James 3:4-12 4; Consider ships: They are so large that strong winds are needed to drive them. But pilots direct their ships wherever they want with a little rudder. 5 In the same way, even though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts wildly.
Think about this: A small flame can set a whole forest on fire. 6 The tongue is a small flame of fire, a world of evil at work in us. It contaminates our entire lives. Because of it, the circle of life is set on fire. The tongue itself is set on fire by the flames of hell.... 9 With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,this should not be! 11 Can both fresh water and bitter water flow from the same spring?…
Read these passages very carefully and you will see that James is seeing something painfully ironic. We speak from both sides of our mouths. Scripture certainly does not tell us to condemn, curse or harm others with our words. Our tongues are given so we may bless our Lord, not destroy our neighbor. Makes me have to look very carefully in a mirror.
Does our Lord teach us differently than what James is saying? Does Jesus the Christ give us a free pass not to follow scripture when it comes to leaders, political and otherwise, or those we may disagree with? For me James makes it very clear. Words are no different than bullets in many ways yet we think thou shalt not kill only refers to extinguishing life scientifically, but can it mean more?
Today we live in a climate that is a result of many abandoning the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, especially with our tongues. And it is not simply our political leaders, it is our church leaders and pastors, our brothers and sisters in Christ cursing others, condemning those who dare disagree, supporting twitter, facebook and other means to humiliate and demoralize another person or persons.
We ask; what can we do to heal our nation or our own homes? The Apostle James, a follower of the teachings of Jesus, would say we must be a model for the rest of the community on how to love those with whom we disagree. He makes it very plain when he said; if we bless God and then curse people, "It just shouldn't be that way."
So I ask you; Are you willing to rethink your tweets, your facebook posts, water cooler chats or everyday conversations in light of the teachings of Jesus and James? Are you strong enough in your faith to stop blaming and tearing others apart and begin following our Lord. There is a song that says; "They will know we are Christians by our Love" do they? I hope to see you later this morning. God bless, pastor Carl
Father help me tame my mouth. May my Lord convict me when I curse or dehumanize another person. May I be a blessing to others, even those I may never meet. Thank you for convicting me this morning on changes that need to be in order to become closer to you. Father I ask for this help in the name of your Son Jesus, Amen.
2 Peter 3:17-18 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been warned in advance, be on guard so that you aren’t led off course into the error of sinful people, and lose your own safe position. 18 Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him belongs glory now and forever. Amen.--
What a wonderful reminder of how we are to be vigilant about not being lead off course. Yet we all know how easy it is to let worldly endeavors, situations, take precedence over our daily need for God and His life changing gift. Peter is warning us that we can never become indifferent about our need for further growth. The gift of grace that we accept is not a one and done deal. We are called to live a life that must experience the wonder of grace, and daily grow in the gifts which grace can bring.
Think about a good nutrition program, one to make you grow healthy and stronger, it would not suggest you eat once a week , but daily. This is no different then our growing in Christ and I hope these devotions, our studies and Sunday service help you on this daily path. Hope you can join the EOCC family today at morning worship.
Gracious Father, I know within the depths of my soul that I need you daily. Forgive me Lord when I go off course and think I can do on my own. Father bless me and those I love with your grace this day. Watch over my journey. Lord thank you for your Son and I pray this and all things in your Son's name, Amen.
With Valentines day this coming week I thought our devotion should have heart so I turned to. Matthew 22: 37-39 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Often times we think of the word "lead" as being the one in charge, taking control but in Scripture the call to lead has many forms. However it may look in your life will most likely be different than another member. I believe God shapes us and prepares us for different leadership roles. In Scripture we see Nehemiah lead by stepping out in faith and prayer to lead large projects; Barnabas on the other hand was asked to lead by coming along side and encouraging and supporting others; How about Priscilla and Aquila to take charge in the marketplace; Or Miriam's who led by listening and being patient until the people were ready; or Aaron who led by grace, concerned for the individuals peace.
When we love the Lord with all our heart, devoted to loving God you can be sure He will lead you to use your gifts in building the Kingdom. Wherever He places you, praise His Holy name and be bold.
Almighty God, shape and use me according to Your vision for my life. Let my life, love, heart and leadership flow from love for You and others. Help me be active in my belief. Father I pray this to you in the name of your Son Jesus, amen.
Dear God, I so much want to be in control. I want to be the master of my own destiny. Still I know that you are saying: “Let me take you by the hand and lead you. Accept my love and trust that where I will bring you, the deepest desires of your heart will be fulfilled.”Lord, open my hands to receive your gift of love. Amen--
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006