Girlfriends in God - November 23, 2011
November 23, 2011
Put a Lid on It
The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark … (James 3:5, NIV).
Friend to Friend
From the time I could hold a crayon in my chubby little hand, I’ve enjoyed creating various works of art. For my family and friends, my annual endeavors usually found their way under the Christmas tree and into their hands. One year it was macramé hanging plant holders woven with wooden beads. Another it was a menagerie of decoupage wooden boxes. Then there were the years of framed cross-stitch, ceramic Nativity sets, and quilted pig and chicken pillows.
When I was 17, it was the year of the candle. Everyone from Grandma Edwards to my best girlfriends received praying hands candles. For weeks I slaved over a hot stove, stirring melted wax, meticulously centering the ten-inch wicks, and then slowly pouring the red, green, or yellow molten material into an inverted mold in the shape of praying hands. When the wax hardened, I burped the rubber mold and plopped the hands onto the counter. My kitchen looked like a prostheses laboratory with hands littering the counters.
I was just cooking up my last batch of wax when the doorbell rang. I was having so much fun that I had forgotten the time. I had a date at 7:30, and here I was in pink curlers and a paraffin-covered sweatshirt. I rushed through the kitchen, leaped over my dad, who had fallen asleep on the den floor in front of the television, and threw open the door.
“Hi, Jim. Come on in,” I said, out of breath. “I’m not ready.”
“So I noticed,” he said with a grin.
“I was cooking candles and lost track of time.”
“You were what?”
“Oh, never mind. Just come on in and have a seat on the couch. I’ll be ready in a minute.”
I dashed to my room to change clothes, take out the curlers and run a brush through my hair, swipe mascara through my lashes, and place a hint of gloss on my lips. Jim sat uncomfortably on the sofa, listening to my dad snore and Jackie Gleason yell at Ralph Kramden. After about 15 minutes Jim smelled something burning from the kitchen. He didn’t want to call me for fear of waking up my dad. (Teenage boys don’t like to wake up their date’s dad if they can help it.) Instead, he tiptoed into the kitchen and discovered a pot on the stove with flames shooting up about 18 inches in the air.
Sleeping dad or no sleeping dad, Jim yelled, “Sharon! Whatever you were cooking is on fire!”
“Oh my goodness!” I exclaimed. “I forgot to turn off the stove!”
Just as I burst into the kitchen, Jim threw a cup of water into the flaming wax. Rather than extinguish the flames, the fire exploded upward. The flames shot up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the other side of the room. Our screams alerted my father, who woke to see his baby girl standing in a room surrounded by flames. With the agility of Superman, Dad sprang to his feet, ran to the kitchen faster than a speeding bullet, grabbed the lid of the pot, and clamped it down on the source of the flames. Just as quickly as the fire had erupted, it seemed to recede back into the pot like a genie returning to his bottle.
This all happened in a matter of seconds. We stood in the middle of the room like three stunned deer. I never did tell my dad that it was Jim who threw the water on the burning wax. Teenage boys have two strikes against them just by walking through the doors to pick up a man’s baby girl.
After the shock of the incident wore off, I had time to reflect on the speed at which the flames blazed around the room, the feeling of fire licking against my skin, the terrifying sound the fire made. It made me think about my words and how easily they can explode and singe those around me. I saw and understood the destructive power of our words and the speed at which that destruction can spread. But you know what else I learned? I learned just how easy it is to stop the blaze…put a lid on it. As soon as my father placed a lid on the pot and removed the flames’ source of oxygen, the fire went out.
As we listen to God day by day, I pray we will sense His leading to put a lid on our destructive words. Let’s pray we will be quick to listen, slow to speak, and quick to obey when God warns us to keep fire-sparking words from slipping past our lips.
Dear Lord, set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips. May nothing escape my mouth today that is not pleasing to You.
In Jesus' name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read James 3:1-18 and note what you learn about our words.
Has there been a time you wish you had “put a lid on it” rather than say something you said. (I know that is a silly question. Who hasn’t?)
Today, sit a pot lid out on your kitchen counter as a reminder to put a lid on your words. You might want to leave it out for more than a few days.
If you’ll agree to leave a pot lid out on your kitchen counter for a few days, let me know at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes. I’d love to know if it made a difference.
More from the Girlfriends
Do you find yourself longing to hear God’s voice – not as a once-in-a-lifetime experience but on a daily basis? If so, Sharon’s new 15-Minute Devotional book, Listening to God Day-by-Day,will help you do just that. It is an expanded version of the smaller book, Extraordinary Moments with God. In it you will find 100 devotions to help you become a woman who detects God’s still small voice in all of life. This is a warm, fun, tender look at recognizing some of the wonderful and unexpected ways God reaches out to us in the middle of our busy days. And if you would like to learn more about how to control your words, then see Sharon’s best-selling book and Bible study, The Power of a Woman’s Words.
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