Archive for the ‘Wise Words…Worthy Goals’ Category

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

Apt = Adjective,  1.  suited to it’s purpose.

Some women have a wonderful gift/talent of making everything visual beautiful.  Not being one of one of them I either make my surroundings plain or go through much effort to create beauty.  God has taught me much about making my words beautiful though.

Communication is much more complicated than most people give it credit.  There are all kinds of nonverbal things that set the tone for conversation even before considering the verbal ones.  What I look like, whether well groomed or rumpled fresh out of bed contributes to the message I try to send to my family members in the morning.  When I speak in the hustle of the kitchen or the peace of the family room, it lets my receipient know the commitment of attention I am giving the message sent.  Even email has the option of “high priority” flagging.  One important tip I was taught is that sometimes walking guests to their car can create a level of caring that wouldn’t otherwise have happened and precious words are exchanged then.

In Esther 4 and 5 we learn that Queen Esther had an important message she was asked to deliver to her husband, the King…the consequences were risk of potential death.  She decided the message was worth the risk but important enough to set the tone.  She requested Jews to fast and pray three days and nights.  Then she had two consecutive dinner parties before she broached the subject.

My mother-in-law says it only takes a few extra minutes to make a presentation lovely and the results are well worth the investment.  God says that also in Proverbs and wisely suggests us to remember presentation is everything…even in our communication.

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


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Contentiousness – Definition: exhibiting an often wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes.

Does that describe any one you know?  Proverbs says it’s “better to live on a corner of a roof than share a house with a quarrelsome (contentious) wife” (Proverbs 21:9).  Verse 19 says it’s “better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.”  In other words, it would be better to live ANYWHERE ELSE than to live with someone who is always arguing, who always has to get the last word in, who always has to be right.  But what if WE are that person?  Do we want to drive our loved ones away, if not physically than certainly emotionally?  Do we want to be “like a constant dripping on a rainy day.” (Proverbs 27:15)?

You know the old saying, “If Momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.”  Ladies, we set the tone for our homes.  Let’s be aware of our words as well as the tone of voice we use.  Let’s build up instead of tear down.  Let’s be encouraging instead of discouraging, positive instead of negative.  Let’s ask God to help us exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience…from Galatians 5:22) so we can be a refreshing shower to our loved ones instead of a constant dripping.

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Have you ever tried to maintain a conversation…Uh, yes, those are cute shoes!

Anyways, it is really hard to maintain a conversation with someone…No, I don’t want cookies.  Thanks!

Who doesn’t allow you to finish your thought before…Well, no, I don’t think I want coffee right now either.

Uhm, so basically, these annoying people respond to you before your are done talking. Whew!

Or, even worse, have you ever realized that you are the one interrupting others in mid-sentence?  Ugh!  Awkward, to say the least!

King Solomon, in Proverbs 18:13 says it is more than annoying and awkward. “He who answers before listening–that is his folly and his shame.”

The fact is, we have all been there at some point.  Maybe we are just so excited to be out of the house and in conversation with someone older then a two year old that we find ourselves not being good listeners.  For others, it may be more about wanting to show a connection with what the other person is saying, and we just find ourselves going about it in the wrong way.  But I think it is worth our time to make sure that there isn’t a deeper issue to our poor listening habits then just communication skills.  So here we go:

When I answer before I listen, is it a sign of pride in my life, thinking I have all the information, all the answers? (Proverbs 10:19, When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.)

Am I impatient, wanting to rush quickly through everything I do, including my conversations? (Proverbs 21:23, He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.)

Do I have a habit of being insensitive to others, unwilling to hear them out? (Proverbs 18:15, The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.)

Father, I don’t want any part of this folly and shame in my life, my relationships, or in my conversations.  You desire that I truly listen to others hearts, and communicate with others with genuine respect, just as You listen to me.  Help me to do this through Your power.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Did you know So-and-So is having trouble in her marriage?  We should really pray for her.  Let me tell you what’s going on…

A genuine prayer request or gossip?  Gossip.  You’re right.

Proverbs 11:13 says,  “A gossip betray a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.”

A trustworthy person is so valuable.  I have heard many women lately talk about not having close friendships, even in the Christian world or in their church.   Then in their next breath, they go on to say something about another person…true or not, they are gossiping.  When given the option of whom to pick as a friend, wouldn’t you pick the person that is not going to betray you?  I sure would.

Proverbs 17:9 “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends”

God’s Word says that gossip is going to come between friends.  Does it say to not pray for our friends in need?  No, but prayer can be done and requested without giving out all the details that were given to you in confidence.  Be assured that God knows the details and is capable of responding to the need.  Isn’t God great?  It’s so nice to know that God knows us so well that we don’t have to always tell Him details.  He even knows how many hairs we have on our head.    He knows our hearts, He knows our friends hearts.   We need to show ourselves trustworthy and at the least, kind to our friend.  Keep their confidence.  If it is something that is beyond you, get help from a Pastor or another that will help and keep the same confidence.  Sometimes the situation will require that.

