Words That Control Us 2

We saw in the first article in this series that people can use words to control us.

This lesson looks at some of the various “words” that impact us and helps us assess which ones we should heed.

Words Control

If someone shouts a command at you and you obey that command then a significant social transaction has taken place.  You show yourself to be under their authority.

Now, someone might call out, “Watch Out!” to warn you of a danger.  Responding to that call does not put you under their authority.  But someone who demands that you do something as they prescribe, such as “Stop!” or “Come Here!” is bringing you under their control by their words.

I recall reading about a man who was driving in city traffic when a police officer called out to him, “Pull over here!” The man simply replied through his open window, “Is there some problem, officer?”

The officer called to him several more times but he did not obey, but simply repeated his question, “Is there some problem, officer?”

The officer soon tired of this and called to someone else, who did pull over.  The officer then commandeered the vehicle.

The man had honourably resisted the control exerted by the policeman.  The driver of the other vehicle did not resist and so came under the officer’s control.

Words Are All I Have

Back in 1968 the Bee Gees released a hit song with the line, “It’s Only Words and Words Are All I Have to Take Your Heart Away”.

And words can at times be all we have.  Yet words are very powerful, as the saying penned in Bulwer-Lytton’s 1839 play puts it, “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword”.  But this idea traces back to the fourth century Greek poet Euripides who said, “The tongue is mightier than the blade”.

So, while words may seem very lame at times, they are also one of the most powerful tools, or weapons, available to man.  Consider how readily people use them in scoring points against each other, from the children’s playground to the halls of power.

Some Can Speak

I have pointed out in earlier essays on Jurisdiction that God has the ultimate right to speak.  As creator He is immediately and powerfully authorised to speak whatever He will over His creation.  And so the words of God, God’s laws, rule our lives like none other.

Not only can God speak over us, but He gets to identify others who have the right to speak.  God says that husbands speak as the head of the home and that children must obey their parents.  Those who God authenticates are thus able to speak with authority, in fact, with God’s authority, so long as they honour God in what they say.

The schoolyard bully, however, does not have authority.  But then, neither does the teacher!

The teacher does not have inherent, god-given authority.  Nowhere in God’s Word, the Bible, are we told to obey all teachers.  It is up to each student enrolling in the class to submit to the teacher.  If they choose not to do so they will probably be removed from the class.

So, some can speak with inherent, god-given authority (so long as they honour God in their use of that authority), and others have authority because we confer that upon them for the convenience of our circumstances.

Consider, for example, how a child is under the teacher’s authority in the class, but the teacher cannot then invade the family home and usurp the parents’ authority.  The parents have inherent god-given authority, while the teacher has limited authority conferred by the student’s willingness to submit, and limited to a specific place and set of circumstances.

The Toothpick Story

I saw a report of a chap who went to court and defied the court’s assertions of authority.  He had several questions to ask the court which deflected the court’s claim of jurisdiction.  However the chap came undone because of a toothpick. You can find the full account at 1215.org.

“One guy went up there was chewing a toothpick. He knew how to ask the three questions, and he was cruising through them and he got down to the end and then looked a little bit confused as to where to go from there. At that point the judge from the bench said “Take that toothpick out of your mouth”. And the guy reached up with his fingers, took the toothpick out of his mouth, and the judge immediately yelled at the bailiff, “sieze that man and throw him in jail for ten days for contempt”. When he followed the orders of the judge, the judge became the head and he became the tail. What he should have done was continue to chew the toothpick and say, “Do you have a claim against me?”

This toothpick story illustrates the point that when we submit to someone else’s words we acknowledge their authority over us.  If the one speaking has authority then we are being lawfully and duly submissive.  But if the one speaking does not have authority and is trying to exert authority, we are best to deflect the words and not submit to them, or we could be oppressed by their abuse of authority over us.

Responding to Words

A person who is the “head” and not the tail would respond to the attempted impositions from others in a particular way.  They would be free from the imposition.

One way to be free from attempted impositions is to ignore them.

Recall the account of Mary Slessor, the missionary in West Africa who sent a home-made cloth document to two warring factions, instructing them not to fight until she had arrived to explain the significant message contained on the document.  Mary was asserting her intervention.

