Tag Archives: Tongue

An Opportunity Lost Might Never Be Reclaimed (Numbers 14-15; Psalm 90)

Scripture Reading – Numbers 14-15; Psalm 90

Caleb had urged the people to “go up…we are well able” (13:30); however, the bad report of the ten spies prevailed (13:31), and the people began to murmur against the LORD, Moses, and Aaron (14:1-2).

A spirit of insurrection broke out among the people, and they accused the LORD of bringing them into the wilderness to die (14:3). As Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the people, Joshua exhorted them to trust the LORD (14:5-9).  As the people threatened to stone Moses and Aaron, the LORD suddenly appeared in a display of His heavenly glory and majesty (14:10b).

Moses pled for the LORD to spare Israel for His own testimony among the heathen (14:11-16).

Modeling a believer’s prayer of faith, Moses rehearsed the character and divine attributes of the LORD, praying, “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression…Pardon…the iniquity of this people” (14:18-19; note Psalm 90).

The LORD spared the people from immediate judgment; however, the consequences of their faithlessness would be borne by the people as they were commanded to turn from the Promised Land and go into the wilderness (14:20-23).  Condemned to wander aimlessly in the wilderness for forty years, only two men of that generation older than twenty years of age would enter the land, Caleb and Joshua (14:24-35).

The ten spies who brought the faithless report were immediately slain (14:36-37). The next morning, a remorseful company of Israelites endeavored to enter the Promised Land without the LORD and were slain (14:40-45).

Numbers 15 rehearses the matter of the Law and sacrifices.

Whether one was a native-born Israelite (15:13) or a “stranger” not of Abraham’s lineage (15:14), there was “one law and one manner” when it came to the law and sacrifices (15:13-16).  A distinction is also given differentiating between unintentional sins (“sins of ignorance”) (15:24-29) and intentional sins (15:30-31). An example of the LORD’S justice and the law’s demand is given when one man was guilty of breaking the Sabbath and was stoned (15:32-36).

Psalm 90 is a prayer of intercession and song of praise authored by Moses and is the oldest of the psalms. For the sake of brevity, we will focus on one verse.

Psalm 90:12 – “So teach [help us to know and understand] us to number [make them count] our days [time], that we may apply [give; attain] our hearts [understanding; i.e. thoughts] unto wisdom [discernment; i.e. wise in decisions and choices].”

How different would your life be if you knew the number of your days before you die?

I fear there are many things we allow to consume us that are trivial at best.  The same is true of moments and opportunities we should treasure, but we treat as trivial.  Whether young or old, every day is a gift of God’s loving grace and should be numbered and treasured.

Won’t you set aside pettiness and treasure the life and opportunities God gives you today?  Love the LORD and love your neighbor (Luke 10:27).  Express in your words and actions:

“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

“The Character of a Holy People” (Leviticus 19-21)

Daily reading assignment – Leviticus 19-21

* This is the first of two devotionals for today’s scripture reading.

Leviticus 19 introduces a detail review of the commandments of the LORD beginning with the sum of all the commandments: Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2).

From that command flows a series of laws that define the essence of what it means to be a holy, sanctified, people. For brevity, I will offer a summary of three series of commandments (19:9-37).

Leviticus 19:9-18 – Moral Guidelines Concerning One’s Neighbor

A holy people will:

19:3 – Fear and revere father and mother and keep the Sabbath holy.

19:4 – Not worship idols

19:9-10 – Be compassionate to the poor

19:13 – Pay day laborers their earned wages at the close of a work day

19:14 – Show kindness to the disadvantaged (deaf and blind)

19:15 – Be impartial in judgment

19:16-17 – Not gossip, slander, or hate another

19:18 – “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Leviticus 19:19-32 – Natural Laws

A holy people will:

19:20-22 – Not disgrace a slave

19:29 – Shelter and protect a daughter’s virtue

19:32 – Stand in reverence and honor the elderly

Leviticus 19:33-37 – Judicial Matters

A holy people will:

19:33-34 – Be compassionate and loving to a stranger and a foreigner

19:35-36 – Be fair and just in business and commercial matters

God’s command for His people to be holy is practical, instructive, and clearly stated. 

