Deuteronomy 30:19-20 presents a profound message: “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.”
In 11 years of serving with HealingStrong, I have had the tremendous pleasure of interacting with folks who have been given little hope, but they are hope-filled. I have also seen those given little hope, give up. This topic of the power of our words has come up over the last couple of months so many times, that I have spent some time researching and prayerfully reflecting on this important principle and I thought I would share from my heart. I hope it encourages and challenges you on your own faith walk and healing journey.
Over the Christmas holiday, I had the pleasure of speaking with one of our group leaders in Texas, Lisa, who had just lost her Dad. She shared with me that her father had been doing great. He was juicing, eating healthier, had stabilized his blood sugars and was off of all his insulin. His blood pressure was also much improved. Even with a terminal diagnosis of COPD and cancer, he was living life to the fullest, feeling good, focusing on living and all things were looking up. Unfortunately, everything changed after a follow-up appointment with his doctor. Despite his progress and improved condition, the doctor told him there was nothing more they could do for him and suggested calling in hospice care. Within a span of less than six weeks, his health deteriorated rapidly and he was bedridden. Tragically, he passed away shortly thereafter.
It is heartbreaking to hear this story and to know he walked out of that appointment a defeated man based on a brief conversation he had with someone of great influence.
Careless words stab like a sword, but wise words bring healing. Proverbs 12:18
During the weekend, my husband Jeff and I attended a funeral to pay tribute to a friend I had met through HealingStrong. We had connected during HealingStrong’s “Around the Word in 80 Days,” where she actively listened to the nightly readings, and grew stronger as friends when we worked together on a local conference.
At the funeral, her pastor stepped forward and spoke lovingly about her infectious joy and the selfless acts of service she consistently demonstrated. He shared anecdotes about the text messages she sent, inviting others to join in a “happy dance” during moments of triumph throughout her treatment journey. The pastor revealed that he had met with her just a few weeks before she passed away and was astonished by how good she looked. He struggled to comprehend that she was “so sick.” In response, my friend declared her belief that God was going to heal her. It was at that moment that the pastor relayed his response to us: “Because I am your pastor, I feel compelled to tell you that God may not heal you.”
Ugh! I just sank in my seat and wondered could he have joined her in rejoicing over her great faith, and fueled her fire with words of hope and healing, instead of doubt? I do recognize there is tension in situations like this, but do we need to do anything other then err on the side of “yes He can!”. Knowing that He really can!
Perhaps joining with her and recounting accounts of healing from scriptures, such as the woman with the bleeding issue who was healed after touching the hem of Jesus’ garment, or Jairus’ daughter whom Jesus raised from the dead, or the leprous man who was healed. Or how about a mention of a nugget of scripture that often gets buried that is mind blowing to think about all the miracles of Jesus: And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. John 21:25
One of my most favorite accounts of spoken faith in the Scriptures comes from the book of Daniel, chapter 3. The story of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego tells us of three Jewish boys who refused to bow down to the King of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar. He threatened to throw them into the fire, and they still did not bow down. As a matter of fact, they retorted: “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
They responded in essence: Our God can. He will. But, even if He doesn’t….we will not compromise our faith in the one true God.
What were the chances that they would survive a furnace heated up so hot that the soldiers who opened the door, died! Slim to nothing…but, that didn’t shake them.
I love their faith, and how they expressed it. They stood on the He can, and not the He won’t. The verse found in Deuteronomy tells us to choose our words very carefully. I am reading a little book written by another Group Leader, Mark, who has taught many folks about the power of our words, and has even written a little book: Choose Life Choose Words. Mark also has an advanced stage cancer diagnosis, and when I read his updates, they are full of HOPE, JOY, and LIFE.
Mark writes in his book: We see that life and death are set before us, and then God says “choose life.” Choose to love the Lord your God. “Choose life.” How do we choose life? How do we choose God’s blessing? With our words. God says that life and death are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 28:32) The tongue refers to the words we speak. Earlier, we read that we had a choice between life and death, blessing and cursing. Our words can give us life, or they can give us death.
