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Avoiding the Path of Misery

Italian historian Dominici de Gravina eluded to the concept of misery loves company in the 14th century. More than 200 years later in England, John Ray wrote a proverb referring to this strange attraction to misery. In the first century, the apostle Paul warns his readers about the company that you keep, 1 Corinthians 10:32. No matter how pure your intentions may be, bad character corrupts good people.

Yet let no man strive, neither let any man reprove [another—do not waste your time in mutual recriminations], for with you is My contention, O priest. And you shall stumble in the daytime, and the [false] prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother [the priestly nation]. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you that you shall be no priest to Me; seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children, Hosea 4:4-6.

At the end of his famous sermon, Jesus urges his audience to avoid going down the wrong path in Matthew 7:13-14. One Old Testament prophet blames the path of misery on a lack of knowledge and vision. Meanwhile, Jesus points to the public pressure to conform to explain why so many people end up self destructing. Subsequently, the choices you make in life will influence the path you ultimately take.

But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul, Hebrews 10:39.

When I was in high school, anytime I was miserable I made it my objective to not let anyone else have any fun. This stubborn obsession was like a dark cloud seeking to bring everyone I came in contact with down. Yet, the Bible speaks of an eternal state that is permanent. Therefore, if you find yourself heading down a path toward destruction and misery, turn to Jesus so that your faith may be preserved.

by Jay Mankus

The Fruit of Lips

 

Unless you live in the Bible belt, portions of the south or in a friendly neighbor, an encouraging word is a rare sound.  Rather, misery loves company, spreading negativity into the air, leaving a trail of carnage in its wake.  In this current environment, the fruit of lips is disappearing.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name, Hebrews 13:15.

To combat harsh comments during the first century, the author of Hebrews suggests praising God can turn a foul mouth into the fruit of lips.  However, you still have to overcome any influences which alter your choice of words.  The term continually is added to insure this practice is consistent, not something here today and gone tomorrow.  Change takes time and making praise a habits will lead to a transformed vocabulary.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption, Ephesians 4:29-30.

The apostle Paul discovered that unwholesome talk grieves the Holy Spirit.  If the church is one body composed of many parts, any comment toward someone you don’t like or related to is like slapping God is the face, the Creator of life.  Therefore, to avoid failing into this trap, replace curses with praise.  Then, you will emulate the fruit of lips.

by Jay Mankus

Feeling Better Now?

Misery loves company is a timeless expression which applies to nearly every generation.  Beside the Great Depression, a period forcing individuals to buckle up and bear down,  there is something comforting about discovering your life isn’t as bad as you first thought.  After complaining, moping and venting to others, sometimes this is all you need to do to feel better.

Such is the case in Psalm 88, where one of the sons of Korah airs his frustrations.  Sounding like an individual wrestling with depression, the gloom and doom, woe is me attitude can be felt by his troubling words.  Thus, as I read this chapter today, God gave me a new perspective on my own life.  Sure, I may not be where I want to be as an individual, professional and servant of Christ, but God has rescued me from the bitter pill of despair.

Like the double rainbow that appeared over the skies of Newark, Delaware last night, the flood has ceased and the sun is about to shine!  Don’t allow your own circumstances to block you from seeing the light, the positive.  Rather, claim the words of Psalm 88:13, believing that God will come to your side.  May God ease your pain, providing joy and peace to help you feel better now!

by Jay Mankus

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