Aloha Friday Message – April 17, 2015 – Power Switch

1516AFC041715 – Power Switch

Read in online here, please.

Proverbs 18:21Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.

James 1:26 26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. (See also James 3:1-12 and Hold Your Tongue!)

Reverend Father Michael White: “Words have power and God’s word has God’s power. And when we speak God’s word we unleash God’s power. Proclaiming God’s word and being faithful to what it says unleashes God’s power in our congregation.” You can find that statement by following this link. Fr. Michael White coauthored REBUILT – Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, Making Church Matter with Tom Corcoran. This quote appears on page 138 of that book. When I first read it, I marked my page-margin

!WOW!

 

 

 

 

 

I had a cascade of Bible verses run through my mind!

Psalm 39:1 I said, “I will guard my ways
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth
as long as the wicked are in my presence.”

1 Corinthians 4:18-20 18 Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. 19 But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. [New Living Translation (NLT)]

Isaiah 55:9-11 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

James talks about the power of speech, the power of the tongue. The power of speech is one of the most amazing gifts God has given us. In any language a human can praise God, bless God, worship God, adore God, glorify God, teach fellow souls about the power of God’s Word, and assist the Holy Spirit to lead lost sinners to Christ. But with that same tongue we can blaspheme God, insult God, sin against God and our brothers and sisters, and – like the Adversary – we can tell lies that can ruin a life, destroy a relationship, or break someone’s heart. We have the ability to speak truth; it is certainly the best way to influence others; and yet so often we take this ability for granted or – worse – abuse it and invent our own “truth.” When that invented truth is conceived in anger, it definitely causes problems.

Proverbs 13:3 Those who control their tongue will have a long life;
opening your mouth can ruin everything.

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt, don’t wanna go back – ever! But I do go back, and it’s awful!  That is why Fr. Michael’s words really clobbered my mind – and my heart. God’s Word ≡ God’s Power. My word ≡ my power. My power makes trouble. God’s Power spoke the universe into being. God’s Word came to us so that whoever believed in him would not perish, but have everlasting life; would not be condemned by God but be given – g-i-v-e-n – salvation by and through God. The Word became flesh. The Word had a tongue, and that tongue spoke God’s Power. Here’s what the Word said at the end of Luke’s Gospel:

Luke 24:44-49  44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Notice, please that I emphasized the word upon. (Here we go with that Greek thing again.) That word Upon you is ἐφ’ (eph’) {eph}  and is a preposition. It is a form of the preposition ἐπί (epi) {ep-eé}.  ἐφ’ means upon, unto, against, over, covering (like a cloak) as in until you have been clothed with power from on high. And once clothed in that power, the Apostles spoke. They spoke in diverse languages, they spoke with power, they spoke miracles, they spoke boldly, they spoke prophetically, and they spoke The Word of God. The first seven chapters of The Acts of the Apostles are filled with scripture quotes about the prophesies Jesus fulfilled. There were so many convincing things spoken during the early days of The Church that it was like a perfect storm of Perfect Words. It was a constant barrage of The Good News. It reminded me of this picture of God’s Power – his Blessing through his Word:

Psalm 147:16-18 16 He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down hail like crumbs—
who can stand before his cold?
18 He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.

OK, so we get the idea: The tongue can be a tiny little monster at times, yet it is essential to life, but can also be a source of death. We need to be careful how we control it and how we deal with the consequences. Another passage in Proverbs speaks of the person who doesn’t care about the destructive power of his carelessly spoken words. “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, ‘I was only joking!'” (Proverbs 26:18-19). It’s easy to let our ego move us away from “love thy neighbor as thyself” and smack-dab into “Umm-m-m-m-m! You stu-ped! I’m going to tell.” It’s easy because that’s what The World expects under the domination of The Prince of The Air – Satan, The Accuser whose whole existence is controlled by his own lying tongue. Because of that he was cast away from God, and when I follow his advice, I am also moving away from my Creator. That’s what happens when I’m talking to hear myself talk. Look again at the second half of that quote from Proverbs at the top of the page.

It says “ and those who love it will eat its fruits.” What that means is that those whose words bring happiness and learning to themselves and others have consequences that are richly productive. Those whose words bring corruption, calamity, and coarseness have consequences that are absolutely destructive.  The power of the words is that the words are generated by the power of the speaker. If the words are Words God has spoken, the power is God’s. If the words are lies the Accuser has spoken, the power is Death’s.

Do we want to see our nation grow? Do we want to see our churches grow? Do we want to see our families grow? Then what we speak decides which way that power-switch is thrown. Just as actions speak louder than words, words speak from the power behind them.  For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. Look around. Where you are right now, is the power-switch open or closed to the Power of God? Are we switched on to the power of Life or the power of Death? What power will we unleash in our community? Let’s commit to proclaiming God’s Word of Life and being faithful to it. Wow!

PowerSwitch

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved

 


Aloha Friday Messages by
Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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