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Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  – Matthew 5:8

When we refer to someone as being “unfiltered,” the reference usually has a negative connotation.  I recently made new friends who live “unfiltered” in a beautiful way.

My new friends are a group of young ladies who are differently abled compared to most in their lives due to Downs Syndrome and a brain defect.

Upon first impressions,  I was aware of their physical differences and what I  perceived as being limitations.  Now that we have become friends, I am not so much aware of their so-called disabilities and outer beings, as I am awed by their  specially abled hearts and  inner beings.

Our friendships began through my attempts to learn their names and greet them when our paths crossed.  One day,  as I  walked by saying a quick, “Hello,” one of the girls reached out to me, warmly put her hand on my arm, gazed into my eyes, and kindly asked if I’d like to have lunch with them.  What a sweet invitation!  The next day, I did just that.  That’s when they welcomed me as their new friend.

What I’ve come to love about these special young ladies, is that they live unfiltered.   They have no spite, jealousy,  hard-heartedness, or personal agendas of any kind.  They look out for each other and tend to each other’s needs, having no awareness of  crossing the social boundaries caused by all the “correctness” factors of our current culture.  What is most touching, is that their words and gestures of kindness are genuine, coming from pure hearts.

When we first started becoming friends, I hoped that I could be a blessing to them; but as it turns out, they’ve been special blessings to me.

When I think of my  friends, I think of  the words of 1 Peter 4:8.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.   

These young ladies show me what it looks like to  have pure hearts imprinted by God’s truth.  My friends teach me, by their example, how beautiful it is show genuine sisterly  (brotherly) love; and most importantly,  they do what the last part of that verse says.  Paraphrased, the last phrase of 1 Peter 4:8 instructs us to not just love others, but love like we mean it.  That’s what my special friends do every day – with each other and all who are blessed to  spend time with them.

They are differently abled, for they live “unfiltered” in a beautiful way.  If anyone has disabilities, it is me.  I am hindered by the filters of my heart and the unfiltered words and actions that come from impure places of my heart.

Lord, please help me  live like my special friends, whose pure hearts and unfiltered ways must surely be a blessing to You, as well.  Amen.  

 

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.   – Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)  

THE EXPERIENCE

We were there for Mom’s first chemo treatment.  It was a cancer treatment center.  Her visit lasted 5 1/2 hours, and the Center was busy the entire time.  People came and went through the infusion room and the waiting room.  All day, patient after patient received treatment or met with the doctor and nurses for cancer care.

Most of Mom’s time was spent in the infusion room.   While receiving her treatments, we watched as other people filled the infusion chairs around her, finished their treatments, and new patients filled the chairs.

One man comes weekly for his treatments.  He’s been receiving treatment for two years.   The woman beside Mom was receiving her first treatment.  Another woman came in who was thin, gaunt, and sickly looking.  She appeared to be fragile and weak.  When she entered the room, one of the nurses carefully escorted her to an infusion chair, handling her gently.  While receiving her treatment, she closed her eyes as if too weak to keep them open.

A man arrived who also looked sickly and weak.  He was carrying a medication pouch from which tubes emerged that were attached to him.  He was trying to smile and be friendly, but anyone could see that he was not feeling well.  Sadly, he had mistakenly arrived a day early, and no infusion chairs were available for him, so they had to ask him to return again the next day at his appointed time.  My heart went out to him for I knew that outings were a hardship for him.

Some patients kept cheerful banter with the nurses who administered treatments.  Others rested quietly, tuning out the sounds around them, not wanting to be disturbed.

The nurses and staff  were just as caring and kind to Charlie and me as they were to the patients  – probably knowing  that this new venture was as concerning to us as  it was to Mom.

While in the waiting room, I saw an elderly couple trying to make sense of the information they’d received to help them prepare for the man’s first  chemo treatment.  It was sad to me that the man would have to endure cancer treatments at this late stage in his life, but he and his wife were positive and unstressed, discussing the man’s chemo information as casually as they might discuss an antibiotic being given for a cold.  Surely they were a couple of hope and faith.

One woman’s hair was sparse from chemo.  She never smiled, had a grumpy disposition, and ended up leaving  before her appointment because she didn’t want to wait.  I felt badly for her. It was clear that cancer was taking a toll on her.

Another woman wore a headcovering over her bare head.  She was friendly and talkative with a positive spirit.

The couple beside me was also talkative, friendly and humorous – despite being there to resume treatments after the man was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer.

