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Devo 5

Well, I was thinking of what to do for the devotion this time, and, working with Brian and Mike on the theme for Institute this year, Come To The Water, I thought of some verses in James. James 3:8-12 talks about taming the tongue and how a fountain of water cannot send forth both bitter and sweet water, just as the tongue was not meant to speak blessing and cursing, but only blessing. There is a part in the Life Application Bible that talks about this:

" If no human being can control the tongue, why bother trying? Because even if we do not achieve perfect control of it in this life, we can still learn enough control to reduce the damage it can do. It is better to fight a fire than to go around setting new ones! Remember that we are not fighting the tongue's fire in our own strength. The Holy Spirit will give us increasing power to monitor and control what we say. As Christians we are not perfect, but we should never stop growing....God works to change us from the inside out. As the Holy Spirit purifies our hearts, he also gives us self-control so that we will speak words that please God."

Recently, a close friend of mine had an extremely bad manic episode that resulted in her hospitalization for two weeks, including Christmas. This friend, her family, and my family have just recently started going to the same new church. Monday night, I was at the church for a parenting class and overheard 3 prominent members of the church talking very badly about my friend and her family...and this was in the childcare room in front of my kids. I was so offended and so upset, I left and talked to my pastor's wife about confronting the people who were saying these things. I am taking a week to cool down and will talk to one or all of them on Sunday. How many times over the years have I done something similar that has offended someone like I was offended and hurt? The tongue is a powerful thing.

The word gossip is used in the Bible for the devil himself. His name is diabolos, "slanderer". When we participate in gossip and slander, we are acting like the devil, the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). What will you do starting this week to channel the speech from your tongue into words that encourage instead of words that tear down? Praise God, we have control! It's our choice - blessing or cursing!

Love to and prayers for you all~