Tag Archives: words

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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Word Choices


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten in trouble after saying something. The first question to me is usually, “Why would you say that?” My response is, “I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking.” I speak so much that sometimes I forget that I need to pay attention to them before I let them leave my lips. As a result, I’ve said some pretty hurtful things to people. Those words could have been chosen more wisely or better yet, left unsaid. Once words leave our lips, we can’t get them back again or undo the damage they cause.

On the other hand, I’ve had some people speak words to me that have brought healing to some of my deepest wounds. Their words have brought hope into my hopeless situations, lit up my dark paths, and built me up when I’ve been down. Their words were wisely spoken at just the right time. My prayer has been that I would be that type of person. I want to be someone who uses my words to bring healing instead of pain.

I’ve been reading Proverbs since I was a kid. I can tell you that Solomon understood the power of words. Over and over in that book, he tries to get us to see just how powerful they really are. One such example is in Proverbs 12:18. He wrote, “Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal” (GNT). Many of us can attest to how deep someone’s thoughtless words have hurt us. As they echo in our mind, the wound gets deeper and a root of bitterness can easily spring up in that environment.

It’s critical for each one of us to choose our words wisely. Whether we are responding to someone who has hurt us with their words or we are just having a conversation, our word choices matter. We can’t afford to speak without thinking. We can pray each day and ask God to help us to choose our words wisely so that we bring healing instead of pain. The power of life and death truly is in our words. Never take that lightly.

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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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You Can Change Their World

There’s a viral video on YouTube of a blind man with a sign asking for change. A few people give him change as they pass by. A woman walks up, flips his sign over and writes on it before she walks off. Soon after, everyone walking by starts to give money. When the lady returns, he asks her what she wrote. She replied, “I wrote the same, but different words.” A message then pops up and says, “Change your words. Change your world.” It’s a great message of just how powerful words are.

If you’re like me, you grew up singing, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I think back on that saying and wonder why that lie exists. Words often hurt worse than sticks or stones and they cut a lot deeper. The words you and I speak can be used for good or bad. Proverbs 18:21 says, “What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words. (GNB)” We hold the power of life and death in our words.

As believers, we must be cognizant of the words we use. While according to James 3:8, no man can tame the tongue, we can be more purposeful in the words we choose to use. Proverbs 12:14 says, “Wise words bring many benefits.” The opposite is true as well. Poorly chosen words bring problems. There’s not one of who can’t attest to that. We’ve all used the wrong words at one time or another and have had to live with the consequences. Personally. I’d rather live with benefits than consequences.

When we use our words to bring life and benefits, we change our world and the world of those around us. In the video, the words she used changed how others saw a blind man. How will your words change how others see that person at work, at the park, at your kids game or at church? You may never know how much your words can affect someone else’s life because even if that person never hears you, others do. Their actions toward that person based on your words can make that change.

What words will you choose today? How can you change the invisible sign that others are holding up? Everyone wants to feel important and the words you say can go a long way to helping someone who is down and feeling insignificant. Find one person today that you can change their sign by the words you use. Find one person who you can use wise words with to bring benefits and life. When you do, you won’t just change their world, you’ll change yours too.

If you’d like to watch that video, you can click here.

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Choosing Words Of Life

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It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back from all God has for you. To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of “Epic Grace: Chronicles of a Recovering Idiot” by Kurt Bubna. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

My friend, who is a missionary in Haiti, was talking to me about the orphans he’s helped rescue. He was telling me about one of the new children who was abandoned along with her siblings and left in their home to fend for themselves. She is paralyzed and was lying in her own filth naked when they rescued her. When they got her to the orphanage, the ladies and children referred to her as the crippled girl. They would ask, “Can you bring the cripple over here so we can feed her?” They would say, “Take the cripple outside so she can watch the other kids play.”

He told them, “Her name is Cassandra. Call her by her name, not her disability.” He was met with some resistance because it’s their culture to call people by their disability. Before you get all upset, it’s in our culture too. When we look in the mirror, we don’t always see a child of God. We see someone who is too fat, not good enough or a failure. When we look at our reflection, our mind says, “You need to lose weight. You won’t get the job. You will never amount to anything.” We sit in judgement of ourselves and affect our own attitude about life and God.

We also label other people. “He’s such a liar. Why is she such a drama queen?” We talk about them to other people and tear them down. It’s not just our culture, it’s our sinful nature. It’s bred into us. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” There is great power in the words we speak towards ourselves or towards others. We don’t always think of them as bringing life or death, but that’s what this proverb tells us. It concludes with, “You choose.” We have the power to speak life into the person in the mirror and to others.

One day, Jesus was teaching in the temple and a group of Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus. “Adulterer!”, they screamed out. They looked at Jesus and said, “Moses and the law give us the right to stone this woman to death. What do you say?” Jesus looked down and began to draw in the dirt. They insisted on an answer from Him. After all, she was labeled as an adulterer. Jesus looked past her failure and up at them. He said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” With that, He began to draw in the dirt again. When He looked back up, it was just the woman standing there. He asked where the people who had labeled her were. Jesus smiled and said, “Didn’t even one of them condemn you? Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

We don’t know what Jesus was drawing on the ground. Was He drawing out the sins of the men wanting to stone her? Was He writing out the positive things about this woman where only she could read them? What we do know is that He didn’t let sin, failure or labels to define this woman. He didn’t let others define her that way either. We need to follow that example. When you see that person staring at you in the mirror, speak positive things about them. “There stand a princess of the King of Kings. There is someone who is the temple of God. There is someone who is just the way God made them.” Change the words you use about yourself and others and you will change everything. You can choose to speak life.

