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The Pilgrim Path (9-18-2020)

The Pilgrim Path---Proverbs 17: 27, 28

“Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”

RESTRAINT OF WORDS

When I was in the 10th grade, I would walk past the town house that belonged to Dean Rusk (he had been Secretary of State under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson). Secretary Rusk was teaching international law at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens ( 1970—1984). Looking back, I really loved politics. You live in a state with 159 counties---you must know that Boss Hogg is alive and well (and looking for new souls to serve him). Well, I figured I should prepare to enter politics in some form or fashion. One of my favorite female friends’ (Tara), dad was a professor of Political Science at the university---I was so impressed by him! And, since most of the politicians I read about had law degrees--- I would just hang on and try to get in law school after undergrad. In the sweet providence of God, the LORD’S plans were far better and more satisfying than my own. I did get a “run” at politics. In my first church, no one wanted to stand for the alderman’s position in the Ward where I lived. I asked my Church Session if they would mind if I pursued the seat? They said, “you go ahead---You need that experience!” The Republican Primary was closed. I ran as a Democrat. I ran unopposed. I received 17 votes out of a possible 170 (I only needed one vote). Some of the hardest work I ever did for around $126.00 dollars a month. Yet, some soul-enriching times with some wonderful people. Thanks Be to God. We pray and press on.

Politics is something I have tended to pay attention to for over 47 years. Politics are messy and awash with money and deceit. It takes very humble and steadfast Christians to remain involved in the “machine” of legislative endeavor and at the same time, navigate human corruption (their own---and that which goes on about them). We must pray fervently for those engaged in this most vital civic enterprise.

What has struck me the last several years is that “so-called” conservative evangelicals, once in positions of power, can be as acrimonious, caustic, damning, and vilifying of others--- as any of their so-called opponents might have ever been when they were in power. This is wrong and will never be blessed by the LORD. It is as though words do not matter anymore. We also say things in the Political Arena---and then contradict them categorically? We are supposed to be people of truth. Well, this is not going away. We must ask the LORD for discernment based upon Holy Scripture (not talking heads on Fox News or CNN). We must also personally begin to restrain our own words. The Holy Spirit says that people might believe we are wise if we talk less. You must think of James when you ponder the tongue. How does he put it? “…no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3: 8). Please come LORD Jesus Christ, Master my mouth each day---aid me in this most significant project!

The late Governor of Texas, John Connally, used to say of his friend President Lyndon Johnson: “That man can talk more---and say less, than any man I have ever known.” Wow---what a testimony to give about your own buddy (and he meant it).

“Unless our faith makes us pine after holiness and pant after conformity to God, it is no better than the faith of devils, and perhaps it is not even so good as that.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“If you are fighting sin, you are alive. Take heart. But if sin holds sway unopposed, you are dead no matter how lively this sin makes you feel. Take heart, embattled saint.” John Owen

Proverbs 19: 1---“Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.”

John 17: 17, 18---“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

FROM The Psalter, 1912

Almighty God, Thy Lofty throne

Has justice for its cornerstone,

And shining before Thy face

Are truth and love and boundless grace.

With blessing is the nation crowned

Whose people know the joyful sound;

They in the light, O LORD, shall live,

The light Thy face and favor give.

Grace and Peace in Jesus Christ Our Risen LORD, Pastor Jason