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Blue Wolf Challenge

Based on everything I was learning about in school and inspired by my sister-in-law Ariana, I just completed my 21-day BLUE WOLF Challenge!

“So what is the Blue Wolf Challenge?” You ask… let me tell you:

no sugar

NO sugar, NO flour, and NO processed foods.  

processed foods
junk food

(There are a lot of these type of diets/ challenges out there, but I modified/personalized mine a bit, hence the name “Blue Wolf Challenge”. One such modification is that, every 7th day I took off. Come on, that’s Biblical right?!)

During the Restricted days it was:
NO sugar added to any meals or products
No ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS : Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet, Sweet N Low, High-Fructose                           Corn Syrup, Corn-Syrup, etc.
No flour: That includes Pasta, Bread, Muffins, Bagels, Toast, Tortillas
No Chips, French Fries, Popcorn, Corn Tortillas
No Processed Snacks: Crackers, Chips, Pretzels, Gold Fish, Cheez-Its
No Beer

Drinks: No juice, coffee, alcohol, soda, milk, energy drinks,
Good drinks: Tea, Water, coconut water, fresh squeezed vegetable juice

coffee

WARNING: If you are giving up caffeine (which is a GREAT thing), you may get withdrawal headaches for the first couple days but if you can outlast a week you should be able to break your addiction to caffeine.

What to shoot for:
Vegetabels, fruits, legumes, lean meats, fish, NUTS, seeds, sprouts, whole grains ONLY (Brown rice, soy beans)

A lot of people knew I was doing this and the question I always got was, “WHY????”

Why give up sugar etc?

Let me answer your question, with a question of my own…  would you like ANY of the following?

More Energy?

Lose weight?

Sleep better?

Slow the aging process?

Better skin?

Decreased Asthma and/or Allergies?

If you said “yes” to ANY of the following, you could potentially benefit from this challenge.

Still not convinced to give this a try, there’s more!

Not only does sugar cause the obvious problems like tooth cavities and decay, but it has also been linked to impaired brain function, depression/anxiety, cancer, and heart disease.

As a future doctor I didn’t want to preach what I couldn’t or hadn’t already done myself. That is something that is very important to me.   

Have you ever met a doctor (or any health professional) who is super overweight and trying to council you on healthy living? How serious do you take them? It all goes back to not preaching what you don’t live out.

So how did it effect me?

At the end of the 21 days I lost a total of 13 pounds!

I started the Blue Wolf challenge with a day long fast of liquids only.

The first two days I was pretty hungry and even a little fatigued. This is when I realized this challenge is much harder than I anticipated.

I gave up my two favorite food groups: bread and sugar! I was already hard core craving both.

Only a few days into the challenge and I already felt like I was starving. But I knew I could power through. Mind over matter, right?

By day 3, Ariana asked me how I was doing and if I felt like my body was detoxing? I told her, “If detoxing feels like your body is shutting down 😝”

The good thing was that I had no headaches, which I was worried that I might. Honestly the hardest part was always trying to figure out what to eat without eating the same thing over and over.

During the first couple days Annalisa would unintentionally keep asking me if I wanted a bite of this or that, and I had to turn her down like 20 times a day. I’m sure she was probably getting annoyed with me because constantly throughout the days I was like, “No, I can’t eat that.”
I remember we were walking through Target and we wanted to get a snack. I don’t think I could eat anything on the menu. NO pasta, pretzels, popcorn, ICEEs, smoothies, etc.

The funny thing is you can still eat a lot! It’s just most people aren’t used to eating that way, and most places don’t cater to this type of lifestyle.

This “challenge” is funny, because it’s only a challenge due to the fact that we live in America in the 21st century and are addicted to processed foods. People 100 years ago would have been like, “ummm that’s what we do every day, why is that hard?” HAHAHA

This challenge forces you to plan ahead which is cool. You can’t be lazy and just grab something out of the cupboards.

However, if you do get lazy, and everyone does at some point, an apple with peanut butter (Organic Sugar free) or a handful of nuts is a great snack. Even sharp cheddar cheese with a green apple is really good. (Thanks Air for the tip!)

Side note on the peanut butter. I bought the “organic” peanut butter for the first time in my life, the kind that has just nuts and NOTHING else. I took a big spoonful of it and shoved it into my mouth thinking it would bring me as much pleasure as it used to when I did the same with Skippy peanut butter... WARNING, not the same!  I almost puked.

