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

a new chapter

Have faith,
like the flowers,
to let the old things go.
-Lilias Trotter

The old must be purged
before the new can come.

And life
will spring forth
from death.

All these little dyings
will surely bear fruit.

Blessed is the man
that trusteth in the LORD,
and whose hope the LORD is.

Jeremiah 17:7

only one life

Amongst all my Christian books, no page thereof is dog-eared, except for one which contains the quote that has so often jolted me out of lethargy and monotony:

The important thing is to receive this moment’s experience with both hands. Don’t waste it. “Wherever you are, be all there,” Jim once wrote. “Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

I have a tendency to be future-oriented, and to wonder what the future will hold in store, but I have realised especially with recent experiences that the future is not in my hands. Tomorrow is God’s, and I shall leave tomorrow to Him.

It is Biblical, for Jesus said, ‘Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.‘ (Matthew 6:34) If I do not do the duties given to me this present day well, what makes me think I will do the duty of tomorrow well? It is just deceiving myself to think that I can perform a duty still yet in the future well when I persistently neglect today’s duty. The only real proof of one’s faithfulness is not in mere profession, but his or her actions now.

Joseph was appointed to God to high estate (as a governor of Egypt), only because he faithfully performed whatever he was given in the fear of God at that present moment. He wasn’t dreaming up something in idleness, but was working hard in Potiphar’s house and subsequently, in the prison. 

This takes a long time to internalise. I can say for a fact it took me years to truly learn just this one lesson. But with it, comes tremendous freedom.

Freedom to serve God with what He has given me, and not worry about what I’ll be doing in the future –
Freedom to smile and laugh and trill merrily, because I am still a youthful girl and I needn’t act older than my age –
Freedom to receive the experiences Providence brings to me with both hands, as Jim Elliot said –

Whether it be going to work or
Playing with some lovely children.

(,:

Heart Religion

An excerpt from J.C. Ryle:

The heart is the spring of true holiness and steady continuance in well doing. 

“True Christians are holy, because their hearts are renewed. They obey from the heart. They do the will of God from the heart. Weak, and feeble, and imperfect as all their doings are — they please God, because they are done from a loving heart. He who commended the widow’s mite more than all the offerings of the wealthy Jews — regards quality far more than quantity. What He likes to see is, a thing done from an honest and good heart. There is no real holiness without a right heart.

Reader, the things I am saying may sound strange. Perhaps they run counter to all your notions. Perhaps you have thought that if a man’s religion is correct outwardly — he must be one with whom God is well pleased. You are completely mistaken! You are rejecting the whole tenor of Bible teaching. Outward correctness, without a right heart — is neither more nor less than Phariseeism! The outward things of Christianity — baptism, the Lord’s Supper, Church-membership, alms-giving, and the like — will never take any man’s soul to Heaven, unless his heart is right. There must be inward things, as well as outward — and it is on the inward things, that God’s eyes are chiefly fixed.”