Bible · christian · Christian Devotion · faith · peace · purpose · speech · Spirit · Uncategorized

The Right Things To Say

 

So oapples-e1447106093958ften we recognize when someone says the wrong thing. It sticks out like a sore thumb to us. We remember it. We might play it over and over in our heads when we see or think of the person. Whether in conversation or on social media, we might wonder, “Why did he/she say that?” The funny thing is, of course, that the person who may have said it might be unaware that they’ve said something out of place. Like I’ve said before, it’s pretty easy to judge others by their actions and to judge ourselves by our intentions.

Wait a minute though. Does that mean that it’s possible for me to also say the wrong thing without intending to? To keep it short and sweet, why yes! The good thing is that we have so many checks and balances to keep us on the right track. Through a real relationship with Him, reading His Word, and His Holy Spirit, we will equip ourselves with the wisdom needed to say the right words at the right time. And, when the wrong words are said to us or about us, we can respond in a Christ-like manner.

I’ve been reading a little pink book entitled, Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman. It’s about what to say, how to say it and when to be silent. It has really helped me to recognize things that other people say, and most importantly, things that I say that just aren’t right. Ehman emphasizes that often it’s best to just “keep it [mouth] shut.”

I’ve begun to notice that if I start too many sentences with “I” (“My”) or “You” in a conversation, I’m usually going in the wrong direction. If someone says something or even posts something on social media, we need to pay attention to how we respond. Responses that are what I’ll call “I-centered” or self-centered cloaked in the disguise of I’m-trying-to-let-you-know-that-I-can-relate can often put a person at a distance. For example, if someone tells you that their daughter got all A’s and you feel the need to tell them how your child has done or what they have accomplished without really hearing them, it will tend to put the other person at a distance. Anything that even remotely appears like one-upping another person in relationships isn’t often received as coming from a loving and giving posture—even if our intentions are otherwise.

Words can hurt, irritate, aggravate, anger, enrage, and even depress, but they can also instruct, motivate, encourage, warm, strengthen, empower, and enlighten. The words that we speak (and post) are powerful. More often than not, the words we use are good or bad, hurtful or helpful, self-defeating or self-empowering. We have to take time to think about what we’re conversing about.

Even with all of the technology and numerous ways for people to connect, so many people aren’t being listened to. I’ve decided to challenge myself to speak less and to listen more. If we approach relationships from that vantage point, things are so much easier and a much more loving environment is created.

Nothing is more exhausting that hearing someone go on and on about themselves. People like this often repeat themselves with the same tired stories, but they don’t realize that the person has already heard it! I’ve come to recognize that sometimes it’s because these people haven’t really fever felt heard. Regardless of what they’re conversation is, we should be ready to answer every person in the right way. When we are seeking Him, He will give us the right way to respond or not to respond—regardless of what their conversation is.

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actions · Bible · christian · Christian Devotion · faith · peace · purpose · Spirit · Uncategorized

Our Intentions, Their Actions

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.    –Philippians 2:3

 

We all know and see them because they are everywhere. Maybe we are one of them. More often than not, we want to be one of the many willing to help others by giving our time, money and effort for a worthy cause. Most of us want to give and help others in need when we are able. Unfortunately, sometimes people who do these good deeds have ulterior motives. Maybe there’s a secret financial or tangible kickback, community or private (self) accolades, or even just a little pat on the back. However, we cannot and should not justify that the good deeds outweigh any trace of impure motives. When we do good things for others, we must be careful not to have any self-serving motives attached. Many Bible verses speak to this, but Matthew 5:8 is clear: Blessed is the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Quite simply, when we do things with a Kingdom mindset, our hearts must be pure. A heart that is pure in one that is not selfish.

This got me thinking about some things. Have you ever wondered how life would be if we all judged each other based solely on our actions? What about if we judged each other based on our intentions? The truth is, so many good actions can be cloaked in self-serving intentions. On the other hand, we often take the wrong action or say the wrong thing with the best intentions (a pure heart). It can be difficult—and I say impossible—to navigate clearly through life without humbly considering ourselves and applying God’s Word.

I often fall short when I judge others by their actions and myself by my intentions. What if we took some time to stop and consider intentions? I’ve been prayerfully asking the Lord to help me to see others’ hearts—not just the actions. There have been so many surprising revelations.

