruit is the apple; the apple is what is produced.  So see our text now, words are produced by our mouth, and they are therefore the fruit mentioned in this proverb.  A man shall eat good, or live well by his mouth producing spiritual words.  Where may we find such words that have the power to uplift? Nowhere but by the influence of almighty God.  I have found my best efforts to encourage are of little help if they are not flowing from the fullness of the Spirit.  How often meaningful speeches become only irritation to the hearer if they are not bathed in the love of Christ.  The eloquent tongue is of little value unless it be spurred along by the Spirit of God.  Let all our loves and words flow from the fountain of the new nature bringing forth fruit useful in the service of the Master and meaningful in the edification of the saints.  May we pray today, Christian, and devote the safekeeping of our tongues to our most holy God.  Do this today for only He can guard against such an unpredictable evil as the tongue! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wisdom of the Olive Tree

     Judges 9:9-But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

     Today it may be well with us Christians to consider the astonishing wisdom of this olive tree.  And what may we charge this credit of wisdom to?  Alas, it is charged to a rejection of what was surely a deceitful promotion.  As the story is told this parable is a distinct lesson, in that, this tree did choose to reject the promotion of kingship of the forest to simply remain an olive tree.  To what sensible aspect do we call this wisdom?  Is it wise to reject such a promotion of position and power?  In this account, yes.

     Consider these thoughts today about the olive tree.  Why should he leave his fatness?  His fatness is defined as the oil produced from the squeezing of the olives which grew on the tree.  How greatly used this oil was in Bible days.  Olive oil anointed kings, fueled lamps, and was a staple in cooking among many other things.  By what reasoning may we say it is better to make oil than to lead a forest as a king?  Let us think in this light, is it natural for an olive tree to produce anything other than an olive?  No.  Should we expect an orange to be produced on an apple tree?  By no means.  Here we see the temptation that satan delivers to God's people: disguise a demotion as a promotion.  Get God's people busy producing anything other than what is natural for them to produce and tell them their unnatural production is better. Dear Christian, this oil of the olives represented in your life is your God-given talents and abilities. To think, your talents are distributed by the Lord's own hand for use in God's glory and in the edification of men.  See the text verse, the fatness is good for God and man.  What God has gifted the believer with should be put to use for the good of men and the glory of a gracious God.  Why should we leave our fatness to follow that which is unnatural?  Why would we leave the service of the King for the business of the world?  How can we live guilty of trading our usefulness in the body of Christ for a job that requires us to miss the Lord's place of worship on Sunday?  Do we expect God's blessing on such unnatural production?  In no way; for it is written Heb 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. So we see the wisdom of the olive tree, the wisdom which saw the demotion in the promotion.  We would be better serving God as a pauper than serving the devil as a king.

      Now we may ask, how did this tree gain such wisdom?  It may be summed up in one word, grace.  If every man was given grace as he deserved, his reservoir would be depleted beyond empty.  But our grace is not based on merit, yet rather it is based on the promise to every believer, that God who starts a work in them, shall see it to the end,  Php 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  What work would salvation be if the very God who gave you freely a pardon from sin, did not also freely give you a progression out of it?  Surely some may marvel at spiritual giants in our life, and well so, wondering how they became as this wise olive tree, so deeply rooted.  We may sum up their progression in one word as well, grace.  Every man must be taken from a spiritual baby, to a spiritual child, to a spiritual adult, and finally, to spiritual fatherhood.  And this is where we so deeply desire to be.  The same God who granted increase to this tree will grant it to you as well.  Consider now how the water feeds the olive tree; how much has God poured out his blessing which spurred our growth?  It is immeasurable.  Now think of the many droughts seen by this olive tree.  It is interesting, that upon drought, the tree will no longer grow up visibly, yet underground it sends its own roots  deeper.  This is because moisture may be found deeper in the soil, where the sun has not yet penetrated.  If we lacked times of trouble we should never be so diligent to dig our roots deeper past the shallow things of the Word finding the treasures of it.  This is all done by perfect grace.  Think of the storms over many years seen by this tree.  Winds are harsh, yet the turmoil itself stimulates growth in the roots which anchor them even deeper.  Let the storm pass and we find saturation in the ground in which the tree can recover from the wind and fury of the clouds.  So is it with our souls.  By grace God shall allow wind to test our resolve, and then He quickly sends the rain of His nourishment for our own recovery.  This is all done by grace.  So be of good cheer today my brother or sister in Christ.  Salvation is of the Lord!  It is not our business to bring about growth, but increase belongs to God.  Let Him have His way with you, yield to His dealings within; and soon you shall find your self stable and wise, as the olive tree.