Are we there yet?

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There will come that moment(s) when one must act on what they have heard. There can be no excuses or reasons why there is no follow-through. With the call made, God is looking for the proper response. Are we there yet?

Samuel, young and inexperienced, but dedicated to God as a gift from his mother Hannah (1 Samuel 1:20-28), and dedicated in heart by what he already knew (1 Samuel 2:18, 26), did not yet know what it truly was to hear the voice of God (1 Samuel 3:7).  After several attempts to gain his attention (1 Samuel 3:4-8), Eli instructed Samuel how to respond to the Lord when he hears his name called again (1 Samuel 3:9).

That moment was not long in coming when we read: “And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:10).

I must ask, are we there yet?  Are we at a place in our spiritual walk that when the Lord calls us to service, will we, or can we respond as Samuel did, saying, “Speak; for thy servant heareth”?

The word “hear” in the Bible is not merely to be done by the action of listening.  But, to hear in the Bible is to be followed by the act of obeying.  Jesus said, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” (Matthew 7:24).

Are we there yet?  Are we ready to not only listen to God’s Word from all these modern resources available to us – but are we ready also for the follow-through that demands our attention to act on what we have just heard?

Jesus, Himself, let us know, “He that is of God heareth God’s words…” (John 8:47).  And in another verse, James teaches us to “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

Churches may fill on Sundays, and many may gather around the religious programs and streaming services, but how much of what we hear are we applying to our lives?  To our homes?  To our growth?  To our walk with the Savior?

“Speak; for thy servant heareth.”  Whatever the words he would hear that day, Samuel was ready for the follow-through as well.  He was not going to be a reservoir, merely holding the word in reserve.  When he said, “Speak; for thy servant heareth” he was ready to act upon what he heard.

Are we there yet?  Do not be that one in the crowd that claims they want to hear from God and then does not do what He speaks.  Be that one, that when He speaks, our hearts, mind, and feet are ready to go into action.

Where will it lead?  Who knows?

Can we receive everything we hear?  It may be hard at times.

Are we prepared for the answers?  We may not understand them all.

Will we know every avenue we are asked to walk down?  Probably not, but walk, we must: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

“Speak; for thy servant heareth.”  Are we there yet?

Father God, we pray not only for ears that will hear Your word and hearts to understand, but we also pray for feet that will follow, in Jesus’ name, AMEN!

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.

“Your Hearts Shall Live!”

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“And you who seek God, your hearts shall live,” Psalm 69:32

How many go through their day complacent in the status quo?  No passion for life.  No zeal for better.  Just run the ordinary course of the ordinary life jogger, following the crowd, content with a heart that’s just beating but not alive.

A heart that is alive thrills at the unknown.  A heart that is alive craves to pump its life source throughout every crevice of its being.  Those who seek for God are not content with just the rhythmic beat of every other man.  It wants to thump against the chest wall to express the life that lives in it.

When one seeks God it stirs up something on the inside of them.  It stirs a wanting of more.  Kind of like a first love.  You seek to be near that person or to simply hear their voice.  When contact is made it makes the heart beat a little faster and you feel alive!  God promises those that look for Him with that same passion your hearts shall live.  Your heart will tell a story all its own about the love that dwells in it for the one you seek.

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” (John 10:10).  He wants hearts alive; hearts that live for seeking Him more and more.  From that they will reap not the status quo rather an abundance of life that flows from Him.  If the beat of your heart is a little slower these days, or your faith is not getting as excited as it used at the first, check to see who or what you have been seeking after.  It may be that you have been looking for love, acceptance and passion everywhere but the right place.  But, we have this promise, “you who seek God, your hearts shall live!”

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.

Your Heart Wants God

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Many hearts walking around today want God.  Feeling void without Him, they fill it with things they think can satisfy the longing deep within.

More and more, the search goes on to try this and that to fill the place only God can fill.  Attempt after attempt is made to try something, anything, that will occupy the space called your heart.

Friend, this is where God wants to be.  Successes, things, and even people will never be able to do for you what God can do.  All the things we try to put in place and accept into that sacred space of our hearts, outside of Him, will never last, will never fill, and will never bring you to the peace you are truly seeking.

Your heart wants God.  Your heart will never be happy with anything or anyone else. You may not completely understand how it all works, what it all means, or what this is all supposed to look like, but your heart wants God.

All you have to do is invite Him into that sacred space. Yes, you may have questions, and for some of those questions, there may not be an immediate answer revealed to you. But take that simple first step of faith, and trust God enough to let Him come into your life with His love and saving plan even if you do not immediately have all the answers to the questions you are looking for.

