The following series of devotionals are taken from Dr. Tim Miller’s book, Seasons of Reflection. You can find out more about Tim’s ministry and order the book by visiting

I grew up in a small county seat town in Mississippi where there was a community park. This park had a small pond on the backside of the property. Like most ponds, there was always an abundance of small perch or bream to be caught. Additionally, every now and then, some local bass fisherman would release a bass or two into this pond. My friend, Tim, and I loved to ride our bicycles to this location and fish after school. On occasion we would meet an elderly black gentleman named Marvine. Marvine would always catch a few perch and every one of them no matter how small made it into his skillet. In keeping with our love for bream fishing, Tim and I started fly-fishing. We were introduced to this new method of fishing through a mutual friend of our parents.

We could hardly wait to get to the pond and try out our homemade flies and ants. It took several trips before we actually mastered the wrist action, but finally became fairly skilled with our new fly rods. The one thing that made the little pond such a good fly-fishing hole was the lack of trees around the edge. This gave us plenty of room to draw back and whip our flies wherever we wanted. We really didn’t have to worry about what was behind us, because there was usually nothing to hang our hooks into.

One afternoon, ole Marvine showed up and was busy getting his tackle ready to fish. By this time, Tim had made it around the pond without realizing Marvine was behind him. Just about the time Marvine bent over to tie on his hook, Tim came back in one sweeping motion and landed his fly directly into Marvine’s buttocks. As Tim’s forward motion came to an abrupt halt, Marvine shouted Ooooooo, Ohhhhhh. Tim repentantly shouted, “Are you okay, Marvine? Are you okay?” Marvine shouted back, “Yes sir, I’m okay…me don’t think it went to the bone!” Fortunately, the hook had completely ripped through a small section of Marvine’s posterior and was lodged in his pants. After the initial surprise and realization that Marvine was okay, Tim and I were overcome with uncontrollable laughter.

Not many people would have responded like ole Marvine. In fact, some guys would have given us a thorough whippin’ or a good cussin’. Marvine was a fine Christian gentleman who is now with Jesus. His gentleness and kindness toward two teenage boys impacts me to this day. Sometimes, we wound people not with actions but with our words. Although sometimes we may be kidding, words can quickly discourage the human spirit.
How do you respond when you see the look on the face of the one you have just wounded? Do you respond in self-justification or repentance?

Challenge: How do others view you? Do you build others up with words and actions or tear them down. Are you always in a bad mood and short tempered toward the people you love? Make a commitment today to surrender to the power of God’s Holy Spirit. He alone can change your demeanor.

Thought: Careless words impact people for the rest of their lives – especially women and children.

“For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (Matthew 12:34b)

Posted by Tim E. Miller

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