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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
Our contradictory speech often puzzles us. At times our words are right and pleasing to God, but at other times they are violent and destructive. Which of these speech patterns reflects our ture identity? We were made in God’s image, but the tongue gives us a picture of our basic sinful nature. God works to change us from the inside out. When the Holy Spirit purifies a heart, he gives self-control so that the person will speak words that please God. (NLT)
James 3:1-12 – 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.
Paul wrote, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.” — James 3:10 (NRSV)
Ramona Furst (Ontario, Canada) titled her story “THE WORDS OF OUR MOUTHS;” here is a portion of Ramona’s story:
“As a child, I struggled with reading and spelling—until I met my eighth-grade teacher, Mrs. G. Just before a spelling test one day, Mrs. G pulled me aside. ‘I wonder if you would be more comfortable spelling your words out loud while you help me decorate this bulletin board.’
“. . . Mrs. G’s compassion and sensitivity encouraged me and showed me I could succeed. In many ways she told me that she believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. No wonder the Bible reminds us that our words have the power to bless as well as curse! My life was truly blessed by Mrs. G’s loving words.
“With God’s help each of us can live out Psalm 19:14: ‘Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.’”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up” (Prov. 12:25, NIV).
Prayer: Help us, O God, to speak words of kindness and compassion. Make us sensitive to those who need to hear your love from our lips. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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