Your heart wants God, and Jesus gave us this promise: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20).

Your heart wants God, and all you have to do is open the door and let Him in.  If you do, Jesus said, “I will come in to him.”  He loves you, and in your heart is where He wants to be.

Your heart wants God, and God wants your heart. Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37).

Even if you do not understand everything, the Bible encourages us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6).

Today, with all sincerity of heart, look to God.  “Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” (Lamentations 3:41).  “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:22).

Jesus is the only way you will ever find to get to God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus is the only answer and plan for our spiritual healing. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16, 17).

Today, your heart can have what it genuinely wants.  Turn to God through Jesus Christ and be saved.  Let Him fill your heart as only He can. “For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.” (Psalm 33:21).

“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8

Above image by rony michaud from Pixabay

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No Stale Salvation

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“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22, 23

We have no stale salvation.  God’s mercies are renewed in our lives daily.  Daily we experience the freshness of His grace.

Every day, when our eyes open, they open for us to walk in the newness of this life Jesus gave us (Romans 6:4).

Every day when we rise, we rise with freedom as our anthem for the day (Galatians 5:1).

Every day when our mouths open, they should open in praise (Isaiah 25:1) because our hearts should never be exhausted in worshipping the One who has blessed us with this life and that more abundantly (John 10:10).

Do not become stagnant regarding the awesomeness of what God has done for you.  Do not become so used to this great grace in such a way that you brush it off, toss it aside, or treat it in a lackadaisical manner.  Do not become so comfortable with His goodness that you no longer appreciate with wonder the extraordinary gift you have received.

This is no stale salvation.  God’s mercies are renewed over us daily, and daily we should recognize with awe and wonder the miraculous transformation God has made in our lives.

Never stop appreciating where God brought you from.  As He refreshes your soul daily, daily He ought to receive our honor, our praise, our thankfulness, our gratitude, our adoration, and our everything for the awesomeness He has worked in our lives!

Our salvation is the greatest thing we could ever receive.  Daily we are blessed to walk in it.  Do not neglect the freshness of this great treasure.

For, God gives us no stale salvation.  Jesus is our “well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14), always flowing over us and through us daily.  In Christ, we are never without the freshness of His life in us.  In Him, we are always satisfied and never thirst.  Nor shall we ever hunger for the Father fills us daily with that bread of life (John 6:35).

This is no stale salvation, and we ought not to treat it as such.  Do not neglect this great salvation (Hebrews 2:1-3).  Take great care in appreciating the fullness of all God does for you daily.

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.

The Tragedy of Unbelief

 

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“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:19

Standing at the crosswalk, we are ready to go forward. All we are waiting for is the signal that gives us the all-clear, telling us it is safe to walk ahead. The choice is up to us to follow the directions of the signal or ignore it and place ourselves in harm’s way.

The Children of Israel had a chance to move forward into something great that God had in store for them. It was a land of promise. God had given them the all-clear. God said, “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel…” (Numbers 13:2; emphasis added). 

The promise was there, clearly spoken by God, that this is what He was doing for His people. He was giving them this land. No, if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. He didn’t send a delegation for debate. He sent them to see what was ahead for them. That was their signal to move forward.

There are promises galore written in the Holy Word of God. Promises of futures unimaginable. But, the sad reality for many is to come to the end of their life never obtaining those promises. Never understanding or knowing what it truly feels like to experience the riches of God’s grace.

Sadder still is not only coming to the end of one’s life having never experienced the greatness God has in store for His children – but, when one faces their eternity, they are told of that glorious place of promise, that they may not enter in.

Unbelief caused the children of Israel to forfeit their first attempted entrance into the Promised Land (Hebrews 3:7-11, 15-19). A land they looked forward to while they suffered under the bondage of slavery. A place of fulfillment their souls longed not only to see but to live in, and experience, and enjoy.

When they decided not to take hold of God’s promise for themselves, they decided to say no to His goodness until it was too late.

Today, many are walking opposite of the promise of God, and His name is Jesus. Jesus Christ is the greatest testimony of promise there ever is or was. He is the greatest gift of deliverance a soul could ever hope for and need. Yet, through unbelief, many say no, and walk away, being turned back into the wilderness to fight the elements alone and miss out on what could have been.

Walking away from an earthly promise is one thing. Truthfully, when the children of Israel found out what they had given up, they quickly wanted to change their minds (Numbers 14:40-45). 

