James 3:1-12 1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. 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. 3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. 4 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. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 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. 7 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: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. 

howtogossip-800Our tongue is little in comparison to the rest of our body but it sure can be a sharp little tool if it is not trained! (James 3:10) One minute it can praise God and the next minute it can gossip about another!

So how can we train our tongue? (Psalm 39:1) Firstly, we must change the condition of the heart, amen? (Luke 6:45) Starting the day with the words from Psalm 19:14 is an excellent beginning 🙂 When my heart is right, the words coming from my lips will be also.

As I read today’s text, the Lord impressed upon my heart Colossians 4:6 – my speech should be seasoned with salt. Just what is the purpose of salt in our lives? Why would the Lord use this analogy? Meditating on the little word salt and comparing it to our everyday life opened this part of scripture so much more. I don’t know about you, but I really get more out my reading when analogies are used. The Lord sure knows His creation 🙂 He knows we learn better with real life applications. So what does salt actually do for us?

(1) It adds flavor to food – Again, Colossians 4:6 says my speech should be “seasoned” with salt. We all know what food tastes like when too much salt is added. It’s just not edible! But the right amount of salt makes food taste awesome! So does my speech add flavor to a conversation?   Do I contribute something from God’s Word when someone opens their heart to me? When someone comes to me discouraged, do I have the right words to encourage them? (Psalm 19:14) We should strive to share verses with everyone we talk to, saved or unsaved, and add flavor to our conversations. Remember, God promises that His Word will not go out void. On the flip side, salt is also used to cause someone to vomit when poison has been swallowed. Do your words cause a Christian to fall? You literally have caused them to spiritually vomit … think about it!

(2) To preserve food – Do your words preserve? There are lost souls everywhere and their souls need to be preserved, if you will. They need to hear the Gospel and they need to hear it with “flavor.” (John 6:68) We have the words of life and they are lost! Do you see a Christian friend heading toward distruction? That friend needs to be preserved – that friend needs you to love her and show her through the scriptures what she is doing wrong. I am close to two dear ladies and both are not hesitant in preserving me 🙂 They would rather see me living for the Lord than to stray and be chastised. That is a characteristic of a good friend!

(3) To heal open sores – We have all gargled with salt water at one time or another. It helps to heal mouth sores. Do your words bring comfort and healing?  (Proverbs 12:18) To the lost, your words should be the Gospel.  (John 6:68) To the saved, your words should be full of mercy rather than judgment. (Luke 6:36) We say that we love the sinner yet hate the sin – do we really ? We need to remember that we all are sinners. (Romans 7:24) Not one day goes by that we are not tempted and sin because of it. So who are we to consider ourselves better than the one who has fallen? We are told to love one another – only then will our words bring healing to those who are hurting!

Our goal should be to draw others to the scriptures. (Acts 8:31) Just as salt causes us to thirst and to heal, so should our speech be to others. God’s words will not return to us void – He promises us this! (Isaiah 55:11) Every time I look at a salt shaker, you can be sure I look at it differently! 🙂

Prov. 10:31 “The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.”

We know that we all sin – none of us are righteous or just. For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (Ecc 7:20) So who is the just man in Ecc. 7:20? Only Christ is righteous – our righteousness is as filthy rags (Is. 64:6) There is nothing good in us. Therefore, today’s Proverb must be speaking of the born again believer because Christ’s righteousness covers us at salvation! Thank You, Lord!

We have the words which will lead an unbeliever to Christ! Our Heavenly Father puts people in our path that only we can witness to. What are we doing with our assignment from the Lord? Do our words reflect wisdom received from the Word? Do our mouths speak knowledge from the Word? If not, why not? The unjust cannot bring forth wisdom … it would be like expecting your 10 year old to write a thesis. If we are not bringing forth wisdom in our words, it is only because we are not spending time in the Word. It’s amazing how some can recite the words to a song after hearing it a few times. Some can rattle off the names of those in the starting line up of a football game. Some can rattle off baseball statistics like nobody’s business. But can these same people rattle off verses which will lead another to Christ? It’s not because God has not made His Word available to us.