The organic peanut butter is good on stuff like celery and apples but not like you could sit around licking it off a spoon like the dessert peanut butter that most people eat.

After the first week of the challenge I lost EIGHT POUNDS! This was unintentional. I actually did not want to lose weight (but I guess it was okay since I had just finished gaining all that weight during the pound-for-pound challenge with Annalisa). Some people call this “water weight” which is in some sense true, but when you give up sugar for longer periods of time you don’t see the rebound of weight gain like you do with water weight changes. Instead you will see a rapid drop in weight and then a steady decline in weight (that is if you continue to eat healthy and exercise). It’s hard not to lose weight when you body is detoxing and getting rid of all the excess waste. And once I got over the sugar cravings, I wasn’t even hungry.

Best part (for those of you hoping to lose weight), I was able to eat ENORMOUS portions. If you look over my meal plan (see bottom of page) when I say bacon and eggs, sometimes I was eating 5 eggs and 6 slices of bacon. When I ate chicken and rice it was usually portioned for 2 and my salads were portioned for a party of 4.

That being said, there are 2 very important things to keep in mind:
I made sure to still exercise intensely at least 3-4 days a week at the gym, and was active at least 30 minutes everyday.
Every BODY is different. Just because one person’s metabolism works one way doesn’t mean you can eat the same portion size and get away with it. Listen to your body and find what works best for you!

Some additional takeaways…

During this challenge it really revealed to me how nonchalantly we ingest SO much processed foods constantly! I never realized how much processed foods I eat... Wow. I consider myself to eat healthy, but during these days I realized my daily diet was changing a lot based on my processed food intake alone!

The crazy thing is I wasn’t doing anything extreme. I was simply eating “from the ground” and food found NATURALLY without being processed (Just because it says “all natural” on the label does NOT qualify for being naturally from nature and free from processing. Actually 99% of the items in the store that are marketed as “100% natural” I could NOT eat as part of my all natural diet challenge. I think that just goes to show how messed up the advertising / food labeling is when it comes to deceiving their audience. Sorry for my rant).
Anyway, I’m back to my normal diet, but I have made some lasting changes. I now eat more vegetables and less processed foods, which comes much more naturally to me now than it did before (pun intended). I consume less sugar and can resist sugar cravings. I still allow myself sweets and am back to enjoying the deliciousness of Sea-Salted Dark Chocolate with Chopped Almonds (in moderation of course).

 

I would love to hear back what you think? Has anyone done something similar? How did it effect you?  Interested in trying? Let me know how it goes!

 

The rules to the Blue Wolf Challenge:

Day 1: Fast (Liquids Only)
Day 2-7: Diet restrictions
Day 8: Free day
Day 9-14: diet restrictions
Day 15: free day
Day 16-21: diet restrictions

Any Vegetable, but the best are:
Leafy Greens: Lettuce, Chard, Spinach, Cabbage, All Herbs
Above Ground Greens: Asparagus, Broccoli, Artichokes, Brussels Sprouts, Celery, Onions, Cauliflower
Root Vegetables: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Yams, Zuchinni, All Squashes

MEAT (All meat is allowed, but try to avoid highly processed meats like hot dogs, salami, pepperoni, etc.)
 Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Steak, Bacon, Ground Beef, Lamb,
    All Seafood and Fish: Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Tilapia, Shrimp, Oysters etc.
    Eggs from any animal

Nuts and Seeds are GREAT (just make sure no added sugar, and choose sea salt rather than just regular “salt” when possible)

All fruit, but these low sugar fruits are best: Green Apples, All Berries, Lemons and Limes

Good Fats:
    Healthy Oils: Olive, Coconut, Avocado, Macadamia, Sesame
    Hard Cheese: Parmesan, Bleu, Cheddar, Goat, Swiss, Gouda, Muenster, Provolone
    Full Fat, Unflavored, Yogurt

Beans are good. Some challenges/diets restrict beans, but all of my research has lead me to the belief that beans do the body good (unless you are a gassy type person, and then all those around you might not agree).
Beans are good because they can prevent heart disease, fight cancer, lower cholesterol, manage diabetes, and help you lose weight.
The negatives to beans is that they can interfere with vitamin absorption, cause migraines, raise blood pressure, trigger gout, and, as previously mentioned, can make you gassy.

So if you don’t have flatulence problems, or migraines / gout / high blood pressure, I recommend you eat them!

