Bite Your Tongue

It was a conversation that wasn’t going well. We disagreed, and no one wanted to take responsibility. He said words. I said words. Then he walked away. I went back to washing the dishes. Nothing was resolved, and I felt horrible. Why did my last words of the conversation have to be so judgmental? Why do I always lean toward negativity? Why not pause and think before I speak? Or, why not just say nothing? Why? Oh. Why?

And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. James 3:6

Someone else talks about others as if talking is going out of style. She shares intimate details about her own life with others. And she shares any and all details she knows about others lives. Nothing is sacred. And no one is off limits. She talks out of both sides of her mouth, so one day you’re in and the next day you’re out.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-8

There is another who speaks lies. She tells the largest and grandest stories. Unsuspecting hearers might never know that the stories she tells are all fabrications. She tries to outdo anyone who is telling their story. She is competitive and she must win. At all costs. I wonder if she even knows what’s true anymore.

Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. James 3:9

He says vulgar words intertwined throughout his business conversations. I always wonder why that one word is such an important part of his vocabulary. But the word comes out without a second thought. I wonder how he turns that word off and on, especially when he’s talking to his customers.

The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4

There’s the woman who could cut your throat with her words. At times, she could be kind and generous, and then out of nowhere hack you to pieces with her choice of words. Her words can be brutal and vicious. They are said out of fear and loathing. Loathing of herself, not of the victim. And fear of not being the one in charge. But the innocent party doesn’t know that. They have just received the worst verbal lashing in history. And can they recover?

And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! James 3:10

Words are everything to the hearer. They can stir the pot or they can calm the storm. We can soothe a soul or break a heart. With just a word or two. Our words are powerful. Why don’t we use them to build up each other. Once spoken, words can never be unsaid.

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1


Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. James 3:2


How do we stop the words that shouldn’t be said before they’re said? How do we stop lying, gossiping, cussing, nagging and stretching the truth? Oh. We must turn to the One who spoke the first words. The one who hears all words. And knows the intent of the words. We can only break the habit of using hurting words by reading the Word. With much prayer and discipline, the words can be stopped. We can bite our tongue and refrain from offending and abusing others. We must want to change before we can change. God help us.

I must ask myself. Is there a pattern of using inappropriate words in in my life? What are the triggers that take my words down a path they shouldn’t go? Is it pride? Or revenge? Is it anger? Or greed? Or fear? What is the motive for my words? To hurt someone? To get even? To make my point at all costs? To get my way? Do I care if my words offend or annoy someone? Do I care?

We say the Lord is Holy, and he is the giver of all gifts. How can ugly words come from the mouth that also speaks praise? How can the mouth that speaks truth also speak lies? How can the tongue that speaks compliments also spew evil?

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29

Heaven Stands

These times are troubling. That’s for sure. Evil is real and is coming out of the woodwork. But really. That’s not new, because times have been evil ever since people started disobeying God.

Some thought 2020 was the worst year of their life. And others thought January 6th was the worst day ever. And things really aren’t looking up.

Just when we think things are worse than they’ve ever been, they start going even further downhill. And yet we wake up still breathing every day. We’re still here. Wondering what’s next. Wondering what else is going to happen. But we go about our days, doing the things we must do. We go to work. We raise children. We eat and sleep. We’re still going about our lives the best we can. But that doesn’t mean that we agree with what is happening in our world. That doesn’t mean we agree with decisions that are being made. But we just do the next thing that we must do.

This country is appalled and trembling at the events that are happening in another country. These events are very troubling, because they signal a shift in the strength of our country. It makes us question the ability of our elected leaders, if we weren’t already. Now our enemies and allies are watching, because they see weakness in our leadership. We see it, too.

The table is being set for evil to run even more rampant in the world. We must be on guard. We must be prepared spiritually to face persecution and very troubling times. We cannot begin to think that things will turn back to the way they used to be. No. Those days are long gone.

Oh. We can have hope. And we should have hope. But we know that with each passing day, we’re one day closer to eternity. We’re one day closer to Jesus coming to take all his followers to heaven. But before that day comes, things will worsen for those on this earth. So we must take heart. And we must prepare to meet Jesus. We must be ready for eternity.

I’ve read about the country now being wrecked by terrorists. Christians are being threatened and watched and killed. Some are in hiding. I’ve read that some Christians in that country know that they will most likely be meeting Jesus face to face within the next two weeks.

