Horse bits and Sparks

Relationship by MM

Is it me or do you feel as if there’s more grumbling and complaining lately than people speaking life and joy to each other? Scripture tells us the grumbling and complaining are not from the Lord and the more we grumble the more discontented and unhappy that we feel.

It could be in our community, it could be in the schools, in politics, and within the church, the attempt of dividing people who are created in the image of God is increasing. Can you relate? It is our own selfish nature that wants to be heard, or have the last word. We can speak without thinking and cause a forest fire.

James 3:2   Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

Yes, another blog post on self-control, do we speak life or do we speak death? The tongue is to be used to speak life. In the Book of James, we are reminded the tongue has the potential to speak wonderful blessings or even curses.

James 3:7 - 10   People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. 

The tongue is defined, in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “a fleshy movable muscular process of the floor of the mouths..the human speech organ”, or “manner or quality of utterance with respect to tone or sound, the sense of what is expressed, or the intention of the speaker”. What is our intention when we speak?

In the Bible, James chapter 3 is full of wisdom regarding the tongue and learning self-control. It describes the rudder of a ship and the bit within a horse’s mouth. We have horses, most want to please their owner, however, they also have a stubborn streak and are powerful, majestic animals. The horse can be ridden in a halter when there is a great relationship between horse and rider. When the rider needs to ensure more control of the horse, be it a mountain trail, a cattle drive, or a new rider without a relationship, a bit provides pressure inside the horse’s mouth. Some bits are harsh and cruel while other bits are gentle in pressure.

Horse bits are connected to the reins, the reins provide guidance to the horse for the rider. As our kids were learning to ride, I likened the reins and bit to holding the hand of the horse through its mouth. Our horses wanted to please the rider, my daughter could ride bareback in a halter at times in the fields and at 4 H events because of their healthy relationship.

James 3:3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The tongue is one of the smallest muscles in the whole entire body but it can pack a punch or a flame. Why is the tongue a powerful body part? It can hurt or I can heal. It can set your life up for good or create a forest fire, as James shared.

What is your tongue doing today is it providing hope, encouragement, love, teaching, or providing hurt, shame, and guilt? I am checking my own attitude. I want to douse the ashes of conflict and instead pour blessings and life into those I meet. How about you?

A wise elder, your parent or grandparents’ wisdom may have taught deep breathes and counting to ten as a calming technique. It is not just to see if you are smart in math! The pause allows you to reconsider future actions and words you might speak.

James 3: 13 - 18    If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.


17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.


Being a peacemaker is possible if we stop the pride and selfish attitude (sin) and instead seek wisdom from God. It does not mean we let people step on us. We all need a little grace. I open my mouth and insert my foot often.

Wise tips: Listen well. Try to reframe the persons statements back to them. Clarify that you understand what they’re trying to say. Validate their feelings. And then answer softly and slowly. Be mindful of your words, this way you can douse the potential of a flame.

We the Messengers is an awesome Christian music artist because his lyrics give wisdom, he speaks disciplined in love, and this song is awesome!! It just reminds us to keep our eyes focused in the right space. “Come What May” is his most recent song. I saw him in concert, the artist is as humble and gifted as he sounds.

Enjoy your day and join me to stamp out a few fires by watching your words. 🙂

Guard

Fall sunset by Mary Mesikapp

Have you started your day stretching in bed and saying,” this is the day the Lord has made, I will make it a great day.” You flip on your favorite music, do you dance as you get dressed? Next, you grab your favorite beverage, jump in the car, and witness a beautiful sunrise or sunset? I used to work a lot of night shifts. Sunsets and sunrises would send me to work and bring me home with a smile.

However, my mood may change when I turn on the radio and am singing along with a song about broken relationships, depression, anxiety, and other topics that bring me down. Or have you walked into a room with a friend or coworker arguing? The next thing you know, you are feeling less joy. It’s like osmosis, the negative mindset is drawing away your joy.

Guard your heart! There are many voices and visions vying for your attention. It is a constant poke and prod from the enemy to distract. It can be culture, the newest app on your phone, a new entertainment app such as a tv or cable series, and even a new song.

Songs can have a steady, catchy beat, a melody, or percussion that lulls you into a cadence. Before you know it, you are memorizing lyrics and in the groove. Every time the song plays on your favorite radio or music venue you sing along.

You feel connected to the song it doesn’t seem to matter what is the message and thus you are a part of the community, you are trendy. Sometimes you pause to consider lyrics but then the beat picks up again and “who cares, no big deal, it’s just a song….”

Here’s the thing, I have a question, “if Jesus was sitting beside you as you traveled down the road, or danced away in your home, would you still sing the song?”

I find myself more diligent at considering lyrics lately after I heard words from current music. I was blown away at the top hits on multiple music genres. I don’t want to sound like an old curmudgeon, “the music of today, is bad.” Parents of generations past would complain about Elvis, the Beatles, and other classic rock bands were seen as evil. Parents wanted and tried to ban music.

However, Each generation has a need to express themselves. I get it! We have to think for ourselves. We have been given a sound mind. We must use it and not just follow the crowd.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

I think it’s important to teach my kids to learn to discern what comes from their lips in words or songs. I am working through the same needed character development. Yes, I say it again, I am a work in progress.

We must be self-controlled by the Holy Spirit with a sound mind.

Are my words bringing hope or hurt? Am I pausing before I speak? Am I considering the words in songs of my favorite music artists? Those lyrics can affect my emotions and my projection to others. They can speak affirmation or grumble. I believe you can tell by some of my posts, I love music and the messages that they can send to the listener.

Proverbs 4:23 NLT
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

I don’t want to deny my kids music but, instead, I want to come alongside them, teach discernment so they can consider what they see and hear, and does it bring life or death? Is it supportive of honoring men and women or is it describing destruction, abuse, and addiction potential?

It is too easy to become desensitized by the beat of a song. When we dismiss the importance of what we say or in this case sing, we become less bothered by the content.

Does the song edify or honor humans created in the Image of God or demean and insult? It is a choice to make. We can change the radio station or choose different songs on our music app. In our present day, we have options to make our own playlists.

Bad character corrupts even in a song. If we sing about the abuse of women or the joy in alcohol and hooking up, we demean and dishonor the purpose of our fellow humans. God wants each of His children to be loved and respected.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

Music, movies, and yes, even, the news can suck the life out of you. You can choose what fills your mind, your ears, your eyes. Guard your heart! Let your words and songs be filled with life.

Psalm 141:3 NLT
Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.