When I fully dedicated myself to the Lord, one of the first things the Holy Spirit worked upon was my tongue.  Psalms 34:13  keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.  14  turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. I have always had very strong opinions and they test my restraint on my mouth.  In the early years, I did not realize the damage I could do by speaking my mind but God made me very aware that there is a time to speak and a time to remain silent. Ecclesiastes 3:1  there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 3:7  a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak. I must guard against sinning with my tongue.

The duty to keep my mouth under control is strictly mine.  I want to be perfect in God’s sight and so I must work on “me.”  James 3:2  we all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. When my thoughts lead me to the beauty and perfection that await us in heaven, I realize that my loose cannon (i.e. my tongue) would not be acceptable there.  I have made great strides in controlling my words, but I am not yet perfect.  My dad told me to count to twenty before I spoke. Good advice because that gives us time to consider what we are going to say. Will my words encourage and build up others or will they tear down and destroy?  Will my words engender love and harmony or will they set a fire that cannot be controlled?  God will judge us for every word and deed. James 3:8  but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  9  with the tongue we praise our Lord and father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.  10  out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

David prayed and asked the Lord:  Psalms 141:3 set a guard over my mouth, o Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. The Holy Spirit is a guard against sin and He reminds us when we fail.  When we ask God, He will send the Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness, but God will not excuse us because we are weak.  He has given us overcoming power and it is our fault if we do not use it.

Often anger causes us to sin with our mouth.  When our emotions are stirred, we are very prone to speak our mind. Proverbs 29:22  an angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.  God gives the solution:  Ephesians 4:26  “in your anger do not sin”: do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

I have dedicated my mouth to smiling and behind my smile is a spirit of joy.  Did you know that you can minister with a smile? The other day I had a joyful encounter with a young box boy at the grocery store.  I smiled a happy smile as he walked by and when I got to the check stand he ran to box my groceries.  He also helped me to my car.  In that brief encounter, I discovered that we both serve Jesus Christ and he told me that he would pray for my husband who is ill with Alzheimer’s.  I went away blessed and I know it affected him the same. I am very conscious of the fact that a joyous attitude ministers to the casual passerby. Several times I have noticed that someone seemed trouble until I smiled; a frown can easily become an answering smile. A smile may seem like a trivial thing, but it is contagious and touches others because it stems from a joyful Spirit.  You never know when someone will seek you out to find your source of joy.  Isaiah 12:2  surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”  3  with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 

The cry of my heart is that I might become like Jesus.  I do not want to enter heaven with sins that I could have addressed here on earth.  I want my very nature and personality to reflect that I belong to God.  I am a representative of His family and I do not want to stand before Him and have Him ashamed of my words, attitudes, and actions.

My prayer is the one David prayed in the Psalms.  Psalms 51:6  surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.  7  cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  8  let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  9  hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.  10  create in me a pure heart, o God, and renew a steadfast Spirit within me.  11  do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  12  restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing Spirit, to sustain me.  13  then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.  14  save me from bloodguilt, o God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.  15  o Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.  16  you do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  17  the sacrifices of God are a broken Spirit; a broken and contrite heart, o God, you will not despise.

May the Lord bless you and keep you always in His presence. Psalms 16:11  you have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.   

Anita

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