21st century believers would do well to recognize the LORD’S command for His people to be holy touches every area of life…marriage, family, neighbor, employee\employer, even business principles of just and fairness.

How do you measure up to God’s holy standard?

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

Sinning against another is a sin against God! (Leviticus 5-7)

Daily reading assignment – Leviticus 5-7

Today’s study in the book of Leviticus continues its exposition and explanation of the sacrifices required for sin; each reminding us sin is an offense against the LORD and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Various sins are identified in Leviticus 5 and the prerequisite sacrifice for each sin. Leviticus 5:1 speaks to the sin of failing to speak truth and thus concealing the sin and crime of another (perhaps in a judicial sense where one is called to testify as a witness).  Similar to our own court system where one is asked to swear to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Cleanliness is urged and contact with the carcass of a dead beast was forbidden under the Law. Unlike ancient Israel, today we understand the health risks of being defiled (infected) by a dead animal and why the LORD forbade it (5:2-3).

Inconsiderate, thoughtless words and conversation is also condemned and sacrifices were required of all who swore and spoke with haste (5:4-13).

The Trespass Offerings is the subject of Leviticus 5:14-6:7. You will notice a principle of “restitution plus one-fifth.” Why?

Saying “I’m sorry” is not enough in God’s perfect justice system.

The first sin demanding a trespass offering plus “one-fifth” is spiritual misappropriation: A sinner taking that which another dedicated to the Lord.

For instance: A priest might fall prey to embezzling…taking for himself what another had offered as a sacrifice.  Such a sin demanded not only restitution, but also giving one-fifth more above what was taken (5:14-16).

Other sins demanding sacrifice and restitution were lying and dishonesty (6:1-2), finding another’s property, but concealing the fact (6:3), and violently cheating one of his property.  All sins committed with foreknowledge required not only sacrifice, but also restitution above what was pilfered (6:4). Similar to an assessment of loss and damages in the American Judicial System.

Laws concerning burnt offerings are expressed in Leviticus 6:8-13.  Reminding us the believer is to be ever in a spirit of prayer, we read: “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” (6:13)

Leviticus 7 – The “trespass offering” and the “peace offering”

The “peace offering” served as a sacrifice of thanksgiving for God’s grace and provision (Leviticus 7:11-21).  The sacrifice of oxen or cattle is prescribed accompanied by offerings of “unleavened cakes…unleavened wafers…and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fired” (Leviticus 7:12).  The portions of the “peace offering” not consumed by the fire were given to the priests for their consumption.

Remembering the blood was a testament to the punishment of sin, the “fat of the beast” and “blood” portions of the offerings were not to be eaten (Leviticus 7:22-27). Blood was not to be consumed because it was the means and object of atonement (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22).

Consuming the “fat of the beast” or the “blood” necessitated a sinner “be cut off from his people” (7:25, 27); a punishment that could extend so far as death.

What have we learned?

Sinning against someone requires not only sincere confession, but “restitution plus” may be necessary to make them whole and restore fellowship.

Have you sinned against someone and not sought forgiveness?  Without confession and restitution for the harm you have caused, your broken fellowship may follow you to your grave.

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith

Two Things God Hates: A Covetous Heart and Lying Lips

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Daily reading assignment – 2 Kings 1-5

Today’s scripture reading contains stories that have enriched the hearts, lives and imagination of children in Sunday School for centuries.  The book of 2 Kings picks up where 1 Kings finished with no introduction.  The old prophet Elijah is in the last days of his earthly ministry and his protégé Elisha is prepared to take up the “mantle” of Elijah, literally and figuratively (2 Kings 2:13).

Due to the length of today’s reading, I will content myself with a few highlights.  Ahaziah, king of Israel, became deathly ill after falling through the lattice-work of his upper chamber.  Wondering if he would recover from his fall, the wicked king sent servants to enquire of the pagan god Baalzebub (2 Kings 1:2).  God, however, intervened and sent Elijah to send word to the king that his decision to enquire of Baalzebub would result in his death (1:3-4).  The king’s messengers described Elijah as the bearer of the news concerning the king’s death (1:5-8).

