Slightly Obsessed #048 "Shipwreck" (Weekly Devo) by Pamela Thorson on 2013-10-16 08:45:15
Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. -James 3:4-5
Some time ago, the week’s news was dominated by the revelation of the public verbal slip-up of a well-known politician. A botched speech at a university lit up the talk radio phone lines for days, evoked ridicule from both sides of the aisle in Congress, and sent the senator beating a hasty retreat home in shame.
As his grand ship of ambition crashed against the cruel rocks of media scrutiny, he was left to watch his dreams fill with water and turn belly-up in the foam left by the furor.
The storm of protest he inadvertently created centered around one Freudian slip of the tongue. No matter whether a person cheered or lamented this man’s political demise, the implication is sobering. Most of us don’t have the world’s spotlight on our every word, but we are all one sentence away from destruction at any time.
Words are powerful. Words hold the power of life and death. Words can kill, and words can raise the dead. The world itself was spoken into being (Genesis 1). With a word it will end (Revelation 19:21).
Rarely do we understand the power of our own words.
The Bible tells us that our words reveal our heart:
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. -Luke 6:45
The book of James devotes an entire chapter to the power of the tongue, comparing it to the little rudder of a ship. Just as the course of a huge vessel is directed by a small rudder at the order of the pilot, so we direct the course of our lives by our speech. As the pilot commands the rudder, we command our tongues, either allowing them loose rein or steering our way carefully away from treacherous reefs and toward safe harbor.
Since we all “stumble in many ways,” the safest course is to follow the leading of the apostle Paul in presenting our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, therefore allowing God to be the Captain of our vessel, the Master Pilot of our journey. In that way, we live each hour under His control, weathering the storms safely and finding grace when we veer off course. Then His words become ours; His mercy is poured out through us to others.
If we immerse ourselves in the love of God and His truth, it can’t help but become the storehouse of our hearts to guide our lives and season our speech with grace.
The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver. -Proverbs 10:20
About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. She resides in the Northwest with her family.
On a recent hot July day, we took in an air show in our town. Vintage planes, including a couple of impressive old warbirds, sat majestically on the tarmac for inspection as we darted from wing to wing to find relief from the withering heat.
These planes are still operable, so although some of them were open for people to walk through, the cockpits were off-limits for obvious reasons. No one wanted a tragedy to happen because an unauthorized person tampered with the controls. People who don’t know what they’re doing shouldn’t be in control.
Slightly Obsessed #189: The Calling
The sound must have been a maddening echo that haunted him at first, tormented by the rooster’s crow that mocked his empty proclamation of loyalty. For three days, his faith lay in the grave with the Savior’s body, darkened by the memory of his public desertion.
Slightly Obsessed #188: Freedom
He was shouting “Freedom” as he plowed his car at twenty-one miles an hour into the granite monument engraved with the Ten Commandments.
A video posted on the suspect’s Facebook page depicted the man in his car facing the monument as a women’s voice, presumably on a car radio, asked, “Where do you go when you’re faced with adversity and trials and challenges?”
Slightly Obsessed #187: He Reigns
Has a more beautiful declaration ever been written? Without that truth, we would have been forever lost to life. But because God had all authority firmly in His grasp, Satan had no chance of wresting the universe from Him. Because God reigns, Jesus could heal sickness, forgive sins, and conquer death. Because God is in control, evil was outwitted. Because He is Lord, there is power behind the words, “It is finished.”
Slightly Obsessed #186: When the Path Ahead Is Fearsome
The room was dark and shadowed, the only sound within its walls the rhythmic whoosh of the ventilator beside my son’s bed. I sat on an uncomfortable chair jammed into one corner of the room. In the faint light that fell from the window across the pages of the Bible I held, I tried to corral my stampeding fears long enough to find some comfort from God’s Word. Outside the door of his room, a cacophony of voices from the nurses’ station jarred our shattered nerves.
Slightly Obsessed #185: Clean
They were just turning down the lights in the sanctuary as I awkwardly slid into a seat near the back of the church. I was tired and soiled by the previous week. Life had been especially difficult, and I had not handled the pressure well. I felt completely unhinged spiritually and wholly unworthy to be in God’s presence. The worship team began with one of my favorite songs, and I hoped I didn’t look as vulnerable as I felt.