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February 10, 2013
READ: James 3:1-12
The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. —James 3:6
Greek fire was a chemical solution that was used in ancient warfare by the Byzantine Empire against its enemies. According to one online source, it was developed around ad 672 and was used with devastating effect, especially in sea warfare because it could burn on water. What was Greek fire? Its actual chemical composition remains a mystery. It was such a valuable military weapon that the formula was kept an absolute secret—and was lost to the ravages of history. Today, researchers continue to try to replicate that ancient formula, but without success.
One source of catastrophic destruction among believers in Christ, however, is not a mystery. James tells us that the source of ruin in our relationships is often a very different kind of fire. He wrote, “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body” (James 3:6). Those strong words remind us how damaging unguarded words can be to those around us.
Instead of creating the kind of verbal “Greek fire” that can destroy relationships, families, and churches, let’s yield our tongue to the Holy Spirit’s control and allow our words to glorify the Lord.
— Bill Crowder
worst enemies. Forgive us for speaking destructively
to fellow Christians, and teach us to use wise words
that can encourage and build their walk with You.
To bridle your tongue, give God the reins of your heart.
February 2, 2013
READ: Ephesians 1:15-21
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know . . . the riches of the glory of His inheritance. —Ephesians 1:18
A college student I met had recently placed her faith in Christ. She described her initial life-change this way: “When I trusted Christ for salvation, it felt like God reached down from heaven and placed a new set of eyes in my eye sockets. I could understand spiritual truth!”
It was moving to hear how her encounter with the Savior brought new spiritual perception. But her experience is not unique. Everyone is endowed with spiritual sight when they trust Christ as their Savior. Yet, at times a “fog” rolls in and our spiritual vision becomes cloudy and unclear. That happens when we neglect our relationship with Him.
In Paul’s fervent prayer for believers’ spiritual sight, we see how important it is to fully appreciate all that God has done and will do for us through Christ. He prayed that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened that we “may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18).
Each believer has been given new eyes to discern spiritual truth. As we keep our hearts tuned to God, He will help us to see with our spiritual eyes all that He has given to us in Christ.
— Dennis Fisher
Till Christ be fully formed in me;
Let love divine enlarge my heart,
Then all Thy fullness, Lord, impart. —Stewart
I once was blind but now I see!
January 21, 2013
READ: Luke 15:11-24
When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. —Luke 15:20
At the funeral of former US First Lady Betty Ford, her son Steven said, “She was the one with the love and the comfort, and she was the first one there to put her arms around you. Nineteen years ago when I went through my alcoholism, my mother . . . gave me one of the greatest gifts, and that was how to surrender to God, and to accept the grace of God in my life. And truly in her arms I felt like the prodigal son coming home, and I felt God’s love through her. And that was a good gift.”
Jesus’ parable about a young man who asked for and squandered his inheritance and then in humiliation returned home leaves us amazed at his father’s response: “When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). Instead of a lecture or punishment, the father expressed love and forgiveness by giving him a party. Why? Because “this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (v.24).
Steven Ford concluded his tribute with the words, “Thank you, Mom, for loving us, loving your husband, loving us kids, loving the nation, with the heart of God.”
May God enable us to open our arms to others, just as His are open wide to all who turn to Him.
— David C. McCasland
Your loving forgiveness You’ve shown
To me for the sins I’ve committed;
Lord, grant me a love like Your own. —Anon.
Forgiven sinners know love and show love.
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