Our memories are often very powerful. Have you ever had someone say something to you and later you not only remembered it but you could hear them saying it? That memory is so vivid that you seem to hear their voice when you recall what they said.
I’d bet we all have memories of what has been spoken over our lives. Some good and some bad. You may have heard words of criticism, words of hope, words that devalue and words that inspire. Words are powerful. It’s why God said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21a (NKJV)
“Words means things” In other words, we have to be mindful of what we say especially when we are speaking to one another because words are full of meaning. Paul cautions us as Christians, in Ephesians 4:29 (NIV), “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.”
I have a precious word memory that I would like to share with you. Words that were penned that brought comfort to me and so many others. During the year 2005 my pastor began ending every service with the blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. Each service he would stretch out his hands over the congregation and begin to recite this passage invoking a prayer of blessing.
The horrendous, devastating magnitude of Hurricane Katrina prevented the citizens of New Orleans from returning to our homes. The storm struck on August 29, 2005 but many of us were prevented from returning to our homes until the first week of October. What was worse is the storm displaced so many of us. We were scattered to what seemed like the four corners of the earth! Communication to cell phones was non-existent except through texting. In those days, there weren’t many of us with cell phone data plans that included unlimited, talk and text. The use of social media like Facebook and Twitter had not yet reached the pinnacle it is today.
Someone set up a blog where members could post where they were and what happened to them. Both praise and sad reports were logged. My pastor opened the blog with a greeting that included his love and concern for us, where he and his family were displaced and the offer to help spiritually and financially with church resources to the members of our congregation.
For me, there was a precious word moment that came at the end of his greeting. I distinctly remember hearing his voice in my ears as he penned the words he had often spoken over us. This prayer of blessing is what I’d like to speak to you today:
“The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”