Tag Archives: speak life

Using Words Wisely

When I was in the Fifth grade, my lunch time consisted of a group of boys gathered around a table. We would have put down contests and Yo Mamma joke contests. Each day two boys would be chosen, one from each side of the table, and they would trade put downs until one ran out of them or one of them started crying. When one boy won, two more would be chosen and it would continue. I learned to be quick witted from that, but I also learned that putting down others was funny.

We were just kids, but we were finding out how powerful words could be. Just by saying certain things, you could make someone laugh or cry. We were too immature to understand the power of those words and the ability of them to stay in someone’s mind with the potential to define them. I don’t know what happened to the rest of the boys at that table, but I hope they learned how to use words to build others up instead of tearing them down. The words we speak to others are so powerful that we shouldn’t treat them lightly.

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you” (GNT). This should be the standard we use when talking to others. Before we speak, our filter should ask, “Will these words do good or cause harm?” God is in the business of building people up. As His followers, we need to be doing the same. I’ve still got work to do in this area, but my prayer is that God would help me to use my words wisely so that they provide what is needed, do good to those who hear them and build others up.

Photo by Cole Hutson on Unsplash

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Be An Encourager

Several years ago, my sister in law ran a half marathon. I drove her to the race well before it began. When we got there, I told her, “You got this!” Then, when the race started there were lots of cheers as the runners left. My wife and i drove to a place down the path where we could cheer her on as she went by in the middle of her race. All along the route, people had signs and words of encouragement for all the runners. Then, at the finish line, we cheered as loud as we could for that final push as she completed her race.

So many times we say, “Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.” It’s a long journey with ups and downs, and there’s times where we feel like quitting. We all need people in our life to cheer us on and to encourage us to keep going. The same is true of our walk with God. Today, look for someone whom you can encourage, even if you need encouragement too. Cheer them on in their race. Express confidence in them, and you’ll be encouraged too. It gives us strength when we help others on their journey.

Here are some Bible verses on encouraging others.

1. Give strength to hands that are tired and to knees that tremble with weakness. Tell everyone who is discouraged, “Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue, coming to punish your enemies.”

Isaiah 35:3-4 GNT

2. Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 AMPC

3. The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.

Proverbs 10:21 NLT

4. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Romans 12:8 NLT

5. Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word]; and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.

HEBREWS 10:23-25 AMP

Photo by Mārtiņš Zemlickis on Unsplash

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The Brutal Truth


Were you ever taught, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? I was. My parents were trying to teach me a few lessons, including that not everything that comes into your mind needs to be said. They were building filters in at an early age. I know people who don’t have any filters. He things they say are almost comical, if they weren’t so sad. They are often saying the truth, but not in a way that gets heard. 

When I’m developing a relationship with someone, one of the first conversations I have with them is about the truth. I let them know that if they ask me a question, I’m going to tell them the truth, whether they want to hear it or not. I also will try to give them that truth in love because as Warren Wiersbe said, “The truth without love is brutality.” I’ve found that the brutal truth is just like not having a filter. 

So why do we watch what we say? As James 3:6 says, the tongue can be a world of evil. Even though it’s a small member of our body, it can destroy relationships that have taken a lifetime to build. James 3:5 says, “Just think of how large a forest can be set on fire with a tiny spark” (GNT). He was reminding us of how small words from a small member of our body can burn down things that have taken years to build. 

I believe he was also teaching us to watch what we say so that we will get along with others. James concludes the chapter by saying, “You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor” (MSG). We are to be developing healthy community, and the way to that is learning to control what we say, and how we say it. If you’re not sure what needs to be said or how it needs to be said, ask God for wisdom. A well placed word brings life rather than destruction. 

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Planting Life


I was recently training a sales psychology class, and I got to the point where I revealed to the class their individual psychological reluctances. I explained that some were gained through heredity, some medically, and others through watching others. I challenged them to go back to the root of the issue in order to deal with it. One person immediately said, “I know were this one came from! I can pinpoint the moment.”

He told me he had Role Rejection, which is the struggle to admit to others you work in sales. He said, “Several years ago, my mom said, “When are you going to get a real job? You have a degree. Go use it.” Those words cut straight to his core and he buried them there. Even if he made close to $100,000 a year and his degree would earn about half that, he would feel inferior because of what his mom told him.

I said to him, “Isn’t it incredible how powerful words are? One sentence your mom said years ago has affected how your career and how you see yourself. We have to be careful when choosing our words. We never know which ones will stick in someone’s life and hold them back.” We have to learn to use our words to encourage and build others up. Proverbs 15:4 says, “A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit” (AMP).

