Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

A Gentle Tongue

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

I was not born with a gentle tongue. I think that before I could even form words I was probably complaining, whining, criticizing, debating and making large declarations. I have always been somewhat strong-willed and opinionated. I admit it, though I’m not proud of my disposition. It is most certainly my nature to speak harshly, confidently, arrogantly and sometimes without consideration for how my words may be received.

That being confessed, I share with great joy that God has and is always working on me to mold me into the kind of woman He wants me to be. He is taking my stubborn tongue and teaching it to be gentle so that my words are a blessing to my family, friends and the lost instead of being a loud and brassy, clamorous noise. This education in speaking with gentleness does not come easy for me and so I must be walking in the Spirit to be able to do what my hearts wants. As with so many struggles, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

In Proverbs 15:4 there, the word for “gentle” is the Hebrew word “marpe'” and it’s definition may surprise you. It surprised me as I looked into it. The word means, “gentle, soothing, profitable, able to cure, healing and sound of mind.” In other words, it’s not just the tone of the voice that is used. Gentle does not equal quiet. It’s the words that are spoken that matter the most. The words we speak with the tongue should be soothing, healing words. They should minister to and edify those around us. They should bring comfort, joy, peace and be filled with love. Isn’t that beautiful?

“A healing, soothing tongue is a tree of life…”.

Words are powerful indeed. Our tongues can bring life and health and goodness. With wisdom and spiritual maturity we can truly allow God to use our tongues to minister to His children and to share the gospel with the lost. We can use our words to build up our husbands and our children. We can use our tongues to teach our kids the ways of the Lord and to encourage those younger than us in the faith to grow in the Lord. The tongue can be a tree of life, powerful and edifying, or it can be used to break the spirit with perverseness.

The Hebrew word for “perverseness” is “celeph” which means, “crookedness, perverseness, crooked dealing, and perversion.” When we use our tongue for evil, we can literally crush the spirit. Another way to consider this is that, when we use the members of our body (including the tongue) to do/say evil, we absolutely quench the Spirit of God within us. Our crookedness and perversion keeps us from being able to minister to our families and friends or to serve God as we desire to do.

So what is crookedness or perversion of the tongue? A good indication is found in the scriptures surrounding this one in Proverbs 15 and in other verses throughout scripture. Here are some of the descriptions God uses in regards to the tongue/words of the crooked.

“…a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

“…the mouths of fools pour out folly.” Proverbs 15:2

“The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.” Proverbs 15:7

“….the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Proverbs 15:28

“May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts…” Psalm 12:3

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” Psalm 34:13

“Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.” Psalm 52:2

These are just a few verses. There are many, many more. Lying, gossip, speaking disrespectfully to your husband, stirring up wrath and anger, inciting division, breaking people down, etc. are all ways that we use our tongue for perverseness rather than for edification. We want our words to bring life, not misery. We want to speak encouragement, not judgement. We want everything we say to be filled with love and wisdom and kindness.

I thank the Lord abundantly that He continues to chip away at the areas of my life where I still struggle with sin, and this is one of those areas. I know my weakness to speak with anything but gentleness and blessing. I submit my heart and my tongue to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to perfect His love in me and to make me an instrument of blessing, encouragement and edification, within my home and outside as well. I thank Him for bringing me this far and thank Him for what He’s yet to do. Hallelujah!

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Finding Mercy and Grace in Times of Need

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Confession time…I’m a a worrier. I tend to struggle with anxiety, stress, worry and even panic from time to time. When times get tough, this woman right here turns to mush. I don’t really have a tough bone in my body. The good news is I don’t need to be strong, independent or tough when the attacks of the enemy and the darkness of this life get me down. I can approach that glorious throne of grace with boldness and find the only mercy that truly ministers to me.

What a blessing is the mercy of the Lord! What a treasure is His peace!

I find very interesting that the verse above says we can enter the throne of grace in times of need to receive this ministering. I think we can all agree that coming to the throne of the Lord Jesus Christ is such an amazing and awesome privilege. Notice, however, that the scripture specifies we come in time of need. Isn’t it so very true that the times we recognize our need for Jesus the clearest are those times when we are suffering or facing diverse trials? The sufferings of this world make our hearts cry out for Jesus even more. The pain of sin, sickness and death remind us how much we need Jesus.

I love the song, “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher.

“Lord, I need You, Oh I need You. Every hour I need You! My one defense. My righteousness. Oh God how I need you!”

I don’t know about you but I need God every hour of every day. This world is full of hard choices, temptation, struggles, pain and suffering….without the Lord we are going to fail and fall hard. I’ve been there. I know. When I begin to lose heart, and the world around me starts to look like it’s going to consume me, I remember the throne of Grace. I remember that God calls me there so that I can lay my needs, my fears, my worries and my pain at the feet of the One who conquered every evil thing with His death and resurrection.

I come boldly to the throne of grace. I confess. I repent. I surrender. I am forgiven. I am freed.

What I love so much about the Lord is His compassion and understanding. Sometimes when we go to friends and family, even brothers and sisters in the Lord, we come with our weakness and receive disappointment, judgement, disregard and piety. Yet when we come to the throne of grace, our Lord offers us mercy, love, forgiveness and compassion.