Three occasions the king sent a captain and fifty soldiers demanding Elijah come to the king.  The first two times the captain and the soldiers arrogantly demanded the prophet come to the king, and each time the captain and soldiers were slain (1:9-12).  The third captain and his soldiers humbled themselves before God’s prophet and requested their lives be spared (1:13-14).

2 Kings 2 records the momentous occasion God sent a fiery chariot to take Elijah to heaven.  Elijah promised Elisha he would receive a double portion of the old prophets spirit if he saw him taken up (2:9-11).  A “double portion” was that amount of inheritance that would be allotted to a firstborn son.  In that sense, it was Elisha’s longing that he would be the inheritor of Elijah’s ministry, and indeed he was!

God promotes the ministry of Elisha as God’s prophet before three kings in 2 Kings 3.  The king of Israel, Judah, and Edom all learned God had a prophet in the land and that prophet was Elisha.

Elisha performed four miracles in 2 Kings 4.  The first, multiplying a widow’s oil to pay her debts and save her sons from becoming bond slaves (4:1-7).  The second miracle, blessing a childless, elderly woman and her husband with a son as a reward for serving as Elisha’s benefactors (4:8-17).  The third miracle was raising that same elderly couples’ son from the dead (4:18-37).  The fourth miracle was turning a poison pottage into one that nourished the “sons of the prophets” (4:38-44).

I close with Elisha directing the healing of a leper named “Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria” (2 Kings 5:1).   The description of Naaman’s character aids us in understanding why his welfare was so important to his king.  We read, he “was a great man [noble; but perhaps great is size as well] with his master, and honourable [exalted; respected]…a mighty [heroic; valiant; champion] man in valour [virtuous; strong], but he was a leper” (5:1).

Every man has his flaws and challenges; however, for Naaman his was an illness…leprosy.  There was no cure for leprosy and a leper would eventually face exclusion from the living as the disease slowly took hold on the face, limbs and extremities of the body.

Providentially for Naaman, a slave girl from Israel waited upon his wife and shared with her there was a great prophet in Samaria who could heal her husband (5:2-3).  When the king of Syria heard there was hope for Naaman’s healing in Israel, he sent a letter with Naaman and gifts requesting his captain would be healed of leprosy (5:4-6).  Knowing the request was impossible for him to fulfill, the king of Israel “rent his clothes” fearing the king of Syria was provoking a conflict with Israel (5:7).  At his request, the king sent Naaman to Elisha (5:8).

Naaman, feeling slighted by Elisha’s refusal to greet him and perhaps expecting some great, ceremonial act of healing, was instead directed by Elisha’s servant to wash himself in the Jordan River seven times (5:9-10).  The thought of the great warrior of Syria humbling himself to wash in Israel’s small river infuriated Naaman who at first refused (5:11-12).  Fortunately, his servants prevailed upon him and persuaded him to obey the prophet.  When Naaman came forth from the Jordan “his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (5:13-14).

Following his healing, Naaman offered to reward Elisha for his service; however, the prophet refused his gifts (5:15-16).  Naaman responded to the prophet and his miraculous healing with a moving statement of his faith that his sacrifices would forever be only unto the LORD, Jehovah, the Self-existent, Eternal God of Israel (5:17-18).

Reminding us a spirit of covetous (Exodus 20:17) might take root in the hearts of those who serve the LORD, “Gehazi, the servant of Elisah” set his heart on a portion of the reward Naaman offered to Elisha (5:20-22).

With a greeting of shalom, “Is all well?” (5:21) and Gehazi responding with shalom, “All is well” (5:22), Gehazi lied suggesting Elisha had sent him for a portion of the reward.  When Naaman granted his request, Gehazi hid the gifts (5:23-24) and took his place before Elisha (5:25).

When Elisha asked Gehazi where he had gone, he lied (5:25); whereupon, Elisha cursed his covetous heart and his unfaithful servant was smitten with the leprosy that had plagued Naaman (5:26-27).  Leprosy marked the end of his ministry to Elisha and became Gehazi’s lifelong reminder God hates covetousness and lying lips.

