• We love Him because He first loved us.

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  • Glorifying God with Our Words

    Treasures

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    Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.—Psalm 19:14

    The story has been told of a woman who did not like to hear the things her pastor would share with her. One day the pastor’s words were more than she could bear. It was the truth, but it made her so angry that she began to gossip about him and tell untrue stories about him. But the more she spoke the sadder she became, and at last she began to feel sorry for all the lies she had told.

    Finally, in tears, the woman went to the pastor’s house to ask him to forgive her. “I have told so many lies about you,” she said. “Please forgive me.” He did not answer her for a long time. He seemed to be deep in thought and prayer. At last he said, “Yes, I forgive you. But I want you to do something for me.”

    “Come with me up to the bell tower and I will show you,” he said, “but first I need to get something from my room.” When the pastor returned from his room, he carried a big feather pillow under his arm. The flustered woman could hardly keep from asking what the pillow was for and why they were going up to the bell tower. However, she kept silent until they finally reached the church bell tower.

    From the tower, they could see far out into the countryside that stretched out beyond the village. Suddenly, without saying a word, the pastor ripped open the pillow and dumped all the feathers out the window. The wind and the breezes caught the feathers and carried them out onto the rooftops, into the streets, under cars, into trees, into backyards where the children were playing, and even out to the big highway, and farther still into the distance.

    The pastor and the woman watched the feathers flutter away for some time. The pastor turned to the woman and said, “Now I want you to go and pick up all of those feathers for me.”

    “Pick up all those feathers?” she gasped. “But that is impossible!”

    “Yes, I know,” said the pastor. “Those feathers are like the stories you have told. What you have started, you cannot stop, even if you are sorry, as the winds of gossip have carried them everywhere. You can blow out a match, but you cannot blow out the great forest fire that one match can start!”

    The tongue is an amazing part of the body, only about three or four inches long and a couple of inches wide, and yet it can wreak havoc with our relationships with others with unkind or bitter words, or by saying harsh, negative, or critical things to others. The Bible makes some strong statements regarding the power of the tongue: “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” (James 3:5–6).

    But on the other hand, it says, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4). Our words can be inspired by God to bring life to others. We can comfort, strengthen, encourage, inspire, and uplift others with our tongues by speaking words of love, wisdom, and encouragement. We can share the truth of God’s Word and His plan for eternal salvation with others, which will be a tree of life.

    The book of Proverbs in the Bible says that the tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). The words formed by our tongues can bless or curse others; they can lift up or knock down; they can help or harm; they can discourage or minister hope and grace to others.

    The old saying that “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is not a true saying. People’s lives have been ruined and permanently damaged due to malicious gossip, in extreme cases to the point of committing suicide. Most of us can remember times when we felt low and discouraged because of someone’s cruel, unkind words. And we have also likely wounded someone else at some point with our thoughtless, unkind words, perhaps unintentionally or intended in fun, but hurtful just the same, leaving a wound in someone’s heart.

    How sad that we should ever wound a heart that may already be close to breaking, that may already be carrying a heavy burden that we don’t know about! Perhaps at that very moment they were longing for some kind word of encouragement, but instead our words wounded or discouraged.

    So how can we guard against thoughtless unkind words that can leap so quickly from the lips? What can we do to tame our tongues? The Bible says, “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue” (James 3:7–8). Only God can tame it.

    The way to tame the tongue is allowing God to change our hearts, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). If your heart is overflowing with God’s love, then the words of your mouth will be filled with love and compassion, because “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

    When we receive Jesus as our Savior, we are born again and His Spirit dwells within us and works to transform us through the love of God (2 Corinthians 3:18). “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees” (Ezekiel 36:26–27).

    Jesus is the true source of love, kindness, goodness and compassion, and as you place Jesus at the center of your life, His Spirit in you will inspire you and even speak through you His wonderful words of love, light, and life to others. As you take time to faithfully read and study God’s Word in the Bible, His Word will abide in you and help you to grow in spirit. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63).

    As you spend time in prayer and in God’s presence, allowing the Holy Spirit to transform your heart and life, the words you speak will be filled with His love and kindness, and genuine concern for others. When you reach out to share the hope and truth we have in Jesus, your words will be imbued with a divine spark of life and power that can only come from the inner depths of the Holy Spirit dwelling within you.