The warring parties could well have rejected her imposition.  They could have thrown her cloth into the fire or sent it back to her.  It had no inherent power of itself.  The only reason it had influence over them was because they allowed it to have such influence.  And, of course, there was the moral conscience of the men and Mary’s prayers for them.

Similarly for Gladys Aylward, the wild-eyed murderer could easily have cut her to pieces.  Her presence awakened the conscience and brought God’s grace into an otherwise godless situation.

Your Responses

In the next lesson I will explore the options you have in responding to the imposition of words into your life.  You may be rejecting words that you should heed.  And you may also be responding to words that you should ignore.

Words That Control Us 1

Those who control us do so by “Words”.

This series of articles walks you through an understanding of the Words that Control Us and what we can do about it.

This first lesson looks at the fact that Words impact us.

A Shout

The Deputy Headmaster at my high school (St Marys High – not a Catholic Girls School as some thought) was Jack Curry and he loved to catch people off guard with his shouted cry “You Boy!”

Just about everybody in earshot would freeze when they heard that distinctive, commanding call.  We would all turn around to see if “Curry”, as he was called by the boys out of earshot, was calling to us or someone else.  It was always a relief to realise he had someone else in his sights.

Occasionally the senior boys would mimic the “You Boy!” call, first creating a shock, then a chuckle as people realised it wasn’t Mr Curry.

Jack Curry was promoted to Headmaster at a nearby school and we were spared his intimidating call.

Getting Your Attention

If someone calls loudly near us we usually turn around to see if someone is trying to get our attention.

Someone may be calling to us, or to someone else.  So unless we check the matter out we won’t know.

They may be warning us of an approaching car or similar danger.  They may want to get our attention so they can sell us something, as happens when westerners visit some tourist destinations and the sellers want to hawk their wares.  There may be some official wanting our attention, or someone who simply wants to say “Hi!”

When people call for our attention we tend to naturally look in their direction and then assess the situation from there.  We can stop and listen, or walk on and ignore them.  We can heed the warning and adjust our actions as we see fit.  Or we can be completely dominated by the demands of the other person.  It is up to us to decide how to react to someone wanting our attention.

Speaking With Authority

While most of the voices we hear around us are just those of other people with no authority over us, it is possible that the person speaking has some right to be demanding our attention.

We use the term Jurisdiction to describe the right to speak word (diction) that have authority (juris).  The Deputy Headmaster of a school has a lot of authority and speaks with Jurisdiction.  But one of the junior students can be ignored, because they are without authority.

Yet at times a junior student would turn up in a class with a message demanding that some student report to the office.  That demand did not come in the name of the junior student, who was without authority, but usually came in the name of the Headmaster.  If the junior student was ignored then the Headmaster who sent that student was also being ignored, and that was a serious matter.

Someone doesn’t have to possess personal authority to speak with authority, if they are speaking under the authority of someone else.

When I Say “Jump”

Speaking with someone else’s authority is clearly illustrated in the words of a Roman Centurion who history records meeting with Jesus of Nazareth, 2,000 years ago.

The Centurion described his authority as follows:

“For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.” Matthew 8:9

The Centurion’s men did exactly what he told them to do, but only because the Centurion was “a man under authority”.  When the Centurion said “Jump” the men jumped.  But that is because when the Centurion’s bosses said “Jump”, HE jumped.

So some voices that call for our attention will be voices with delegated authority, giving them jurisdiction.

Imposing Our Words Onto Others

It is interesting to note that people tend to defer to those who are assertive.  If someone starts to assert their authority or speak in a compelling manner it is likely that a good percentage of people will at least pay attention.

Those of us who are trained in civility, to honour others, do as we are told, respect authority and so on, are highly likely to pay attention to someone who appears to have authority making assertions.

This is the process of imposing words onto others.  Most people do that, even in casual conversation.  Mostly it is an innocent negotiation for the attention and interest of others.

In official matters, however, it is a serious subject demanding our understanding.

Mary Slessor and Words

An amazing example of a person imposing their words on others comes from the legendary English missionary lady Mary Slessor who went to the remote tribes of Nigeria where no white man or woman had been before.

From 1888 she worked with the godless Okoyong tribe which delighted in bloodshed.  She often stood between war parties to stop them killing each other.

