My Second Mouth

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10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

–James 3:10

I’m having surgery next week.

Yep, gonna have a second mouth installed.  Right in the back of my neck.

I figure it’ll cut way down on the time it takes for me to eat a meal.

And I’ll be able to give my wife a kiss and look at my iPhone at the same time, so that’s nice.

Oh, and harmonizing with myself?  It’ll be beautiful, I’m sure.

Of course, I predict some drawbacks with having two mouths.  Twice as much time brushing my teeth, for one thing.  And probably twice as many dental bills.

But that will be worth it for the main benefit having two mouths is going to give me:

My front mouth will be do the praising, and my back will be for cursing.

Isn’t that perfect? In that scripture up there, James is right when he says to do both out of the same mouth is just plain wrong.  It’s this mixing of the sacred and profane.

It’s a misuse of the mouth!

So now, with my second mouth, I can keep things separate.

My front mouth will be kind and gentle, faithful and humble.  I’ll have a kind word for everyone I see.

Meanwhile, my back mouth will be used for moments of road rage, commenting on idiots on the TV, and general gossip and hate speech.

It’s a great system.  As long as I can keep my back mouth shut when I’m at church. Or with my in-laws.

I wonder.  Which mouth will get more use?

And then I wonder this:  If I have a mouth designated for foulness, will I come to hate it?  Will I get tired of hearing the filth that comes out of it?

Imagine me, going through this whole surgery, only to get fed up and duct tape my second mouth shut.

Well, I guess that’s one way to cut down on my cursing.

Another way could be avoiding the surgery all-together, and trying to be more mindful of the words that pass through my lips.

God hears every word we utter, no matter how many mouths we have. So perhaps I can work to make the things I say a better reflection of the Grace God has given me.

In the end,

It’s better to practice graciousness and self-control,

than to go through life being two-faced about it.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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What the EF?

tornI do believe that title is as close as I’ll ever come to swearing in one of my devotions.

Sometimes, in the face of a disaster, that’s all people feel like they can do.

Look up at the sky, and curse.

Of course, EF isn’t an abbreviated curse word — it stands for “Enhanced Fujita Scale”, the measure of a Tornado’s power.

The one that hit Moore was at the top of the scale, an EF5, with sustained winds of more than 200 MPH.

That’s an incredible amount of destructive power, doing unthinkable damage.

Maybe “EF” does make a fitting curse word after all.

The irony of it all is that this happened the day after Pentecost.

The day after we celebrated the Spirit’s entry and the rush of a mighty wind. The day after we spoke of God’s power, unleashed on the world.

There are some idiots out there (there always are) who claim such a tragedy is the work of a vengeful God, but if Pentecost teaches us anything, it’s that God’s power came to be a BLESSING, not a curse.

The Holy Spirit is what fuels the church. It’s what puts love into action.

It’s what prompts us to look up at the sky, and pray.

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve always wanted to see a tornado in person. I’ve lived in Kansas for 28 years and never have. I think there’s something compelling about seeing nature’s power at work.

Now I’m not so eager. If I ever do see one, I won’t “ooh” and “ahh”. I may in fact direct some curses towards it.

Thankfully, tornadoes are fairly rare. But friends, I could not count the number of times I’ve seen the Holy Spirit at work in unexpected and mysterious ways. In us.

Reminding us that there are things we can do in the face of a disaster. Donating. Volunteering. Caring. Praying.

That’s why my church will be taking an offering for UMCOR this Sunday. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is an awesome organization that is already on the ground helping hurting people. If you would like to contribute now, you can visit here: http://www.umcor.org/

God counters every powerful curse with a more powerful blessing.

An EF5 leaves a permanent mark on a people and a city, but the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit never stops blowing.

This is a power that will forever change the world.

Really. I swear.

Have a good week,

Mitch

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