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WESLEY RESPONDS TO CRITICISM
John Wesley was a great English preacher of the 1700s. He was considered a rather spiffy dresser. One Sunday morning he wore a bow tie that had long ribbons that hung downward. After the sermon was over a lady walked up to him and said, "Brother Wesley, are you open to some criticism?"
He said, "I guess so. What would you like to criticize?"
She said, "The ribbons on your tie are entirely too long and inappropriate for a man of God." And she took out her scissors and cut them off.
A hush fell over the people standing there as Wesley calmly asked, "Now may I borrow the scissors for a moment?" As she handed them to him, he said, "Maíam, are you open to some criticism?"
She answered, "Well, I suppose I am."
He said, "All right then, please stick out your tongue."
(From a sermon by Stephen Sheane, New Year - New You, 12/23/2010)
WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH
How carefully do you monitor what goes into your mouth, compared to what comes out of it? For example, do you follow a low-fat diet? Do you obsessively track the grams of fat going into your body? Do you watch the number of calories that you consume? Do you avoid refined sugars? Do you limit your caffeine? Do you eat only dolphin-safe tuna? Are you a locavore, someone who eats only food grown locally? Are you a vegetarian or a vegan? Do you eat only free-range chicken? Do you shun high fructose corn syrup? Do you buy organic milk? Organic fruit? Organic soap? Heirloom tomatoes? Do you use sea salt instead of table salt? Purchase only beef thatís produced without the use of bovine growth hormone? Cook with olive oil instead of Crisco? Drink bottled water from the island of Fiji?
The bad news is that you can do all of those things, and youíll still die. Their value is limited. These practices may make you a little healthier, and definitely a little poorer, but their value is temporary. None of the foods that you are avoiding or limiting can defile you. They canít soil you spiritually. They canít make you any less pleasing to God.
Now, compared to the care you take in controlling what goes into your mouth, how careful are you to control what comes out of your mouth? Do you apply as much energy, and planning, and self-discipline to controlling your speech as you apply to controlling your calories, or your fat grams, or your carbohydrates? If not, then youíre focusing on the wrong thing. Because Jesus says that what comes out of your mouth can defile you.
SOMETHING TO SAY
Far too many people just talk even when they have nothing of value to say. That is not wise and certainly not intelligent. Albert Einstein was the featured speaker at a dinner given at Swarthmore College. When it came time for him to speak, he astonished everyone by standing up and announcing, "I have nothing to say." Then he sat down.
A few moments later he stood up and added, "In case I have something to say, I will come back and say it." Six months later he sent a message to the president of the college: "Now I have something to say." Another dinner was held and he gave his speech.
Perhaps you have had opportunities "to speak a word in season" to those who are weary, but you didnít feel as if you had anything to say. If so, follow the example of the Servant of the Lord, the promised Messiah, whom we read about in Isaiah 50:4-10. Because He listened to Godís Word and obeyed what He heard, He had a message to give to others.
Open Godís Word with an eagerness to learn and do what He tells you to do. Think of the Lord, as present and speaking to you, disclosing His mind and emotions and will. Meditate on His words till you know what He is saying.
Then, as the Servant discovered, in time God will give you "the tongue of the learned." If you listen to the Lord, youíll have something worth saying. Open your ears to God before you open your mouth to others.
SIGN YOUR NAME OR FORGET IT
J. Vernon McGee tells of an incident that happened in one of his pastorates. A man came to him and said, "I want to tell you about a certain situation." He told him about a certain man who was involved in a particular sin. The man wanted to do something about it. He said, "You ought to bring this up before the board, and if they can't handle it, then it should be brought before the church."
McGee answered, "Fine, that is the way it should be done. What night can you come?"
"Oh!" the man said, "I don't intend to come. You're the pastor, you are the one to handle it."
McGee answered, "You are right, I am the one to handle it. I am the pastor. However, you will need to be present to make the charge."
"Oh," he said, "I won't do that."
So McGee told him, "If you are not willing to sign you name to the charge, we will forget it." And they forgot it, because the man refused to back up the charge with his name.
All too often u...
"Mistakes of the tongue have destroyed more people, ruined more marriages, and cost more businessmen their jobs and their futures than any other kind of mistake."
The second most deadly instrument is a loaded gun. The first is the human tongue. The gun merely kills bodies. The tongue kills reputations and oftentimes ruins character.
"One of the first things a physician says to his patient is, Let me see your tongue. A spiritual advisor might often do the same."
A sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.
"When we advance a little into life, we find that the tongue of man creates nearly all the mischief in the world."
There is danger when a man throws his tongue into high gear before he gets his brain a-going.