A gossip betrays a confidence,
but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
Gossip is the result of combining two major defects, which are pride and envy. He who engages in gossip is dedicated to his despicable trade motivated by his pride. He considers himself superior to all others and if he finds someone who is better person than him, he immediately dedicates to disqualify the other, spreading all over the place truths and lies, secrets and fabrications, and anything that will cause damage. He who loves to gossip is also encouraged by the envy that is always gnawing at his heart. He can not accept that someone else has more credibility and prestige that him, or that someone else is more respected by all. For such a person the virtues of others are like a slap to his ego. Always beware oh him who brings gossip to you because that person will also disclose to others the issues you consider should be kept private or be considered a secret.
Discretion is a noble virtue that makes his possessor and user to be considered a person reliable and worthy of friendship. Discretion is hard to find. Its two major opponents, envy and pride, are in control of the lives of many who prefer to be guided by their own passions than by the Holy Spirit. Discretion may be exercised only when the person has self-control and we know how spiritually immature is the vast majority of the human race. Where there is gossip there can be no love . My loving mother in law always says: “He who loves, pays heed.” Let us beware, therefore, of giving free rein to our tongue. Remember the saying: “Silence is golden.” Let’s be discrete and we will be a good friend indeed. Only to God be the glory!
Do not slander a servant to their master,
or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.
As children of God we must take responsibility for our actions, good or bad, and for everything that comes out of our lips, be it blessings or curses. One area of our life that requires our attention is the way we verbally express our thoughts. Oftentimes we say something that we have to regret later having failed to control our speech. That is very natural for human beings, but being natural does not necessarily mean it’s good. We must not allow emotions to control our lives. I’m not saying we should suppress all emotions because that would lead us to mental illness, but we must let our emotions be controlled by the Holy Spirit. One thing to watch closely is when we say something in jest. As God’s children we can enjoy humor and laughter but by no means we should allow that humor to be used as a weapon to harm others. Many times it is quite easy to say something funny related to the physical appearance or a genetic deformity of someone present. It is possible that what we say is funny but the person referred to in the joke will feel attacked and that will become a source of pain, hatred and bitterness, because the joke will be immediately interpreted as a low blow.
The best course of action, then, is to take care at all times, especially when we are speaking in jest, of not referring to the physical aspect of anybody, present or not. Let’s forget the jokes about fatness, being skinny, baldness, short people, tall people, hairy people, the pot-bellied, the emaciated or any other physical appearance that deviates from what the culture considers “normal.” There are many other subjects that we can use to say something really funny without giving way to our natural tendency to take cheap shots at others. We’ll do better by following the instructions given by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Let us take care, then, of what comes out of our lips. Only to God be the glory!
Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
For any thing that causes anguish God has an answer and a solution. It is very common at certain times in our lives to find ourselves going through desert wastelands having lost our orientation. The time it will take us to get out of that desert will depend on the stubbornness with which we cling to old ways of doing things, which we know do not work but continue to carry out by not daring to do something different and more aligned with what God commands in His word. The enemy is in charge of bombarding our minds with thoughts of low self-esteem to make us believe, by the endless repetition of his lies, that we can not change or learn to behave in a way that pleases God. Several times I have found in the leadership literature that a definition of insanity is to continue doing the things that end up in failure, expecting to obtain a different result. I think that this definition also applies to folly and it is not surprising since both words, madness and folly, are often used interchangeably.
Are you moving in circles without achieving any progress? Have you ever wondered if the reason for this lies in the manner or direction you’re moving? Are you planning to do things or trying to resolve issues as they come? Have you consulted with God why you are stuck in the road? Are you doing things properly? Often the causes of our slow progress toward spiritual maturity are inappropriate behaviors that we refuse to give up either because we like doing things that way or because we have not bothered to find out what God wants us to do. In a situation like the one shown in the verse of today’s reflection, the Holy Spirit of God inspired the psalmist to let us know the solution to such a serious matter: “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.” What is taking you so long to bring your case before the loving presence of your heavenly Father? That is the only place where you will find both guidance and solution to get you out of stagnation. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, city, desert, ebb away, God, hungry, life, settle, spirituality, thirsty, wander, wasteland
Evil will never leave the house
of one who pays back evil for good.