Nurture your friendships in a way that God would be pleased.  God loves us enough to show us how to have and maintain good friendships.  Our “Girl talk” should not include gossip!

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I had a friend tell me that when she was s little girl someone told her that she was too chubby, couldn’t sing in tune, and to not even bother trying out for the church choir…she would never make it.   And she never did despite having a beautiful voice.  Chubby?  Since when is size 8 chubby?  She missed out on something she would have really enjoyed because of hurtful, unwise words.  I doubt the person who told her that even remembers saying it, but my friend sure does.  The words created a wound that never healed.   A simple word of encouragement to the opposite could have made this woman’s world completely different.

Proverbs 16:24 tells us, “Words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Back in the days that Proverbs was written, honeycomb was used as a healing agent, much like we use Tylenol today.  It made headaches, stomach aches, stuffy noses, and many more ailments go away or at least seem less painful.  It was the all-purpose healer.

If our words are to be like honeycomb, they should make anyone or any situation better, not worse.  Let’s pause each day to ask God to be in control of our words. Carefully think about your words before you speak.  Or if no words are necessary, ask God to help you remain silent when needed.  That can sometimes be the hardest thing of all.  Knowing when not to speak.

Offer healing with your mouth to your husband, children or friends.  Encourage them on their daily walk with the Lord.  Even when doling out necessary discipline, do it in a way that doesn’t tear at the soul of your child, but rather heals them and makes them want to please God.

Words are powerful.  Use them wisely.

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“HELP, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”  If you’re as old as me you’ll remember this line from a late 1980’s TV commercial.  The advertisement was for a medical alarm which worked in the following manner.  The subscriber, would receive a pendant which, when activated, would allow the user to call out (verbally with their voice) to an audio receiving device and talk directly with a dispatch service, without the need to reach a telephone. The service was designed to appeal particularly to seniors who lived alone and who might experience a medical emergency.

Today’s Scripture is a great promise for the child of God.  Proverbs 24:16 says, “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up…”  And not with the help of a medical alarm device.  No, with something far greater…the Help of the Lord!

When studying Scripture it’s helpful to look at a word in the original language to clarify and gain deeper insight into the writer’s intent.  One of the definitions for the word ‘“fall” in this verse’s context translates to our English word “cast down”.  It implies an emotional state.  Though “cast down” isn’t part of our present day vernacular, another verse in the Bible reveals to us another person having a conversation with himself and asking, “Why are you cast down oh my soul and why are you in turmoil within me?”  (Psalm 42:5,11 & 43:5) As the writer mused on this question, the Lord allows us to eavesdrop on his “self talk”.  What a great response he gave to himself:  “Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him.”  (Psalm 42:5)  David was able to provide such a wonderful answer to his own dilemma only because years earlier he had learned the fine art of “encouraging himself in the Lord”.  (1 Samuel 30:6)

While God used the writers of the Bible in a wonderful way, don’t ever forget they were people who were just like us.  Ask God to teach you how to “encourage yourself in the Lord” by focusing on Him rather than your circumstances.  He alone can pick us up after we’ve fallen and  plant our feet on Him – “our Rock and Refuge.” (Psalm 94:22)

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Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to “match” their name?  You meet and instantly know you will not forget their name when next your paths cross because their name just fits.  For some this is not such a positive thing.  Their name brings to mind negative connotations or unfortunate parallels to others who also had their name and didn’t leave a nice legacy.  As a mom, you would never name your child Hitler…”Hitler, it is time to come wash up for dinner.”  No, not the kind of name you would ever saddle your child with!   I know teachers who have a very hard time naming their babies because of bad memories with previous students they have taught.  That is just sad!   But fortunately, other names do bring positive emotions to the surface.  These names have pleasant memories attached, or represent the things that are good and beautiful in this world.

For me, Violet had such a name.  Her dainty personality was a perfect match for the tiny flower with its velvety leaves.  She faithfully lived her simple life with dignity and she glorified the Lord with her gentle spirit.  Though she had a fixed income, she generously gave to the work of the Lord.  With her gentle smile, she encouraged others to keep moving forward in their dreams.  She lived many years by herself, and yet she never appeared lonely or unfulfilled or bitter.  Quite the opposite, she had a reputation of being delightful and perfectly content with exactly what God had for her life.

Violet embodied the wise saying from Proverbs 22:1says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” She went to be with the Lord several years ago, and she is still esteemed and admired by those who were blessed to know her.  It doesn’t matter a bit that she was poor and didn’t leave money behind for her relatives.  It doesn’t matter that she never achieved fame or a “Big” name for herself in this world.  Violet had a good name, and her legacy is one of faithfulness to God.

Who do you know that embodies this wise saying…someone who has a good name?  Take a moment to thank God for that person and their example.

Do you believe having a good name is a worthy goal?   Is there a pattern in your life that would prevent you from having a good name?  Ask God to help you weed out the empty desires or bad habits that prevent you from having a good name.

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