Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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A Choice

Reading: Ephesians 4: 25-29

Verse 25: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body”.

Today’s five verses form four messages unto themselves. Paul begins with, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body”. In other words, do not say what others want to hear but speak the truth in love. Sometimes it is hard to say or hear, but truth is truth. Why let a neighbor pursue something that is hurtful or sinful when you can help them back to the righteous path?

The next verse is about anger. Paul’s advice – do not act out of a place of anger and do not let it fester. Find the middle ground. Offer forgiveness, be a part of reconciliation, be open to differing thoughts and opinions, allow the Holy Spirit to guide your words and actions. Why? Because when we give anger control, then we are giving the devil a foothold. Satan is already working hard enough to pry us away from our faith. Why give him a straight path into your life?

Verse 28 calls for us to work, to do something useful. Paul equates choosing not to work with stealing. Do not take from others (or the government) when you are able to work. And as a bonus you will be able to bless those truly in need. Work is good for us. Plain and simple. It is God’s design.

The last verse is a warning, followed by a better option. Paul writes, “Don’t let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths”. Don’t slander, don’t lie, don’t gossip, don’t curse, don’t judge, don’t insult, don’t quarrel, don’t grumble, don’t complain… Yes, this list is long but also very incomplete. There are many other ways that unwholesome talk escapes our lips. Paul says, instead speak only words that build others up. When we use words to encourage, to compliment, to applaud, to edify… then we build one another up in love.

Each of these ideas are choices. We can choose to do the Christian thing or we can choose the earthly thing. We can build up or we can tear down. We can glorify God or we can elevate Satan. We can walk the narrow path that leads to life or we can meander the wide way that leads to death. It is a choice. Like Joshua declared, may we too declare each day that we will serve the Lord. It is a choice. May our choice ever be for God.

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In All we Say and Do

Words can be so powerful.  Just with simple words one can describe a scene in such great detail that you almost can see a snapshot of it in your mind.  Words can also be chosen and delivered carefully for very specific purposes.  With just the right words we can encourage, uplift, and comfort.  In the same way we can edify, strengthen, and build up one another.  Words are powerful.

Each of us can recall times when someone said just the right thing at just the right time.  In those words we found healing or renewal or a lift in our spirit.  We can still remember those words.  In a similar way we each have used our own words to come alongside another in need.  The Holy Spirit often nudges and leads us to these opportunities.  Our role is to be open to the guidance and to be a willing voice.

On the flip side of all of this, the tongue can also be powerful in negative or harmful ways.  James is well aware of the human condition and rightly warns us to be careful with our tongues.  Commentary writer Patrick Harden puts it well: “Sins of the tongue are the hardest to avoid.”  Just as we’ve all been stung or hurt by words, we too have all stung or hurt others.  And in almost every case we have felt the Spirit’s nudge or heard the voice whispering to us to choose a better way.  In our journey of faith, may we learn to follow as led and to heed as warned so that we my bring honor and glory to God in all we do and say.

Scripture reference: James 3: 1-5a