Fresh Words

fresh words

“Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 The Voice

What are rotten words? Words that come out of anger, rage, malice, slander, fear and are filthy. Wicked.  Lies. Evil. Deception.

What are fresh words? Words full of grace, encouragement, truth, love, compassion, gentleness, humility and meekness. Wholesome. Beneficial. Confident. Even bold.

I have heard lots of sayings that allude to the proportion of time that we should speak versus listen.  As in, “We have two ears and two eyes and one mouth for a reason.  Use them proportionately!” I used to find this amusing but now I just recognize it as truth.  Our words have the power of life and death in them.

Some of the things that are associated in scripture with fresh words: life, keep from trouble, sweet like honey, hope, wisdom, peace, love, instruction, healing, love life and to see good days. What we speak has the power to build someone up or tear them down.

Lord, do not let even one rotten word seep out of my mouth. I pray that my words will be Your words spoken in love.

Colossians 3:8, 4:6; Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 15:4, 18:21, 19:5, 21:23

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Good Words

“25 So put away your lies and speak the truth to one another because we are all part of one another. 29 Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:25, 29  The Voice

What are good words?  According to this scripture, they are words that build others up when they need it most.  They communicate grace.  We are warned of a time that some will abandon their faith and follow deceiving spirits and demonic teachings.  We are to be wise and not accept lies but speak the truth.  We are called to reinforce truth in faith and good teachings.  We are called to cling to God’s Word for our hope, our strength and salvation.  We are called to speak this truth in love and to bind ourselves together not splinter the body of Christ.

Father, I pray that I will be wary of words designed to maliciously tear the body of Christ apart.  Please help me be careful to honor You in my words and actions.  I pray that I will be a reflection of You, Your Word and Your Holy Son that died on the cross for me. Help me love like You. Help me see with Your eyes how precious each and every person is to You.

1 Timothy 4:1-2, Ephesians 4:15-16, Colossians 3:8-10, James 3:2-8

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Not Everyone Has Faith

“2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV

Well-meaning people speak into our lives.  Sometimes out of concern. Or fear. Or a need to control or influence.  Some will scoff at faith.  I think of Peter walking on water to Jesus.  Peter was doing fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. He became distracted by the storm and waves around him and he began to sink.  The beautiful part is that Jesus took his hand and rescued him from the waves and helped him back in the boat.  Out of all the disciples, Peter was the only one bold enough to step out of the boat.  He had the faith to do the impossible, making it possible. Jesus still extends His hand to us today.

In order to be delivered we have to turn off the noise in the background that distracts us from God’s voice.  Then we have to be obedient and trust that the Lord is faithful. Not put our faith in what we see.  Instead put our faith in what God says.

Father, thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for Your strength and protection. Help me hold fast to Your promises and keep my eyes on You!

Galatians 6:12-16, Mark 5:34, Matthew 14:22-32

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My Heart is a Tablet

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3 NIV

Imagine that your heart is a tablet.  An electronic tablet: like an iPhone, iPad or laptop. Think about the reach we have today through technology.  If Jesus were reading your mobile device, what would he find written on it? Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, FlipBoard.  You get the idea. I think about that sometimes.  I am far from perfect but the more time I spend with God in His Word the more I find His words entering my thoughts, my words and then they guide my actions.  The words that come out of our mouth are a reflection of what is written on the tablet of our hearts.  God’s Word is transformational. God’s love is transformational.  The Bible tells me so!  I count on it.  I ask God to transform and renew me daily.

Father, thank you for the renewing power of Your Word in my heart. Let it wash all over my heart and transform it daily.

2 Peter 3:5, Genesis 1:9, Proverbs 4:4, Proverbs 16:24

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Sweet Words

sweet words

“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body.” Proverbs 16:24 AMP

I have a sweet tooth.  Chocolate. Nutella.  Honey. Desserts.  I just love that little sweet ending!  It doesn’t have to be a huge portion.  Sometimes just a little taste will do.  I savor it.  It triggers all kinds of yummy warm feelings inside of me.  It often even produces a smile!!!

Our words can have the same impact. They can trigger warmth and acceptance. Forgiveness. Love. Encouragement.  How many medications could we pitch with the addition of sweet words to our life? I believe firmly in the power of pleasant and sweet words.  I believe they heal in a transformational, life changing way.

