“How Would Others Describe Your Words?” November 22

 

How would others describe your words? Are the things you say blessing or cursing others? Are your words wholesome and edifying or critical and destructive? Are they full of God's grace and intended to help the hearer understand your care for them or merely spewing bitterness? If someone had to describe what comes out of your mouth in one word, would your words be described as blessing or cursing? How would others describe your words? Are the things you say blessing or cursing others? Are your words wholesome and edifying or critical and destructive? Are they full of God’s grace and intended to help the hearer understand your care for them or merely spewing bitterness? If someone had to describe what comes out of your mouth in one word, would your words be described as blessing or cursing?  Continue reading

“Words & Attitudes Matter!” October 19

 

Words & Attitudes Matter - Words and attitudes matter! Whether we’re nagging or encouraging, praising or criticizing, they matter. They matter in our relationships with the people in our lives. Words and attitudes also matter in our relationship with God. Will we be patient and faithful in times of tribulation, as well as blessing, or will our praise quickly turn to anger and bitterness? And if we realize our words and attitudes need to change, where do we start?Words and attitudes matter! Whether we’re nagging or encouraging, praising or criticizing, they matter. They matter in our relationships with the people in our lives.

Words and attitudes also matter in our relationship with God. Will we be patient and faithful in times of tribulation, as well as blessing, or will our praise quickly turn to anger and bitterness?

And if we realize our words and attitudes need to change, where do we start?  Continue reading

“How Do You Respond to Criticism?” June 14

 

How Do You Respond to Criticism? - Criticism, anger, sarcasm: Words have an effect on our lives and the lives of those around us. How should we use our words and how should we respond when someone criticizes us?

Criticism, anger, sarcasm: Words have an effect on our lives and the lives of those around us. How we speak says more about what’s going on in our hearts than the other person’s!
And what about when someone criticizes us? Does how we respond reveal things about us, as well? Can we respond in ways that allow us to benefit from even the most unfair criticism?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Kings 15 & 16
Psalm 73.21-28
Proverbs 18.20-21
John 21.1-25

 

How Do You Respond to Criticism?

 

Responding Well to Criticism

2 Kings 15 & 16:

 

Chapter 15 summarizes the reigns of Azariah, also called Uzziah, and his son Jothan. The Scripture says they did what was right in the sight of the Lord in many ways, although both tolerated the idolatrous practices of the people.

But then … verse 5:

“Then the LORD struck the king, so that he was a leper until the day of his death …”

What happened?

The parallel passage in 2 Chronicles gives us some insight. After serving the Lord well and seeing God prosper his efforts, Uzziah (Azariah) got puffed up with pride and tried to usurp the priestly role by going into the temple to burn incense on the altar of incense, something only the priest was to do. But even then, God didn’t strike him with leprosy until he refused to listen to the High Priest when rebuked (2 Chron. 26.16-23).

This is a great reminder to us to heed God’s Word and listen to wise counsel. And when we are rebuked, corrected, or criticized, we need to consider it carefully and prayerfully. Even when it seems unfair, we should ask the Lord if there is even a nugget of truth in what was said.

 

This is a great reminder to us to heed God’s Word and listen to wise counsel. And when we are rebuked, corrected, or criticized, we need to consider it carefully and prayerfully. Even when it seems unfair, we should ask the Lord if there is even a nugget of truth in what was said.

 

A great little booklet about how to receive criticism is called Words That Cut. It’s available through Peacemaker Ministries. If you’re not familiar with their ministry and materials, you might want to check out their website.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

God Our Strength and Portion Forever

Psalm 73.21-28:

 

After all his complaining the psalmist turns his attention to God. Verses 21-26:

21 Thus my heart was grieved,
And I was vexed in my mind.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
24 You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

The psalmist was convicted over his own sinful attitude (vvs. 21-24), but also aware of God’s grace, “Nevertheless I am continually with You …”  Continue reading

“God’s Grace in the Tribulation” December 11

 

God's Grace in the Tribulation - Even though God’s grace, as well as, God’s judgment will be demonstrated everywhere during the Tribulation, many will still reject the truth.Even though God’s grace, as well as, God’s judgment will be demonstrated everywhere during the Tribulation, many will still reject the truth.

Also, read about the hurtful power of words and how the truths of God are stumbling blocks to those who refuse to believe.

 

Today’s Readings:
Hosea 13 & 14
Psalm 140.1-5
Proverbs 29.23
Revelation 1.1-20

 

God’s Grace in the Tribulation

 

Revelation 1.1-20:

The Time is Short

 

almost midnight clock

The more complete and accurate title for this book is contained in verse 1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Jesus, “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (v. 8) appeared to the aging apostle as he was in exile on the Isle of Patmos. The seven churches representing the church as a whole were about to come under intense persecution. They were to be encouraged by John’s vision of future events.

Even though the book of Revelation contains images which are horrific, it is still a book filled with God’s grace!

God will pour out His wrath in a last ditch attempt to say “repent … the end is near”! So, although people will suffer here on earth, they might spend eternity with Him. But sadly, many will still not repent, and will spend eternity separated from Him and burning in a “fire that shall never be quenched” (Mk. 9.43). Even though every mountain and island will be shaken and the sky itself will be rolled up like a scroll, some will still reject Him. Revelation 6.14-16:

14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! …”

The time is short. Share the truth this Christmas season.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Hosea 13 & 14:

A Stone of Stumbling

 

The book of Hosea ends with these words:

“For the ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.”

1 Peter 2.7-8 says, “Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.”

In today’s world you can talk about God as long as you leave it open-ended—“god as you understand him” some say. But when you talk about Jesus as “the Way and the only Way” (Jn. 14.6), you’ll be labeled narrow-minded and accused of trying to impose your religion on everyone else. He is “precious” to those who believe and a “rock of offense” to those who reject Him.

 

Psalm 140.1-5:

Sticks & Stones

 

throwing stones rocks

Verse 3, “They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips.”

That childhood saying, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you,” is a lie. Words hurt and can continue to hurt for a lifetime unless we nail them to the cross and allow them to stay there. We do that by meditating on God’s forgiveness toward us and, with God’s help, choosing to extend that forgiveness to the one who Continue reading

A Wise or Foolish Woman: The Tongue & Ears

 

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 2: The Tongue & EarsThe Bible has a great deal to say about wisdom and its flip side, foolishness. In this series we’re looking at what it means to be wise and, by comparison, what it means to be foolish and how to recognize the difference.

 

Are you a wise woman or a foolish one? Part 2

The Tongue & Ears

 

woman of God

As I said in the first post (read it here), while I’m specifically addressing this to us as women, these truths are for everyone: young and old, men, women, and children.

 

wise woman

Our foundational Scripture is Proverbs 14.1  which says:

The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

 

wisdom

Our working definition of wisdom is, “wisdom is the right application of truth.” It’s not only knowing the truth, but applying it to the everyday situations of our lives!

Today we’ll begin looking at some of the specific things God has to say about wisdom, beginning with “the tongue” and the ears, how well we listen.  Continue reading