Our actions include the tongue according to Prov. 10:31. Here Solomon goes on to say that the froward tongue shall be cut out! Froward is one of those words that deserves studying because God says that this type of tongue will be cut out! That’s a serious statement and one that we should heed as believers. As you know, I love comparing the modern-day dictionary’s definitions with Noah Webster’s 1828 definitions because the meanings are so different. Today’s dictionaries liquify the meaning of a word and, therefore, giving you a dilluted meaning of this Bible verse. Froward is a perfect example as to why I no longer use today’s dictionaries to look up words in my Bible. Listed below are Merriam Webster’s definition of the word “froward” and Noah Webster’s 1828 definition:

Merriam Webster says: 1 : habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition 2 archaic : ADVERSE

Noah Webster says: Perverse, that is, turning from, with aversion or reluctance; not willing to yield or comply with what is required; unyielding; ungovernable; refractory; disobedient; peevish; as a froward child.

Do you see why I prefer Noah Webster’s definitions? This Proverb surely packs more punch when you understand why God says the froward tongue will be cut out, doesn’t it?

We are truly blessed of God to have the Word. Most of us have more than one Bible, but not many read it regularly – let alone study it. The believer’s words should be filled with hope and excitement. In these end times, the lost world needs hope more than ever before! Can you imagine yourself being lost right now listening to the news? What hope is there for the unsaved? Nothing but gloom and doom lurks around every corner for them. We are their only hope to hear the gospel. We are their only hope for them to see the gospel in action.

We should weigh our words carefully. Remember, we’ll have to give an account to the Lord for every word we speak. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Mat 12:36) That includes words spoken by the froward tongue. I would hate to be the person who has to stand before God having to account for a froward tongue. With God, there will be no excuses and He won’t listen to justification as to why these words were spewed forth.

Let our words be gracious ones filled with hope – not only for a lost world to hear but for the building up and encouragement of the brethren. We need each other in these last days. We need to encourage and uplift each other, not tear each other down with cruel and harsh words. We believers need to encourage one another in these end times because the times are evil. No wonder the Lord placed this verse in the Bible exactly the way it was worded! Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Heb 10:25) Rapture is upon us – any day now. Let’s make use of our last days here with words which fit a Christian who has been saved from much and is looking forward to our Lord’s return!

Dear God…
May I think before I speak
Seeking only to be a blessing
To share with a lost world
And lifting the weary brethren

~Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

How wonderful to have a friend who always knows what to say and when to say it! 😆 To lift up the weariest soul with encouraging words is a gift. This gift doesn’t come naturally – I have found that it must be learned. Genuine words are effective and they touch the very depths of a hurting heart. However, fake and insincere words are heard but for a moment. Today’s text teaches us that pleasant words bring health – they bring healing to the mourning soul – They bring healing to the wayward soul – They bring healing to the soul with chronic pain. These words have healing as their “end result,” not momentary pleasantries and flattery.

Dear Lord, Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

 

~Psalm 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

Picture, if you will, that the Lord Jesus Christ is personally standing guard in front of you, each minute of every day.  What things would you change in your walk? I dare say that I would find myself under conviction quite often!  😳 The Psalmist’s prayer is one that should begin each and every one of my days, along with Psalm 19:14.

God sees everything (Psalm 139:8-12) and is everywhere, amen?  Therefore, there is nothing that escapes His attention! Every word that I speak will need to be accounted for when I see Him (Matthew 12:36) so it is wise of me to place a “watch or a guard” over my lips. I love the latter part of today’s text: “keep the door of my lips.” A door cannot open of its own doing.  It needs someone to do the task. What an appropriate analogy! My mouth does not need to open unless I “will” it to open. Oh that I would allow it to open only to be a blessing to someone!

~Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver.

 

~Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

If we started off each day with this prayer, we could certainly prevent most conflicts in our lives, couldn’t we?  When I am dwelling on a past hurt or current trial, my heart is not in a “state of readiness” for kind words.  In fact, my kindness would be forced, if you will.  It takes more effort to have words of kindness for someone when all I’ve been doing is dwelling on the negatives in my life!  It stands to reason – the Scriptures say that whatever lies within my heart will come out of my mouth:

~Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Christians exercise their bodies for a healthy life style but what about a healthy spiritual life style?  Exercising our heart’s condition should be more of a priority than our bodies. God’s word exhorts us to live godly lives because it’s profitable for us for all areas in our lives!  What a promise!

~1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

Psalm 19:14, however, exhorts us to please whom?  It is certainly not to please ourselves – it’s so that we please our Heavenly Father!  The child of God’s sin is covered by the precious blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ, therefore, we are acceptable in the sight of the Father! However, all of our actions may not reflect His godly nature.  The Psalmist ends the verse well by acknowledging where he gets his help – God is his strength and his redeemer.  When we turn to the Lord for our direction (through His word), meditate on it and allow it to change us, we are exercising our spiritual muscle.  The end result of good spiritual exercise is a heart that is conditioned and will speak godly volumes rather than unhealthy negative volumes.

