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Monday, July 11, 2016

Did You Really Just Say That?




“(Now) Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot (yet) see.”  (Hebrews 11:1 God’s Word © - parenthesis mine)

When my son-in-law was fine tuning the sound on our new entertainment system the other day, he was blasting out a song that he likes to use that (I believe) gives him a good range of sounds and octaves from which to properly discern the correct balance and output.  I immediately recognized the song as one that my band used to play when I was in junior and senior high school… just a few years ago… (Yeah right!)

I also noticed that some of the words had been changed and as I wondered why, I remembered a conversation my Mom and I had back in our band days.  I recalled my Mom who always encouraged us in our musical endeavors, taking me aside and quietly telling me that some of the lyrics that I was singing were not the best!  She wasn’t scolding me or lecturing, but simply informing me and asking that I be aware and cautious about the songs we chose to perform.

I will admit that while I did take her counsel into consideration, I did not fully understand the impact of her message concerning the words I sang until a few years later when I became a Christian as a young adult.  As my wife and I began our journey in courting and then marriage, we both began to realize the importance of the words we used in our daily lives and their direct connection to our faith.  Please understand, I am not just talking about language that is profane or even “politically incorrect” but that which agrees with and carries the goodness, joy, love, peace and encouragement of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

My career in church ministry leadership as well as with numerous management positions in the secular world have also helped to highlight my ever-increasing understanding of the importance of this lifestyle of communication with others.  Then there is the current battle that my wife and I are fighting with the attack on her mind.  As she struggled with the use of her words in the beginning stages to the current place where her words come far and few between, I find that I have become highly sensitive to any words spoken by her, about her or around her!

But I also realized the other night as I sat on the bed next to her and confessed our healing scriptures to her, that her faith still has an important voice in my life as well as in our family’s!  I am not sure if you are like me or not, but I will many times think of past examples of how a particular verse of scripture has worked in our lives when I am speaking that verse aloud.  On that night, I kept recalling many occasions when Piper took a stand of faith for herself, the kids, a member of our congregation or in agreement with me concerning the verses I was declaring over her.

It was then that I became aware of the numerous times throughout each day that I hear  her sweet, melodic and yet crackly voice speaking a word of encouragement in faith or in agreement with something I am needing to do at any particular moment in time.  Over our 41 years together (we’re celebrating that milestone tomorrow!) we have become so much as one that it is like she is a permanent part of my senses and thinking mechanisms.  I think that it why it has bothered me so much in recent years when some would immediately question the tough decision that I was making by asking “Well, what does Piper think?”

I also realized that those who really have come to know us over the years would never question our devotion to one another.  I believe that this would be the same as people who have a similar intimate knowledge of Papa God.  These Christians would seldom find themselves questioning His devotion to them through His love, grace, patience and power working in, for and through them… And how would one demonstrate this kind of relationship?  Through their words and/or their lack of them (and the corresponding actions of faith based on those words) when faced with the difficult situations that affect each of us at some time or another.

1 Peter 2:9 tells us that as Christians we are “a chosen generation, a royal priest hood, an holy nation, a peculiar people that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (KJV)  To me this verse makes it pretty clear that our words and actions should be a showing of Him and His goodness!  I get more than a little confused and saddened when Christians around me begin to speak from their intellects instead of from their faith when tough times hit… or even worse, when they clam up and don’t say or do much of anything in response to your need!

Then there are those who randomly say things that make no real sense or are less than encouraging, loving and/or in accordance with God’s Word.  Over the last few years I’ve had more than one individual say loose words that are very degrading or cutting toward me.  And I really believe that they would NEVER had said those words had they taken a moment to consider the impact of their words before they released them out into the world!  I must admit as well though, that a few of these folks have later come back to me and apologized or explained their thoughts to me concerning the choice of words that they spoke.  But as much as I hate to admit it, I have come to expect some individuals to say whatever pops into their minds at the time, even though I still get surprised when they unsuspectingly speak the unfruitful words.

The writer of Hebrews 11:1 tells us that true “faith assures us of the things that we expect…” (God’s Word ©)  When I looked the word “assures” up on an online dictionary, I discovered that it means “to tell someone something positively or confidently to dispel any doubts they may have.” (https://www.google.com/search?q=assures&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8)  According to that definition it would seem that we are doing someone a great disservice if our words do anything that might dispel or weaken another’s faith… wouldn’t you agree?

That thought has been one of the main foundations that has driven me through the years to try and always take the time to think through and then say the right words to those I converse with, in order to encourage them and/or lead them toward the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that I haven’t always succeeded in this endeavor, but I keep trying none-the-less!

How about you?  Are you cautious or aware of the words that come out of your mouth?  Proverbs 18:21 goes as far as to state that “death and life are in the power of the tongue…”  That’s kinda strong don’t you think… But I have come to understand and personally experience the power of that truth, especially since our return from Oklahoma back in 2009.  It might just do us a whole world of good if we allowed that verse to come to the forefront of our minds in the coming days!  I desire to be a blessing to those around me and not a part of their problems!

Well, we’re off to Fiver’s first appointment with his new Vet, so I’m a bit excited to get her opinion of the newest addition to our family!  It so happens that this Vet and her husband are both graduates of UC Davis, a college with a well-known veterinary school in central California, not too far from our hometown!  She was also the Vet that helped us out on Mandie’s last visit a few months back.

So… have a great week… watch your words and keep asking yourself… “What Biblically supported words am I expecting to say today?”

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