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Sunday grace

I’m reading the book of Proverbs during January, a chapter for each day of the month.

The book is occupied with wisdom for daily living, for planning for the future, for viewing the world, for living a full and blessed life. It has much to say about words and the mouth I use to speak them.

How easily phrases and sentences leave the gateway of my mouth, and how quickly they make a mark on those who hear them. My words carry weight. They can pierce like a sword, wound and cause pain.

My words can lift the spirit of the down trodden and bring healing to the sick in spirit.

I choose the expressions and intonation, though sometimes I excuse myself when the utterances fly off the tongue too quickly without thought or consideration. And the damage is done.

If I desire to do good and show mercy, what of the thoughts and meditations of my heart? It is from the heart the mouth speaks.

So search me thoroughly, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

 And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24 AMP)

The wise woman builds her house with the fruit of her lips from a heart that has been purified by grace.

Sunday grace.

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Let our words be sweet

Only a few more days of stitches and a big, bulky, awkward bandage to contend with. I am really ready to be relieved of them.

Meanwhile, here is a bit of wise counsel to those of us who speak words and those of us who listen to them. And that’s pretty much all of us.

The Lazy Genius Collective has something to say about stupid words.

I don’t agree with calling people stupid. I do affirm that humans can speak some stupid things. Again, that is pretty much all of us. But the idea offered at this blog is how words affect us and the potential power they have.

Perhaps it will make us evaluate how we communicate with each other. Let our words be full of grace.

THE LAZY GENIUS COLLECTIVE

 

grace

Monday grace

I missed “Sunday grace” yesterday but isn’t grace an everyday thing?

Sunday’s Grace:  My fellow Sunday school classmates showed me an immeasurable amount of love yesterday.  Their words of affirmation and love filled me full and running over.  I think I must have been glowing the rest of the day.

Sweet William and I witnessed the renewing of wedding vows from a couple who had been married fifty years.  The looks on their faces were priceless.  As the pastor asked them to repeat vows to one another, they pledged, once again, to love each other until death shall part them.  And isn’t that what love really is?  A pledge, a commitment, a covenant?  It’s not a fluffy emotion that rises and falls like a thermometer reflecting the conditions around it.  Love is something we do, something we promise when the feelings fluctuate.

As I reached for Sweet William’s hand during the ceremony, I was thankful for his commitment to me, for my commitment to him.  Where would we be if not for that?  What would we have done if God had not given us the grace to endure the rough waters and fiery trials?

Monday’s Grace:  I got a long-awaited letter from a far-away friend.  Our ages are decades apart, but she is dear to me.  Her words made me laugh out loud.  I read them with care, taking in all the inflections she shared, smiling at the funny pictures she drew, and hearing her heart.

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I love snail mail.  I think we miss something in this quick-message life we live.  While it is a convenience to send and receive texts, emails, tweets (what is that anyway?), I enjoy going to the mailbox at the end of my drive, shuffling through the ads, bills, requests for donations, and spying a return address sticker at the left top corner of an envelope from someone I love.  It’s like candy from the postman (woman).  I open it when I have time to sit and relish every word and sentiment.

Most texts and messages seem more like something to read, respond to, and check off the list.  Not all of them, mind you.  I do get some really endearing letter-like messages from friends, and I try to treat them like a hand-written note.  Reading slowing.  Savoring the message.  Taking my time to write a response.  I would not want to lose that kind of communication.

I must admit that while my young friend hand writes her letters, I usually type mine.  It’s faster for me which may put me back in the category of quick-messaging.  I’ll have to think about that.

letter and envelope

Words.  They have impact.  They are important.  It used to be the highest compliment to say a person was true to his word.  If he said it, he meant it no matter what.

We throw our words around casually these days.  Promises are made all day long.  I see it at every TV commercial break.  During a political campaign it’s hard to believe whose words are true.

It makes me examine my own words, my easy responses, my commitments to do something or be somewhere.  I really want to be a woman of my word, someone who can be counted on to do what she says.

Seeing that Jesus was called the very WORD of God shows me that God values His own words, His own commitments.  He sent His Son to fulfill His promise, long-awaited and far away.  The Word was God’s way of communicating with a world that needed to know Who He really is.  It was His way of inviting us into a relationship with Himself.

The Word made flesh.  Dwelling among us.  God coming down to speak in a language we could understand.

That is amazing.  And that, my friends, is Monday grace for sure.

 

 

 

Speaking life

Day 4 of 40 days to Resurrection Day

Today’s suggestion:

Give up critical words for an entire week.  Even better, do it for the remaining 40 days.

