Walking, Talking and Chewing Gum

Colossians 4:5-6 (Amplified Bible – AMP):

[5] Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity.

[6] Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].

Colossians 4:5-6 (New King James Version – NKJV):

[5] Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.

[6] Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Sitting Around the THANKSGIVING Table with Family and Friends

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After enjoying a scrumptious and thankful meal my daughter had spent the whole day preparing, my wife and I sat around the table, listening to the diverse conversation.  Every topic, from future vacations, work related issues, current events, and what ingredients went into the “bread pudding,” to…“There are ghosts that live in my barn.”

As my wife and I looked at each other, I whispered in her ear,  “Where is JESUS in all this?”

I had asked God’s blessing on our family prior to the Thanksgiving Feast, but where was JESUS at our table? What could I have said that could have been “seasoned with salt,” yet with grace and wisdom at the same time.  It almost seemed like ‘walking, talking and chewing gum, at the same time and not spitting out the gum.  Is that even possible to accomplish?

So what did I do?  I tucked the wad of gum, my unspeakable thoughts, to the back of my cheek…and just listened; not commenting, not wanting my speech to fall on deaf ears.

Was that the correct reaction?

good-at-maths-lets-see-9-638

I NEEDED WISDOM!

Our “CONDUCT” Our “BEHAVIOR”…

Conduct (Behavior), is in the present tense (v 5), meaning a continual action.  Not just for ‘special occasions’, but our behavior is to be continual–calling for believers to continually walk in WISDOM and TRUTH, no matter where they might be in place and time.  And for most of us, that can seem almost impossible as “walking, talking and chewing gum” at the same time.

Paul is not commanding us to do anything that GOD’S POWER has not provided the potential for us to accomplish ahead of time.  The apostle is calling us for a continuous, supernatural walk, which demands continual reliance on a Supernatural Source (The Holy Spirit).

Our responsibility then, is to continually work at our salvation with truth, fear and trembling as God in us, continually gives us the DESIRE AND POWER.

Philippians 2:12:  “work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ)” ~ AMP bible.

So Paul is writing about the PRACTICAL; how we, as disciples of Christ, are to WALK & TALK before the skeptical watching world.  And yes, that does include members of our families and friends who are unbelievers and who need our compassion.

As the old saying is true, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

WALKING THAT “WISE WALK”…TALKING THAT “SALTY” TALK

God calls all of us to LIVE lives of LOVE amongst each other.  To HELP our neighbors…to become a family, a community church of believers, that helps one another.

We must strive to always “be holy for He is holy” and “do all as unto the Lord.”

  • Walk in WISDOM toward them that are without.
  • Speak words of GRACE in LOVE.
  • We are the SALT OF THE EARTH – Without “salt” we will lose our savor (effectiveness), our essence to the unbeliever.

To Speak With Words That Are Full of Grace

The phrase “gracious” means ‘always with grace’ – ‘to be full of grace’ – overflowing with grace!  Grace also means “Favor”.

The word also carries with it the idea of the Lord’s influence upon our hearts…His unmerited favor (GRACE) and its reflection in our own life.

We Also Know the Tongue Has Incredible Power…(the power of life & death) For Good or Evil (Book of James is full of these words about the “tongue”).

A “KIND” Word Can Go A Long Way –

Think of a young boy with his first try at baseball and someone speaks words of encouragement as he steps up to the plate:  “Way to go, slugger!”

Proverbs 10:20-21 (AMP):

[20] The tongues of those who are upright and in right standing with God are a choice silver; the minds of those who are wicked and out of harmony with God are of little value.  [21] The lips of the [uncompromisingly]  righteous feed and guide many, but fools die for want of understanding and heart.

  • Love to give COMPLIMENTS.

ie. – Drive up window at McDonald’s…(mean) or (nice_loving).

A MEAN or HURTFUL WORD CAN BREAK YOUR HEART!

James 3, tells us that a TONGUE used wrongly…

The Message bible (verses 5-6):

“It only takes a spark, remember to set off a forest fire.  A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.  By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.”

That’s pretty powerful!

Speaking With Grace Has A Requirement

To SPEAK with GRACE we will need GRACE in our hearts.

Colossians 3:16 (AMP):

Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.

Why do we need GRACE in our hearts?

Luke 6:45 (AMP):

The upright (honorable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright, and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks.

  • A person who says kind things, has a kind heart.
  • A person who says negative things, has a negative heart.
  • A person who says mean things, has a mean heart.

What’s on the INSIDE, is likely to come out!

Colossians 3:17 tells us what happens when you have GRACE on the INSIDE:

“And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.”