Some patients were accompanied by a friend, loved one or caregiver.  Others were there by themselves.  Were they alone by choice, or did they not have anyone to accompany them, I wondered.

In the corner of the wating room were hand-crocheted cancer caps, complimentary gifts from a local craft group.

 

PREVALENCE OF CANCER

We were at the cancer treatment center from 9:30 – 3:15 for Mom’s first chemo treatment.  I was amazed by the constant flow of patients coming and going the entire time we were there.  Are there really that many people battling cancer?  This was just one day of the week, in one small  cancer center in Mom and Charlie’s community.  Add to their attendance the number of patients seen throughout the week and at every other cancer treatment facility.

According to the National Cancer Institute:

  • It was estimated that in 2018, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer would be diagnosed in the United States
  • In 2016, there were an estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States

 

BE KIND, TENDERHEARTED AND FORGIVING

Every day we are likely encountering at least one person who is battling cancer – as well as loved ones and friends affected by someone else’s cancer.

Some cancer patients are evident by their loss of hair, but not all cancer treatments cause hair loss, so others might look and act “normal.’

Some people battling cancer will be positive and upbeat , while others are visibly struggling –  but even if someone is positive and has an amazing attitude, if they undergoing treatment for cancer, you can be sure they are affected by what they’re going through.

Cancer treatments cause side effects, discomfort, and fatigue.  The medicine might alter their moods and behavior.

The emotional impact of having cancer will vary from person to person, but I feel it is safe to say, that everyone diagnosed with cancer will have an emotional reality check on some level.

Ongoing treatments are likely to wear patients down mentally, physically and emotionally.

Be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving.

 

ALL AROUND US

That day in the cancer treatment center made me realize that  all around us are people facing battles of various kinds – cancer, other illnesses, family situations, financial matters,  upheavals in life, and loss, just to name a few.

Last year at this time I was making trips back and forth to Indiana to be with my dad who was struggling with complications after open heart surgery.  His life was coming to an end.  I was an emotional roller coaster, forgetful, temperamental, and couldn’t focus on tasks at hand.  It took a lot of patience and grace to be around me!  I was grateful to my family for their kindness, compassion and understanding.

In those months, when I was emotionally fragile, I was keenly aware of the smallest gestures of kindness by strangers – people who opened the door for me,  those who offered a warm welcome or kind word, or simply looked me in the eye and shared a smile.  They didn’t know I was going through a tough time, but their kindness made a difference.  It was like God working through their actions to give me comfort and assurance.

Prayers from others sustained me.  There were friends who stayed in touch to remind me they were keeping us in prayer.  Oh, what a difference that made!

Wherever you go today, seek to be aware of those around you.  If someone appears to be irritable or rude, instead of being annoyed, take a moment to consider that they might be  going through a tough time.

As you walk or drive through your neighborhood, pray for the homes you pass and people you meet.  If you feel led, leave a note or reach out to those for whom you’re praying.

All around us are people who are struggling.  A simple act of kindness might make a huge difference in someone’s day.  It might even be God’s way of working through you to share the light and love of Jesus with others.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.   – Ephesians 4:32 (ESV) 

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for all who are battling disease or struggling in any way.  Please help me to be aware of those around me.  Prompt me to show kindness, be tenderhearted, and offer forgiveness as needed, that I might bless others as You have blessed me.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.  

 

 

 

 

“But you, stand here by me…You shall be careful therefore to do as the LORD your God has commanded you.  You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.  You shall walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you possess.”  Deuteronomy 5:31-33

 

As I awoke this morning, my first thought was, “Today is the first day of Mom’s chemo treatments.” Mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and will have 4 rounds of chemo followed by radiation.

Mom has been positive and brave about the journey before her; but still, the idea of cancer, chemo and radiation can be overwhelming and cause anxiety, so I’ve prayed many times in anticipation of this day, and I prayed again this morning.

I prayed for Mom’s health and wellness, and for God to be with her throughout any struggles and difficulties she might face.  I prayed for God to help me be a good caregiver – to help me be attentive, patient, gracious and kind; to help me be sensitive to Mom’s needs and to know what to do if any problems arise.

God’s reply surprised me – not just that I heard a reply, but also what He said:

Just stick with Me, kid.”

