Tag Archives: words

It’s Wise to Hold Your Tongue|Taste Your Words|Measure Your Response

19 Nov

tasting_words“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” Proverbs 21:23 (ESV)

It takes little effort to open your mouth and give way to whatever wants to gush out. Controlling the tongue requires concentration, diligence, maturity, and wisdom (Proverbs 17:27-28). The tongue, left to its own devices, can spew words that ensnare us (Proverbs 6:2) and pierce others (Proverbs 12:18). Thoughtless rambling can lead to sin (Proverbs 10:19) or even death (Proverbs 18:21). Precious friends once offended by careless vitriol, disparaging remarks, sarcastic comments, or whispered tales could be lost forever (Proverbs 18:19). 

think2We have become a people who are uncomfortable with silent pauses and we often charge into this absence of noise with poorly thought out words that ring like a cacophony of clashing weapons and hurt similarly. If we think before we speak (Proverbs 15:28) insalubrious speech can be averted and supplanted with thanksgiving and affirmation for the work God is doing in someone’s life. In this past Sunday’s sermon Pastor Burris said we must remember, “The most flawed believer in our midst is a work of God’s grace.” A good work began at the cross and if our focus is held there it is a simpler task to extend grace. 

Ten Times It’s Wise to Hold Your Tongue

I talk too much. Way, way too much.

But God is committed to teaching me when to hold my tongue.

With that in mind, let me share ten situations with you where I’m learning it’s better to refrain from talking:

  • When you have no idea what to say

Proverbs 17:28: “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”

  • When you’re wrongly accused

1 Peter 2:23: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return.”

Isaiah 53:7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.”

  • When you’re mad

Proverbs 25:28: “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”

  • When you’re confused about life

Lamentations 3:25–28: “The Lord is good for those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord . . . Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth to the dust—there may yet be hope.”

  • When you wouldn’t want someone else to find out you said it

Luke 12:3: “Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”

  • When you don’t really mean it

Proverbs 3:28: “Do not say to your neighbor ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it,’ when you have it with you.”

  • When you can’t stop yearning for the good old days

Ecclesiastes 7:10: “Say not, why were the former days better than these? For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

  • When you have a lot to do and you don’t like it

Philippians 2:14: “Do all things without grumbling or complaining.”

  • When the timing is wrong

Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver.”

  • When you don’t have anything to say that gives grace

Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear it.”

Excerpted from  True Woman | Ten Times It’s Wise to Hold Your Tongue by Lina Abujamra

Additional links:

Shut Up and Listen | Today’s Christian Woman

“Harmless” Gossip is a Myth|How to Stop Church-Killing Gossip

5 Nov

gossip

“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts” –Proverbs 18:8

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? Nothing could be further from the truth when one is a victim of gossip, rumors, slander, backbiting, talebearing, reviling, railing, or innuendo. Gossip can be covert or overt…true or untrue. Once out it is propelled along like an insidious virus reaching epidemic proportion. Is it any wonder so called news, YouTube videos, Facebook quotes, blog posts, and tweets that reach “trending” status are characterized as “viral.” 

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ defeats gossip…Jesus was a “trustworthy man,” someone to whom you could entrust your deepest, most shameful secrets, and know they were as safe as can be. He still is. And we can learn to be trustworthy too (Proverbs 11:13)” (Matthew C. Mitchell, Resisting Gossip).

We can follow Christ’s example. Believe the best about others. Speak positively; words of affirmation are healing and edifying. Talk to ____ not about____. Model graciousness. Exalt the Lord. Search your heart. Pray.

My name is Gossip.

I have no respect for justice.

I maim without killing.

I break hearts and ruin lives.

I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age.

The more I am quoted the more I am believed.

I flourish at every level of society.

My victims are helpless.

They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face.

To track me down is impossible.

The harder you try, the more elusive I become.

I am nobody’s friend.

Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same.

I topple governments and ruin marriages.

I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartache and indigestion.

I spawn suspicion and generate grief.

I make innocent people cry in their pillows.

Even my name hisses.