Her methodology was to call the leaders of the two fighting groups to account to her the reasons for their arguments.  She would set herself up in the shade of a tree with her knitting, and listen as each side put its case.  Her aim was to keep them talking until they had cooled off or it was too late in the day to do the fighting.  By this means she saved many lives, and did a great deal of knitting.

On one occasion she learned of a fight about to take place at some distance from her.  She cut out a piece of cloth and quickly made various ink markings on it.  She then rolled it up and closed it with a wax seal, giving it the appearance of something very important.  She sent it off by a man who ran to the scene of the fight and presented it to the leaders, saying that the white woman would be along soon to explain the meaning of the mysterious, and obviously important document.

When Mary arrived she unwrapped the cloth and made up her explanation of the random symbols, and thus averted the bloodshed that would otherwise have occurred.

Gladys Aylward and Words

Another feisty English lass who went to remote places was Gladys Aylward who ended up in the mountains of northern China.  On one occasion she was called to deal with a bloody riot in the local prison.  The local mayor and prison commander were terrified and so they demanded that she go into the jail and stop the riot.

She was pushed through a small door which was hastily locked behind her.  She then walked through a darkened tunnel to emerge into the courtyard where dismembered bodies lay about.  A huge man with a blood soaked meat cleaver stood nearby, his chest heaving.  Others were fleeing, crying in pain, or lying dead.

In what became her typical fashion, Gladys scolded the man for his bad behaviour and demanded that the man give her the cleaver, which he did.  Her unexpected appearance and forthright manner quelled the whole drama in a matter of moments.

Yet all Gladys had on her side, apart from her faith in God, was a forthright manner and a bunch of words.

Gladys later used the same demanding manner and calls to people to rally a village to deal with the aftermath of a deadly strike by Japanese war planes.

Imposing Words

In the examples of both these ladies we see the use of words which imposed something over the audience.

Asserting authority and using words enabled both of these godly women to bring about a positive change.  Yet what they were doing involved imposing their will onto others, by their resolute demeanour and their commanding words.

We too are impacted by those around us who use those techniques.  And those techniques are not always used for our good.

People in uniforms or with official positions, using their fancy words on fancy paper, or shouting their commands with an air of authority, can quickly herd people into the responses those people impose.  Yet, like the cloth sent by Mary Slessor, the documents and apparent significance can be completely fictional and of no real substance.

Under Control

You are already under the control of others who have used nothing more than assertion and words to impose their will onto you.

Some of those may have the right to speak.  They may have true “jurisdiction”.  But others may have assumed and asserted control that they do not have.

The purpose of this series is to explore the impact of other people’s words over you and the control they assert, so you can make your own decision about how you respond.

Basis of Human Law Part 4

In the past three posts on this topic I pointed out various observations from the early chapters of the Holy Bible which have import to the subject of human law. The principles found there provide an important basis for human law.

I have grazed through a number of observations, en route to a picture of our modern legal system and the process of human law. I can’t guarantee we’ll get there, but the journey has been valuable so far.

Review

Before pressing on with more things to observe, it is fitting to take some time to review what we have observed so far. To help harvest some of the insights and their significance for future application I am not only revisiting the content, but grouping it into several sub-headings.

All of these points come from a source that is identified as divine revelation. That is, they were not worked out by human thinking or made up by human inventiveness, but were revealed to mankind by God, Himself. God inspired holy men to write what was impressed to them. At the same time historical records were kept of the events of people’s lives. As centuries passed the collection of holy writings became increasingly potent, because things that seemed of little note when recorded in antiquity became powerfully relevant and significant in later times. Thus a book which was actually written by God was passed to us, and, despite the many contributors over many centuries, we have a book that conveys a unified message from one creative author, God.

So here are the points we have covered so far, from the Biblical text.

Existence

The essence of life is our very existence. But we humans are not the only identities which have significant existence.

God is our pre-existent, sovereign creator. All existence springs from God’s existence from eternity.

Natural law is a product of what has been created by God. It is thus a by-product of God’s existence. To appeal to natural law as the foundational legal reality, without regard for God, is a nonsensical idea. Nature is not the place from which we spring, but a product of God’s creativity, just as we are. It was not made in God’s image, but we are.

