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A Wisdom Retreat - July 22

Under the Hood

Ephesians 4:29
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Gary Graff, a pastor in Lancaster, Minnesota, tells a story of something that happened to his friend. After shopping at the mall all day, the man walked out to his car, only to smell a foul odor coming from beneath the hood. Upon lifting the hood, he discovered the body of a cat that had been caught in the fan (cat lovers, I offer my condolences!).

In disgust, the man stared at the mess, not knowing what to do. He decided to place the remains in an empty shopping bag. After closing the hood, he walked back toward the mall to wash his hands. As he neared the entrance, he looked back and noticed something unusual happening. He watched as a middle-aged woman approached his car, looked around, then grabbed the bag he had tied and left on top of the car. He stood in shock as she walked quickly past him, hurrying into the mall. This was too good to be true! He followed her.

She went into a restaurant and sat down in a private booth. Once seated, she untied the knot to survey her stolen prize. As soon as she opened the bag and saw the dead cat inside, she screamed—and promptly fainted! Of course, the management was alarmed that a customer had fainted in the restaurant, and paramedics were called. In no time, the woman was strapped to a gurney and rolled outside. The "owner" of the cat bag couldn't resist: he took the bag from the booth and just as the woman was being loaded into the ambulance, ran over and said, "Hey lady, don't forget your bag!" Then he laid the bag on top of her.

As humorous as this story is, it reminds me of many people I know—people who look shiny and clean on the outside, but once the hood is opened, the rotten smell assaults our noses. In fact, our mouths are like that, revealing what's inside . . . they're a window of our heart.

In Luke 6:45, Christ says, "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart." One of the greatest distinctives between believers and unbelievers should be the way we speak.

If God has truly redeemed us, His Spirit has given us the power to live holy lives. We have no excuse for gossip, lies, crude jesting, cursing, or taking the Lord's name in vain. These are the marks of heart defiled, rotten . . . not redeemed.

Do you have decayed remains under the hood? Open your mouth—examine your heart—start changing your vocabulary . . . today!

Prayer Point: Pray that God will give you renewed conviction about your conversation so you will become more aware of the damage and power that lie in your words. Admit your need to a friend and ask him to hold you accountable to speak only wholesome words.

Extra Refreshment: Read James 3.

Wisdom for the Heart online

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