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Daily Devotional

January 15

Tongue and Lips

by the Rev. Henry Huenemann


Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile (Ps. 34:13).

Bible Reading

James 3:

1My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
2For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
3Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
4Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
6And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
7For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
8But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
10Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
11Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
12Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
13Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.


What a marvelous gift of God human speech is! How wonderful that we can communicate our thoughts to each other! yea, that we can even speak to God who made us. It should probably go without saying that we must use our power of speech to the glory of God. Paul admonishes us, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers." And Peter says, "He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile." And Solomon says, "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles." The tongue in its natural state cannot be controlled. James us, "The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, a deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father: and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God." Paul speaks of people, whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness and under whose lips is the poison of asps. Our hearts must be renewed by the power of the Spirit before our mouths will speak the truth in love, so it behooves us continually to pray with the psalmist of old, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." And, "O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise."


O God, teach Thou us to pray. May we come to thee with sincerity of heart, in all humility, acknowledging sins and believing Thy promises. Help us to show Thy praise. As time passes, draw us more closely unto Thee. Control our innermost thoughts by Thy Spirit, so that our tongues shall speak of Thy righteousness and of Thy praise all the day long. In his name we pray. Amen.

Scripture in Devotional: Eph. 4:29; 1 Pet. 3:10; Prov. 21:23; James 3:9, 10; Rom. 3:13-14; Eph. 4:15; Ps. 19:14; 51:15.

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