Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Words Matter

Proverbs 18:21 - "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (NIV)

Do you remember the one negative criticism made to you rather than the twenty encouraging comments?  My memory is that of an elephant when it comes to remembering the criticism or put-down thrust at me.  Yet, I often forget the words of encouragement sent my way.

Words are so powerful ("the power of life and death").  Words can encourage or words can destroy.  We actually choose whether we will use words to build up or tear down - encourage or discourage.

We need to ask ourselves if our words to someone today will be the negative comment they remember or will our words lift up and encourage someone in need of a kind word?  We make the choice.  In James 1:26 we find some very powerful and poignant words concerning the tongue.  "If anyone considers himself to be religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless."

Today, let us choose to keep a tight reign on our tongue and use it to bless someone with an uplifting and encouraging word.

"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." (Proverbs 25:11)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Elijah, A Man Just Like Us

Was Elijah a man just like us?  In the book of James, the Scriptures state, "Elijah was a man just like us.  He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and one half years.  Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops." (James 5:17-18 NIV)  The account of Elijah's victory over the prophets of Baal to which James is referring is found in 1 Kings 18.  But, was Elijah really a man just like us?

As I have studied the life of the prophet Elijah, I have seen so many characteristics, qualities, talents, abilities and gifts that I certainly do not have!  His obedience certainly exceeds mine!  But, he was a man (a human being).  He had his weaknesses just as we do (and God lets us see some of his weaknesses toward the end of his story), but he sure had a boldness I, and many others lack.

I think James is telling us that Elijah did not have any special or extra powers but he prayed to the same God to whom we pray.  This passage also stands as a warning to remember not to place a man in too high esteem--no matter how godly he/she is because he/she is still a man/woman just like us.
We have the same opportunity for prayer that Elijah had and the same Holy God to whom we pray.  So, pray!