    The Bible says, “A man has joy in giving an apt reply, and a word spoken in due season (just at the right time), how good it is” (Proverbs 15:23). And “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). It is a wonderful gift to be able to speak words of love, hope, and encouragement to those who need them at just the right moment and in just the right way, with lasting effect—words of faith and comfort that will bear good fruit in people’s lives.

    The key to glorifying God through your words is to open your heart to Jesus, commit your life, your hopes, and your future to Him, and ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). His Spirit will enable you to speak words of life and hope to others, so that your words will edify and “impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

    The Bible contains the most beautiful, loving, and profound words ever written, and as we allow them to abide in us, they will be able to flow forth to others. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). May we give glory to God through our words and our deeds, and bring God’s message of hope and eternal life through faith in Jesus to others. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6).

    From an article in Treasures, published by the Family International in 1987. Adapted and republished June 2024. Read by Reuben Ruchevsky.

  • Jun 12 Cocky or Confident?
  • Jun 7 What Will Heaven Be Like?
  • Jun 4 God’s Love for the Human Race
  • May 31 The Repair Shop of the Gospel
  • May 30 Heaven: Our Eternal Hope
  • May 27 The Waiting Servants
  • May 22 Setting My Face Like a Flint
  • May 21 Jesus Satisfies Completely
  • May 16 Expectant Faith
   

Directors’ Corner

Faith-building Bible studies and articles

  • Virtues for Christ-Followers: Peace

    The next virtue in our list is peace, which is rooted in our being in right relationship with God, made possible because of Jesus’ gift of salvation. Through salvation we find peace with God, which makes peace with ourselves and others possible. As we place God at the center of our lives and we entrust our lives into His care, we experience His peace, which is a fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

    Peace is also the outworking of our trust in God and our confidence in His love for us. Jerry Bridges wrote that “Peace should be part of our character because God has promised us His peace, because He has commanded us to let peace rule in our lives and relationships, and because peace is a fruit of the Spirit and therefore an evidence of His working in our lives.1

    In the “More Like Jesus” series, I wrote the following about the difference between biblical peace and peace in the absence of struggle:

    We tend to feel at peace when things are going well; when we’re healthy, happy, doing well financially, and not facing any major challenges. But biblical peace goes far beyond the peace we experience when everything is running smoothly. It’s a steadying anchor even in turbulent waters. True peace transcends circumstances. It has to do with God’s presence with us, with living in His kingdom, letting Him reign in our lives, and trusting that He is our Father who loves us and always has our best interests at heart. We have peace because we have Him.

    While we may have peace with God through salvation, this doesn’t necessarily mean we have the peace of God in our lives. Often we are robbed of peace because we worry and fret over fairly minor events or challenges. We try to deal with them ourselves, instead of bringing them before the Lord and casting our burdens upon Him in faith and trust that He is with us and cares for us. But Jesus promised that we could have peace in Him. We are to take heart in times of difficulty and uncertainty because Jesus has overcome the world. This awareness brings us peace, as we put our trust in the Lord.

    *

    God’s Peace: Shalom

    Peace (shalom) is defined as a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether external or internal. It is not freedom of disturbance—meaning everything is without conflict or disturbance—but rather free from being overcome or distraught from the disturbance because of being confident in God’s promises given and His faithfulness to us.

    Peace, then, is a state of mind in which the person may be in difficult circumstances, but is content, confident with hope, and in a state of being “at rest.” Being at peace means being “at rest”—experiencing God’s rest. When we are in God’s presence, allowing Him to be with us and work in us, He provides rest.

    When we realize that we cannot earn or merit God’s favor on our own because of sin, we end the turmoil and strife in our inner spirit; we are no longer conflicted with warring against God or trying to work to gain His acceptance (Hebrews 4:9–10).

    As a believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He provides comfort (John 14:15–18; 2 Corinthians 1:3–4) and strength in our weaknesses (Romans 8:26). The Spirit will also bring to remembrance all that Jesus taught (John 16:13–14)—that He has all authority in and over all things so no matter what happens in or to our lives, He is in control, performing everything for our good (Romans 8:28).

    He is always with us (Matthew 28:19–20), so we never experience our trials alone. We have nothing to fear (John 6:20) because He is the “I am,” eternal and present.

    And we are eternally secure in Him (Romans 8:35–39), so we can never be separated from Him or His unconditional love for us, sealed by Jesus and secured through the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13–14). God’s Word (Jesus) is faithful, and He will perform all that He has promised to carry us through to the day of our redemption (Philippians 1:6).

    No matter our circumstances, we can “think on these things” (Philippians 4:8), which leads us to still waters, where He restores our souls (Psalm 23:2–3), providing comfort and rest, which gives us peace in the midst of the storm (John 14:27; Philippians 4:7; Isaiah 26:3)…

    Experiencing God’s peace, loving and serving others within the family of God, and outwardly demonstrating God’s love for others so that we can live peaceably with all people (Romans 12:18), we as believers experience and demonstrate God’s peace through the growing fruit of the Spirit in our lives.—Randy DeVaul2

    *

    Jesus promised that we could have peace in Him. We are to take heart in times of difficulty and uncertainty because Jesus has overcome the world. This awareness brings us peace, as we put our trust in the Lord, which the following articles illustrate.

    The Peace Jesus Gives

    When you make room for Jesus, he gives you one of the greatest gifts: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 TLB).

    The peace that comes from the world is totally circumstantial. If you have a good job, then you’re at peace. But if you lose your job, then you’re not at peace anymore. If you’ve got money in the bank, then you’re at peace. But when that money is gone, then you’re not at peace anymore.

    Jesus gives you a different kind of peace. The Bible calls it “peace … which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

    What does that mean? It means you have peace when there’s no obvious or visible reason why you should be at peace. Everything around you could be in chaos, but for some unexplainable reason, you are at peace. That is the peace that surpasses understanding—and it can only come from Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

    Jesus wants to give you that kind of peace so you won’t be troubled or afraid.

    Whenever Jesus walks into a room, he fills that room with peace. Do you have rooms in your heart that are full of worry, upset, anxiety, or fear? Those are the rooms you haven’t invited Jesus into. Your worries reveal the areas you have not given over to God. That could include your finances, your dating life, your career, your parenting, your schedule, or your ministry. Whatever it is, you have to let it go. You have to give it over to Jesus.

    Here’s the only way you’re going to have real peace: Give every part of your life to God to use for his purpose. Then you’ll have peace that will stand up to all of life’s pressures.—Rick Warren3

    Do Not Be Afraid

    “Do not be afraid” is the most frequent command in the Bible. … In the face of everyday fear, Jesus points to a lily, or a sparrow, and calmly says, Trust. Seek first the kingdom of heaven.

    Trust does not eliminate the bad things that may happen, whatever sparked our fear in the first place. Trust simply finds a new outlet for anxiety and a new grounding for confidence: God. Let God worry about the worrisome details of life, most of which are out of my control anyway. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,” Paul wrote. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7 NIV).

    When I question the practicality of those words in view of all the terrible things that have happened to Jesus’ followers over the years, I remind myself that Paul wrote them from a Roman prison cell. God’s peace indeed “transcends all understanding.”—Philip Yancey4

    *

    The remedy for fear and worry is to bring our cares to the Lord in prayer and trust that He knows all our troubles and that He loves us. The Bible doesn’t promise us that when we bring our burdens to Jesus we will always be delivered from them, but we are promised that He will sustain us with His peace. Once we’ve made our requests known to the Lord in prayer, we can have His peace. Our part is to pray for peace and trust in God for it, even in the midst of life’s storms, as the following articles illustrate:

    Peace in Christ

    Bethany Hamilton, one of the top female surfers in the world despite having only one arm, proclaims ... that God can change tragic events into opportunities to glorify Himself.

    In an “I Am Second” video, Hamilton recalls how she climbed back on her surfboard after only a month following her near fatal collision with a shark that bit off her left arm. By her third try, the then 13-year-old was able to ride the wave all the way back to the beach.

    Within a “split second” around Halloween of 2003, a shark attack left the young Hamilton without her left arm. She had lost about 60 percent of her blood after the freak accident and recalls a paramedic on the way to the hospital whispering in her ear, “God will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    “I just laid there and prayed the whole way in, asking God for help.”

    But with a smile on her face, she recalls that she had a “sense of peace and calmness” despite missing her left arm and losing more than half her blood because she was “able to turn to Jesus during this crazy moment in my life.”