What?  His reply was funny to me at first.  Then, after thinking about it for a moment, God’s reply made perfect sense. It’s the message God gave frequently to people of the Bible before they faced challenges or entered into battle.  “Just stick with Me” was the commandment God gave the Israelites as they made their way through the wilderness in pursuit of the Promised Land.

God demonstrated the importance of His instruction to “just stick with Him” when Moses led the Israelites into battle against Amalek.  The Bible tells us that Moses stood on top of a hill, keeping his staff raised, while the Israelites battled the Amalekites.  As long as Moses kept his staff raised, the Israelites were winning, but when the staff lowered, the Amalekites would prevail.  As Moses’ arm tired, he sat on a rock while Aaron (Moses’ brother) and Hur stood beside him to support his arm and keep the staff raised high, thus giving the Israelites victory over the Amalekites.  By sticking with God – and relying on a little help from his friends – Moses found favor with God and was victorious. (Exodus 17:8-16)

God also reminded Joshua to “just stick with Me’ when Joshua faced challenging times. God instructed Joshua to keep his focus on the Lord and trust in Him.  Joshua’s obedience and trust in the Lord served him well.  Remember how Joshua successfully crossed of the River Jordan, leading the Israelites into the Promised Land? (Joshua, chapters 1-4) There was also the battle of Jericho when the walls came tumbling down.  (Joshua, chapter 6)   “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down…” Hebrews 11:30

When God says, “Just stick with Me, kid,” He is reminding us that, as long as we remain faithful to Him, trust in Him, and follow as He leads, He will be with us in challenging times (be with me to help my Mom), guide us through our journeys, and give us strength for the battles along the way (like Mom facing cancer).

What are your challenges today?  Are you on a “journey” or facing one ahead?  What battles are you or your loved ones going through?  Whatever it is, God’s message to you is, “Just stick with Me, kid.”

NOTES:  There are many examples of God helping people prepare for tough times and face challenges.  To read about the examples shared above and other stories, you can go to http://www.Biblegateway.com  Look for the Bible passages above or search for other stories and people of the Bible.  You can also search for key words like “battle” or “courage.”

With blessings,

Renee

Deuteronomy 5:32 You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

With the controversial finish of the 2019 Kentucky Derby horse race, we all saw the importance of staying in our own lanes.

I was reminded of this several times this week while driving to West Virginia and back.  Three times vehicles threatened our safety by veering into my lane, and I saw a near mishap when a distracted driver was weaving along the lane lines ahead of me; and truth be told, a truck had to honk at me in a tight construction zone when I accidentally drifted toward his lane.

The Bible tells us to stay in our own lane.  It warns against gossiping, and the story of the woman accused of adultery teaches that it’s not our job to be judge and jury, especiallly when we are not without blame ourselves.  We are to stay in our own lanes by being more concerned about tending to our own behavior than we are about condemning others.     (Book of John, chapter 8)

The Bible also instructs us to keep our eyes on the Lord, and not be distracted by the many things around us – busyness, jobs, modern day idols,  etc.    God wants us to stay in our our own lanes by being focused forward in faith.  The Bible literally says, do not turn aside to the left or to the right.  (Deuteronomy 5:32)

Staying focused on what matters and looking forward in faith will give us “maximum security” for staying in our own lanes and helping others do the same.   Now that’s a winning strategy!

2 Corinthians 12:20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish… that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.

1 Timothy 5:13  Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.

John, chapter 8  Story of woman accused of adultery  (“cast the first stone”)

Deuteronomy 5:32 You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.    

Deuteronomy 4:15-16  Therefore, watch yourselves carefully…beware lest you act corruptly…

Connect to the Bible online at http://www.BibleGateway.com

 

My Facebook feed showed a post by a friend who’s a promoter of “one word” themes for the new year.  (@RachelOlsen)  One of her followers replied with her “one word” for 2019.   Reading the post, I thought, ‘“I’m not a ‘one word ‘person.  It’s a nice idea, but not for me.”   Just as I was completing that thought, the Voice (God) abruptly broke into my thoughts.  speaking as clear as the light of day, with (you guessed it) one word, “Disciplines.”  

I would loved to have seen the look of surprise on my face as I heard the word “disciplines.”   I didn’t think I was a “one word” person, but apparently God disagreed and thought I needed to be made aware of the word on which He wants me to focus.  My reaction: “Really?  Of all the words You could give me – ‘disciplines?’  Not something like ‘joy,’ ‘creativity,’ ‘kindness,’ or even ‘humility’ (the last word I chose a few years ago and am still working on), but ‘disciplines?’ OK.  I get it, and You are right.  I need to get back to my disciplines.” 

