20 Jun 2010
June 20, 2010
James 2: 14-26
Out Of The Mouths...Of All
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness.
We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way. We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can't draw fresh water from a salty pool.
There seems to be a time in everyone's life that we speak or misspeak. There are always words entering into others' ears. God's in heaven, or others' on earth. Be it truth or error, worship to bring glory, or it is profane. We teach when we speak. We may not be called to be teachers, but someone somewhere hears what we say, and that in and of itself is a form of teaching. We may inadvertently be overheard, or we may deliberately say something. Either way, God is still hearing our every word....voiced....or in our hearts.
What do you want God to hear? What do you say to others? Is it what you want God to hear? Are you whining? Are you attacking? Are you embracing? Are you honoring? What is your intent in what you say? Would what you say honor God and bring him glory?
The first paragraph above shows one reason why we should be careful about what we say. It declares not many should become teachers in the church because those who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness. That could be mighty painful at lifes end. It might be plenty painful right here on earth. And I need to caution those who are married. When you were married, you became one and you have a tie that binds you spiritually. When one sins, the other can receive the punishment. 'Tis true. So be very careful what you say and what you do, lest you curse your partner.
I am sure you have met along life's way, those persons who exhibit an honorable, peaceful, gentle, positive presence whom you know to be of the Lord. They are controlled in the Lord....not by the Lord, so much as they are so one with him. They will make few mistakes.
Then there are others who say vengeance is their's, and those who are born to stir up trouble, whose children are not well behaved, who walk into the church and tell you scripture is not what it says it is, who attack for the sake of attacking because they are so convinced they are right, that in their mind they fully are. Of course, they are not, but to those around them, who might know? Who might have keener discernment to know the truth? Many may not and those are the ones who will be taught....untruths. Things that are not of Christ. The people speaking in error are the ones who receive the tiny spark and set a great fire...full of wickedness and destruction...for it is set on fire by hell itself.
Be discerning, by the Holy Spirit of God, as you hear things. Ask yourself if the information given is of God, or set on fire by hell itself. Ask God about all you hear as to whether it is of him, is truth, is not of him, is a lie. Ask him if it is something you should share with another or not. Be wary as foxes in what you hear and in what you share.
James tells us that the tongue is untameable, it is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. It can be. How are you using your tongue as you speak? Are you using it to bring God glory, or is what you say making God blush or hurting him? Could you show him your love better by saying things that would bring him joy and glorify his name to others? Have you information that can heal and help? There is a fine line when you are giving educational or instructional information and just being a tattletale or a gossip. God saves. His words will, too.
'Sometimes it [the tongue] praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God.' If Christ is in us, we should speak praising our Lord and God. And if Christ is truly in us, can we really break into curses against those who have been made in the image of God? If we can, we should not. Think about what will come back. As children we were taught that for every finger pointed at someone, there are more coming back at us. Take heed.
James goes on to say that blessing and cursing comes out of the same mouth and 'Surely my brothers and sisters, this is not right!' He clearly indicates that those who are of Christ cannot/should not do what is not of Christ in the next sentences. 'Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can't draw fresh water from a salty pool.' He is alluding to being of God and being not of God. If you say you are of God and do what is in opposition to what God would have you to do, others may question whether you are truly of God or just giving lip service. It goes back to the phrase, 'if you are going to talk the talk, then you must walk the walk.' Otherwise, what will you be teaching others about who God is. Not just who God is in you, but who God is as God. You have the power to teach what he can offer the world.
The next time you choose to say something out loud, consider who is listening. God hears everything, even everything in your heart, before it becomes thought, before it becomes word. We are created in his image. Is what you are portraying to the world a vision of God? Others have gone on to accept him as their Lord and Savior and have him in them. Will you love him through them today....or slap him in the face?
Choose this day whom you will serve, honor, respect, glorify, and obey. Choose this day what you will teach the world about the ever living ever loving God, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit.
Let Us Pray
God, there are times that I do not honor you with my words. Please forgive me. And there are times when I do not choose my words carefully and may hurt you and others. Please forgive me. And Father, please forgive those who have sought to hurt you and me, by attempting to destroy what you and I together have built to help others. I am not concerned about my integrity and credibility because you are in control of my life and are watching over me. Those who truly know you will know me, and know you have sent me to help you and others. There are many of us in the world, Lord, that you have called to go forth sharing the message that you live, can live in all of us, that all can have an abundant life, if they accept you as Lord and Savior, and that they can be healed by you. It is so hard to see people wanting to be the one and only message giver. It is so hard to see that there are those who say they are in your name and do not speak for you or with you. But you, Father God, will take care of them. You will take care of those who hurt those of us who you have called. And you will blanket those you have called with your love and protection. Even when they know what they do, Father, forgive them. And Father, forgive me, too, for any, or should I say, all the mistakes I've made in my life. No one is perfect but you, and those who call you Lord, should strive to be perfect. Help me strive! Help me succeed! Success will only be measured when I've reached your arms in heaven, Lord. But Lord, let me reach your arms in heaven. So, help me do what I have to do on earth in your name for your glory to reach your arms. So that I may be called a 'good and faithful servant'. Insure in me the gift of discerment that I may not make the same mistakes I see others making. And help me step up in your name for others who cannot help themselves. Protect me all the while. And thank you God, Jesus and Holy Spirit for creating me, dying for me, and living in me. All honor and glory is yours Almighty God, Lord, and Comforter. Thank you. I love you. Amen.
Let us hear from Paul as he prays:
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT
Scroll down to read Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving...'The Unforced Rythms of Grace'.
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It is time to reach into the community and the world around you to see wherein lies the greatest need. As you choose to focus on these areas, do so with a servant's heart. Whether the need is for children, adults, or animals, or any cause in between that will help those in need, ask God how you can best serve his needs, what path you must take, and how long you should persevere. Sometimes we are to be in the lives of others merely as stepping stones. Sometimes we are to touch those lives forever. Whatever journey you are called to take, whatever team you will be a member of, know this: God is with you always...even til the end of time. He loves you, is grateful for you, and will help you along life's way, especially if you are helping others along theirs, persevering with a servant's heart.
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One last thing....
Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving
'The Unforced Rythms of Grace'
"Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work."
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father - Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen."
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11: 25-30
And the people said,
I now write most prayers in the position of ' I ' (first person) because most people are sitting at their computer alone, not in groups, and it allows those reading and praying to personalize the prayer as coming from them going to God. Variations may appear on holidays when families may wish to use the prayer provided.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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