Some Favorite Quotes

Some Favorite Quotes

compiled by Pastor Barry Black

(We do not necessarily completely agree with, nor endorse all the doctrinal views of the authors):

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” Hebrews 6.19

Abortion:
“These children, over tenfold the number of Americans lost in our nation’s wars, will never laugh, never sing, never experience the joy of human love; nor will they strive to heal the sick, or feed the poor, or make peace among the nations. Abortion has denied them the first and most basic of human rights, and we are infinitely poorer for their loss.” – President Ronald Reagan

The Bible:
“The vigor of your spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the word in our life and thoughts.” – George Mueller

Christian Growth:
“Beware of harking back to what you were once when God wants you to be something you have never been.” – Oswald Chambers
“Maturity involves two elements: 1) immediate obedience in specific situations and 2) long-range character growth.” – Larry Crabb
“The Christian life is never static. One must either grow in grace, or there will be backsliding and deterioration.” – Henry A. Ironside

The Church:
“Anyone can love the ideal church. The challenge is to love the real church.” – Joseph McKinney
“The church is the only cooperative society in the world that exists for the benefit of its non-members.” – William Temple

Conscience:
“Conscience is God’s built in warning system – be very happy when it hurts you, be very worried when it doesn’t.” – Unknown Author
“There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience” – French Proverb

Convictions:
“Borrowed beliefs have no power.” – James Black
“Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong even if everyone is for it.” – William Penn
“Convictions are a matter of choice, not force.” – Charles R. Swindoll

Decisions:
“We make our decisions, and then our decisions turn around and make us.” – Frank Boreham

Discipleship:
“Our Lord never lays down the conditions of discipleship as the conditions of salvation.” – Oswald Chambers
“Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God.” – William Carey
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

Doctrine:
“Saved people need clear bible teaching in order to be saved from falling prey to false teaching.” – Bob Wilkin

Evangelism:
“Every person is a soul whom God created and loves, and for whom Christ died.” – Pastor Barry
Black
“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” – Blaise Pascal, 17th century mathematician and philosopher

Grace:
“I am not what I ought to be; I am not what I wish to be; I am not what I hope to be; but by the grace of God I am what I am.” – John Newton

“If the people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it.” – C. H. Spurgeon

History:
“The only thing that men learn from history is that men never learn from history.” – Author Unknown
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

The Holy Spirit:
“God commands us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and if we aren’t filled, it’s because we’re living beneath our privileges.” – D.L. Moody

Hypocrites:
“Don’t stay away from church because there are too many hypocrites, there is always room for one more.” – Unknown Author

Justification:
“An act of God whereby he declares the believing sinner righteous, even while in a sinning state.”

Obedience:
“When we choose deliberately to obey Him, then He will tax the remotest star and the last grain of sand to assist us with His Almighty power.” – Oswald Chambers
“If a man will go as far as he can see, he will be able to see further when he gets there.” – Author Unknown
“The secret of true obedience is a close and unmistakable relationship with God.” – Andrew Murray

Opinions:
“Anyone who loves his opinions more than he does his brethren will defend his opinions and destroy his brethren.” – Unknown Author
“The cross stands high above the opinions of men and to that cross all opinions must come at last for judgments.” – A.W. Tozer

Patience:
“God will not delay one moment longer than is absolutely necessary, learn to give God time.” – Andrew Murray

Perspective:
“We judge things by their present appearances, but the Lord sees them in their consequences.” – John Newton

Prayer:
“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” – Samuel Chadwick
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.” – Oswald Chambers
“What a man is, he is on his knees alone before God, nothing more.” – Robert Murray McCheyene
“If we are honest, we must admit that much of our time is spent pretending. But when we turn to God in prayer, we must present our real selves, candidly acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses and our total dependence upon Him.” – Author Unknown

Reading:
“You are the same person you will be five years from now, except for the people you meet, and the books you read.” – Charles “Tremendous” Jones, Motivational Speaker

