Do You Talk Too Much?

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(Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. – James 1:19)

We all talk too much! What heartaches are caused, homes broken up, friends estranged, wars incited by some hasty, angry word! Much of the conflict in the world is caused by a combination of narrow mind and a wide mouth. You will seldom get in trouble by listening, and most of us can learn more from what others say than what we have to say.

Now, of course we should talk about our Savior and tell others about His love. But we must stop the idle chatter and hasty words that so often wound those around us. Someone has remarked, “If you talk when you’re angry, you’ll make the best speech you’ll always regret.”

I have a confession to make. Many of the troubles I’ve encountered in the past I brought on myself because I opened my mouth at the wrong time. Think back in your own life and consider how much heartache was caused because you were not “swift to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). Nothing is opened by mistake more often than the mouth.

Jesus said, “For every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). Before you speak to others, ask the Lord to teach you when to speak and when to be silent. You will save yourself a lot of heartache. – Martin R. De Haan

There are some silent people

Whose praises should be sung;

They preach a mighty sermon

By guarding well their tongue. – Posegate

If you don’t hold your tongue, you may have to eat your words.

  • April 6, Vol. , Our Daily Bread

“They Wouldn’t Let Me!” (Matthew 11:28)

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A woman was trapped on the top floor of a burning building. Flames and smoke blocked every way of escape. When firefighters arrived, one the men scrambled up a ladder to the window where the woman was screaming for help, and with outstretched arms he offered to save her. But when she looked down and saw the great distance to the ground below, she panicked and drew back into the room.

The man attempting the rescue begged her to trust him for her safety, but his pleas were not heeded. In senseless fear she retreated beyond the fireman’s reach. Finally, being forced to return to the ground, he said with tears in his eyes, “I did everything I could to save her, but she wouldn’t let me!

Those words made me think of the spiritual peril facing so many people. Jesus longs to forgive their sins, but they stubbornly resist His offer of salvation. By refusing to trust Him, they are like the woman who perished in the flames even though she could have escaped.

Dear friend, right now believe on the Lord Jesus! He invites you to come to Him (Matthew 11:28). Don’t be among those of whom the Lord must say, “I did everything I could to save them, but they wouldn’t let Me!” – Richard W. De Haan

Why do you wait, dear brother?

The harvest is passing away;

Your Savior is longing to bless you,

There’s danger and death in delay. – Root

Faith is the hand that receives God’s gift.

  • April 7, Vol. 13, Our Daily Bread

The Glorious Sunset (Zechariah 14:7)

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It is wonderful to be young, with clear sight, acute hearing, elastic step, pulses drumming to the march of exhilarating health. But old age, has glories that youth cannot know. It is a blessed old age indeed if it ends brightly at evening time.

Old age celebrates the harvest – youth the sowing. Like fruit in the fall, the harvest of old age will either dry up and wither, or grow mellow and sweeter as it ripens.

You cannot escape the advancing years. Youth stays as long enough only to strengthen our shoulders for the burdens ahead. Life leads inevitably to the evening time. But the best things are the oldest things – things that have endured and stood the test of time. God Himself – though not bounded by time – is called the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9).

So don’t be ashamed to own your age. Everything that abides must become old: mountains, rivers, oceans, stars.

But the evening time of life can be bright only if we have the One who is the Light as our evening Sun. Nothing is sadder than an aging person facing eternity without Jesus. And nothing is sweeter than a gently mellowing Christian, still growing and resting in Christ as he faces God’s tomorrow with confidence. – Martin R. De Haan, M.D.

So I journey with rejoicing

Toward the city of God’s light,

While each day my joy is deeper,

And the pathway grows more bright. – Hoffman

It is a strange thing that, while all would live long, none would be old.Benjamin Franklin

  • April 11, Vol. 13, Our Daily Bread

Our Best Friend (John 1:12)

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When I was twelve years old our family moved to a town in the desert. After gym classes in the hot air at my new school, we rushed for the drinking fountain. Being skinny and young for my grade, I sometimes got pushed out of the way while waiting in line. One day my friend Jose, who was big and strong for his age, saw this happening. He stepped in and stuck out a strong arm to clear my way. “Hey!” he exclaimed, “You let Banks get a drink first!” I never had trouble at the drinking fountain again.

Jesus understood what it was like to face the ultimate unkindness of others. The Bible tells us, “He was despised and rejected by mankind” (Isaiah 53:3). But Jesus was not just a victim of suffering, He also became our advocate. By giving His life, Jesus opened a “new and living way” for us to enter into a relationship with God (Hebrews 10:20). He did for us what we could never do for ourselves, offering us the free gift of salvation when we repent of our sins and trust in Him.