I AM CALLED GOSSIP –Anonymous

How to Stop Church-Killing Gossip

Kent Hughes: “Gossip involves saying behind a person’s back what you would never say to his or her face. Flattery means saying to a person’s face what you would never say behind his or her back.”

Here are some wise words from Dan Phillips for when you hear gossip from someone:

  1. Ask, “Why are you telling me this?” Often, that in itself is such a focusing question that it can bring an end to the whole unpleasant chapter. It has the added benefit that it can help a person whose intentions are as good as his/her judgment is bad.
  2. Ask, “What’s the difference between what you’re telling me and gossip?” See above; same effect, same potential benefits.
  3. Ask, “How is your telling me that thought, that complaint, that information going to help you and me love God and our brothers better, and knit us closer together as a church in Christ’s love?” Isn’t that the goal we should share, every one of us? Won’t it take the working of each individual member Eph. 4:16? Isn’t the watch-out for harmful influences an every-member ministry Heb. 3:12-13; 10:24; 13:12-15?
  4. Ask, “Now that you’ve told me about that, what are you going to do about it?” While the previous two are subjective, this is not. If neither of the previous two questions succeeded in identifying gossip/whispering/sowing-dissension for what they are, the answer to this question will do so. Tip: if the answer is “Pray,” a good response might be “Then why didn’t you do that and leave it there in the first place?”
  5. Say, “Now that you’ve told me about that, you’ve morally obligated me to make sure you talk to ____ about it. How long do you think you need, so I can know when this becomes a sin that I will need to confront in you?” The least that this will accomplish is that you’ll fall off the list of gossips’/whisperers’ favorite venting-spots. The most is that you may head off a church split, division, harmed souls, sidelined Gospel ministry, and waylaid discipleship. Isn’t that worth it?

Ray Ortlund explains what gossip is and why it is sinfully enticing:

  • Gossip is our dark moral fervor eagerly seeking gratification.
  • Gossip makes us feel important and needed as we declare our judgments.
  • It makes us feel included to know the inside scoop.
  • It makes us feel powerful to cut someone else down to size, especially someone we are jealous of.
  • It makes us feel righteous, even responsible, to pronounce someone else guilty.
  • Gossip can feel good in multiple ways. But it is of the flesh, not of the Spirit…
  • Gossip is a sin rarely disciplined but often more socially destructive than the sensational sins.
  • Gossip leaves a wide trail of devastation wherever and however it goes – word of mouth, email, blogging, YouTube.
  • It erodes trust and destroys morale.
  • It creates a social environment of suspicion where everyone must wonder what is being said behind their backs and whether appearances of friendship are sincere.
  • It ruins hard-won reputations with cowardly but effective weapons of misrepresentation.
  • It manipulates people into taking sides when no such action is necessary or beneficial.
  • It unleashes the dark powers of psychological transference, doing violence to the gossiper, to the one receiving the gossip and to the person being spoken against.
  • It makes the Body of Christ look like the Body of Antichrist – destroyers rather than healers.
  • It exhausts the energies we would otherwise devote to positive witness.
  • It robs our Lord of the Church he deserves.
  • It exposes the hostility in our hearts and discredits the gospel in the eyes of the world. Then we wonder why we don’t see more conversions, why “the ground is so hard.”

Excerpted from: How to Stop Church-Killing Gossip – Justin Taylor

Additional links related to gossip and how to avoid it:

Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue: Matthew C. Mitchell: 9781619580763: Amazon.com: Books

Gossip – Ray Ortlund

Pyromaniacs: How to shut down gossip and its nasty kin

Talking to People Rather Than About Them What I Left Out of the Sermon on August 6 – Desiring God

Grow Your Faith|Immerse Yourself in God’s Word

14 Aug

bible“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” ― 2 Timothy 3:16

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” ― Hebrews 4:12

“It’s one thing to be unfamiliar with Scripture when you don’t own a Bible; it’s another thing when you have a bookshelf full. No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture.”

