How’s Your Conversation?

Curious thing. Checking the Greek text underlying our English translation is this word translated “conversation”. The Greek word behind it is the same word we use in John one concerning the Christ. He is the Logos. This conversation is our logos. Now logos literally translated is “word”, and so we refer to Christ in John one as the “Word” of God. But what is the “word” of us?

If we refer back to John one for a moment, we find that the Word was in the beginning with God, was with God, and was God. God and His Word are synonymous. The Word that went out from God and became flesh was His real representative in every way that matters. Jesus, this Word made flesh, represented God’s grace, kindness, holiness, and at times, His necessary judgment. Jesus represented the very nature of God, but in flesh, so that we could see Him and hear Him.

Now consider for a moment what effect your words have on others. Your words go forth and represent who you are. You are your words. And even words that “slip out” represent the heart that uttered them. Hence James says that the tongue has yet to be tamed. Why? Because the heart is deceitful and wicked, and only the Lord can change it. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

So this warning is actually quite timely. Just as Jesus is the Word of God, so to your “word” ought to be gracious, “seasoned with salt”, and full of answers for the hope within you. You might be wondered what “seasoned with salt” might mean. I doubt it means you need to have “salty” language. “Salty” language implies you spread plenty of expletive in your conversation that offers bites and jabs at the conscience, to call attention to your speech, because it just isn’t interesting without it. I believe rather that “seasoned with salt” implies that your conversation is flavorful. People will want to hear what you say because you speak in a way that is inviting and encouraging. And if you are talking about the gospel, how could it ever be boring?

Lord Jesus, help me today to tame my tongue, to make my conversation inviting and interesting, because You are on my lips. May my word go forth from me, representing not my fallen and corrupted heart, but the new heart You gave me at baptism, renewed, recreated in me as a heart of flesh rather than stone. Thank You Jesus for calling me Your own. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Selecting the title above leads me two different directions. Both stem from the meaning of the word. Taken as a noun, rejects are those who have been cast off, the outsiders, or the factory seconds that could not be sold for retail. Taken as a verb, we reject those that are different, unwanted, unloved. Both involve a casting off or casting away.

“The one who rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” Why do you suppose that is? I am reminded of the story of the young man who asked for a new car upon his graduation. His father called him into his study and offered him a Bible. The boy rejected the offer and cast the Bible aside, storming out, so angry that he did not speak to or see his father until his father’s funeral many years later. Rummaging through his father’s things afterwards, he found that old Bible, still sitting in the study. Curious, he opened it. Inside he found a set of car keys.

Like that man, we see the outward appearance of faith and religion, remembered the many hypocrites we have come across, the fake preachers and false teachers. We recall the many times we have been hurt by churches, fellow Christians, and even those who were supposed to be trustworthy. We reject the appearance, and thus refuse the gift. For the man, it was a Bible, an effort by his father to teach him what was truly important in life. When he rejected the Bible, he rejected the gift that was inside.

When we see the crucified Christ, the shame of our sin painted over Him in blood, we reject Him, because we cannot acknowledge the seriousness and impact of our own sins, refuse to believe that we could be so bad as to crucify the Son of God. We reject the horror of the offering, and miss the gift that lay beyond. For when we acknowledge that indeed Christ suffered for the sins of the world, for our own sins, for my sins, and when we accept that needful sacrifice for our own sake, we are witness to the resurrected Christ, the Lord of all, the Son of God who takes us as His own. Then we receive the gift we have truly desired: life. For in the end, when all else has been said, what is the one thing everyone wishes they had? But more time. This life isn’t for a day or an hour, but for eternity, all the time you could ever want.

Don’t reject the gift because you don’t like how it looks. The guilt and conviction you feel come from the nature of the gift. When you are offered something so pure, so holy as this, your natural man reacts involuntarily. You are horrified that something so pure could exist, because you are used to impurity. But Jesus offers His purity to you, in exchange for your filthiness, the nastiness of the corruption of sin in your life.

Will you accept Jesus, or reject Him. The Choice belongs to you.

Dear Jesus, please accept me, broken and corrupted as I am, for there is nothing in me that can possibly earn this gift. I am not pure. I am not holy. I am what remains of that divine image laid upon me, led astray by temptation and sin. Please accept me in return for my faith, devotion and commitment to follow you. Do not let me forget all that I have promised, and may Your work in me prove fruitful, that I may share this amazing transformation with others. Thank You Jesus. In Your Name, Amen.

Pipe Dream

As I just related to my group, Jeremiah 17:9 says that the heart is deceitful above all things, who can know it? The truth is that our heart is the most impure of all things in our flesh and the most corrupted? Does this mean we all need cardiac care? Consider that the heart in the Biblical world was the realm of thoughts and feelings. We might call it the mind, or even the subconscious. The memory and workings of this body are held in the brain, but the heart, or the soul if you will, is where we live. It is the totality of us. This is the heart that drives us or pulls us down. This is the heart where we lives and feel and be. So, as we might expect, it is the one place where we need saving. Only God can know the heart. We lie, often to ourselves, about who we are or are trying to be. We often don’t know who we are. Sometimes we see and remember things that are long buried, so painful that we don’t bring them to mind, but they remain there, are part of us, provoking us to actions we don’t understand. Some say deep level psychological regressive therapy is the answer. They are on the right track, but we simply don’t know enough about the inner workings of our own being.

