Words Are Just Words, Right?

Today’s verse of the day in my Bible app is Ephesians 4:29  (KJV)
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
I got to thinking about just what corrupt communication is.  As a young person (way back when, right?!) I used to think this verse referred specifically to swearing and dirty jokes.  But in more recent years, I have come to think otherwise.
At Christmas we hear children being told that “Santa is making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty… or nice.”  I think perhaps we should have our own list based on this scripture in Ephesians.
So at the top of MY list of what I consider corrupt communication, yes I have swearing and dirty jokes.  Okay.  But what else could and should go on that list?
How about sassing?
Cleverly hidden insinuations?
Snide remarks.
Cutting comments.
Put downs.
Ugly comparisons.
Boasting.
Bragging.
Lying.
Deceitful sidestepping of the truth.  (those little white lies, right?)
Rude comments.
Superiority, even in the inflection of the voice (another form of put down)
Gossip.
Slander.
Backstabbing.
Tactless blurting rather than tactful sharing.
Grumbling.
Dismissals.
The list could go on and on.  And I am freely admitting I have to work at it to be free of a lot of these.
So what is the big deal, and why does it matter?  Because, 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  Proverbs 18, (KJV)
We speak thoughtlessly, not considering that by our very words we are giving life or taking life… we are giving support or we are undermining…we are strengthening or we are weakening.
We do this not only to others, but to ourselves as well.  Think on this a bit!  Who speaks more negative into your heart and life than yourself?  Would you take the negative garbage you thoughtlessly sling at yourself from anyone else?  And why do we believe that garbage about ourselves?  We compare our worst with the best of others.  Unfair!!!  It is not true according to God’s Word, so whose report do we believe?
Let’s work at getting it right.  Let’s set a guard against thoughtless words and mindless self-talk!  Let’s stop with the unforgiving, hateful thoughts so we don’t have stuff there to spew in the next heated moment!  Sometimes at home is the hardest of all for me to contain my tongue and be kind.  I just ‘let ‘er fly’ … and then regret, have to ask forgiveness of God and my loved one(s) and then forgive myself.  Why do I need to guard my thoughts?  Because in Matthew 12:34b  (KJV) we learn that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
And lets not minimize the damage by claiming we were just kidding!  What is in the heart comes out when we speak, especially when something aggravates us.  So we must be careful what is allowed to remain in our system!  We need to cleanse our hearts, or in other words, keep short accounts.  Instead of holding grudges, nurturing hurts and recounting wrongs done, let’s deal with stuff, sort through our motives, be aware of and direct our focus to honorable thoughts, and clean up our act!  Philippians 4:8 and 9 in NKJV sums it up nicely:  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things arelovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
And again, in The Message:  8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Lord, I thank You for this reminder today of ways to live in harmony and peace.  I pray that I have the mind of Christ this day, that I think upon the lovely, the good, the uplifting things.  Help me to look upon the negatives in myself and others with a heart of love and compassion, giving grace and forgiving, ever changing more and more into Your image.  Thank You for these blessings!  And may I be a blessing, an encouragement, a strengthening to my world.  In Jesus Name and for His sake I pray, and I receive this blessing!  Amen.  And AMEN!
Psalm 19:14King James Version (KJV)  14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
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Worrying – what’s the point?

I know numerous people who work hard at worrying, don’t you?  Or worse yet, maybe you are one!  These caring folks that I know work hard at pretty much everything including worrying, actually, so it must be a natural tendency.  But even as little as I personally worry, I have felt the drag, the drain and the tension worry causes.  It sometimes smacks us like a freight train, and at other times it slips in silent and insidious.  Either way, it ends up undermining our very peace and trust.

I see no point in saying, “just stop it, it is not good for you.”  That would be as effective as those highly-accomplished worriers telling me to be a high-octane, energetic and bustling dynamo. “Ain’t happenin’!” comes first to mind!

So I’ve been thinking about this recently.  Surely the energies put into intensive, consistent worrying about whatever could be put to better use, like telling it to the Lord and placing it in His capable, loving hands and leaving it there while we put our mind towards something constructive and uplifting.  In Matthew 6:27 (NKJV) we read:  “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”  That pretty much shows just how ineffective worrying is, right?  No matter how much we think and think and rethink…that’s all we actually accomplish and produce…more thoughts.  Worry accomplishes no goal, but rather creates angst, heartburn, impatience, ulcers, arthritis…you get the picture?  And it adds fuel to our fears.  It just plain is not healthy nor worthwhile!

