Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Five Things to Know About Words

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I was reading my Bible yesterday and my daily Bible reading brought me to this passage:

Matthew 12:33-37

33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

These are the words of the Master Teacher Himself, Jesus.  He echos what is written in Proverbs 18:21 – Life and Death are in our words!

We are often so careless with words.  Some words are worthless – meaningless, senseless jabber – other words are spoken rashly without thinking or with intent to hurt someone like the piercing of the sword and leave wounds that may never be healed (Proverbs 12:18).  The person who talks a lot often gets themselves caught in their words (Proverbs 10:19).

Jesus teaches us five things here about words in the above passage:

  1. Words transmit power (verses 33-37).  Words can build up or tear down.  Words can bring life or bring death, words can lift up or tear down.
  2. Words reveal our character (verses 33-35).  Jesus told us in another place “from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  Our words reveal what’s going on inside of us.  I’m not sure if I believe in a “Freudian Slip” or not, but sometimes we say “Oh, I didn’t mean to say that.”  I think we say who we are on the inside.  That’s scary sometimes.
  3. Words determine our reward and judgement (verses 36-37).  I’ve been told that when a sound is made, the echo of that sound soars into the air, the space and the universe and never disappears.  Whether that’s really the case or not, our words will come back to us in the Final Judgement as well as in our relationships on earth.  If we speak carelessly, harshly or with intent to inflict pain, we will reap the results.
  4. Words produce fruit (verses, 33, 35, 36).  Words of life will produce life in our life and in the lives of others.  Words of death will produce death in our life and the lives of others.
  5. Words shape our destiny (verse 37).  Our words will either open or close relationships for our future.

There are so many verses in the Bible about words…so many!  I think God is trying to tell us something!

I’ve stumbled with my words in many ways.  I’ve hurt others and disappointed others with my words.  When I know that happens I know I have to go back and ask forgiveness.  However, the Bible verse below has been a guiding light for me, as a target and standard by which I’ve tried to live:

Ephesians 4:29

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.

So how would you rate yourself on the scale of 1-10 as a person who imparts life-giving words to those around you, including the words you speak to yourself?

1                                    5                                  10

Life-Giver                                          Life-Taker

I encourage you to think before you speak and become a person who gives life to others and speaks good things about them and about the good future you have for yourself, too.

 

 

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Five Keys to Good Relationships with Others

Couple making a Heart Sign TogetherLife is difficult.  And life is more difficult when there are interpersonal conflicts!  Some of us are easier to get along with than others, however, it’s important for all of us to continue to develop our people skills.

The following thoughts are from my commentary and study from the Book of Ephesians.  You can find that book on this very website by clicking on the menu and clicking on Personal Growth Resources.

These are principles taken right from the Holy Bible, Ephesians 4:1-3, as I believe the Bible is God’s Word to mankind to reveal His Great Purpose, and Our Great Purpose for Living and His keys to live successfully in every sphere of life.

Take a read below and give me some feedback on what are keys you’ve discovered on how to have good relationships with others!

  1. Be humble, v. 2

Humility is an attitude we have about ourselves and others.  A person who is humble does not see himself as higher than others.  A humble person learns from others.  A humble person listens to others.  A humble person gives honor to others rather than himself.

Philippians 2:1-11

Below are key verses about humility.  The Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, God of Heaven, humbled Himself and served others.  He left us the example that we should humble ourselves toward others.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

  1. Be gentle, v. 2

Jesus gave us the Golden Rule about how to relate to others:

Matthew 7:12

So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

If we are angry with others, they will be angry with us.  If we are rude with our words or actions to others, then they will be rude back to us.  If we forgive others, they will forgive us.  The Greek word for “gentleness” is prautetos.  This word means someone with power does not use his power.  It means this person with power holds his power and does not use his power for his own benefit, but sacrifices his power for another.

In our relationships with others it means we may have the physical power or authority over someone to get revenge or intimidate them or make them fearful of us, but we bury that power and humble ourselves and show grace to them instead.

Jesus used this word to describe Himself:

Matthew 11:29

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

A Christian is someone who does not use his strength, power or authority to hurt others with his words or actions.

  1. Be long-suffering, v. 2

The Greek word used here for “long-suffering” makro-thumia.  This word means to have a long emotional state.  It is the opposite of anger.  It is similar to patience, but different.

Long-suffering is when a person has self-control when they are being provoked.  Long-suffering is when a person controls himself instead of getting revenge.  Long-suffering is associated with mercy.

God uses this word to describe Him:

Exodus 34:6

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,

“Patience” is associated with facing difficult situations.

“Long-suffering” is associated with facing difficult people.

  1. Tolerate others, v. 2

This word in the Greek language is anecho and it means to “hold back punishment.”  This is when someone is doing bad a Christian and he does not give them what they deserve.  He does not punish them with words or actions, but he holds back that punishment.  This is the same word used about God holding back His punishment on those who sin.  God does not punish sinners now, but He wants for the last day.

Look at these Bible verse that teach we Christians to be tolerate others:

1 Peter 2:21-23

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”  23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

1 Peter 3:8-12

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.  11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.  12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

1 Peter 4:12-19

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”  19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

What Paul and Peter and Jesus are saying is that when we face difficulties with others in our family, in our work or in the church, we must trust Him and night fight back with negative words, actions or attitudes.

  1. Make every effort to promote peace in relationships, v. 3

This is a commitment of the Christian that we will do everything within our ability to keep peace with others and especially, other Christians and other churches.

