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MLK Jr. and the power of the spoken Word

“I came to the conclusion that there is an existential moment in your life when you must decide to speak for yourself; nobody else can speak for you.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It was that exact quote, years ago, that caused me to always strive to use the voice God has given me in my vocation and sphere of influence to affect change in people’s lives. Ministry is a unique calling, but God has given all of us a voice that has the uniqueness of DNA; a voice has to be heard. Only your voice can move the mountains in front of you, and your voice has the ability to make those mountains into sea floor features (Mark 11:23). Dr. King understood this to the nth degree. His voice caused him to change our great nation for the good, but his simple task was to change hearts...God did the rest by opening doors that no man could shut.

Moments of greatness that define us can come in many ways, but the ones that bring lasting impact are the ones that have God’s breath on them. The Word of God is compared to a two-edged sword coming out of our mouths. Remember that it’s not so much us quoting scripture (which does carry power), but the question of whether the words you speak are God-breathed. When His Word, mixed with faith, comes out of your mouth, it can take you from pathetic to prophetic quickly.

Words define us. I remember when my wife said “Yes” to my proposal of a life together; when my children first were able to utter the words “I love you”; the moment I first truly heard the Good News from a street preacher named Angel Cavazos Huerta Jr.. I also remember waking up to the sound of a Justice of the Peace telling my father at 4:00 AM on Christmas Day that his eldest son had died in a tragic accident; the words of a stranger telling me my mother was gone at seven years old, and the heartbreaking words of my grandfather, waking me from sleep at the age of nine as he cried out “she’s gone, what are we going to do” after my grandmother fell dead in front of us the night before. He quickly came around, gathered me up in his arms, and told me we were going to make it; we were going to be OK. That moment is when I knew we were going to be OK, because I trusted the source of those words. When words of negativity define us, it’s only words of faith and affirmation that can replace the negative. Box office hits are built on this very premise.

Words define moments, and they define us as well. We see this every day in our children, our friends, our nation. “Ask not what your country can do for you...”. “We hold these truths to be self-evident...”. “I have a dream today.” These are all words that have defined us as a nation, and they are powerful. “You can do anything” vs. “You’ll never amount to anything” both have a profound effect on a child’s impressionable soul.

Let’s never forget that each one of these great men and women that we aspire to be were just and women. They faced triumph and tragedy, yet they found their voice. They followed the path of resistance with courage and conviction, and greatness followed. You may never be a Martin Luther King Jr., but never underestimate the power of the unique voice God has entrusted you with. You can affect change for good or bad with it, the choice is yours.

Make your voice available to Him, and greatness can follow!

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