From Ben Fronczek... James (Part 9) Control What You Say

James  (Part 9) Control What You Say   
By: Ben Fronczek
James 3:1-12
I believe that one of man’s most powerful possessions are not the bombs we’ve developed, not our guns or battle ships, stealth flyers, nor any other implements of war. Rather I believe the most powerful thing that we possess are the words we speak from our mouth. Words spoken have not only sparked wars that led to thousands and thousands of deaths, the right words spoken also have led people to achieve amazing goals; from great physical feats to landing a spacecraft and walking on the moon.

Our words are powerful. They can create or destroy. They can encourage us to reach new heights, or plunges us into such a depressed state that some commit suicide or even harm others.

God’s words are super powerful. He spoke words and all creation was created, and He created us in His own image… with power in our words as well. So in today’s lesson from James chapter 3 we’ll see where James encourages us as Christians to keep a tight rein on, or control our tongue or the words that come out of our mouth.

Read James 3:1-12.

James 3:1-12  (NIV) “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 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.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

I wonder if there were issues in James’s home growing up, or if his parents coming from a humble background taught their children to be careful about what they said. Earlier in this letter James wrote in 1:19, Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,   

And here in this chapter I believe that he is emphasizing that when we do speak, we need to control our tongue.

In verse 3, he talks about putting a bit in a horse’s mouth. Why? Because when the rider pulls on that bit it presses down on the horse’s mouth and tongue and he can control that 1000 pound beast. It says, When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.”

Verse 7 says that, “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” To tame a beast here means to “changed from the wild or savage state; or to domesticate.”

We may not be able to tame our tongue like we tame an animal, but I believe with the Lord’s help we can bridle it, or control it just like a rider can control a powerful horse.

In verse 4, James also talks about how a boat, or even a big ship is controlled or steered. The pilot steers or controls that ship like a rider turns a horse with the use of a small rudder.  I believe this text is emphasizing more of how the rider or the pilot can control the boat or the beast than it is about a little bit, or small rudder. As the pilot of our own body we likewise need to control our tongue just like the pilot and rider take control and steer their ride in the right direction.   

David wrote in Psalm 39:1, “I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.”

James knew like David that there are times when we need to get what we say under control, we need to bridle or muzzle it, because what we say can do some real damage just like a spark igniting and forest fire. In vss 5 & 6 James writes, “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.”

I’ll never forget the time when I was a teen when fire swept through part of my parent’s property. My parent’s farm adjoined another farm at the rear, and beyond that farm was a road. Apparently someone flicked a cigarette butt out of their car window and it landed in some dry pasture grass. Well with the help of a breeze it wasn’t too long before the sparks in the cigarette became a small flame and before long it began to consume a huge dry hay field. Well flames swept across that big field in no time and then entered my parent’s property which was part field and part forest. Before the firemen could put a stop to the fire that fire not only burned  a couple huge fields of grass, it also burned off 20-25 acres s of my parents land. And it all started because someone could not take proper care of a lit cigarette butt.

Likewise, loose, unbridled words you say and just thrown out not only can get you in trouble, they may also hurt or destroy someone else.   I believe we are being encouraged to never under estimate the power of what we say.

As a matter of fact James even makes a point to warn those who want to teach or instruct others; because teachers will be judged more strictly. Before and as I prepare my lessons each week, I not only pray every day for God’s help, guidance, and wisdom as I prepare them, I also spend a lot of time researching the facts so I can be as accurate as possible when I present the lessons.  Why? Because I know that I am responsible and will be held accountable for what I teach you.

…..No teacher should take this responsibility lightly.

As a matter of fact all of us should be careful of what we say to others.

So what about you? Do you have this problem. When you angry or upset do you rattle off all kinds of harsh and sometimes hurtful words. Do they just flow out of your mouth in frustration? Do you respond so quick that you don’t even know what you are going to say until it is already out of your mouth? And then after you said those words do you regret you ever said them.

James is instructing you to take control of that tongue of yours and what you say. And how do you do that?

