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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Words"

August 15, 2007

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And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me…” Isaiah 29:13

What is your reaction to these two sentences?

1. One more baby means one more tomb.
2. Raise fewer babies but more piggies.

Most reasonable people would say those “sound bytes” are crude and tasteless. If that is what you think, the Chinese government would agree with you. According to a report from the Associated Press, the national leaders of the most populous country on earth have banned these boorish statements from being used in their “one-child” family planning program.
That’s a step in the right direction, I guess.

If I seem less than enthusiastic about this decision, it is because the step they’re taking is cosmetic. According to critics, China will continue to force abortions, sterilizations, and fines upon those who are in violation of their policies. And if you’ve ever thought your taxes were bad those who break the “one-child” rule can be fined $1,300, and this where the annual income is $130. (And, if you don’t pay your fine in three days, your home is demolished and your belongings are seized.)

The Lord might have been talking about the Chinese government when He inspired Isaiah to write about people whose tongues say the right thing, but whose hearts are far from the Lord. While it is a good thing for the Chinese to change the sound of their slogans, it would be far better if they changed their policies toward their people and the unborn. It would be best if the country’s words and actions were in harmony.

That’s something we as Christians need to remember. The Lord has told us we can’t say, “I love God” on Sunday and live a life of disobedience the rest of the week. We can’t say the prayers, sing the hymns, read the words and then have our actions show to everyone around us that those Christian words are only words.

In short, the words and actions of Christians ought to be in harmony.

We who have seen the great love of the Savior, watched His suffering and innocent death upon the cross, and are saved by His glorious resurrection should try to honor and thank Him with our words and our actions. As some of my friends say, ‘The Christ is glorified when His people walk the walk AND talk the talk of praise.” When we do that, our witness to the wonders of God’s great love is shown to be alive and real.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, send Your Holy Spirit upon us so that we may worship You in Spirit and in truth. May our lives be a harmonious word and deed witness to Your great grace. In Your Name, Amen.

Today's Bible Readings: 1 Chronicles 13-15    1 Corinthians 9

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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