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Lies, Innuendoes, and Questions on One’s Character is God’s Business

walk-in-my-shoesThursday, February 23, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Job 15-16

One of my joys as Hillsdale’s pastor is hearing the voices of children in our building throughout the year.  I try to visit the hallways of our Christian school at least one or two times a day and, reminiscent of classes when I was young, a teacher will sometimes have a classroom door open and I am able to hear the lesson being taught.

Passing a Pre-K class on Tuesday, the 3-year-olds were sitting at the feet of their teacher, captivated by a Bible lesson on poor Job and wondering, “Why God would let Satan be so mean to Job?”  I doubt I am alone when I express the intimidating thought of explaining to 3-year-olds the Sovereignty of God! [P.S. I have asked the teacher for a tape when she explains the Trinity!]

We continue today’s devotional commentary with Job 15-16 as our scripture reading assignment.jobs-friends

Although they purported to come and comfort him, Job’s friends have served as his prosecutors, judges, and jury…condemning the man though he was already stricken by his losses and wretchedness.  One of Job’s three “friends”, Eliphaz the Temanite, takes up his dispute with Job accusing him of pride (Job 15:5-6) and hypocrisy (15:34-35) and warning Job all he had suffered was a consequence of sin (15:17-35).

Job’s response to Eliphaz is recorded in three pleas in chapters 16-17.  The first plea is for mercy, rather than comfort; Job’s friends were unsympathetic to his plight and their words only added to his misery (16:1-14). Reproving them, Job suggested if his friends had suffered the losses he had their words would be softened with understanding and sympathy (16:4-5).walk-in-my-shoes

There is an old adage that states, “Before you criticize a man, you should walk a mile in his shoes.”  The point of the quote is it is easy to be an unsympathetic, heartless critic until you have borne the pain, sorrows and disappointments of another.  For example, how many are experts at parenting and passing judgment on the perceived failures and heartaches of others, until they have children of their own?  How many are harsh critics, until they have suffered the blows of pain and disappointment?  How easy is it to give little thought to our harsh words, until we fall victim of the same?

Superior to the proverb to “walk in another man’s shoes before criticizing him” is the principle taught by Christ in His Sermon on the Mount:  “Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2).judgment

The knowledge we will face the judgment of a just God should incite caution when we judge others.  How much better to heed Paul’s exhortation and, Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16  Be of the same mind one toward another…” (Romans 12:15-16a).

The closing verses of Job 16 are a picture of sorrow and humiliation (16:15-22).  In addition to his plea for mercy, Job pleas for justice and vindication before he dies (16:16-19).

Friend, I have learned to accept that some accusations and personal attacks on my integrity will not be answered until God’s judgment.  Lies, innuendoes, and questions on one’s character is God’s business; indeed, I have known too many professing Christians who are quick judges, unrepentant gossips, and “hit and run” deceivers.

In the words of Job, “my witness [recorded testimony] is in heaven, and my record [Advocate; i.e. Jesus Christ] is on high” (Job 16:19b; 1 John 2:1-2).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Road Rage: Beware the Bear behind the wheel!

Angry bearProverbs 17:12 “Let a bear robbed [bereaved] of her whelps [cubs] meet [come in contact with] a man, rather than a fool [stupid; silly] in [in the midst of] his folly [silliness].”

Anger has been the malady of sinful man since Cain rose up and slew his brother Abel in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 4:5-8).  Anger, however, is a natural emotion that is not always sinful.  For instance, the Bible describes the wrath of God and His fury against sin in over 500 instances [Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary].  Anger can also describe the “righteous indignation” of the saints towards sin.  Paul commands believers in Antioch to, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26).  In other words, righteous anger is slow to wrath and seeks resolution as soon as possible (Proverbs 14:29; James 1:19).  The apostle challenged Angry couplethose same Christians in Ephesus to, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).

Let’s be honest; explosive, self-centered anger has become an emotion that characterizes the fabric of our marriages, homes, churches, communities and nation.  Anger is the sin behind senseless acts of abuse, slander, outbursts of violence, and a newer phenomenon known as “Road Rage”—an outburst of anger and violence against a total stranger who may have inadvertently “cut you off”…but who becomes the victim of your pent-up anger, bitterness and lack of restraint.

