November 5

Psalms 141:3-5 (NIV) 3Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. 4Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. 5Let a righteous man strike me–it is a kindness; let him rebuke me–it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. Yet my prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers,

This could be our daily prayer. Our mouth seems to be the most likely member to join in with the sin of others. It is most likely to express any evil in our own heart. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. When we hear someone slandering a person who has caused us harm, or whose ideas and goals are different from ours, we have a tendency to jump right in and join in the slander. James teaches that if we can control our tongue, we can control our whole body. We need the Holy Spirit to be the guard over our mouths, to keep the door of our lips sealed, unless we can speak words that build up and encourage. (Ephesians 4:29) Our world is full of slander and complaints. Let us be a voice of encouragement and praise.

David prayed his heart would not be drawn toward evil. After his fall with Bathsheba, he no longer trusted his own heart. Do you realize how easily your heart can be drawn after evil? It is always there to entice us with a lie. It offers us a delicacy, but that delicacy will take us further than we wanted to go and cost us more than we wanted to pay. This is similar to the LORD's prayer when He prayed, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One."

We need the blows of a friend to wake us up when our mouth or desires are out of control. True friends love you enough to warn and correct you. Fair weather friends will never confront you. A true friend will risk the friendship to tell you the truth. Receive it like anointing oil. Don't be offended! In the last line David does not pray against the people, but against their evil deeds. Those deeds cause pain and suffering in other's lives. Our battle is not against people who have fallen for the delicacies offered by Satan, or we may find ourselves praying against ourselves. It is against the actions that lead to destruction.

Prayer: Lord, guard our mouths; keep our hearts from evil, and help us to accept a righteous rebuke.

November 5

2 Timothy 4:1-3 (NIV) 1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Paul knew the anointing and calling upon Timothy's life. He also knew Timothy could be timid and hesitant to share. That may be why he gave him this charge while declaring that it was before God the Judge and the soon to appear Christ and His kingdom.

He entrusted Timothy with the duty of preaching the Word of God, not only when it was in his schedule, but whenever there was opportunity. He said it was his responsibility to use the Word in all the ways it was meant to be used, for correcting, rebuking, and encouraging. As a timid person, Timothy would probably enjoy encouraging others, so Paul put correcting and rebuking before encouragement in his list. When we know there is a weakness or something we avoid because of our personality, we need to make the effort to put it first.

He also told him to use the gift of preaching with great patience and careful instruction. Preachers can become very impatient while watching their flock's slow progress. Careful instruction will help them progress more rapidly, but it is still a job in which patience must be exercised.

He warned that a time was coming when people would pick and choose those they listened to by the criteria of whether or not the preaching was what they desire to hear. We are in that day. Sheep will run from the shepherd that corrects and rebukes to find those that won't challenge them to forsake their sin. They have pet doctrines that they emphasize above the command of Jesus to love one another. They can find them on the radio, TV, and in the pulpit. Notice it says "a great number".

Prayer: Lord help us desire the truth of the Word, especially when it convicts us.