Man is a created being, morally accountable to the holy Almighty God.

Man’s existence is a consequence of God’s existence. God exists because He is God. Man exists by the will of God.

Life is impacted by three types of being: God; Man; and the Devil. The devil actively influences people to rebel against God, especially by getting them to reject God’s Words.

Note that the devil is a created being. He was at first an angel created to serve God, but he rebelled against God’s authority and thus awaits his eternal doom. Meanwhile, God allows him to tempt mankind as a means of testing he hearts of men, to find those who will truly submit to God.

Supremacy and Jurisdiction

Law requires courts, judges, rulers and the like. These people have some level of authority over others and some realm of jurisdiction in which their word holds sway.

God is the supreme being and has jurisdiction over the entire universe and all that is known and unknown.

Jurisdiction allows a being to speak over a certain realm with authority. God’s jurisdiction is eternal and unbounded. Everywhere that light can go is within the bounds of God’s jurisdiction.

Because man is under God’s jurisdiction, man is a moral being. Therefore there are moral consequences to man’s moral choices and actions. Man is accountable, not a law unto himself.

Natural Law is not the highest and final realm of law. Divine Law, based on the pre-existence of God, as revealed to us in the Holy Bible, has much greater authority and conveys much more powerful truth than natural law could ever imagine.

God gives assigned roles to people, just as He did in the creation, giving man dominion over the rest of creation.

Man is under direct command from God and must obey God’s instructions.

Man is under moral law, so man is accountable for moral actions, not just natural consequences of his actions.

Superiors have authority over their subordinates, and can command them.

Authority and Accountability

Rules are unavoidable. All of life is governed by limitations. There is no such thing as being a law to ourselves or being outside law.

Those with authority have the right to summons and interrogate those accountable to them.

Those with authority have the right to pass sentence on those accountable to them.

Divine law speaks morality into the world, causing everyone to be accountable, not based on natural endowment, but on moral principle.

Mankind has been created with equality before God and has been given equality of purpose on the earth.

Words

Because ‘jurisdiction’ is the right to speak over a realm, words are very important legal elements. Words control the realm over which they have right to apply. Word usage, definitions and the terms of agreements are very important.

Words are elements for which we are accountable.

Consequences

Actions lead to consequences, both natural and moral. We cannot control the consequences or stop them from happening.

Sin has moral power, causing moral consequences which can be profound and far reaching.

Moral consequences can be experienced at a completely internal level, yet be more real and devastating than actions upon our external body.

Human delusion does not create reality. Man cannot become free from divine morality, no matter what man chooses to believe.

It All Starts with Law

From what we have seen so far, the universe is a law based environment. It is logical that people operate under law, since the very shape of life as it was created is a legal context. A superior Being created people who are accountable to Him.

That Being, God Almighty, determines the roles of man, the standards by which man must live and the consequences for his actions. Thus we have the formula for all legal contexts, where people with authority and position enforce standards that others are to live by, even determining the punishment to be meted out when requirements are not met.

Legal Study

I’d like to suggest that you study law, since we live under law in every aspect of our lives. But that might send you off studying some law course or other that is designed to bring you to a wrong place under man’s impositions. Just because something is called law doesn’t make it true law, as we may see in future posts.

Rather, we need to study the Biblical basis for human law, as I am splashing through it with you, so we see the right responsibilities and accountabilities that God has place upon us.

Basis of Human Law Part 2

In Part One of this series I opened up the subject of Human Law by looking at several important points introduced in the first chapter of the Holy Bible. Since the Bible is the most reliable of all ancient texts, is the most celebrated of ancient texts, has the greatest endorsement and track record of any ancient text and is given full authority within the High Court of Australia, it is a worthy text to address in looking for the basis of human law.

In part two, I look at some other principles which spring from the first few chapters of Genesis. I have long had a high regard for the amount of significant points given to us in just a few chapters of the Bible. These key points undergird the rest of the Bible and our understanding of the whole of human history.

Words

We have already seen that God spoke words which released power. God said, “Let there be light” and the immediate result was that light sprang forth. This ability to speak things into reality testifies to God’s supreme authority and jurisdiction (the right to speak over the entire universe).

