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By:  J. Olson

Before the late 1950s, the island of Cozumel, Mexico, was little more than a fishing village surrounded by Mayan ruins. Historians believe the Mayans settled there sometime in the first century AD. For nearly 2,000 years, there was little more to Mexico’s largest island than its ancient artifacts.

All that changed in 1959 when French ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau declared the clear blue waters and coral reefs surrounding this Caribbean island as one of the best places in the world for scuba diving. The rest-as they say-is history. Today, the Island of Cozumel is a regular stop for thousands of cruise ship tourists, scuba enthusiasts, and snorkeling fans.

Talk about the weight of a person’s words! One man’s endorsement put a little-known Caribbean island on the map. Words can carry great power. Not only can they transform a tiny island, words also have the power to bring “death or life” to others (Proverbs 18:21).

A spiritual mentor of mine once talked about a comment his father made about him while he was a freshman in college. As a young student hoping to impress his father with all he was learning, he overheard his father say to his mother that he had a “sharp mind.” My mentor, who went on to get a Ph.D. and authored several helpful books, said, “I can’t tell you how many times my dad’s comment ‘he’s got a sharp mind’ strengthened me. During those moments in my schooling when I wasn’t sure if I was going to make the grade, the words of my father carried me through.” My friend had heard words of “encouragement” that kept him going (Ephesians 4:29).

What is the message of your words? (Proverbs 10:32). You have the power both to do build up and tear down. How are you using your power?


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