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A Double-Edged Sword

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"Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way." - James 3:10

I’ve marveled at a chef when she took an extremely sharp knife and put it to work chopping vegetables and preparing meat with effortless chops and swipes. It can be a beautiful thing to watch them work! But have you ever cut yourself with an extremely sharp blade? You can slice into your flesh so incredibly deep - before you even know it, you’re off to the emergency room!

But even as damaging as that is, it pales in comparison to what the tongue can do! I remember a time at another church when I was taking a group picture of the youth group and their parents, when a very good friend of mine walked through the room. With a fun smirk and a playful jab, I commented that she couldn’t be in the picture, because she didn’t have kids.

The only problem with that was, she and her husband had been trying to have a child for years.

What’s worse, I knew about it. I have no idea what motivated me to say those words… But that’s not the point! The point is, my words had cut her so deep I destroyed her. By the time she walked out of the room, she was practically weeping. Though we’ve patched things up since then, I’m sure that moment haunts her, probably more than it does me.

I also have a memory of sitting in a one-on-one discipleship meeting with someone, describing an incident in my life, how God brought me through it, and what He taught me from it… and as I spoke, I watched the light come on inside a friend, and saw their countenance change - to grab the epiphany and have it change their whole life! That is an incredible experience, to see God use my words to minister right where someone needs them to bring new perspective and open up a new avenue to speak to their soul.

I’ve experienced both sides of the double-edged sword that the tongue can be. I’ve also been on the sword-swinging side, having my words not only do something beautiful but also cause pain and destruction.

The Bible is full of wisdom about controlling the tongue: James 3:10 is good, and Proverbs has numerous examples (18:21 and 21:23 are some favorites). But probably one of the best is Luke 6:45 - “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” The most critical component of your communication is your heart. You have to have your heart filled with the goodness of God in order to use that tongue of yours for His glory!

Today, concentrate and confirm that your heart and your mouth are both under God’s control:

  1. Read large quantities of scripture
  2. Ask God to reveal your heart through the reading
  3. Meditate on those scriptures He brings to light throughout the day
  4. Reflect on how God used your words to bring life to those around you
Posted by Jamey Halfast with 0 Comments

I Really Miss You

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John 15: 7-13
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Have you ever ran so hard in the circle of life that you find yourself really missing your spouse? You and your spouse may work multiple jobs, one or both may travel, and you may even experience opposing schedules. While you may be "rubbing shoulders" (so to speak) during a brief connection in the hallway of the house or a quick text, you would hardly say that you deeply connect with your more than significant other.

My spouse and I have the luxury of working together, what's even better is that we are in full-time ministry working in the same office... couldn't get better than that, right? Then, why did I text her and say "I really miss you?" We see each other most of the day; we work together to make an impact for Christ and His mission, yet we at times experience brief feelings that we are "strangers" simply traveling the same road.
What I found to be missing is the intentional mutual focus on Christ which leads us to each other. If we are abiding in Christ as scripture commands, then the healthy outpouring of this relationship will begin to manifest in our marriage.

Transformational Journey
I need to STOP!! While the word "Stop" probably won't be inducted into the "Hall of fame of Spiritual Disciplines." It is a vital component that must be exercised so that a spiritually disciplined life can be exercised. So it is with abiding in Christ. ...we have to "Stop" whatever we have planned, whatever we think is important, or whatever is expected out of us. Unless we stop we are like the child we are trying to talk to who is so distracted that they can’t sit still long enough to hear what we are saying….frustrating…right?

When I find myself distracted by life and really missing Him or my spouse, I need to evaluate the “Why” behind this feeling… It is either birthed out of our own flesh and power that we may find ourselves unintentionally being blamed on our “fast paced schedule,” or it is birthed out of an abiding relationship with Him.
“I really miss you” was my personal wake up call.

Accountability & Steps for Change

  1. I need to Stop. If He isn't so busy that we need to check with His schedule to connect, then we need to make sure Christ isn't scheduled into ours. Stop whatever we feel is important, let the world keep moving without us as we exercise an abiding relationship with our Savior.

  2. I need to be dependent on Him. What would our lives be like if we truly abided in Him? If we fight for our privilege to abide in Him and make Him the priority before we even attempt to set our earthly priorities we will begin the 1st step in “Abiding in Him.”

  3. I need to own my part. He wants us to spend time with Him and has cleared His schedule (John 15:7 - Abide or Remain). Take today and meditate on the word Abide (remain). How is our relationship with Christ? Do we feel like sending a text message that says "I really miss you?" If we do, then we probably need to re-evaluate what it looks like to abide in Him.

  4. Exercising an abiding discipline in Christ will be reflected in our marriages. We will begin to be a reflection of our walk with Him. We together will flourish under the banner of a dependent Abiding relationship in Him. We will find less texts that reveal our brokenness in Him.

“I really Miss you" will turn to "I love you and enjoyed our time together…" I love doing LIFE Together

Posted by Jim Booth with 0 Comments

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