Scripture reading for October 7th: James 3
Key Scriptures: James 3:5-8 “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
James understood the power of the tongue. He instructed the church in helping to bring the tongue under God’s control. Just as a bit is placed in the horse’s mouth to bring the beast under control of the rider, so we need a bridle on our tongues. A ship is a large vessel but it is guided through the waters by a small rudder. Our tongues can only successfully guide us if they are under the control of the Holy Spirit. But the untamed tongue is like a fire that can quickly spread to set on fire a whole forest or a deadly poison that poisons all it touches. Behind this untamed tongue is the fire of hell itself, says James. The deadly poison is hatred, envy, jealousy, partiality, cursing and strife. Human effort has tamed every bird and beast, but not this small entity called the tongue. Only God can bring it under control and use it to bless others and guide us through life.
James 3:9-10 “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
Faith confession and prayer: Father God, forgive me for the fires I have ignited by speaking unadvisedly and hastily. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and use me to be a blessing in my worship of You and my ministry of teaching Your Word to others. I realize the great responsibility and stricter judgment that comes from teaching Your Word.
James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
Scripture reading for October 7th: Jeremiah 25, 35, 36, 45, Psalm 133, James 3
Key Scriptures: James 3:6-10 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
James knew the power of the small tongue. He likened it to a fire, starting small but soon spreading to cover a whole life. He told how this fire was started in hell and by Satan. This fire is also like a beast that cannot be tamed. All creatures have been put under man’s dominion, but the tongue cannot be tamed. Evidence of this is that we can use our tongue to bless God and then in the same breath curse people made in God’s image. Only yielding our tongues to the Holy Spirit will tame the beast and put out the fire bringing peace and unity.
Psalm 133:1-2 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!”
Faith confession and prayer: I thank You that I can give my tongue to You as an instrument of unity and worship. Fill me with the Holy Spirit to bless Your Name and those made in Your image!
Jeremiah 35:13 “”Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction and listen to My Words? declares the Lord.””
Scripture reading for March 8: Luke 5, Psalm 49, Proverbs 18
Key Scriptures: Luke 5:17-20 “On one of those days, as He was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the roof. And when He saw their faith, He said, “Man your sins are forgiven you.”
Luke records the story of the paralyzed man who was brought to Jesus by friends on his bed. They could find no way through the crowd, so they went up on the roof and removed some covering and let the man down in front of where Jesus was teaching. Their faith moved Jesus to declare that the man was forgiven of his sin! He was also healed at Jesus’ command.
Faith Confession: Lord, I believe that You are able to heal any sickness or disease. Give me faith and boldness like the friends of the paralytic to break through to You for healing! (Action Step: Pray for someone today for a miracle of healing.)
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
Scripture reading for November 2nd: Jeremiah 34-36, James 3
Key Scriptures: James 3:6-9 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.”
James, pastor of the Jerusalem church and half-brother of Jesus Christ, loved to give practical wisdom to God’s people. He cautioned them concerning the tongue. Our speech gets us into trouble with God and others. We cannot tame the tongue ourselves. Only God by His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit can enable us to speak righteously and obey Him.
Jeremiah 35: 15 “I (God) have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying “Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers. But you did not incline your ear or listen to Me.”
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for using my tongue to do evil and harm others. Help me to listen to You and live by faith in every Word. Amen.
Scripture reading for January 18th: Matthew 12
Key Scriptures: Matthew 12:36-37 “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Words can be spoken easily and carelessly. Words are powerful and penetrate deeply into the souls and hearts of those who receive them. Words can give life and hope or words can condemn and destroy. Words set the course of our lives and the wise are careful to use words because they understand that they must answer to God!
Jesus warned His disciples about their careless use of words. He told us all that we will one day give an account for “every careless word” we have spoken! This should give us cause to stop and think before we speak! James, Jesus’ half brother, tells us, “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger”. (James 1:19) Our words will either bring us reward before the Lord’s judgment seat or cause us to be condemned and suffer great loss!
Observations for over-comers: God gave us two ears and one mouth so we should use each in proportion! “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
Scripture reading for July 8th: Proverbs 14-17
According to God’s Word, there is a definite connection between the heart and the tongue. The heart is the source of everything that the tongue speaks. The heart isn’t just the organ that pumps the life blood of a person, however. According to Jesus the heart of man is the source of “evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.” (Mark 7:21) These ungodly sins come from the heart and then the mouth speaks and directs a person into the trouble.
As we read today’s proverbs, there are several that relate to the heart and the tongue. This ancient wisdom of Solomon is relevant for us today. Proverbs 14:3 states that “a fool’s talk brings a rod to his back but the lips of the wise protect them.” “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge but the mouth of fools gushes folly.” (Proverbs 15:2) Proverbs 17:20 talks of a man with a perverse heart and a deceitful tongue. The heart and tongue lead this man into trouble and lack. Punishment awaits those with perverse hearts and lips that speak lies and folly. In fact, the Lord detests all who are proud of heart and He promises punishment! (Proverbs 16:5)
The wise person has a heart that is discerning and lips that promote instruction. (Proverbs 16:21) The wise man’s heart guides his mouth and brings forth pleasant words that are sweet to the soul and promote healing. (Proverbs 16:23-24) It is the fear of the Lord that teaches the heart wisdom, and humility brings understanding and honor. (Proverbs 15:32-33) As we think of Jesus Christ and His own life of humility and living in the fear of the Lord, we see how His heart guided his mouth. We are reminded of lips that brought healing and pleasant words of instruction. His parables came from a heart sold out to God. He only said what His father said, and did what His Father did! (John 5:19)
Do you need a new heart and a clean mouth? The good news is that a new heart is available today through Jesus Christ! He is the only one who can help you! He was totally pure in heart and perfectly obedient to the Father in order to give His life as a sacrifice for us to free us from our sins! If you will confess your sins to Him, He is faithful and just and will forgive you of your sins and cleanse your heart. Today is a great time to do just that!
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts and I will write them on their minds.” Then He adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:16-17)