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Posts Tagged ‘speech’

Words Matter

February 17th, 2017

Words contain life and carry the seeds of creation

 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight.” Psalm 19:14 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are that “words matter.”

My fourth-grade teacher taught me an appreciation and respect for words. My Dad taught me the responsibility of words. Words were important to my Dad. I recall his reminding me, “Allen, never speak words you don’t mean.That seems plain and simple enough. He practiced and believed that your words represent you and your good name, and insisted they be honest and honorable always and to all. If not already, you will learn that not all people mean what they say, say what they mean, or do what they say. That is unfortunate, but never let that be said of you.

Words are the essential currency of social interactions. Words are the necessary tool for ordinary communication, meaningful exchange of ideas, and the intended covenant of business and agreement. I have visited and ministered in countries where their native language is different from mine. Thankfully, I was accompanied by others who made me understood and helped me understand.

Words contain life and carry the seeds of creation. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:1-3 NIV. The Creator spoke, and it was so. “We understand that the universe was created by God’s word.” Hebrews 11:3 TEV. Words have the power to heal or hurt, inspire or intimidate, inform or deceive, build or tear down. Solomon warned, “You must live with the consequences of everything you say. What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.” Proverbs 18:20-21 TEV.

 Your words are important to God. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord.” Psalm 19:14 NIV. In unguarded moments and situations, your words will eventually reflect your true attitudes and thoughts. Know your heart. Guard your words. Paul urged that your words should not be, “foolish talk or coarse jokes.” Read Ephesians 5:3-4 NLT. Jesus’ words are sobering, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks . . But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” Read Matthew 12:35-37 NIV.

Your words must be important to you. “Let your speech be always with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:6. In those words, I see the picture of a mom carefully preparing supper for her family, tasting and seasoning as she cooks. Taste your words before you lend them a voice. Just in case you must eat them later. “Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious . . A man of knowledge uses words with restraint.” Ecclesiastes 10:12/Proverbs 17:27 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to choose your words to be gentle and loving without need for regret.

Christian Communications 2017

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Living Letters

January 24th, 2014

You are a letter from Christ . . written with the Spirit of the living God.” 2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV.

Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, God’s Son and your Savior.

My thoughts and comments today are about “living letters.”

Paul’s appreciative amazement is evident as he wrote, “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: God [in Christ] appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believe on in the world, was taken up in glory” 1 Timothy 3:16 NIV. Those words are the clear, expansive description of the Incarnation – God becoming man that every man might be redeemed. God was manifest in the flesh. “Christ, being in very nature of God . . and being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man . .” Read Philippians 2:5-11 NIV. Read Hebrews 1:1-3a NKJV.

John marveled at the wonder of incarnation as he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word . . and the Word became flesh and dwelled among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,  full of grace and truth . . No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son . . He has declared Him.” John 1:1/14/18 NKJV. Who would claim to understand the mystery and majesty of the Incarnation, that truth being well beyond our limited comprehension?

But there is much everyday that you do not understand, yet accept as truth. My Dad’s joy was being a pastor as well as a private pilot, before the popularity and affordability of commercial flights. As a young boy, I often accompanied my Dad in his small Cessna without the ability to understand or satisfactorily explain the Law of Aerodynamics. I trusted my Dad’s knowledge and experience. Nor need I intellectually explain the Incarnation of Jesus to the satisfaction of those who choose not to believe. I, for one, choose to believe the Incarnation of Jesus is true, as told in the Word of God.

Truth is more than mere facts or accurate information. Facts can change when circumstances change. Truth remains true, unaffected by past, present, or future circumstances. Truth is a Person, and that person is Jesus Christ, God’s Son and your Savior. Of Himself, Jesus said, “I am . .  the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 NLT. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of truth.” James 1:18 NKJV.

This is my application of today’s thoughts and comments, and my challenge to you: as God came into our world by the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God works today in His world to bring lost people from unbelief to faith, as His Word is incarnated in the very lives that have been forever changed by the “grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17 NIV. The dictionary also defines “incarnation” as, “a person regarded as embodying or exhibiting some quality or idea.” That is meant to describe you, when God’s truth is dwelling in you and faithfully expressed in your speech and conduct.

God’s plan has not changed; God still makes Himself known by incarnating truth, as He did when “the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us.” Paul was clear; “You yourselves are our letter . . known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ . . written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NIV. People are looking and listening to know God’s truth radiating from your life.

My prayer for you today is that you be a living letter from God, received and cherished by all.

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Credibility

October 4th, 2010

“Truth . . (is) worth paying for, but too valuable for you to sell.” Proverbs 23:23 TEV

Credibility is simply being trustworthy.

My thoughts today are about “credibility.”