DO ALL IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS!

This means with His Approval!

Do it His way!

Would the Lord approve of your SPEECH around others?

No one who CURSES, SWEARS, LIES, GOSSIPS, RUNS OTHERS DOWN…is letting the Word of Christ dwell in them richly.

** You’ll have a hard time yelling at another driver…in Jesus’ name.

** Saying unkind things to your husband or wife…in Jesus’ name.

** Saying negative things in the positive Name of Jesus.

Proverbs 12:13:  “The wicked is [dangerously] snared by the transgression of his lips, but the [uncompromisingly] righteous shall come out of trouble.”

Proverbs 16:13:  “Right and just lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.”

Proverbs 23:16:  “Yes, my heart will rejoice when your lips speak right things.”

Something is NEEDED first, before we can have GRACE in our Hearts…

STEP 1. True Salvation!  

STEP 2 Complete Submission!  [Oh, how I fall short here]

FOUR TESTS TO TAKE OF “GRACIOUS SPEECH”:

IS IT TRUE???

“…seasoned with SALT…”

Seasoned With SALT
Seasoned With SALT

SALT was used for preserving and purifying.

SEASONED SPEECH is truthful.  Ephesians 4:15…tells us to SPEAK the truth in love.

Before you repeat a statement, make sure it is TRUE!!!!  Someone said, “I believe half of what I see, and nothing of what I hear!”

Just because someone said it doesn’t make it true!

It is easy to jump to a wrong conclusion.  PROVERBS 14:25 says  “A truthful witness saves lives, but a deceitful witness speaks lives [and endangers lives]”  (Amp.)

Before you BELIEVE something…Before you REPEAT something…Make sure it’s true!!!!

IS IT COMPLETE?

It is easy while sitting with family and friends at the dinner table, to get half of the Story.

What is said may be true, but it is not COMPLETE!

Before you swallow your “gum” while listening to the conversation; before you say something, make sure you get ALL the story!

IS IT NECESSARY????

What you say may be TRUE, it may be COMPLETE, but is it NECESSARY???

Ephesians 4:15  “Speaking the truth in Love” !!!!  

(1 Peter 4:8):  “Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].”

Some of the most hurtful words I’ve heard over time have been preceded by the words, “it’s the truth” or, “it’s real!”

Just because it is the TRUTH, doesn’t make it necessary!  There are times when silence is golden!

IS IT KIND???

(Rom. 12:10) –  “Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.”

(Eph. 4:31-32) –  “Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment and quarreling and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).    And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.”

I hope this blog-POST has been an encouragement to you as it certainly has been for me in study.  I needed WISDOM on my ‘gum chewing’ thoughts.

My Pledge, and I Hope Yours in the Upcoming Day…

  1. Determined to control my tongue!
  2. Say only good things about others!
  3. Remember my accountability! (Matthew 12:36)
  4. Ask the Lord to Help me!

(Psalm 141:3)  “Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.”

REMEMBERING THE POINTS OF INSTRUCTION FROM COLOSSIANS 4:5-6:

BE WISE  (Prov. 4:5, 7; 9:10; 11:30; 14:27) –

  • The principal thing is to GET WISDOM.
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of WISDOM.
  • Seeing souls saved around you is a result of and our evidence of WISDOM.

BE READY  (1 Peter 3:15-16) –

  • A good heart.
  • A good conscience.
  • Good CONDUCT.

BE KIND  (2 Timothy 2:24-26) –

  • Be gentle.
  • Be patient.
  • Be humble.

BE RESPONSIBLE  (2 Tim. 4:1-5; James 2:14-17, 5:13-16, 16-20; Mark 12:28-37; Galatians 6:10) –

  • Preach the Word.
  • Fulfill your ministry, whatever that may be.
  • Respond to others needs.

Oh, make me Lord, so much like Thee,

My life controlled by power diving,

That I, a shining light may be,

From which Thy grace may ever shine. ~ Robertson

 


 

Credits for this BLOG:

Colossians 4:5-6 Commentary by Preceptaustin.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP) except where noted in the Text.