Imagine. Imagine that happening in our cities. What would we do? Would our faith stand?

When our world is shaking, heaven stands.


Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. Psalms 90:1-2


During Job’s difficult days, he didn’t lose faith. He didn’t run from God. He didn’t turn his back on the One who created him. Even during the worst time of his life, he knew that God was in control. He still trusted God. Perhaps Job didn’t know that he was really fighting Satan. Oh. He had questions for God all right.

Then God turned around and said he would answer Job’s questions, but first Job had to answer his questions. And God said he wanted answers. Here were God’s questions to Job.

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Who kept the sea inside its boundaries as it burst from the womb, and as I clothed it with clouds and wrapped it in thick darkness? Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the east? Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth, to bring an end to the night’s wickedness? Have you explored the springs from which the seas come? Have you explored their depths? Do you know where the gates of death are located? Have you seen the gates of utter gloom? Do you realize the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know! Where does light come from, and where does darkness go? Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there? But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced! Have you visited the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of hail? (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war.) Where is the path to the source of light? Where is the home of the east wind? Who created a channel for the torrents of rain? Who laid out the path for the lightning? Who makes the rain fall on barren land, in a desert where no one lives? Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground and make the tender grass spring up? Does the rain have a father? Who gives birth to the dew? Who is the mother of the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens? Can you direct the movement of the stars— binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the constellations through the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth? Can you shout to the clouds and make it rain? Can you make lightning appear and cause it to strike as you direct? Who gives intuition to the heart and instinct to the mind? Who is wise enough to count all the clouds? Who can tilt the water jars of heaven when the parched ground is dry and the soil has hardened into clods? Can you stalk prey for a lioness and satisfy the young lions’ appetites as they lie in their dens or crouch in the thicket? Who provides food for the ravens when their young cry out to God and wander about in hunger? Job 38:4-41

Oh. God could step in and right every wrong with one swoop of his hand. He could call ten thousand angels to deliver us from evil. He could thwart the plans of those intent on harming the innocent. He could make a way of escape for those trapped behind enemy lines. 

And we don’t know that he hasn’t done some of those things. We can’t see behind the scenes. We don’t know God’s plans. We only see what he allows.

But know this. God is in control. He has not forsaken his people. God’s word tells us that we will have trouble in this world. So we can’t live our lives as if trouble will never touch us. We aren’t exempt. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. We must ask ourselves if we believe that God is with us no matter what.

We cannot control the decisions of others. We can’t trust their decisions. We can’t control life. But God knows every heartbeat and every intention and every decision. He knows the how and why and when of all of life’s circumstances. He allows good and evil. We may be fearful. Times may be uncertain. But our certainty is in God and God alone.

God is in control. We may question the happenings on this earth. We may be bewildered by men’s decisions. We may lose everything. But if we follow God, we have all we need.

There’s only one foundation that is unshakeable, and that is the unchanging Word of God.

John Cooper

Spitting Image

Parents talk about their kids. They talk about how the child looks just like his father. He acts just like his grandfather. He walks like all the other men in the family. He’s as stubborn as his mother. He’s made in their image, because he has their DNA. They say this child of theirs is the spitting image of someone they dearly love. And they’re proud. They’re proud to see that the family genes show strong in the next generation. They’re happy the similarities are plainly obvious. They’re quick to point it out to anyone who will listen.

Who wouldn’t be proud? Who doesn’t want the strength of a gene pool to shine through in the upcoming generations?

I’ve been reading lately about how I’m made in the image of God. I come from a strong gene pool of spiritual perfection. I mean. How do you top that? But here’s the thing. You’re made in God’s image, too. Every single human being is made in the image of God. There’s no way around it. And we don’t have a choice.

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. Genesis 1:26

So what does that really mean?

When we were being formed in our mother’s womb, God was there. He was knitting us together in that nine month period. He planned the number of our days. He knew the course of our lives. From the moment of conception, he knew us. And he never forgets us. Just as God values each human life he creates, we too must value life. God made each of us unique and to fulfill a specific role on this earth. He created us with special gifts and talents that suit our personalities. He made our bodies to be complex, but each part works in sync with the next. Each organ and muscle, bone and ligament are needed. Our brains and each heartbeat are necessary for life to continue. Even those who are born with bodies that don’t work as planned or with minds that aren’t whole are designed by God for a special purpose. He knows and loves each and every one of us.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalms 139:13-16

God created us with a soul that communes with him. He knows our every thought and desire. He knows our dreams and plans. He knows when we want to please him and when we refuse to acknowledge his existence. God created our soul to live with him in eternity. But he gave us a mind and a will, so we can choose to live for or against him.