You set yourselves up to judge according to the flesh by what you see. You condemn by external, human standards. I do not set Myself up to judge or condemn or sentence anyone. (John 8:15 AMP)

If you would like to win “Epic Grace” by Kurt Bubna, all you have to do is go to my Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (April 5, 2014) who has liked my page. If you have already liked my page and enjoy reading these daily devotionals, you are already entered. Please invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too.

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God’s Antidote for Poison

I was watching a sales skills video yesterday of Brian Tracy. In one of the segments, he said, “You cannot like anyone else more than you like yourself.” The problem, he pointed out, is that most people don’t like themselves very much. Their inner voice points out their negatives. His remedy was to say out loud, “I like myself. I like myself. I like myself” over and over until it becomes ingrained in your fibers. It was kind of funny to watch to be honest, but there was a lot of truth there too.

Each one of us has that inner voice that speaks to us. Each one of us also has a label that has followed us through life. That voice in our head speaks it to us over and over every day. It tells us why we’re still single when everyone else is married. It tells us why we’re too incompetent to get that promotion. It tells us why no one will ever be our true friend. The list goes on and on. The problem is that that voice is creating your perceived reality.

I call it perceived because it is not the truth, but you have bought into it anyway. It could have started when you were a child and a parent, sibling, teacher or other influential person in your life told you that you weren’t good enough, smart enough, good looking enough or whatever. Your mind reluctantly gave in and it has become how you see yourself. Let me tell you that is not how God sees you.

There is a battle for your life and it is won and lost in the mind. If the enemy can get you to believe that lie, he can minimize your effectiveness. He can keep you from being who God called you to be. He would rather have you sit on the side lines of incompetence than in the game fully engaged. That’s where God wants you. He created you with a specific purpose and destiny that ONLY you can fulfill. God has a plan for your life, even if it has gone off course He can use that experience to fulfill your plan.

Proverbs 18:21 in The Message reads, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” Your inner voice has been poisoning your mind rather than nourishing it if you have been listening to it. You must change the narrative today! The verse said “you choose.” It’s up to you what you believe. You can trust that voice that says, “You’re incompetent. You’re not worthy. You’re ugly. You’re fat. You’re not worth it. You’re a disappointment. You’re dumb.” Or you can change that and believe what God says.

When that voice comes into your mind, change the narrative by saying out loud, “I’m a child of God. I’m a king’s kid. I’m competent. I’m worthy. I’m beautiful. I’m just the right size. I’m worth more than rubies. I’m God’s favorite (That’s mine, but you can borrow it!). I’m intelligent. I’m created in God’s image.” Say it out loud, say it often and continue until you believe it because it is true. You can believe what others say, your mind says or what God says. I choose to believe God.

Join with me in an exercise if you will. I want you to post a comment today. I want you to first put in what lie you’ve believed. Then I want you to write out your new narrative, the truth. If you know a scripture that backs it up, put that in there too. If you are unfamiliar with verses in the Bible, ask if anyone knows one for you. Lets work together to help each other get off the sidelines and get in the game so we can fulfill our God given destiny. I’ll start with mine.

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Raise someone to life

“You are not a failure.” Those were the words my brother spoke to me at one of the lowest points in my life. When my world came crashing down and everything I had done fell like a house of cards, I felt like a failure. His words to me changed what I thought about myself. He saw beyond the temporary circumstances that I was facing and spoke to who I was.

Proverbs 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. You have an opportunity each day to kill someone or to resurrect their life just by the power of your words. What you say matters. Even your off the cuff comments that seem like jokes can cut someone to their core. I know because I’m guilty of it even though I’ve made an effort in my life to speak positively of and to others.

Making that change and effort in my life has started to show its fruit through my son. One of my his favorite words is “bravo.” He learned that word before he learned the word “no.” I get excited every time I hear him say it because I know that he is learning to praise others even at an early age. Bravo is such a simple word, but it speaks volumes to the person who hears it. Bravo. You did an amazing job. Bravo. You are an exceptional person. Bravo. You deserve praise and I’m giving it to you.

Words are powerful. We don’t really grasp how powerful they are until someone speaks something to or about us. When your parents, spouse, relative or boss says something good to you or about you, it lifts your spirits and your day. They may never know how they changed your life or perspective just by saying a simple phrase that told you how amazing you are.

In the same way, you may never know the lives you’ve changed or touched by the words you’ve said. Look for the good in others. Jesus did. He looked at Peter and said, “Upon this rock, I will build my church (Matthew 16:18).” Jesus knew that Peter would soon betray Him. He could have easily said, “This guy has wasted the last three years of listening to me. He is going to deny that he even knows me.” That would have been devastating, but Jesus doesn’t do that. He speaks life to us. He sees in us what we don’t see.

When we feel like a failure or life has us down, God looks beyond that. He sees you for who you are. You are His child, His creation, His masterpiece. Yes, you are God’s masterpiece! You were created by Him in His image. You were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). When God sees you, He sees who He made you to be and calls it out in you just like He called out the rock that was in Peter.

Just as God has chosen to speak life to you, you can speak life into someone else today. People are often negative because thats what they hear from others. Maybe no one has ever spoken life into them and they are acting out the way that someone has spoken to them. People believe what others say about them. Bypass the negative in someone and see what God sees in them. Speak to that in them and tell them bravo!

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