Truthful Lips

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Proverbs 12:19

I never fully comprehended the significance of lying when I was growing up. I knew that being untruthful was wrong, but I never came to terms with the moral implications. I can recall many instances when boys asked me for dates and I lied to them because I didn’t want to go. I often lied to my mother when I was about to be caught for something I had done. The implications of this sin did not come home to me until several years after I was married.

I went into the kitchen one day to fix Jim a tuna sandwich. Though he hated mayonnaise, I snuck a small amount into the tuna to hold it together and make it (from my perspective!) better. Jim’s first question when I served the sandwich was, “Did you put mayonnaise in the tuna?” Caught red-handed, I lied. I said, “I know you don’t like mayonnaise. Of course I didn’t put it in your sandwich.” Jim ate his lunch without noticing a thing, but the incident bothered my conscience for days. Finally, I confessed.

Not surprisingly, Jim was very disappointed. He told me, “Marriage must be built on mutual trust. If a husband and wife are honest with each other about the little things, they will not deceive each other about the big things.” We had a long talk about our relationship and committed to each other that lying would not be part of it. I have attempted to live by a higher standard from that moment.

Of the seven things we’re told are detestable to the Lord in Proverbs 6:16–19, two relate to untruthfulness—“a lying tongue” and “a false witness who pours out lies.” Clearly, this is a serious matter in His eyes. Unless a child is too young to understand the difference between fantasy and truth, parents should teach their children with great emphasis that truth be told in all situations.

Of course, honesty will come to your kids most easily if you practice it yourself, especially in your interactions at home. It took me a while to figure that out, but I’m so glad I did. You will be, too.

– Shirley M Dobson

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Magic in the New Testament, Day 5

Today’s reading is drawn from Acts 8:9-10 and Acts 13:7-11.

Magical practices claimed to draw on or manipulate nonhuman spiritual power (usually distinguished from submission to God). Magic was popular in antiquity, including in Judea. It is sometimes associated with Ephesus and most fully associated with remnants of ancient religion in Egypt.

In general, people classified as magic whatever was done secretly and for the magician’s (rather than the public’s) good. They especially classified as magic whatever expressions of spiritual power fit belief systems contrary to their own. Some Jewish teachers regarded some magic as fake but other cases as genuine, dangerous sorcery. Protective amulets were common, as were magical formulas, instructions, and gestures. One common form was love-magic, sometimes used to try to seduce a person away from their current spouse. Another was to kill rivals, e.g., in chariot races. People sometimes inscribed the names of enemies on pots and then shattered them, cursing them. Magic was thus often viewed as antisocial.

Magic frequently claimed to manipulate spirits, sometimes controlling them by using special knowledge about them bought from others adept in magic. Often magical formulas spoke of “binding” and “loosing” demons to manipulate them to do the bidder’s will. Although mostly from later centuries, many magical papyri, replete with various formulas designed to achieve designated ends, have survived from Egypt.

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Overcoming Financial Fear, Day 4

Money Management

Today’s reading is drawn from Matthew 6:25-34.

These words of Jesus teach us how to live in uncertain financial times without stress or fear.

Financial fear is: 1) unreasonable (verse 25). We are not to become distracted from the substantial issues of life over less important matters like what we will eat or wear.

It is 2) unnatural (verse 26). We are the only creation of God who worries. God provides for the birds He created, and we are more valuable than they are. We are outside of God’s natural design when we worry.

It is 3) unhelpful (verse 27). Worry and fear do not produce anything worthwhile.

It is 4) unnecessary (verse 30). God provides for His own and promises to take care of our needs.

It is 5) unbelieving (verses 31, 32). We are acting as if God did not exist when we live in financial fear. Our heavenly Father knows our needs, and He will provide.

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