Photo Credit:  Google Images

 

 

 

 

 

“Keepers of the Aquarium”

Keepers of the Aquarium
Keepers of the Aquarium

A “FISHING” STORY:

Fishing season for the lakes open up every April  near my home in Washington State.  This year, I purchased a fishing license and headed towards a well-stocked lake nearby.  Since this was my first experience in lake fishing after 71 years, I decided to invite a neighbor who had some expertise in catching FISH.  I definitely needed some instructions from someone who was patient enough to teach me to bait my hook and cast the line out into the water. After a few miss-casts into the tree branches, I finally managed to get the rigging where Henry (my good neighbor) thought the fish might be.  I then was told to lay the fishing pole in a homemade fork looking device that Henry had brought along and then… wait.  I waited…and I waited…watching for the tip of the pole to begin twitching.  And then, it happened!  Henry yelled out, you got a fish on your line Mel.  Reel it in!  My eyes must have been as big as saucers and with a wide grin on my face I reeled in my FIRST FISH…ever.  Actually, when we decided it was time to leave our guarded fishing hole, while reeling in my fishing line…I caught another trout.  I yelled out in glee, somewhat surprising Henry I think, “Thank You Jesus”!  This does prove a point:  You can ‘teach old dogs new things.’

ANOTHER “FISHING” STORY TO TELL IN A MUCH LARGER LAKE:

Bigger Fish, bigger lake
Bigger Fish, bigger lake

There were men pulling in their fishing nets one morning.  The water from the wet nets broke the silence as two of the men stood up to stretch in their 20 Foot wooden boat.  They were eagerly searching for results from their labors of fishing all night long.  Although my experience was but a few hours on a small lake, I too eagerly waited for positive results.

But as the last of the empty nets pile into the boat bottom, they discouragingly reach for the boat’s oars as another wasted night is realized.

“How’s the fishing?” — a mans calls out from the shoreline.

“Nothing.  Absolutely NOTHING!” —they answered back.

“Throw your nets on the other side of the boat”,  orders the man from the nearby water’s edge.

“But we fished all night.”  

Frustration must have been heard in their voices.  I know my impatience would have certainly been with the fishermen’s; if I had been at Lake Padden and the results were…ZERO FISH!  But fishing in a much larger lake, the the Sea of Galilee…all night…fighting the surrounding elements…and coming home with NO RESULTS?

BUT, In Obedience–

After a long pause and the shaking of heads, a sense of authority in the voice coming from the beach is felt and the fisherman responds,  “All right, but only once more…”

456991202_47102379fbAfter a short time, letting out their nets in the same water, shouts of excitement ring out…calls for help sound from the boat.  The nets were so full, they were beginning to break!

You know this story from the conversations given in John 21:1-12.  What a moment that must have been!

The Nets Are FULL of FISH…now what?

Peter and his brother Andrew desperately brought in the catch with the nets breaking.  They must have thought silently to themselves, how did the stranger know where the fish were?  Was it a miracle?

Suddenly Peter remembered the words of Jesus,  “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

On that Post Easter Morning…

On the shore of the Sea of Galilee, as Jesus and the disciples shared together the “fish fry”, a new wind began to blow.  As the Father had sent Jesus into the world…now Jesus was sending them into the world:

“Go then and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”  (Matthew 28:19).

THE TEST:  The Acts of the Apostles 8:1, 4-5.

[1] “…On that day a great and severe persecution broke out against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

[4]  “Now those who were scattered abroad went about [through the land from place to place] preaching the glad tidings, the Word [the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God].”

[5]  “Philip [the deacon, not the apostle] went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ (the Messiah) to them [the people].”

PAUL HARVEY once said,  “Too many Christians no longer are fishermen but keepers of the aquarium.”   

Had the church in Jerusalem become a “fish aquarium”?  Have we in the church– in our communities, become a “fish aquarium too?

I don’t know.  But what I do know is…it wasn’t God’s plan.  Jesus had been very specific when He said,  “And you shall be My witnesses in JERUSALEM and all JUDEA and SAMARIA and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth”  (Acts 1:8 AMP).

But what about Judea and Samaria?

The Martyrdom of Stephen:

Stephen’s death was an important factor in the life of the Christian community in Jerusalem.  It ignited “a great persecution” which instead of destroying the church movement, it spread the gospel beyond the walls of Jerusalem (Acts 8:1).

In my study and investigation of the evidence given in Acts 8,   I noticed the 12 Apostles remained in Jerusalem.  “Why were they not scattered like everyone else?”  

The church leaders had been granted religious protection by Gamaliel:

[34] But a certain Pharisee in the council  (Sanhedrin)  named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, highly esteemed  by all the people, standing up, ordered that the apostles be taken outside for a little while.  [35] Then he addressed them [the council, saying]:  Men of Israel, take care in regard to what you propose to do concerning these men.  (Acts 5:34-35).

After having them flogged and telling them not to speak in or about the name of Jesus…allowed them to go (verse 40).