If you are a computer person, like myself, you know how to turn on the computer, type a few things, make it do the stuff you want. But if it breaks, I’m kind out of luck. Now I know enough about turning it off and turning it back on, but I need my computer to be reliable. I just don’t know enough about it to be able to fix. Likewise, I think we all have a pretty good handle on how to run ourselves. We know what turns us on and what turns us off. We know what we like and what we don’t. But honestly, when things don’t work right, we don’t know enough about ourselves to fix the problem, or we won’t admit that we have a problem.

When you get to a problem you can’t fix, you call the manufacturer or tech support. When you have a problem in your soul, you call God. We call this prayer. We have also been supplied with a technical manual, called the Bible. While you may not understand the whole thing (who can?), you will be able to understand enough to get you moving again. For only God knows the heart. Only God can change the heart. He knows what’s going on under the hood and knows what screw to tighten to get the whole thing working again. You just have to be willing to let Him work on it. That means taking yourself to the repair shop, submitting your soul for inspection and scrutiny, and admitting to the mistakes that made the soul go wrong in the first place. This is called confession. Repentance is both feeling sorry for what you’ve done but also a strong compulsion to resist doing those things again that broke you.

And yes there are sometimes things in our soul that are there through no fault of our own. Things have been done to us, and they too have broken us. We submit these things to the repair shop as well, because God knows what’s wrong and can fix it, but we have to be willing to submit these things as well to Him. We cannot hold on to pain as if we had some right to it, some right to be angry at someone for what they did. We really don’t need that pain and resentment, because that causes corrosion and corruption. It makes us do bad things for “good” reasons.

As you can see, purity of the heart isn’t overnight. In fact, it takes some time, but there is profound blessing for those who find it. Such purity can only be found in proximity to the Lord above. Only in close fellowship with Jesus can we see such purity. My prayer for you today is that you can find it.

Blessed Lord, take my hand and my heart today. Help me find some purity. Lord I need that purity in my heart. Let it be Your throne room, a place of honor in my breast, where You may live and lead me through all the storms of life. Help me grow Lord into someone worthy of bearing Your Name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thoughts and Prayers

While it is always in vogue to mock Christians, non- Christians were unusually brutal in mocking the Christian habit of sending “thoughts and prayers” when disaster happens. Yesterday saw the death of a celebrity basketball player. Though I have not seen then, I have no doubt that many sent “thoughts and prayers” to the family. Is there anything wrong with that?

That is the subject of today’s text, for the Psalmist asked the Lord about it. He was concerned both for the words of his mouth (prayers) and the meditations of his heart (thoughts) would be acceptable to God. As a Christian, we better be sure that the thoughts and prayers we send are likewise.

What the non-Christians mock is hypocrisy. It is very easy to type “thoughts and prayers” and go on about your day. It would be a sad thing to offer both and do neither. To which the non-Christian rightly responds that you have done nothing. In fact, it is worse than nothing. Because you have offered to intervene before the King of the Universe on their behalf, praying for their comfort and peace, and done neither. It is akin to apathy to say such a thing of love and compassion and then forget it. Words mean things. If your words are empty, then your faith is hollow.

If you offer thoughts and prayers for the hurt and grieving, then follow through. Pray for that family. Put their needs before you and meditate on them. What if it was you. What would you need right now? Pray for that if you cannot offer it yourself.

Dear Father, if we have been hypocrites when it comes to interceding for others, please extend Your grace to us, but also with our repentance the reminder of this lesson. We have an important role in this world. From our lips the world hears the gospel message. Let that message be pure and undefiled. Let it be free from denominational dogmatism. Let it flow purely from Your grace into the hearts of men. Help us to be more like You dear Father. Help us today we pray, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Seeing God

What a fantastic promise! God only permits Himself to be seen rarely, and then only in a limited capacity, such as when Moses saw His “back” on Mt. Sinai. Yet Jesus said to Philip at the last supper that if you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father. Philip has asked him, “Show us the Father, and that will be enough.” Would that be enough to convince you that God is real, if He showed Himself to you? Surely we know God is love, and He demonstrates His love in this: He gave His Som for the sins of the world. If we have put our faith in Jesus’ saving work, His death, burial and resurrection, then surely we have seen God.

Strangely this verse seems to play along similar lines. God is not a god of magic, nor does He respond or comply with spells or rituals. God does as He sees fit. No one can make Him do anything. This making yourself pure in heart (which you cannot do) is not going to force God to reveal Himself. Rather, we receive purity because we receive the cleansing of Christ’s blood upon our heart. We cannot hope to be pure otherwise. We can only do this by faith, and receive it by faith and baptism. The promise for those who receive such faith is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Those who become pure in heart in this way allow for the Spirit of God to dwell in you. You will see the house of God every time you look in the mirror. You will be in God’s presence continually, because He is continually in you. The Holy Spirit is the ever-present proof of our eternal home.

The Holy Spirit is the penultimate Presence, heralding our ultimate reception into the presence of God when we die and meet Him face go face. Those who are pure in heart will see God.

Do you need to brush up on yo it purity today? Does sin mar your heart? Confess your sins today and receive relief from your guilt. Jesus has already paid for those sins and welcomes you back with open arms. Won’t you come and be pure? May God bless you today.