― Donald Whitney “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life”

From TACC Worship Guide August 11, 2013:

What is your personal practice of Bible listening, reading, studying, memorizing, meditation?
What are some practical steps you can take to improve?”

  • Set a time and place to read.
  • Pray as you read.
  • Use the same Bible all the time.
  • Mark your Bible.
  • Learn some Bible study principles.
  • Have an accountability partner.
  • Read consecutively.
  • Buy a devotional guide or easy to read commentary

Make a decision to spend as much time in the Bible as you do on the internet, television, watching sports.
Fast from electronics, when you have spare time, read your Bible

― Pastor Burris “Life Group Questions”

Additionally the following article offers some additional thoughts and encouragement related to Bible intake and faith

by Jonathan Parnell –Desiring God (excerpt)

If you want your faith to grow, read the Bible.

Earlier this Spring, in a discussion on sanctification, John Piper explains, “The only way faith grows is by God speaking to you. ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God’ [Romans 10:17] — and not just when you got saved, but everyday of your life.”

God speaks to us when we read his word. There is where we encounter his truth — his promises, his warnings, his commands — of which we are called to trust and obey. And his truth is where the Spirit builds our faith…

The remaining article and videos can be viewed here: Do You Want Your Faith to Grow? – Desiring God.

Finding Peace When You’re a Chick in Conflict – Mentoring Moments

23 Apr

vent

/vent/
Verb
Give free expression to (a strong emotion).

Do you find yourself venting (murdering with words) when friends disappoint?

Matthew 5:21-22 (ESV)

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

“We just need to talk and air out our differences.”

“Let’s just lay our feelings out on the table.”

“I’m an open book. I want people to know exactly how I feel.”

“I needed to vent.”

Step back. Take cover. The outcome of this encounter is not going to be pretty.

All of our friendships are bound to hit a bump in the road. When our feelings are hurt, we feel that we have a right to vent. It feels goods to get it off our chest while sipping a large chocolate latte’ and recounting the whole saga to another friend. But the outcome can be a shattered relationship that will heal with a jagged scar.

Anger, hurt feelings, and disappointments often come from unfulfilled expectations or assumed intentions.

“If my friend truly cared, she would have called me….”

To View the Complete Article:Finding Peace When You’re a Chick in Conflict – Mentoring Moments.

Words That Have Shaped My Life | True Woman

28 Oct

Words That Have Shaped My Life

Posted on 10.13.11 by Barbara Challies

Solomon’s beautiful proverb tells us that wise words are like “apples of gold in settings of silver.”  I would like to suggest that wise deeds and apt responses to life situations are similarly beautiful. Let me share a few of the words of some of those who have shaped the course of my life, in roughly chronological order. Their grace has become not just my example, but who I am.

John Stott, as he preached in Toronto: “You are here so you can learn the secrets of Christian growth and living. Well, there are no secrets. You read the Bible and you pray.” Revolutionary to my husband and me.

Susan Schaeffer Macaulay at English L’Abri: “Sometimes I realize I haven’t really prayed or read the Bible for a couple of weeks . . .” (And how would you, dear Susan, with your service to all of us?) So this really can happen with a sincere Christian?  Whew! Now I can look God in the eye again.

And back to L’Abri–English L’Abri this time: “There is nothing more than Christ. No higher wisdom. Nothing more.” I finally “got it.” Sola Scriptura, knowing Christ through Scripture alone, became the bedrock of my life.

On to a little side trip we made to Oxford at this time: The porter of Magdalen College: “Yes, I knew CS Lewis. What do I remember about him?  The main thing is how he would always share the food packages he got from America during the days of rationing.” Okay, not his intellect; His character! Always ask the tailors, the grocers, the neighbors . . .

Click here for the rest of the article:   True Woman | Words That Have Shaped My Life.

Hugs and Affirmation

20 Oct

From “Practical Theology for Women”  – Oct 10, 2011

Hugs and Affirmation

I am reminded daily of the interconnected nature of my parenting and my theology. Last week, I was at my wits end trying to figure out how to discipline my younger son, who is not normally the challenging child in our family. He was having a hard week, acting out angrily and then throwing out emotionally charged language at me when disciplined – “I hate you.” “You don’t want to be my mommy.” “You don’t love me.” And even more disturbing – “I don’t like myself.” “I don’t want to be in this world.”

