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Summary: Abraham Lincoln said, "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." Beloved, you can speak life or death. Tame the tongue...and speak life.

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One of the winter events.... that I often did as a Youth Group leader .....at Saint Andrew ....in Mentor Ohio ....was a snowball toss .

You would pick a partner ....and start ....about 3 feet apart.

You would throw... or toss the snowball ....to your partner.

If they caught the snowball ....you would each take ...one step backward.

The winner would be the pair ...who caught the snowball ....at the farthest distance.

Well ....after about 45 minutes of this game ....it deteriorated ....into a new game called ..... kill the youth group leader

Thirty to one ....are not very good odds ....though I did not go down.... without a fight.

Snowballs though small ....have the ability to cause delight ....or destruction.... depending on.... how they are used.

Beloved .... Likewise, ....our words have the same power .... they can bring joy..... or cause despair.

Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way: (Slow) "The tongue has the power of life and death..." NIV

The stakes are high.

Your words can either speak life, ..... or your words ....can speak death.

Our tongues ....can build others up, ....or they can tear them down.

It has been said .....that great minds discuss ideas,... average minds discuss events, .... and small minds.... discuss people.

The church that James is writing to ....was full of small-minded people..... who gossiped about each other ....and tore one another apart .....with their tongues.

We are quick to avoid murder,... stealing,.... and drunkenness,.... but we often assassinate fellow believers ....and leave destruction in our wake ....by the way ....we use our tongues.

Husbands have stabbed their wives ....with words that are as sharp as daggers.

And wives ....have lashed out with tongues.... that cut and pierce.

Parents have devastated their children.... by repeated blasts..... of venom.

Children have exploded at their parents..... with volleys that have leveled the family..... like a bomb.

Listen to what is written in the first chapter of James letter: BIBLE 19 You must understand this,.... my beloved:..... let everyone be quick to listen,.... slow to speak, ....slow to anger;...... 26 If any think they are religious, ....and do not bridle their tongues.... but deceive their hearts, ...their religion ....is worthless." END James 1:19 James 1:26 NRSV

If you and I launch verbal snowballs of destruction, .....they will have devastating consequences .....on others. (Pause)

Notice how James connects sins of the tongue ..... with sins .....of the body.

He does this...... because our words.... usually lead ... to corresponding deeds.

Proverbs 21:23 says "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity." ASV

The tongue can express or repress; ......offend or befriend;...... affirm or alienate; ......build or belittle; ...comfort or criticize; .....delight or destroy.

In verses 3-12, .... James uses a number of different word pictures of the tongue .....to help us see ......how small, ....yet how powerful ...it is:

Four of them are:... A bit .....A rudder ..... A fire .... A spring

(1 finger) The first metaphor is the bit that is put into a horse's mouth by its owner....or its trainer.

This relatively small piece of metal ....can control a very powerful animal, .... directing the horse ....to the right.....to the left...... or to stop.

When the bit is pulled back by the rider,..... it presses against the horse's tongue..... causing it ....to stop.

(2 finger) ......James also compares the tongue.... to a rudder.... on a boat.

Just as a small rudder ...can control the direction of a large ship.... so too, ....the tongue... can control our lives.

The bit controls the wild nature of a horse; .....the rudder must fight the winds ...and currents ....that would drive ....the ship ....off course.

Both the bit and the rudder ....must be under the control .... of a strong hand.

After speaking to ....the power of a bit ....in the mouth of a horse, .....and the power of a small rudder.... to steer a large ship, ......James goes on to uses the image of (3 fingers) ....fire James 3:5-6

Just like a small spark can ignite ....an entire forest, ....so too words that flow out of tongues ....can corrupt lives ......and shipwreck families.

James is pretty strong here.... as he tells us ....that our tongues ....are set on fire..... by hell ....itself.

When I was in 4th grade ....a few of my friends and I.... were out behind the neighborhood grocery store ....where we built a .....magnificent fort.

We decided it needed a fireplace.... So we started a nice fire ....that proceeded not only to burn the fort to the ground ....but to also bring ....the fire department..... to the scene.

A little spark ....had caused much damage ....not only to the fort......but to my backside ....after my parents .....were finished!

Like a careless match thrown on dry wood, .... so to ....our words ......can consume people.

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Lizzy Mohammedii

commented on Aug 9, 2017

Hi how are you? I like your profile and i will like to be your friend, please try to reach me through my email(lizzymohammedi@yahoo.com)i am not always on line here.

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