Here’s a thought!  Why not develop a new habit?  How about when we recognize we are worrying, we turn from it and purposefully start declaring we are trusting in One greater than our own selves, who cares even more deeply about our concerns than we can?    (“casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”  I Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

I wrote a song a few years back based on the scripture “The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; ”  Deuteronomy‬ ‭33:27a ‬ ‭(NKJV)‬‬  My husband and I have been privileged to get to travel by plane now and then, and we love to fly.  As our plane banked and approached the airport for our mid-trip layover in 2008, I thought of how relaxed and contented we were, happy to be flying and really enjoying the trip, and yet by contrast, how others are so full of fear and anxiety when just contemplating flying.  Once again I personally claimed that scripture in Deuteronomy while on our approach, relying on God’s arms underneath us, upholding us in His care, and *a new song began forming.  I started jotting down thoughts as they flowed about in my mind.  When it was complete, the chorus repeated throughout states, “Underneath are the everlasting arms, I’m safe, secure, free from all alarm.  There’s nothing to fear for I know that underneath are the everlasting arms.”  What a comfort this truth gives when we let it be truth, believing and acting on it?

God gives us so many promises of being with us, caring for us, never leaving us, being a hedge of protection, giving us an ear to hear us anytime we cry out to Him…. let’s start walking in faith, actively trusting Him, and experience the fullness of joy He has to offer us rather than letting worry eat away at our peace and ultimately undermining our trust in God.  Search the scriptures for every promise of God’s loving care, how He will not leave you, how He wants us to ask Him for what we need.  Need peace?  Go to God and ask!  Believe!  Receive!  Rejoice!

You know, if we are letting worry rule our days and/or our nights, we need to change our focus.  We need to change our view.  Quit mentally looking at the worst, imagining the negative, the things that could go wrong, the events that might happen, and instead start quoting scripture and faith-based songs that affirm God has our life in His hands, and that nothing can touch us without His permission.  Do we trust God to be God?  Really?  Then why are we scaring ourselves into a frenzied lather?  Really!  Do we believe His word, that He will go with us (and our loved ones) and meet our needs?  Yes, in this world things do sometimes go wrong, that’s life!  But we are not left to struggle through by ourselves!  He is with us to go through the dark times with us.  He promised in Deuteronomy 31 to be with us, and encourages us with these powerful words in verse 6:   Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”  And in verse 8:  “ And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”(NKJV)

OH, there is SO MUCH I could say about this!!!  But how about it?  How about a new focus for a healthier, happier life?  Do you need help changing this harmful habit?  Let’s take it to God!  He is our answer.  Pray with me:  Lord, I believe You, I trust You, and I thank You that You are in control.  Lord, I want to refocus my heart and mind from worrying to trusting You and rejoicing in being Your child.  I ask You to catch my attention, and show me when I start to fear and worry.  Help me to remain committed to replacing those thoughts with words of faith and hope, with scriptures and songs and affirmations that build up my faith and release Your power to be at work for the good of my own life and of my loved ones.  Lord, I know You love me and mine and promise to be with us through the hard times.  So I release the angst, the worrying thoughts into Your care, and I rest in Your promises.  Thank You Father for loving us so deeply, and for providing peace for my turmoil, giving joy for my journey, and for being my strength when I am weak.  What a wonderful God You are!  In Jesus dear name I pray, with thanksgiving, Amen!

There, we did it!  Step one!  What’s next?  Keeping on putting one foot in front of the other, consistently following the Lord, reading His word, believing it, memorizing and rereading it, researching and learning and internalizing His truths so His thoughts become our thoughts.  And there it is!  We just hit the key, right?!  Here are some of my favorite verses in the entire Bible because for me they are a guide and a control devise so my thoughts won’t go so far amuck!   Philippians 4:6-8, New King James Version (NKJV): 6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Not one time in those verses does it say to be anxious, to let our thoughts and fears run rampant, to focus on the bad that might happen.  We are to think of the good, true, noble, pure, things of good report…etc!  So yeah.  What’s the point of worrying?  It profits us nothing, brings doubt and fear (which are the opposite of trust, by the way), and is self-destructive.  Instead, let’s focus on God and His promises, knowing that in Him we are never alone, always loved and in His care.  Look to Him, and rejoice.  Remain steadfast and committed to taking those worrying thoughts captive and controlling them.  You’ll be so glad you did!

* (You can read the lyrics to above-mentioned song in my blog entitled [no surprise here!]  “UNDERNEATH ARE THE EVERLASTING ARMS.”)