Do your words give life or bring death?

Paul David Tripp has said, “You have never spoken a neutral word in your life. Your words have the power of life and death in them.” This morning, Proverbs 12:18, made that come to life for me:

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Lord, help me to speak words that are sweet to the ears of those around me. Let me speak life to people, and not death.


The Church as the Ultimate Barrier Breaker

I often find myself forgetting that I am one individual member of an absolutely enormous body called the Church. Still more, I forget this Church is a Body that is incredibly diverse.  Spending 2009 in South Africa helped me in this, but I’m still learning to think outside of my own little kingdom.  This Body isn’t diverse just because it has hands and feet and ears.  It’s diverse because the hands are African and the ears are Latino and the feet are Asian, along with a thousand other races, people groups, and languages.

Wayne Grudem reminded me of this today in his Systematic Theology:

When Paul preaches the gospel both to Jews and to Gentiles, and they become unified in the one body of Christ (Eph. 3:6), the incredible “mystery” that was “hidden for ages in God who created all things” (Eph. 3:9) is plain for all to see, namely, that in Christ such totally diverse people become unified…If the Christian church is faithful to God’s wise plan, it will be always in the forefront in breaking down racial and social barriers in societies around the world, and will thus be a visible manifestation of God’s amazingly wise plan to bring great unity out of great diversity and thereby to cause all creation to honor him (emphasis added).

God is more glorified in redeeming a diverse people and bringing them to unity.  Yet God spares us from uniformity, unlike other religions.  That’s the great thing about the Church: oneness in the midst of difference.  And what is our unity centered upon?  None other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.

I want to be more diligent in praying that the Church would be at the forefront of race reconciliation and social justice.  The world really is watching.

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Pharisees (un)Anonymous

Session 2:

Too often, I’m more concerned about the external tidiness my relationships, public ministry, and quiet times instead of being vulnerable, admitting that there’s a bigger mess underneath than I’d like to admit.


Be a Pipeline of God’s Mercy

Sometimes when we are merciful toward others, we do it out of religious pride.  Other times, we do it begrudgingly simply because it’s the “Christian thing to do.”  But Jesus tells us that the foundation for our being merciful should be an overflow of love for how God has treated us:

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:35-36).

God is kind to the ungrateful and evil in that he sent his Son to die for us while we were still enemies (see Rom. 5:8-10). He was merciful while we were stomping all over his glory. So Jesus says, “the Father has been kind to you evil people, so you should go and be the same to others who are evil.”

We need to ask ourselves, “When am I not merciful?” I find that most often, I am not merciful in the mundane things of life. Don’t you agree?  We yell at people in traffic. We think other people shouldn’t be in line at Wal-Mart when we are.  We get angry at others because they don’t “respect” us.  We punish others emotionally and socially because of some sin they have done against us. We give people the cold shoulder who didn’t accomplish the “wonderful plan” we have for their life (one that really was an avenue for our own betterment).

We must strive to be merciful. Why? Because Jesus said, “The measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).  If Christ has saved you, you are an evil and ungrateful child of the Most High God.  He has given you so much mercy.  Don’t keep it all to yourself.


Paul Tripp on How Good Things Become Bad Things

Paul Tripp shows the progression of how good things in life become bad things, and then proceed to ruin our relationships. (This isn’t an exact quote, just my paraphrase.)

Desire is basically an “I want…” Jesus did this Gethsemane. But then he said, “Father, not my will, but yours be done.” Well, our desire then morphs very quickly into a demand: “I must…” Desire then morphs further into a need: “I will…I cannot live without it.” When you call something a need, you have made yourself unwilling to live without it. A need then morphs into an expectation: “You should.” The Expectation leads to disappointment: “You didn’t…” Then disappointment leads to punishment: “Because you didn’t, I will…”

Then you will say to the other person, “Because you haven’t delivered what I want in this relationship, I won’t stick a knife in your chest, but I will rise to the throne of creator, and I will treat you as if you are dead, for however long it takes, to satisfy my personal vengeance.”

Check out the full DVD (6 sessions).  You won’t be disappointed.