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Girlfriends in God - Aug. 21, 2008

August 21, 2008
Check Your Heart
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
James 3:3-4 (NLT) “We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.  And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong.”

Friend to friend
With just two words, “meat loaf”, Dan will immediately suggest that it would be a great night to eat out.  The kids run for the car, willing to eat anywhere without the usual argument. Words are powerful and affect how we live!  In today’s power verses, James compares the tongue to a bit in the mouth of a horse and to the rudder of a ship, two small things that exercise great power. A small bit enables the rider to control the whole horse as a small rudder enables the pilot to steer a large ship. With one word, a life can change direction because words lead to deeds.

In a small country church, an altar boy who was serving the priest at Sunday mass accidentally dropped the glass of wine. The priest struck the boy and shouted, “Get out and don’t come back!”  That boy became Tito, the Communist leader. In another cathedral, an altar boy who was serving the bishop at Sunday Mass, accidentally dropped the glass of wine. With a warm twinkle in his eyes, the bishop gently whispered, “Someday you will be a priest.” That boy grew up to become Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

The power of the spoken word is great! The bit in a horse’s mouth and the rudder of a ship must be under the control of a strong hand in order to accomplish what they were created to accomplish. So must the tongue.  When God controls our tongue, He controls us!  I once heard someone say that we should pray "Lord, keep your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth."  The guidance you give or the direction your life takes is strongly related to the words you speak or refuse to speak. Your tongue directs your life.

 A minister was making a wooden trellis to support a climbing vine. As he was pounding away, he noticed a little boy watching him. The youngster didn't say a word, so the preacher kept on working, thinking the boy would leave – but he didn’t.  Pleased at the thought that his work was being admired, the pastor finally said, "Well, son, trying to pick up some pointers on gardening?" "No," the boy replied. "I'm just waiting to hear what a preacher says when he hits his thumb with a hammer." 
 What is inside our heart will eventually work its way out in our character. Matthew 12:34-35 simply and clearly states, “The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. Good people have good things in their hearts, and so they say good things. But evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things.”  When Jesus Christ is the Lord of the heart, then He is Lord of the lips as well. Check your heart.
 Every time I go to the doctor, the first thing he asks me to do is to stick out my tongue.  The last time I went, he asked me that same question, but I was ready. “Why does every office visit begin with sticking out my tongue?”  His answer surprised me! “The health of the tongue is a strong indicator of how healthy the whole body is!”  The control of the tongue begins in the heart.

Proverbs 10:20 “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.”

An obedient heart is under the control of Jesus Christ.  In order to tame the tongue, we don’t need to turn over a new leaf. We need a new life, and there is only one who has the power to give us a new life – Jesus Christ.  When Jesus Christ comes into our life, He makes everything new and He starts with the heart.  A new heart produces a new mouth.  Is it time to check your heart?

Let’s Pray
Father, thank You for Your power to change a life. I praise You for the changes You have brought about in my own life.  Please examine my heart for any contamination!  Make me aware of how the words I speak and write come across to others.  Help me learn how to use my words as a tool for encouragement and growth in the lives of those to whom I speak.  Today, I choose to make a new commitment to speaking right words from a right heart.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Think back over your day. How would you rate the health of the words you have spoken today?  Were they destructive or helpful?

Think back to a time when the harsh words of someone wounded you. How did those words make you feel? 

Is there someone who has suffered at the hand of your words?  Are you willing to make it right?  Make a time this week to contact that person, asking for forgiveness. 

More from the Girls
This one is tough for me because I seem to enjoy filling the empty air space with the sound of my own voice. How about you?  I have seen so many circumstances in which the hurt and pain all started with one cruel word.  Each word we speak to our children either builds them up or tears them down.  A marriage can be saved or destroyed by the words that spill out of our heart. Time to check your heart!  Mary’s book, Sandpaper People, is a testimony of God’s power to change a life by changing a heart that will produce words of health and strength. You may also be interested in Mary’s free online Bible Study, Light for the Journey.

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