But can I tell you that walking away from an eternal promise is a tragedy far, far worse. Turn to Jesus today while there is still time. While the door is open, Jesus is inviting you to enter His rest both now and for all eternity. He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Today, your promise awaits. Jesus is signaling you to walk forward.     

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God’s Covering Love

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“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

Song of Solomon 2:4

Like a mother bird shelters her little ones under her wings for safety so too does the Lord for us His people.

Father God is for you today. And, His banner over you is love (Song of Solomon 2:4). In His saving grace, you are covered and protected, held and loved as the apple of His eye.

There is no greater treasure our Father could want other than your heart. How freely will you render your all to Him when you know how truly loved you are by God?

Draw near and stay in His shelter today. Do not let your feet or your heart move you from underneath that blessed covering.

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.

Carry the Light

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“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Help me to carry Your light with me throughout
this day. Let Your brilliance and the radiance of
all you are permeate my very being. In my daily
conversation, let all of who You are, which has
been poured into my life, be a witness with a holy
outflow.

Let my life speak for You. Not just in words, for
man hears much of that these days. But let the
steps I take throughout this day, be filled with the
very love, power, Spirit, and light You have shown
me – may I express it all with the fulness of heart
toward others in the paths I travel toward our
eternal destiny.

The best of me is the Christ in me, and I want to
let Him shine in my life.

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.

Except the LORD build the house…

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“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” Psalm 127:1

Except the LORD builds the house, then, my friend, the labor you put forth is in vain. The key to any strong structure is the foundation, and unless the LORD be thy foundation in all things, whatever you hope to bring forth in your own strength will all be for nothing.

This life was never meant to be lived in our own strength or by our own wisdom and planning. The Bible is quick to remind us: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” (2 Corinthians 3:5).  

How many times do we rest upon what “ourselves” can bring to the plan? Is it not Christ who chose “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13) and made them vessels that would carry His gospel message throughout the world? And did not Paul teach us: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)?

The Architect of this world is also the Architect of your life, and if you allow Him, He can build there something fantastic and wonderful. 

His plans are never about your sufficiency or what you can do – it is all about what He can do through you. Let God build, and your labor will not be in vain.

Father God, not only in our homes, but in our lives, in our ministries, and in everything and every place you have set us, and wherever we may seek to build – we pray for Your guiding hand and leading heart that we build only what and where You would have us to build. You are Sovereign God. You are in control of all of these and all of us. And we pray that it is You that build in our lives and that You would help us to build. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, AMEN!

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Sunday School Lesson – “4 Ways to Use Words Better” James 3:1-12; Isaiah 50:4

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Our words are powerful!  As this lesson shows, they can be used to hurt or to heal; to edify or to tear down.  James wants us to choose life with the words that we speak.

VERSE DISCOVERY: James 3:1-12; Isaiah 50:4 (KJV, Public Domain)

Simon says, “Close your mouth!”  We all know the game.  Whatever Simon tells us to do, we do it lest we fear being counted out.  Oh, if only it were that easy to take command of some of our loose actions in life, such as ones that regard the mouth.  And yet, throughout the Bible, we are commanded to use our speech patterns in healthy and productive ways.  Not to be instruments for destruction and tearing one another down.

There is so much power bound up in the way that we talk.  Proverbs 18:21 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Whatever is produced from our lips generates fruit.  Stuff grows, for the good or the bad, from what we say.

James is admonishing us to be mindful of the words that come out of our mouth for with them we can lift someone’s day, or we can emotionally kill them. 

What we say makes a difference in the lives of others.  Our mouths are vessels of influence. 

James 3 unpacks the truth of the power of the tongue and how people of faith should be cautious in how they unleash it. 

Using Isaiah 50:4 as a companion Scripture with those found in James 3, this lesson will uncover four ways all of us can strive to use our words better.

 1. Realizing the Weight of Your Words

James 3:1 “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

At the beginning of this lesson, I believe this is where many of us drop the ball, so to speak, in trying to improve our speech patterns toward others.  Many do not realize the weight of the words they speak and the impact those very words can have on the hearers.  Even if one is not trying to be purposely offensive, they would do well to think before speaking, asking oneself if the words that are about to come out of my mouth, necessary and/or helpful.  This step none can overlook, whether they are leaders or laypeople.  The responsibility of our words is just that, our responsibility.

