The Power of the Tongue

May 17, 2022

What is the most powerful part of the human body?  What would you say?  The brain?  Perhaps the arms or the legs?  Spiritually speaking, the most powerful part of the body is the tongue.  There is tremendous power for good or for evil in our speech.  As Solomon says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21a, NASB) We must all choose if we are going to use the power of our tongues for death or life, to tear down or to build up, to hurt or to heal. 

Let us carefully consider the following proverbs concerning the power of the tongue.

“There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18, NASB)

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.  (Proverbs 15:1, NASB)

“A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4, NASB)

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” (Proverbs 15:28, NASB)

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24, NASB)

“A worthless man digs up evil, While his words are as a scorching fire.” (Proverbs 16:26, NASB)

Are your words a fountain of life?  Do they soothe, comfort, and heal?  Or do your words slash, scorch, and set ablaze?  Yes, there is great power for destruction in our tongues, but we must also understand that there is tremendous power for helping and blessing others.  Think of all the good you can accomplish with your tongue today!  Is there someone you can encourage today?  Is there someone to whom you can bring words of comfort?  Is there someone whose spirit you can help to heal?  Death and life are in the power of the tongue!  Let us choose our words carefully.

—Scott Colvin

Making Moves Toward God

May 10, 2022

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8, NASB) What a magnificent promise of God!  That the Creator of all things, our all-powerful God, would even notice us—much less that He would graciously come close to us—is astounding.  Do you want the Lord to move toward you?  If so, we must understand this principle:  the Lord moves toward those who first make a choice to move toward Him.

This is a principle that we see throughout the scriptures.  For example, in Old Testament times, Azariah the prophet brought this message from God to Asa, king of Judah: “The Lord is with you when you are with Him.  And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” (1 Chronicles 15:2b, NASB) If we want the Lord to be with us, we must first choose to be with Him.  If we want Him to let us find Him, we must first choose to seek Him with all our heart and soul.

We see the principle again when God brings a message of hope to the nation of Judah who were exiled in Babylon.  The Lord says, “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12-13, NASB) The Lord will listen to those who call upon Him!  The Lord will allow Himself to be found, but only when He sees His people first put their whole hearts into seeking Him! 

Do you feel far away from the Lord today?  Have you drifted away from Him because of sin in your life, or because of spiritual complacency?  Our God is waiting for you.  He is longing to forgive you.  He is longing to bless you.  He wants you to be near to Himself, but He is waiting for you to make a move toward Him.  If you will take steps to draw near to Him, He has promised to draw near to you!  If we will seek Him diligently, He has promised to let us find Him!  And finding God is the greatest treasure that could ever be.  Let us draw near to Him with all our heart today.

—Scott Colvin

A Difference of Perspective

May 2, 2022

The two men suppressed their laughter. He was joking—wasn’t he? Or was he just a paranoid old man, even if he was about to become their father-in-law.

He pleaded, but the young men had objected, “We live in a fertile area. It’s like a garden. The city is prosperous. Our lives are secure and pleasant. Why would anyone want to move, especially so suddenly? What could happen? Why should we expect tomorrow to be any different from any other day?”

He preached of the dangers of neglecting the poor, arrogance before God, and immorality. He warned of a Day of Judgment—a Day of the Lord!

The young men had countered, “Everybody sins. But aren’t most people good? Do you really think that God would condemn this whole city? Won’t most people be saved?”
He continued about the holiness of God. They needed to know God’s character and His message.

“We don’t like your holier-than-thou attitude!” one of them exclaimed. That ended the conversation, besides they were too busy for this. There was work to be done and deadlines to meet.

With the dawning of the next day, the older man made one more plea, but it fell on deaf ears.
As they watched him walk away, one of them quipped, “I guess this is what we have to put up with when marrying into that family.”

The other agreed, but noted, “Still, it looks like another beautiful day in Sodom!”
P.S. The above dialogue is fiction, but consider reading Genesis 19:1- 29, Ezekiel 16:49-50, 2 Peter 2:4-10.

The Basis of Contentment

April 26, 2022

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have…” (Hebrews 13:5a, NASB) How many of us can say that we are truly content with what we have?  It seems to me that we live in a discontented world.  Most people in the world have a love of money.  They are always striving for more money and more possessions—a nicer home, a better car, better “toys.” These are the desires that drive many people, and sometimes these desires creep into the hearts of those who belong to Christ. Is it necessarily wrong to get a better paying job or to buy a nicer home or car?  No, it is not inherently wrong, but when money becomes what we love, it will lead to major spiritual problems.  This is why we are instructed to make sure that are character is free from the love of money.  Make sure!  There is great danger here!