What in the world?! Where was he getting that stuff? The acting out was escalating, along with the emotional verbal aftermath. I brought this burden with me into our mom’s group Bible study last week. As we shared our burdens for our children, one mom told how she had been intentionally affirming and hugging her problem child multiple times a day and the difference that was making in her child’s attitude. I thought, could it really be that simple?! But I felt burdened afterwards that I should do the same with my son.

I knew that giving him extra hugs and affirmation at random times of the day wouldn’t change how I handled his outbursts. I wasn’t going to hug and affirm him if he hit his brother. But I was hoping that if I hugged him and affirmed him when he was behaving, then when the time came to discipline him when he sinned, he would receive it from me without going into his You-hate-me-and-I-hate-myself routine.

Click here to read the rest of this article: �Practical Theology for Women: Hugs and Affirmation.

Kyria Blog: The Neglected Spiritual Practice

12 Oct

The Neglected Spiritual Practice

Why do we so often forget the importance and power of celebration?

I was a typical new mom, meticulously recording milestones, photographing every possible facial expression and pose, and religiously recording it all in a scrapbook for my bouncing baby boy. That, of course, was baby number one.

Now I glance with guilt at my poor, neglected baby number three. Okay, she’s not actuallyneglected, but in the scrapbook arena all that exists so far is a literal scrap of paper on which I’ve hurriedly scrawled her weight and length from her first four doctors appointments. Yup, that’s it. I’ve let life’s busyness and demands completely shove aside any time for baby-booking.

I share this example because I think it reflects what many of us do in our spiritual lives.

Click here to read the rest of this article.

True Woman | Gender-Inclusive Bible: A Good Idea?

6 Oct

Gender-Inclusive Bible: A Good Idea?

Posted on 09.22.11 by Mary Kassian
Topics: Relationship with God

The new gender-inclusive NIV Bible was published earlier this year. It contains thousands of changes to the Bible’s male-gendered language. Having a gender-inclusive Bible appears to be the latest trend amongst cutting-edge, cappuccino-slurping Christian hipsters. Don’t get me wrong. I like to be hip. And I enjoy cappuccino as much as the next person. But my biggest beef with gender-inclusive Bibles is that they lack doctrinal precision. If you mess with the words, you mess with the meaning. Respected Bible scholars have explained why inclusive translations such as the New International Version (NIV), New Revised Standard (NRSV), and Common English Bible (CEB) are deeply flawed. If you haven’t yet considered their arguments, you might want to check out these Gender Neutral Bible Articles.

Notwithstanding the doctrinal imprecision and blatant politically-correct translating agenda, there are additional reasons why I dislike gender-inclusive Bibles. Undoubtedly the publishers had good intentions, and genuinely wanted to help women, but in my mind, a gender-inclusive Bible is BAD for women. Really, really bad for women! I react to people reading from the new, gender-inclusive NIV the way I react to nails scratching down a chalk board. Here are ten reasons why:

1.  It obscures the profound symbolism of gender.


Gender has a profound, cosmic meaning. God created manhood, womanhood, marriage, and sex to put the love story of Christ and the Church on display. When we mess with the Bible’s gender language, we obscure gender’s symbolism. We make truths about God and the gospel more difficult to understand.

2. It exalts gender above that to which it points.


Changing the Bible’s gender language implies that the Bible’s gender language is about us. It’s not. The Bible is ultimately not about male and female—it’s about Jesus, the Son of Man and Son of God. The Bible does not use predominantly male gendered language to exalt men; it uses it to exalt THE Man who paid the ultimate price to redeem His Bride.

Click here to read the rest of this article

The Words of Our Mouth

3 Oct

The Words of Our Mouth.

Words. . .

Ever wish you could take back words you said?

Do find yourself lying awake, mulling over a conversation and thinking about what you should have said?