I included my day by day break down to give you an idea of things I ate. I wasn’t very creative and I know there are way better recipes out there. And a lot of times I meal prepped so I ended up eating the same thing several days in a row. Just wanted to show what I did for those of you out there who are curious.

Day 1: Liquids only! Veggie smoothie, chicken broth, 2 cups of tea, lots of water
day 2: Breakfast: Eggs, Bacon, potatoes    Lunch: Chipotle: Brown rice, black beans, chicken, pico salsa, lettuce, and cheese.         Dinner: White, Chicken, Chilli soup. with a side of turkey
Day 3: B: Eggs/Bacon        L: Banana, almonds, cabbage salad (sugar free dressing)  D: lemon chicken, potatoes, brown whole grain rice, green beans
Day 4: B: homemade soup, green beans    L: almonds, chicken, brown rice, potatoes, cranberries, raisins,     D: Chipotle: Brown rice, black beans, chicken, pico salsa, lettuce, guacamole, and cheese.
Day 5: B: turkey, cheese, and a banana    L: carrots, chicken, brown rice, potatoes,     Snack: sugar free peanut butter on an apple        Dinner: Egg noodles with chicken and fresh pesto sauce
Day 6: B: Banana, mixed nuts    L: chicken, brown rice, potatoes,  snack: apple with peanut butter, bowl of raspberries,    D: steak, onions, bell peppers     
Day 7: Eggs, bacon,    L: almonds, pear/spinach/berry salad, carrots    D: double double In-in-out burger with everything except bun.
Day 8: Free Day
Day 9:  Breakfast: turkey, sliced cheese    Lunch: Chill and baked potatoes    Snack: Veggie smoothie    Dinner: Chicken, grilled onions/bell peppers, brown rice
Day 10: Brunch: Chicken, grilled onions/bell peppers, brown rice, Avocado     Dinner: Souplantation
Day 11: B: almonds and strawberries,    Lunch: Salad, Tuna,          Snack: celery and peanut butter        Dinner: Egg noodels with pesto and tomato sauce
Day 12: B: Eggs and sausage    L: celery with peanut butter and raisins, sliced Salami and cheese, Cabbage Salad, Mixed nuts        D: Baked potatoes, Lemon-spinach chicken, brown rice, veggie smoothie    
Day 13: B: eggs and sausage    L: egg noodles with pesto, carrots, trail mix    D: Chipotle: Brown rice, black beans, carnitas, pico salsa, lettuce, and cheese.  Dessert: Fat free, sugar free yogurt    
Day 14: B: eggs, grilled turkey,    L: Broccoli slaw (no dressing), brown rice, chicken, spinach, potatoes    D: Carnitas, brown rice, beans,     Dessert: fat free yogurt
Day 15: Free Day
Day 16: B: Canadian bacon, veggie smoothie,    L: Salami, Cheese, Trail Mix, Carrots,     D: Flame Broiler: chicken, rice, veggies.
Day 17: B: Canadian bacon and eggs,     L: Carnitas, brown rice, beans, lettuce, cheese,    Dinner: chicken Caesar salad
Day 18: B: eggs, bacon    L: Veggie smoothie, grilled turkey, cheese     D: souplantation
Day 19: B: eggs, bacon    L: mixed nuts, raisins, salami, cheese, carrots
Day 20: B: canadian bacon, cheese, veggie smoothie    L: potatoe salad with onions, zuchinni, and avocado. Lentil soup    D: Chicken, rice    
Day 21: B: eggs, bacon    L: Salad, carrots, nuts, raisins, tuna        D: Soup, Salad

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Pound for Pound

Since today is the day Annalisa and I celebrate 125 months of love, I am going to take a moment to brag about how amazing she has been through this whole pregnancy.

First of all I just want to praise God for his abundant blessings. You can prepare/prep and do everything right and still have EVERYTHING go wrong. Thankfully, Annalisa has had a VERY healthy pregnancy and as far as we know our son Bryer has been healthy at every check up.

The human body is incredible and every day at school while studying the different organ systems we have been relating it back to embryonic development and pregnancy. It hits even closer to home for someone like me since I go home to my wife and watch her grow and change on a daily basis. Some of our favorite times is laying on the bed and watch her stomach move as Bryer practices firing his muscle and nerve fibers in a process called “quickening”.