I knew what God was referring to.  I used to live by what I called my spiritual disciplines – disciplined time for prayer,  reading/studying my Bible,  and worship.  I got up early to have quiet time to pray before starting my day.  As soon as the boys were off to school, I sat down to do my Bible studies.  I pursued worship through Sunday services and other church activities.

Please be assured I still pray, read/study my Bible and worship, but it’s been a while since I’ve pursued these things in a disciplined way, and last year didn’t help.

2018 was a year when one difficult thing happened after another, sometimes more than one situation happening at once. Faith, prayers, reading my Bible, and the support of  loved ones and Christian friends got me through each challenge and difficulty, but I wasn’t disciplined.

My hope for 2019 is that it will  put 2018 behind me and allow me to get life back on track.  Responding to that hope, God replied with the one word He knew I needed to do just that – “disciplines.”

After thinking it through, I smiled.  “Thank You, God.  I did need “one word,” and “disciplines” is just the word I need.  

Exodus 23:16 [Full Chapter]   (www.BibleGateway.com link) 

“Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. “Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.

I’m one of those people who wants to enjoy Thanksgiving before jumping into all the craziness of the holidays.  History tells us that the first Thanksgiving was about gratitude, sharing and reaching out to others.  Times had been harsh for the Pilgrims trying to survive at Plymouth.  Many perished.  Those who survived did so with help from the Indians.  To celebrate their first harvest and show appreciation to their new friends, the Pilgrims broke bread with the Indians.

Being faithful Christians, I imagine they began with prayer, focusing not on their struggles, losses and things they were without; but instead givng thanks for what they did have – shelter, food, each other and their very own lives.  In giving thanks, they displayed hope for their future, even though life was very bleak at times.

After delivering the Israelites from the Egyptians, God explained to the Israelites that He wanted to set them apart from others as a holy nation.  He began teaching them what it meant to be holy and live righteously.  One of God’s instructions was to hold a Festival of Harvest to celebrate the firstfruits of the crops they would sow and grow, and then celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of they year after they had gathered in their crops.  It seems likely to me that this was the inspiration for the first Thanksgiving.  The Pilgrims may have observed this religious tradition in their native country, but Thanksgiving at Plymouth would be different.  The Pilgrims included the Indians, wanting to not only give praise and thanksgiving to God, but also to show appreciation and gratitude to the Indians.

Observing Thanksgiving is the perfect way to center our hearts before getting caught up in the busyness of Christmas.  This year I’m going to do something new, something I’ll call THANKS(4)GIVING.

In the spirit of the first Thanksgiving that was about gratitude, sharing and reaching out to others, I’m going to send notes or messages to people letting them know I’m thankful for something they’ve done that blessed, helped or inspired me.  I’m going to tell them, “Thanks for giving” of themselves.  My gratitude will be for their kind or encouraging words, help they gave,  an opportunity provided, or kindness shown.  The recipients might be people I know well, or someone I’ve never met whose words or story  made a positive difference.  Maybe it will be a teacher who made difference for my child,  the worker at a business I frequent whose positive, cheerful attitude brightens my day,  someone who went above and beyond what was expected of them. or a dear friend who’s good and godly ways inspire me – like an elderly friend who sometimes despairs, but stays strong in faith.

It is my hope that THANKS(4)GIVING will not just prepare my heart with appreciation and gratitude, but also be a gesture of positivity and encouragement for others.

I challenge myself to send a THANKS(4)GIVING note or message to at least 4 people, and I challenge you to do the same!

May you have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.  Be sure to save room in your tummy for dessert, and room in your heart for thanks and giving!

“Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.” – 2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV

” I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” – Ephesians 1:16 NIV

Blessings to all,

Renee

 

 

 

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Hearing that Dad had been re-admitted to ICU with pneumonia and fluid on his lungs six days after having open heart surgery did not seem like a time to rejoice as the verse above instructs – especially when I lived far away and could not  be there with him during this set-back. Time to pray without ceasing? Yes. Definitely. Time to give thanks in all these circumstances? Actually, yes, and as I considered the many reasons I had to be thankful, I realized that, actually, it was a time to rejoice, too. 

 

I was thankful Dad had been able to have surgery and especially thankful he survived the procedure. Surgery had been risky for him. I was thankful I could go to Indiana and spend time with Dad before surgery. Neither of us said it, but we both knew it could have been the last time we saw each other on this side of heaven. I was thankful for his faith and acceptance of God’s will for his life. 

 

As Dad strives to recover, I’m thankful  that Carolyn loves him and takes good care of him; and I am very thankful for the doctors, nurses and caregivers at Community North Heart Hospital in Indianapolis. They’re skills, care and treatment have been excellent!

 

I’m also thankful for everyone who has prayed, encouraged, cared and offered support for Dad. I am beyond blessed to know so many kind and caring people! 

 

With all those reasons to be thankful, how could I not also feel like rejoicing? 

 

In times like these, when we worry about loved ones or go through personal struggles, our greatest reason to rejoice is for the love, hope and joy we have in Jesus Christ. 

 

We can also rejoice that each day is a new day, a God-given gift, bringing new mercies, new opportunities, new possibilities, and new hope. Sometimes it’s hard to feel those things in tough times, but these are truths – promises from God – that we can hold onto.

 

Today I have a new reason to rejoice and give thanks. It’s Day 19 after open heart surgery, and Dad seems to have finally stabilized. (Thank You, Lord!)  He is being moved to rehab today.  Dad is 85, still weak, and not completely “his old self” yet, so rehab and recovery will take some time, but in response to prayers of many, it appears that God has blessed Dad with the time he needs. I can certainly give thanks and rejoice about that!   

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  – Romans 12:12

My 85-year old dad had open heart surgery six days ago.  The procedure went well – praise the Lord – but he has been in constant pain since.  Consequently, he has been on various pain medicines, some that cause him to be in a “drug fog.”  He becomes groggy, slow to speak, wants to communicate but can’t think of the words he needs to say, and sometimes becomes confused and agitated.  When he is awake, Dad pleads for us to help him with the pain, then he seeks God’s help saying, “Lord, help me.  Help me, Lord.”  He does the same when he is asleep and in a “drug fog,” saying  aloud, “Lord, help me.”

Did you catch what I just said?  Dad calls upon the Lord when he’s awake, and he also speaks aloud to God when he’s sleeping and even when his mind is altered by medication.   Dad’s default is prayer!

It’s not unusual to cry out to God for help when we are desperate or struggling.  Even those who don’t keep a relationship with God will do that at times, but to call upon the name of the Lord in one’s sleep and when one is not able to have conscious thoughts is inspiring.

I thought about this as I drove home to Charlotte from Indianapolis.  Would I be the same way?  I pray when I am awake and conscious, but where do my subconscious thoughts go?  If I were crying out in my sleep or under the effects of medications, what would I say?  Do I keep such a close and constant relationship with God that I would call upon the Lord to help me?

Jesus prayed.   The Bible tells of many times when Jesus prayed – often separating himself from the crowds, and even the disciples, to pray.  He needed to connect with the Father.  Jesus prayed to honor God, intercede on behalf of others, and seek discernment and strength.  He pleaded with God, agonized with God, and cried out to God in pain and suffering.  His default was prayer.

Luke 3:21 (Jesus prays after His baptism during which time the Holy Spirit descended upon Him), Mark 1:35 (Jesus rose early, while it was still dark, and departed from the others to pray, spending time with God before preaching to the crowds), Luke 11:1-4 (while Jesus prayed, the disciples approached and asked Him to teach them to pray, and Jesus taught them The Lord’s prayer), Luke 9:18 (Jesus was praying alone),  John 17 – The High Priestly Prayer (Jesus honors the Father, prays for Himself, His disciples, and all believers).

Perhaps the most well known prayer of Jesus is recorded in the Gospel writings of Matthew 26:36-56, Mark 14:32-52, Luke 22:39-53 and John 18:1-11 when Jesus went to Garden of Gethsemane to pray (“as it was his custom to do”). After their Passover meal (The Last Supper), Jesus took the disciples with him to the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed in preparation for his arrest and crucifixion, when He would bear the sins of all mankind by allowing Himself to be a sacrifice for the sins of all.  At times Jesus was in such agony while praying that he was sweating drops of blood.

Luke 23:34 Jesus prays to ask the Father for forgiveness for those who mock and crucify Him.

Each Gospel records that Jesus’ final words were to the Father before taking His last breath.  Even in death, His default was prayer.

In Mark 10:30 Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.”     He remained one with the Father through prayer.

