And just like that three weeks is done and dusted. I pray that God has used this to form you in the image of his Son Jesus. And I pray that this will be the beginning, or continuation, of a lifelong journey in scripture.
I promised a few links for you if you’d like to check out other resources:
- Vanderbilt has a website devoted to the lectionary. It will give you the weekly readings and some other resources.
- The Upper Room is a daily devotional from the United Methodist Church and has been a regular read for many.
- Text Week is a great resource based on the lectionary with devotional guides, sermons, and other study resources.
- Max Lucado is one of my favorite authors and he does a good job with a daily devotional that can be sent directly to your email every morning.
Please feel free to let me know if you’ve completed the journey. I’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org and encourage you as you do me.
James 3:1–12 (NRSV)
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
James refuses to hold back about the potential our words have for good and for destruction. Taming the tongue goes a long way to keeping our entire life of faith in balance. It also goes a long ways in extending a life of faith for others. For with a few words God created everything. With a few words Moses was drafted into Yahweh’s service. With a few words Jesus reminded us from the cross that it is finished. Your words have potential too. May we spend the rest of our days blessing the One who blesses us and encouraging those who surround us.
Lord, please forgive me when the same tongue I bless you also speaks against others. May your Spirit be my guide and your Son be my example. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you O God, my rock and redeemer.