Out of the Mouth

I’ve been reading through the book of Matthew this month, and you would be surprised at what I’m learning. I’m finding that this book of the Bible has much to teach me. And I must be open to learning these truths. Earlier this week, I read chapter 15 and wow! It says that whatever is in our heart is what comes out of our mouth.

Jesus gives us examples of the types of evil that are in our hearts that then spew from our mouths. Everything gets its start in our hearts. Here we go. Evil thoughts. Murder. Adultery. All sexual immorality. Theft. Lying. Slander. Greed. Wickedness. Deceit. Lustful desires. Envy. Pride. Foolishness. Just to name a few. Jesus says that these things defile us. That means we are polluted and unclean.

When we act and speak in sinful ways, the finger of guilt will point back to our heart. It’s because evil is in us. The words that come out of our mouth are sometimes well thought out. In other words, they are premeditated, the same as other acts of unkindness. But there are also words and acts that are spontaneous. Spur of the moment. Impulsive. And either way. If they’re premeditated or spontaneous, they still come from the heart.

But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you. Matthew 15:18-20

It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you. Mark 7:20-23

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. Genesis 6:5-6

God knows that we’re only evil all the time. That was not his plan for us, but we have disregarded his truth and have charted our own paths. We live as if we are our own god. When God saw all the evil on the earth, he created a plan to clean it up and start over. He caused a flood to fill the earth. It destroyed every living and breathing thing. Animal and human. But before the flood, God had commanded Noah to build an ark. Once the ark was completed, every kind of animal walked onto the ark. Male and female. One of each. And Noah’s family. Noah, his wife, their three sons and wives. They were the only survivors. They were the start of a new people on the earth.

And yet. Here we are. Over time, the earth has once again filled with people. And wickedness abounds. I wonder if God is once again sorry that he put us on the earth.


It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth. Matthew 15:11


I was driving home from the grocery store. For the past few weeks, one section of the road has been under construction. I’m not sure what type of work is being done, but it eventually closes down three lanes to two and then from two lanes to one. So, as you’re driving you have to continue moving into the next left lane. And then you find yourself and every other car in the only open lane.

So, of course, we all know what happens when there are lane closures. The people in the lanes that are closing have to move over, and those in the open lane have to make way for all these extra vehicles trying to squeeze in. Now the problem comes when people in the lanes that are closing wait until the very last second to merge into the open lanes. So when I turned left onto the road with construction, I remembered that the lanes ahead were closed. So I immediately got into the far left lane. That would mean I was in the only open lane until I turned at the upcoming light. I wouldn’t have to try to squeeze into a busy lane of traffic. But, of course, not all those coming behind me did as I did.

As we inched forward, we got past the first lane closure. Then up ahead, the second lane was closing. And, of course, up came a big vehicle wanting to get into my lane. This driver wanted to be in the exact spot I was in, and I couldn’t move. They waited until the very last second to try to move into the last open lane. And the car in front of me wasn’t allowing the vehicle into our lane. So, I begrudgingly thought to myself. I’ll let the vehicle in. So I waved him in. At the same time, here are the words I said in the safety of my car. Come on over, you idiot.

And then up came another car quickly trying to get into my lane. He would have moved ahead of me, if I would have allowed him the space. I decided no. I’m not letting a second car in. The car behind me can take their turn to let this bully car in. So I just continued on and didn’t allow the second car in.

Just as that happened, a parable in the Bible came to my memory. A father told his older son to work in the vineyard. He said no, but later felt guilty and went to do the work as his father asked. The father then told the younger son to work in the vineyard. The son said yes, but didn’t do it. Which son obeyed his father? The one who said no and did the work, or the one who said yes and didn’t work? The son who obeyed did so with a bad heart out of guilt. The other son was a liar.

You can read the parable in Matthew 21:28-32.

I found myself in a similar situation as those two sons. Which of my acts was worse? Pretending to be kind by letting the car in my lane, all the while saying unkind words with a bad attitude? Or not letting the next car in? Sure, I let the first driver in, but in my heart I was letting him know that he should have waited his turn like the rest of us. At least I wasn’t putting on an act with the second car. That’s what I tell myself. Oh. We can usually find a way to justify our actions. But that doesn’t make the act any better. An ungodly act or word is still ungodly. Nothing will change that.

I don’t know why I always have to be the example of what not to do. Just a few moments before the incident, I had been praying and asking God to forgive me for being so human. I asked him to forgive me of my bad attitude and judgmental ways. And I’d hardly spoken those words when I acted like a fool. Of course, the other driver didn’t know that. But God did, because he saw my heart. He heard my words.