But back to ANNALISA. This woman amazes me every day! I have always admired mothers for their “mom-strength”. I’ve always appreciated Annalisa’s drive and perseverance but its crazy to see how much stronger she gets each day. I’m just impressed with how much she can do and even when I know she is in pain, doesn’t complain and stays positive.

For the first 7 months of pregnancy she powered through weddings, photoshoots, and events no matter how tired, achy, and sore she was. There has been times on the ways to a shoot I have had to drive her because she was feeling so sick. We had to pull off the road so she could barf on the side. I would insist that she needed to cancel and reschedule the shoot, but NOOOO, she was going to power through. Besides she was booked solid and would feel bad for her clients if she canceled on an engagement shoot and then was not able to offer them photos because she had no free days. She was literally booked solid! And on top of that, some of the sessions she was doing for free for either family members, contest winners, and for monthly givebacks.

So, since there was no arguing with her, I kept driving her to her shoot… until she would whisper “pull-over” so she could jump out and vomit some more. But she made it. And at the shoots, the adrenaline kicked in. When I was able to go to her shoots I would watch from a far as she creatively captured her couples. I bet none of them even knew that she was sick because Annalisa was directing with I like to call “A-game”. She has a gift of being able to make people smile.  Annalisa makes people feel natural which a rare quality for photographers. Not only is she an amazing technical shooter, she also has the social gift to radiate joy and amiability into each shoot (which in my opinion is even more important). She also wasn’t afraid to get down in all the various positions to get that perfect angle. She climbed mountains and waded in water to capture some incredible photos.

I love how pro-active Annalisa has been through this whole pregnancy. She has read books, blogs, and talked to moms for advice. She preps in so many ways and I think it has really helped pay off to have a happy/healthy pregnancy. She has really enjoyed the whole process. But like I said before, we have to give God the glory because you could do everything according to the books and still be sick, immobilized, or have a complication that is completely out of your control.

I appreciate Annalisa taking the time to look up pre-parenting classes, hospital tours, and labor and delivery prep classes. At first I would go into these classes thinking “okay isn’t most of this stuff common sense” and when it had to do with medical terminology or health safety I would think “Oh I’m sure I have learned this in my Med school classes”.  But I wanted to have a positive attitude and told myself that I was going to try to learn at least one new thing at every class— one good take away point. But EVERY single time now I have come out with over a page of notes. Definitely recommend these classes. They are very informative and it is a great bonding time as husband and wife during this amazing journey.

Annalisa is one of the most active pregnant people I know. She isn’t a gym rat but she finds other ways to move her body and burn calories. She takes out our Fur-children Posey and Pepper around the Paseo or on hikes. Actually, I think we have gone on more walks/hikes since she has been pregnant than our entire marriage before. My favorite exercise Annalisa does is when she dances. I think she is the most amazing dancer and I love any time there is music that gets her moving. I always am torn between sitting back and watching her move and jumping up to join her (usually the latter is what ends up happening).

I still can’t get over how rare it is to hear Annalisa complain. I know she has been achy and tired, especially these past few weeks as we approach the end, but she always keeps a smile on her face and powers through.

Annalisa never used “pregnancy” as an excuse. If anything, she used it to better herself. I have heard stories of people eating whatever they want (and however much they want) and blaming it on pregnancy cravings.  Yes, obviously Annalisa has eaten more since being pregnant but not in excess. Even though she LOVES brownies, she never ate a whole pan (even though she probably could have LOL). Instead she would fill up on something healthy prior to giving into a sweet tooth craving. She added things into her diet that before she was not too fond of. She now eats spinach on practically a daily basis (PS a great way to incorporate veggies into your diet is just throwing a handful or two of spinach/kale/leafy greens into your smoothie. You won’t even taste it, but your body will be happy). She rarely eats out and when she does it is typically something I would consider healthy any ways. Annalisa also stopped drinking soda and is making sure to drink lots of water throughout her day.

Annalisa has recently entered into the “nesting” stage. I don’t think she made a conscious change but I noticed. She has always been really good about keeping up with the house and cleaning but now I couldn’t find a dog hair if someone paid me (and that’s saying A LOT when you have two indoor dogs running around all day!). She has also completed the nursery and made she her hospital bag is packed and ready. If I’m ever home and not sure where Annalisa is, I head over to the nursery and sure enough I can find her in there working on something.

Aside from running her photography business, prepping the house, and exercising, she also takes care of me! She cooks me the most incredible meals and always makes sure I am well taken care of. She invests time into our relationship to make sure that we are still growing in our relationship even in this busy time of prep.