Jesus is the best friend we could ever have. He said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37). Others may hold us at arm’s length or even push us away, but God has opened His arms to us through the cross. How strong is our Savior! – James Banks

Love’s redeeming work is done, fought the fight, the battle won. Death in vain forbids him rise; Christ has opened paradise.

God’s free gift to us cost Him dearly.

  • April 10, Vol. 25, Our Daily Bread

Count on It! (Galatians 6:7)

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A children’s book titled The Chance World describes an imaginary planet where everything happens unpredictably. For example, the sun might rise one day or it might not, and it might appear at any hour. Some days the moon might come up in its place. One day you might jump up and not come down, and the next day find gravity so strong you can’t even lift your feet.

Henry Drummond, the Scottish biologist, writer, and lecturer, read The Chance World. He commented that in such a place where natural law was annihilated, “reason would be impossible. It would become a lunatic world with a population of lunatics.”

We should be thankful for the dependability of the natural laws the Creator has set in motion. They can be a great benefit to us if we recognize and respect them. If we violate those laws, however, we will suffer the consequences.

That is also true of God’s spiritual laws, such as the one in today’s text. The person who ignores God’s standards and caters to sinful appetites can expect destruction. But the person who follows the leading of the Spirit will experience the blessings of everlasting life.

God’s laws never fail. You will reap what you sow. Count on it! – Richard W. De Haan

Surer than autumn’s harvests

Are harvests of thought and deed;

Like those that our hands have planted,

The yield will be like the seed. – Harris

If we sow nothing but sin, we can count on a harvest of judgment.

  • April 7, 1992, Our Daily Bread

“One Big Selfish Mess” (James 4:1)

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The world is in turmoil. Terrorists hijack airplanes. Gunmen take hostages. Internal strife plagues nations. Government officials are being criticized. What is the underlying cause of all its unrest?

A student in Wales offers an answer to this question. In replying to a statement that the laboring man was responsible for the economic crisis in Great Britain, she said, “No, it’s not just the workers. They get the blame day after day, but others are at fault as well. Everyone is out for himself – the employee, the manager, the politician. The whole world is one big selfish mess!

Isn’t this exactly what the Bible teaches? The reason for family quarrels, neighborhood feuds, strife between labor and management, and war among nations is the inherent greediness of human beings. Since everybody is seeking his own interests, sooner or later he comes into conflict with the selfish desires of others. Society will show little improvement until individuals experience a change of heart.

Friend, if you are not a Christian, you are a sinner looking out for number one. Acknowledge your selfishness, believe that Christ died for your sins, and accept Him as your personal Savior, He will not only forgive you, but He will also give you His Spirit, who will enable you to love God and your neighbor as yourself. Be part of the cure for this world’s sad condition instead of a contributing cause to “one big selfish mess.” – Herbert Vander Lugt

Instead of greed for worldly gain

And love that selfish would remain,

Christ’s grace to you can now impart

An open hand, a giving heart! – H. G. Bosch

There are only two kinds of people: those who are part of the problem, and those who are part of the solution.

  • April 2, 1987, Our Daily Bread

Leftovers for the Lord? (2 Samuel 24:24)

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Our love for Christ will make an impact on how we serve Him. If our fellowship with Him is right, we will set aside our prime time to commune with Him, and we’ll give Him the first fruits of our labors. Jesus will come first.

Yet how like us to give Him what’s left over of the gifts He has given us to enjoy. We’re like the little boy who came running to his father one day to show him a fistful of birthday money he had received. “Look what I’ve got, Daddy!” he exclaimed excitedly. “And you know what I’m going to do with it? I’m going to go buy one of those big toy trucks, and then give the change to God.

Jesus took note of the sacrifice of the poor widow’s gift. She, out of poverty, gave her whole livelihood. Her small gift was greater than the large sums of others given out of their abundance. The principle Jesus underscored is this: Love is lavish. It thinks not, how much can I withhold, but how much I can give. Love’s devotion willingly pays a price. In David’s words, it says, “… nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24).

What could you give to the Lord that would cost you something? A word of cheer in the depressing environment of an invalid’s room? A gift for missions that denies you some luxury? Our sacrifice pleases Him who sacrificed His all for us. He deserves more than affordable leftovers. – Dennis J. De Haan

You have bought us, and no longer
Can we claim to be our own;
Giving freely, naught withholding,
We shall serve You, Lord, alone. – Murray

The measure of our love is the measure of our sacrifice.
– April 2, 1988, Our Daily Bread