Today let’s explore the effect words have in your life.  Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”?  Some of you are too young to remember that one, but nevertheless, words can and DO hurt people.  Many of you still have lingering hurt from names you were called in the past, or bad things said about you that were not true.  Maybe some of these things were said yesterday or even today.
   If there was anything I would change in my own life, it would be hurting words I have spoken over myself and others in the past.  Have you ever given much thought about words you say to others every day?  Are they always good and uplifting?  Honestly?  Always?  Or are you like most people and say things from time to time that later you wish you hadn’t?  Of course, hindsight is always better than foresight, and sometimes we put our mouth in motion before we put our mind in gear, only to regret it later.  I certainly have, and most likely you have too.
How much effect do words truly have?  We read an account of a leper, and later a centurion speaking to Jesus in Matthew 8:1-10
Mat 8:1  When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
Mat 8:2  And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Mat 8:3  And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
Mat 8:4  And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
Mat 8:5  And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
Mat 8:6  And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
Mat 8:7  And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
Mat 8:8  The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
Mat 8:9  For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
Mat 8:10  When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel
   Here in verse 1 we see the plight of the leper, he knew Jesus COULD heal him, he just didn’t know if He WOULD heal him, and so he said “IF you will…”   Even as Jesus reached out and touched him, nothing happened until He cancelled the leper’s “IF”.  You see, we depend on words to know “IF” or “HOW”, or “WHY”, otherwise we just act on assumption.  Obviously the leper wanted to be healed, and knew Jesus could heal him, but the “IF” stood in the way of his healing.  If you’ve been brought up to believe God does not heal people today, then you’re not very likely to be healed.
   Words give us information to act on, and words form the foundation of everything we believe.  If we have been given the wrong words, we will form wrong opinions, and we will believe wrongly and act wrongly as a result.  Words have a far greater effect upon our lives than we think.  Jesus wanted to make sure people knew it was (and is) His Father’s will to heal, and He demonstrated that fact many times for many people, and we have the written account of those healings for our benefit today.  Jesus always made sure His words aligned with His Father’s will, and we would do well to follow His example.
   We see later on in verse 5, a centurion came beseeching Jesus, askin g that his servant at home be healed.  What did Jesus say?  Sorry, I’m too busy?  No, He said, I will come and heal him.  Wow, here is a real jewel of a word: Jesus didn’t say, I will come TO heal him, meaning, he will try his best, and maybe he will be healed, and maybe not, who knows?  But He said, I will come AND heal him.  There is an immense difference between “to” and “and”.  TO may get it done, but AND will get it done.  Jesus made sure the centurion knew He not only COULD heal his servant, but WOULD heal him.  We see at this point the centurion rightly understood authority and words, and told Jesus, speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.  He didn’t need Jesus to come to his house and lay hands on his servant, just SPEAK THE WORD and it’s done.  Jesus marveled at his faith and understanding.  We need to have that centurion’s faith and understanding, for by it we have access to everything we need from God in this life.  We need to learn to hear God’s Word, believe it, speak it out of our own mouth, and only then will we see the manifestation of His Word in our lives.  You can’t have anything God promises if you are speaking against it.  Our words need to AGREE with God’s words.  Anything less, and we are not going to walk in God’s best for our life.
   You men who are married understand about words: supposed your wife asks, DOES THIS MAKE ME LOOK FAT?, and you say, EVERYTHING YOU WEAR MAKES YOU LOOK FAT, tell me, what are the chances she will make your favorite dessert for you today, hmmm?  Chances are, you’ll be sleeping on the sofa tonight.  But if you say, YOU MAKE EVERYTHING YOU WEAR LOOK WONDERFUL, then she’s going to smile and do nice things for you.  It’s all about words, isn’t it?
   Now I know it’s hard to speak God’s Word concerning healing when you are feeling miserable, and it’s even harder to do so when the symptoms have lingered a long time, perhaps even many years.  The devil will do everything in his power to discourage you, telling you that you’ll never have your healing, that you aren’t good enough, or that your faith isn’t strong enough, or that God doesn’t heal today, you name it.  The devil’s words are lies, my friend, and there is no truth in him.  But if you make the devil’s words YOUR truth, then you will suffer for it.  Whatever you listen to will eventually become your version of truth.  If you love the LORD and you’ve constantly been told you have to be poor to be holy before God, then eventually you will find yourself poor, for you’ve formed that image of yourself.  If you’ve been told the LORD suffered, so you must suffer like He did, then you will.  The words you put inside you are the words that will make you what you are today, and what you will be tomorrow.
   On the other hand, Psalm 103:2-5 has formed this image inside of me:
Psa 103:2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Psa 103:3  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Psa 103:4  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Psa 103:5  Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
   I see myself forgiven of all my sins, completely healed, redeemed from destruction, I’m crowned with God’s mercy, and He shall do wonderfully for me and renew my life.  So I run with those words, they encourage me when circumstances try to bring me down.  Knowing God loves me tenderly gives me strength to endure when I’m going through trials, and I know I’m not alone, He is with me and He will NEVER forsake me.  Those words get me over when the devil is trying to take me under.  Again, it’s all about words, God’s Words, that is.  Don’t speak anything other than God’s Words over your life if you want to reap the benefits of God in your life.  If you speak the devil’s words over your life, you’ll make mud out of the clear water of God’s Words. Even though all your friends and family speak gloom and doom and sick and tired and poor, do you want that?  Then quit speaking it, for Jesus said in Mark 11:23, For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Did Jesus lie?  No. He’s warning you to SPEAK THE WORD ONLY, meaning GOD’S WORD.  ONLY!  That means don’t speak anything OTHER than God’s Word over your circumstances.  Yes, I know it’s easy to open mouth and insert foot, been there, done that.  But YOU control every word that comes out of your mouth, the devil doesn’t grab your head and work your tongue and jaw and make you say stuff against your will.  No, YOU speak what you will.  Therefore, you WILL reap whatsoever you say.  So, be careful from now on what you say.  SPEAK THE WORD ONLY!