Words Wound. Words Heal.

Words have tremendous power.

Words wound. They hurt. They slander. They promote lies and they cover the truth. Words that flow from a wicked heart often demolish the heart of their target.

Words are arrows to the heart. They are daggers to the soul.

And words heal. They help us find the right way in life. They show us the way of grace. They lead us to the blood of Christ and his forgiveness. Even correction and discipline for the believer bring life.

Words are a powerful salve for the spirit. They are miracle medicine for the heart.

Solomon knew the power of words to wound or to heal. And so he encourages us to make the choice to be healers when we open our mouths.

Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool. Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. (Proverbs 10:17-20, NIV)

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, April 22, is Joshua 1:1 – 2:24, Luke 21:5-38 and Proverbs 10:11-20.

Lord, I am sorry for the times when I have not listened to correction. Forgive me for my misuse of my tongue. Keep my heart from wickedness. Thank you most of all for your kind words to me. The good news of our salvation is the best news ever — and it heals!

Header image based on "Magnetic Fridge Poetry" by Steve Johnson, CC By 2.0

The Last Word

Near the end of his life, David went against God’s explicit wishes and counted his fighting men. It’s clear that David had slipped into thinking that he should rely on human power, rather than God’s strength. Even David’s leadership team knew that this was a hugely bad move, and they told him so.

David pressed on anyway with the count. God then became angry with David’s sinful actions, and especially his prideful heart. In response, the Lord sent a plague on Israel. The plague actually progressed to the point where 70,000 people ended up dying.

But then the Lord suddenly relented from his anger. He withdrew the angel who was bringing this disaster on the people. With some irony, the place where the plague ceased became the place that David purchased for a temple, so he could demonstrate his repentance and honor God.

Not all bad stretches in our life are brought about as a result of God’s discipline. But when this does happen, we need to remember that God’s anger lasts only a short while. God’s true nature is not to display anger but love.

In other words, displaying love is what God most loves to display. Look throughout the entire Bible. Yes, God gets angry at times. But grace and forgiveness always get the last word!

So, if it’s your “night of weeping,” remember these words always and know that rejoicing will come in the morning.

“Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:4-5, NIV).

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, March 4, is Leviticus 11:1 – 12:8, Mark 12:13-27 and Psalm 30:1-7.

Lord, I pray with David: “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing” (2 Samuel 24:10, NIV). Thank you for forgiving me. Let rejoicing return quickly. Show me your favor, and lead my heart to find joy in your grace.

Header image based on "Sunrise" by Grassi, CC By-SA 2.0

The Hug that Follows the Discipline

I’ve actually seen it occur on multiple continents. I’ve witnessed it here in the U.S. I’ve also watched it occur in Africa and in Europe.

The scene always plays out the same. A parent, slightly distracted, or perhaps simply trusting for a moment that her two-year-old knows how to behave, allows the child to pull free of her hand.

And suddenly the child runs out into the street, a street in which a car is approaching rapidly. The parent reacts. Grabbing the child by an arm, she pulls the child back swiftly, almost violently. And then she bends down and gives the little one a stern talking to. Anger flashes.

Or is it love? Because the next thing is that the child is in tears, and the mother is reaching around to give the child an embrace. Tender words flow from her mouth.

“Mommy just does not want to see you get hurt!”

God is like that. He does not want to see us get hurt. So he pulls us back from sin. The way he does this might appear violent at times. But what God truly loves is to give us the hug that follows the discipline.

Because of Jesus Christ, we are dearly loved children of God. Therefore we can rest assured that God loves nothing more than to protect us when we are in danger; when we are injured, to heal us; when we are lost, to rescue us.

“Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal. From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will touch you” (Job 5:17-19, NIV).

Lord, thank you that you assure me again and again in the Bible that through faith in Jesus, I am your dearly loved child. I know your deepest desire is to heal me, to help me and to hold me in your embrace. And for that I thank and praise you!

Our Bible reading for Tuesday, January 27, is Job 4:1 – 7:21, Matthew 19:1-15 and Psalm 17:1-5.

Header image based on "I can walk on my own" by Seika, CC by 2.0