My dad went into open heart surgery weak and frail.  His surgeon said he was “very fragile” so they would take him through recovery “slow and easy.”   Because of this, his teams of caregivers were amazed when Dad became ahead of schedule in recovery!  They couldn’t explain it, but I could.  I knew it was because of his faith and prayers, and the prayers of many others on his behalf (thank you Facebook family and friends who prayed for him!).

Dad has a long road of recovery ahead of him, so prayers are still appreciated.  I am thankful for my dad’s faith and the opportunity I had to observe that his default is prayer.  The Bible says that Jesus is still praying for us, sitting at the right hand of God the Father, Almighty, interceding on our behalf. (Romans 8:34, Mark 16:19, Acts 7:55, Hebrews 12:2) We can all be encouraged and have hope through Jesus because His default is still prayer.  Praise be to God, and thank You, Jesus!

Lord Jesus, thank You for teaching us to pray and for defaulting to prayer on our behalf.  Please help me set my default to prayer, too.  In Your precious name I pray, Amen.  

UPDATE ON MY DAD (May 2, 2018):  Dad was taken by ambulance  from rehab back to hospital with pneumonia and possible blood clot in his lung.  Dad is at peace with God and accepting of God’s will for his life, but those of us who love him pray that it be God’s will to grant him healthy days on this side of heaven.

Want to read the referenced verses, learn more about Jesus, or read other Books of the Bible?   Go to http://www.BibleGateway.com    You can look up scripture by verse or topic (I searched “Jesus prayed”), do research, and even hear the Bible read to you!

 

 

 

 

Last week a young woman was found guilty of manslaughter for using text messages to convince her boyfriend to commit suicide and instruct him on how to do it.  They were teenagers at the time.  He had just graduated from high school and was preparing to go to college.  She was in another town 35 miles away, but her words were powerful enough  through her text messages  to convince him to take his life.

I was intrigued by this case and curious how the judge would rule.  One analyst said the guilty verdict showed that the words were viewed as a weapon.  Legal analysts will debate the outcome of the trial, but I think most will agree this case proves that words matter.

Words have the power to build up, instruct, inform, inspire, give healing and hope, and share love.  Words also have the power to inflict pain, tear down, be destructive, spread hate, and even destroy lives.

The Bible says:  “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Epheshians 4:29  ESV)

The same verse in New Living Translation says: “Don’t use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear.”  (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)

New International Version: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”    (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

I’m guilty of talking too much and speaking with a sharp tongue when I’m mad, impatient or upset.  Ephesians 4:29 reminds me to not share every thought that comes into my head, but only say what is necessary to build others up or help a situation, and to choose my words carefully.

My mom has often told me that it’s not what I say, but the tone in which I speak that gets me into trouble.  In other words, it’s not just what we say, but the attitude and emotions behind our words that can cause problems.

The Bible instructs us to speak in a way that is gracious for those who hear, for the purpose of doing good, not causing harm.

I once shared this verse with a group of 7th graders.  After we talked about it, one of the students said it reminded her of Thumper in the story of Bambi, when Thumper said, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”  Good advice, Thumper.

However, I hope more people choose to speak up, not keep quiet, finding ways to share words of kindness and grace for the purpose of encouraging, comforting, building up and sharing love.

Who can you encourage or inspire today?

For more on this topic, see my related post titled “The Power of Positive Speaking”, and go to http://www.Biblegateway.com to learn what the Bible says about “speech” and “encouragement.”

God bless you.  🙂

 

God’s breath of life was the umbilical cord for the creation of each of us.  That cord was never cut.  We are forever connected to God; thus we have an intrinsic need for Him that nothing else can fulfill.  The umbilical cord is the source of life for a developing fetus, providing everything it needs to survive.  As Christians, our connection to God is through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, giving our souls all that we need to thrive and survive.

The Holy Spirit is our Helper and Counselor, to lead, guide, speak to our inner souls, and give comfort, peace, healing and hope so that we will grow in faith to better serve the Kingdom of Christ and bring glory to God, the Father.

That is why we celebrate Pentecost today.  It was at Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit gifted and empowered those who were present so that they could begin ministering to others and start building Christ’s church.  That same Spirit is alive today, seeking to empower us and dwell within us that we will grow deeper in faith and stronger in the love, grace and peace of Jesus the Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Praise be to God.

To read the story of Pentecost, go to Acts chapter 2.  For more, about Pentecost and the Holy Spirit go to http://www.BibleGateway.com

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