Well the first bit of advice he gave in Chapter one is a good place to start. Rather than blasting people with our words, he said that we should first of all be Quick to listen’,  (in other words really take the time to listen to the other person, or get the whole story before you blast them.)   He then instructed us to be ‘Slow to Speak’(In other words wait, maybe even think about what you are going to say before you say it.)And finally he adds that we should also be ‘Slow to get angry.’     Why?  Because we all know the kind of words that come out of our mouth when we are angry.

Solomon wrote:  Reckless words are like a sword.” Proverbs 12:18 ….What do swords do? Wound or kill.                                                                               

He also wrote:  “He who holds his tongue is wise.” Proverbs 10:19               25:11 says,“Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.”

Your words if delivered in the right setting and at just the right time can be a treasure.

So are you still unsure how to get your mouth under control? In James chapter 1 he gives even more good advise. He writesIf any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

If you want to get your mouth and what you say under control ask God to help you get it under control.  In a situation be QUICK to listen, SLOW to speak, SLOW to get angry, and pray that God will give you wisdom.

David said to God,  “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight.”    Psalm 19:14

James wrote, 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

Take control of the reins. Take control of the rudder. And for God’s sake take control of your tongue. And I would also like to recommend that as much as possible we should season what we have to say with Love.

If you decide to control your tongue you can do it. It may take practice, determinations, and a lot of pray, but remember, you can do all things thru Christ who gives us strength.

Let the power that is in your words bring Glory to Lord.
In Proverbs Solomon wrote, “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life” (10:11a)
And In (18:4) “Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.” And like cool clean water such word of wisdom are refreshing.

David asks an interesting question in Psalm 15 and then answers it. Listen to what he says:“Who may worship in your sanctuary,Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?”    And here’s his answer…
Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors  or speak evil of their friends.”

From this day forward, like James I am encouraging you to control what comes out of your mouth. Those words you speak have tremendous power, maybe more than you realize. And so I encourage you to use those words and that power to do good, encourage others and bring Glory to your Father in Heaven.

For more lessons click on the following link:http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566

From Jim McGuiggan... Katrina and Charlie Chaplin

Katrina and Charlie Chaplin

While Katrina makes us spectators roll our eyes in dismay and those that have lost so much hug one another in speechless hurt we hear of generosity that beggars belief. We hear of families taking whole families of strangers into their homes. We hear of thousands who make their way to the places where refugees huddle, carrying with them blankets, sheets, clothes, food, toys and offers of money, vehicles and jobs. They whisper assurances, offer up prayers, hug and hold weeping people and weep with them, sharing their pain. Churches throw their buildings wide open, already busy people turn up to cook and clean and feed the needy. It’s all done without patronising or insensitivity—there’s no arrogance or superiority, just hearts full of compassion. Black and white are serving black and white, the educated and ignorant are serving the educated and ignorant, the upper-crust people and the lower-working class are ministering to the upper-crust and lower-working class. Differences are obliterated; race, education, status, age and gender matter nothing! There are people in need and people dived in over their heads to do something about it!

Samwise Gamgee  was absolutely right. "There’s some good left in this world Mr. Frodo…and it’s worth fighting for." (click here)

Charlie Chaplin wrote a beautiful song extolling human love. He called it, This is my Song. One of the lines in it says, "The world cannot be wrong if in this world there’s you." Chaplin—like so many others—knew what the pain of the world was but he also had an abiding sense that along with wrong and loss there was love and that gave meaning to a world that we would have utterly despised if it had been loveless.

So looking at the cross reminds us of the world’s great wrong but looking at the One on the cross reminds us of something else. The cross itself, as an instrument of torture, should shake us till our teeth rattle—how can such a thing be in a world under God? But the One on the cross should seize us till we can hardly breathe—how can there be such a One as this on a cross in a world without a Holy Father? Katrina should cure us of our over-the-top pursuit of and dependence on mere possessions and momentary happiness; but the profoundly lovely response to Katrina should cure us of ceaseless gloom and a slanderous view of humanity that dismisses it as self-serving vermin.

