Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Words’

The Power of the Tongue

Today’s reading is all about speech, appropriate speech and inappropriate speech. The tongue is a small member of the body, but it has great power.

My son, if your heart is wise,
then my heart will be glad,
my inmost being will rejoice
when your lips speak what is right.  ~~  Proverbs 18:20 (NIV)

Your lips can speak foolishness bringing all kinds of adverse consequences. If you speak wickedness many ills can befall you including the destruction of the city.

Flattery, slander, gossip, hurtful talk, quarreling, lying, all are condemned in today’s reading. How many of us have said something in the heat of a moment that we wished we could “un-say.”

It doesn’t happen. Once a word is spoken and heard, it is forever in the memory of the hearer.

In today’s world, our words have become filled with poison of all kinds. Then the words escalate to violence. And it all comes from venom in the heart.

The closing verse for today says:

The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.  ~~  Proverbs 18:21  (NIV)

My grandmother used to say: “Let your words be sweet and tender; you never know when you may have to eat them.”

Father, God,

Grant us the wisdom to speak only those things which are healing, uplifting, beautiful, profitable, honorable, and reverent. Help us to tame the wild tongue.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen

The Power of Words

A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.    Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. ~~ Proverbs 18:20, 21    (KJV)

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We all remember that old sing-song from childhood. But it is a lie. We have all been hurt by words at one time or another. And we have all probably said hurtful words to others as well.  Words have power. Look at the beginning of The Book. In Genesis we read “And God said….  ”    He created everything, beginning with light by speaking it forth.

And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. ~~Job 1:5   (KJV)

For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. ~~  Job 3:25   (KJV)

See the words of Job. He sacrificed for the well-being of his children. Then he confesses that he was afraid of losing them (and everything else). He didn’t know that the enemy was listening and taking all these things from him because God was allowing Satan to test Job’s faithfulness to God.

Then scripture tells us of Jesus:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   The same was in the beginning with God.   All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  John 1:1-3    (KJV)

And we are enjoined by Paul’s letter to the Ephesians….

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  ~~  Ephesians 4:29   (KJV)

Words can teach and words minister grace.

What do our words do? Do they teach or minister grace? Do they express fear rather than faith? Let us watch our words today to see that they reflect only the will of God.

Father, God,

Help us to set a seal on our lips. Fill our hearts with Your words. Grant that our words may reflect only Your words and Your heart in this world. Use our mouths to edify and minister to Your world.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

To the Victor…

And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;

Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah

Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.  ~~  Daniel 1:3-7

The conquering king took things, of course, but he also took people. Look at the people he chose:

  1. Children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;
  2. Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured,
  3. Skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science,
  4. Such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace,
  5. Whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

First, he took the children of the king and the royal families. In doing so, he took those who were admired and respected by the general populace.

Second, he wanted perfect physical specimens – no blemish – and those who were beautiful and handsome – well favored. They would be strong and attractive. They would be examples of what these conquered people could become in this new kingdom.

Third, they had to be wise and smart and curious. These are the kind of people who seem to be trainable, malleable to knew ideas.  Their acceptance of the new culture would provide an impetus for the rest of the people to follow.

Fourth, they needed to be polite and courteous, familiar with royal protocol.

Fifth, they needed to be able to learn the new language and mores of the kingdom. The new language is key, here. Words have power. They can hurt or heal, discourage or encourage. They change meanings as their usage changes. Acceptance of the new words can expedite acceptance of new social behaviors.

Our own nation has been under a similar siege. Words have changed meaning; politically correct has become the yardstick; tolerance of anything and everything (except a concept of right and wrong) is now required. We need a Daniel attitude, because we are also captive in a foreign land. Although he acquiesced to all the changes – including even a change of his name – he maintained his fidelity to God and his prayer life.

Father, God,

Help us to maintain and deepen our fidelity to You despite the influences around us. Grant us the stamina to maintain our relationship with You and our witness for You in this world. Give us the grace to see others with Your loving eyes.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

 

Guard Your Tongue

Focus verses: Psalm 141

David knew the power of words. In this psalm he asks the Lord to set a guard over his mouth and keep watch over the door of his lips.

The tongue is a small thing, but it wields enormous power. With it we can bless or curse. We can change opinions with our rhetoric. We can move nations with our oratory.

But the tongue is a treacherous member. It sometimes flies off with the quick retort or the supposedly witty repartee. Generally those quick lines are hurtful or sarcastic in order to make us look superior or smart.

David was wise in asking the Lord to set a guard over his lips. We can do the same. In addition, we can apply this sage advice.

Before you are tempted to say something ask yourself three questions.

Is it true? Can you verify it of your own knowledge? If not, don’t say it.
Is it kind? Does it put someone else in an unfavorable light? Speak only what is kind.
Is it needful? If it isn’t absolutely necessary, don’t say it.

Philippians:4:8: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Think on these things. Speak only of these things.

Father, God,

Help us to watch our speech and guard our tongues. We surrender our words to Your direction. Give us words that heal, not harm.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Focus verses: Psalm 64

David knew the importance of words. They can comfort and heal, or they can wound and kill. This is true whether on a personal level with gossip and slander, or on a business level with craft and subtlety.

God must have thought words and the tongue that speaks them quite important because David is not the only one writing about them. Look at the third chapter of James:

2: For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
3: Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
4: Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5: Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
6: And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
7: For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
8: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

We can only learn to tame our tongue and our words when we are in complete submission to Christ. It is His power that rules, not our puny mortal wills.

Father, God,
Help us to bring our tongues into line with what You would have us say. Keep us from hurting others with thoughtless or malicious words.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.