Ephesians 4:25-32 (NIV)

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.  28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.  29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.   

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.   

DEVOTION -Debra Pierce (Massachusetts)

Years ago, I adopted a dog that had a fear of strangers.  Whenever the veterinarian examined her, he muzzled her so she couldn’t bite him.  At times, I wish someone would put a muzzle on my mouth – such as the time I berated a woman who was talking loudly on her cell phone.  Immediately Psalm 39:1 came in to mind:  “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin:  I will put a muzzle on my mouth.”  If the psalmist had the self-control to keep his mouth shut, why don’t I?

Even when I do manage to keep my mouth, shut, I seethe in silence.  But that is sin waiting to happen.  I’ve learned that living righteously and keeping my mouth from sin requires a lot of close communication with God.  “Lord, put a muzzle over my mouth,” has become a frequent prayer of mine.  Whenever I’m feeling irritated, I ask God to calm me.  I ask God to give me the strength to conduct myself with gentleness.  I still make mistakes and allow angry words to roll off my lips.  I sometimes speak in a tone that is offensive.  But my convicted spirit prompts me to confess my sin to God and ask forgiveness.  Then I ask God to strengthen my commitment to speak with kindness and self-control the next time anger or frustration tries to get the better of me.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God’s love can transform our words of anger into words for good.

PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, may our words be used for goodness, grace and godliness.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: THOSE WHO ARE EASILY ANGERED

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