But the people that responded so splendidly to the needy and devastated of Katrina didn’t grow like mushrooms in the night—they were shaped over the years by something that it has become fashionable to despise. Thank God the cynical rhetoric can be overwhelmed by the heart response of thousands.
Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

From Mark Copeland... Family Matters (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

                     "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                         Family Matters (5:1-2)


1. In his instructions to Timothy as a minister of the gospel, Paul
   counsels him on how to treat the members of the congregation - cf.
   1Ti 5:1-2

2. The figures used in this passage presuppose that we...
   a. Are indeed a family
   b. Should act accordingly

[In this lesson, I would like to expound upon that thought.  First, as
Christians and members of the body of Christ...]


      1. Was alluded to earlier in this epistle - 1Ti 3:14-15
      2. Was taught by Jesus during His ministry - Mt 12:46-50

      1. By doing the will of the Father - Mt 12:50
      2. By faith and baptism - Ga 3:26-27
      3. By being "born again" of water and the Spirit - Jn 3:3-5
      4. By being "adopted" (to use a different figure) - Ep 1:3-5

      1. Some might have been cut off by our physical family - Mt 10:
      2. Yet we gained a much larger family - Mk 10:28-30
      3. Included in this family are:
         a. God as our Father in heaven
         b. Jesus as our "elder brother" - He 2:11-12
         c. All Christians as our brothers and sisters

[This is a wonderful blessing we can enjoy now in Christ, if fully
utilized.  Yet with blessings come responsibilities; this is especially
true when it comes to the family of God...]


      1. From a young person's point of view, they should treat:
         a. Older men as fathers
         b. Older women as mothers
         c. Younger men as brothers
         d. Younger women as sisters
      2. From an older person's point of view, they should treat:
         a. Older men as brothers
         b. Older women as sisters
         c. Younger men as sons
         d. Younger women as daughters

      1. As a father to a son (Timothy) - 1Ti 1:2,18; 2Ti 1:2; 2:1; Ph
      2. As one brother to another (Epaphroditus) - Php 2:25
      3. As a son to a mother (the mother of Rufus) - Ro 16:13
      4. In teaching on family duties - Ep 6:1-4
         a. Like obedient children, we should show honor to our older
         b. Like loving fathers, tender treatment should be shown to
            younger brethren

      1. In our text, Paul instructs Timothy on how to exhort
         a. When instructive criticism was necessary
         b. When there is to be caution against "rebuke" (an otherwise
            natural inclination)
            1) Lit., to strike upon, beat upon - Thayer
            2) To chastise with words, to chide, upbraid, rebuke - ibid.
      2. This can make quite a difference in handling differences
         a. We would be gentle with one another - cf. Ga 6:1
         b. As David wanted for his son Absalom - cf. 2Sa 18:5

[Not only is being the family of God a blessing in the best of times, it
can also help when things are not going well; it can smooth the rough
times in our relationships!  Finally, a few thoughts on how...]


      1. Children of loving families are more likely to produce loving
      2. As children of God, we can learn "family values" from our
         Father and Elder Brother
         a. From God we learn what love is - 1Jn 4:9
         b. From Jesus we learn how to love one another - 
            1Jn 3:16; Jn 13:34
      3. Thus we are better prepared to love another
         a. When we meditate upon the love of God
         b. When we dwell in the love of the Father and the Son - 
            Jn 14:21; 15:9-10

      1. For a relationship to exist requires shared experiences
      2. It was shared experiences that bonded Paul and his brethren at
         Philippi - Php 1:3-8
      3. Take advantage of opportunities to be with your brethren, and
         the sense of family will grow!

      1. Nothing destroys a sense of family like sin
         a. Impure conduct caused Amnon to hate his sister Tamar - cf.
            2Sa 13:15
         b. Impure conduct caused Absalom to hate his brother Amnon
            - cf. 2Sa 13:22
      2. In our text, Paul cautioned Timothy about his conduct toward
         younger sisters
         a. "younger as sisters, with all purity" - 1Ti 5:2
         b. He "was to indulge in no word, or look, or action, which
            could by any possibility be construed as manifesting an
            improper state of feeling." - Barnes
      3. Improper conduct between brothers and sisters in Christ:
         a. Has devastated many congregations
         b. Destroys any sense of family
      4. Thus all would do well to heed a later admonition by Paul - cf.
         2Ti 2:22
         a. "Flee also youthful lusts"
         b. "Pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who
            call on the Lord out of a pure heart"