So, starting with the leaders, James teaches, “Be not many masters.”  When it comes to bearing any title of leadership, often many will focus on prestige and tend to overlook the responsibility that comes with the job.  The Bible warns us, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48).  There is a higher level of accountability for “masters” or “teachers.”  Those endued with the power to magnify the gospel in such a way must be particularly careful in how they use words.

Words are powerful and need to be measured out carefully.  One of the devices that Jesus’s enemies tried to employ against Him was to catch or trap Him in what He said.  Matthew 22:15 says, “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.”  One’s words can testify for or against an individual.  “Masters” and those in leadership carry the added weight of accountability for their words for the increased impact they can make.

This office is not to be taken lightly, for James said, “Knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”  At this level, there is a higher standard of living expected for the one who bears the title, and James included himself in this by saying, “we”.  Proverbs 10:11 says, “The mouth of the righteous man is a well of life.”  Those who belong to God and work at sharing His word must especially be careful that what is coming out of them is speaking “life” to the ears of the hearers (more on this later).

James 3:2 “For in many things we offend all.  If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” 

In your mind, raise your hand if you have ever messed up or “offend” another.  One of the easiest ways to “offend” and harm another is through the mouth.  People often speak rashly in the heat of the moment and without carefully considering the impact their words have on another.  These emotional outbursts cause us to come up with phrases like “My mouth ran away with me” and so forth.  On those occasions, the use of the mouth was not employed as a tool for edifying, rather just the opposite.

But the one that can control his speech is considered “a perfect man.”  Since the tongue is often known as “running away” on its own, the one that exercises great restraint over this defiant member is considered “able also to bridle the whole body.”  It is the taming of what some view as being untamable.   He or she who can moderate or put limits on something so difficult to deal with can often show great restraint in other areas of life.  “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth His life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction,” is what we find in Proverbs 13:3a.  If one can keep their mouth under control, they can often hold tight elsewhere, avoiding destructive patterns that would work to tear them down.

In both verses quoted above, we see the weight of words and their impact is the sole responsibility of the one speaking, regardless of their title or not.  What we say out of our mouths carries so much with it and, it would behoove us to use our words wisely, chew on it a bit before we say it, and think critically, if what we are about to say is needful for that particular moment.

2. Learn to Tame the Tongue

James 3:3-4 “Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths,  that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.  Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.”

James gives us the best possible illustrations on the power of the tongue by referencing it to two things his readers, as well as modern-day readers, can easily understand.  Through these two examples: one of a horse and another of a ship, James shows that man has, down through the years, discovered ways to bring these powerful objects under control.  For the horse, it is using a “bit” in its mouth and, for a ship, “a very small helm.” 

Both instruments are used for controlling other things.  They both direct the course of which way the operator wants each to go, be it a rider or “the governor.”  Both are great examples of how these large, and strong objects, can be made to comply with the will of the one who is controlling that little, vital piece.  If there are these little things that can move great objects into obeisance at its master’s will, what more of the little tongue?

James 3:5-6 “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”

Just as those little instruments are applied to the horse and ships, the body has a little thing that tries to control it also: “the tongue.” 

First, it “boasteth great things.”  The tongue edifies itself.  It magnifies the capabilities of its owner whether or not they really can do something.  The tongue is swollen with pride.  Have you ever seen an owner walk a little tiny dog with the biggest yipper on it, tugging and tugging the leash?  Or have you walked past a yard to the tune of relentless barking thanks to a peewee-sized dog?  These little ones are tenacious in letting you know who they are.  These pint-sized sweeties have no problem in letting the world know that they are here, and they mean business.

Our tongues often act in the same way.  It is so small, and it has so much to bark about.  Yet, this barking, used in a nonproductive and selfish way, makes a lot of noise, and can lead to great destruction.

Secondly, James taught, “how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire.”  It only takes a small flame to bring on a raging inferno.  I often watch coverage on the news of fires that burn uncontrollably.  They are huge.  They are massive walls of orange-red destruction, eating and devouring everything in its path.  But they never start out that big.  Their origin is relatively small in comparison to the size they have grown to be.

James said, “And the tongue is a fire.”  The tongue can be the source of destruction that wreaks havoc on the things that get in its way.  It can chop and devour until it has consumed some with sorrow and some with despair when wrongly used.  The tongue can lash out and cause irreparable damage to the ears of its hearer if not used properly.

James described it as “a world of iniquity.”  Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”  A lot of running off at the mouth gives many opportunities for sin to rear its ugly head.  When the tongue is let loose, it lashes about without regard for hurt, feelings, or the devastation it leaves behind.  Like a whirling tornado, it ravishes, spinning around and around in sinfulness, wiping out all in its path.