Another principle which has significance in law is the power of words. Words and their meanings are a very important aspect of legal business. Definitions, word usage, distinctions of meaning, what is written, what was agreed to, and so on, take up much of the energies of those engage in law.

The Bible endorses the vital importance of words in many places, confirming the significance of referring to this reality in the third verse of the Bible. Consider these other verses.

“And I say to you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36,37

“He that rejects me, and receives not my sayings, has one that judges him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day.” John 12:48

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah: say to him, Take away all iniquity, and accept that which is good: so will we render as bullocks the offering of our lips.” Hosea 14:2

Law and Words

Much of law is constructed by words and names, defining responsibilities and consequences contingent on the impact of those words. Yet words do not make up moral law. Divine law stands apart from the various laws which people create to serve the purposes of their own society, club or process. We see that distinction in the New Testament, where a Roman official dismisses the Jewish legal complaint as simply a matter of their own words, names and laws.

“But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, If indeed it were a matter of wrong or of wicked villany [here he refers to moral wrongdoing], O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: but if they are questions about words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; I am not minded to be a judge of these matters. And he drove them from the judgment-seat.” Acts 18:14-16

Assigned Roles

We saw previously that God gave man dominion, which prescribed a specific place for man. The dominion mandate of Genesis 1:26-28 reveals that positions are God given. God, who is sovereign over all, ascribes to people their place in His created realm.

This ability to assign roles to people is important in terms of human law, because rulers and others who gain authority have the power to make and enforce laws. The validity of their role directly impacts their right to make and enforce laws and the obligation of others to work with or under those laws.

Under Command

In the second chapter of the Bible, Genesis 2, we see another principle of law at work. God imposes moral law onto mankind.

God created a beautiful resort garden for the man to live in. Only the best trees were planted there. Also planted there were two trees of great power. One of those trees, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, was banned from man. The man was commanded not to eat of that tree or he would die.

“And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17

Mankind was not simply given life by God. Man is under command. We are not the free agents which some people want to believe they are. We are accountable to God for our actions. God has prescribed behaviour for us. We cannot do as we please.

Note too, that God’s authority over us places us under moral law. This is not natural law (discussed in part one), but a moral obligation which is independent of the natural considerations. God is a moral being. Man is made in his image, so man is a moral being. God reserves the right, as creator and supreme sovereign, to hold man accountable to moral requirements.

A further legal principle evident here is that superiors have the right to make demands of subordinates. God did not need man’s permission to make demands of man. God is the superior and his right to make demands is simply part of his jurisdiction. The same principle is true for all who have been given authority by God. Note that God is not superior by brute strength. God is the primary cause of man’s existence and is of a nature vastly superior to man’s being. This is not survival of the fittest, but moral order, based on God’s being and His role in the creation of man.

Submission

Note too that rules are a normal part of life. Existence is designed to operate within constraints, rules, moral order and due process. It is not truly possible to live outside of rules and regulation. The very nature itself is regulated and operates according to laws which man has been able to identify, such as gravity.

We must all submit to a range of constraints. We cannot live outside of those constraints – or we would simply float out into space, un-bound by gravity.

However, people seek opportunity to do as they please. This is one of the urges in selfish human nature. We see in history that there were occasions where people did what they pleased.

“You shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes” Deuteronomy 12:8

This may seem a positive situation for those who seek self-will, but we are warned that the consequence of such choices is evil.

“There is a way which seems right to a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12

Submission is part of the human condition, but it is something which mankind wishes to pull against – not just against divine authority, but against natural authorities and responsibilities as well.

Consequences

Actions lead to consequences, both natural and moral. God warned Adam about the consequences which attended eating of the forbidden fruit.

Actions are not in our own power. We cannot dictate the outcome of our deeds. We cannot make a bad outcome good. We cannot turn off the consequences.

This is why moral choices are so very serious. Wrong moral choices create consequences which cannot be removed. Great devastation has come upon people throughout human history because of wrong moral choices leading to nasty consequences.

In today’s western culture where people have been blinded to the concept of consequences there are many who are stunned by the fruit of their foolish and ignorant selfishness. They have been lied to by humanist philosophy which ignores moral accountability and consequences. Thus they are completely shocked by the results which they did not want and cannot reverse.

