Community conflict

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 6, Verses 16-19, New International Version)

Pretty amazing! From God’s perspective, stirring up conflict in the community is on a par with shedding innocent blood. Although I’ve read these verses hundreds, maybe thousands of times, today they speak to me with a new emphasis. They serve me with a double-edged warning. Stay away form such folks, and even more importatly, don’t be one! The community where you live is important to God! Build it up. Don’t spoil it. Who wants to be detestable to God? Not I. Praise God for his Living Word, for His Rhema Word that jumps off the page and into my life.

So how do you build up your community? There are wealthy philanthropists who fund libraries, parks, hospitals, and nurseries. Praise God for these folks. Then, there are guys like me. I like to walk and pray early in the morning. I take one or two small plastic bags with me as I head out to the park near our home. I use the bags to pick up trash and dog poop. The park is next to an elementary school. During the week, lots of parents and kids walk through the park on their way to and from school. On the weekends the park is full of families, little league soccer teams, picnics, etc. I want the kids to see a clean park. I want them to learn to respect nature and the public commons from a very early edge. So I pick up trash and dog poop. It makes me friends.

If you can, build a park for the community. If you can’t offer such a gift, just help keep the park or the sidewalk or the bus stop clean. It builds your community probably more than you can know.

Pleasant sword

17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
apply your heart to what I teach,
18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
and have all of them ready on your lips. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verses 17 & 18, New International Version)

I pray, Lord, for more diligence in committing to heart all your words of wisdom. I need to have them ready on my lips. I want to please you by having the “sword of the spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17) ready to draw at a moment’s  notice, ready to use rather than my own words.

16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (The Book of Revelations, Chapter 1, Verse 16, New International Version)

Yes, Lord, teach me to wield the sharp, double-edged sword of your Word with skill.

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Open Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 4, Verse 12, New International Version)

So  I pray, Lord, that you will teach me to wield the sharp and double edged sword of your word against the evil around me and the evil within me!

Strange but true. It is pleasant to have a sharp and double edged sword ready to draw from my mouth.

Apt reply

23 A man has joy in making an apt answer, and a word spoken at the right moment—how good it is! (Book of Proverbs, Chapter 15, Amplified Version)

Oh, Lord, let me keep in mind that the reward of an apt answer and a timely word is JOY! I generally think of controlling my mouth as a duty. But this gives me a much better motivation, joy! I want to start profiting from this new perspective on motivation for right speech today. I pray that you will operate at the neural level so I can process what is said calmly but speedily and come out with apt answers and a good word at the right moment.

Tried shield

Every word of God is tried and purified; He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him. (Proverbs, Chapter 30, Verse 5, Amplified Bible)

Oh, Lord, give me an absolute craving for your word. I need to feed on what is tried and purified. I need your protection. Let me take shelter in your refuge. Shield me from the attacks that may come today.

What is the one most pure and reliable word of God? That word is a name.

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. (John, Chapter 1, Verse 1, Amplified Bible)

He is dressed in a robe dyed by dipping in blood, and the title by which He is called is The Word of God. (Revelation, Chapter 19, Verse 13, Amplified Bible)

So I pray that Jesus Christ himself, the most Holy Word of God, be my shield and refuge today. Amen and amen to the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s who is before and above all powers at work in this world or any other.