(March 08, 2022) Richard Winter challenges…

Martin Luther King wrote a speech that has stood the test of time: I will quote just a few selected lines…

‘I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!’

We know that words like these are powerful. They change lives and they change nations!

In WW2, Winston Churchill became prime minister of England and delivered a series of rousing speeches by radio which rallied the spirits of the people. His words have become legendary:

‘We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be… We shall never surrender. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”’

For all of us, words are powerful. Our words are powerful and when we speak each day we have the opportunity to change and shape destinies.

Your words have the power to bring either great blessing… or cause great harm! This is what God says about words: ‘The mouth of the good person is a deep, life giving well’(Proverbs 10:11aMessage), but adds that a warning, ‘The mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse’ (Proverbs 10:11bMge).

Abraham Lincoln said, ‘It is better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt!’ Throughout this passage, the writer of Proverbs contrasts ‘the mouth of a fool’ with ‘the mouth of the righteous.’

  • One speaks words of hatred 
  • The other speaks words of love and wisdom.
  • Words of hatred lead to violence and dissension.
  • Words of love are a fountain of life.
  • And  they cover over ‘all wrongs.’

It is said that holding a grudge is like letting someone live rent-free in your head! If someone has offended you, don’t return the offence.  Instead, return hatred with love. Speak well of the other person even behind their back and you may find that your love puts an end to the bickering and heals the relationship.

The words of Jesus are eternal
So, what words can we and should we use? Why not use the words of Jesus? His are the most powerful words ever uttered… ‘He spent his days in the Temple teaching… All the people were up at the crack of dawn to come to the Temple and listen to him’ (Luke 21:37-38Mge).

Jesus contrasted his own words with the temporary things that the disciples could see around them. He prophesied about the coming destruction of the temple (v5-6) and of Jerusalem (v.8 onwards), which occurred in AD 70.

He said, ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away’ (vv24,33). Two thousand years later more and more people around the world are affected by the words of Jesus.

The teaching of Jesus is widely acknowledged to be the greatest teaching of all time. We have advanced so much in science and technology. Yet in the last two thousand years, no one has ever improved on the moral teaching of Jesus.

They are the greatest words ever spoken, the kind of words you would expect God to speak.

Jesus warned about deceptive words
He said, ‘Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am he,” and “The time is near.” Do not follow them’ (Luke 21:8).

Jesus has told us to love everyone – our neighbours and even our enemies.

He warns us that although we are to love everyone, we will also be hated  (v17). And if you are persecuted, you are to see this as an opportunity to be a ‘witness’ (v13).

On these occasions Jesus says, ‘Make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict’ (v14-15).

Not only are the words of Jesus powerful, but He also promises to put powerful words in your mouth.

So much of the language Jesus uses is the language of love and relationship. It has to do with your heart and your prayer life.

Bible example on speaking God’s words
Joshua succeeds Moses ‘the servant of the Lord’ (Joshua 1:1) and takes up the same title from God… servant.

  • As God’s servant he is to pay particular attention to the words God has spoken (Joshua 1:7),
  • He is to obey them (v7),
  • Speak them (v8a),
  • Meditate on them day and night (v8b) and
  • Put them into practice (v8b).

As Joshua came under the authority of God’s words, his own words carried power and authority. The people replied, ‘Whatever you have commanded us we will do… Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you’ (Joshua 1:16-17).

Aren’t we too servants of the Lord? This applies to us too! Fill your mind with God’s truth… this will affect your thinking: Freed from your past, your thoughts will be thoughts of truth, love, victory, and peace!

And what did Jesus say to us? His words are  eternal. He will give us His words when we need them, and the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom as well as inspiration.

If you hear and speak God’s words, ‘your words’ (v18), like be like those of Joshua… powerful!

Living and obeying God’s words and sharing them with others does not promote us to new levels of super spirituality or self-righteousness, but they do draw us closer to true servanthood.

How do you get past your past?
Perhaps someone thinks ‘Okay… I will do this, but my words have hurt a lot of people in the past: My wife, my children, People in general – I let my tongue run away with words that truly hurt. So what am I to do now? Won’t people think I’m a hypocrite?’

Let’s just be honest with ourselves! We all have a past. But no matter how bad your past is, you can get past your past. This why we have to be born again – from on high! A spiritual new birth where God erases our past: All bad words, and deeds and remembers them no more, totally forgetting every bad thing we have ever said and casts them into His sea of forgetfulness!

If we have been born again, we will speak in new tongues, love, accept and forgive others. We will pray in the Spirit and honour and bless God.

Cursing, belittling people, lying will be erased from your speech because you will have a new vocabulary! God will give you a new beginning; And He can use you greatly and give you a future.

You may not called to be a Martin Luther King or a Winston Churchill, but we are all called to be sons and daughters of God like Joshua and we are all called to be disciples who will speak the words of Jesus.

Can we? Of course we can! Set your course to be a dedicated follower of Jesus and miracles happen. Accept, believe, and confess!

Lord, help me each day to meditate on your words, obey them, put them into practice and pass them on to others in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Dr Richard Winter pastors The Connection Church, Huntington Beach, California

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