So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27


Oh. We can choose to ignore that we’re made in God’s image. People do that all the time. They decide to live in a way that dishonors him. They choose to make decisions that leave him out of their lives. They live as if they are God. But it doesn’t change the fact that they are made in his image. They too will stand in front of him one day and give an account of those decisions they’ve made.

God has invisible qualities. He can’t be seen with the human eye. But we can see evidence of him and his handiwork. His eternal power and divine character are known. But people choose not to believe. They choose not to know God.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Romans 1:20

Just as God rules over mankind, he made us to rule over the earth. We are to rule over every living creature. We have that God-given authority. There’s no need to abuse it, as some are in the habit of doing. We must be faithful in the work that we do. He created us with minds to think and plan and create. So let’s use those minds for good and not for evil.

To be made in God’s image means that I’m made to represent him. I must be willing to live within the limits that God placed on me, because He is God and I am not. I must do my work with excellence. In everything I do and say, I am representing Christ.

So, I have to ask myself. If I’m the spitting image of God, how well do I represent him? Do others see him in me? Am I an embarrassment or a joy? When others see me, do they see him? When I think of the words I’ve said today, are they words that Jesus would say? Has my attitude in the past day been the attitude of Jesus Christ? If I’ve misrepresented God, what must I do to become more like him?

Reach Out

She had been struggling with her job ever since the day she started. Two and a half years ago. She doubted herself. She felt inferior to her coworkers. She thought they talked about her behind her back. She never felt comfortable doing the job. She never spoke up. She tried to play by the rules. She wanted everything spelled out to her in black and white. She was afraid of the gray areas. She didn’t trust herself. She was afraid she would get fired. And last week, her worst fear came true. She was fired.

She’s embarrassed. She’s confused. She wants answers but doesn’t want to ask the questions. She wants to move on. But mostly, she’s relieved. She knows the position wasn’t right for her. But as she said, the demon you know is better than the demon you don’t know. So she never tried to find another job. Because sometimes, the fear of starting over is worse than the fear of continuing on a familiar, yet uncomfortable path.

She was told she was being let go because of performance issues. But no one in management had ever told her that her performance was lacking. No one had ever pulled her aside and shared their concerns. No one had ever rated her performance as below par. But, apparently, people had been talking behind her back. And not to her face.

Now she’s out of work.

I sat down with her this week. For four hours we talked. I shared my story with her. I let her know that I too had once experienced the same type of job loss. I too was told after years on the job that I was no longer good enough. I no longer had the right skillset. And in an instant, my job was gone. Unexplained. Unexpected. Unemployed.

I knew she needed to talk it out. To rehash the past two and a half years. What she did right. What she did wrong. What she might have misunderstood. We laughed about the fact that she never had to do that job again. And she sighed with relief. She is ready to move on.


All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


I had another conversation this week. The grandma house sitting for her son’s family, who are on an extended island vacation. She’s the friendly sort. Even though she lives hours away, she knows more that’s going on in my neighborhood than I do. We always try to chat when she’s in town.

She said she doesn’t think her 70’s are going to go very well. She has diabetes. She now suffers from vertigo. She has glaucoma. And she’s undergoing tests for Alzheimer’s. If the Alzheimer’s test comes back positive, she will start to make alternate plans for her remaining years. She said she will give some of her money to her children. She will have to make arrangements for her house and other possessions. She’s afraid she won’t live to see 80. She’s in for an uncertain future.

And she still takes care of her elderly parents.

She seemed calm about the prospect of might lie ahead. But who knows the thoughts that go through her mind as she lays her head on the pillow each night. What fears race through her mind? What worries keep her awake? What disappointments cause tears to flow? What dreams will she never realize?

She says she’s lived a full live. She had a good marriage and children she’s proud of. She sees hope and promise for the future of her grandchildren. She believes they will have opportunities that she never had. She’s happy that her son found a good wife. She notices the physical strain placed on her daughter, due to the adoption of a special needs child. She worries about the health of her children and the choices they make. Yet she says she keeps these concerns to herself, because she doesn’t want to rob her children of happiness.