Without restraint, all it knows how to do is upheaval.  Without being restrained, the tongue “defileth the whole body.”  Jesus taught, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh,” (Luke 6:45).  With that, we see that whatever comes out of the mouth, gives evidence to what already resides in the heart or the “body.” 

James 3:7-8 “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

Man, through the blessed ingenuity that God has given him, has developed ways to tame just about everything.  Yes, our lesson focuses on the taming of animals and birds, right down to the taming of serpents.  But, when we think about it, man has been able to take control of or tame many more things.  Since the Bible days, man has even found ways to harness energy through many means, including using the sun’s power.  Man has developed many ways to use the power of nature, such as wind and water, to harness their energies to benefit humanity.

Though he has been able to do so many feats (think of all the inventions through the years), the Bible says, “the tongue can no man tame.” It speaks to the “unruly evil” that it truly is.  It testifies to the power that it holds in its little self.  It is liken as being “full of deadly poison.”  Its work can destroy to the point of no return.  No wonder James’s warning is so strong and so severe.  Christians must learn how to put reins on this evil and stop its destructive ways.

Taming the tongue begins with not only monitoring one’s mouth but the things in the heart.  For the mouth cannot speak what the heart is not feeling.  Proverbs commands us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (4:23).  The word “keep” can be used in the same sense as “guard” or “monitor.”  When the heart is kept and dealt with rightly, so too will the words which flow from it.

One day, each one of us will give an account for everything that proceeds from our mouths (Matthew 12:36-37).  As God’s children, we must not be reckless in the use of our words.  Taming the tongue means working hard to make sure your mouth is as a “well of life” (Proverbs 10:11) and that the words we speak be words of grace and helpful to the hearers thereof (Colossians 4:6; see also Ephesians 4:29).

3. Speak to Give Life

James 3:9-10 “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”

In the beginning, God spoke His most beautiful words of creation: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26).  Verse 27 goes on to say, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  These words professed the climax of His creation.  These words speak volumes of the love relationship that God wanted to have with man who was made “in his own image,” or as today’s lesson says, “after the similitude of God.” 

“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing.”  The conundrum of man is that we love the Lord and seek to bless Him, but sometimes our attitude toward His creation, our fellow man, can cause us to have disgruntled feelings that may turn to cursing.  “These things ought not so to be,” James said.  That is not the way we are to behave toward one another.

1 John 4:20 says it like this, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”  Love for God and hate toward man equals “blessing” and “cursing.” Those two cannot, and should not, exist together.  They are incompatible roommates.  They are not a good fit to dwell in the same domain with each other.

James 3:11-12 “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?  Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”

To further illustrate this puzzling aspect of man to try and bless and curse from the same vessel, James points out things in nature that cannot happen, that are incompatible.  First, he uses “water” to demonstrate.  Can a water fountain bring sweet water and bitter from the same place?  Can a fountain have both salt water and fresh water?  The answer is an obvious no.  The same is true for looking for olives on the fig tree or figs on a vine where grapes would be.  It does not happen.

Nature is not confused about what it is to produce.  A fig tree is designed by God to bear fig fruit.  The same is true for olives and such.  If nature knows what it should produce, so should the Christians to whom James is writing.  They are to not act out of character to the way that God designed them.

In dealing with our speech toward others, we must be mindful of building up rather than tearing down.  Proverbs 15:4 reminds us that, “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life…” Think about that for a minute.  The words that we speak about and to one another can bring healing to a hurting soul.  That is powerful!  Our speech goes beyond just saying words; they exhibit and send forth “life.”

Who are we raising to “life” with a timely and sincere word?  Are people enriched for the good when they sit down to have a chat with us or do they walk away feeling extra heavy and burdened down?  These things make a difference.  Not only do they make a difference to the one whom we are conversing with, but they also speak for us how closely we are walking in tune with our Savior and how He dealt with individuals daily.  On that note, on to our fourth point in this lesson.

4. Mimic the Speech of Jesus

Isaiah 50:4 “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”

If one seems to come short of all other attempts to use productive and positive speech patterns, all you have to do is look at Jesus and see what He did and how He communicated to those He came into contact with.

If one is going to learn how to use the tongue healthily, the best example is that of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus had all the right words at the right time.  He knew how to speak compassion when it was needed most.  He knew how to speak conviction in truth without berating another.  And Jesus knew how to speak life.

Jumping out of the New Testament and going back to the old, there we see the prophesied Servant, whom we know to be the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, and in Isaiah 50:4, He talks about the words He uses and the way He uses them to speak.  There He says, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary…” 

It amazes me how many people think they have something to offer and are quick to verbalize those very thoughts and ideas.  Never do we see Jesus in the Bible using words in a frivolous or lackadaisical manner.  We have already expressed the preciousness of words and how they are used, and Jesus, just as His Father, knew the value of words and used them as such.

Jesus’ heart was always, and I do mean always, to do the will of the Father (John 6:38).  In everything, right down to going to the cross, God’s will was His number one priority (Luke 22:42).  With the will of God governing His whole life and ministry, even the words He spoke had to be what “The Lord GOD hath given me.” 

In Isaiah, that which was given is described as “the tongue of the learned”; as one who had been taught by God what to say and how to say it.  You can speak something true, but how the message is delivered can affect how one receives it or not.

In John 12:50, Jesus said, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.  And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”

Jesus never used words in a fly-away fashion.  With everything He spoke, it was either with a purpose, for a purpose, or to fulfill a purpose – or all three in one.

When we think of “with a purpose”, we can think along the lines of healing, miracles, and deliverances.  Jesus, in those instances, spoke with the intent to deliver an individual from some illness, spiritual oppression, or to perform a miracle such as the feeding of the five thousand.

When we think in terms of “for a purpose”, we can think along the lines of the parables He taught.  In those instances, He spoke for His audience to gain a greater understanding of something, particularly Kingdom principles.

And, when we think in terms of Jesus speaking to “fulfill a purpose”, we can easily associate this with prophecies such as the one He spoke from the cross: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  Those exact words open the Messianic psalm found in Psalm 22:1.

By the way, the verses quoted above in John 12:49, 50 could also be looked at in a fulfilling fashion because they fulfilled our verse of study in Isaiah 50:4 regarding the use of His speech.

Jesus used His words with exactness and preciseness.  Back in Isaiah, we see His words were carefully chosen “that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.”  The right words at the right time, especially for the weary worn, are a special kind of sweetness to a soul that dreadfully needs it.  Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones,” and nobody could do this better than the Lord Jesus Christ.  He said, “…the word that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” (John 6:63).

Then, in Isaiah, He goes on to explain, “he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”  It was a daily thing for Jesus to have His ear tuned into the Father’s mouth, to hear what He has to say and express the very words He “learned.” 

In concluding this lesson, this last section may seem overwhelming in learning to speak like Jesus in this manner.  But, if we take everything into consideration and then look at what James taught earlier in his book: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” (James 1:19), following this, may help us to learn to have an ear as the Servant (Jesus), and be able to speak with words of grace (Ephesians 4:29).

Our words are powerful!  As this lesson shows, they can be used to hurt or to heal; to edify or to tear down.  James wants us to choose life with the words that we speak.  He wants us to take the high road and control of what is coming out of our mouths.  If we need help, we can pray the prayer of the psalmist and say, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Ps. 141:3).

What we say and how we talk to one another really does matter.  It is all about how we use our words and to learn daily to use them better.

PDF Full Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes and other ideas available.): Sunday School Lesson – 4 Ways to Use Words Better

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Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Speak Kindly

Kid's Journal Page - Speak Kindly

Blank Journal Page: These pages, one designed for adults and one for children, can be used to bring out, remember, or write a particular part of the lesson you wish for you and/or your class to focus on.  Click>>Blank Adult and Kid’s Journal Pages to access the journal pages.

Speaking Collage Craft: This craft is perfect if you have old newspaper comics strips laying around.  Just cut them out and glue onto construction paper to make a collage of many different ones together (I prefer the ones with word balloons on them to demonstrate speaking).  In the middle, attach our cut-out picture verse printable for James 3:10 declaring, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be”  found here.

James 3 10 picture verse-001

Draw the Scene: 4 Ways to Use Words Better Draw the Scene 

4 Ways to Use Words Better Draw the Scene-001

Memory Verse: Four Ways to Use Words Better Memory Verse 

Four Ways to Use Words Better Memory Verse-001

Word Search: Four Ways to Use Words Better Word Search  Answers: Four Ways to Use Words Better Word Search

Crossword: Four Ways to Use Words Better Crossword   Answers: Four Ways to Use Words Better Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: Four Ways to Use Words Better Word Scramble   Answers: Four Ways to Use Words Better Word Scramble Answers

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