We all need to add in a filter into our brain that asks, “Will these words become a tree of life in them or will they crush their spirit?” When talking to our children, spouse, family or friends, we need to make sure we are planting life. There’s enough words out there spoken to them each day that can crush their spirit. Let’s be purposeful and make it a habit to have a soothing tongue that speaks life. 

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The Hope Of Grace


One of the greatest struggles I have as a Christian is being a new creation with the old creation’s mind. The new life wants to live for God, but the old mind controls my thoughts which ends up controlling my actions and words. There’s a war that goes on that fights between needing to love others and wanting to condemn them for their actions. I don’t think I’m alone in this struggle by seeing and hearing what others say about those they disagree with.

I read a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer from “The Cost of Discipleship” that’s helped me understand what’s going on in this struggle. He wrote, “Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” Our old mind wants to withhold the grace which we have been afforded. When we withhold grace, judgement fills the vacuum and condemnation comes out.

We are called to speak the truth in love. We like to say, “The truth hurts,” but we shouldn’t be trying to hurt them. The love portion of that phrase we live by is what Illuminates their sin and points to the cross where they can obtain grace. Our old man wants to bring judgement and condemnation, but our new man wants them to find grace so they can be free of their sin. We can’t just speak a condemning truth to others without coupling it with love. We can’t leave them in that place without the hope of grace.

Here are some verses from the Bible about this struggle.

1. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, “Let me wash your face for you,” when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.
Luke 6:41-42 MSG

2. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him.
2 Peter 3:15 NLT

3. Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.
Galatians 6:1-3 MSG

4. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.
Matthew 7:2 AMP

5. For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:17 AMP

6. His choice is based on his grace, not on what they have done. For if God’s choice were based on what people do, then his grace would not be real grace.
Romans 11:6 GNT

7. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.
Romans 5:20 NLT

8. For God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:13 GNT

9. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Philippians 2:5 NLT

10. Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.
Matthew 7:12 MSG

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Bless You 

Blessing someone is not what we normally do unless someone sneezes. I believe it’s an under utilized tool God gives us. The fact that people in the Bible blessed their kids and each other, reiterates the power of words. I don’t know how many stories I’ve heard from people who have let what someone else said about them affect their self image. Those spoken words went out of the other person’s mouth and into their heart. Those words caused them to struggle for years.

Masaru Emoto did a study called “The Hidden Message in Water” to show the power of words. He used spoken word, labeling water with a word, and playing music then he immediately froze it. The results are astounding. What you see below are some of the photos taken from this experiment.
  
Now think about this: your body is about 60% water. Words have a greater effect than you or I realize. It’s no wonder that Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18:21 that death and life are in the power of the tongue. The words we say to our spouse, our children, our family, our neighbors, our co-workers, and those driving around us have real consequences. It’s so important that we learn to speak blessings over them.

Today, to end this devotion, I’m going to bless you with the words God told Moses to use to bless the congregation of Israel in Numbers 6:24-26.

“May the LORD bless you and protect you. May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace” (NLT).

If you would like to watch a video of Masaru Emoto’s work, click here.

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The Power Of Words

When I was a kid and someone said something ugly to me, the appropriate reaction was to say, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” It wasn’t until later in life that I realized what a lie that was. Broken bones heal, but the wounds from words rarely do. They cut deep into the subconscious of people and alter their self-image which changes the future they could have had.

When we hear words about ourselves that are negative, we often use those to replace the thoughts about ourselves that God gave us. We become insecure and self-conscious about everything we do and how we look. Words spoken in a moment can create damage for a lifetime. Some people never get over the words we use to describe them or to hurt them. I’m always amazed to hear stories from people about how a simple phrase changed their identity. That’s why it’s so important to speak life into others.

Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the mind and healing to the body” (AMP). Some translations say, “Kind words are like honey.” An interesting thing about honey is that it never goes bad. There’s no expiration date on it just like there’s no expiration on kind or pleasant words. They’re not only sweet, but they’re long lasting in someone’s life. You can change someone’s mindset for the better by choosing your words wisely.

This verse says that pleasant words are sweet to the mind. What I’ve learned is whatever you put into your mind is what comes out in your actions. If you put anger in there, you tend to have violent actions. If you put bitterness in there, you tend to have sarcastic actions. But if you put sweetness in your mind, it will produce actions that are pleasant to others. So when you speak pleasant words, you’re actually creating a ripple effect in the lives of others.

I like how the verse ends. It says kind words are healing to the body. At first thought, I wondered what that meant. Then I started thinking of all the psychosomatic illnesses people have because of hurtful words spoken to them. When your mind is negative, it produces stress and illness in your body. Conversely, kind words bring health to people. It gives them a positive mindset that keeps the body in balance thereby, bringing health. Proverbs 18:21 says the power of life and death are in the tongue. So choose your words wisely today and speak life.

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