I have much to learn. You would think that I would be closer to perfection. The older I get, the more I realize how much I need a Savior. I realize how much I still have to learn. There is much work ahead for this heart of mine, in this lifelong quest to be like God. It’s a never ending struggle. It’s a never ending lesson to learn.

What can and should change is my heart. Repentance. Humbling myself before my Creator, who knows my thoughts and actions. He will forgive. He is willing to clean up my ungodly heart, if I will only ask him. And then I must change the way I act and speak. And it is possible to change. The desire to be godly has to replace the desire to be my own god.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

God Speak

Let your conscience be your guide. They say. But should you?

Our conscience is our inner sense of right and wrong.

I’ve often wondered how God speaks to us. There are many different ways He speaks to us. And I know I’ve said that God speaks to us through our own conscience. But then, in the back of my mind, I wondered is that really true? Is our conscience from God? Do we get cues from God through our conscience? I wasn’t really sure about that.

But then earlier this week, I was reading my Bible. And this verse jumped out at me.

They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. Romans 2:15

This tells me that God created my conscience. He shapes my conscience if I allow Him to work in my life. The only way that my conscience will continue to be pliable is if I seek truth. By seeking truth, regardless of the cost, my conscience will be nudged in a way that lets me know right from wrong. My conscience will let me know if I have wronged someone through my words or actions. If I continue to follow my own path, I have exchanged my will for God’s order for my life. Is that what I want?

Romans 2:16 says a day is coming when God through Jesus Christ will judge everyone’s secret life. That means my own thoughts are known by God. And that if I have evil intent in my heart, but I don’t speak it or act on it, I still will be judged on it. Because from the heart, the mouth speaks. From the heart, the hand acts. What is within me comes out. My conscience can be the red flag that speaks up. In a sense, to say hey, wait a minute. You were wrong to think that. You were wrong to say that. You were wrong to do that. So my conscience plays a huge part in my relationship with God.

If I allow God to continue to speak to me and to work in and through me, my conscience has to be very pliable and moldable. My conscience is not my God. It’s from God. He made my conscience to know right from wrong. And if I make it a practice to lie. To gossip. To slander. To judge. To blame. To hold grudges. Bascially, if I make a practice of sinning, my conscience will harden. My conscience will be corrupt to the point where I don’t recognize evil as evil. Because over time, it will seem good to me to put down others. To slander others. To point the finger of blame at someone else when I’m the guilty party. When I’m the one who says those wrong things or untruths about someone else. My conscience won’t even move. It will be so stiff as a board that it will not recognize the truth. So the health of my consicence is the thermometer on my relationship with God. It shows how close I am to Him or how far I am from him.


Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. 1 Timothy 1:19


Now I may be a sensitive person, and my conscience may nudge me very easily. Even if I’m not a Christian. There are good people who aren’t Christians. There are concientious people who know right from wrong and choose to do right. But if their sins haven’t been forgiven, they aren’t Christians. If they haven’t asked God to forgive their sins, they aren’t Christians. Yes, they have a conscience but that puts them in a different category. They’re good people. Good people aren’t always Christians.

We need to be moldable. We need to regularly read God’s word. We need to demonstrate that God’s law is written on our hearts. So our consciences will let us know when we are doing right and when we are doing wrong.

Let’s listen for God’s voice. Let’s stop and wait for that nudge of our conscience to let us know if we are on the right track or not. Or if there’s something we should be doing that we aren’t. Sometimes we don’t do the things we should. Our conscience will let us know that. Because we know right from wrong. At the end of the day, we know right from wrong. It’s our choice what we do. It’s our choice what we say. It’s our choice what we think. We are moldable. We are made in the image of God.

Have we become so dull as people that we can’t recognize wrong when we see it? When we hear it? When we think it? Have we become such hardened people that we don’t want to know the truth? That we don’t want to hear the truth? That we don’t want to think the truth? When we read something, can we separate the truth from lies? If we say something, do we recognize if we’re lying or if we’re speaking truth? When we see an act, do we recognize it for truth or for lies?

Have we become so dull that we can’t separate truth from evil? What have we gotten ourselves into if we only see wrong as right and right as wrong. If we see only lies as truth and truth as lies. How have we gotten this far from God? Can we get back to him as a nation, as a people, as an individual? We need to fall on our knees and repent. It’s not too late yet. But there’s coming a day when it will be too late.

