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The Same Mouth
• Enid Adah Nyinomujuni • Exodus 15:20–21, Numbers 12, James 3:10
Miriam was a prophet, a leader, and a singer. In Exodus 15, she led the women in a dance to the Lord on the day He saved them from slavery in Egypt by parting the Red Sea and defeating the army that pursued them. In this instance, she used her mouth for good, to sing praises to God.
However, in another incident (Numbers 12), Miriam used her mouth wrongly. She and Aaron spoke against their brother, Moses, because of the Cushite woman he had married. The same mouth that had sung praise to God was now backbiting and judging Moses, the servant of God.
The Bible says, “the Lord heard this” (verse 2), and He summoned Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to the tent of meeting, where He came down in a pillar of cloud and spoke to Miriam and Aaron. The Lord corrected them and spoke what was true about Moses. Then they repented of their sin, and God was merciful to them.
We sometimes find ourselves doing what Miriam did. In one situation, we use our mouth for good, and in another, we use it for evil. We use the same mouth to praise God and to slander, criticize, and belittle others. James 3:10 says, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 4:6-12 urges us to turn away from sin, including slandering and condemning others, and instead submit to God humbly. This command comes with a promise: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (verse 8).
We are able to come to God because Jesus took all our sin upon Himself when He went to the cross. Jesus—who always used His mouth for good and not for evil—let people insult Him and slander Him and judge Him unjustly. Jesus is fully God, yet He showed the utmost humility (Philippians 2:5-11). He laid down His life. And then He rose from the dead—so everyone who puts their trust in Him can be forgiven of all their sins. As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus as our example. With the Holy Spirit’s power, let us endeavor to use our mouths as Jesus did, for good and not for evil. • Enid Adah Nyinomujuni
• Have you ever been hurt by someone’s words? Have you ever hurt someone else? How can Jesus bring healing and restoration to these wounds?
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:10 (NIV)
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When I Am Weak
• Emily Acker • Psalm 31:9–10, Isaiah 40:28–31, Romans 8:26, 2 Corinthians 12:10
I might feel weak, not ready to face the bullies I see around me. I might feel weak, not prepared for a health battle in front of me. I might feel weak, unable to stand up for myself. I might feel weak...but I serve a God who is strong.
You will have days when life gets to you and you feel weak. You will have days when you are tired. But even on those days, God is strong, and He is prepared to be there for you.
Again and again, the Bible talks about God giving us strength (Psalm 18:30-36; Ephesians 3:14-21). When we are worn out and we don’t feel ready for the things that are coming up in our lives, we can ask Him to make us strong.
The Bible talks about God being there for us. Sometimes, all it takes to feel stronger and ready for anything is knowing that someone is with us and we don’t have to deal with things on our own.
When I am weak, God has the chance to show me just how strong He is.
When I am weak, I can grow closer to God and accept the help He offers.
When I am weak, God can work through me.
Being weak does not always have to be a negative thing. • Emily Acker
• Can you think of a time you felt weak? Do you feel weak today?
• Has God ever surprised you with the kind of help He gave you when you were weak?
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)