Our entire judicial system stands upon the absolute honesty of all those participating in it. To testify in a legal proceeding you are first asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” Doing otherwise is perjury, a punishable offence. An important thing I learned from my Dad was that honesty, integrity and credibility are never optional – in ministry, marriage, friendships, business, and for success in life.

Trust is at the center of all of our dealings with one another – marriage, family, friendships and business. Both are fragile, easily damaged and difficult to restore. Government succeeds with the trust of its citizens. Business is transacted on the element of trust. Marriages and families thrive in the climate of trust. And trust is built on credibility.

My Dad firmly believed that a “man is only as good as his word.” There was no tolerance of anything less for himself or those with whom he had personal dealings. There are no small matters when it comes to issues of credibility and trust. Such a thing seems increasingly treated as a depreciating value, readily sold cheaply for momentary or monetary gain. Credibility is simply being believable, in stark contrast to a world that is willing to sell credibility at a discounted price.

Every day, others may compromise the reliability of their word, substituting hype and exaggerated promises, all the while assuming people won’t recognize their words as such and excusing the practice with the excuse that “everybody does it.” You must not! That’s why people are skeptical of so much that is said by media outlets, politicians, advertisers, and one another.

Don’t indulge yourself in anything less than the truth even for a moment, nor trust yourself to anyone who does. Learn to test the purity and accuracy of your words by this rigid test, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord.” Psalm 19:14 NIV.

If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, then you must not sound like the world. Words are significant; words are far more than mere sounds that soon vanish into the air. Words have force and power; they hurt or heal; they build up or tear down. Make your speech match your values. “My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know.” Job 33:3 NIV.

Solomon wrote that “a man is filled with the product of his lips . . the power of life and death is in the tongue.” Proverbs 18:20-21 NKJV. God created the world, not with muscle or sweat or cleverness, but just with a word. “Let there be . . and there was.” Genesis 1:3 NIV. The Bible teaches that God also “upholds all things by His Word.” Hebrews 1:3. If God considers credibility important, you need to.

My Dad often reminded me, “Allen, only say what you mean, and always mean what you say.” I think that is still good advice. I learned the hard way that Dad meant what he said, even the times I wished he didn’t. But that also taught me that I could count on what he said when he made a promise.  Following that rule will keep you from speaking flattery, making empty threats or promises, or fearing that you will disappoint people whose love and trust matter to you.

My prayer for you today is that you guard your credibility as invaluable, irreplaceable.

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Learning to Talk

March 24th, 2010

“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Matthew 12:34 Today’s English Version

“The heart does not hide its true self very well or very long.”

My thoughts today are about “learning to talk.”

I guess it is around 10 months old that a child first begins learning to talk – at least in single words that are comprehensible. Long before a small child is adept at actual speech they have learned to use their voice to convey their wants or needs, first using single words, then joining words meaningfully, and finally stringing together a few words as a short sentence. You would think that having started so long ago, and having practiced the art of speech so much, we adults would be better at communication than we often are. Wherein lies the problem?

Of late, I noticed sharpness in the sound of my voice. Reflecting on that, I began to observe that sharpness was merely the sound of impatience that was not so much about the other person or circumstance as it was about myself. There were explanations I could offer, but none of those would make it right. It was not my speech I needed to adjust; it was my heart. God is making me more aware of that, and the obvious truth of today’s verse is helping me considerably. See Colossians 4:6 NIV.

What are your words communicating about your heart? Just as attitudes govern actions, the heart directs speech. Jesus understands the heart of man much more than you understand your own. The Bible says, “. . man looks not upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looks upon the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV. See Psalm 19:14 NKJV.

Jesus, the Master Communicator, explained it this way, “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Matthew 12:34 TEV. Listen to a person very long and you will soon hear what is in their heart – their passions or their pretensions. My dearest of friends, Campbell, frequently said, “If you want to know what you are full of, watch what spills out when you are bumped.” The heart does not hide its true self very well or very long. See Matthew 12:35 NLT.

It has been determined in studies of how people communicate that only 7% of our communication is based on actual verbal expression, 38% on tone of voice, and 55% on non-verbal signals – such as facial expression, hand gestures, body language, and posture. Imagine how little is conveyed by your words and how very much is communicated by matters otherwise hidden within you.

I recently became fascinated with a TV program, Lie to Me, which supposedly used the science of micro-expressions – unconscious and involuntary signals – to determine a person’s truthfulness or lack thereof. It wasn’t their words that gave people away; it was what was inside. The point of all this for me is this: get your heart right and you will never have to worry about what comes out of your mouth. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT.

The Bible commands, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up . . Get rid of all bitterness . . and slander.” Ephesians 4:29/31 NIV. And what is the Bible’s antidote? Cleaning up the inside; getting your heart right. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other . .” Ephesians 4:32 NIV. Maybe learning to talk starts within the heart.

My prayer for you today is that only the good in your heart is expressed in your words.

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