Straight to the Heart


Speaking Life-Giving Words to One Another

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life…The lips of the righteous feed [or shepherd] many…” (Proverbs 10:11, 21, ESV)


At a recent meeting, a number of us were asked what we had been reading. One of the brothers was reading Scottish Puritans: Select Biographies. He shared with us James Fraser’s twelve rules for ordering his conversations. I found it to helpful, so I used the rules this Sunday in our sermon on “Taming the Tongue” from Proverbs. Since so many of you asked for them, I offer them below. I have updated some of the language and added applicable Proverbs under each rule. You may find these twelve rules in his Memoirs of the Reverend James Fraser of Brea, Scotland 1798.


1st Rule: Speak nothing sinful: lying, cursing, scolding, backbiting, gossip, slander – anything that dishonors God or neighbor.

  • Proverbs 13:3 | “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”

2nd Rule: Speak no idle words: will what I profit or is it vain, empty?

  • Proverbs 25:11 | “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

3rd Rule: Speak not much.

  • Proverbs 10:19 | “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”

  • 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.”

4th Rule: Speak soberly both as to matter and to manner: not loud, obnoxious.

  • Proverbs 27:14 | “Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing.”

5th Rule: Speak not rashly or hastily.

  • Proverbs 29:20 | “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

6th Rule: Speak weightily, seriously

  • Proverbs 26:18-19 | “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, ‘I am only joking.’”

7th Rule: Speak in Faith: do you know, believe what you’re saying?

  • Proverbs 12:22 | “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”

8th Rule: Speak Prayerfully: have you prayed about what you will say?

  • Proverbs 15:29 | “The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.”

9th Rule: Speak timely and purposefully

  • Proverbs 15:23 | “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is.”

10th Rule: Speak in Fear – keep a bridle in your mouth

  • Proverbs 8:13 | “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”

11th Rule: Do not let your neighbors’ faults be the subject of your talk, even if true.

  • Proverbs 16:24 | “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

12th Rule: Speak not of yourself or your worth.

  • Proverbs 16:18 | “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Grace & peace,

Who do you say that Jesus is?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5, ESV)
Everyone has a Jesus! And most everyone esteems him. For the Hindus, Jesus was an incarnation (avatar) of the Hindu gods; Buddhists believe Jesus was a wise teacher and excellent moral example; Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet but nothing more; Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus was the first created being through whom all things were made; and Latter Day Saints (Mormons) believe that Jesus is God’s son (physical offspring), who through obedience to Mormon teachings attained godhood.
Since everyone has a Jesus, the critical question is not, “Do you believe in and esteem Jesus?”, but, “Which Jesus do you believe in and esteem?” The purpose of John’s gospel is to give evidence that Jesus of Nazareth, as presented in the Christian Scriptures, is “the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). For this very reason John begins his gospel by identifying Jesus.

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Ask and It Will Be Given to You

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5, ESV)
Charles Spurgeon was a confident prayer warrior. Reflecting on prayer, he said:

“Oh, that every Christian enterprise were commenced with prayer, continued with prayer, and crowned with prayer! Then might we also, expect to see it crowned with God’s blessing. So once again I remind you that our Saviour’s example teaches us that, for seasons of special service, we need not only prayers of a brief character, excellent as they are for ordinary occasions, but special protracted wrestling with God like that of Jacob at the brook Jabbok, so that each one of us can say to the Lord, with holy determination, ‘With thee all night I mean to stay, And wrestle till the break of day.’ When such sacred persistence in prayer as this becomes common throughout the whole Church of Christ, Satan’s long usurpation will be coming to an end, and we shall be able to say to our Lord, as the seventy disciples did when they returned to him with joy, ‘Even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.’”


Such confidence in prayer flows from an understanding of what the Lord Himself teaches us about prayer in Scripture.

We are His children (Matthew 7:7-11)

: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Jesus glorifies the Father by answering prayers offered in His name (John 14:13-14)
. “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

When we are living in God’s will, our prayers will be answered. John 15:7 (ESV) – “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” 1 John 3:21-22 (ESV)

– “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”
If we ask according to God’s will, He hears us (1 John 5:14)
. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
If He hears us, then we have what we ask for (1 John 5:15)
. “And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

These are not all the Scriptures that should give us confidence in prayer, but they are sufficient for our consideration and contemplation. It is amazing to consider that we are children of the living God who came to the Father through the Son. Since the Father delights in His one and only Son, He also delights in us who have been adopted through the Son. And if He does not withhold any good thing from His Son, He will not withhold any good thing from us. After all, He has already given us the greatest treasure—Jesus Christ, the beloved. Why would He withhold anything else? So let us pray with confidence in our great and gracious God.


Juan Sanchez

Juan Sanchez (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. In addition, Juan serves as a council member of The Gospel Coalition, co-founder and president of Coalición, assistant professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. He has authored numerous books, including 1 Peter for You and Seven Dangers Facing your Church. Juan and his wife, Jeanine, have five daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren.
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