1. One of the greatest blessings of being a Christian is being in the
   family of God...
   a. To have God as your Father, Jesus as your Elder Brother
   b. To have an unlimited supply of mothers, fathers, brothers and

2. But to fully experience this blessing, we must treat one another like
   a. In our love for one another
   b. In our correction of one another

May we reap the fullest benefit of membership in the family of God, by
heeding Paul's admonition to Timothy...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading January 8

Bible Reading   

January 8

The World English Bible

Jan. 8
Genesis 8

Gen 8:1 God remembered Noah, all the animals, and all the livestock that were with him in the ship; and God made a wind to pass over the earth. The waters subsided.
Gen 8:2 The deep's fountains and the sky's windows were also stopped, and the rain from the sky was restrained.
Gen 8:3 The waters receded from the earth continually. After the end of one hundred fifty days the waters decreased.
Gen 8:4 The ship rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on Ararat's mountains.
Gen 8:5 The waters receded continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.
Gen 8:6 It happened at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ship which he had made,
Gen 8:7 and he sent forth a raven. It went back and forth, until the waters were dried up from the earth.
Gen 8:8 He sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from the surface of the ground,
Gen 8:9 but the dove found no place to rest her foot, and she returned to him into the ship; for the waters were on the surface of the whole earth. He put forth his hand, and took her, and brought her to him into the ship.
Gen 8:10 He stayed yet another seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ship.
Gen 8:11 The dove came back to him at evening, and, behold, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off. So Noah knew that the waters were abated from the earth.
Gen 8:12 He stayed yet another seven days, and sent forth the dove; and she didn't return to him any more.
Gen 8:13 It happened in the six hundred first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth. Noah removed the covering of the ship, and looked. He saw that the surface of the ground was dried.
Gen 8:14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.
Gen 8:15 God spoke to Noah, saying,
Gen 8:16 "Go out of the ship, you, and your wife, and your sons, and your sons' wives with you.
Gen 8:17 Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh, including birds, livestock, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply on the earth."
Gen 8:18 Noah went forth, with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives with him.
Gen 8:19 Every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, whatever moves on the earth, after their families, went out of the ship.
Gen 8:20 Noah built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Gen 8:21 Yahweh smelled the pleasant aroma. Yahweh said in his heart, "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake, because the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again strike everything living, as I have done.
Gen 8:22 While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

From Gary... After the nut...

Look at the size of that "prize". It is probably enough food for several days at least.  So much so, that this little fella might make itself sick trying to consume all of it.  But, that is the way with riches- you just want more and more and more.  Take a moment a think: What is life all about, anyway?  Money? Power? Possessions? Health? Well, I guess to a certain degree we all need some of these things.  But, they are will FAIL; EVERY ONE OF THEM. Just for a moment, consider this passage taken from the book of Psalms...

Psalm 49

 4 I will incline my ear to a proverb.
I will open my riddle on the harp.
  5 Why should I fear in the days of evil,
when iniquity at my heels surrounds me?
  6 Those who trust in their wealth,
and boast in the multitude of their riches—
  7 none of them can by any means redeem his brother,
nor give God a ransom for him.
  8 For the redemption of their life is costly,
no payment is ever enough,
  9 That he should live on forever,
that he should not see corruption.
  10 For he sees that wise men die;
likewise the fool and the senseless perish,
and leave their wealth to others.
  11 Their inward thought is that their houses will endure forever,
and their dwelling places to all generations.
They name their lands after themselves.
  12 But man, despite his riches, doesn’t endure.
He is like the animals that perish.

We are more than just temporal beings.  Our innate sense of morality proves that. Today, think about all you are "about".  If God is not in the picture- change the picture!!!  The TV commerical is true: "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't...".  But, what about after the nut- then what?  That is EXACTLY where God enters the picture- HE provides your real needs; those in and beyond this life. It begins with peace of mind and ends with joy in heaven.  Just think about it, OK?  When you do, know that you are NOT alone, because I will be too!!!

PS.  Thanks, Kate, for the helpful advice Monday evening!!!  It takes a real friend to provide constructive criticism that is obviously from good motives!!! G.