In frustration, has your child spewed out something awful at you or a sibling?

For over a week, it seems these sorts of issues have popped up in my world. It started with wishing I had not been such an outspoken passenger while my son drove us around in Florida, informing him of when the speed limits changed etc. Then a few days ago, I overheard my 2 1/2 year old grandson yell at his older brother, “I don’t like you!” Next, I took a break Saturday night to watch a movie—Mars Needs Moms. This cute flick opens with nine-year-old Milo saying something terrible to his mom, sending her away in tears. Finally to top the week off, yesterday my son Josiah shared a great message titled, “Words of Our Mouths.”

Ya, think God is trying to tell me something?Do you relate? By the mere fact that you’re a mom tells me that you do.

Words are tremendously powerful. They have the power to tear down or to bring healing.The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit, (Proverbs 18:21). If our words are rash, manipulative, or ungrateful, we have the power to bring harm to those we love. Our words can even do damage when on the surface they sound good. We may say thanks, but inside we’re jealous or grumbling against someone. Each day thousands of words flow out of our mouths, but we’re clueless to their effect on ourselves and others, especially those we love the most, i.e. our children.

Borrowing from my son’s message, and some things God has spoken to my heart, let’s talk about how to control our tongues.
  • Store up good things in your heart. Our words reflect what’s inside. Whatever we store up in our hearts—anxiety, bitterness, frustration, fear—will sooner or later come spewing out.

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him, (Matthew 12:34-35).

This takes hard work. It’s sometimes easier to look at problems, rather than solutions and good things. Knowing this, we must make a conscious effort to change our thoughts and stop ourselves before those notions come to the surface. This may mean that we have to confess some pretty ugly things to God and someone we trust so that we find healing. Suppressing our thoughts only causes a buildup that will soon explode like a burning volcano. If we want to make room for good thoughts, the junk has to come out.
  • Look on the bright side. Ask the right questions. In most situations I tend to look at all the problems. Timothy frequently admonishes me about this habit. My excuse has always been that I’m trying to ward off difficulties before they occur. This type of thinking keeps me from making decisions and it waste time. I’m consciously trying to work on this, by asking the right questions and stating things positively.
For example, instead asking, “What if it doesn’t work out?” ask, “What’s next when it works out?” Rather than looking at the problems and what could go wrong, look at the benefits. Practicing the spiritual discipline of thanksgiving can help us look at“whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things, (Philippians 4:8). Then our words become a well spring of life, not confusion and discouragement.
  • Slow down. Think before you speak. This takes practice and prayer. We tend to have knee-jerk reactions to situations, but it’s our careless words that tend to get us in trouble (Matt. 12:36). Filling our hearts up with good and noble thoughts can assure that at least what comes out won’t do harm. One way to learn how to do this is discuss why you said something rash.
When my grandsons were arguing their mom and I talked about having them discuss how they felt. Big brother was doing something to make little brother shout “I don’t like you!” Now I’m not condoning the little guy’s behavior or anger. However, having the chance to say why he doesn’t like his brother at the moment can help him think about his words. Instead of shouting, he can learn to say, “Please stop teasing me.”
  • Simply “yes” or “no.” This is another reminder that I frequently receive from my hubby. He says I “speak in paragraphs” and totally confuse him. Jan Johnsonstates that she realized that her “wordiness revealed a lack of trust that God would work without (her) help. While communication is important, talking has its limits. It doesn’t work if our goal is to express ourselves rather than create space for God’s grace to flow” (Abundant Simplicity). When I bottom-line things, without telling a long explanation, we tend to accomplish a lot more, and life is much more peaceful. Instructing children with short, simple statements helps them understand what we expect more than a long lengthy lecture.

For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. (1 Peter 3:10)

Today on Moms Together, let’s share our struggles with taming our tongue. As my son Josiah said yesterday, it’s a small part of the body, but it’s the strongest and certainly has the greater workout. Leave a comment either here or on MomsTogether for a chance to winA Way with Words by Christin Ditchfield.

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