Relationships:
“’Tis better to be alone than in bad company.” – President George Washington

Solutions:
“Remember, it is only exposed problems that can be resolved.” – Selwyn Hughes
“A well defined problem is a half- solved problem.” – Elmer Towns

www.anchorbible.org

A Self-Help Book

Smoother Sailing Article – A Self-Help Book

By Pastor Barry Black
“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” Hebrews 6.19

In every bookstore, you find all kinds of “self-help books”. There is practically everything from “learning to set personal goals”, to “how to have better relationships”, to “building a new room”, or “do your own plumbing”. I’ve never written a book, but if I ever write a “self-help book” for Christians, I believe it would definitely include the following:

1. Regularly commit yourself to the clarity of the gospel. Remember, we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The more you remind and commit yourself of that, the better equipped you will be to share the Gospel with those whom you come in contact. It will also help you when you read what others have written or listen to what they say.

2. Maintain a personal relationship and walk with the Lord day by day. If he is your Savior, then hopefully He is your best Friend. Church and private devotional times are not the only places to talk to Him. Time alone while driving or walking can be quality time to talk to Him (Ephesians 5.16; 6.18; 1 Thessalonians 5.17). Prayer does not have to be verbal; it can be silent – in the privacy of your own mind and heart. You can never pray too much or too often! Time spent in God’s word every day is time well spent. There are a number of ways to spend time in God’s word: listening to scripture on audio while driving, walking, during breaks. Use a daily reading chart – one which will help you to read or listen all the way through the Bible in a year (or less).

3. Constantly maintain your relationship with your family. Family is your greatest “natural resource”, and should be second only to your personal relationship with God but above your local church. However, your family priorities should help you to place the right priority on your local church – not hinder it, and your local church should encourage you to spend time with your family. A family should enjoy quality worship – at home AND in church.

4. Support your church with your attendance and giving. Give your time, your efforts, and give financially. It is good and fine to support other Christian ministries, if they are Biblical and are presenting the gospel clearly. However, your local church must be your first priority. There are some who have very good reasons as to why they cannot be in church. Some Christians are unable to attend worship with their fellow church members at each service due to personal illness or job responsibilities. God knows why we can’t be at church. However, as long as we have strength to breathe we should have a personal walk with the Lord. There are some who constantly come up with excuses as to why they are not in church. Remember, God knows the difference between a reason and an excuse. Even though there may be circumstances that keep you from church, you should still support your church with your prayers and giving. Your local church is your extended Christian family. Wise is the Christian who realizes that church is more about what we put into it than what we get out of it!

5. Pray for, and encourage your Pastor, your Sunday School teacher and other church leaders – they need your prayers. Although preaching, teaching, and ministering are priority, your Pastor has a life to live as well. Your Sunday school teacher and other leaders likely have many obligations. Pray for them as they carry on their family and work responsibilities. Pray for them as they study and teach and that the Lord will give them wisdom to lead and minister to you and those in your church – some church members can be quite difficult to minister to!

6. Find someone to whom you can minister every day! There are always others that need your help in some way. It may involve giving tangibly of time or work or money. It may be simply to pray for them, or pray with them about some burden in their life.

7. Thoroughly check out those whose books you read or whose ministries you listen to or watch on television. If they do not encourage the same things you read in this article, you will want to be very careful. Remember, any parachurch ministry that does not encourage you to support your local church first (in your prayers, attendance, and finances) before you support their ministry is not a biblical ministry.

Barry D. Black is Pastor of Anchor Bible Church
Their website is: www.anchorbible.org
Barry’s e-mail address is: barry@anchorbible.org

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Living A Generous Life

Open Hands – Living A Generous Life

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” Hebrews 6.19
Matthew 22:37-40

The only way we can ever really serve God is to love and serve others. We are to demonstrate a spirit of generosity and always be ready with an open hand.

The principle of the open hand:
When my hand is closed and I don’t give to others, God can’t give to me either.
When my hand is open and I give to others, it is open for God to give back to me.

