avoid the lips that flatter

“Another sin of the tongue, is flattery,
or the giving of undue and undeserved praise.

The desire to say something which will
please the person we are speaking to,
or which will secure his favor,
or elevate us in his regard;
or the desire, perhaps,
to have him reciprocate the compliment, and
flatter us —
are the usual motives
for this sin of the tongue.

Yet flattery is a species of untruth;
for it magnifies real merit beyond just grounds —
or feigns a merit where none exists.

Flattery is used in all ranks and classes.
In the family, in society, in business,
in professional life,
in politics, in the church.”

-William Bacon Stevens

(An excerpt of this article, reformatted.)

Flattery is really common nowadays,
and we would acknowledge if we are honest
about it.

It is so widespread
to the point that if one doesn’t flatter,
he or she may be criticized to be
unloving, cold, stingy and
withholding praise.

Just a simple observation
would reveal that flatterers
are more well-liked,
their company sought after,
(at least initially)
than faithful, godly men 
and women
who guard their tongues.

After all, we all really
like receiving the praises of man,
to feel good about ourselves.

But
meddle not with him
that flattereth with his lips.

Proverbs 20:19

Help, LORD;
for the godly man ceaseth;
for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

They speak vanity
every one with his neighbour:
with flattering lips
and with a double heart
do they speak.

The LORD shall cut off
all flattering lips,
and the tongue that
speaketh proud things:

Psalm 12:1-3

blessed

My heart is truly full with the blessings
God has given me today.
God’s love is and should ever be
enough and all to me,
so is His Word that never fails
and never will fail;

but He is gracious
to give earthly things too –
hearty fellowship, and
the knowledge I am loved by the saints.

I realise that certain troubles are
self-created, and certain barriers
self-erected.
It exists only in our minds, and the cure is to
 

go forth.

When we stop dwelling upon our imaginations,
and come out of our shell,
our joy increases and
infects those around us.

Grant me, Lord, a servant’s heart.

eating

There were many times
I must admit,
especially when I no longer
come home to home cooked food,
that I find eating a hassle.

I was guilty of wishing
I didn’t have to eat
(there’s just so many things to be done!)
Not that I don’t enjoy good food,
but when there’s work to do,
I have a desire to just keep at it
until it’s finished.

I disliked the gnawing hunger pangs
and even more disliked the gastric pains
which prompted me to have my meals
like clockwork.

But
reading a book changed my
entire perspective
on eating.

Edith Schaeffer in her book, 
The Hidden Art of Homemaking, 
makes it clear that

food is not just food,
but it involves
relaxation,
communication,
and a sense of beauty and pleasure.

She stressed that even if
one is eating alone,
he must know that
he has the LORD for company.

This reminded me to cultivate
a very thankful spirit 
whenever I partake in food,
even when I am alone,
which would be the norm till
mummy comes back.

Not “huh, after a few hours
I must eat again” –
but thank You LORD,
my gracious Provider,
for giving me this day my daily bread.

I shall eat
not with drudgery,
but with much joy.

Whether therefore ye eat,
or drink,
or whatsoever ye do,
do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

The Fatal Flaw of Wanting More

All of us, at some point of our lives, crave for more. If only I had more money, if only I had more time, if only, if only…

We want more. More than we already have.

And in this pursuit for more, we inevitably compare ourselves with others. Oh, he just moved into a condo! Oh, she just bought a designer bag! Oh, they just went for a tour around Europe and dined at a three Michelin-stars restaurant!

Someone will stop me now and say, all these examples you have just given are with regards to material goods. But I am different. What I crave for are not material luxuries.

I acknowledge that. But the mindset of wanting more may appear in a different form. It has been said that millenials favour experiences over stuff.

A writer on The Gospel Coalition made this astute observation:
“I didn’t know it, but my friend Katie told me that #fomo (fear of missing out) is a thing. And it makes sense. We’re a generation of experience junkies who are terrified of missing out on anything. The thought of not being in that Instagram pic at X cool experience is painful. For many of us, our deepest need is to taste and try everything and travel everywhere.”

For some, it may not be material luxuries or exciting experiences, but honour. Fame. The admiration of all your peers. While the good – tangible or intangible – may differ from person to person, that want for more is there. Still one word: more.

The fundamental question still remains: Why do we seek for more when we do not fully utilize and/or enjoy what we’ve got? We do not realise that as we crave for more, we are neglecting to make the fullest of whatever we already possess.

When we are stuck in the bitterness of covetousness, we lose that peculiar sweetness that comes with contentment.

Jeremiah Burroughs puts it this way:

“Contentment is not always clothed with silk and purple and velvets, but it is sometimes in a home-spun suit, in mean circumstances, as well as in higher. Many men who once have had great estates, and God has brought them into a lower position have had more contentment in those circumstances than they had before. Now how can that possibly be?

Quite easily, if you only understood that the root of contentment consists in the suitableness and proportion of a man’s spirit to his possessions, an evenness where one end is not longer and bigger than the other. The heart is contented and there is comfort in those circumstances.

But now let God give a man riches, no matter how great, yet if the Lord gives him up to the pride of his heart, he will never be contented: on the other hand, let God bring anyone into mean circumstances, and then let God but fashion and suit his heart to those circumstances and he will be content.”

May the Lord help us to be content,
And not covetous.

Jesus Is Coming

‘Behold, I come quickly.’ (Revelation 22:7)

‘And, behold, I come quickly;’ (Revelation 22:12)

Jesus says it, and His Word never fails. Twice He says it in the last chapter of the Bible, our ‘more sure word of prophecy’. Jesus will come, and He will come quickly.

Some may scoff and say, it has been slightly over two thousand years and Christ still hasn’t come. In fact, 2 Peter 3:3-4 predicts a prevailing attitude of indifference. The scoffers will ask, ‘Where is the promise of his coming?’ They will reject the Bible prophecies as fake, and continue living a life of sin.

But if we think about it, all the events unfolding in the world right now point to that conclusion: the second coming of Jesus. Israel has reunified since 1948. There are wars and rumors of wars. Famine, and pestilences, and earthquakes occur in diverse places. Some signs have already been fulfilled.

With the modern technology (such as the internet), it is now more possible than ever before for the Gospel to be preached to far flung places of the world. Yet another sign soon to be fulfilled. ‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ (Matthew 25:14)

When the signs are staring us right in the face, shall we turn a blind eye and ignore?

It is really sobering to think of how soon Christ will return. It might very well happen in our generation. Are we prepared for His coming?

Yet why don’t we reflect more upon this event that will definitely occur? Why do we give more weight to politics and business and everything else under the sun, but this simple awe-inducing fact?

When Jesus comes, most of our earthly cares will not matter one whit. It is also true when we die and leave this world, to stand before God in judgment.

May the Lord grant us ears to hear, and receive this truth.