If you include scientific words, there are over 1,000,000 words in the English language. The average educated person knows about 20,000 words and uses 2,000 different words a week. Women and men both speak about 16,000 words a day on average. Words matter. But what matters most is not the number of words we speak but the kind of words we choose and the purpose for which we use them. The apostle James tells us that although ‘the tongue is a small part of the body’ it is extremely powerful (James 3:5). In Proverbs 4:1-9, Matthew 24, and Job 35-37 we see how words can be used, just as the apostle James describes, for good or evil. Each day we have great potential: either to destroy or to build. If your tongue is a rudder, the words you use today will determine where you will be in the future!
Read Matthew 24
Hold on to the eternal words of Jesus
When will the world end? How will it end? Jesus’ words here to his disciples are about the future. He answers their questions about the fall of Jerusalem (which took place in AD70), and about the end times (the question is in Matthew 24:2). The passage can seem confusing, as it is difficult to disentangle the two themes. Jesus’ purpose was not to give a specific schedule for the future, but to help his disciples not to worry or be distracted by what will happen. Jesus says, at the end of this section (which starts today and ends tomorrow), that ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away’ (v.35). There is a lot of uncertainty about the end times. However, some things are clear: There will be lots of false claims (vv.4–5,23–26) There will be upheaval, persecution and even falling away (vv.6–12) The love of the great body of people will grow cold (v.12, AMP) When it does actually happen, it will be obvious to everyone (vv.27–31). The first time Jesus came in weakness. The second time he comes, he will return in power (vv.27,30–31). As we wait for Jesus to return we need to hold onto his words and not allow our love to grow cold (v.12). As Joyce Meyer writes, ‘Refuse to let your love grow cold. Stir up love in your life – towards your spouse and towards your family, friends, neighbours and co-workers. Reach out to others who are hurting and in need. Pray for people and bless them. Grow to the point that one of your first thoughts each morning in your heart is about how you can bless someone else that day.’
Lord, thank you that your words are eternal. Thank you that you promise that you will return. Thank you that when you do so, everyone will know it. While I wait may my love never grow cold. Help me to stir up love in my life.
Listen to prophetic words with discernment
‘Prophecy’ is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We need to listen carefully to the words of the ‘prophet’. This passage reminds us of the importance of genuine prophecy (although no modern-day prophecies will have the same level of authority as those in Scripture). Jesus warns against false prophets who ‘will appear and deceive many people’ (v.11). He warns that the false prophets will try to deceive people by claiming ‘I am the Christ’ (vv.4–5). People will say, ‘ ‘‘Look, here is the Christ!” or, “There he is!” ’ (v.23). Jesus warns us not to believe them. They are ‘Fake Messiahs and lying preachers [who] are going to pop up everywhere’ (v.24, MSG). On the other hand, Jesus affirms the words of the true prophets. He announces that the words ‘spoken of through the prophet Daniel’ (v.15; see Daniel 9:27, 11:31; 12:11) will be fulfilled. He quotes from the prophet Isaiah (see Isaiah 13:10; 34:4): ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken’ (Matthew 24:29). In fact, in his description of his return (v.27 onwards; see especially v.30), he is making an implicit claim to be the messianic Son of Man prophesied by Daniel (see Daniel 7:13).
Lord, help me to distinguish between true and false prophecy. May I not be deceived when false prophets claim to be the Christ. Thank you for the power of true prophecy, and for the fact that I can trust the words of the prophets in the Scriptures.
Speak the most powerful words in the world
The words of Jesus totally changed my life when I was 18 years old. Since then I have watched with joy and often astonishment, the power of his message to transform the lives of other people. Between the first coming of Jesus and his second coming, we have been given the task of taking the life-changing message of the gospel to the whole world. ‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come’ (v.14). The words of the gospel are powerful and life-changing. The apostle Paul wrote, ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes’ (Romans 1:16). We must never give up on the proclamation of the gospel. We have the great privilege of being entrusted with words that have the potential to change people’s lives in a radical way – for this life and into eternity.
Lord, thank you that you give us this immense privilege of being able to use the most powerful words in the world to see people’s lives transformed by Jesus. Help me to take every opportunity to get this message out to as many people as possible.
Taken from Daily Readings at Bible.com.