In today’s proverb (17:12), Solomon warns it is better to cross paths with an angry she-bear seeking her cubs than be a companion or friend of a fool in the midst of his folly.roadrage  Such is the case when you cross paths with an habitually angry man or woman.  He is a danger to himself, his family, friends and acquaintances.

Beware the fool!

Copyright 2016 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 14:33 – What is in your heart?

heartProverbs 14:33 – “Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.”

Social media has become to this generation a billboard for displaying the nature and wares of the foolish.  The lack of discretion evidenced in things posted and written on Facebook has become for too many an open display of their folly and for some a path of destruction.  Solomon taught his son that wise men exercise discretion, while fools rage.

faceProverbs 14:33 – “Wisdom [spiritual insight, discernment and dependence on God] resteth [gives comfort; remains] in the heart [and mind] of him that hath understanding [godly discernment; prudence]: but that which is in the midst [in the heart of] of fools [hates knowledge; silly or stupid] is made known [perceived; declared].”

Men and women of godly wisdom find solace in the wisdom God has imparted to those who seek and revere Him (Proverbs 1:7).  While the wicked rage, their hearts full of bitterness and driven by jealousies (James 3:14-16), the purveyors of godly wisdom know the rest and peace God alone imparts (James 3:17-18).

It is the nature of fools to lack discretion in their words and ways.  Like the rich fool who boasts he will tear down his barns to amass more wealth and then “eat, drink, and be merry”, fools are often awakened to their folly only when death comes knocking (Luke 12:16-21).   regretLoud, boisterous, abandoning all propriety, fools boast, blind to the reality their lives, indeed, their very heartbeat resides in the hand of their Creator.

My friend, you may find temporal solace in the applause of other like-minded fools, but lasting peace belongs to those who fear the Lord and embrace the wisdom He alone imparts.

James 3:17-18 – But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 13:1-3 – Bite Your Tongue

Power-of-wordsYou will notice that Proverbs 13 continues with Solomon’s familiar form—using the conjunction “but” to draw a contrast between two opposing thoughts. For today, we will focus on the power of the tongue to bless or to destroy.

Solomon exhorts his son to be a “wise son” and heed his father’s instructions, unlike the scorner who scoffs at loving discipline and correction (13:1).   Solomon exhorts his son to consider the influence of a man’s words and conversation.  Words are powerful and the force of them, for good or evil, can shadow a person for a lifetime!   wordsNotice that a man’s words can minister grace and kindness or provoke violence and conflict. Solomon writes:

Proverbs 13:2 – “A man shall eat [consume; devour] good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul [desire] of the transgressors shall eat violence.”

     

The words of a good man are a blessing, like fruit to a hungry soul.  However, the words of the wicked alienate and promote strife.  Many families have suffered alienation of loved ones and wasted precious years because of words spoken in anger and haste.  Comprehending the power of words, Solomon exhorts his son to guard his lips and restrain his mouth for the sake of his testimony and reputation.

Proverbs 13:3 – “He that keepeth [bridles; watches] his mouth keepeth [preserves] his life [Guard your lips]but he that openeth wide his lips [a big mouth; rash with words] shall have destruction [come to ruin].”

A man who opens his mouth without weighing his words sows the seeds that lead to his own destruction (13:3b).

tongueWhat a practical truth for us all.  We would spare our loved ones and ourselves a lot of sorrow if we would learn to bridle our lips!  Too many families have suffered irreparable harm because of ill-advised words and proud, unrepentant spirits.

James 1:26 – “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 6:14b, 15 – A lesson concerning the words, ways and woes of the wicked

liarWe noted in an earlier devotion that the words of the wicked are a reflection of the evil that controls their hearts.

Proverbs 6:12, 14a – “A naughty [wicked; evil] person, a wicked man [morally bankrupt] walketh with a froward [going the wrong way; crooked; perverted] mouth…14 Frowardness [perversity] is in his heart…”

Christ taught the same principle when He said, “those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart” (Matthew 15:18).  A “froward” mouth [perverse, crooked, wicked] reflects a “froward” heart.  Listen long enough to what a man says and you will know what is in his heart (Matthew 15:19).