One thing we can be certain of is that every action has its consequences. If the actions are good, the consequences will also be good. The opposite also applies. Bad behavior has bad consequences. It’s amazing that something as simple as this is overlooked when we are making decisions. One reason may be that we never stop to think before making a decision. A vast majority of our decisions are made in a split second without thoroughly analyzing and calculating the consequences that they will bring. Our natural reaction is to respond in kind with which we have been paid. ¿Defense mechanism or need for revenge? In addition, we have been trained to quickly make decisions and to not waste time to react appropriately. The mixture of these two things makes us continually incur in many mistakes.
There are two things we can do to reverse these dangerous trends that seek to control our life and take over our will. The first thing is to obey what the Lord Jesus Christ instructed us: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” This is possibly one of the commands most difficult to fulfill for our sinful nature is very strong in this regard. The other thing we can do is not rush to make decisions before they have been consulted with our heavenly Father and only after asking if we are doing something that pleases him, unless of course, the situation in question is a matter of life or death. In any case, we can only achieve these things under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and never on our own though it may seem that we are capable.
Let us then remember the Lord’s instructions and let us be guided by his Holy Spirit. Soon you will notice how good deeds will bring good consequences. Only to God be the glory!
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
The advantages of possessing wisdom are enormous. Still very few try to find it. Most people waste their time on things that do not produce benefits to them but rather are a source of grief and pain. Their role models are people with large fortunes, who live in mansions and palaces, which have monumental yachts to enjoy their summer vacation anywhere in the Mediterranean or any other place that is fashionable and fanciful, people who fly all over the world in expensive private jet planes. For them to achieve success is to accumulate vast amounts of money that will enable them to maintain the expensive lifestyle they enjoy. Their success is also measured by the coverage dedicated in celebrity magazines to their adventures (and their sorrows) and the number of magazine covers in which their images appear; obviously these are magazines dedicated to constantly monitor the smallest and most trivial details of their lives. Clearly, these people will never know what is the fear of the Lord. Nor those who consider them as heroes and idols.
The fear of the Lord is not fright or terror of a powerful being who can destroy us with his thought. The fear of the Lord is reverence and obedience, that is, the respect we owe to Him who created us and saved us from death. The fear of the Lord is to understand that our lives are totally dependent on him and we are clay in his hands with which he molds the features we have and we can and should use for the aggrandizement of his kingdom. The fear of the Lord is the knowledge of his person, his attributes and expectations in relation to us. The fear of the Lord is to understand the immense love and grace God has shown toward us. The fear of the Lord is living up to the supreme commandments to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Concentrate your plans and all your efforts to meet these two commandments and you will possess wisdom and knowledge beyond your wildest imagination. Just follow the Lord Jesus and you will be wise. Only to God be the glory!
You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty
It seems incredible that at this point in world history man has not realized the truth of the statement of today’s portion. God hates arrogance, period. How is it that so few people can understand this? In my opinion, the fact that most of humanity still thinks it’s better to be haughty than humble is a clear demonstration of the power of the flesh or sinful nature of man over man. Regardless of socio-economic status, education level, age, gender, nationality or skin color, all human beings are victims of their pride. We can trace the source of pride to no other than the enemy of our souls, Satan, who despite the privileged position that he had within creation he thought everything was a result of his own efforts, wisdom and his perfect beauty. It was because of his beauty that he was filled with pride and because of his splendor that his wisdom was corrupted .
Our sinful nature is a very powerful force which can easily lead us into the sin of pride. Our own strength is not sufficient to overcome this powerful force that threatens the stability of our relationship with God. Only the power of God, which is superior to anything visible or invisible in the universe can overcome and control this dreadful enemy of our holiness. That is why we must rely on God’s power to resist the attacks of our own flesh and of the enemy and come out on top of the test. If we put our trust in anything other than the power of God we will be doomed to failure and pain. Let us entrust, then, every day our life and our relationship with God to him and only to him. Let us recognize his authority and dominion over our lives and let us go forward trusting in his power to protect us from evil. Only to God be the glory!
The righteous person is rescued from trouble,
and it falls on the wicked instead.
Some think that for every good thing that we do we receive in return a blessing. Similarly, some think that for every bad thing we do a bad result is received in return. They believe in the “one for one.” They think that this thing of good and evil actions is a zero sum game where good and evil deeds are balanced with rewards and punishments. So when someone needs to receive a benefit he begins to act in good way with the hope that at some point he will receive what he desires. Others say that a good deed compensate a misdeed and his hope is that good deeds outweigh the bad ones to tip the scales in his favor. Unfortunately for them, this is not how things work in the spiritual world. It is true that the bad actions bring serious consequences and that good actions bring blessings, but for this to happen it is necessary to be consistent and coherent. We can not do something good just for the hope of receiving a blessing to later got back to our old ways and situation.