    “I think that is the one thing that just kept me alive,” Hamilton states.—Jennifer Riley5

    Paved with Prayer

    Want to worry less? Then pray more. Rather than look forward in fear, look upward in faith. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6 NLT). This command surprises no one. Regarding prayer, the Bible never blushes. Jesus taught people that “it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit” (Luke 18:1 MSG). Rather than worry about anything, “pray about everything.” Everything? Diaper changes and dates? Business meetings, broken bathtubs, procrastinations? Yes, pray about everything. The path to peace is paved with prayer. Less consternation, more supplication. Fewer anxious thoughts, more prayer-filled thoughts. And as you pray, the peace of God will guard your heart and mind.6

    Believing prayer ushers in God’s peace. Not a random, nebulous, earthly peace, but his peace, imported from heaven. The same tranquility that marks the throne room, God offers to you. Do you think he battles anxiety? You suppose he ever wrings his hands or asks for antacids? Of course not. A problem is no more a challenge to God than a twig is to an elephant. God enjoys perfect peace because God enjoys perfect power. And he offers his peace to you. A peace that will “guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NLT). The Philippians, living in a garrison town, were accustomed to the Roman sentries maintaining their watch. God oversees your world. He monitors your life. Listen carefully and you will hear him say, “Everything is secure. You can rest now.”—Max Lucado7

    *

    Recently I was battling a war against worry, given my recent pain levels. I happened to read these words by Francis of Assisi written hundreds of years ago. He said, “Be at peace. Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life; rather look to them with full hope as they arise. God, whose very own you are, will deliver you out of them. He has kept you in the past, and will lead you safely through all things, and when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in his arms. As it concerns tomorrow, he will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.” That’s good advice, and I have no doubt God inspired Francis of Assisi to write those words—after all, it was Jesus who originally said, “Peace be with you.”—Joni Eareckson Tada8

    *

    If we are to grow in the virtue of peace, we need to exercise our faith. The apostle Paul wrote: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.9 It’s in communion with the Lord, abiding in Him, trusting Him, following Him, that we find the path of true peace. Our possessions, relationships, finances, or circumstances are not what bring us peace. Abiding in God, living His Word, trusting Him for everything, is how we find and live in the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.

    Prayer for the Day

    You are a tower of refuge to the poor, O Lord, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat (Isaiah 25:4 NLT). Thank You for the peace You lavish upon all who put their trust in You, even in the midst of the hustle and bustle and the ups and downs of our daily lives.

    Thank You, Lord, that You are the firm foundation upon which my life is built. You are the anchor that steadies my ship. You are the strong support beam that holds up my house—my life, my body, my spirit. You give me peace, faith, and rest. I know that no matter what happens in this life, You will hold me fast.10

    Food for Thought

    “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165).

    “Jesus didn’t promise to change the circumstances around us, but He did promise great peace and pure joy to those who would learn to believe that God actually controls all things.”—Merlin Carothers

    “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

    “When we place God at the center of our lives, we find unexplainable joy, balance and peace.”—Brittany Ann

    (To be continued.)


    Note
    Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


    1 Jerry Bridges, The Practice of Godliness (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2010), 175.

    4 Philip Yancey, Rumors of Another World: What on Earth Are We Missing? (Nashville: Zondervan, 2009).

    5 “One-Armed Surfing Star Bethany Hamilton on Trusting God,” Christian Post, March 23, 2011.

    9 Philippians 4:9.

    10 From “Resting in You” and “A Firm Foundation,” To Jesus with Love, adapted.

     

  • Jun 4 Seeing God in Your Suffering
  • May 28 1 Corinthians: Chapter 2 (verses 9-16)
  • May 14 Virtues for Christ-Followers: Joy
  • Apr 30 1 Corinthians: Chapter 2 (verses 1-8)
  • Apr 16 Virtues for Christ-Followers: Love
  • Apr 2 1 Corinthians: Chapter 1 (verses 26-31)
  • Mar 12 1 Corinthians: Chapter 1 (verses 17-25)
  • Feb 27 1 Corinthians: Chapter 1 (verses 4-16)
  • Feb 14 The Book of 1 Corinthians: Introduction
   

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  • The Family International (TFI) is an international online Christian community committed to sharing the message of God’s love with people around the globe. We believe that everyone can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, which affords happiness and peace of mind, as well as the motivation to help others and to share the good news of His love.

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  • The primary goal of the Family International is to improve the quality of life of others by sharing the life-giving message of love, hope, and salvation found in God’s Word. We believe that God's love—applied on a practical level to our daily lives—is the key to resolving many of society's problems, even in the complex and fast-paced world of today. Through imparting the hope and guidance found in the Bible’s teachings, we believe that we can work toward building a better world—changing the world, one heart at a time.

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  • The power of one

    We value each individual and his or her unique talents, skills, and strengths. We believe that every person can contribute to changing the world by changing one heart at a time.

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