In today’s devotion we find that a wicked heart is laid bare not only by a man’s words, but also by his “body language”.

Proverbs 6:13 – “He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;”

Solomon identifies three physical gestures that mark the manner of the fingerwicked. The first—the wicked “winketh with his eyes” (6:13a).

It is said the eye is the window to the soul and I have found the wicked often communicate mischief by winking consciously or blinking excessively subconsciously.  Because the wicked “winketh with his eye”, it behooves us to note a man’s eyes.  Is he able and willing to look you in the eye?  Does he look away to avoid eye contact?  Are his eyes half-shut indicating emotional detachment?  Are his eyes warm and inviting or cold and heartless?  The wicked “winketh with his eyes” (6:13a).

The wicked also “speaketh with his feet” (6:13b).  This may indicate a nervous, rapid tapping of the foot or an inability to sit still.  Some might describe this gesture as indicative of nervous energy or an agitated state.

The third gesture of the wicked is “he teacheth with his fingers” (6:13c).  This is not a reference to modern sign language, but a use of the finger or fist in a threatening manner.  The wicked not only has a wagging tongue, he has a wagging finger!  Our 21st century equivalent might be making the gesture of a gun with the hand while pointing the index finger at another.

We have noted the words of the wicked and the ways of the wicked.  In closing I invite you to notice the woe of the wicked—his tragic end.

tragedyProverbs 6:15 – “Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.”

The wicked are by nature brazen, threatening and vindictive; however, they will inevitably face God’s justice—either on this earth or in eternity.  The wicked often come to a sudden and calamitous end.  Physical disease or accidents often cut short the life of the wicked.  Because his words and ways drive away those who love him, the wicked are often haunted by depression, loneliness and abandonment.  Desperation often seizes upon his soul and tragedy often marks his demise [“suddenly…broken without remedy” – 6:15].

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 30:33 – Harboring an angry spirit will provoke strife

fightThe subject of Proverbs 30:33 is the inevitability of strife and contention when a sinner gives rein to anger.  Two common illustrations serve as physical models to express the truth.

Proverbs 30:33 – “Surely the churning [pressure; forcing; wringing] of milk bringeth forth [proceed; bring out; i.e. produces] butter, and the wringing [pressure; forcing; wringing] of the nose [nostril; i.e. anger, wrath] bringeth forth [proceed; bring out; i.e. produces] blood [of which the shedding of blood causes death]: so the forcing [pressure; wringing] of wrath [same as “nose” indicating anger; quick-tempererd] bringeth forth [proceed; bring out; i.e. produces] strife [contention; controversy; adversary; dispute].”

churning milkThe ancient work of churning fresh milk to make butter is an unfamiliar activity in our day of big-box grocery stores with refrigerator shelves lined with a variety of commercially produced butters and margarines.  I cherish a faint memory of my fraternal grandmother churning butter in her kitchen, sitting on a slat kitchen chair and aggressively working a wood paddle up and down in a clay fired jar. Her churning slowly brought forth butter.

The second picture is the physical reality that excessive blowing of the nose or a blow to the nose in a fistfight will produce the inevitable–a stream of blood and a bloody nose.

Understanding attitudes and actions have consequences (churning fresh milk produces butter and a blow to the nose brings forth blood), a third inevitability is stated:  A sinner harboring an angry, bitter spirit will provoke strife and fighting.

Anger and bitterness are emotions that rage in the bosom of foolish sinners, too proud to see their pride and self-centeredness is at the root of a majority of the conflicts in their lives. bloody nose Unresolved disagreements and a vengeful, self-centered spirit will destroy friendships, marriages, and families.  Threats, fighting and lawsuits are symptomatic of a people who churn within and are unwilling to take responsibility for their sinful attitudes and actions.

We would all do well to heed Paul’s exhortations to the church in Ephesus:

Ephesians 4:26-27, 31-32 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27  Neither give place to the devil….31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith