Daily Devotion for March 7, 2015
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
For Oldies Saturday, we have one of the great gospel groups of all time, Doris Akers and the Sky Pilot Choir.
Prayer for the Day
Holy God, you have given me another day. Bring your Holy Spirit into my mind and my life, so that I may walk this day in your presence. Let me feel your presence throughout the day, remembering always that you sent your Spirit that you might be a living force in all I see and all I do. When I feel temptation or begin to stray, show me your path. Correct me, comfort me, let me live your will; that I may be happy in this life and blessed in the life to come. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord.
Prayer for Those with Harmful Obsessions
Heavenly Father, I remember today all the many people who damage or destroy their lives with one of the thousand obsessions that can plague the human mind: The alcoholic and addict; those with eating disorders; those with sexual compulsions; those who are driven to obsessive gambling; the superstitious; those who hoard obsessively and live in squalor; those whose only concern is their appearance, or wealth; or any of the myriad, baffling, and often bizarre behavioral disorders that may affect and burden the lives of your people.
Help me first to remember, when I am shocked by their behavior or critical of them, that they are your beautiful children whom you love. Give them the strength to seek help, guide them to people who can help them, and flood them with the power of your Holy Spirit, that they may control their disorders and find peace and contentment on this earth, and the eternal joy that awaits the faithful. I pray this in the name of Christ, who loved beyond all love and was always pleased to heal those who came to Him in faith.
[Open my eyes to understand that a person acting badly may be obsessed.]
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Put a bridle on thy tongue; set a guard before thy lips, lest the words of thine own mouth destroy thy peace... on much speaking cometh repentance, but in silence is safety.
~ William Drummond
James 3:1-6 (NASB)
The Tongue is a Fire
5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.
8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
Notes on the Scripture
We have a guest commentary today, a continuing weekly series on the Epistles of James, from Dr. Ken Boa of Atlanta.
James had evidently saturated his thought process with the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, and a disproportionate number of proverbs are devoted to the topic of speech. He knew that “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21), and that the tongue can be either “a fountain of life, to turn aside from the snares of death” (Prov. 13:14; cf. 10:11), or an instrument of death (“Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor;” Prov. 25:18).
The tongue has the power to heal or wound: “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov. 12:18). One the one hand, “A worthless man digs up evil, while his words are as a scorching fire (Prov. 16:27); on the other hand, ”Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones“ (Prov. 16:24). While ”an evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,“ the righteous man ”will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words“ (Prov. 12:13-14).
James' next analogy illustrates the destructive potential of our words. ”Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell” (Jas. 3:5b-6). (This is reminiscent of Jesus' words in Matthew 15:11,18--“Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man. . . . the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.”)
Just as the careless toss of a burning match can cause the destruction of thousands of acres of timber, so careless words can ravage something far more precious, a human soul. Consider how the spread of a malicious rumor can blaze like a fire and ruin the reputation of an individual or split a church in two.
Because of these truths, we would be well-advised to consider the wisdom of James 1:19: “let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” It has been said that the trouble with people who talk too fast is that they often say something they haven't thought of yet.
If we are in doubt, we should remember this counsel from Proverbs: “The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin” (Prov. 13:3). ”He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is counted prudent” (Prov. 17:27-28).