"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
January 30, 2019
I daresay that most of us are familiar with James chapter three about controlling the tongue. This probably isn't a passage of scripture that many memorize, but it is something that they've read or heard. I encourage you to read the entire chapter for yourself.
For today I would like to focus on verses 9-12 (NLT): "Sometimes it (our tongue) praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses 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? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can't draw fresh water from a salty spring."
In the Passion Translation, verses 9-10 say it like this: "We use our tongue to praise God our Father and turn around and curse a person who was made in His very image! Out of the same mouth we pour out words of praise one minute and curses the next. My brothers and sisters, this should never be!"
I believe that many times we read those verses and think, "I don't curse people... I don't cuss..." in an attempt to excuse ourselves and not really take to heart how important our words truly are. But what we say about others really is important; and not only our words, but our attitude and thoughts towards other people.
A while back I had a dream, that is a great example of this. There were three ministers in my dream, but honestly who the men were had nothing to do with the message of the dream. I will call them by their first names, just to simplify things.
In the dream I was David's sister and he kept referring to me to everyone as "my fat sister" and would make comments like, "You should see how big she is! She is so fat!" I went to Mexico where he was ministering and was walking with him and his son to this remote village in the mountains. He was in great shape and was walking at a fast pace, due to being used to the climate and terrain. I prayed and asked God to give me supernatural energy and stamina to keep up, because I couldn't do it on my own; and God answered. When we arrived, David told me not to say or do anything, so I quietly went over to where some kids were and began holding babies and praying over them and they began getting healed. After we got back to David's home, his son asked him why he had dishonored me and shown me such disrespect. He responded that he hadn't, but his son told him that had it been anyone else, he would have taken the time to stop and rest and gone at a slower pace; but he had been trying to prove a point about how I was out of shape and overweight.
Then my dream jumped to where I was in some foreign country with David and he was preaching at this huge gathering. Once again, he told me not to say or do anything to draw attention to myself. There were two other ministers, Bill and Kris, there and they heard how David continued to call me his fat sister and say derogatory things about my size. They asked me, "Why do you not defend yourself and tell him to stop? Why are you staying silent" I responded by saying, "Because if I say something, he will only think that I'm trying to justify my size and not take it to heart. For there to be a lasting change, the Holy Spirit is going to have to speak to him about how his words affected others." As the service progressed, people around where I was sitting began being healed as I quietly prayed for them; more so than those whom he was praying for.
The Holy Spirit then spoke to David and said, "Your words are making her fat! It's not what she is or isn't eating... it isn't because she doesn't exercise like you do.... it is the words that you speak over her that have made her fat and are keeping her that way. If you want to see her change, then you have to change your words!"
I believe that this dream has a lot of truth in it, and that it was God-given. We can try to defend ourselves or say something to change others, but really until that person is convicted by the Holy Spirit and the truth revealed to them regarding the changes that need to take place, then they aren't going to be in a place where they truly see the need. They will think that you are justifying your own behavior or are being judgmental or that you are the one in need of change. Only the Holy Spirit can speak truth in a way that brings conviction and opens a person's eyes to see that there is something within themselves that need to be changed. For transformation to be lasting, then that person has to come to that place where they see the error of their ways and repent; then it will be effective and lasting.
I also believe that our words have a far greater impact on people than what we could ever imagine. For some reason, we are hurt by the words of others; but often we fail to see how our own words impact people, can cause hurt, and can bring about "curse" due to the nature of what we are speaking over them.
Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
The Passion Translation says it like this: "Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life, and the talkative person will reap the consequences."
Wow! Our words have so much power! They can either bring blessing or cursing, life or death. Perhaps we should be more careful about what comes out of our mouth!
Ever hear "Wow! Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" Well, no. Actually, I wasn't raised kissing relatives, so think the idea is pretty icky. I think it'd be a little more appropriate to say, "Wow! Do you praise God with that mouth?"
I find it amazing how easily some people can be friendly with someone one minute, then as soon as they leave, start insulting them. Hypocrisy that bold is pretty obvious, except maybe to the one doing it.
But sometimes it's much more subtle than that. It can even be as subtle as asking for prayer for poor so-and-so, whose spouse is cheating on them, or for the friend who can't stop cursing.
It really comes down to whether it is meant as a curse or as a blessing. Are we asking for prayer for someone to encourage them, or to pity them.
Cheesy Potato and Ham Soup
6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
6-8 carrots, chopped
1/2-1 pound ham, small cubes or shredded
4 stalks celery, chopped
1/2-3/4 box Velveeta cheese
In a large soup pan put the potatoes and vegetables; cover with enough water to cover and cook until getting soft. Add ham and Velveeta. Add chicken broth to make plenty of liquid. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until Velveeta is melted. Add or decrease ingredients to make amount of soup desired. Leftovers heat well.
As a kid, I remember sometimes at bed time Daddy would put a couple records on the record player for us to listen to as we fell asleep. Now, I wonder if he did so because he really enjoyed it, or if it was because when we had records on we girls wouldn't talk so much. Actually, all of my family loved music. We generally listened to southern gospel quartet music, which I still love. The 4-part harmony is unbeatable.
The past few days I've been listening to some of those old groups that I grew up listening to on YouTube. It has brought back such good memories, but has also been such good medicine for my soul.
It's hard to get life out of a situation we've cursed with our tongue.
Today you have the power to mark the circumstances in front of you with death or life. - Bill Johnson
We love you!
Loretta & Jon