I told her that I would pray for her. She seemed to gain comfort from those words.

We never know what life will throw at us. And these two women don’t have the comfort of calling Jesus their Lord and Savior. They haven’t repented of their sins and committed their lives to following Jesus Christ. They don’t have the calm assurance that God is with them in every good and bad day of their lives.

Perhaps I’m called to be the light in their moments of darkness. Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to share my faith and my trust in a loving God who knows their every thought and fear. He sees the paths of uncertainty they face. He holds their future in his hands. And he can hold them, too.

We see hurting people everywhere. We don’t always know the hurts they’re carrying. Because most people choose to remain silent. They suffer alone. But when someone opens up in a moment of raw need, those of us who have the hope of a certain eternal future must share the hope that we have. We can’t keep silent. We know the hope for our future. We must not be shy about sharing our faith. We can offer to pray for someone who is hurting or without hope, because God is attentive to our prayers. Our hope lies in Jesus Christ. Let’s help turn a hurting world to the source of all healing.

Believers Strong

We see everything that’s going on in the world today.  And we wonder why.  But really.  We shouldn’t wonder.  It’s written plain as day in the Bible exactly why the world is in moral decay.

The world.  The people of the world refuse to believe in God.  The age old question is why.  Why do people refuse to believe in an all-seeing, all-hearing, all-knowing God?  Why do people turn their backs on the truth and run in the opposite direction?  Because, it seems, once people start running, they run too far.  And then if they decide to repent, it’s a long walk back to the truth.

Oh.  It can be done.  The long, humble walk of repentance.  and shame.  and regret.  That walk can be painful, but the prize at the end is glorious forgiveness.

It’s clear that we need the Holy Spirit in our lives today.  The only way the Holy Spirit could come to us is if Jesus left the earth.  That’s what he told his disciples.  They were sad, because they didn’t understand what he meant.  And they didn’t want him to leave them.  They didn’t understand that he was sending an advocate.  A comforter.  A guide in his place.  He didn’t leave this earth just to leave us alone. 

Here’s the thing.  While Jesus was in the world, the world’s hatred was directed at him.  And he knew that as soon as he was gone from the world.  That is, when he returned to heaven to begin preparing an eternal home for us.  That the world would direct their hatred at his followers.  And he was preparing his followers to survive that hatred by sending them the Holy Spirit.  He didn’t leave them here to wallow in fear.  He sent the Holy Spirit to lead them in truth.  But people didn’t understand his message.

Here’s the other thing.  Jesus could only be in one place at a time.  The Holy Spirit is not limited to one place.  He is everywhere at the same time.  Don’t ask me how that works.  I trust that is true, and I believe it.  Odd as it sounds.  I believe it to be true.  I believe it to be true, because I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 


The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. John 16:9


His message still stands true today. 

And the world still refuses to believe in God. It’s obvious. And now the world has placed a target on the back of those who call themselves Christians. For people who say their sins are forgiven and are following biblical truth, the world is quick to point a finger of ridicule and contempt. It’s because the world doesn’t know God.

But let’s back up.  When I say the “world” refuses to believe in God, I’m talking about those who reject God and the teachings of Jesus.  Those who pervert the truth.  Those who applaud and accept evil as good.  Those who reject biblical standards.  It may seem as though they’re fighting us, but they’re fighting the God of the universe.  We Christians are the standard bearers of the gospel, and we make those who reject God uncomfortable.  They may think we’re offensive, but it’s the fact that they are offended by God that makes us offensive.

And we can rise to the occasion.  If we ask God, he will empower us with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.  Because that same power lives within us. 

Let’s not be offended when we are shunned or canceled or persecuted.  When we are overlooked or singled out or ridiculed.  We are not here to impress others.  We are not here to bow to lies and fabrications of the truth.  We are here to lead the lost to a Savior who will forgive their sins.  We are here to witness to a hostile world.  We must be bold and confident in our faith, because the Holy Spirit lives within us and will enable us to stand strong in his truth.  He will equip us to love others in the same manner that we are loved.  We are his ambassadors in a world that is searching, but doesn’t know what it’s searching for.  We know that God is the answer, and we must be the ones to lead them into truth.

He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? 2 Corinthians 2:14-16