01 February 2011
Building Better Relationships Chapter 4
I love this chapter and I LOVE encouragement! Who doesn't, right? I have a pretty good work ethic, but give me a little encouragement and I will just BLOOM! When John compliments a meal, or how the house looks, boom, I just want to do even better! When my principal would come to observe my class as I did a lesson and leave a positive note, whoa, super big smile planted on my face! When my younger sister would compliment an outfit I put together, I would feel like a million bucks! It's just amazing how powerful our words are to people and how much impact an encouraging word can have on someone's day.
Here are some "speech facts":
* Psychologists estimate that each day we have about 700 opportunities to speak.
* Talkative people utter about 12,000 sentences a day, which is approx. 100,000 words.
Key question: Are most of your words positive or negative?
Estimate how many of your words are negative and discouraging ___and estimate how many of your words are encouraging to others ____. Could you use some improvement in those numbers? We all could.
The Bible tells us that the power of life and death is in our words (Proverbs 18:21). That's why we don't give our children mean or degrading nicknames that may seem funny because we want our children to always know how much we loved, adored, and cherished them! Think about your childhood, can you remember a time when someone said something to hurt you? How did it affect you? Did it impact your day, your week, your month or longer? I'll never forget in fourth grade being called the "N" word by a male student in class. I was so shocked, and even more shocked when my teacher didn't believe me...he made a big deal about asking students if they heard it, which they all did. I was the only person of color in that school (as light as I am, but still it was enough to get such an awful word to be labeled to me) and it stayed with me, and it hurt. I think the worst part was my teacher's reaction. I never gave my teacher any trouble, I did my best in school, and yet my teacher didn't believe me. My best friend Cindy stood up for me, and she was my teacher's favorite...then he had the boy sent to the principal's office and he was expelled from school for a few days. Words are powerful and our words can bring life or death.
"But exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today" lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
We are told to encourage each other daily...
If you look up the words "comfort," "exhort", and "encourage" in a NT concordance or Greek dictionary of the NT there is only one Greek verb for all three translations. The word is parakaleo, which means a "calling to one's side." The Holy Spirit is called the parakletos because He is the one who comes beside us to help, comfort and encourage us.
I'll never forget my youth group leader Duane Floyd. He was an awesome man of God and he had us all memorize:
Ephesians 4:29 " Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, and that it may impart grace to the hearers." NKJV
The words that come out of our mouth are really an overflow of our heart. Matthew 12:34 says "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks."
So if you have been struggling with your words lately, or you haven't been very encouraging to others, then take time to hang on the Vine! (Joyce Meyer-ism) If you want your life/your words to be the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control...then take time to spend time with Jesus. Have quiet time with Him. Sit down and listen to what He has to say to you. Don't worry about how long it is, or what your check off list of pray, read, write is...take time to just be with the Lord, and He promises us that when we spend time with Him we will be changed. He transforms us and renews our minds and changes our hearts. His word is transforming!
I want to be an encouragement to all of you today!
Here are some actions steps you can take today...
*Pray for others, and tell them you are doing so!
*Tell your children/spouse/friends/parents how special they are to you and to the Lord.
*Speak your positive thoughts to the person who inspired them. Don't just think to yourself, oh that sermon was encouraging...tell your Pastor so! Don't just think, that song really touched my heart, tell the singer! Don't just think, that was a delicious meal, tell the cook!
*Recognize others' God-given gifts. Say, "I appreciate what you said in that meeting." "I appreciate you setting up our class." "I appreciate your ministry to my child in sunday school."
*Stop criticizing others.
*Encourage others with notes or phone calls.
*Spur others on by offering a helping hand when they want to quit.
*In a group setting practice encouraging others on their birthday, anniversary, or other special days (Valentine's Day is coming up...)
*Institute a "Family Night" in your household-a night of encouraging one member. All other family members tell the person whose night it is one thing they appreciate about him or her. Choose someone different the next week! (I'm gonna try this as the kids get older...this will be fun!)
We can all be quick to criticize or be sharp with our tongues. Help us to remember there is power in our words. Help us to be an encouragement to others. Forgive us when we are slow to encourage and quick to critique.
Have a great Tuesday!!! I love you oodles and oodles!