Thursday, March 29, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 37 ~ Yes & No

Day 37 ~ Yes & No
James 5:12  Above all, my brothers, do not swear-- not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.
The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, was once caught up into God's heavenly throne room.  One glance at the glory of God drove him to despair because of his sinfulness.  Isaiah said, '"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty"' (Isaiah 6:5).  The sin that caused Isaiah the most fear was a dirty mouth!  His lips, and the lips of his people, were unclean.  Here is the almighty God who speaks creation into existence, who declares judgment on all sin, who kills and gives life with the Word of His mouth. He is seated in glory before lowly Isaiah, a man whose lips have known lies, blasphemies, cursing, and gossip.  Seeing this heavenly vision causes Isaiah's unclean lips to cry out in despair!

The words we find on our lips are an expression of what is in our hearts.  If our lips continually pour out praise for God, then the heart has received the gift of faith.  St. Paul says, "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved"  (Romans 10:10).   But, if our lips continually pour out gossip, slander, and bitterness, then our hearts are shown to be sinful.   "Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction" (Psalm 5:9).  If our lips constantly boast of our righteousness, but our lives boast of sin, then our lips are unclean.  But, if our lips are found repenting, then our heart is shown to have faith in the Word.

We need to have our mouths washed out and our hearts renewed.  As Isaiah sat in the presence of the Almighty, God sent an angel to touch Isaiah's lips with a burning coal.  This coal was God's means of purifying Isaiah's lips and preparing his mouth to preach.  The Lord has purified our hearts by washing us in Baptism and placing His very body and blood in our mouths every Sunday.  Our unclean hearts have been purified by the forgiving Word God has spoken through Christ.  Our hearts have been cleansed, so our mouth may bring forth praise!

With purified hearts and lips, our speech to others should reflect that of the one who has purified us.  Our words should be trustworthy, our promises fulfilled.  Our "yes" should be yes and our "no" should be no.  This is, after all, how God speaks His promises of forgiveness and mercy to us in Christ Jesus.  "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ.  And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God" (2 Corinthians 1:20).   Yes!  You're forgiven and made pure through the blood of Christ!  Amen!
Confession:  Forgive me, gracious Father, for I am a person of unclean lips from a people of unclean lips.  My words to not always reflect your glory and your grace .  Teach me to train my tongue to sing your praises and speak the truth in love to my neighbors.  AMEN.

Challenge:  Fulfill at yet unfulfilled promise. OR, if you have not unfulfilled promises that you can think of, make a promise and carry it out before next week.

Pastor Bob

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