Mark continues by helping the reader to understand the meaning of “the power of the tongue”. The word power is the Aramaic word for hand, as in, it is in the hand of the tongue. Mark gives this example: If I am in charge of a project, that project is in my hands. The direction that a car is driven is up to the driver. It is in the driver’s hands. Life and death are in the “hand” of the tongue.
Wow. If that is true, and God’s Word says it is, then our tongue is very important in the direction of our very life, and, in the life of those around us. Life or death? Blessings or curses?
In the Bible, John 6:63 states, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The Words of Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, gave sight to the blind, and set the captives free by speaking into their situations. His Words carried power. His Words are alive today in the scriptures — the very scriptures that testify about Jesus.
How do you see your words guiding and guarding your life, and the life of those you have influence? Perhaps your spouse, children, grandchildren, neighbors, friends, or someone you bump into at a grocery story? What can you do today to fuel faith and life with your words?
How can we grow as a community of faith, changing the way we speak?
Our HealingStrong Group meetings are a great place to start. Can we help you get connected? Visit our website or respond to this email and let us help you get started.
I wanted to share with you a beautiful and telling poem about the power of our tongue written by the group leader, Lisa, I mentioned in the beginning.
HUNG BY THE TONGUE
by Lisa Simmons, Group LeaderIt’s power is mighty.
To bless or to curse.
It can make you feel better.
It can make you feel worse.
It’s compared to a serpent,
A viper, a snake.
I have total control
Unless, I’m awake.
Tho it’s small as a bit
Or a ship’s tiny rudder.
The words it can say
Can make your heart shudder.
Gossip and nagging
Praises and hymns
How can this thing
Do all on a whim?
Be wise in the way
You speak to others
Remember in Christ
They’re our sisters and brothers.
Let the light of Christ
Show on your face.
Let your words be seasoned
with love and grace.
Through Christ, you have power
Spoken, written or sung.
Take hold of the bridle
Or be hung by the tongue!
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Below: Outstanding Group of the Year, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
My name is Jazzmin. I’m 33yrs old for the past year I’ve been suffering with chronic skin disorder, and an auto immune disorder which causes me to itch non stop, chronic swelling to my body, thinned skin that’s so this it bleeds. ..About 3 weeks ago I fell on my knees which I’ve done numerous of time, BUT this time was different… I prayed for the Lords guidance… I wanted to be healed. A week later during church service I was lead to look up small groups and Healing Strong got my attention. Ms Dawn contacted me and welcomed me with loving arms. Immediately she tended to my suffering and sent me research and amazing contacts with a great village that I needed. I’ve been receiving prayer, wisdom, knowledge, natural ways, and most importantly I received hope. I had been battling depression, and restless nights. BUT I thank the Lord for him leading me. I had been telling my husband for the past yr that i wanted to invest in a juicer, and within the first couple weeks, I won a juicer. My Healing is NOW!!!! God bless this ministry.
Hi my name is Sylvia. I just finished your Bible Plan on the Bible App and I’m so amazed at the dedication and commitment you all put into this plan. It was the plan about Joseph and his brothers. It literally saved me so many days because everyday I read the plan it was immediately effective to my life. Every message hit my heart and made me feel closer to God. I enjoyed the small talks afterwards and heard so much love a grace within your voices that it made me see different perspectives of what God was trying to say. I just appreciate this so much because I’m going through a big transition in my life and I struggle everyday mentally to get better and put my Savior first. Thanks for all your insight and keep pushing through. Your light shines bright and positivity doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you and God Bless.
Group Leader Quote:
We had four new members join this week and our first male attended! One attendee started crying out of pure joy that she had found “her people” and it felt like Christmas morning. She had been journeying alone for about two years doing things holistically. We also had women sharing phone numbers to discuss protocols and helping one another. While it takes me all day to plan and prepare for group, it always feels worth it at the end of the night when I see what happens when believers gather together, pray and support one another on their healing journeys. It’s so so beautiful! – Tiffany, F., Oregon
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