 

The most surprising revelation, however, has come from examining myself. This examination might come by way of prayer and meditation; other times it comes by reading or hearing God’s Word. Sometimes I’ve actually believed that my own intentions were good and pure, only to discover that I have impure motives attached. For example, I might agree to do something that someone has asked me to do but complain the whole time. I said yes because I don’t want to be perceived negatively, but my heart isn’t right. Spiritually, I’ve made my “good” actions null and void.

So, how do we align our actions and motives to keep them pure? I remind myself that who/what I am in my heart is one hundred percent who I am. I’m going to repeat this for me (and maybe you). What I am in my heart is really who I am. Proverbs 4:23 reads: Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. If a heart has impurities, it needs to be sifted or filtered through God’s Word. If a heart is pure, it needs God’s Word to keep it that way. There is no way around it. Finally, we have to pray and seek Him daily in all things, careful of the company we keep.

One last note about judging others on their actions . . . we must keep in mind that just as we make mistakes, others do too. To keep our hearts pure, we must forgive. When we hold on to anger, jealousy, offense and hurt, we are muddying our hearts, making them impure. It doesn’t matter if the person never apologizes. We are still responsible for forgiving. We have to help one another to release pride and gravitate towards love, peace, forgiveness, and righteousness. When God shows us those that have impure hearts, we need to remember to pray for them and to ask God for direction.

Prayers and blessings,

MaRita

Bible · Calm · Chaos · christian · Christian Devotion · faith · peace · purpose · Spirit · Uncategorized · worry

The Calm in Chaos

Calm in Chaos

Have you ever had one problem and made an effort to resolve the problem, only to find a bigger one develop?

That happened to us. Our dishwasher broke. We bought a new one. I woke up to puddles all around the dishwasher, but I hadn’t even run the new dishwasher yet. It didn’t seem to be a big deal until we went to the first level and noticed that water was pouring onto the carpet from the ceiling, and the wall and carpet were destroyed. ServPro has been here daily to remove our hardwood floors, sink and drywall. It’s a real mess. To make matters worse, nobody wants to take responsibility for the mistake. The installation people say it’s a defective dishwasher, and the dishwasher company says it’s the installation company’s fault.

My husband and I have been on the phone and sent numerous emails, trying to get the issue resolved. Of course, I just want our home restored back to the condition it was in before we got the new dishwasher. Sometimes, life is just like that. We have a problem, and on the journey to resolve the issue, other problems and challenges arise. What do we do in these situations?

One major thing that I’ve noticed is that patience is very important. We want things resolved quickly, but the truth is, some things just take time—sometimes, a lot of time. We just have to go through the process. If we rush to try to fix it, we aren’t allowing God to fix it. When He does a thing, He does it well.

I was at the point of almost wanting to yell at an impolite customer service representative. It may have been very justifiable to get angry, but my lack of self-control and patience could’ve had a bad outcome for us. Remember in Numbers when Moses was in the wilderness with the Israelites? God told him to speak to the rock and water would spring forth. However, Moses got angry with the people and struck the rock (and water rushed out).

God gave Moses clear instructions, and he disobeyed them. God also gives us clear instructions as to how to conduct our lives in His Word. In the midst of our issue or problem, we can’t justify our behavior based on someone else’s bad conduct or actions. In Moses’ case, he was frustrated by the people’s complaining. I’ve been frustrated with the dishwasher and service people. Think about it. What are you angry or frustrated about? It doesn’t matter what it is. There is still no excuse. God’s Word calls us to be patient and longsuffering.

Moses also took credit for water coming out of the rock. God is the one who provided the miracle. We have to think about it? Our way out of problems and issues in life is Him. When there is a solution provided, He deserves the credit.

When we have problems, we have an opportunity to show others the love of Christ. Instead of me angrily going off about the problem, I should’ve been peaceful and patient.

Moses and His people never saw the Promised Land in Moses’ time because of his disobedience, pride and anger. We have to be careful not to make mistakes in the midst of problems that can put us in a much worse situation.

I’m resolved to work through this dishwasher fiasco with the love of Christ anchoring my feelings in the right place. As a side note, it looks like some repairs and remodeling that we’ve been putting off can finally be resolved. If we stop to meditate on His Word and His will in the midst of chaos, He will show us the good that can come out of any seemingly bad situation. Chaos can catapult us into greater. Don’t trust me on it; trust Him!

Trusting Him with you,

MaRita