Yet More to Come

All of what has been discussed so far is simply putting in place the principles and moving parts which make up our legal landscape. Yet there is more to be put on the table, so part three will open up yet more new principles and elements that need to be understood.

To read the first post in this series on Human Law go to: http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/human-law-1

For further reading on the Right To Speak go to: http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/the-right-to-speak

Put in a Good Word

How’s your tongue? Do you do good to those around you with your words? Or are you one of those who destroy people with what comes out of you? I came across a fresh verse that demonstrates how good speech has very positive impact, so let me bring your attention to this perennially important issue.

Your Tongue

Whether you are a spouse, parent, friend, mentor, associate or supporter, your words have tremendous power, even if you don’t think so. Your words have power over you and they have power to impact those around you.

What you say can bring encouragement and motivation to people or it can de-motivate and discourage. Some people have found enormous strength from a few short words, while others have been crushed and their lives devastated from the power of one short sentence.

The Power of the Tongue

Stories abound about those impacted by people’s words. One woman was convinced she was ‘fat and ugly’ because that is what her aunt had spat at her in an angry outburst many years earlier. A man pressed on through extremely difficult studies, riding on his mentor’s assurance that he would make a wonderful professor. An overweight young man became a top track and field competitor because his school sport instructor told him he had the makings of a star.

What these stories reveal from life experience is that words can build us up or tear us down, making mockery of the age-old rhyme, “Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”

Bible Truth

Compelling as human experience may be in supporting a notion our truth comes from God’s Word, the Bible. Some things that make senses from a human perspective prove to be delusions, like the idea that evil people prosper and succeed. On planet earth that may be the case at times, but life extends beyond our earthly existence. For millennia to come evil people will have plenty of opportunity to regret their deeds, in the torments of hell. That’s what the Bible reveals, which may not be clearly evident on earth.

So, I need to see that the Bible endorses the power of the tongue, before I can be overly confident that it is important. And the Bible has much to say about the tongue and its power to do us good and ill.

Bible Verses

“A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.” Proverbs 18:7

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” James 3:6

“But I say to you, That every idle word that men speak, they will give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36,37

“It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63

“For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

“Being born again, not from corruptible seed, but from incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever.” 1Peter 1:23

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power……” Hebrews 1:3a

A Biblical Example

I was delighted to see in reading the account of Daniel’s life in the Bible, that he personally experienced the power of a spoken word. That’s the discovery that prompted me to share this topic with you.

Daniel was an amazing person, able to interpret dreams in his younger years and then receiving profound revelations from God in his older years. The Apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation, also received his most profound spiritual insights as an old man, in exile.

In his mid 80’s, Daniel saw an angelic being visit him. He collapsed in the sheer spiritual awesomeness of the experience. He was partially recovered by being touched by an angel. That bought him to his hands and knees. Yet Daniel felt no strength and struggled to breathe.

Then the angel spoke over Daniel, words of affirmation but also words that commanded strength into him. Those words made all the difference to Daniel.

“For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be to you, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken to me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for you have strengthened me.” Daniel 10:17-19

Daniel’s Source of Strength

In the midst of amazing spiritual experience, with a visitation of angels are the revealing of future events, Daniel was just about wiped out. But he received strength. He did not get his strength from a sports drink, or an energy bar. He did not take food or drink at all. He did not get it from a medicinal process or a postural or therapeutic process. Daniel’s new strength came from words.

The angel spoke over Daniel “Be Strong. Yes. Be Strong”. Those words commanded strength into Daniel’s failing physical frame. Just as the words of Christ “uphold all things”, Daniel was held together by the words from the angel.

Your Words Have Life

“Life and death are in the power of the tongue”, so speak life into your family and friends. Aim to speak words that motivate, encourage, build people up, commend them, boost their right behaviour and bring life to all they do. Aim to avoid all words that pull down, offend, mock, de-motivate, find fault and otherwise do harm to people.

It would be wonderful if you could speak like that angel visiting Daniel, with such authority and such positive effect that those about to collapse can stand to their feet and carry on. Let’s make that your assignment for this week. Let’s each speak five specific positive messages into those around us.