Romans 12:17-21

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

These are some real keys that have helped me navigate relationships.  What about you?  Leave some comments so we can all learn from one another!

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Why you should take a nap every day!

Child Napping

Well, I have to come out of the closet…I’m a napper.  Yes, if possible I try to take a nap in the afternoon.  I’ve been an early-morning-riser ever since my first child was born (40 years ago) and I seem to be more productive in the morning.  However, in the afternoon I start to fade.  I try to schedule my most productive  work in the morning and my outside appointments in the afternoon to keep me moving.  However, honestly, living in Cambodia in the tropical heat and humidity, I’m just tired in the afternoon!  If you want to know the truth, I’m ready for bed by 7 PM!  However, I can’t do that or I’ll wake up at 2 AM  (personal experience at this!)

Anyway, I finally gave in and if possible I’ll take a short nap in the afternoon.  It’s been kind of an embarassing thing when it comes out, but I just read a blog by Michael Hyatt that gives me hope I’m not a slothful person.

Michael Hyatt shares some research on the positive benefits of taking a 30-minute nap every day, and some of the very famous and productive people who have done that themselves.

Follow this link to Michael’s blog and maybe you’ll have the courage to come out of the closet too!

Why you should take a nap every day…

Share with us in the comments sections your thoughts about “to take a nap or not to take a nap.”

Thanks for reading this.  If you like out blogsite, please share it with others on your social media sites.

 

 

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Family, Leadership, Uncategorized

Family or Career, does it have to be “Either/Or?”

 

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This is an article by business leader Elise Mitchell.  I subscribe to her blogs and this one was especially good which I want to share with you all.  We’re all busy and probably most of us have a voice inside of us (our conscience) making us feel little guilty of how we are investing our time.  This is in particularly true when it comes to high-level, high-energy people and how we relate to others, in particular, or family.  Take a look at her short and helpful blog.  Note how many times she refers to the ever-present cell phone that continually threatens meaningful relationships.  Enjoy, my friends!

Elise Mitchell Blog

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Handling Accurately God’s Word

Open Bible

In my daily Bible Reading I’m at the Book of Job, Chapter 9.  In particular verse 2 jumped out at me:

How can a man be righteous before God?  If one wished to contend with Him he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand.”  (New King James Version)

It’s so important for us to have a correct understanding of who God is and who we are. He is the potter and we are the clay.  We must honor Him for His awesomeness and don’t think for a moment we are equal to Him.  (Isaiah 64:8)

But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.

That’s true, but on the other hand we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

We who are believers in Jesus Christ are not a worm, but His children whom He has raised up and given power and authority.  We are not those who grovel in our sin and unworthiness.  It’s important to understand how we were, but not how we are now.

The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “handle accurately the Word of Truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

As we seek to understand God and His Ways and His Will for us, it’s essential that we not take one truth and emphasize that truth over another.  It’s important for us to not take one truth – like the righteousness of God and the unrighteousness of mankind – and emphasize only one side of the truth.  One truth in  God’s Word is often balanced by another truth.  We must take each teaching or Bible verse within it’s context.  We must understand the whole perspective of God on a subject (Acts 20:27).

For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

How do we discover the balance in God’s Word?

Briefly, I can say:

  1. Read the Bible.  We must read the Bible a lot to gather much information about the whole Story of God.  We must read the Bible in small portions to think about it, pray about it and study it.  The first step is Read the Bible!
  2. Understand the Context of any one truth or Bible verse.

a.  First there is the Covenant Context.  Which covenant does that truth or             scripture belong in – the Old or the New?  Does the Old Covenant (Testament) truth apply to New Covenant (Testament) believers?  Can we find that Old Covenant Truth re-affirmed in the New Testament?

b.  What does the Bible say about that entire subject?  Compare that Bible verse with other Bible verses.  This takes study and it takes resources that will help you find the other Bible verses on that subject.  The internet is very helpful nowadays.  In the past I had to buy a lot of books, but now, those books are on the internet.

So here’s the point:  Read the Bible a lot for context.  Read the Bible in small portions for meditation and study.  Seek to find the Big Picture from God on that subject. I recommend having a good Study Bible with you to help you bridge these gaps for you.  In this way the Word of God in the Bible will become useful for our own lives and the lives of others.

 

 

 

 

 

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

The Value of Listening to Understand

Listening 1God gave us two ears and one mouth…that should be a clue to us.  Many people use their mouth more than their ears.  They don’t listen to others to understand, but only to reply.  These people miss out on opportunities to learn, grow and affirm others in their life.

In the book of Job, after Job’s calamities, his three friends came to visit and sat with him for 7 days without saying a word.  They just let Job speak and share.  Sometimes it is a time just to listen, not correct, not give our ideas or not even respond…just let the other person share.

John Maxwell says, “People don’t loose intimacy when they stop talking, but when they stop listening.  Leaders (people) seldom realize how much their listening empowers the other person.  Because they are leaders the sheer act of listening speaks volumes that even a great speech can’t communicate.”

Again, John Maxwell suggests:

  1.   Listening communicates the value of the other person and his or her thoughts.
  2.   Listening communicates love and understanding and care for their needs.
  3.   Listening communicates a desire to grow, learn and remain teachable.

Why not practice just listening to someone for a change and reflecting back to them what you hear them saying, and affirming them rather than sharing your ideas or solving the problem?  It might do a lot to make your relationship with them even stronger.  Listening creates a relationship where your input is valued.  Another time will arise for you to share your thoughts on their issue.

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