The Colorado Fires and Our Tongues

This morning I hopped over to my friend Sally Clarkson’s blog. As I did, I discovered that fires are in the Colordao Springs area where she lives. Here is a picture she posted:

As I hopped around the Internet, I saw many accounts of the damage being done and the lives interrupted. Some are being evacuated from their homes. Others, on their summer vacations, are being told they cannot whitewater raft or hike or camp.

There are many ministries close to my heart in Colorado Springs. I’ve been at both Focus on the Family and the Navigators Glen Eyrie Castle to speak. My first editor and dear friend Jeanette lives there. And my friend Jonni McCoy of Miserly Moms.

Will you pray for those being affected by the Colorado fires today?

As I spied the pictures, I was reminded of a portion of the book of James. This practical, fast-paced book has always been my favorite New Testament book and I set about to memorize it two years ago. This summer, my friend Mary and I are doing a study of it too. Hear this:

“All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.

By putting a bit into the mouth of a horse, we can turn the horse in different directions. It takes strong winds to move a large sailing ship, but the captain uses only a small rudder to make it go in any direction. Our tongues are small too, and yet they brag about big things.

It takes only a spark to start a forest fire!  The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a person’s entire life on fire with flames that come from hell itself.  All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures can be tamed and have been tamed. But our tongues get out of control. They are restless and evil, and always spreading deadly poison.

My dear friends, with our tongues we speak both praises and curses. We praise our Lord and Father, and we curse people who were created to be like God, and this isn’t right.” James 3:2-10 (CEV)

“But our tongues get out of control”

Ever been there?

Were you there over the weekend?

You are frustrated with someone. You toss a back-handed comment their way. Then, you expound upon the comment. You let the anger in your heart well up, emitting sparks of cutting remarks from your mouth. Pretty soon?

The other person stands before you burnt to a crisp.

Oh may we ALL learn that sparks can scorch.

Bite your tongue if you must.

Better a bleeding tongue than a torched friend or relative.

I know. I’ve toasted more than just marshmallows in my days.

Biting my tongue even as I type. :-)


  1. Karen, thanks for this reminder today. I, too, have toasted more than just marshmallows! I am praying for those affected by the fires and by the weather in Florida. We need rain here too. Almost the whole sate is under a burning ban and the summer has only just started!

  2. I find that my tongue follows closely behind my thoughts. If I can quickly change a thought then I can avoid a bleeding tongue. :) I try to have on hand lots of really great thoughts, hymns, etc. to switch too. But if I have all kinds of emotion tied to that thought I try to remove myself as quickly as possible and write out all the yuckiness and ask God to forgive me. Then I burn it. That is such a powerful way to stop myself from word vomiting on God’s precious children.

  3. Thanks Karen – what a powerful way to make us aware of the power of the tongue. We can create a forest fire in our families and churches if we don’t guard our tongue. Praying for Colorado – I know how devasting a hurricane can be but a fire, can’t even imagine. Blessings to you.

  4. I will read this to someone close to me as he learned a painful lesson today about words. Thank you. I’ll keep them in prayer and the firefighters working so hard to contain it. Pray for rain too.

  5. I’m definitely praying for the people in Colorado. Fires can be a scary thing.

    oh, thanks for those awesome Scripture from James. That’s something that particular touches my heart. I try to really be careful how I speak and sometimes I say things I shouldn’t.

    Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  6. I pray that the people in Colorado remain safe as they go through this.

    I’ve always been quick to anger and quick with snappy remarks. Day by day I am getting to the point where I’m able to stop them more often than not. But it is hard work!

  7. I began following Karen Ehmam recently when I participated in the hospitality online study. I live in Colorado Springs, and all of your prayers are MUCH APPRECIATED!

  8. Hi Karen,

    My sister-in-law called yesterday morning to tell my husband that she had to leave her home because of the fires coming nearer to her home in Colorado Springs. Thank you for reminding us to stop and pray for the safety of all the people in that area. That would be using our tongues the correct way!!! Learning not to talk is quite a challenge for most, including myself. I am going to REALLY quiet myself down this week, listen more, and most of all spend more time abiding in prayer. Thank you for your message today- God truly had a hand in it.
    Edie Clavelli

  9. Hey Ladies, a friend of mine, told me, how another friend came up to her after church service, and stated she didn’t recognize her, because she had gotten so fat. My friend didnt respond, she just blowed it off, but she testified about it on Sunday morning, and she began to tell the church what she really wanted to say, and so many agreed with her, not me, I think even if we say it later, God hears it all, and what comes from our mouths is still in our hearts, I want you all to pray for both of them, we have the power to influence others at all times.

  10. God is constantly at work with me on this. I asked Him just this morning to help me to speak with his mouth, not mine…. think with His mind, not mine…. feel with His heart, not mine. Thank you so much for the reminder Karen –
    God bless you.

  11. oh my: “i’ve toasted more than just marshmallows…” me, too…and ashamed to admit it. very poignant posting, karen; as always, i appreciate your honesty and ‘telling on yourself.’ may God bless all of our efforts to obey Him in this area and be a blessing to those around us. <3

  12. Karen
    I too have burnt manys marshmallows and not just the little ones. Thank you for the reminder today, it hit home. Also if I may add, we need to pray for those in Florida during this storm. I will add Colorado to my prayers.

  13. So hard to control such a little organ! Thank you for the reminder. Praying for folks in Colorado. Have a blessed day!

  14. I find the Message translation of that passage hits me where it should: “A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it., smoke right from the pit of hell… You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue – it’s never been done.

Leave a Reply to coleen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *