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Posts Tagged ‘salt’

Loving Discourse Lessens Discord

June 12th, 2018

Communication enables mutual understanding.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

My thoughts and comments today consider that, “loving discourse lessens discord.”   

Kind and sincere communication is a gift that we give to one another. Communication connects and unifies people. I love a simple, beautiful verse: “Grace is poured upon Your lips.” Psalm 45:2 NKJV. What would your life and relationships look like if grace poured from your lips? Loving discourse lessens discord. In contrast, our world is so torn because individuals persist in being right, however high the price is paid in their dearest relationships. Whether in a marriage, family, friendship, or church, the relationship is left the victim when loving communication breaks down.

Sadly and widely, both public and private discourse seem course today, evidencing less and less grace. Why do we choose dispute over concurrence? Conversations are essential for social interactions and profitable commerce. Communication enables effective collaboration to bring about mutually beneficial understandings. The interaction that communication requires is not optional. Sincere and meaningful communication offers significant benefits such as: proper discourse unifies people, decides purpose, defines progress, and produces greater achievements. Real community is possible only to the extent or limitation of real discussions.

Language is a gift, possessing the power to unite or divide us. A wise person considers their words. Words have potential for good or ill, can help or hurt, heal or wound, increase understanding or create confusion. Your words are always within your authority to speak or remain silent. Speak after forethought and prayerful reflection. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge.” Proverbs 15:1-2 NIV.

With clarity and authority, Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Read Matthew 12:35-37 NKJV. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.” Read Proverbs 4:20-24 NIV. Ask yourself, “Are my words honestly intended, edifying to others, and glorifying to God.”

With King David, we should pray from our heart that our words and thoughts would be these, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NIV. And how can we keep our words and thoughts pleasing in the sight of God and others? Pray as David prayed, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3 NIV.

Today I pray for you to choose your words to always be both true and kind.

Christian Communications 2018

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The Power of Language

January 17th, 2018

Words mediate differences or exacerbate disagreements.

 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Colossians 4:6 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are about,
“the power of language.”

Language is vital for communication and coordination of common efforts. Without communication, many efforts would be futile, achievements minimal, relationships challenging, and misunderstandings numerous. We don’t think much about words, but we certainly use a lot of them. According to Google, a 2013 University of California study concluded that women speak an average of 20,000 words daily, compared to 7,000 words for men. Wisely, I resist endorsing an opinion on that statistic. Imagine what a more current study might include that included texting, Facebook posts, and other social media.

I would note that it matters what you say, and how you say it, more than how much you say. Verbiage and volume are not as important as veracity. Imagine the difficulty of our daily interactions without them, or a conversation when you could not understand another’s words because of language differences. Communication is important. Communication that edifies is essential.

Since you were very small you have been learning and using words while expanding your vocabulary. It is important that you consider the awesome, and sometimes awful, power of the words you speak and the potential effect they have on yourself and others for help or harm. “Words kill; words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” Proverbs 18:21 MSG.

With words, you can heal a heart, or wound one. Words mediate differences or exacerbate disagreementsWords speak truth, or spread lies. Words can build friendships, or destroy trust between friends. Words can encourage or dishearten. Words can applaud others or criticize. What you may not realize is that when your words wound someone, your misuse also hurts you in ways you will not at first recognize. Choose them wisely. Speak them kindly.

As a child, I learned a simple rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But that isn’t really true, is it? Many of us bear the lasting imprint of words spoken long ago, whether for good or harm. Some are spoken by us; some were spoken to us. Uncharitable words can leave a hurt far deeper and remaining longer in the heart, but also in the one who speaks them. Careless words cheapen communication and lessen the creative power of your words for good at other times.

God’s feelings about this are clear. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.This should not be!” Read James 3:1-11 NIV. God views your words very seriously because He knows their power and potential for good or evil, for benefit or harm. God warns, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. . . men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” Read Matthew 12:33-37 NIV.

Remember that with just a word God created all that we now see and know, and sustains all that He created in the same way. “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Hebrews 11:3 NIV. You and I certainly do not possess God’s creative power, but as you are made in His image, your words are much more than mere sounds spoken and forgotten. Your words hold seeds of life and blessing, carrying a greater, spiritual dynamic well beyond mere language.

Paul warned that God weighs your words. The gravity of that will cause you to pray, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord.” Psalm 19:14 NKJV. Whatever your heart privately harbors will ultimately be exposed through your words. Here is practical, Godly advice. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to consider the power and potential of your words, for better or worse.

Christian Communications 2018-107
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Lives That Matter

March 26th, 2014

“What good is salt if it has lost its flavor?” Matthew 5:13 NIV.

Begin where you are; use what you’ve got; do what you can.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “lives that matter.”

Your contribution may not always be noticed until it is no longer being made. Without you, others’ lives would be less. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor?” Matthew 5:13 NIV. In isolation, salt makes no difference. But when interacting, salt provides what is lacking and enhances what is already there. Your life is meant to do the same. Salt is in almost every prepared food or snack that you eat. When it’s there you hardly notice; when it is not, you detect its absence immediately.

Often, you won’t know the benefits you bring into others’ lives until much later, maybe never specifically. And others may not recognize the difference you make until they are without your contribution. You are “the salt of the earth,” when you value living benevolently and beneficially, however small your effort seems to you or unnoticed it may be by others. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” Read Colossians 3:23-24 NIV. Do so purposely, not for others’ recognition, appreciation, or applause. For a life that matters in your realm of daily influence, be deliberate, intentional, and purposeful.

Life is most self-fulfilling when what you do benefits others and glorifies Christ Jesus. Possibly, only eternity will fully reveal the extent of what you do. That’s what a successful, satisfying life is about. What you contribute in your community, on your job, in your school, in your home and family, and in your friendships has the power to make others’ lives better and your life matter, now and eternally.