This past year I secured my certification as a Strengths Strategy Coach.  The philosophy of strengths reminds me so much of the beauty in how we are all created, uniquely gifted.  It has been my honor to encourage others to embrace their strengths and love who God made them to be. Accepting themselves first.  Then really stepping into a place where they can accept others.  Acknowledgement of our contributions to each other, how we show up for each other—encourages the exchange of sweet and pleasant words.

One year I made it a point to write letters of encouragement to folks when I heard of a struggle.  Instead of talking to someone else about that person, I wrote words of encouragement.  Sometimes it was because of a lost parent.  Sometimes I just noticed they seemed to be a little down.  I very seldom knew the outcome.  Occasionally I would receive a heartfelt hug or a wink across the room in a big meeting.  I believe they were healing words that made a difference in someone’s life.

On occasion I can focus on “fixing” things. It can come across as critical rather than encouraging.  Sometimes when I am pondering something, my face can look cranky rather than warm and inviting. Thankfully my daughter will generally let me know when that happens.  I truly appreciate the feedback and it helps me learn to calibrate a hyper-focus and check the orientation of my heart.  When I become hyper-focused on something, it can come from the wrong place in my heart.  Maybe I’m taking too much ownership of something that doesn’t belong to me.  Maybe I have even stepped into meddling in someone else’s business.  Either way it is usually an indication that I need to let go of something.

Growing up in the South, I often heard the phrase “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  I have found that old adage is just as important behind closed doors as it is to someone’s face.  If I don’t have anything nice to say, then it’s probably time for me to take my own heart in for a check-up!

Father, fill my heart with Your sweet words.  Let them pour out of my spirit like a sweet taste of You to everyone that I meet!

Proverbs 22:6, John 14:27, Job 22:21, Philippians 4:7, Genesis 15:1

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Be Still


“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV

Have you ever had a scripture hit you right between the eyes? At the time that I read this, it had that effect. It was divine timing.  It’s so easy when trouble starts to start talking about it. Blab about it. Why do I fight with stillness? God’s way is so different. Faith. Comfort from the Holy Spirit. Reliance on Him. In the stillness we have to let go of the busyness and performance orientation, the “do.” That harried feeling of “Oh, I have to do this,” and “I have to go here” to fix things or people, to take the bull by the horns and turn things around. Taking a bull by the horns is a good way to get gored!

Unless we are operating in God’s strength. That is the differentiator. Am I moving in God’s strength or my own? Move when He moves. Look for His favor. His alignment. Then move.

I’m also learning that when I’m quiet, I am being respectful of God. When we try to take control of a situation, we demonstrate that we are led by fear rather than love. Sometimes when we see others  as struggling or annoying, when we quietly lift them up in prayer we make a conscious decision to not throw our own chaos, opinions and confusion in the mix. We trust God to do the work. We don’t need to do the heavy lifting. We sit in prayer and strategically wait for God’s timing.

Father I surrender to You. I stand in the stillness seeking You. I pray for freedom from any need to control so that I can trust You and others more.

Isaiah 30:15, 2 Chronicles 20:15, 1 Samuel 17:47, Psalm 24:8, Philippians 4:6-7

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Double Edge


“And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” James 3:6 NASB

Scary, right? Our tongue definitely has a double edge that we have to be careful of. There are many scriptures that warn us of the power of our words:

  • By our own words we will be justified and by our own words we will be condemned
  • Our mouth speaks what our heart is full of
  • We will give an accounting of every careless word we speak
  • A word against the Holy Spirit has severe consequences

But we find peace and comfort in words too.  They work powerful good!  They provide hope and encouragement.  They can literally save a life;  delivered us from evil. We are always presented with a choice. We can choose to:

  • Let our words and our heart be pleasing to God
  • Speak words of wisdom and understand with our heart
  • Be careful with our words and offer encouragement
  • Listen more than we speak with God
  • Give life

Father, increase my awareness of my words and help me use them in encouraging, life-giving ways.

Matthew 12:30-37, Isaiah 29:13, Psalm 19:14, 49:3; Proverbs 16:23, Ecclesiastes 5:2, Romans 10:9