It’s a no-brainer!! Take a look at your hand. Let each of your five fingers represent these attributes:

1.Generosity – Romans 12: 8 says “…contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously.” Generosity is the ability to give your material goods and financial gifts with joy and eagerness…openhanded and openhearted giving with singleness of purpose. Barnabas was such a man. He sold a piece of property and brought the proceeds and laid it at the feet of the apostles for it to be used as needed. The people of God ought to be the most generous people on the face of the earth! The generous person says “God, this is what you’ve given me and I know I can use it anyway I want, but I don’t want to hold it for selfish purposes…it’s really Yours.”

2.Sincerity – I Peter 1:22 tells us to “love one another deeply, from the heart.” Don’t be generous because you want people to think well of you…be generous because, deep down, that’s who you are.

3.Humility – Romans 12:10 says, in part, “Honor one another above yourselves.” Ouch!! We are instructed to give preference to others! Put others in the place of honor. It takes humility to do this. We can’t really be a Christ-like person if we have pride. If we have a servant’s spirit, there is really nothing that is beneath our dignity. Would we wash Jesus’ feet if he were to miraculously appear in front of us? Of course we would…no doubt! However, would we wash our neighbor’s feet after they’ve come in from a hard day’s work?

4.Sympathy – Romans 12:13 tells us to “share with God’s people who are in need.” Giving is often motivated out of the needs others have. Deuteronomy 15:7-8 says “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather, be openhanded….”There’s that “open-hand” concept! He wants us to show compassion to the needs around us. How do we treat those we come into contact with who have real needs? Do we look the other way or do we help?

5.Hospitality – Romans 12:13 also says that we should “practice hospitality.” You know what practice is? It’s doing something over and over again. Athletes “practice” their sport so that they will excel. Musicians “practice” their instruments so they will improve. As Christians we should “practice hospitality.” Look for it! Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you…find them! They are all around us. Make a little extra soup and invite someone home with you from church – even a visitor! That’s what Christ would have us do.

Bottom line, we should leave little pieces of ourselves everywhere each day. Give someone a helping hand, a glass of water, help carry groceries, help a single mother with a tank of gas for her car, pay for a needy family’s meal at McDonald’s, carry a meal to a shut-in along with a book of stamps. When we do these things, we open up the opportunity to share the Gospel. The ideas and prospects are endless, and the rewards are eternal.

Forgiveness

Smoother Sailing Article – Forgiveness

By Pastor Barry Black
“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” Hebrews 6.19

All of us have either offended someone or have been offended by someone sometime during our lifetime. It is one thing to be hurt by an unbeliever and never even receive an apology or restitution from them. It is much more difficult to be hurt by a believer. I read or heard years ago that, “you will find the people that hurt you most in your Christian life will be other Christians”. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you have likely experienced hurt from another Christian; and you may have caused hurt to another Christian.

The Bible has much to say about forgiveness. In the New Testament, forgiveness means to graciously pardon. Let’s look at some important, practical truths concerning forgiveness and unforgiveness.

Been there, done that!
It is very possible to forgive a person before they ask you to forgive them.
We are not told to forgive only if or when we are asked to forgive. The commands in Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3 are to forgive. We are told to forgive as we have been forgiven by our Lord (Colossians 3.13); and to forgive because we have been forgiven by our Lord (Ephesians 4.32). I have had times when forgiveness had already occurred before the offender asked my forgiveness, and you probably have done the same. Forgiveness is not based on feelings. If we wait until we feel like forgiving someone, we may never forgive them. Forgiveness must come from our love and obedience for our Lord, and the grace and mercy He gives us to be able to forgive our offender.

“But I said that I was sorry!”
Forgiveness does not mean that consequences are removed or nullified.
King David sinned, and was later confronted by his good friend Nathan (2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12). God forgave David of his sin, yet he suffered consequences (2 Samuel 12.1-23). An interesting side note is that another consequence was that David was unable to ask forgiveness of Uriah. Uriah went to the front of a heated battle in allegiance to David, and died in battle (one of the consequences linked with David’s sin with Bathsheeba).