Just as there is great danger in the love of money, there is great spiritual benefit in contentment.  Contentment allows us to stop the constant striving for more.  It allows us to stop worrying about what we don’t have.  It allows us to focus on spiritual things rather than the temporary things of this life.  What is the basis of Christian contentment?  The writer of Hebrews goes on to say, “for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we may confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.  What will man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5b-6, NASB) We can have great contentment in the Lord because He has promised to never desert us!  He has promised to never forsake us!  God never breaks a promise.  His word to us is true and can always be relied upon completely.  We can have great contentment knowing that He knows our needs and will provide for us.  And so, we can do our work heartily for the Lord to support our families while resting in the fact that it is the Lord who supplies.  It’s not all on us.  We can go for that promotion if we would like to, not because we love money or because we are unsatisfied with life, but because the Lord has provided an opportunity to be a blessing to others.

May we all find the peace and spiritual stability that comes from being content with what we have.      

—Scott Colvin

The Glorious Resurrection of Jesus

April 21, 2022

Our faith and our salvation are built upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The historical fact of His resurrection cannot be over emphasized.  There is no way in which we could speak of it too often, for it is a key and critical component to everything we believe.  As Paul writes to the church at Corinth (who were doubting the resurrection of the dead), “But if there is no resurrection from the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain… and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14, 17-19, NASB) Without the resurrection of Christ, our faith is meaningless, we are still in our sins, and we have no hope for the future.

“But the fact is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20, NASB) This is the glorious fact!  Jesus was raised!  There are many powerful and convincing proofs of this fact.  There are many eyewitness accounts of this fact.  We can be assured that His resurrection is real, and our faith can solidly rest in this reality.  And because He is risen, we are no longer in our sins!  Because He is risen, we have hope of seeing our loved ones again!  Because He is risen, we too will be raised with a glorious new body!  Christ is the first fruits of those who have died.  He was the first to rise, never to die again, and we will follow after Him.

Because of the resurrection, there is a momentous day coming for us.  The Lord Jesus is going to return from heaven, and when He does, we will all be changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.”  (1 Corinthians 15:52-53, NASB)

Are you ready for that day to come?  Will you be found in Him on that day?  Those who are in Christ in this life will share in His glorious resurrection.  Let us praise God with all our hearts today because Jesus is risen!             

—Scott Colvin

War on the Soul

April 12, 2022

War is a terrible thing.  Some of you have experienced the ravages of war firsthand.  All of us have witnessed the terror of war through our television screens lately.  But realize this; the death and destruction caused by war is not only something that happens between men, but also within man.

Listen to the inspired words of Peter.  “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2:11, NASB) Fleshly lusts wage war on the soul!  They will wage an all-out assault on your inner being and destroy your soul just as surely as artillery shelling will destroy a city. 

What are fleshly lusts? They are sinful passions and desires that arise within us.  These lusts, if not dealt with, will lead us into sexual sin, greed, strife, sinful anger, and many other things like these.  When we indulge in fleshly lusts, they will do tremendous damage to our souls, and will eventually destroy us spiritually.  We need to understand this fact. 

Sometimes we entertain fleshly lusts.  We invite them into our living rooms, and then into our minds and hearts.  Sometimes we think that we can watch things, listen to things, and take part in things without being affected spiritually.  This is simply not true.  When we allow our lusts to be activated through what we see and hear, a terrible chain of events can begin.  As James writes, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15, NASB) Note the pregnancy analogy in this passage.  Once lust is conceived, it will give birth to sin, and sin will bring forth spiritual death.  How is lust conceived?  I believe it is by dwelling on our sinful desires and entertaining them in our hearts.

So, the key for us is to prevent lust from being conceived.  How can we do this?  As the Spirit said through Peter, we must abstain from fleshly lusts.  Do not take part in them!  Run from them!  Get them out of your mind before conception takes place.  And certainly, let us not invite sinful things into our minds that will stir up our lusts!  Doing so is like inviting the enemy into your city in wartime.  Nothing but death and destruction will come of it.  May God help us to abstain from fleshly lusts.  As we do, we will find peace and prosperity—not death and destruction—within our souls.      

—Scott Colvin

One Body, One Faith

April 5, 2022

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different religious beliefs and denominations in the world today?  One thing is certain, Jesus did not start many different religious denominations.  He started one church made up of people who have saving faith in Him.  God adds people to His one church when they respond in faith and are baptized into Christ.  This is what happened on the day Peter preached the first Gospel sermon.  The scriptures say, “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41, NASB) Only God can add souls to the church he established.

Just as there is only one church, there is also only one faith.  Paul writes, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6, NASB) The word faith in this passage is referring to the body of beliefs that the church holds in common.  As Jude writes to the church, “…Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” (Jude 3, NASB). Notice that he does not speak of a faith, but the faith.  There is only one faith.  The one faith was once and for all handed down from God, and we need to be contending earnestly for it. Every belief, doctrine, and practice that we hold as a church should be rooted in God’s word and nowhere else. 

We need to be careful that we do not substitute the creeds, traditions, and doctrines of men for the truth of God’s word.  When we stray from the word of God, we end up with many various teachings that are not coming from God, but from man.  Of course, we may struggle in our attempts to correctly interpret the word of God, but this doesn’t change the fact that we should recognize that there is only one body and one faith.  I know that as we make sincere, prayerful attempts to honor the word and stay within the word, God will lead us into a better understanding and help us to properly apply His teachings.  There is one body.  There is one faith.  May God help us as we strive to hold to these precious truths. 