Don’t worry about others noticing your contribution, and begin noticing and complimenting theirs. People take a lot of things for granted, therefore they may also take people for granted who improve their lives. While waiting around for your chance to make a big difference, you may be missing opportunities for making a difference now and being prepared for greater influence later. If you don’t start where you are with what you could do, you probably won’t start at all. “Anyone then, who knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17 NIV. Begin where you are; use what you’ve got; do what you can. That’s how you prosper and others benefit.

You are created, called, and empowered to make a contribution unique to your abilities, experience, personality and opportunities. Jesus’ followers are supposed to be seed, salt, light, and leaven. Common to all of those are lives that matter – an immeasurable potential for making profitable changes in others and profound improvements around them. As such, your life matters most when you are willing to be where you are most needed, doing what you were best designed by God to do. You can’t do everything, but everyone can do something. Do what you can, “as working for the Lord.”

My prayer for you today is that you contribute what you have and who you are for others’ benefit.

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Live Selflessly

February 21st, 2014

“Let your good works shine out for all to see.” Matthew 5:16 NLT.

Love neither notice nor credit from men; both are addictive and destructive.

My thoughts and comments today are that you “live selflessly.”

How you live everyday is important; why you live the way you choose to live is even more important. Summing up the eight character qualities of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus described the uniqueness of those who exemplify the Kingdom of God as being, “the salt of the earth and light of the world.” Matthew 5:13-16. Salt and light have distinctive purposes, only of use and value when fulfilling their purposes – an appropriate metaphor for us and our use and value to the Kingdom of God on earth. A Godly life offers an enticing flavor to the blandness of life apart from Christ and brilliant illumination dispelling the darkness in which others live.

Jesus said, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 NLT. Your life and mine are unique only when accomplishing the eternal purpose for which God intends. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT. It is important that you understand the measurement by which your life succeeds. Your purpose is always for, “all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” The first part becomes irrelevant if the latter part doesn’t occur. In an exemplary life, God is the One who is seen and praised.

If your motive is to be seen and praised by men, every effort remains inconsequential. “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12 NIV. A meaningful and satisfying life is lived, “for the praise of His glory.” Love neither notice nor credit from men; both are addictive and destructive.

I remember my Dad often quoting, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” (Harry Truman, 33rd president of the US 1884-1972). That is very true. “Having your conduct honorable among [others], that . . they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God . .” 1 Peter 2:12 NKJV. Your most successful achievements might well be the most noble, while you serve merely for His pleasure. But know this, nothing done in His name and for His glory will go unnoticed or unrewarded. “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19 NKJV.

Jesus had strong words about doing even the right things for the wrong reasons – to be seen of men. Matthew 23:5 NKJV. When the Pharisees gave, they did so for the applause of others; they prayed where others would hear and admire. Read Matthew 6:1-6 NIV. For their efforts, they received no reward from God. You live selflessly when you live for the applause and approval of One. See Colossians 1:9-14 NIV. This is a practical way that we can help ourselves and one another: “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 NLT. Any outbursts lately?

My prayer for you today is that all you do is done in love and sincerity.

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Salt and Light

July 3rd, 2013

“You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13 NKJV

Your world is the reach of your example in the daily circle of influence given you.

My thoughts and comments today are about “salt and light.”

Life would be bland without salt. Who would ever imagine that something as simple and small as salt could be so essential? Our word, “salary,” derives from the word, “salt,” a derivative from the Latin word, “salarium,” when Roman soldiers were paid in salt signifying its essential importance as a daily necessity as well as a medium of barter. In my grandfather’s generation, a man whose work was reliable and valued was often described as, “worth his weight in salt.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clarified the character of a true disciple. Out of all the examples He could have chosen to describe His followers, He said of them, “You are the salt of the earth . . you are the light of the world . . let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 NKJV. Everyone who names the name of Christ, embraces Kingdom expectations from both God and man, being obliged to evidence character and conduct befitting a Christ-follower. In preceding verses, Kingdom character is defined in practical ways. Read Matthew 5:3-12 NKJV.

Unlike most other things, salt does not require vast measures to be effective; in fact, too much salt can be distasteful, even harmful. Salt interacts in meaningful ways with profound effect. The smallest sampling of salt contains potential for disproportionate effect. Whenever you feel a big, bad world needs something or someone with much more to contribute than you, remember Jesus’ words, “You are the salt of the earth.” Your world is, “the daily reach of your words and example in the circle of influence and opportunities the Lord gives you.” You make a difference disproportionate to your individual contribution, more than you know or may notice at any moment. Keep salting and shining. In the right measure, salt contributes its own beneficial taste while enhancing the flavor of other elements as well. When you are willing to be better, you will make everything around you better.

Salt is a preservative; it prevents decay. Before refrigeration was common, meat was preserved by being thoroughly salted, then hung to cure. Popular culture seems to be increasing darkness and worsening decadence, exactly where salt and light make the greatest difference. Paul was clear, “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the Word of life . .” Philippians 2:15 NKJV. You have to be different from the world to make a difference in the world.

What was said to Esther can be just as true of you, “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 NKJV. Your being here is destiny, not coincidence. The fate of her nation depended on Esther’s Godly response; a generation may depend on yours. The Bible describes David as a man who, “served his generation by the will of God.” Acts 13:36 NKJV. That can be true of you. Many lives would be spiritually bland without your contribution.

Jesus also gave strong warnings about salt and light, “What good is salt if it has lost its flavor . . it will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless . . Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.” Matthew 5:13/15 NLT. God has placed you where you are in order to shine.

My prayer for you today is that you choose to live in a way that distinguishes Jesus.

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