Exercise your spiritual muscle by memorizing this verse and speaking it the moment your feet hit the ground running in the mornings.  When you start the day with this verse on your heart, it will lay the foundation for the rest of your day 🙂

The picture above was taken by a sweet Christian lady, Connie Wentworth and used here with her permission. Her pictures are mostly taken in the State of Maine and depict God’s glorious creation! Thank you, Connie, for allowing me this opportunity to use your work!

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

How important are our words? In one breath, we can encourage someone who is struggling with the loss of a loved one. In the next breath, we can raise our voice to our children in anger. Both situations required words of some kind but I’m certain each had a different set of words spoken. What we say to someone does make a difference. (Ephesians 4:29)

If we started out our day by dedicating our heart and mouth to the Lord, I dare say we would be able to speak words to others that would leave them thirsting for more. Wouldn’t you agree? Our speech is what the unbelieving world will use to compare with our walk. The two must agree or our testimony will be ineffective. (Psalm 37:30) When I start my day with the Lord, reading and praying, I have placed my heart, my mind, my words and my actions down a path guided by Him. My heart is settled and prepared and my day is set into motion. I have not started the day on slippery slope but on solid ground, therefore, I am able to walk sure and steady.

The scriptures contain many examples of people and the effect their words had on others. I would like to share the accounts of three women and how their words affected those around them.

The first of these women is Eve, the very first woman. I find it interesting that in the first words we find in scriptures spoken by her, she is adding to what God commanded about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Compare Genesis 2:16 and Genesis 3:2-3) God never said they couldn’t touch the fruit. Whether she did this on her own or this was what Adam shared with her, we don’t know. However, it is still interesting that these were the first recorded words spoken by Eve. What were the effects of these words? The serpent was able to trip her and deceive her. She, therefore, went to her husband and was able to convince him to eat of the fruit as well. Adam and Eve had the wonderful privilege of walking with God in the Garden of Eden. I wonder what would have happened had she prayed a similar prayer as in today’s verse? Would she have been so willing to listen to the serpent? Would she have dragged her husband into her sin? So this “first lady” of scripture words caused another to sin. Interesting.

Our next example of the impact of our words is Job’s wife. (Job 2:9) A woman who lives with a godly man cannot help but be influenced by his testimony. The scriptures don’t say whether or not she loved the Lord. All we can go by are her words. The first words spoken by Mrs. Job is Job 2:9. Except for Job’s boils, Mrs. Job experienced what Job experienced. She, too, lost all their children! Can you imagine? She, too, lost all that they had worked hard for. But when the rubber met the road, she did not have the same spiritual fortitude that her husband did. The only words mentioned in scriptures spoken by Mrs. Job is to tell her husband to curse God and die! She must have been at the end of her rope after going through all these emotional experiences. I wonder what would have happened had she started her day with this prayer in today’s text? Mrs. Job’s words encouraged her husband to curse God. Interesting.

The last of our women is Sarah. We read in Genesis 18:11-15 that the Lord told Abraham that Sarah would conceive in her old age. As well, when Sarah overheard Him, she laughed at the idea. I dare say I probably would have done the same had I been in her shoes. However, her lack of faith didn’t begin there. If you recall, Abraham had been told by God in the previous chapter that his seed would be numerous like the stars. (On a side note, Abraham laughed as well so let’s not be too harsh on Sarah!) I’m sure he shared this information with his wife. But her disbelief, or lack of faith, was displayed when she decided to help God along by giving Hagar, her servant, to Abraham so she could “bare” a child through her. What I find interesting is not so much Sarah’s lack of faith. After all, God Himself told Abraham that she would have a child. What I do find interesting is that she lied when the Lord told her that she laughed. (Genesis 18:15) She denied it! I wonder what would have happened had Sarah started her day with this prayer in today’s text? Sarah’s words, instead, were those reflecting her shaky faith and resulted in lying. Interesting.

How important it is for us to start our day out right. Is it any wonder that we are powerless in our walk when we haven’t spent time with the Lord before we embark on our day’s journey? How can our Father say no to a child who comes to him and says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” A sincere prayer such as this makes for a firm foundation, don’t you think? Guarding our hearts will in turn guard our mouths. Starting our day with this sincere prayer is bound to have an effect on us. We’ll think before we speak – we’ll have God’s word hidden in our heart and its effect will be a guarded mouth.