Now personally, if that had happened to me, beaten with a whip and told you better not or else…I would have probably thought seriously, “Do I really want to be place in this same dilemma again?”  Maybe it would have been ‘safer’ if I would just mind my own business.  You know, go to church every week; help serve when I can; pray for the lost, the unsaved in the world; just be “low-key” in the larger scheme of things and keep on maintaining in the back row of the church I attend.

But reading further, we see how the 12 apostles reacted to the dilemma:

“Yet [in spite of the threats] they never ceased for a single day, both in the temple area and at home, to teach and to proclaim the GOOD NEWS (Gospel) of Jesus [as] the Christ (the Messiah)”  (Acts 5:42 AMP).

“Pastor, that is easy for you to do and say but…”

The religious leaders had agreed but…ordinary believers; the everyday working man; the stay-at-home housewife and mother had no protection.

No Programs or Written Materials to Hand Out–

I also noticed the message was a simple one:  Jesus’ death and resurrection was carried on the lips of ordinary people.

The gospel message has not changed, nor has God’s plan for personal delivery.  We must depend on the Holy Spirit’s POWER–

It Takes Time to Make Disciples:

Time of paying personal attention to people’s needs around us and hours of prayer are part of what it takes.  There isn’t a Christian assembly line knocking out believers like new cars in 30 or 45 days.  No automatic robots welding spirits and souls together to be “functional participants” in the local church.  It takes patience to teach people How to Fish: How to read the Word of God; How to feed and nourish their souls and their applications to the teaching of Jesus in their behavior.

It is ALL of that and more!

I had many questions for my neighbor Henry the first time I went fishing.  After putting the bait on the fishing hook, I asked Henry, “What do I do next?”  And his short answer to the question…“Get the fishing line in the water.  You’re not going to get any fish just thinking about what might be.” 

“Becoming a Contagious Christian” and not just “Keepers of the Aquarium”:

Bill Hybels developed a mathematical formula for reaching those who are spiritually lost from Jesus:

MR + CP + CG = ND

— Meaningful relationships + Caring for people + Communicating the Gospel = New Disciples –

This is the same pattern that the Holy Spirit used with the believers who fled Jerusalem and it is still an effective plan today.

“Salt Without Savor”–

In Matthew 5:13  JESUS SAID:  “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?  It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.”

SALT WITHOUT SAVOR IS:

— Ineffective…

— Worthless…

— Lost its POWER…

— Won’t create thirst…

— Won’t add much spice…

— Won’t prevent decay.

Becky Pippert wrote:  “Unless salt gets poured out of the shaker, it remains a mere table ornament.”

Knowing What To Say When Opportunities Present Themselves; or how to have “savor” in the Church!

Don’t let the idea of being “salty with savor” overwhelm you.  When opportunities present themselves, just tell your story.  It really IS that simple!

Why do you believe in JESUS?

How did you come to know God’s love in your life?

How has JESUS made a difference in your life? 

JESUS TOLD HIS DISCIPLES  “You will be My witnesses”–

In a courtroom, a witness is not expected to argue the case, prove the truth or press for a verdict.  That is the job of the attorney.  A witness just reports what happened.

The Holy Spirit is our attorney…just telling your story in sharing your testimony; it builds a relational bridge between your heart and the people you are sharing with and it lets JESUS cross over the bridge from your heart to theirs.

Here’s An Old, Old Story in Sharing Your Testimony:

I love old hymns and there is one in particular that came to my mind when telling your story or how you came to be who you are as a Christian and how they too can have the same story in their life:

Verse:  

I heard an old, old story,  how a Savior came from glory

How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me.

I heard about His groaning,  of His precious blood’s atoning,

Then I repented of my sins and won the victory.

Chorus: 

O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever!

He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood.

He loved me ere, I knew Him, and all my love is due Him–

He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

Being a witness for Christ is that simple.  Just sharing an old, old story about your Victory in Jesus, a hymn written by Eugene M. Bartlett years ago.

“But how do I begin the conversation?”

I’ve learned over the years, asking questions in personal conversations… is a good place to begin.

One example might be, when someone asks you this often asked question “How’s it going?”  

Rather than giving the usual pat answer…“fine”, try this:

“Well, financially, okay; family wise, pretty well; and spiritually really great.  Which one do you want to talk about?”

What’s the Point?

GOD is already at work in people’s hearts…we learn to ask questions to see the Word seeds of the gospel.  The SEED needs to be planted, watered or harvested.

So do we really want to be Fishers of Men, as Jesus instructed us…or, are we just satisfied in being dedicated “Keepers of the Aquarium”?