And then there is the glow!

Come on, how gorgeous is this lady! She just gets more and more beautiful every single day. I just stare at her all the time and think, “Wow, how did I get so lucky?”

So when Annalisa first got pregnant we made a pack to go “POUND-for-POUND” with each other. She didn’t want to look/feel large next to me (or be heavier than me), even though she knows it is a natural and womanly process. I think she exemplifies grace and beauty but I also understand how critical women are of themselves. So I was going to try to gain a pound for every pound that Annalisa gained throughout her pregnancy. We approximated that she would gain 25 pounds since that is the healthy average weight gain for a full term pregnancy.

She is now about 3 weeks from her due date and has gained about 22 pounds! WOW! I’m thinking she will gain about a pound per week during these weeks of pregnancy which would put us exactly 25.

For those that don’t know me, my genes don’t correspond with weight gain very easily. I have tried to gain weight in the past and the most I have ever got up to was about 165 pounds.

But somehow I have been able to do it!

During these past months I have been able to gain 25 pounds! I am the heaviest I have ever been! POUND-for-POUND mission accomplished.

Somehow even with gaining 20+ pounds, Annalisa looks sexy as ever. Just look at those legs and arms! Are you kidding me?

I could rave about her physical beauty incessantly but the inner beauty is even more magnificent. She is sweet, fun, and so up-lifting. She makes me laugh more than anyone and makes me feel so appreciated. She is inspiring and supportive throughout every stage of life. We are so excited for our new bundle of joy and I can’t wait to see Annalisa holding our baby. She is going to be the best mom in the world!

Annalisa, I love you so much!

Happy 125 Months of love!

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4D Sonogram: ProLife vs. ProChoice

Just went to our 4D sonogram last week. Absolutely incredible experience watching my unborn son smile, move his arms, and dance around inside Annalisa.

The most important thing in life is life itself. You really can’t say anything else. If you say love is greater than life, how can you love if you aren’t alive?

It makes me wonder how anyone could be opposed to ProLife???  If you don’t support ProLife, that would make you ProDeath.

I’ve always known what I believed, but going through this pregnancy with Annalisa has made everything so much more real. It is crazy to me that people are allowed to kill little, fully functioning babies.

An UNBORN baby has all of its internal organs after only 8 WEEKS! I could go on and on about the beautiful and incredible developmental process, but I’ll just cut to the chase and say these are little people that we are deciding to “terminate”. I get there are rare exceptions that make this an actual debate. “What if the woman was raped?” or “What if the mother’s life is in danger from an ectopic pregnancy?” This are true controversial topics and to these I honestly don’t have an answer.

However, these are the EXCEPTION, not the rule. LESS than 1% of all abortions take place because of rape and/or incest. Here are all the other reasons for abortion...97% of the millions of other abortions are due to reasons such as “not ready for the responsibility”, “life would be changed too much”, “inadequate finances”, “too immature” (yes, 11% of people actually cited this as their reasoning to kill someone), “I already have all I want” (ugh, 8% of people gave that selfish response), and “problems with relationships”.  People seriously! We are letting millions of abortions happen for these reasons.

I would much rather be accused of anti-choice than Pro-death. But the crazy thing is I am ProChoice. I’m both! ProLife and ProChoice. Every woman has a choice (aside from rape). If you choose to have sex you know there is a chance for pregnancy! It is YOUR CHOICE if you want to have unprotected sex, or even sex at all. There is a sad, startling fact that by age 45 one third of American women will have had at least one abortion... 😟  

I will say one final note… 3% of people cited reasons for abortion because the baby was noted to have possible health problems. I still don’t think that is a reason for abortion. I have seen real life examples of why this could be a terrible mistake. I know a woman who was told that she should have an abortion because her daughter will be born with extreme retardation and never be able to live a fully functioning life. The doctor highly recommended an abortion. Thank God this woman stood firm and refused. The doctors were wrong. This baby was born, never had any problems, and grew up to be one of my friends who is one of the smartest/ most athletic people I know.

Let’s not dance around this debate because of the exceptions in life which occur LESS than 1% of the time. Some things in life we do not have a choice in and no one seems to have a problem with it. Stealing is illegal. Abuse is illegal (you don’t get to say, “It’s my CHOICE how I raise my kids”. If you are physically abusing your kids, you can end up in jail for 10 years or more You can’t make the argument that it is your choice aka Pro-Choice).

