Spicy Food

How often do our words singe someone?  In James 3:5-6 the scripture reads, “Likewise, 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. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

That’s a lot of power for a part of the body we rarely recognize. There is much talk about the heart, the lungs, the brain, the kidneys, but the tongue? However, look at what power the tongue has. And just as the scriptures say, the tongue may be small and insignificant but OH! how it boasts. Like a forest fire, the tongue has the ability to corrupt the whole body.

One of my prayers every morning is the ability to guard my tongue. I ask God to give me His voice – a voice that speaks words of value, admiration, encouragement, compassion, and kindness to those I encounter on a daily basis – my spouse, my children, my co-workers, the people I interact with at the office, in the church, on the street, anyone who comes across my path during the day.

My dad taught me the 3 second rule of response. Basically, before I speak, think it through for 3 seconds. It may make the person I am communicating with uncomfortable, but I’m sure it has saved me from the foot in the mouth disease many times. Consider what you are going to say, before you say it. In today’s society, we must consider texting and social media. When you are angry or out-of-sorts, hold those fingers back from blasting someone through email or texting. Words can hurt – not only the person we are viciously delivering them to – but also ourselves.

The only fire I want on my tongue is the kind that comes from eating too much spicy food – which I love, by the way.

What about you?

Are you working…or just busy?

Ecclesiastes 2:24, ” There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil (in his labor). This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,”

When I was a little boy, one of my childhood friends had the coolest tree house I’d ever seen. His dad built it for him. When we would go over to his house, we always played Swiss Family Robinson and fought pirates. I could swing from a rope into another tree and slide down the trunk – that’s how incredible it was!

My friend’s dad was a builder and architect, thus the reason for the elaborate tree house. John would comment, “This weekend, my dad and me are going to spend the night together in the tree house!”

On Monday morning I would ask John, “How was it? Did you spend the night in the tree house with your dad?”

And he would always reply, “No. He said he was too busy.”

Busyness and working are two entirely different things. God calls us to work – to labor – to provide for our families and impact His Kingdom. He calls us to work to keep the material things He has given us in order; but many of us confuse working with busyness. Busyness destroys families; busyness destroys relationships; busyness destroys lives.

God wants us to enjoy life and to enjoy one another. He wants us to make time for Him every day in prayer, reading the Word, and in church. He wants us to make time for our children, our friends, our spouse, our parents and siblings. He has asked us to enjoy the world around us – go hiking, watch the sun set and rise, listen to the birds, climb mountains, ride bikes, paint, laugh, and spend the night in tree houses with our children.

What is keeping you busy these days? Has your work become an obsession? May a hobby has overtaken your schedule?

You know, John and his dad never did spend the night in the tree house. Somewhere in about the fifth or sixth grade, John’s dad had a heart attack and died. His mom moved her kids back to her home town in Oklahoma, and I never saw him again.

Busyness. Take the time today to evaluate what is occupying your life and keeping you from enjoying what God has given you.