Let’s not wait.

Our actions are our outer voice. Our conscience is our inner voice. Since we are created in the image of God, we have an inner law that guides our conscience. We have a moral law within us that will either accuse or excuse our moral choices. Perhaps it’s time to perform a checkup on our consciences. How we would rate?

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. Romans 8:5-8

Clean House

Our internet service was slow, and we needed help. The appointment was scheduled for the very next day. And I wasn’t going to be home the morning of the appointment.  Of course.  There was no time to do a deep clean of the spaces where the technician would have to work. At least that’s what I told myself.

The technician knocked on the door. He had arrived whether I was ready for him or not. Now mind you. I know I’m not the world’s best housekeeper. I’ve never claimed to be. And I don’t plan to change anytime soon. But there’s a problem with that way of thinking.

As I stood in the room with the man, I looked at the space through his eyes. It wasn’t pleasant. It was cluttered and untidy. There was too much unnecessary stuff lying around. Power tools. Computer equipment. Clothes. The closet door was open. It was embarrassing, to say the least. 

Then I walked into the next room he would need to visit. All I could see was the dust. And the crumbs left on the floor by my dog. I hurriedly grabbed a paper towel and dusted as best I could. I picked up crumbs off the floor. I straightened the magazines. I threw away trash. It looked a little more presentable, but it made me uncomfortable. I realized that my laziness was something that couldn’t be easily dusted away in a couple of minutes. My house needed a deep clean. 

Oh sure. There are areas that I do clean each week. I clean the bathrooms. I keep my kitchen clean. I vacuum. I keep things picked up. For the most part. I just don’t typically allow guests to see the places that a repairman would need to see. After all, he needs to see the spaces that hold wires and outlets and other electrical things. Apparently, that’s the least tidy area in my house. 

I’ve come to realize that I’m perfectly comfortable with having a tidy house. It doesn’t have to be spotless in order for me to feel accomplished.


Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:13


I know there is One who sees every room of my heart. I’ve opened the door of my heart to him, so he lives here and has free reign in my life. He walks through my heart on a daily basis. He sees the room where I feed my soul. He knows if my spiritual diet is healthy or if I fill my mind with junk food. Because what comes out of my mouth comes from my heart. He is not fooled.

As the One who knows me enters the door to my heart, He sees the cobwebs that cover the unused spiritual gifts that he has bestowed on me. He sees me when I rise and when I sleep. He knows the way I take. He knows when I obey and when I don’t. He knows me for who I truly am. There is no doubt I’m made in his image. He knows I don’t always represent him as I should.

The clutter of bad attitudes, unrepentant sins, words of gossip, ill feelings, unkind thoughts and many other acts of unrighteousness make the passageways of my heart uninhabitable. There’s no wonder that fear and worry and anxiety fill me at times. If I don’t keep those passageways clear, there’s no way I will be able to sense the leading of the Holy Spirit. He may decide that he’s no longer welcome.

I have to ask myself how I thought there could ever be room for God when all my priorities and moments are planned solely for myself. I need to clean out the closets and declutter my heart. I need to reprioritize and make room for daily Bible reading and prayer. I must sweep the cobwebs from the corners of my mind and air out my soul. I need to clean house and clean it now.

God doesn’t just stop by when I schedule an appointment or make himself available only on Sundays. He lives in this heart. I invited him in to stay, so He always sees and knows the contents of this beating vessel. My heart needs to be clean at all times, because it’s always in full view of the One who created it.

Don’t Lose Heart

Do you remember the day that your world fell apart? Was it a diagnosis? Or a job loss? The ending of your marriage? Or the loss of a child? Or parent? Or someone very close? Was it the last straw in a bad situation gone worse than expected? Was it the last door closing on a much awaited second chance?

Did you get a call in the middle of the night with unexpected news? Was a false accusation thrown in your face? Was your credibility questioned? Were evil people trying to ruin your reputation? Were your enemies attacking you?

What was that thing that made you wonder how life could ever be good again? Did you wonder how you could go on? Did you wonder if life was worth living? Was all hope gone?

Even the best of us are faint of heart when our world bottoms out. Being in dire straits is not an everyday event in most of our lives. We don’t live by the seat of our pants for day to day survival. Oh. Once that may have been the case for some of another generation. But today. Today, we have most everything we want. And more. Life is pretty good for most of us. But on occasion, the bottom drops unexpectedly. It’s in those moments that we can question everything or cling to the Giver of Life.