Murder is illegal, you have no choice in that. Killing babies in utero should be illegal too.

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The Tongue: The Untamable Beast

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The Tongue: The Untamable Beast

long tongue
human long tongue

The tongue is the most powerful part of the human body. Obviously it helps us breakdown and taste food but also helps to talk, spit, swallow and even kiss.

Zipper tongue

According to the bible taming the tongue is one thing that EVERYONE struggles with. I’m going to repeat that because this is a big deal: EVERYONE struggles with taming the tongue.

It is interesting because we know while some people struggle with alcohol abuse others do not. Some struggle with lust/pornography addictions, others do not. Some struggle with pride, some with envy, some with lying, some with drugs, some with self-centeredness, some with anger,… but EVERYONE struggles with what comes out of their mouth. Don’t take my word for it, look at James chapter 3:2

For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

We are going to look further at James chapter 3, but first 5 fun facts about the tongue:

tongue print

1) Tongueprints, which are actual tongue imprints, are as inimitable and unique as fingerprints and could be used in the same way to identify and distinguish every person in the whole world. Everyone differs in the size, shape, and number of taste buds.

2) The average person speaks 12,000 sentences a day, with an average of 50,000 words. If we were to put all these words on paper it would be enough to write a 150 page novel every single day.

doctor say ahhhh

3) When you go to the doctor often one of the first things they will have you do is open your mouth and say “ahhhhh”. Why? So they can examine your tongue.  The color of the tongue can tell a lot about a person’s health.
Typically: Pink Tongue = Good Health; Yellow Tongue = Stomach Problem or Fever; White Tongue = Fungal Infection.

healthy tongue
yellow tongue
gross tongue

4) The tongue has a really really rough texture. Maybe not as rough as a cat, but next time you are kissing someone take note of the rough texture of the tongue. You will notice most when you compare it to the smooth texture of lips or the skin of ear lobes.

tongue myth

5)Everyone that remembers their biology class diagrams probably remembers those tongue maps that show how you can taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami are different parts of the tongue. Despite the popularity of these pictures, this is largely rubbish. Most people can taste all different types relatively equally across the tongue. LiveScience confirms this but just in case you don’t believe me, you can put it to the test. The front of your tongue is supposed to be used for detecting sweetness… put some salt on the “sweet” receptor and see what happens.  Taste salty? So much for that myth. See ya!

James 3:1-2
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

James starts off with a warning. Why? He is not discouraging people from spreading or teaching the gospel. He just wants to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. If you are doing it for popularity or to make yourself look better in front of others, you are doing it for all the wrong reasons. You will be judged more strictly for these teachings than any other way you use the tongue.

The second verse just confirms what I first said about the tongue being the impossible part to control.

It’s crazy that this 3 inch piece of muscle can control our whole lives! Actually, I guess it makes sense.

Look at James 3:3-4
We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.

In a same way the tongue guides, shapes, and directs the course of our life.

Let’s continue, James 3:5-6
In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

Whoa! Intense words at the end there. But completely accurate and perfect analogy. Think about it. Like a single spark that causes a forest fire, the same thing can happen in our lives. A single white lie can grow and expand until it becomes full-fledged deceit. A harsh word or comment towards a friends can cause a fight that leads to alienation or even a new enemy. A small piece of gossip you start (or help spread) can build momentum like a snowball until like an avalanche it come crashing down on the person whom it centers upon, wrecking havoc on their life.  

tongue of fire

Let’s reemphasize why it is so important to focus on the tongue each and everyday. Read James 3:7-8
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.

Poison! Another great analogy. Why do people use poison rather than a machete or machine gun to kill someone. Because poison is subtle.

In the same way, we often don’t realize the subtle power our words have over people and on ourselves.

And finally, check out James 3:9-12
Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

Isn’t it crazy that out of the same mouth (and with the same tongue), we praise our heavenly Father and slander people created in HIS image. Think about that the next time you want to make fun of the way someone looks.  They were created in the image of GOD! How dare you slander His creation, let alone the creation made in His image.

The takeaway message:

Don’t be discouraged by the fact that the tongue is untamable. Rather, know that through the power of Christ we can strive to become masters of the tongue. Focus daily on your words and how you are using them.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:37:
For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

At the end of time, everyone will be accountable for every word they said. Knowing this is a great reminder for me to guard my tongue and follow after the wise words of James 1:19:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.


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