—Scott Colvin

The Road to Spiritual Maturity

March 29, 2022

One of the great tragedies in life is for one to claim a longstanding relationship with Christ and yet be very immature spiritually.  This is something that should not be.  It is comparable to a baby who fails to thrive.  When a baby doesn’t grow physically, we know that something is very wrong.  In the same way, if we examine our own lives and see that we have not grown spiritually, we should be very alarmed.  Something is very wrong.  Sometimes Christians go through life with the same fleshly attitudes and behaviors that we had before we came into Jesus.  Very little changes.  Little to no fruit is produced.  Christ seems to have little impact.  On the other hand, we all know brothers and sisters in the Lord who have changed completely since meeting Jesus.  They grow and bear fruit and are a blessing to those around them.  The question is, why do some go on to maturity and some do not?

If we are going to mature in the Lord, we must be feeding on the word of God.  Just as a baby will not grow without milk, so a Christian will not grow without feeding upon the word.  Peter writes, “…like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation…” (1 Peter 2:2, NASB) If you and I are not feeding on the word, there will be no growth.

If we are going to mature in the Lord, we must be practicing righteousness.  There will be no growth if we only talk about the things of the Lord but do not practice them.  As we see in Hebrews chapter five, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14, NASB) Practice brings the ability to discern good and evil, and this is a mark of spiritual maturity.

Finally, if we are going to mature in the Lord, we must take opportunities to grow through trials.  Those who are mature have allowed the Lord to mold and shape them in the fires of suffering.  As James says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4, NASB) Trials, if endured with a God-centered, joyful attitude, will lead us to be perfect (mature), and complete. 

Let us examine our own lives and, with God’s help, press on to greater spiritual maturity.

How Do You Know God?

March 19, 2022

K.C. Moser in his book, Attributes of God, has a chapter on knowing God. He lists three ways of knowing God: (1) through creation, (2) through revelation, and (3) through Christian experience.

Knowledge of God through Creation. Knowledge of God through creation is discussed in several passages:

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1, ESV)

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20, ESV)

When we consider creation, we can learn something about God. We still need revelation in order to come to a saving knowledge of God, but there is something for us to learn from creation.

Knowledge of God through Revelation. Knowledge of God through revelation is critical. Without scripture, we would not know of our spiritual condition or God’s solution.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)

Knowledge of God through Christian Experience. Our knowledge from experience must be based on our knowledge from revelation. Yet, we must also see that knowledge of Bible content must be put into practice. This daily living adds a deeper dimension to our knowledge of God. One could know all the facts about Jesus’ sacrifice for us, but Paul also writes “…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5, NASB). This speaks of a love that the Christian comes to experience and feel, because of what Christ has done. The love of God and neighbors are concepts to be learned (Matthew 22:35-40) but also experienced in our service to God and ministry to others.

May we all come to know God from creation, revelation, and experience. When our knowledge of God from creation and revelation goes on to the knowledge of experience, it has moved from facts about faith to a life of faith. That is what Christian maturity is about. How do you know God?

—Russ Holden

Fear and Trembling:  A Response to the Work of God

March 14, 2022

The work of God in this world is so wonderful, so stunning, that it causes many emotions to well up inside of us—thankfulness, delight, and love to name a few.  There is another powerful human emotion that we see throughout scripture in response to the mighty power of God:  fear and trembling.

In Luke chapter 7, Jesus went to a city called Nain.  As He approached the city, he saw a young man, the only son of his widowed mother, being carried out in a coffin.  His mother followed along weeping.  When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her. Jesus touched the coffin and commanded the young man to arise.  The dead man sat up and began to speak, and the Lord gave him back to His mother.  What was the reaction of the people in the crowd that were gathered around?  “Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God…” (Luke 7:16, NASB)

In Luke chapter 5, we read of the paralyzed man who was lowered down through the roof so that Jesus could heal him.  Jesus forgave the man’s sins and then commanded the paralytic to get up, pick up his stretcher, and go home.  Immediately the man got up and walked.  What was the reaction of the people who witnessed this miracle? “They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear…” (Luke 5:26, NASB)

We see this response of fear and trembling in the disciples when Jesus stilled the sea.  As the wind blew fiercely and the waves were breaking over the boat, the disciples woke Jesus and cried out to Him for help.  Jesus got up, rebuked the wind, and commanded the sea to be still.  Upon seeing this, the disciples “…became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” (Mark 4:41, NASB)

The mighty works of God are not just things that happened long ago in Bible times.  The Lord has done—and is doing—mighty works in you and me today!  He has caused us to die to our old selves, raised us up to newness of life, caused His Spirit to dwell in us, and is presently working to transform us in our inner being.  These are stunning realities that people who lived before the cross of Christ couldn’t fathom.  If we could grasp more deeply the mighty work that God has accomplished, we too would be full of fear and trembling.  May we approach the throne of grace today with reverence and awe for our Mighty God.

—Scott Colvin