Today my sweet sister-friend, Robin Howe, is guest posting here.  Will join me and receive her gift of words?

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My Momma always said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”  My sweet husband has to remind me at times to “be nice.”

Society reminds me that once a word is spoken, it cannot be taken back.

With all of these reminders I would think it should be easy to speak kind words, yet more often than I care to admit, my words are critical, judgmental, hurtful . . . for those who hear those thoughtless words fall from my lips, those who are the recipient of my misplaced judgment, and for myself.

I dare to say that our critical words are rarely intentional.  We are not speaking them with the intent of tearing down the person we are talking about, hurting our witness to the one we are speaking to, or planting roots of bitterness in our hearts.  I dare to say that if we thought about our words before we spoke them, and the ramifications they have on so many, we would more carefully chose the words that we give a voice.

Let’s not think of this as a challenge, but rather think of it as gift.   The gift of life.  Because the tongue has the power of life or death. 

Let us pause and think before we speak.  We don’t know the situations behind a person’s actions or words, so we must be careful to speak life, speak blessings.  Our words may be what someone needs to hear.  Our words may encourage them to turn their hearts from pain to Jesus.

Maybe she has gained a few pounds while worrying over a health problem or is dealing with a broken relationship.

Maybe the worn out pants he wears all the time are the nicest ones he has.

Maybe she doesn’t know how to reach out to her daughter but is doing her best.

Maybe he isn’t as shallow as you think, he is putting up a front to hide a broken heart.

Maybe your heart needs to hear how beautiful you are, not another daily reminder of your “flaws.”

My prayer is that we will use our gifts of life beyond the next 7 days, or even through the remainder of the 40 days, but that we would spend our lives intentionally speaking life.

So I leave you with my prayers and a song . . .  SPEAK LIFE by TobyMac

Robin blogs at I Get Up Too Early.

A fresh word

 

This is my first week of the new Bible study, No Other Gods, by Kelly Minter.  I admire this young woman who writes Bible studies and is wise beyond her young years.

Today, as I was reading a verse from the study, I had an epiphany.  I know I have read 2 Corinthians many times. Why is this verse is not highlighted, circled or in some way marked as choice tidings like so many other verses in my Bible?  But it wasn’t. It lay there on the page as a fresh Word to be discovered and assimilated.  Perhaps it struck a resonating chord today because of the conversation I had last night with two sweet young friends.

After Little Flock Celebration Choir practice last night, two young women came into my office where I was gathering my coat and bag. They came just to chat with me.  I can’t began to tell you on paper, I mean on computer screen, how very dear these young friends are to me.  At my grandmotherly age, having young women who want to hang around and talk is a treasure I hold close to my heart.

As women will do, we talked here and there and everywhere.  It was one of those conversations that would be hard to keep up with unless you possess the xx chromosomes of femininity.  (Please guys, don’t take offense.  It’s just the way we girls are made.)

The conversation turned to trials and troubles, our own and those of others.  We all have them.  Problems are no respecter of persons or age categories. And we wondered why they come and must be endured?

Don’t you wonder why sometimes?  I certainly have wondered and questioned and felt the frustration of not getting the answer.  I’ve had to settle with knowing my God has His reasons and that one day, in a place far better than I am now, He will explain, or either I will be so overwhelmed and delighted in His presence that I won’t even care to know anymore.

And so I wake this morning to find a nugget of gold in my Bible study.  Second Corinthians 1:9 records Paul’s counsel to the church and to me, and perhaps to you.  Under inspiration from God, he wrote:

Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God  who rasies the dead.” (NIV, emphasis mine)

An answer to my question has been right there all the time.

I can attest to and confess that I have tried relying on myself quite a number of times, only to realize I was not up to the task.  When I turned to my Father, after attempting and failing, I found He was more than able and His grace quite sufficient.

I am encouraged this morning by the words of a loving God who cares about my quandaries.  He spoke directly into my heart today. I won’t say much more except to give one more companion verse I found while looking for the other one.  I looked in First Corinthians 1:9 before I realized I was in the wrong book.  It is equally good, and for me, follows on the heals of the other one.  It says:

God, Who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”

Faithful! Oh that word conjures up memories of His faithfulness to me in the past, time after time after time.

Wow, I just want to shout “glory” this morning!  There is a purpose in my trials and troubles.  He has not left me alone to struggle by myself.  He has called me into fellowship with Jesus.  And He is the faithful God who will do what He has promised.

I am filled up with courage today. I hope you are too.

 

Please leave a comment.

Tell me how God has been faithful to you in your trials. I want to rejoice with you.