The Power of the Tongue

Yesterday morning, we continued in a series entitled, Be Light – Faith in Action, as modeled in the book of James. The topic of the day was The Power of the Tongue. We began the morning by reading James 3:1-12 out loud, together, to create a common foundation and point of reference, as our Administrative Pastor, Paul Zimmerman, spoke. The three main points that he highlighted from this passage were:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1) Our words affect others. What we say has the power to change us and others, and there are always people listening.
2) Our words take us where our heart leads. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks… (Luke 6:45b)
3) Our words either build up or burn down. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
(Proverbs 18:21)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. – (James 3:9-10)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Words matter. They always have. As a writer, I think I have always been particularly sensitive to the impact of words. From a young age, I learned the power of words through reading, observing, and understanding how they made me feel – for better or worse. On our own, we will say that which we ought not to say, and harm those we long to help. So what can we do? The three take-aways from yesterday’s message were great reminders of how we can best be certain that the words we use build up, rather than burn down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            First, we must be slow to speak. James 1:19 tells us: My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. If we slow down, and think first, we are able to hear His voice, and speak the words that He has for us to say.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Next, we need to put into our heart what we want to come out of it. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8) Good in, good out; enough said.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Finally, rebuild what has been burned down. This means that we must repent when we hurt another with our words. Repentance goes beyond simply saying I’m sorry, as it is a turning away from the old patterns and moving forward into a new way of speaking. An apology is empty words if there is not a demonstrated heart change that follows.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Though a small muscle,The Power of the Tongue
such power it holds;
able to speak life,
or make a man fold.
We each have the choice,
the power to speak;
to offer great strength,
or make others weak.
Let us choose the words,
that extend His hope;
a lifeline to save,
those with no more rope.
Strength to the weary,
peace for those in pain;
may our mouths declare,
all praise to His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have the power to speak life into others. Thank You that when we are slow to speak, invest our heart in things of You and are quick to repent, others may be built up and pointed toward abundant life in You. Forgive us for the times that our words have affected others negatively and we have spoken without listening first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will slow down and listen first, trusting that You will provide that which we are meant to speak in all situations so that light and life are passed on to all. Lead us to love in such a way that others may too burn brightly in the light of Your lavish love. Be glorified O God, as we speak life to all whom we encounter. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

What’s Your Story?

What’s Your Story?   Yesterday, as we gathered together for our Sunday service, that was the morning’s topic. The question was not posed in a typical sermon format, but rather our pastor had several different people from our church come forward and share part of their own story. About six months ago, just as we began the new year, we invested together in a series called  Into the Wild. The premise of the series was all about how we are called on a journey, and as we journey it is wild, but we have His promises and His presence as we go. Each person who shared their story, spoke of a portion of the adventure God had been taking them on over the past many months. All had the common thread of His promise and His presence that they held onto, even when the path before them seemed to be unmarked, and the ground unstable. Each one, was evidence of His faithfulness, as they had walked in obedience where they had been called.

 

This morning, I caught a glimpse of the bulletin. There in the top row, sits my smiling face, waiting to tell a story. At first, I kind of complained to the Lord, as I do not have as concrete of a path as some of the stories told yesterday. The gentle nudge did not let up, so I shall attempt to speak of the story He has been writing in me, as I have willingly walked into the wild…

 

By nature, I am an introvert. To those who know me, this is no great surprise, especially if observed in a large group. Also, as a result of both environment and of choice, I had become a very closed individual emotionally, and was unwilling to allow others to see past the smile. “The Wild” for me, has been a journey of learning to be vulnerable with trustworthy individuals. Willingness to share my heart, my thoughts, my fears, my hopes – without reservation, has been both a foreign and freeing phenomenon. Though I have in no way “arrived“, there is a visible change in my willingness to be “real” with those whom I trust, and I find myself opening my heart to more people than I ever thought I would. I know that I am still wandering in this portion of wilderness, yet He is with me, leading me, guiding me, and holding my hand as I travel in trust. Greater things are yet to come, and I look forward to all that He has for me – for all of us.

 

You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. – (Acts 22:15)

 

We are His, and no one can dispute what He has done in our lives, personally. Our story, is ours. He uses what we are willing to offer. May we be His mouthpiece to touch lives and transform communities.

 

What is your story?

What has Jesus done?

The trials you’ve faced,

the battles you’ve won?

Where have you wandered?

Where has your heart been?

Has He brought you through,

time and time again?

Think of the little,

as well as the large;Your Story

He’s ever present,

wherever you are.

Every aspect,

of each of our lives;

matter to Jesus,

that is why He died.

He willingly took,

every stain and scar;

so as we journey,

we’ll know Whose we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us has a story. Thank You that our story is not a quick read, but rather one with many chapters. Thank You that our adventure into the wild does not end when You walk us through a challenging season, but rather, You call us to adventure with You our entire lives. Thank You that You are always present, and that You promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our fearfulness as we step out into the unknown. Make us courageous and strong to trust You in all things and at all times. Help us to clearly hear Your voice, so that we know which way we are meant to travel. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we live and love as an obedient offering. Be exalted, O God, through the story You are writing on our hearts. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19