“But what I did wasn’t near as terrible as…”
Forgiveness will likely make a difference in the life of the one who receives forgiveness.
In Luke 7.36-50, Jesus had been invited to dine at the house of a Pharisee named Simon. During the meal, a sinful woman brought a container of ointment and began to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears and anoint His feet with the ointment. Apparently she was looked down upon by the Pharisees (as were most people of that day!). Jesus knew the thoughts of Simon (7.41-43) and began to tell him a brief account of 2 debtors – both of whom owed money to the same creditor. One owed ten times the amount of the other. Jesus explained to Simon the Pharisee (verse 42) that the creditor forgave both debts, then he asked Simon, “which of them will love him (the creditor) most”? Simon replied correctly, “I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.” There were at least three purposes of this lesson from Jesus. One purpose was to help Simon see that EVERYONE needs God’s forgiveness. Another purpose was to demonstrate the need to forgive others. Thirdly, he wanted Simon to see how the “sinful woman” showed great gratitude for being forgiven of much.

“You are forgiven, but I just can’t trust you anymore.”
Forgiveness may possibly result in a change of relationship.
A misconception concerning forgiveness is often stated, “if you have really forgiven him/or her, then things should be as before” (or something similar). When someone hurts you, even though you forgive them, you are not obligated to trust them. In fact, because we are all sinners, there may be a flaw in their character that you have come to realize is too harmful to your relationship with them. A change in relationship certainly does not mean that you haven’t forgiven your offender. In fact, there may quite well be some cases in which distance is not only good, it is necessary. There may be a time when the trust can be restored. However, more often than not it will probably require time and distance if trust is to be restored at all, or even in the smallest degree.

“I must make this right with everyone that I hurt.”
Forgiveness is only for both/all individuals involved.
It is just as important for the offender to acknowledge wrong doing as it is for the offended party to forgive the wrongdoing. When possible restitution should be made toward those whom we have hurt, however, it may not always be possible, and can even cause more damage.

“So why are you asking me?”
Forgiveness need only be asked of the individual/group that has been offended.
When we disobey God, we should ask His forgiveness. If you have offended an individual, then you should ask forgiveness of that particular person. If you have offended a group of people (a family, a group of co-workers, a church), then confession and request for forgiveness should be extended to the offended group; and even then caution should be used. For example, a “group” confession, though well meaning, can come across as an “emotional appeal”, or may appear to be motivated by pride.

“I don’t get mad, I get even!”
Unforgiveness (i.e. an unwillingness to forgive) results in deeper problems.
In Ephesians 4.31, the Apostle Paul says that we should remove “bitterness, and wrath, anger, clamour…evil speaking…malice”. These are consequences that stem from unforgiveness. Bitterness is a spiritual and emotional infection that poisons our thinking and our spiritual life. Left on its own, bitterness will get worse and worse until it controls us. The Greek word for “malice” is the word “kakia”, meaning, “ill-will, a desire to injure, a wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws”. It is quite apparent that an unwillingness to forgive can result in undesirable fruit (compareGalatians 6.7,8 ).

Jesus gave a parable concerning forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-35. In this parable, he tells of a man who owed a huge debt which he would never have been able to repay. The man was forgiven. The same man was owed a small debt by another person. The person who owed little was unable to pay it back his debt. The man forgiven of a huge debt would not forgive the one who owed a small debt. The man who was forgiven of much was unable to forgive one that owed little. The worst prison in the world is the “prison” of unforgiveness.