What God expects of us is obedience and respect. We must be consistent in this regard as God’s plans can only be understood in the medium and the long-term. Otherwise, we will not be pleasing to God and we will be giving very bad testimony of what God does and has done in our lives. What produces the blessing is to choose to walk in the path of justice. What produces the curse is to reject what God gives us with love and bring ourselves to walk in paths that only seem right to us because in reality they are not. Consider these things every time that you have to make a decision and make sure it is aligned with God’s plans. This is the expected behavior of a child of God. God will reward your dedication and commitment to him. To God alone be the glory!
They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;
they aroused the LORD’s anger by their wicked deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.
Many times, inadvertently but also irresponsibly we put ourselves under the yoke and the influence of idols, and this is something extremely displeasing to God. Our rebellious and disobedient carnal nature never stops wanting to take us back through roads of spiritual bondage. The apostle Paul described it this way: “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”  To allow our depraved sinful nature to lead us is to face God to tell him that we will do what we want and not his will because we are not interested in his plan for our lives.
We can find a solution to this unfortunate situation when we, through the Holy Spirit of God give death the bad habits of the body. This produces life for us because the presence of the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. Let us then seek the help of the Holy Spirit of God to put an end to all those bad habits that have kept us restrained and ineffective because of their heavy chains. With firm resolve let us seek he holiness that pleases God and do not let ourselves be guided by the enslaving influence of our idolatrous carnal nature anymore. God will bless our willingness to follow him and will give us the blessing that always accompanies obedience. To God alone be the glory!
 Romans 7:18-19
If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
For the Jewish people, events and ceremonies in which they offered a scapegoat at the altar of the temple of Jerusalem had become a mere ritual that simply took care of a requirement of the law and had lost the meaning for which these acts had been instituted . They thought they were doing God a favor by presenting these sacrifices of blood, as if God were thirsting for it. This perception had infiltrated their midst because of the careless exposure of the Jewish people to idolatrous cults that were part of the everyday life of villages in Israel. The author of Hebrews makes it clear, “the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.”
Now, under the new covenant of grace, shedding the blood of animals is no longer necessary because everything has been replaced by the final and perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary. Now the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit was offered himself unblemished to God, “cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death,so that we may serve the living God!” Let us not allow that the acts and reflections that celebrate the memory of that perfect sacrifice become a ritual and a repetitive action for our lives. God does not need us but we do need him a lot. Let our service offering be a pleasant smell that rises unimpeded to the very presence of God. Let us not do it as if God needed it, because he does not need it, but rather let our service be a sign of the deep gratitude we feel for the salvation that we have undeservedly received according to His perfect will and love. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged blood, bulls, Christianity, drink, eat, flesh, goats, God, hungry, Jesus, Psalms, righteousness, spirituality
[There are] those who are pure in their own eyes
and yet are not cleansed of their filth.
The perfect man does not exist. We all have many opportunities for improvement, a euphemism that is now used when we mean flaws but do not want to highlight the negative aspect. The model for the Christian must be none other than Jesus Christ himself, that is why we identify ourselves as Christians. However, constant and inadvertently we use other models to guide our actions. These other models occupy the place that belongs to God alone, automatically becoming idols that take us off the path on which we should be moving toward spiritual maturity. If we add all the distractions of all kinds that stand in our path of perfection it is not surprising that oftentimes we do not act like God expects of us. The world absorbs us and prevents us from fulfilling the exhortation of the Apostle Paul: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If we do not have a discipline for reading the word of God daily and for having communication with him through prayer continually we will be exposed to influences from the world and we will have little capacity to resist its attacks and temptations.
When we do not compare with the Lord Jesus but compare ourselves with the imperfect models that we have selected to determine the areas where we have gaps it lowers the bar and we end up getting poor results in our progress toward spiritual maturity. It also causes to deceive ourselves into thinking we are moving ahead when in reality we have made little progress. We must be clear what our goal as we did Paul: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Let us keep excellence in our mind and our eyes on our Lord and soon we will realize that we are moving ahead effectively on the spiritual realm. To God alone be the glory!