“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” Hebrews 2:18
 
We have a High Priest who understands our suffering, our temptation, our trials and our pain. He has suffered the same and worse, yet without sin. He overcame and defeated sin, and He is so very able to help us in our weakness. He does not despise us for it, but covers us in His perfection. He clothes us in His righteousness. He welcomes us into His throne room with love and mercy. The very thought of it moves me to tears.
 
Praise the Lord who loves us in our weakness. May we run to Him and remain in Him every moment of every hour of every day until He returns or calls us home. Amen?
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A Keeper of Your Vows

The Word of God has a lot to say about the importance of a person keeping his or her word and living up to their commitments:

   “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37

            “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” Proverbs 12:22

            “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds…” Colossians 3:9

            “If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” Numbers 30:2

A vow is a promise. When a woman breaks her wedding vows, she is breaking the promises she has made to her husband, the witnesses and her God. There is no sugar-coating this fact. A vow is a serious matter. Let your “yes” be “yes”. Lying lips are an abomination. Do not lie to one another. If a man (or woman) makes a vow to the LORD….he (she) shall do according to all that proceeds out of his (her) mouth. This is what God’s Word says on the matter.

In case there is anyone who is misled into thinking that the vows she pledged at her wedding were to her husband alone, I encourage you sister to bring to remembrance that a wedding vow is always made in the presence of God, whether it be in a church or a courthouse. The moment you spoke those wedding vows to your husband, you were married in the eyes of the Lord. He took every word you uttered seriously that day. The question is, did you?

That’s a question we wives have to ask ourselves when we are tempted to break our vows in any way. I know I have had to ask myself this question from time to time. I have had to meditate on the importance of my vows and remember that I was speaking those vows to God and my husband alike. The truth is, keeping those vows for a lifetime is no easy undertaking. We see that every time there’s a news article reporting the upsetting divorce rate. That’s why we have to be reminded of the value of a vow and to whom we have made those vows. When the storms come and the home is being rattled and shaken, will be keep our vows to the Lord? When our husbands are not living up to their part of the deal, will we keep our vows to the Lord? When we face a life that is not what we anticipated, will we keep our vows to the Lord? That’s the question that matters most.

If a vow is a promise, and one that is made to spouse, witnesses and God Himself, then what is the penalty for breaking that promise? What can we expect to be the consequences of breaking our vow to the Lord? Just like with any other sin that we allow to enter into our lives, one who breaks her marriage vows will no doubt feel a great hindrance in her relationship with the Lord. Sin hinders our prayer life and quenches the Spirit.

Not only are their spiritual consequences to sin, but history and statistics have shown us that those who break their wedding vows and divorce their spouse oftentimes suffer from hardships, depression, loss of other familial relationships and more. Children of divorced parents usually have a hard time in school, struggle with thoughts of guilt and depression, sometimes lose contact with at least one parent and often have trouble maintaining healthy relationships themselves later in life.

Am I proclaiming that these trials will come to all those who divorce their spouses for reasons that are not permitted in the Word of God? Of course not. I pray these hardships do not come to pass, but they do nonetheless. One thing I find to be particularly troubling is that Christians who divorce seem to suffer a great deal more than unbelievers who divorce, generally-speaking. Perhaps this is because Christians are held to a higher accountability, as Jesus often spoke of in the Word.

“When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.” Deuteronomy 23:21-23

“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

It’s quite clear throughout scripture that making a vow, oath or promise before the Lord and failing to live up to it is sin. A wedding vow is no different. While a wedding vow may seem to some to be nothing more than a sweet declaration of love for another, it is far more. It is a spoken contract that should be entered into when a person is thoroughly dedicated and committed to fulfilling those vows.  We come back to that ever-lingering question: will we keep our vows to the Lord?

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I Take Thee

“I take thee…”

The first words of most traditional wedding vows contain three small but powerful words, “I take thee…”. They may seem unimportant and be brushed over, but these three words are the start to one of the most important commitments people make in this lifetime. Following these words is a list of ways in which a person commits her life to the mate of her choice. So these three tiny words are actual of monumental importance.

When we look at our beloved and say, “I take thee…” what are we really saying? Well, the Word of God uses the word “take” often to refer to a man “taking” a wife.

““The LORD God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendantsfn I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.” Genesis 24:7

The word “take” in Hebrew can be translated to: to take, take in the hand, to carry along, take in marriage, receive, accept, select, and to choose. When you say those words to the person whom you are about to marry, you are basically saying “I choose you.” “I select you.” “I receive you.” “I accept you.” “I’ll carry you along with me.” “I take you.”

When we say those words, we are making a commitment to choose none other. We are committing to receive and accept that one individual for the rest of our natural lives on earth. This is an exclusive action. It means consequently that I will reject the attentions from any other person. I will never give to anyone else what I am giving to you. I take the gift of your heart and will seal it up in mine for as long as God gives us breath. I take thee…

Have you forgotten your vow to take your beloved? Remember today those precious words that you spoke however long ago it was. Bring to remembrance the commitment that you made to take your beloved and none other. May the Lord bless your marriage as you stand upon your vows.

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