With these thoughts in mind, there are some further questions to ask:

Why would wrongdoers avoid an apology to those whom they have offended?
One reason could be fear. Maybe the offender fears that the one who was offended will not forgive them. The right thing to do would be to ask forgiveness of the offended party. Likely the offended party will forgive, if not immediately, at least eventually. But if they do not, you have done your part in asking their forgiveness. The rest will be between them and the Lord. A second reason could be denial. The offender may be living under the assumption that he/she has done nothing wrong, and therefore does not need to apologize. Another reason could be pride. If the wrongdoer offers an apology to the one whom they have offended, it would be a confession that they have indeed done wrong; and

Why would those who have been done wrong, refuse to forgive?
Forgiveness is not an option. As we have seen in the first point, the scripture commands us to forgive those who offend us (Ephesians 4.32, Colossians 3.13). However there could be some reasons (however faulty) as to why the offended party has difficulty forgiving their offender(s).
Maybe the offended party feels like he/she cannot forgive their offender. Our ability to forgive is not based upon our feelings.
Maybe the offended party

So what about revenge?
Is it wrong to seek revenge? If we have forgiven someone, then we will avoid revenge. The scripture is clear concerning revenge:
Romans 12.12,17,18
“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Recompense no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

Paul commands us to bless those who have wronged us. Jesus said this in Matthew 5.44 and Luke 6.27, 28; and Peter mentions the same thing in 1 Peter 3.9. It is impossible to carry out revenge while at the same time obey the command to bless those who have wronged us.
Is it wrong to desire revenge? Desire for revenge is a very human emotion. For one reason, we want retribution because of the pain it has caused us or our family or friends. God brings retribution in His way and in His time. God will chastise the wrongdoer, and most importantly He will right that which is wrong.

So does this mean that the wrongdoer “gets away with it”?
Not at all. Romans 12.19:
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
How foolish to think that because an offender “gets away with it” in this life, that they will “get away with it” forever!
In the poem entitled, Retribution, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said it this way:

Though the mills of God grind slowly,
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting,
With exactness grinds he all.

God keeps perfect records, and He has ways of retribution that are much greater than any we could attempt on our own (hold that thought, more about that in the next paragraph).

“Not in a thousand years!”
It is tempting to want to exact retribution upon those who have hurt us, especially if they have never attempted an apology or restitution. However, we must understand that God will hold wrongdoers accountable. There may be chastisement in this life (Hebrews 12.5-17; Galatians 6.7,8), or there may be loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3.8-15; Romans 14.7-13; 2 Corinthians 5.9-11), or possibly both. The rewards given or lost at the judgment seat of Christ will be with us throughout eternity. Our position (and if I may say) our degree of enjoyment during the Millennial (thousand year) reign of Christ (Revelation 5.10; 20.6), is greatly dependent upon our obedience to our Lord here on earth (Matthew 19.29; 2 Timothy 2.11,12; Romans 8.17). If we really think about that, it will help us to realize the seriousness of disobeying our Lord. Our disobedience could result in chastisement here, and at the judgment Seat of Christ. Also, it helps us to realize that if others hurt us, they will ultimately give an account to God – now, later, or both. We are obligated to forgive when hurt, and to ask forgiveness when we offend others. Beyond that, the Lord will certainly take care of the rest.

Barry D. Black is Pastor of Anchor Bible Church
Their website is: www.anchorbible.org
Barry’s e-mail address is: barry@anchorbible.org

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The Tongue

Smoother Sailing Article – The Tongue

By Pastor Barry Black
“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.” Hebrews 6.19

Have you ever thought something and then said, “Well, I’ve thought it, so I might as well say it”? Well, that might just be something to which we should give a little more thought. Words are quite powerful. The difficulty in managing our tongue is something that we all deal with. We read in James 3.1-12 that the tongue is compared to a horse’s bit, a ship rudder, fire, an untamed animal, deadly poison, and a fountain. In this article, we will see several scripture passages and quotes from others about the tongue. Proverbs has much to say about the subject, and in
Proverbs 18.21 we read: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”

“Absolutely abominable!”

In Proverbs 6.16-19 Solomon tells us seven things that are abominable in the sight of God. Of those seven, look closely at those related to the tongue:
16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Two of these mention the tongue directly (“a lying tongue…a false witness that speaketh lies”), one implies a sin of the tongue (“sowing discord among brethren”). Three of the seven refer to the tongue. Therefore, we can conclude that sins of the tongue are very serious in the eyes of God.