I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalms 27:13


Our faith is the stronghold of life. Our faith is the lifeline we reach for when we’ve reached the end of our rope. Our faith in God can and will support us through our darkest days and nights.

I’ve felt overwhelmed when it seems my world was falling apart. I’ve worried about the future. I’ve had moments where I’ve wondered if I’ve lived my best life, and that the remaining life I have would be less than what I wanted.

Our momentary troubles today are sometimes of our own making. We drop our phone and the screen cracks. The brakes of the car are squealing and in need of new pads. The door of our three car garage isn’t working correctly. We dig ourselves into debt that we can’t climb out of. We start a new job hoping it’s the one, but instead turns out to be worse than the one we left. When we’ve worked through our self help list and finally give God a chance, God will help us. Why not go to him first?

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33

If you’ve read Psalm 27, you know that David was in trouble. His enemies were in hot pursuit. They were closing in on him. No. He didn’t say a word against them. He turned to God, the only One who could rescue him. Instead of asking for enemies to be ruined, he asked for God’s grace and mercy to shine upon him.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2

The goodness of the Lord is nothing to laugh at. Imagine how desperate we would be if we didn’t have the promises of God to rely on. Imagine the emptiness that must set into an unbeliever’s heart. What do they hope for when what they were hoping for falls through?

God’s goodness is so extreme, yet so simple. God is still good even when life isn’t. God never changes. He is consistent. His love endures everything and lasts forever.

God’s goodness, grace and mercy continually flow, surrounding us with his presence in the midst of turmoil. Life may not always be good. But God is good. Always and forever.

We must hold firm to our belief that we will see the goodness of the Lord. God’s goodness will be evident when we step through heaven’s gates and enter his presence.

Out of the Heart

She was looking forward to spending time with her mom.  But then again, she wasn’t.  She said her mom gets mean when she is anxious or afraid.  Her mom cloaks the mean words with sarcasm and humor.  She pretends she’s joking.  As if she doesn’t mean the words she’s saying.  But she does.

And my coworker has been on the receiving end of her mother’s harmful words more times than she cares to remember.  She wants to avoid another one of those situations.  She loves her mom, but she doesn’t appreciate being the target of overly harsh words.

She said she had talked to her mom about it.  My coworker, the unbeliever, the one who never reads a Bible, said that her mom’s problem stemmed from her heart. Because, she said, you say what is in your heart.  And it’s true.  She is so right. 

But, I wonder, how did she know that to be true?  How did she learn it if she hasn’t read the Bible?  I don’t know. 


For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. Matthew 12:34


Then I think about my words.  My thoughts.  What is in my heart that I have tried to hide?  Oh.  It’s become a little clearer to me this week. I’ve been reading John Bevere’s book, “Honor Rewards”.  Every chapter has convicted me.  Not only the words that come out of my mouth need to honor others, but my thoughts do, as well.  Oh.  I know that.  But sometimes.  Sometimes, I can’t get past my thoughts turning vindictive. I realize those thoughts, or even words, are more harmful to me. They’re harming my soul’s eternity.

I know that God knows my every thought.  He knows my heart.  He knows if I really mean those mean words I say.  He knows the unkind thoughts I think.  I realize I have much work to do to clean up my heart.

I read that when we honor others, God will reward us.  I found that to be true this week.  One day at lunch, I read one of the chapters in the book.  I felt convicted about my thoughts of the people in authority over me.  I confessed my sin.  As I walked back into work, my step had a little spring in it.  I felt that my load had been lightened.  I had been unaware of how much my thoughts about others was affecting my mood.

I had been frustrated about a work situation, and I would have these imaginary conversations about it. Doesn’t everyone?  Sometimes in these imaginings, I would confront the person.  Other times, I would talk about them to others.  In my conviction, I realized that I should change my attitude and let things work out by themselves. I’m trusting God to let me know when or if the time is right for a face-to-face conversation.

Later that afternoon, I was sitting at my desk when my manager approached me.  He asked me to do the thing I had been stewing about.  The thing I had been hoping he would ask me to do. He asked. Wow.  What a little repentance will do for a person.  It will open your heart and allow God to give the blessings he has been withholding. 

I’ve learned. Obedience is always the key to heavenly rewards. My reward that day was nothing to write home about. But it sure did open my eyes to what I could be missing out on if I am not faithfully guarding my thoughts and words. God will reward an obedient heart.