“Liar, liar!”

Let’s look at these. Of the three that refer to the tongue, two of those address the sin of lying. Scripture has much to say concerning lying and deception:
Exodus 20.16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
Exodus 23.1 “thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.”
Proverbs 12.17 “He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.”
Proverbs 14.5 “A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.”
Proverbs 19.5 “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.”
Ephesians 4.25 “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
Colossians 3.9 “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man (i.e. old nature) with his deeds.”

Lies cannot change the truth, no matter who tells the lies or how often those lies are told. Perhaps from a practical viewpoint one of the reasons God hates sins of the tongue is the fact that although they can certainly be forgiven (1 John 1.9); forgiveness likely will not erase the consequences that follow, including the damage that may ensue.

“Are you causing trouble again?”

The last of the seven abominations in Proverbs 6 is, “he that soweth discord among brethren”. How is discord sown? Very simply, discord is sown by the tongue; and usually by lies that are told (sometimes told very subtly).

“Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

God hates discord (Proverbs 6.19). Paul addresses the problem in Galatians 5.19-21. In verse 20, Paul uses at least 4 words to describe those who sow discord (source: blueletterbible.org):
“variance” – contention, strife
“emulations – envious and contentious, rivalry, jealousy
“strife” – electioneering, intriguing for office, a desire to put one’s self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit.
“seditions” – dissension, division

Each of these sins is known as “works of the flesh” (Galatians 5.19). In other words, these are deeds (i.e. sins) of our sin nature. These deeds are “natural” for the unsaved person, and also the result of carnal living (failure to walk in the Spirit) by a Christian.
Solomon says it this way:
“An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is a burning fire. A forward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.” – Proverbs 16.27,28

“Anyone who loves his opinions more than he does his brethren will defend his opinions and destroy his brethren.” – Author unknown.

“Ouch…that hurt!”

You probably remember the old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. That is simply not true. In fact, the writer of Proverbs said it this way:
“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Proverbs 18.8
“In the multitude of words, there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10.19
“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17.28

Or as one sage put it, “As a person grows older and wiser, he talks less and says more.” Or in a more humorous way, but equally true: “Better to remain silent and be thought foolish than to speak and remove all doubt.”
Here is something to think about: whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.

“I heard a rumor”

I once read a quote which has been attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt (source: brainyquote.com). It goes something like:

Great minds discuss ideas
Mediocre minds discuss events
Small minds discuss people

Wow, that certainly rings true; especially when you look at most of what is considered “news” on television, the internet, and newspapers. People so easily become consumed with celebrities and pop “stars” and all the latest “news” which is mostly gossip. The same is often true in the workplace, places of worship, or among friends. Gossip and rumors make for alluring conversation. Some people thrive on it. It is just as much of a temptation as any other sin.

“Bite your tongue!”

A few years ago, I came across an interesting piece that I would like to share with you. If we took this to heart, it would make quite a difference as we learn to watch our tongue:
In 1752, a group of Methodist men, including John Wesley, signed a covenant which every man agreed to hang on his study wall. The six articles of this solemn agreement were as follows:
1.That we will not listen or willingly inquire after ill concerning another.
2.That, if we do hear any ill of each other, we will not be forward (inclined) to believe it.
3.That as soon as possible we will communicate what we hear by speaking or writing to the person concerned.
4.That until we have done this, we will not write or speak a syllable of it to any other person.
5.That neither will we mention it, after we have done this, to any other person.
6.That we will not make any exception to any of these rules unless we think ourselves absolutely obliged in the conference.

What a difference it would make if we lived by this covenant. Imagine all the hurt feelings that would be avoided. Imagine all the relationships that may be salvaged. Imagine the churches that would be stronger and more effective for the cause of Christ.

Barry D. Black is Pastor of Anchor Bible Church
Their website is: www.anchorbible.org
Barry’s e-mail address is: barry@anchorbible.org

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